Similarities Between Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings

Since I’ve covered The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter on my blog now, I thought I’d share some similarities I noticed between the two stories. This contains spoilers for both series.

Most of the similarities are between characters. Let’s start with the good guys.

Frodo and Harry: Besides being the protagonist of their stories, Frodo and Harry are both orphans who live with their uncles. They are also chosen ones. Harry is chosen by a prophecy, and it’s said that if Frodo can’t succeed as the ring bearer, no one will.

Sam and Ron: Sam and Ron are the protagonist’s trusty friend and sidekick. They have some ups and downs over the course of the story, and the friend always gets lost in the hero’s shadow. (It’s okay, though, we readers know that Frodo never would’ve succeeded without Sam.)

Gandalf and Dumbledore: What’s a classic fantasy story without the wise, bearded wizard? The mentor is there is to guide the protagonist along (when it’s convenient for them), keep secrets, and die. They both know the dark lord isn’t really dead even if others don’t believe them.

Merry and Pippin and Fred and George: What would these stories be without their comedic duo? In both stories the pair are notorious for getting into trouble, but they certainly have their heroic moments.

Aragorn and Neville: This is a comparison I haven’t seen mentioned before, but I really feel like Aragorn and Neville have similar character arcs. Aragorn starts out as a ranger who is reluctant to be the leader he needs to be, but it turns out he’s rather adept at his destined role. Neville starts out without confidence and steadily grows into a formidable wizard and a hero. Both are friends with the protagonist, though they aren’t with them for the entirety of their journey. They reunite at the end. Both are secondary protagonists.

There are clearly a lot of parallels between the good guys in both series. There are also similarities between some of the other characters as well.

Sauron and Voldemort: This one’s pretty obvious. Both are dark lords who “die” only to resurface later. They’re both power-hungry and rely on magical objects to make them powerful and immortal.

Wormtongue and Wormtail: These two have very similar names and are both gross villains who originally pose as good guys.

Wormtongue and Snape: Both are greasy dudes who are attracted to a female who sides with the good guys.

Denethor and Fudge: This is another one I haven’t seen mentioned before, but both are incompetent rulers who refuse to address the return of the dark lord and end up losing their position as a leader. The refuse to take council from the wise wizard.

Sméagol/Gollum and Dobby: Both are strange humanoid creatures who follow the protagonist around. They are both helpful and a hindrance with Dobby ultimately being a hero and Gollum ultimately being a villain. They both die in the final book.

This is a good transition into the next category, which is creatures.

Nazgul and Dementors: Both the Nazgul and the Dementors are black hooded figures who are sent after the protagonist at some point in the story. They both work for the dark lord.

Shelob and Aragog: Both are giant spiders who work against the protagonist and their friend. Both series also have large spiders in general. In The Hobbit, there are the giant spiders in Mirkwood, and in Harry Potter, there are Aragog’s children.

There are two other similarities I want to make note of.

Fanghorn Forest and The Forbidden Forest: Both series have creepy forests the characters are supposed to stay away from but ultimately have to go into for one reason or another. The Lord of the Rings has multiple creepy forests, so Fanghorn really stands for all of them.

The One Ring and the Horcruxes: Both are magical objects that have to be destroyed in order to defeat the dark lord. Both are a burden on the protagonist. Both are really hard to destroy.

Those are the similarities I noticed between these two stories. There are probably others that I’ve since forgotten. Let me know if there are any you noticed that I forgot.

While these things aren’t necessary for a good fantasy story, they are fairly common. Star Wars has a lot of these commonalities too. It’s interesting how some of these elements seem to be a staple in big sci-fi/fantasy franchises.

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