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The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison Essay


Introduction

The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars are both popular epic series. The Lord of the Rings is a book trilogy written by Tolkien in the 1930s-1950s, whereas Star Wars is a science fiction film franchise that started in 1977 with the first episode, later retitled Episode IV – A New Hope. There are several major similarities between the two works, mainly in terms of the characters and themes explored.

Characters

Aragorn and Han Solo

To me, one of the most striking features connecting the works was the resemblance between Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings and Han Solo in A New Hope. For instance, both characters appear as a major helping force for the protagonist and have a certain set of skills that is useful to the team. Thus, both Han Solo and Aragorn are skilled fighters and good strategists: in A New Hope, Han Solo initiates a surprise attack on the stormtroopers to obtain a disguise needed to infiltrate the station, whereas Aragorn helps the Hobbits to escape from the Nazgul by leading them out of the Prancing Pony Inn secretly while also making their beds look like they are sleeping in them so as not to raise the suspicion too early. Moreover, the characters’ backgrounds are also quite similar. At first, Aragorn is referred to as the Strider; not much is known about his past, as he keeps his true identity secret. Han Solo, on the other hand, is an experienced smuggler; he is also used to living in the shadows and does not elaborate on his past life.

Gandalf and Obi-Wan Kenobi

The other two characters that play a somewhat similar role in the works are Gandalf and Obi-Wan. Both characters are old and possess extensive knowledge about the world and the war that the protagonists are fighting, yet choose not to spare too many details, leaving the protagonists to follow their path. Moreover, both characters sacrifice themselves to let the protagonists continue their journey: Obi-Wan sacrifices himself in a fight with Darth Vader, whereas Gandalf falls victim to The Balrog, a demon living in the caves of Moria.

Themes

Good and Evil

One of the most important similarities, perhaps, is that both works are based on the conflict between the ultimate good and the ultimate evil. The two sides are represented by a single protagonist, surrounded by a team of helper characters, and a villain, supported by extensive antagonistic forces. For instance, in The Lord of the Rings, Sauron, or the Dark Lord of Mordor, is leading a huge army of orcs, whereas Darth Vader is supported by the Empire’s forces, particularly the stormtroopers.

Hero’s Path

Another important theme that is evident both in The Lord of the Rings and in Star Wars is the hero’s path, which follows the same pattern in both works. The protagonist is not famous or well-trained, yet he is chosen to fight the greater evil along with a team of helper characters. With their aid, he manages to develop his skills and power of will to be able to defeat the great evil that is threatening not just the main characters, but the entire world. The victory in both works is achieved through loss, which develops the protagonists further to prepare them for the upcoming battle.

Leaving Home

In both works, protagonists have intense feelings about leaving their homes to go on the journey. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is a hobbit, and hobbits are said to be very attached to their homes and not that keen on adventures of any kind. In A New Hope, on the other hand, Luke is attached to his aunt and uncle and refuses to leave the planet of Tatooine until he finds out that they were brutally murdered by the stormtroopers.

Temptation

In The Lord of the Rings, the power of the ring that Frodo carries to Mordor is so strong and addictive that it threatens the entire journey because it tempts Frodo to move to the dark side. As the story of the ring suggests, it corrupts the heart of the bearer, leading him or her to become aggressive and overprotective of it. It also initiates conflicts and wars as other people become tempted to kill the bearer and steal the ring. Despite his strong will and the support of the fellowship, Frodo experiences similar struggles: he becomes extremely protective of the ring when he starts thinking that Sam wants to take it from him, which leads to Frodo being captured by an enemy. In A New Hope, on the other hand, the Force can be seen as having a corrupting side. At the beginning of the movie, we learn that Darth Vader was a Jedi who was corrupted by power and moved to the dark side.

Conclusion

Despite being set in two completely different worlds and having substantial differences between their plots, the two works still have some clear similarities regarding their characters, themes, and conflicts. These could be justified by the fact that both The Lord of the Rings and A New Hope belong to the epic fiction genre, as well as by the massive influence that The Lord of the Rings and other Tolkien’s novels had on the entire field of fantasy literature and film.

Works Used

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Directed by George Lucas, performances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, 20th Century Fox, 1977.

Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

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IvyPanda. (2020, November 2). The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-lord-of-the-rings-and-star-wars-comparison/

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"The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison." IvyPanda, 2 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-lord-of-the-rings-and-star-wars-comparison/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison." November 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-lord-of-the-rings-and-star-wars-comparison/.


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IvyPanda. "The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison." November 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-lord-of-the-rings-and-star-wars-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison." November 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-lord-of-the-rings-and-star-wars-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Comparison'. 2 November.

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