AN: For the record, I am a fan of both Star Wars and Harry Potter. However, I prefer watching Star Wars and reading Harry Potter. Enjoy.
Aspects of Character
Star Wars ,the classic trilogy and now saga that has awed many, inspired them and entertained us for over thirty years, faced a challenge in the name of Harry Potter. Many believed that the Star Wars mania would dissipate over time, but they have clearly been proved wrong. Harry Potter did not eclipse Star Wars, I believe that they stand side-by-side, very similar on some aspects, but also having their own unique story of good vs. evil.
So here it is, the list of most things similar from either universe:
1) The Archetypal Hero
So, we start with the hero of both stories: Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter. We do not, however, consider Anakin because he is ultimately doomed to fall to the Dark Side, making him the 'coulda-been' hero.
Following his birth, Luke's mother dies and he is placed in the care of his aunt and uncle, who encourage him to forget his adventurous ways and curious mind, instead to stay on the farm and tend to the moisture vaporators.
After Harry's mother is killed by Voldy, he is sent away to his aunt and uncle's, where he too will be protected from villains of the world. They punish and scold Harry for asking questions, or thinking creatively.
Luke is a noble, chivalrous, and loyal individual. He goes to lengths to save his friends, helps his enemies and despite a hot temper, learns to cool down and think things through. Luke sells himself short to save the galaxy from great evils, has a habit for getting into scrapes, and is basically destined for doom as the son of Anakin Skywalker turned Darth Vader.
At the same time, Harry is truly good to the core, Gryffindor brave and Hufflepuff loyal. He works to defeat those evil Death Eaters at any cost, for the better of the wizarding world and has a reputation of trouble. Hermione even comments that he has a 'saving people thing'. He too has a hot temper, which by the end of the great series he learns to control to a degree. From the time of the prophecy, he was destined for trouble, and his fate was sealed when Voldemort 'marked' him.
They're both individuals who have never had any close family, and their protectors have all been disposed of by the end of the story. Harry's parents, Dumbledore, Sirius, and Snape are all killed by the forces of evil. Padme, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Owen and Beru all get accepted to the Netherworld of the Force, even if the Jedi can still come back to guide him as Force ghosts.
By the middle of each saga, the boys come to a terrible revelation: Harry witnesses the return of Voldemort, and Luke discovers the true identity of his father. At the beginning of both stories, everything is started light-heartedly. But as they progress, everything gets darker and the plot twists are mind-boggling. We see the story from each character's point of view, cry for them and shout at them for being stupid. Which, I tell you, happens often.
2) The Wise Old Wizards
In the original trilogy, we are introduced to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who Owen Lars describes as "that crazy old hermit". In reality, Obi-Wan is the wise mentor who will guide Luke to victory, and teach him in the ways of the Force, until of course Yoda comes along, who is another wise old Jedi.
As we see in Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore is a brilliant but somewhat "off his rocker" aged wizard. Dumbledore guides Harry along in his first adventures, and giving a good amount of clues for Harry to piece together himself. Later on, Dumbledore takes a more active role in Harry's life to prepare him to face Voldemort. Private lessons are always quite useful, and in the end Harry wins out because of Dumbledore's training.
3) Father Figures
Our heroes spend much time thinking about their parents who are both dead really, and because they are boys, they dream and idolize their father. Luke is told his father died in a crash, navigating a spice freighter, a somewhat illegitamate occupation, but we presume that he is either not curious or has not been told anything about his mother. He's not even told that she's "beautiful, kind, but sad..." until the end!
Another thing to consider about the dead parents is that both heroes are very much like them.
Luke has many of the same features his father possesses: blue eyes, sandy blond hair, good at fixing things, good pilot, and a tendency to want to save everyone and help everyone. However, we can take into note that maybe Luke did pick up a little tiny thing from Padme. That small detail would be her last words:
"There's good in him...I know, I know there's...still."
The Naboo Queen is proven right at the end of the saga when Luke turns his father back to the Light. If you want to get really deep, you can consider it the one thing that he remembers about his mother, and how she could really get to see the good in people.
Harry, even though he looks very much like his father, is a lot more like his mother in nature. I suppose that poet was right when he said, "The eyes are the window to the soul."
Harry sees the world through almond-shaped emerald green eyes, and he is very caring about his friends, even going to lengths to save his enemies because he is so generous, much like his mother, who did not enjoy to see people suffer and helped those in need. Lily Potter also possessed the ability to "see the good in people, even when they could not see it in themselves."
A similar ambition, or at least hobbie, of both characters is the desire and ability to fly well.
Anakin Skywalker was an extraordinary human. In fact, he was the only human to particpate in the sport of pod-racing, much less winning at the young age of nine. His skills improved as he honed his Jedi reflexes and it was known that he enjoyed machines and fixing things. Luke did not take long to follow in his father's footsteps, dreaming early on of becoming a piliot and traversing throughout the whole galaxy. Of course, Luke is not without his own personal accomplishments, such as blowing up the first Death Star and eliminating the AT-AT walkers on Hoth.
James Potter was a flying celebrity in his own right, as an accomplished Quidditch Chaser, known for his unique talents on the field with a few Quaffels. His son more than fills in his father's reputation as the Gryffindor Seeker. He helped the team achieve the first Quidditch Cup in years, and managed to win almost every game he played in. Even with his bad vision, Harry successfully caught the Remembrall that flew through the air on his first time flying. His other successes would include catching the Snitch on record time, an enchanted broom and even with a jinxed Bludger on his tail.
Needless to say, you can't beat genes.
4) Allies, Side-Kicks, and Comedy Relief
What would we do without them? Of course, the heroes cannot to everything on their own, despite their foolish assumption that it is all their responsibility.
a) To stage left is Ron, whom Harry meets on the train to Hogwarts and becomes best friends with. Ron is the supportive and humorous best mate with the best lines in a majority of the books. He is the cheerleader, comedian, and optimist when the other two of the trio are stumped.
Despite being insecure at times, or even panicky, this Weasley manages to be bold and more often than not speaks his mind. Ron's jokes will always manage to brighten the spirits of the depressed, and even his pessimism can be amusing.
Sometimes we believe that Ron is not an important part of the story, but he manages to make up for his cheek when Harry needs his assisstance most. The wise wizard knew he was going to come back and be good all along, but it took Ron seven years to fully figure it out. Ron, however, is not Harrison Ford.
Han Solo is met at the Cantina, as Luke and Obi-Wan are searching for a transport of 'that rock'. His wit and sarcasm are off-putting to some, but he is really just a lovable guy underneath it all. He is Luke's 'old buddy', coming to his aid when needed and managing to save the day with that YT-1300 of his.
Without Han, Luke would be dead at Vader's hand the Death Star would still be terrorizing the galaxy. The Corellian has always been around for Luke when the 'kid' gets in over his head. And just to make sure that people don't get the wrong impression, Han always has fresh rhetoric for anybody who dares to think he's a softie.
Obi-Wan knows he has a great character on the inside, and has faith that Han will give in to the Alliance's noble cause. Fortunately, Han is a much faster learner than Ron. (Sorry, Ron)
b) Hermione is the brain of the trio, providing insight and understanding when the situation gets sticky. In their first real encounter with Hermione, she is annoying, bossy and a know-it-all, much to the dissatisfaction of Ron. At the Halloween scene, she plays damsel in distress against a troll and the duo come to her aid, defeat the troll and the three become good friends despite fights between her and Ron.
Hermione has tact and is skilled at planning their strategies in the last book. She is strong-willed, brave, and is a strong civil rights activist. Eventually, Hermione enters law and the political arena to make a change in policy and create a better world. Last but not least, her hair is a prominent feature because of its consistent bushiness.
Princess Leia Organa is the most famous female heroine of all time, decieving us all with that first damsel in distress portrayal in the Death Star's prison cell. But as we soon learn, she's a fighter. Leia fights for the weak and the needy, to rid the galaxy of its evil Empire and restore peace and democracy. She's bossy, has a great sense of humor and constantly butts heads with Han.
She recieved a lot of fan criticisms for her 'cinnamon buns' which adorned her head in the first film, and her especially bland and admittedly ugly white dress. As we see in the second film, Leia has matured and gone for tied braids and pants, thank the Force.
After the Empire is crushed in the last film, Leia goes on to rebuild a democratic political system and replace Mon Mothma as President of the New Republic. She is smart, skilled at both fighting and debate, trained in the Alderaanian ways of art, literature and the like. She handles every situation with calm and logic, never letting emotions get the better of her.
c) No one, not even the dashing Han Solo can resist the furry buggers that are Ewoks. They're cute, cuddly, and can beat the stormtroopers' butts. If they seem primitive, I find your lack of faith disturbing. Even without technology, these teddy bears pack a punch, and know how to throw a good party. Ewoks assist the Rebels in the end, using their trapping devices and hunting genius to overthrow the Empire that resides on Endor. Do not underestimate them by their size.
House-elves were a necessary component in the Battle of Hogwarts. They may be a little -er- crazy, but it's in their nature. They say that 'big things come in small packages' and 'a little goes a long way'. And so it did. These little critters used what they had and all they knew to help in the fight against the Death Eaters. Cutlery is a precious thing, buddy. Never take it for granted.
Both species of creature proved that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, because you never know what's inside.
Secret organizations are a must in a good vs. evil story. The Order of the Phoenix is one of them. It was developed by Albus Dumbledore, has several leading member and has since gained many allies. Really, what more's to be said? They have contacts, sources and meetings to plan covert operations, are not joined or opposed to the Ministry, with a singular cause to defeat that baddie Voldemort.
The Rebel Alliance is spoken for by its title. They're a group of politicians, soldiers, and freedom fighters to bring the galaxy together and destroy that wretched Empire. It wasn't started by a wise old wizard, but Garm Bel Iblis, Bail Organa and Mon Mothma are very intelligent in their own respects. They relocate bases often, hold battles on various systems and rally support from many.
Despite many of the similarities between these two epic sagas, the main evil figure of Harry Potter is Voldemort. Voldemort is definitely not a Vader figure. Vader was good, turned bad, and then went back to being good. Voldy was always bad, always will be, and that is why he takes the place of the Emperor.
a) Neither man (if you can call them that) understands love, compassion or any of those positive feelings. All they know is hate, anger, fear and aggression - signs of the Dark Side. Each corrupted a stable, fairly democratic system of government and took it over to serve his evil purposes, then introduced ridiculous laws that had a large amount of prejudice and discrimination included.
Palpatine has a particular spite for any creature or alien species, and does not regard them with any respect. He enslaved them during his rule, and used them as pawns for his gain. As a Sith, he is deceitful, creating doubt and mistrust to twist people onto his side. Palpatine doesn't care for anyone or anything, only power. The bond of father and son, something he cannot understand or disregarded, makes his demise.
Voldemort despises 'mudbloods', or Muggle-borns, and favors only pure-bloods, even though he himself is a half-blood. He was born from a love potion, a symbol as to why he does not understand love, finding it a weakness. Voldemort believes that 'there is no good and evil, only power, and those too weak to seek it'. Voldemort is ruthless, merciless and all around rotten. He is as cruel to his minions as he is to his enemies. His misunderstanding of love brings his downfall, and his neglect of small details causes certain techincalities with the Elder Wand.
b) Good ol' Darth Vader was voted one of the most infamous villain of all time. He still is, and most probably will be for the continued span of the human race. Vader took the place of Faust, turning evil and doing dark deeds to save his wife, compelled by selfish desires and a need for control. He loved, lost, and redeemed himself in the end. Vader (or Anakin, if you please) was the tragic story of a guy who missed the mark but got his second chance. Note that his second chance also came from the love he recognized in his son and eventually in himself.
Severus Snape, meanwhile, is the brave triple agent (or is it double?) who sacrificed himself for the good cause of Harry Potter. No, he didn't turn to the Dark Side, but instead made a turn to the good for the sake of love. We are constantly disliking this Potionsmaster for his foul wit, greasy hair and tendency to exact revenge on Gryffindors.
Eventually, we can't dislike him forever, because we learn that the cold, heartless, shampooless man actually does possess a heart that fully functions to the extent of loving another. His story is somewhat the reverse of Darth's, but similar depending on the way you think about it. We assume that both are evil, but learn that they both loved and lost, and dared to be good for the sake of love again. Then, when we FINALLY learn this, the characters both get killed.
Really tragic and melodramatic, isn't it?
a) As we know full well, Ron and Hermione are a match Fate has destined to put together. They fight, envy and nag each other, signs of sexual tension and a serious fancy. The only thing missing is the kissing. They finally get their kiss at the end of Book 7, and I cheered. They beat around the bush ever since late Book 2 and it was a satisfying thing to see them get together.
As with Ron and Hermione, we also knew that Han and Leia would become a couple, if Vader could stay out of the picture for more than thirty minutes. But even after the little carbonite freeze, Han and Leia openly showed their love or each other and were able to admit it at the end of ROTJ. They bicker, snarl and taunt with an uncomfortableness because they are perfectly aware that they're falling for one another. But it takes a run through Bespin and a confrontation with Vader to get them to admit it in that wonderful scene -
"I love you." "I know."
b) It seems that heroes have a thing for red-headed chicks, seeing as Harry finally falls for Ginny Weasley. Ginny has a temper as well, but is very outgoing and athletic, kind and sympathetic to most. She's a fighter too, concerned for her family and friends, just wanting to make it out alive. She's described as physically attractive, but her easy-going, kindness, determination and loyalty are other positives about her character.
He loves her because of her down-to-earth qualities and casual nature, and she sees him as more than just the 'Boy-Who-Lived'. Harry is Ginny's man because she understands his faults and desires, and loves him for it. She sees him as he should be seen: with imperfections.
Luke and Mara Jade have anything but a smooth start. As former Emperor's Hand, Mara has a fierce desire to avenge her Master and kill Luke Skywalker. With his calm and patience, she mellows out and ends up fighting alongside him to defeat Joruus C'baoth. (Sorry to non-EU readers) They part ways and have a mutual friendship for a period of ten years before finally teaming up again on Nirauan and learn to understand one another from a mind-link. In each other they find stability; and of course, fall in love. She's another fighter. I'm beginning to think that strong women are just required in stories just to keep it together.
With Luke being one with the Force and having matured past his reckless nature, he is a medium for the fiery Mara. Mara values her independence, fights to the death, and never gives up. She helps Luke to understand that some things he cannot control, and he relies on her to keep him away from the Dark Side. She supports him through thick and thin, keeping him afloat the turbulent waters of life.
The Ones that never Were
In the first film, a Luke/Leia is heavily implied, as well as a Han/Leia. Somehow, Luke/Leia did not feel quite right with us. We quickly learn why. That little kiss in the Hoth base's medical wing has been the butt of jokes since we learned that the young ones were brother and sister. But that was only because Leia wanted to make Han jealous, which worked, and the incident never happened again. Maybe she should have kissed the Wookiee instead.
Some people really believed, or wanted, Harry and Hermione to be a couple. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for me, JKR nipped that theory in the bud. Harry and Hermione have a platonic love, one of friends, and Harry even goes to say in Book 7 that Hermione is like a sister to him. They regard each other like a good brother and sister, without sibling rivalry and absolutely no sign of sexual tension. Hermione even eggs Harry on with his relationships, for example:
When Harry and Cho fancied each other, Hermione gave him tips and encourage him to talk to her. When Harry liked Ginny, Hermione beams like the sun when they have their first kiss in the Common Room after the Quidditch match.
Now that's gone and history, thrown into the rubbish bin, and hopefully never seen again unless you run across an H/Hr fic, or you're an H/Hr shipper. (No offense to you, in that case.)
So now you've got a lot of similarities between the two epic sagas, which have thrilled the Muggles of our galaxy. I hope that the next time you read or watch either one, you can point out other similarities too. (Jar Jar Binks and Neville Longbottom?) Well, maybe not.