By Aneel Henry
A goofy group of friends, seemingly useless to the plot line, surprises the viewer throughout the tale with bouts of extreme luck and surprising wit. A “Chosen One”, an all-powerful child, holds the fate of the world in his/her hands for some inexplicable reason. An elderly mentor figure that guides this Chosen One along their path but provides minimal help. An all-powerful evil lord who fights to regain power, using his army to exert his will over the general public. Which story am I describing? Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? I can’t tell either.
Despite the incredible response to the Harry Potter series in the form of monetary reward for all involved in the production of this new age fantasy series, I have personally seen very little criticism as to the legitimacy and originality of the series. The striking similarities between the Harry Potter plot line and character development and the Lord of the Rings plot line and character development shocked me into a surprising epiphany. J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, followed a formula (derived from Lord of the Rings) to create the hallowed tween fantasy hit of our generation. She captivates the audience and personalizes generic fantasy, applying modern elements to an old plot line thereby appealing to every human’s inherent desire for adventure. After my realization of the fraudulent origins of the Harry Potter series, the fantastical world created in those books lost its aura of mystery and wonder that had held me captive throughout my initial reading of her series. Rowling, and indirectly other fantasy writers, take advantage of the one desire common to every human from early childhood on, escape. Be it through religion, drinking, friends, vacations, or even work, humans have an inherent desire to find something more in their lives and the Harry Potter series brings alive this childish fascination. Hers and other fantasy writer’s blatant exploitation insulted my pride and intelligence. I was being played for a simple-minded fool. But once I felt my fascination with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and other fantasy begin to fade, I felt just as cheated by the loss of such an enjoyable pastime. This led to my second and decidedly final epiphany. I promptly determined to forget my first recollection and enjoy the simple pleasure that escape provides, rather than attack fantasy writers for exploiting my childhood dreams. Rowling may have my money and my heart in the palm of her hand, but you know what, I don’t care.