In our household, the two most discussed fantasy/sci-fi realms are the Harry Potter world and the Star Wars universe. In short, I’m a Potterhead and my husband is a wannabe Galaxy scoundrel. We spend most of our evenings listening to Harry Potter audiobooks in Spanish (we’ve both read the books numerous times in Polish and in English, so it’s not that hard to follow). And then, when Friday comes, we watch a new episode of The Mandalorian.
That’s probably the reason why we started talking about the similarities between the two sagas and ended up coming to rather interesting conclusions: Harry Potter books are the more down-to-earth version of Star Wars saga. Apart from the obvious “the good defeats the evil” vibe, there are certain similarities between the characters in both masterpieces.
Be Warned: there be spoilers and inside jokes here.
Lord Voldemort is the Emperor. Voldemort has been reborn several times using Horcruxes, while the Emperor comes back in the new incarnations again and again as a clone. Both are extremely evil and completely possessed by the idea of the ultimate power. They have their followers: the Deatheaters and the Imperial Royal Guards - very skillful people. Also, hardly anyone can match their powers. Apart from, of course, Albus Dumbledore and Master Yoda.
Albus Dumbledore is Master Yoda. As always, there has to be someone really powerful on the Light Side too. Both Dumbledore and Yoda were ultimately the best at what they did and they each tried to teach through their actions. Now, Dumbledore’s past is a bit darkened by his teen years, but if we solely focus on the times covered in the books, he is the greatest wizard of his age. And Yoda was a 900 year old leader of the Jedi order.
Harry Potter is Luke Skywalker. Both of them have the powers (more than they know) and both of them are quite uncertain about their origins. Harry obviously knows more about his infancy, because he’s the most well-known wizard in the world and people share their memories about his parents with him. But when we first meet him in the book, he’s just a skinny boy living with his aunt and uncle. Does it ring a bell? Yes! Luke is also living at his uncle’s house, so the lack of Dudley (replaced by a lot of Jawas) makes the only difference here. Both Luke and Harry are accustomed to hard work and their future is not entirely theirs, if you know what I mean.
Hermione Granger is Leia Organa. Two very clever, gifted and strong feminine protagonists. Also very self-sufficient. Neither of them is a princess waiting for a (Jedi) knight on a white horse. Although Leia is, in fact, a princess. They both have powers and can use them well, Hermione being a Muggle-born and Leia not being schooled to use the Force. Also, both of them are well-spoken and have a flair for politics. In the end, they both marry the best friend of the main character.
Ron Weasley is Han Solo. Yeah, that’s a long shot, especially for those of you who aren’t that big on Ron’s looks. But hey, wait for Neville and his counterpart! Ron, having five older brothers, was forced to gain some survival skills (acid pops, anyone?), while Han as a smuggler, had to know how to take care of himself. Both of them are piss poor: Han Solo seems to be indebted to everyone he knows and most of what Ron owns are the hand-me-downs from his syblings. But they are pretty skilled flyers - one is a brilliant Falcon Millenium pilot (12 parsecs, guys!) and the other proves to be a pretty good Quidditch Keeper. Finally, they are the best friends of the main characters in their sagas.
Hagrid is Chewbacca. Well, this one’s rather obvious. Hagrid is a very good friend of the golden trio, while Chewbacca is pretty inseparable from Han. They are both really great people, but let’s face it, neither is your first choice for an afternoon tea with the queen. Both of them have some temper. Also, Chewie is a Wookie and Hagrid is a half-giant.
Neville Longbottom is C3PO. Obviously, Neville is not a droid. But he’s awkward most of the time, and brilliant, when you need him to. Both of them are not big on anything dangerous, but in the end, they show courage and help to save the day. Also, C3PO seems to be afraid of just about everything and most of the time, completely unfit for life. Well, the beginnings of Neville were not much different.
Luna Lovegood is R2D2. Many don’t understand them, but they can be really good friends to the ones who let them into their lives. Luna, while prone to looking for nonexistent creatures and by most people considered batshit crazy, proves to be very intelligent and courageous. On the other hand, R2D2 shows a lot of human traits, including a sharp sense of humour. Both are the integral characters of their universes.
Severus Snape is Darth Vader. In a parallel universe, Severus could be Harry’s father. If he wasn’t so gloomy and didn’t end up in Slytherin, this history might have been totally different. But there are enough aspects to compare, even without Snape being Harry’s father. Anakin and Severus were both initially good people, turned bad later by all the wrong choices and unfavourable circumstances. Both are very gifted at witchcraft and oclumency (also known as the Force). And finally, at some point, they both realized their mistakes and sacrificed everything (life included) to make things right.
Sirius Black is Obi-Wan Kenobi. Sirius spends most of Harry’s childhood in Azkaban, while Ben Kenobi is being kept away from Luke as a potentially bad influence. But they both eventually meet the boys and play very important parts in their upbringing. You may say that they are the father figures in their lives. They seem to die at the entirely wrong moments and for all the wrong reasons. But it’s Sirius who shows Harry that things can be much more complex than they seem and it’s Obi-Wan who starts training Luke for the Jedi knight he later becomes.
Nagini is Sarlacc. Both are huge serpent badasses that are mainly used to scare people. And eat them.
This comparison is obviously missing a lot of important characters from both universes, but after all, it’s just a geeky article, not a scientific paper. I hope you enjoyed my take on this. My husband’s writing his own version, so I wonder how similar they will be. He’s an expert on Star Wars, so the focus of the second piece will probably be shifted that way.
What other sagas would you compare Harry Potter and Star Wars to? Are you an expert in any other universes? I will happily publish a well-written guest post comparing another two geeky universes, so drop me a line if you’re interested.