Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings

By: Ian McCreary

Thesis

Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings have always gone head to head in a battle of which is a better series. Harry Potter and his quest to defeat Voldemort and the evil in the wizard world and Frodo and his friends on their quest to destroy the ring, defeat sauron, and restore Middle Earth have captivated numerous amounts of fans. In my opinion, Harry Potter is the better story and series.
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#1 It has a superior main character

Harry Potter is definitely an admirable and self-driven character compared to Frodo. As Harry goes on his quest, he stays driven and determined to find and defeat Voldemort. He never once complained about wanting to go back to Hogwarts. Frodo on the other hand has mentioned many times during his quest that he wants to go back home to the Shire so he can be safe and away from the action.
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#2 Voldemort is a more complex villain than Sauron

In the Harry Potter series, Voldemort and his backstory as a human eventually turning into the serpent creature he was is explained. An entire movie called Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was based off of Voldemort's backstory and life as a human. Sauron and his background was not explained in the books or the movies. Sauron and his existence as a demi-god is completely unexplained. We don't know who he is or where he came from.
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#3 There is a deeper moral complexity in the Harry Potter series

No character in the Harry Potter series is truly good or evil. There is always an in between with each person. A character was good at the beginning and then something happened in their life and now they are one of the bad guys. Even Harry himself was constantly questioning himself if he was a good guy or if he was turning into Voldemort. Every character in the Lord of the Rings is defined as good or bad. Characters like Gandolf, Aragorn, Sam, and Frodo are all defined as good. Characters like Sauron and Saruman are all obviously bad guys.
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#4 Multiple influential female characters

Female characters in Harry Potter have a more important role and place in the story than in the Lord of the Rings. Hermoine is a great example. She goes on the quest with Harry and Ron to defeat Voldemort and is one the main characters in the entire series. The only female characters in the Lord of the Rings that have somewhat of a role in the series are Eowyn and Arwen. Eowyn and Arwen are only interests for Aragorn though. They don't have significant parts to the story.
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#5 It has shaped an entire generation

Over 7 books and 8 movies, in the time span of 14 years, Harry Potter has created a region of obsession from millions of children and adults. An entire Harry Potter theme park and Film Studio Tour were made because of the demand of all of its fans. Endless amounts of merchandise such as wands, robes, toys, hats, candy, and much more are produced like no other series.
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#6 Comfortable length and complexity

The Harry Potter series is easier to follow than the Lord of the Rings. The story line, characters, and history are not as confusing. It is not too slow-paced and long winded compared the Lord of the Rings, which feels like a task to complete. Many characters and places with irrelevant names that don't contribute to the main plot make it more difficult to understand everything in the story and they end up confusing the reader.
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#7 Lighthearted Tone

The Harry Potter series is was funnier and not as serious in the books and films than in the Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings was grave and heavy when it came to the writing. The only humor related parts were of Mary and Pippin. Yes there were many dark and depressing parts in Harry Potter too, but many scenes including Harry, Ron, Hermoine, and even Dumbledore were comedic.
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#8 Greater Variety of Eccentric Characters

The characters in the Harry Potter series completely blow away the characters in the Lord of the Rings. Every person is quirky and colorful in their own way. This causes every page of the books and every part of the movies to not be dull and boring. The actors who took part in the movies also brought the series even more to life. Bellatrix Lestrange, for example, is one the most popular characters in the series. The evil, but spontaneous death eater witch enthralled many fans with her charm and weird qualities.
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#9 Deaths

Deaths in the Harry Potter series have been some of the most emotional parts of the movies. Rowling herself is not afraid to kill off her main characters too. Countless amounts of main characters including, Albus Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Severus Snape, and many others were killed to improve the story and capture the fans hearts and feelings. In the Lord of the Rings, only two characters, Boromir and Theoden, were killed. Rowling understands that death is needed to further the story.
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Conclusion

Overall, both novels and films are amazing and are like no others, but Harry Potter and the wizard world are better than Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth. Although the Lord of the Rings put up a difficult fight, they ultimately lose in the end. When it comes down to the characters, plot, tone, and deaths, Harry Potter is better.
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