Is it just me, or did someone else notice?
Initially, after seeing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone", and "The Fellowship of the Ring", I thought there are too many similarities between them to be coincidental.
After seeing "The Chamber of Secrets", and reading a bit about "The Prisoner of Azkaban", I saw "Lord of the Rings" trilogy again at home on DVD.
I thought that there was a lot of borrowing that J.K. Rowling did from J.R.R. Tolkien.
Let us see a list of similarities:
|Similarity||Lord of the Rings||Harry Potter|
|Villian||Sauron is the head of evil. He lost his power, and needs the ring to gain it all back||Voldemort is also a vanquished evil wizard. He needs the Sorcerer's Stone in order to gain his strength back|
|Unlikely Hero||Frodo Baggins is a Hobbit, a peaceful -- almost childish -- and weak race. He is entrusted with the task of saving the world from great evil||Harry is an 11 year orphan who does much the same|
|Special Object||The One Ring is the object that the hero must prevent the villian from getting, so as to regain his full powers||The Sorcerer's Stone is the same|
|Mentor/Protector||Gandalf is a guiding, helping, mentoring, teaching figure for Frodo||Professor Dumbledore is the same in the Harry Potter series|
|Troll||In the Fellowship of the Ring, the Orcs have a Cave Troll with them, and in The Two Towers, the Cave Trolls open the gates of Mordor||In Harry Potter II, there is a Mountain Troll, whom Harry and his friends have to overpower|
|Giant Spider||Shelob is a giant spider that almost kills and eats Frodo, in The Return of the King||In the forest, there is a talking spider. It is a friend of Hagred, but chases Harry wanting to eat him|
|Giant raptor bird||A giant eagle saves Gandalf from Isengard||In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Buckbeak is a giant raptor helping Harry and friends|
|Dragon||In the Hobbit, the prelude to The Lord of the Rings, the dragon Smaug is Bilbo Baggins adversary||In Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets, there is a dragon like reptilian monster, the Basilisk, whom Harry has to slay|
|Goblins||The goblins are one of the races of evil allying with Sauron and Saruman||There are goblins who run the bank. They are physically similar to the other ones, although mostly benign|
|Sidekick "Creature"||In Lord of the Ring, Gollum is a creature with both dual good and evil personalities. He helps Frodo in his quest||Dobby is a house elf who is both a hinderance and helpful at different times|
Of course, J.K. Rowling has a lot of original ideas of her own, such as the concept of muggles, and the game of Quiddich.
My opinion is that she borrowed too many themes to be a coincidence. For sure she was "inspired" by Tolkien's Lord of the Ring, at least partially.
After writing this page, I found the following links that ponder some of the points above:
- "Stone" and "Ring" look like 2 pages out of Same Spell-book
- Wikipedia article has a brief mention of similarities.
- A web page listing the similarities between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings going into character details.