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The Hero’s Journey
The dark side is very temping, in Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ben Hur, the Matrix, the Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. Tolkien uses white/black imagery, as does Rowling.
Voldemort, a strong wizard who converts to the Dark Side and creates an evil army to dominate the world, is reminiscent of Star War’s Darth Vader or The Lord of the Ring’s Sauron. Harry, a rookie with talents originally unbeknownst to himself, is like Luke Skywalker or Bilbo Baggins or Young (King) Arthur. The fact that Harry doubts himself at first (“A wizard? Him? How could he possibly be?”) is much like Luke, Bilbo, and Arthur also, who each came from humble beginnings. Dumbledore, the only one Voldemort’s afraid of, is like Yoda (or Obi-Won Kenobe) or Gandalf or Merlin.
Books from Rowling’s Childhood
The Wind in the Willows - “Another early memory is of having the measles--I must have been four--and Dad reading The Wind in the Willows.” (Fraser, Conversations)
The Little White Horse - “The author always included details of what her characters were eating and I remember liking that. You may have noticed that I always list the food being eaten at Hogwarts.” (Conversations, 25)
Other childhood favorites of Rowling’s included Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, Thunderball (James Bond), JFK biographies, Black Beauty, Little Women, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, and Watership Down.
Rowling also says that, “My favourite writer of all time is Jane Austen, but when I was younger I liked Paul Gallico’s ‘Manxmouse’, CS Lewis’ Narnia books and Noel Streatfield.” (Fraser, Conversations)