Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings Face Off

It has been nearly 3 weeks since my last post, it is really good to be back, I know I promised to talk about the oscars in my previous post but I haven’t seen all the films yet so I decided to do something a bit different.

It is a face off many people have talked and why shouldn’t they. They are two great examples of wonderful franchises and luckily are of the same genres. So in this blog I am not going to give away a mass opinion to which is a better film but rather I am going to give answers to important questions and with these answers it is up to you to decide which is a better franchise, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. Please note that the movies and the books are being taken into consideration but with very little knowledge of the source material of The Lord of the Rings (I have only read the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring). The answers to the given questions will be more sided towards the movies that have been made but there will be occasional references to the book during a few comparisons that will be made.

Here are the questions which I am going to answer………..

  1. Which of these franchises is a better achievement?
  2. Which of these has better character development?
  3. Which of the movie adaptations is more faithful to their respective source materials?
  4. Which of these franchises has a better villain?
  5. Which of these franchises have a better protagonist?
  6. Which of these franchises has a better story?
  7. Which is a better technical achievement (includes cinematography, visual effects and film editing)?
  8. Which of these film adaptations is better to watch rather than reading the books?
  9. Which of these franchises has better ambitions/scope?

10. Which is a better film franchise overall (My opinion only, considering the previous 9 questions)?

So which ever question seems to entertain your thoughts please go to that number and read my thoughts regarding it. Have a pleasant read………………………………

  1. Which of these franchises is a better achievement?

Ans: This answer is a really hard one considering the fact that both the franchises took a hell lot of time to make (The Harry Potter franchise took a considerably longer time). So Let us just see what The Lord of the Rings has achieved. It has won 18 Oscars (including best picture for the final part) over the course of 3 magnificent movies. But again we must take into consideration that Harry Potter has been snubbed by the academy on many occasions (especially the concluding film). The L.O.T.R franchise took nearly 5 years in the making and Harry Potter took 10 years (That is a lot). Considering the fact that all the LOTR films were filmed with 3 books, and back to back shooting, while Harry Potter wasn’t (The Directors also changed over the course of time) and it had 7 books to complete. So in my opinion Harry Potter is a better achievement because it had a wonderful British cast, took 10 years, 8 movies, 4 directors (and 2 Dumbledore’s) to make with 7 books that were the sizes of house bricks (after the 4th book of course) and had 3 leads who worked relentlessly for 10 years since they were children. So Harry Potter is the winner here.

2. Which of these has better character development?


 Ans: Another hard answer. Mostly because both of these films have characters that have to take up responsibilities that neither of them want to take up. Frodo Baggins has to destroy the One Ring, Aragorn to bring back and reunite the race of men and take his place as king. Harry Potter on the other hand is the chosen one who has to stop Lord Voldemort from taking over the Wizarding World and many more examples. But the winner here is Harry Potter, because we get to see these characters grow since the main leads were kids and very fittingly come in to their places once the final acts of the films come by. That is one of the greatest achievements of each of the Harry Potter films, we see that all these characters develop after each film and you know they won’t be the same by the next, due to its darker atmosphere which increases per film. The Lord of the Rings on the other hand deals very well with the character development of 2 major characters, both being Gollum and Aragorn as they finally feel like fully developed characters towards the end of the final film, The Return Of The King. The other characters in the film are developed to take on their responsibilities by the end of the first film or the start of the second. So, Harry Potter is the winner again.

3. Which of the movie adaptations is more faithful to their respective source materials?


Ans: The Lord of the Rings is the winner here without a doubt. It was very easy to answer this question. As I had mentioned earlier, I had read only the first book of the series and this is the reason why I gave up on it, because the film is already faithful to the themes (friendship, fear, bravery, etc.), the main storyline and yes, I noticed that they made a few changes from book to film but they have not made many so as to differentiate the book from the film completely. Harry Potter on the other hand is not completely faithful to the books. I have read the entire series in this case. The first two films of the series were completely faithful towards the novel and the books were considerably short too but LOTR books are long, so don’t give me the bullshit that Harry Potter is a really long novel to go against this. As the films went on, you could notice that they were drifting away from the books. Especially in the movie adaptation of the fifth novel in the series (Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix) the book was the longest and the movie on the other hand was the shortest. When I was seeing this film I was expecting to see a little lengthy adaptation and I felt that since this was my favourite book in the series, I found that so many scenes were cut off in the film to focus on the action. The book was more of an emotional turning point for the character of Harry Potter and it wasn’t captured at all in the films, but they went back to the source material once the sixth instalment came out. The Lord of the Rings on the other hand stays true to J.R.R Tolkien’s adaptation for the entirety of it’s films.

4. Which of these franchises has a better villain?


Ans: Again, it wasn’t really hard to answer this one, Harry Potter wins here. In the LOTR trilogy, we have two similarly named villains Sauron and Saruman. Both these characters are good villains but let us also point out that Sauron never really appears in the film (His eye does though), Saruman works under Sauron and feels like ant working for the grasshopper. These character’s choices to be bad in nature is not really explained in these films. The character of Voldemort however is explained. He has depth, complexity and reason to his treachery and they always make up for good villains. Ralph Fiennes’ performance too adds up to the quality of the villain.

5. Which of these franchises have a better protagonist?


 Ans: This was hard. The LOTR trilogy has two protagonists Frodo and Aragorn, both of whom are excellent protagonists and have pivotal roles in the films and the books. Harry Potter, as the name suggests is the main protagonist of the franchise, who is also an excellent protagonist. Aragorn is a man who has chosen exile and prefers not to follow his fate and decides to choose another way out. Frodo is burdened with the expectations to destroy the One Ring because he shows extraordinary resilience to its evil. But the issue of character development will come here. With two protagonists in the LOTR trilogy, one would expect the character to be fully developed by the final act, but that does not happen in the case of Frodo, his character is almost fully developed by the end of the first film. Due to this issue, Harry Potter narrowly beats out The Lord of the Rings, due to the extraordinary character development of the titular character.

6. Which of these franchises has a better story?

Ans: An easy answer here. The Lord of the Rings, mostly because it was written during the time World War II was going on and the story does have its own comparisons to the after effects of war. It deals with so many sub plots and, if you know both the stories and if you knew that the books of Lord of the rings released a long time ago and has a huge influence on modern literature and that also includes Harry Potter. The greatest example I can give is the concept of Horcruxes. They are the living soul of the main villain, this can be compared to the concept of the One Ring, which is the living embodiment of the villain Sauron, there are many more influences, but I found this one to be a major one. So, LOTR is the winner here.

7. Which is a better technical achievement (includes cinematography, visual effects and film editing)?

 Ans: LOTR narrowly beats out Harry Potter; LOTR won the Oscars for Best Visual Effects, three years in a row for all its films. Harry Potter was nominated for most of them, but let us chuck the Oscars. Harry Potter improved its visuals over its course of time as technology improved and the visuals pay attention to detail, The LOTR trilogy has ground breaking visuals, mostly introducing motion capture technology for Gollum, not only does the character feel real in every scene, he feels like he is just as real as anyone on screen (all credit goes to Andy Serkis for that intense portrayal), and proved to be a landmark in visuals. Harry Potter though can be a contender for Best Makeup, but LOTR still has the high hand. In terms of cinematography, LOTR sees through everything, it captures the beauty of middle earth in almost every scene and during the Wars for middle earth that takes place; we get a glimpse of what every character seems to be doing, unlike the case of Harry Potter, which focuses on the main leads rather than the side characters and I am even talking about the Battle of Hogwarts. Editing though is somewhere where I can draw a line and say both the film franchises have done a really good job in this part because, we do not know which scene to cut or which scene could have been more important but in many ways, both the films adequately edit what is necessary (although Harry Potter and the Order Of the Phoenix had really bad doses of it).

8. Which of these film adaptations is better to watch rather than reading the books?

 Ans: A question very similar to the first one, but the answer is not going to be the same, due to the faith fullness of the Lord of the Rings movies to the books, it really isn’t necessary to read the books to watch these films to understand it completely. When I finished reading the entire series of Harry Potter (just before the release of the final film), I imagined that if I hadn’t done that, I probably would not have understood the story entirely, for example when we see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, we see Harry in the possession of a small mirror where he sees someone who has a likeness of Albus Dumbledore’s eye and calls for help, this was actually gifted to him by Sirius Black in the 5th Book, but that scene was omitted in the final draft of the film, and couldn’t explain that to me until I read the books, another example can be in the Goblet of Fire where we are introduced to the term Death Eaters, this was explained in a one-off line by Mr. Weasley but was heavily explained in the book. With many more examples that could take away the page, I am just ending this answer by saying that it was better watching the films of The Lord of the Rings rather than read them first.

9. Which of these franchises has better ambitions/scope?

Ans: This is a tie. The Lord of the Rings has a sheer scope for action. Harry Potter has a huge scope for emotion. Not that The LOTR trilogy doesn’t have any emotions at all, but not as much as the Harry Potter Series. Not that the Harry Potter series has no action at all, but not as much as the LOTR trilogy. In the LOTR trilogy we are faced with themes such as friendship, aftermath of war and unity. Harry Potter has a major theme involving death. After the 4th film, a major character died in each of the films, bringing in the sense of loss which we did not feel in any of the films of the LOTR trilogy, because nearly every character you care about survives, except Boromir, played by Sean Bean, who dies in every film anyways. But both have huge scopes for their own benefits, so it’s a tie.

Finally, the last question

10. Which is a better film franchise overall (My opinion only, considering the previous 9 questions)?

Ans: In terms of how large the film is and the great story, brilliant acting, breath taking visuals, masterful direction and brilliant cinematography. I consider The LOTR trilogy as one of my favourite films of all time, so it really isn’t a surprise that it is a better film franchise than Harry Potter in my opinion. The final act of both the films were undoubtedly excellent, but the greatness in the Lord of the Rings trilogy at some time feels unmatched.

But my opinions really don’t matter; with these questions answered it really is up to you to choose which a better film franchise is, hope these questions were answered adequately and hope you had a great time reading this, I am really sorry if I have wasted your time by any chance, but thank you to anyone who is reading this. I will be back in a few days to give away my Oscar predictions.

Until the next blog.


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