I came across a revelatory image recently, and I’m sharing it here because it’s MORE PROOF of what I’ve suspected for years: mythology is at the heart of all great stories. (Thanks to Stephen Fry for pointing out the example below.)
I’ve transcribed the original image Stephen shared and gone ahead and made a few improvements of my own.
Star Wars: A New Hope/Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; synopsis
Luke Skywalker/Harry Potter is an orphan living with his uncle and aunt, living a relatively boring life in Tatooine/Suburbia.
He is rescued from aliens/muggles by the wise (and bearded) Ben Kenobi/Hagrid, who turns out to be a Jedi Knight/wizard.
His bearded rescuer reveals to Luke/Harry that his father was also a knight/wizard, and was the best pilot/Quidditch player he’d ever seen.
Luke/Harry is also instructed in how to use a light saber/magic wand, as he too trains to become a Jedi/wizard.
Luke/Harry has many adventures in the galaxy/Hogwarts and makes new friends like Han/Ron and Leia/Hermione.
In the course of these adventures, he distinguishes himself as a top pilot/seeker in the battle of the Death Star/Quidditch match, making the direct hit/catch that secures the Rebel/Gryffindor victory against the forces of evil/Slytherin.
Luke/Harry also faces the threat of Darth Vader/Voldemort, who we know murdered his uncle and aunt/parents.
In the end, Luke/Harry and his new friends receive medals of valor/win the House Cup.
All of this will be set to a magnificent score composed by John Williams.
And this begs the question: why do stories tend to follow this pattern? On the surface, one thing is certain: both movies are crazy successful, being in the top 5 highest-grossing film franchises ever, so it’s obviously working.
But why do the Star Wars and Harry Potter stories have so much in common?
They’re both Hero’s Journey stories with elements taken directly out of the monomyth structure — just like The Truth Beyond the Sky (But, Shh! Don’t tell anyone!)
— Original Image from Stephen Fry —
(Referenced here. Cleaned up a bit by me to remove some splotches.)