Wednesday, February 13, 2013
"The Pot of Soup, The Cauldron of Story"
So, I've seen and read things like this throughout the years of being both a Tolkien and Harry Potter fan (in fact, someone from the last Tolkien class even wrote a paper on the similarities and differences between these two stories), and while they make me laugh, sometimes it really bugs me that people make out J.K. Rowling to be this complete idea thief. I think both her and Tolkien are brilliant in their own ways, plus, learning more about what influenced Tolkien is showing me how much he himself pulled from other stories and traditions to create his own world.
So, I have lots of thoughts and questions about this: what do you think Tolkien would say to something like this - is it theft of his ideas, or an example of the "cauldron of story" in which the most resonant themes or motifs survive in multiple forms and stories? What is it about some of these themes/archetypes that have such an impact on readers of both Harry Potter and Tolkien? And would Harry Potter be considered a fairy tale by Tolkien's standards? What do you think he would say about it?