John Ronald Reuel Tolken lived during a period in history when Literature, particularly in poetry, was at its formative stage and many literary works were made. J.R.R. Tolken was a man with many accomplishments, both when he was alive and since his premature death. During his life, he was a poet, an English journalist, a university professor, and, finally, a philologist. He served as an Anglo-Saxon lecturer and a graduate of Pembroke College, a Merton professor of English and Literature, and was once named Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. Tolken is well known for his expertise in the creation of works of high-fantasy. Among his most famous writings are; The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Simillarion. The Hobbit was published in September, the year 1937. It is based on the quest of a man named Bilbo Baggins, thirteen dwarves and a wizard by the name Gandalf
The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas
George Walton Lucas is a prominent film make as well as entrepreneur. He grew up at a time when the film industry took a great leap and was heavily invested in by numerous production companies. Lucas is among the most famous and celebrated film makers of the twentieth and the twenty first century. He is well known for his two most successful franchises, Star Wars and Indiana Jones, which are timeless films that have been watched and loved by many for decades. This is considerably his biggest contribution to the film industry during his younger years as well as in the current generation. The Empire Strikes Back was produced in the year 1980. The story revolves around the pursuit of Luke Skywalker, by Darth Vader and the Emperor.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K Rowling
Joanne Rowling was born in the year 1965, on the thirty first of July. J. K Rowling has lived her life, or rather was born during modern times. She was born and grew up at time when the world of writers and novelist had evolved and a new wave of creativity was being incorporated into the writing of novels, where more writers begun to write novels with extreme fictions, with universes of their own. J. K Rowling is an author, a film producer as well as a screen writer. She is well known and recognized for her creation of the book series and films, Harry Potter. The Harry Potter story had a very large sphere of influence and appealed very much to the younger generation. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth part in the Harry Potter book series. It is an intriguing story with a roller coaster like plot, involving hard decisions and sacrifices to be made by Harry Potter.
Who is a true hero? For a very long time, people always thought the hero in any given situation had to be a superior human being above the rest or had to have some certain level special ability and skills. This was mainly caused by super hero movies which have dominated the film industry for the longest time. Heroes were always portrayed as people who had supernatural powers that enabled them to tackle and deal with any given calamity. However, this perception has slowly started fading away. Movies have begun showing that even the most average person can become the hero of a situation. Movies now portray that qualities such as confidence, faith and believing in one self are the important factors of being a hero rather than having super powers. In the three works, The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the half-blood prince and The Empire strikes back, the heroes in each of these stories were not the high and mighty in their respective settings, but rather, an average character was chosen to become the hero of the story. In The hobbit, Bilbo is just an average dweller who does not much going on for him but ends playing the most heroic character of the story. In Harry Potter and the half-blood prince, Harry Potter was just like any other student at Hogwarts, but through a prophecy, he almost instantly became a hero others could depend on and emulate. Finally, in The Empire strikes back, Luke, who had no special powers, is among the few who stood up and fought against Vader. These stories show that it takes more than just super powers to become a hero. “The man makes himself, as God made man” (Synott 38). Heroes are not born, they are made.
It is always important to remain loyal to a cause. For an individual to become the hero of a story, they ought to be committed to the cause of their calling to become the hero of the situation that they or others are in. In The Horbit, at one time, Bilbo had gotten lost and abandoned in a cave and could not find his way out by himself, he ought to have given up on helping the dwarves and finding his way back home. This shows that Bilbo still looked for and joined the dwarves and Gandalf even after they had left him helpless. Instead of going to them field with anger and wanting revenge, he chose to forget everything and continue helping them in their quest. This is a characteristic heroism in Bilbo. The same applies to real life, as stated by Montgomery Van Wart, he writes, “Work accomplishment is from committed people” (Wart 80). He chose to stay committed to the task to its completion and it paid off as they were successful. He was a true hero.
In Harry Potter and the half-blood prince, Harry also portrays a similar commitment to a cause that he had been put up to. The story begins with Voldemort back in power and the impact of this is felt all through the land. There was a prophecy long before Harry Potter was born that at one time he would be in battle with Voldemort. Therefore he has to spend a lot of his time learning and training in preparation for the day when he would finally come face to face with Voldemort during their battle. Harry Potter is just a normal teenager; no different form his best friends Ron and Hermione. However, with the responsibility bestowed upon him, he cannot afford to live an easy like and experiences the joys of his teenage. Therefore, Harry often has to sacrifice his time and his rest to prepare for war against Voldemort. He has to stay focused and view the bigger picture, which is the safety of Hogwarts. Harry Porter stays strong and does not give in to the pressure of having an easy life like his friends. He has to stay committed to the cause, like a hero.
The Empire Strikes Back also has an instance where the hero of the story had to stay rooted in his mission. Luke is sworn enemy of Darth Vader. The whole story revolves around his efforts and his plans to destroy Vader. However he does not have the advantage of weapons or machinery that enables him to travel easily like the other characters. This is factor that might have discouraged him from fighting, with thought that he did not stand a chance against Vader who had more than enough weapons and machinery. However, this does not discourage Luke the slightest bit. He is still vigilant and uses everything that is within his reach to get to Vader and fight him. Luke kept his eyes on what his main focus and did not let anything or anyone sway his thoughts or convincing him into giving up his goal. Luke as well stayed committed to his cause until he got to fight Darth Vader.
Heroes influence others through their actions. The same way children are usually excited by heroes and are always trying to emulate their heroic actions; this can as well apply to real life. When Gandalf first referred the dwarves to Bilbo, they doubted him. They had never seen him or known him and were therefore blind to his capabilities. All through their journey, they were doubtful of how helpful Bilbo was going to be to them. This doubt did not last for too long. When Bilbo gained consciousness in the cave and found the ring that made him invisible, everything changed for him from that point onwards. When he found his way back to the dwarves and Gandalf, they were all surprised that he had made it out of the cave and all the way there alive. They could not understand how he had conquered Gollum at the cave and more-so, all the dangerous creatures such as goblins that stayed lurking in those lands. Bilbo explained all about how he had made it back to them and they were surprise at his triumph. This suddenly changed how the dwarves viewed Bilbo. Instead of despising him, they now respected him and felt comfortable and confident that he was with them on their quest.
Luke Skywalker also had some level of influence on other characters through his vigor and determination to conquer Vader. In this specific story, Luke influenced the actions of more than one character. Other characters like Han and Leia were majorly influenced by the various moves Luke made throughout the story. An example of this is when Darth Vader revealed to Luke Skywalker that he was his father. This causes Luke to plunge off the bridge, getting pulled into an air shaft which ejects him below the floating city where he hangs by an antenna. At this point he is in danger and has no way of calling for help. However he telepathically communicates with Leia who comes to her rescue. As a result of Luke’s heroic tendencies throughout the course of the story, Leia was able to get to know him too well that she could be able to feel that Luke was somewhere in danger. Through this we see that Luke’s acts of heroism, though ending tragic a number of times, he was able to influence the other characters that were around.
Harry Potter also had some influence on his colleagues as a result of the hero he had finally developed into. Towards the end of this story, Dumbledore and Harry Potter had left Hogwarts in pursuit of Merope’s Locket which they intended to destroy. During their quest they face numerous traps until they finally get to the basin where they would find a poisonous portion under which the locket is hidden. Dumbledore drinks the portion as Harry Potter fights off Voldemort allies. Due to the poisonous portion that Dumbledore drank, he starts getting weak and after a long fight, he meets his death. This causes a lot of pain to Harry Potter as he heads back to Hogwarts. He decides not to go back to school the next semester and instead sets off to go and get his revenge on Voldemort. Ron and Hermione both knew how determined Harry was and they did not differ from him. Instead they both swore to join him and fight along him till the end. His heroic actions and ways of thinking had influenced his friends into believing in him so much that they felt confident enough to follow his decision to leave school and take up such a dangerous act as going to destroy the Horcuxes. Harry Potter heroic actions influenced the actions of others.
What you give is what you get. As is evidenced by results of a research on philanthropy in the “Journal of Small Business Strategy”, “Our results suggest that intentions to engage in philanthropy at start-up do partially mediate the relationship between enlightened self-interest and engagement in philanthropy behaviors;” (Peake, Harris, Mc Dowell and Davis 77).The energy that an individual releases of themselves is the same energy that they will receive in return. Heroes are always positive towards the people they depend on and they are always convicted that they will win. This is the same positive that they receive in the course of their endeavors. The same way, villains, who are always negative in all they do, receive the same amount of negativity and negative energy towards themselves. The same is brought out in The Hobbit. When Bilbo accepted Gandalf’s request to help the dwarves in their quest, he was being a positive contribution to their journey. When he fought for them in the course of their journey against various dangers, he was still giving positive energy towards them. In the same way, he himself ended up receiving positive energy and favors that he had not requested or even deserved. The most significant instance of this was when he woke unconscious in the cave. Despite all the help he had offered to Gandalf, he still left him there helpless. However, to his advantage, when Bilbo woke up, as dark as the cave was, he somehow collected the magic ring which acted as his key to the safety of his companions. The same helpful nature he had shown since he left his home is the same help that came back around to his rescue from Gollum. Therefore, it is clear that what goes around comes around and what you give is definitely what you get in return and in equal measure.
The same concept also applies to Harry Potter and the half-blood prince. Harry Potter was presented with a prophecy that he would one day come to face Voldemort in battle. How he was going to respond to this prophecy would have a great effect on the outcome of this battle, when the prophecy would finally come to pass. Harry Potter decided to take action concerning this prophecy. To this effect he started preparing adequately by learning everything he needed to know. Through being pro-active and having the strong will to be as prepared are possible for this battle against Voldemort, Harry Potter attracted the same kind of energy towards him. He effortlessly fell under the mentorship and teaching of Dumbledore who taught him in the best way that he could and made sure that he was improving as time went by. More-so, Dumbledore was willing to even drink the poisonous portion so that Harry Potter would stay alive and live to fulfill his prophecy. Similarly, towards the end of the story when he decides to leave school to go conquer Voldemort, his friends vow to accompany him and fight by him. The energy that Harry Potter gave off was the same energy that he received towards himself.
Unlike The Hobbit and Harry Potter and the half-blood prince, Luke’s Story in The Empire fights back goes contrary to the concept of what you give is what you get. Luke was the most vigorous and determined among his counterparts. He did all that was in his power to get to fight Vader and it was all for a positive and worthy cause. However this is not the same kind of energy that he received towards the end of the film when he finally came face to face with Darth Vader. After all that he had been through, all the pain he had been in and how much he had waited to fight and conquer Darth Vader, when the time finally came to realize his dream, he ended up losing. This was an unfair turn of events, considering the villain that Darth Vader had been throughout the story. This was a disappointing and unfulfilling end for Luke. As much as he gave off the right energy into the atmosphere, fate had a different plan for him.
Finally, it takes one to know another. It takes a hero with a noble cause to know another hero with the same cause, because great minds think alike. If two or more people do not share the same visions and goals, in the same way, they cannot walk along similar paths in life. But when two or more people have similar goals, they are bound to join forces and head there together. Harry Potter had the aim of defeating Voldemort and it was almost all he cared about. When he and Dumbledore came to the realization that they both had the same vision and shared a cause, they instantly clicked with each other from there onwards they had a very close and good friendship through the story till the point where Dumbledore met his death. If Harry Potter and Dumbledore had not had the same vision of destroying and killing Voldemort, they would never have gotten along so well or even joined forces to work together as a team.
The same concept applies to The Empire fights back. Luke had no other cause for determination stronger than that he had for defeating Darth Vader. It is all he wanted and every decision that he made had to be one that would push him a step closer to realizing his goal. As a result of his strong will and ambition, he ended up getting tied to characters that had the same desire as him, to see the fall of Darth Vader and his evils. This therefore led him to getting close with Han and Leia. As a result they even joined forces and helped each other out when one was in danger, which benefited both parties. As Van Wart writes in his book, “Dynamics of Leadership in Public Service: Theory and Practice” , “interdependence through a common stake in organization purpose leads to relationships of trust and respect” (Wart 80).They got so close to each other that they even had the ability to communicate with each other, when Luke was about to meet his death, but Leia emerged to his rescue. This shows that the fact they shared a dream so big, in the same way, this automatically translated to a similarly strong bond between them. In other words, it took a Darth Vader enemy to know another Darth Vader. Unlike science, in this specific case, like poles attract.
On the contrary, this concept does not apply to The Hobbit. The unfolding of events in this context differs from that of Harry Potter and the half-blood prince and The Empire Fights Back In this story, the characters who ended up working side by side, were not brought together by their like mindedness. Instead, they were bound by circumstances. The dwarves went to seek Gandalf’s help only because they knew he would give them a means of getting to the Lonely Mountain successfully. Similarly, Gandalf went to ask for Bilbo’s help only because he believed that Bilbo would have the right skills to get him and the dwarves to their destination. If Gandalf had never been aware of Bilbo’s existence he would never have looked for him to help them in their quest. More so, if Gandalf had had any doubts concerning Bilbo’s abilities, despite the fact that they knew each other, Gandalf would not have dared to trust Bilbo with their safety; neither would he have viewed Bilbo as an asset to their journey. This is brought out clearly when they had gotten lost in the cave and Bilbo lost consciousness. Instead of trying to help him, they left him there for dead and continued with their journey. Therefore, The Hobbit disagrees with the notion that great minds think alike.
Every story must have a hero, no matter how bad the villain may turn out to be. The same way whenever good arises there is always evil that tries to bring it down, in the same way, there cannot be a presence of evil without a spirit of good to fight against it. This is because anyone, no matter how small, insignificant or even irrelevant to the story can emerge and become the hero of the story. All it takes is the decision to take the leap of faith and the courage to take that leap whole heartedly. Many people who ought to be heroes fail because they want to take the step but they want to first test the waters and see if it changes, which it does more often than not. The aspect of heroism has been well brought out in the three readings, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Empire Fights back by George Lucas and Harry Potter and the half-blood prince by J. K. Rowling. As fictional as these three stories are, the concepts and world views that is brought out in them can be applied in real life. The biggest similarity of these three stories is that in all of them, the heroes were shaped into what they were by the circumstances that were surrounding them. Truly, heroes are not born, they are made.
Peake, Whitney O., et al. "Get What You Give? An Examination of Enlightened Self-Interest, Philanthropic Intent, and Engagement in Philanthropy for Small Firm Owners." Journal of Small Business Strategy 25.2 (2015): 77.
Rinzler, J. W. The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Del Rey, 2013.
Rowling, Joanne K., and Harry Potter. "the Half-Blood Prince." New York: Scholastic (2005).
Synnott, Anthony. Re-thinking men: Heroes, villains and victims. Routledge, 2016.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The hobbit. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
Van Wart, Montgomery. Dynamics of leadership in public service: Theory and practice. Routledge, 2014.
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