December 9, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Clueless as to context when comparing Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings

Contributed by Creighton Chavez, Art major

I recently read the latest Kavahn Mansouri vs. the World regarding Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings. Both articles seem to have been written by people who are very passionate about their opinions. However, I don’t think either were taking into consideration that there isn’t much ground in comparing the two series. Yes, both are based on fantasy worlds and epic adventures, but the similarities basically end there.

Harry Potter, in both film and print, is a fast-paced world with a lot of action and a limited, but well rounded, group of characters.The world is a relatively small one, and though there is an “outside world,” the majority of the story happens in one place: Hogwarts. Harry Potter is also a book that I feel I can genuinely say was written for a much younger audience than The Lord of the Rings.

I grew up reading the Harry Potter books, and something that I often noticed is that passage of time is not consistently portrayed. In one chapter, the events occur day to day, but then you turn the page to the next chapter and it’s jumped four months. There are no real dry moments either; one’s attention rarely strays from the main story. The way the story is written leads to a series with a very consistent and almost energetic feel to it, providing smooth journey.

The Lord of the Rings, a series I also grew up with, doesn’t offer that same type of ride throughout the story. This is likely because the intended audience is more mature and thus more patient. As a result, the story is definitely more slow-paced, thought out, and at times dry. Although there are many great action sequences in the The Lord of the Rings, what I appreciate most about the series is how well-written and detailed it is. The massive world that I came to know, and the many characters and creatures I encountered, all make up for the lack of constant excitement, and in the end the dryness pays off.

Comparing these two series seems to me like trying to compare the Indiana Jones series with, say, the Bourne series. They’re both action movies with a strong male lead, but trying to compare them and say which is better is almost pointless, as they are both beloved series and are totally different. The same goes with The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter; I for one don’t think they are comparable. Their universes are completely different, and they aren’t attempting to be the same story or for the same audience. For being two stories of the same genre, they could not be more different, and yet I don’t think they could be more equally loved by a greater number of people.

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