Did J.K. Rowling borrow heavily from J.R.R. Tolkien?

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:



J.K. Rowling

It says that Rowling got sued, or came close to it, for stealing "muggle" from another book.

A lot of fantasy these days

A lot of fantasy these days are borrowed from Tolkien and he borrowed from mythology and other sources before. Most of the simaliarities are just chance, or is very common. Many books feature parentless heros. I like LOTR and HP both very much, but I've also read enough other books to see that HP is not a rip off and everybody borrows ideas.

beautifully said

beautifully said

Thank you this claim that

Thank you this claim that everybody is always ripping off Tolkien is getting old. The truth is all of these different stories all get inspiration from somewhere even Tolkien. Most heroes over all of mythology are orphans of some kind or another! Heroes like Robin Hood, Beowulf, King Arthur, Hercules, Peter Pan, Perseus to name a few. This is not a concept reserved as being invented by Tolkien alone. There are many themes that are found in all of these stories and the can be traced farther back than Tolkien. You could draw and find these same kinds of similarities between Star Wars and Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings and The Legend of King Arthur and so on. This doesn't mean that Tolkien wasn't a brilliant writer nor does it make any of these people thieves! I love all of these stories for their own value and people might enjoy them all more if they worried less about if they are similar to another story.

Not to be nit picky, but 4 of

Not to be nit picky, but 4 of the six "heroes" you mentioned were not orphans. Beowulf's father was Ecgtheow who Beowulf remembers in the poem. King Arther's father was Uther Pendragon. Hercules and Perseus were both fathered by Zeus. As for the last two, it is common to claim patronage from the gods, especially as the stories were passed down. Take Theseus for example, whose father was Aegaeus, but is also supposed to be fathered by Poseidon.

Tolkien got all his

Tolkien got all his storylines from the Bible and from The Icelandic Sagas. He wrote the Hobbit/LOTR to help his children understand Catholic theology. (But he says its not an allegory. Chock full of metaphors, yes.)

Tolkien got all his

No he got the story from Norse mythology not the bible. And they were more based of off his experiances fighting in WWI (due to the fact that he began officially writing it in the trenches) than of Catholic Theology. However, his friend and co-fantasy author C.S. Lewis did convert him to christianity (as he was a diest beforhand).

CS Lewis did not convert Tolkien

Tolkien converted CS Lewis, actually. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic.

And LOTR has elements of war because he was creating a mythology, not because he was basing it off of his experiences.