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Harry Potter: A New Hope
By jennycat

“Your overconfidence is your weakness.”

“Your faith in your friends is yours.” 1

I was pondering those words one day, visualizing Harry and Voldemort exchanging them rather than Luke and the Emperor, when I thought, “What if we can draw conclusions from the final chapter of the Star Wars series to determine the outcome of the Harry Potter series?” “That’s brilliant!” I told myself. Before we begin, I wish to define a few qualifying factors as we delve into the combination of these two worlds. First, I will presume the audience has at least a passing knowledge of both stories. Second, though I believe we can draw parallels from one to the other, I don’t see a perfect symmetry between the two. One of the reasons we love both of the storytellers – J.K. Rowling and George Lucas – so much is because of their unique visions. Finally, these are only my observations. I can’t prove any of it, and to be quite honest, my world will not come crashing down around me if things don’t develop as I shall be predicting in the next few paragraphs. This little exercise is just for fun.


Character Parallels

To start, both stories have a central trio of heroes. It’s been observed by many fans of both worlds that Harry, Ron, and Hermione relate to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. Rising from within both of these trios is a loner – a man apart. He is plain, humble, and has a tendency toward rash behavior. However, in both tales, this young man of seeming insignificance has been foreseen as the downfall of the diabolical overlord in power. But prophecy or no prophecy, both are the type of guy to face up to their fears and do what’s right for the sake of fighting evil. To paraphrase Dumbledore in Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince, “hang the prophecy – because of the actions of Mr. Bad, you’d go after him anyway.” 2 The Prophecy isn’t what’s driving these two heroes.

Luke and Harry also share a similar background. Both were raised as orphans by the strict relatives of their parents, both dreamed of escape and adventure, and both were brought up unaware of their true natures – Harry as a wizard and Luke as the son of a Jedi Knight. They even share a talent for flying: Luke in a spaceship and Harry on his broomstick. Replace Luke’s lightsaber with a holly wand and you’re looking at Harry!

The remaining two-thirds of the trio have a romantic attraction that is often hidden behind jealousy and bickering. Hermione is a little like Leia – convinced she knows it all. Ron lacks Han’s confidence, but he still has a way of getting under Hermione’s skin by showing “all the sensitivity of a blunt axe.” 3 These two may argue a lot, but when it all comes down, they’re always there to help Harry, just as Luke wouldn’t have gotten very far without his two companions.

Albus Dumbledore has been compared to Obi-Wan Kenobi on more than one occasion (and not just by those of us who were hoping that he wasn’t dead-dead.) Like Luke’s mentor, Albus’s role is to pass on his years of wizard-wisdom to Harry in the hope that he can absorb enough to fight the bad guy when the time comes. Dumbledore also fills a bit of the Yoda role, though I have a possible alternate on that point given in the Vague Parallels section.

Voldemort is obviously an Emperor wannabe. He only wishes he had control of an entire galaxy. Both villains seem chillingly devoid of any feelings for the rest of humanity, and are totally obsessed with their own power. Each gave no appearance of evil early on, and yet, as time goes by, evil actually physically alters their appearance. These two should really form a club. (That way we’d get rid of at least one of them when they try to decide who should be president – but then our stories wouldn’t parallel. Oh well.)

The Dursleys can be associated with the Lars family. They try to hold back the hero, ostensibly out of fear of the monster he could become. Neville is our Lando Calrissian. He started out kinda wimpy, but his courage has grown over the years and I think he’ll shine by the end. Ginny Weasley is no walking carpet, but she could be linked to Chewbacca in that she’s close to the trio without being part of it, and she does have a previous connection to our Han. Of course, Ginny makes a much more appealing damsel in distress than a hairy Wookiee.

Now, we get to my favorite Character Parallel. Snape is Darth Vader, and let’s face it: Vader is a bad boy. Stalking around the galaxy in his black cape, intimidating everyone into submission… sounds a bit like a certain greasy, black-robed Potions Master, doesn’t it? Each has his own style, but both seem eerily able to read minds and usually show no emotion – but heaven help us when they do!


Plot Parallels

Ultimately, we have the traditional Evil vs. Good plot lines: the thirst for power vs. the quest for justice and equality. Harry Potter and Star Wars not only share an epic, ongoing battle for good, their stories also follow the same basic pattern – the Monomyth or Hero’s Journey outlined by Joseph Campbell.4

This mythical journey has been told time and time again and always features the same set of elements for the hero to experience. Some of these include a wise mentor, a quest for which the hero will risk anything, and a final showdown between hero and villain. Many books and films have followed this pattern, from The Wizard of Oz to The Lion King, but not all have as much in common as the stories in this discussion.

For one thing, wizards and Jedi are both a special race of people set apart from the rest of the world. They each have their own sets of weapons (magic wands/lightsabers), their own training camps (Hogwarts/Jedi Temple), and both groups of people cloak themselves in robes as a sign of distinction. Like Harry, the Jedi Knights are determined to use the Force to fight evil, but not all wizards are interested in using their powers to better the world, like the way the Emperor and Darth Vader use the Force… hem, hem… Voldemort, Malfoy, Umbridge, Snape, just to name a few.

J.K. Rowling has given several clues that indicate Love is Harry’s secret weapon. Well, what is love if not a force of positive energy? The love Harry Potter feels and the protection of love he received from his mother are clearly the Potterverse equivalent of the Force. This energy surges through our hero’s veins and comes to his aid when he most needs it. May the Love be with you, Harry!


Derivatives

Now, on to what conclusions we can draw from our model. First of all, the Trio will live. It fits with the Star Wars plot comparison, it makes sense, and most of all it will make the Potter fans happy. And that’s no small issue.

Voldemort and the Death Eaters will set a trap for the Order of the Phoenix (in their role as the Rebel Army) to finish them off once and for all. But of course, it won’t be the members of the Order (at least as we saw them in the fifth book) who get the job done. During the final battle, Ron and Hermione (and possibly Neville, Luna, and Ginny) will run interference while Harry goes on to face Voldemort alone. Snape (as the Vader Parallel) will perform the actual doing in of Voldemort. Yes, Snape is currently evil, and I believe he killed Dumbledore (this goes back to Episode III)5 because he believes that Voldemort has something of great importance to offer him. Even though Snape really is bad, he will see the light through a display of love by Harry at a critical moment and be redeemed – hopefully right before he bites it himself. Honestly, we don’t need his kind cluttering up the Galaxy… I mean, Great Britain. He must die, because it is either that or go to Azkaban. Yet, how can the man who rid the world of the villain be locked away and tortured for the rest of his life? At the same time, how can such a nasty murderer be set free?

In the end there will be fireworks – or perhaps shooting stars courtesy of Dedalus Diggle. Harry will in some way choose to honor the sacrifice of Severus Snape for his final noble deed – just as Luke built a funeral pyre for Vader. Harry will then be welcomed into the loving arms of his chosen family as the wizarding world celebrates the demise of the Great Evil One. THE END.


Vague Parallels

To cover my bases, just in case Snape (the fink) turns out to be good (or at least working for the Good Guys), he can be paralleled to Yoda – the reluctant teacher who doesn’t think the hero can do the job, or who is using some really nasty reverse psychology. In the unlikely event that Snape was working on Dumbledore’s orders, the account given above in the Derivatives section regarding Snape should be transferred to Wormtail. I just don’t think Peter has it in him, though.

The Weasley Twins can clearly fill the position of the Droids. R2-D2 and C-3PO serve as the comic relief in the galaxy far, far away while Fred and George entertain first all of Hogwarts and then the whole of wizarding London with their wacky antics and joke shop. Hmmm, R2-D2 kept getting himself shot in at least every other movie. Could that spell bad news for a twin? I hope not, but I fear it may be so.

Could Luna be Wicket? I doubt it, but she is a funny little person who turns out to be very useful in the end, so there is a slight resemblance between the two.

The Dementors or Inferi could play the part of Storm Troopers, but that’s going a bit too far, don’t you think?

Could Slughorn be Jabba the Hutt? They might win a look-alike contest. Both are – er, rather portly and prone to self-serving and over indulgence. But at the end of the day, Slughorn can see beyond his expansive self whereas Jabba cannot. Our Han has already had his slug encounter in the second book, anyway.6

I believe that the closest Harry Potter comes to a super weapon such as the Death Star would be the Horcruxes. Though they don’t match up perfectly, that’s as good as it gets. As far as leaving a bit of the soul behind in the Star Wars universe, that seems to be a good guy trait which is tied to a person, not an object, as in Obi-Wan and Yoda tying a bit of themselves to Luke to communicate with him even after they were deceased. Come to think of it, this is also reminiscent of the sleeping portraits of previous Hogwarts headmasters. Perhaps Harry will be able to communicate with Dumbledore in this way?

Lastly, the house-elves are the Ewoks! I’ll admit, I was reaching for an Ewok parallel, but it fit so well, I just fell in love with the idea. The role of the Ewoks might be filled by the goblins instead, but I don’t see them fighting for the wizards that have oppressed them for so long. I really think that the goblins will pull a “[goblins] are for the [goblins]” stunt like the dwarves in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle7; but that is outside the scope of this study. The elves may have suffered oppression, but apparently most of them consider their service an honor, whereas goblins have shown some resistance.

Rowling has given us many clues that the house-elves might have what it takes to rise up and become a force to be reckoned with. Remember what Fred once told Harry: “House-elves have got powerful magic of their own, but they usually can't use it without their master's permission.” 8 If the house-elves are the Ewoks, Hermione and her S.P.E.W. efforts will finally manage in some manner reach out to them, just as Leia was the first to reach out to an Ewok as an equal.


Closing Thoughts

Experience tells us that man is much happier if he has a healthy obsession to which he can devote his time.9 I have long been a Star Wars fanatic and have recently added Harry Potter to my list of favorite pastimes. Throughout this reflection, I have been liberal with my Forceful point-of-view and not tried in the slightest to present an impartial comparison. I hope that in spite of this biased perspective, we can share our love of two fantastic stories, and I eagerly wait with you all to find out just how wrong I really am.

Notes

1. Lucas and Kasdan, Return of the Jedi.

2. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 509-12.

3. Ibid., 165.

4. Star Wars Origins, “Joseph Campbell.”

5. Lucas, Revenge of the Sith.

6. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 112-18.

7. Lewis, The Last Battle, 91.

8. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 28.

9. Okay, I made that up.

Bibliography

Lewis, C.S. The Last Battle. New York: Harper Trophy, 1994.

Lucas, George. Star Wars: "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Directed by George Lucas. San Francisco: Lucasfilms Ltd./Twentieth Century-Fox, 2005.

Lucas, George and Lawrence Kasdan. Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Directed by Richard Marquand. San Francisco: Lucasfilms Ltd./Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.

–––. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.

Star Wars Origins. “Joseph Campbell.” http://www.spookybug.com/origins/myth.html


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