Friday, November 18, 2011

Three Musketeers Fight Voldemort Instead of Darth Vader for the Empire

 As the title of today’s post suggests, the Harry Potter saga shares many of the same features as the Star Wars saga. Please understand, however, that J. K. Rowling did not simply layer Hogwarts over George Lucas’ story set in outer space. These tales share features because they are classic Romance Tales, epic in their scope, and thus, like The Iliad and The Odyssey, the outcomes of these stories determine the fates of entire worlds.

Some parallels:

·      Orphaned Harry Potter lives with his mother’s sister and does not know his true legacy. Orphaned Luke Skywalker lives with his father’s brother and does not know his true legacy.
·      Dumbledore becomes Harry’s mentor; Obi-wan Kenobi becomes Luke’s mentor.
·      Harry trains as a wizard; Luke trains as a Jedi Knight.
·      Harry has a good friend, Ron, but they do not always agree and must occasionally go their own way. Luke develops a close bond with Han Solo, but the two take different paths sometimes.
·      A woman completes the trio, Hermione in Harry’s world and Princess Leia in Luke’s world.
·      Harry and Luke, orphaned and lonely in a vast world, find friendship and a wide circle of family as they overcome and triumph in their worlds.
·      Each boy searches for his place in the family of man.
·      Each boy searches for his true identity.
·      Each boy confronts terrifying trials and proves both resourceful and brave.
·      Harry and Luke represent good in conflict with evil.
·      Each boy becomes a man of courage and wit, but he does not succeed without timely and supernatural help.
·      Each boy, with a little help from his friends, upholds the culture’s ideals and defeats evil.

The Romance Tale characteristics applied:

·      Unknowns: Neither Harry nor Luke knows his true identity or purpose.
·      Supernatural Interventions: House elves, banking dwarves, traveling by chimney flue, potions, spells, wands, invisibility cloaks and more augment the raw courage and daring-do of the three main characters. Wookies, Yoda, traveling at the speed of light, and the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi help the three heroes earn accolades.
·      Fantastical Settings: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Quidditch playing fields, and things that go bump in the night, including the Thumping Tree, weave a parallel magical world. Death Stars, space ships, distant planets, Wookie world, and more elevate Star Wars from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
·      Symbolic Numbers: Each epic features three main characters who, like the Three Musketeers, fight for right and each other.
·      Love and Temptation: Both Harry and Luke miss the love of parents. They carry a sorrow that others do not. Both Harry and Luke fall in love, but it never deters them from their true purpose: saving the world. Each has moments in a metaphorical wilderness when he wishes to put aside his difficult tasks, but each overcomes temptation and fights on.

Overall, science fiction, the subject of last week’s post, Harry Potter’s story, and Star Wars develop themes near and dear to us. Some of these are:

·      Making your way in the world without parents is often lonely and difficult.
·      Life has meaning in proportion to the love and courage that a man or woman possesses.
·      Love will find a way.
·      Fighting for the good of others is a worthy fight.
·      Fighting for freedom from tyranny and evil is dangerous but worthy.

Reading Challenge:

Read other comparisons between these epics, Harry Potter’s in seven parts, Star Wars  in six.


Writing Challenge:

Using the characteristics of Romance tales, invent one of your own. Carry it as far as you can, even to 60,000 or 70,000 words; i.e., novel-length. You may set it in the Middle Ages, the future, or on the Western plains. Imagine and write every day, setting aside a reasonable amount of time for this endeavor (at least one hour daily, more is better).

GUM (Grammar, Usage and Mechanics): Bulleted Lists (like those above in this post):

Bulleted lists allow writers to make points economically and emphatically, but the items in a list should be parallel. For example, all items should be complete sentences or fragments, and if they are fragments, they should be grammatically parallel; e.g., each fragment begins with a participle or each begins with a verb. If the items in a list are complete sentences, writers should punctuate with a period at the end of each item. If the items are fragments or clauses, writers may use a comma or no punctuation. For greater detail on this subject, please review