Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Some Factual Facts
November 15, 2010 § 6 Comments
Behind every great cultural event, there is an equally great internet conspiracy theory. I think we can all agree on that. I think we can also all agree that I am a nerd. Unfortunately I’m about to inflict the strongest type of nerd-thinking on you, helpless readers: the power of the conspiracy theory that only a nerd would invent. Indeed, this post is about two very different cultural phenomena: Harry Potter and Star Wars. But are they that different? Or are they, in fact, eerily similar?? I present, for your entertainment and edification, my completely original and totally serious 5 point conspiracy theory on why Harry Potter is essentially Star Wars for people who hate guns and love glasses. (Does anyone in Star Wars wear glasses? Anyone at all?)
Point 1. Tom Riddle & Anakin are both incredibly gifted children. They are also without fathers. Anakin’s mother claims that there was no father for Anakin, while Tom’s Muggle father is completely detached from his son’s life. These two strangely talented children are fostered from a young age with the best of the best in their magical worlds. Tom resides at Hogwarts, under the keen eye of Albus Dumbledore, and Anakin is being trained as a Padawan by Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, neither of these two kiddos can stick to the straight and narrow. Anakin’s a whiner who can’t suppress the slightest bit of emotion. He makes Fall Out Boy sound like a bunch of stoic Marines. And Tom Riddle gets the giggles at the sight of anyone in excruciating agony. They both end up becoming quite the accomplished killers and decide they need to get rid of their garbage normal names and rig themselves out with a fancy new moniker. Anakin becomes Darth Vader, a name that, funnily enough, means huge emo crybaby in Tuskan. Tom Riddle dons a dark robe and the sinister name Lord Voldemort, of which the only anagram I can puzzle out is Lord Dolt Mover.
Point 2. Anakin and Lord Voldemort suffer an unusually similar fate. Anakin is having crazy emo dreams about his beloved Padme dying in childbirth, and Voldemort just heard this random prophecy about a baby boy who can kill him. Both of these jerks have no qualms about murdering children.
Anakin sells himself to the Dark Side in order to keep his babies from killing his sweetheart, but of course selling yourself to the Dark Side never pans out. He ends up in a very believable fight with Obi-Wan that involves light-sabers, flowing lava rivers, huge chunks of rocks splashing into the flowing lava rivers, buildings collapsing, a lava waterfall, and a planet being destroyed. Obi-Wan schools Anakin in the Jedi art of pain by cutting off his legs and arm. All Anakin can muster up for this torment is an anguished squeal of “I hate you!” I can almost cut him some slack for this lame reply because he’s being incinerated into a pulpy mess of flesh and baldness, but then… He doesn’t die!
Meanwhile, Voldemort is also tackling some foes. He tracks down Lily and James Potter and their baby boy Harry, chuckles a “high, cold laugh” (a detail mentioned in the books every third chapter) and attempts to kill them. However, love, the power that Anakin makes too much of and Voldemort not enough, is here to save the day. Lily gives her own life in order to save Harry and her heroic maternal action causes Voldy’s Killing Curse to rebound on himself. Suddenly, he’s the one squealing like a wand-stuck pig and he crawls off to Albania (who goes to Albania!??) to: A. pout and B. recover the shattered pieces of his despicable soul. (Apparently, his nose was the one piece of his soul he never quite managed to find.) He doesn’t die, either!
Point 3. Let’s move on to the next generation of Potter and Star Wars characters. Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker are both given to their respective aunt & uncle in the aftermath of their parents’ deaths/robotic transformation. They both grow up completely unaware of their remarkable history. They lead boring and pathetic lives and no one expects great things from them at all. (No one… or everyone who has a brain?)
Turns out Luke and Harry both do have important stuff to get done in their lives! Luke discovers Obi-Wan hiding out in the desert and begins training in the Force with him. Harry heads off to Hogwarts, where Dumbledore’s speeches alternate between random words and the wisest things ever said by a non-centaur. They both discover this deep, mysteeeeerious connection within themselves to the baddest villains in their neighborhood. Luke can sense when Vader’s around. Harry channels Voldemort on a regular basis. They both have this connection because a part of their evil foes lives within them. In Luke’s case, it’s coming straight from his DNA, and Harry’s got that piece of Voldemort’s soul clinging to his own like a remora. (I bet that’s the nose piece! Omg that’s where his nose went!)
Luke and Harry also manage to be trained by absolute masters of their respective arts, the same ones who trained the bad guys. However in this go-round, both of the mentors die in order that their students might live. (Luke’s training then passes on to Yoda, which is utter nonsense. It’s such cheating to have your mentor die and then boom, there’s another one waiting in the wings for you and he’s even better than the first.)
Point 4. A few more details: Luke’s got the wise-cracking ladies man Han Solo as his best bud, and Harry pals around with the goofball Ron Weasley. Hagrid and Chewbacca are both gentle giants who can rip your arms off in the blink of an eye, and they basically speak the same language. Harry and Luke each have a really close, attractive, female friend who is like/actually their sister. Droids <=> house elves. They serve humans, can do intelligent/magical things humans can’t, have emotions, and put themselves at risk all the time for their owners. The Rancor that Luke has to kill is the Heir of Slytherin basilisk. Think on it: Luke goes to Jabba’s lair to rescue Leia and Han, and Harry’s gotta make it to the cavern to save Ginny. They meet a terrible creature and slay it with their mighty hero strength and intellect. It’s just part of life’s unfairness that Harry is greeted by adulation, respect, and the House Cup after his actions while Luke is condemned to the Sarlacc and a new definition of pain and suffering as he is slowly digested over a thousand years.
Point 5. Let me ask you a question: If you had to choose between a colored light-activated saber that sparks and glows as it’s twirled through the air and is completely capable of killing your enemy with a single slash, or a dragon/phoenix/unicorn-endowed wooden wand that sparks and glows as it’s twirled through the air and is completely capable of killing your enemy with a single slash… which would you pick? You don’t know, right??? Because they are both the most completely awesome weapons ever created! I can’t even decide and I’ve been pondering the question since I thought of it ten minutes ago. The choice between a cherry wood wand with unicorn hair or a bright pink lightsaber is so difficult, I think my mind just imploded.
By this time, I’m rather confident that I’ve made each and every one of you a believer in my conspiracy theory. All of my meticulously researched data and astounding comparisons are irrefutable. Harry Potter and Star Wars share a bond so tight it’s like they’re encased in carbonite together. I am proud to have added my masterpiece to the many accurate and impressively factual conspiracy theories the Internet contains.
(EDIT: Okay, in my search for theory accuracy, I just Googled “Does anyone in Star Wars wear glasses”. OMG, ppl. There are message board threads about this. There are Wiki Facts about this. There are huge raging debates on whether Star Wars spin-off characters count as glasses-wearing people. Wild.)