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Lord of the Rings vs Harry Potter

Updated on May 14, 2012

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, which is more entertaining?

With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows hitting the movie theaters later is 2010 there's no doubt that J K Rowling will go down as one of today's classic writers. Her books are very well written and with multi-million sales for each book, the series is perhaps the most read series of all time (aside from the Bible).

However, true fantasy fans will argue that while the Harry Potter series is fun and exciting, it really does not compare to the grandfather of them all: J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings is considered a classic by all literature experts; it is incredibly well written, featuring some amazing prose and poetry, as well as a writing style that makes Middle Earth simply jump out of the pages. Tolkien's world is far more detailed that the world of Harry Potter, and while it too draws on legends, it can be argued that the Lord of the Rings world is far more convincing and believable than Harry Potter's world.

This Lens explores some of the similarities and differences between the two series.

Do you prefer Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? - (For Help, read my brief synopsis of each book below this question)

Which is the better book?

Simply put, Harry Potter is a story about the classic struggle between good and evil; the timeless battle the pervades human history.

In this case, the good is Harry Potter, an orphaned boy who possesses magical abilities, but aside from that has a sense of honor, a feel for what is right and a dedication to his cause.

Evil comes in the form of Voldemort, a sinister man who cares little for right and wrong, but sees the world as one in which those with power succeed.

In some ways the two are alike, with similar backgrounds and a link that goes deeper than similarities. Their strange kinship ensures that they are destined to continually meet and battle throughout Harry's tenure at Hogwarts school.

When we first meet Harry Potter living at his Uncle's house in a cupboard under the stairs, we do not yet realize what the future has in store for Harry. All we see is a weak and bullied young boy seeking for an escape from his horrifying world.

When Hagrid, the half giant grounds-keeper of Hogwars school, rescues Harry, we begin to see a glimpse into the world that Harry now belongs.

As Harry meets his friends, Hermione and Ron, and begins to forge a friendship that will help him achieve his goals, we realize that the foundations of success are being planted.

As Harry embarks on small quests and adventures, and somehow succeeds where many would fail, against odds that seem insurmountable, we get a sense of destiny building. As Harry faces Voldermort for the first time, like a lamb waiting for slaughter, we cannot help but feel that there is something strong within Harry that will help him face his challenges.

It is hard to give a full synopsis of Lord of the Rings without giving too much away. There are so many plots and sub plots that most readers will read the book several times.

When Bilbo Baggins decides to retire he holds a huge birthday party. Reluctantly he gives his nephew, Frodo, his ring, which just happens to be the One Ring. This Ring was created by the Dark Lord Sauron and is the controlling ring over all other magical rings in the set.

Frodo, being a stout hobbit, sets out on a quest to destroy the ring. Gandalf, a mighty wizard, has advised Frodo that the ring is very dangerous and must not fall into the Dark Lords hands. It seems that the only recourse is to destroy the ring. Pippin and Merry (Frodo's cousins) join him on the journey as does Sam (his faithful servant). Other members soon join the party ranging from a grouchy old Dwarf (Gimli), a mysterious elf (Legolas), a huge bear of a man (Boromir) and a mysterious human ranger (Aragorn).

Leaving the shire they travel through Middle Earth. Travelling through forests, over land, under mountains and on water they encounter many creatures; some of these are allies some turn out to be enemies. Perhaps the most dangerous of these are the Nazgul, the Dark Lords servants; these hideous creatures were once great kings, now they only exist in a strange nether world. Their touch is enough to kill most men.

As they continue their quest, great armies mobilize as several people vie for power. The once good wizard 'Saruman' has decided to recover the ring for himself and use the power for his own gain. Sauron, with his armies of orcs and goblins and his Nazgul servants is determined to win back his ring.

Without giving too much of the plot away, the book tells the story of the party and the dangers they face. It is an exciting book, that does drag at times, but is well worth the effort of finishing. To get the best out of this book you will need to read it several times.

There is no doubt that it is a literary classic; it is very well written, has some amazing poetry and has a depth of detail that is exceptional. Of the two books it perhaps creates the most believable world.

Similarities between Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins:

* They discover their destinies after a birthday: Harry after his own, Frodo after Bilbo's 111th birthday party.

* Harry and Frodo are reluctant heroes: Harry has a hard time with the adulation of others, especially the press coverage. Frodo only steps up to take on the quest to destroy the one ring at Rivendell when the council cannot come to agreement.

* Courage and honor is very important for both characters. Harry demonstrates both when saving Fleur's sister. Frodo refuses to blame Boromir for his troubles.

* They are both orphans.

* They both have a Dark Lord enemy.

Difference between Frodo Baggins and Harry Potter:

* Harry wears Glasses; Frodo doesn't.

* Harry can cast magic; Frodo cannot.

* Harry has a female companion as his close friend; Frodo only has a bunch of men, elves and dwarves as his closest companions.

* Harry destroys his enemies; Frodo takes pity on his enemy.

* Harry is destined to meet his adversary head-to-head; Frodo does not know whether he will ever meet his nemesis.

* Harry is a great sportsman; Frodo does not play competitive sports.

So who makes a better hero, Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins?

Harry is steadfast and determined and won't let anything stand in his way; he values his friend's opinion, but usually goes with his own ideas. He is a rule breaker, and often uses this 'skill' to achieve his goals. While he does have pity for some of his enemies, he doesn't let this get in the way of destroying or defeating them.

Frodo is courageous and also determined. His honor and his ability to respect and pity his enemies can be seen as a weakness, but perhaps are a profound strength. He pursues his goals, allowing his friends to help, even when despair takes over. He is a valiant warrior, defying the odds many times. He is clever and cunning, and unusually for a Hobbit, doesn't covet riches, merely wanting a quiet life.

In my opinion Frodo is the better Hero if only for his compassion shown to Gollum.

Do you think Harry or Frodo deserve the accolade of best hero?

Similarities between Gandalf and Dumbledore:

* They both are meddlesome: Gandalf 'persuades' Bilbo to help the Dwarves; Dumbledore 'guides' Harry through his life.

* Both are courageous often putting themselves in danger before anyone else.

* They both fight fearsome monsters: Gandalf has a huge battle with a Balrog, Dumbleodre battles Voldemort himself.

* They both are unmarried

* They both have long beards and wear robes.

Differences between Gandalf and Dumbledore:

* Gandalf fights with sword and magic; Dumbledore fights with magic only.

* Dumbledore directly faces The Dark Lord Voldemort in a duel; Gandalf does not meet Sauron.

* Dumbledore has a brother; Gandalf does not

* Dumbledore seems more compassionate, while Gandalf is a little more aloof.

* Dumbledore has the ability to become a ghost once he dies; Gandalf does not.

* Gandalf rides horses (Shadowfax) into battle; Dumbledore doesn't ride horses.

So who is the better wizard, Gandalf or Dumbledore?

Gandalf is a more hands-on kind of wizard. He is constantly in the thick of battle, killing orcs and goblins, while casting fireballs at huge trolls. This hands-on approach isn't limited to battle, as he is the leader of the fellowship and has a great influence on events in the world of Middle Earth.

Dumbledore is more of a background figure who guides with subtle hints and suggestions but lets Harry Potter make his own decisions. While he does get his hands dirty at times, he is more of a passive wizard.

For me, Gandalf is the be-all and end-all of wizards. He comes out all wands blazing and that is what I expect to see in my wizard!

Is Gandalf meaner than Dumbledore?

Similarities between Lord Voldemort and Sauron:

*They both want world domination.

* They both are very powerful wizards.

* They both have no respect for life and kill without remorse or regret.

* The both hold the world to ransom; Voldemort terrorizes the world with his Deatheaters; Sauron invades middle earth with his bands of Orcs, Goblins, Trolls and Ogres.

* They are both evil incarnate.

Differences between Voldemort and Sauron:

* Voldemort has a body (most of the time); Sauron lost his body and is a floating evil eye.

* Sauron is restricted to his castle Mordor; Voldemort can go anywhere.

* Voldemort's uses wizards (Deatheaters) to control the world; Sauron relies on huge armies. (Although the Nazgul have some impact)

* Voldemort can and does talk to his enemies; Sauron barely talks, simply using his power to search for Frodo and control his minions.

* Voldemort has split his soul; Sauron has not (if he has a soul at all!).

* Voldemort has only on real enemy: Harry Potter. Sauron not only has the Fellowship of the Ring to content with, but also has Saruman to fight.

Between Lord Voldemort and Sauron, who makes a 'worse' Dark Lord?

Voldemort is a powerful wizard who uses supreme skills and terror to dominate his underlings, and dominate the world. His evil is pure and he is more concerned with power than with human suffering. The fact he is human means that he does understand the pain and suffering he causes and this enhances his power as he seemingly enjoys the devastation he causes.

Sauron is far more aloof; he has similar goals to Voldemort, but he seems to merely be interested in total power; while he causes suffering he doesn't really seem to understand it in human terms, but merely uses it as a goal to achieve the total domination he requires.

For me Voldemort is the 'worse' Dark Lord as he understands all the terrible implications of his actions, and this understanding somehow makes it worse.

OK so they are both dark, and both Lords - which one is more scary?

Who's your favorite Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings character?

See results

What do you think about this Duel? Love it? Hate it? let me know!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've never read the books; only watched the film adaptations. So if I had to choose, I would say Happy Potter because there was always good food on the table in abundance. :)

    • HarrietC LM profile image

      HarrietC LM 

      6 years ago

      nice lens, but sorry, I'm not going to choose (you can't make me!!! ^_^) - I love both books.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      7 years ago

      I can't choose which one is better, both are great movies.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      7 years ago

      Love this duel. You definitely site many similarities and differences in the plot and characters.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Well done - interesting comparisons.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I think you can't compare the two. Tolkien wrote his work creating original languages, creation myths challenging ideas of morality and ethics, races of people with their own histories, detailed geographical areas and more for over 60+ years.

      J.K. Rowling created a well crafted modern wizardly world with a simple story of good vs. evil. They both have their merits and serve the reader well in their own way.

      I enjoyed the lens though. Well done.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      lotr rocks, but hp is simply better all around. its just good. i loved the duel, it was awesome. thanks for posting it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      lotr rocks, but hp is simply better all around. its just good. i loved the duel, it was awesome. thanks for posting it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      both are good books... i've read them personally... i guess the thing is the HARRY POTTER series caters to all age groups.... even young kids can read and understand them... as for the LORD OF THE RINGS series very much caters to adults.. the complexity of the writings as well as the wordings... well, its just an opinion.... still both are GOOD books...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      loved it.

      and by the way, LotR is the best.

      Harry potter doesn't even compare.

    • religions7 profile image


      9 years ago

      :) another great lens. Blessed.


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