Saturday, September 6, 2014

Back to Hogwarts Week: Comparing Tolkien & Rowling

I’m taking a Tolkien & Rowling class this semester and just from reading The Hobbit and The Sorcerer’s Stone I’ve noticed some similarities between their styles and works. I’m sure I’ll be learning more later on in the semester, but here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

Songs & Poems:
I truly believe that The Hobbit could be made into a musical and still be true to the book. Everyone sings. The dwarves, Bilbo, elves, and even the Goblins belt out some tunes. In The Sorcerer’s Stone people don’t randomly break out into song, but the sorting hat does sing its song at the beginning to each semester and then there’s the often forgotten Hogwarts school song, add in the poem on the door of Gringotts and you begin to see a pattern.

I don’t mean the Tom kind, I mean actual riddles. Bilbo and Golem had their battle of wits trading riddles back and forth to see if Bilbo was going to be dinner. When trying to reach The Sorcerer’s Stone Harry and Hermione have to pass Snape’s riddle test to avoid drinking poison. Also, in The Goblet of Fire Harry has to get passed a Sphinx by answering a riddle correctly.

Dumbledore & Gandolf:
Both have silver beards and hair that are so long that they could be tucked into their belt, they both wear robes, and they both wear boots. They also are a mentor to someone who has the weight of the world on their shoulders and as much as they would like to, they cannot directly help them in the end. Both of these characters are very wise and have a sense of humor. And, of course, they are both wizards.

Rings and Horcruxes:
Both are objects that also contain the evilness of their creator. They are more than just a piece of jewelry, they can affect those who they are close to and influence their behavior and actions. They have a mind almost of their own and like to bring strife and chaos.

Good vs Evil:
Both authors focus on a fight that is about good vs evil. Saron and Voldemort are two characters that are completely irredeemable. There is a right side and a wrong side and the characters in these books have to choose where they stand.

Expansion of the World:
Tolkien never considered his books done, he continued to add to the world of Middle-Earth through the Appendices, The Similarion, and many more things that I’m not even aware are in existence. Rowling is doing the same with Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The movie as well as the book), Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Pottermore. 

Some of the most beautiful friendships in literature are in the Lord of the Rings novels and I think the same could be said of the friendships in the Harry Potter series. It is these beautiful connections that make me love the characters even more than I already do. These characters go through so much together, are willing to do anything for each other, will sacrifice themselves, and travel into the dark places together. Where Harry goes Ron and Hermione will follow. Wherever Frodo goes Sam will always be there. And even though the Fellowship of the Ring and Dumbledore’s Army is broken they will never give up on each other.

Both Tolkien and Rowling are fantastic fantasy authors who created worlds which captured the imagination of those who read them. The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are classics which will not be forgotten. They will live on bookshelves for generations to come.



  1. I'm so jealous that you get to study Tolkien and Rowling! I have noticed similarities between the Hobbit/LOTR and the Harry Potter series. I think Tolkien has inspired quite a lot of fantasy writers. They're both great authors.

    My Stacking the Shelves post

  2. I'm also jealous that you're studying Tolkien AND Rowling - I would ADORE taking a class like that! There are definitely similarities between their two works, obviously with Gandalf & Dumbledore, they are quite similar, but the giant spiders too, and the one ring with the Horcruxes. Tolkien is an inspiration but then again, so is JKR :)