by Andrew Lee

“He’ll be famous – a legend – I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future- there will be books written about Harry – every child in the world will know his name!”
– Professor McGonagall (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

“I don’t know, but I have to try. This is my story.”
– Tidus (Final Fantasy X)

They’re different in many respects, but Harry Potter and FFX’s Tidus also have many things in common: both were living simple lives when they are suddenly thrust into a new situation and begin epic journeys and both are the stars of their respective sports (Quidditch for Harry and Blitzball for Tidus). When both begin their journeys, they immediately become involved with conspiracy after conspiracy after conspiracy. The deepness of the plots they become involved in eventually shake the foundations of the very societies they are part of.

The Supporting Cast

Ron is a lot like Wakka. Both are devoted and, while not the brightest people, can be relied on for their loyalty. Both display the ‘street smarts’ of their societies and try their best to explain the little nuances to our heroes. Hermione is a lot like Lulu. Both tend to frown upon horseplay and are the more serious members of the group. Both have the technical know-how to explain things from their ‘book smarts’. Auron is a lot like Sirius Black: both are asked to watch over the hero and are quite powerful warriors as well.

The corrupt maesters of Yevon are a lot like those within the Ministry of Magic. Maester Mika and Cornelius Fudge are very similar, willing to do anything to hold onto power. Maester Kinoc and Mr. Crouch are in charge of relatively important positions of power but are cast aside easily. In the case of Kinoc he is killed for getting in the way, where Mr. Crouch is killed because of the constant cursing placed upon him.

Jecht and James Potter

Jecht and James Potter were both fathers. Jecht is Tidus’ father and James is (of course) Harry’s father. The difference is that Harry respects his father, while Tidus hates his father. This probably can be attributed to Jecht’s treatment of Tidus. Jecht thought that he could toughen Tidus up by giving him a constant stream of negative remarks and comments. Also, Jecht was highly arrogant and a big show off. Tidus couldn’t stand his father, but after his journey across Spira, Tidus comes to realize that Jecht was not the man Tidus thought he was. When Jecht realized that he may never leave Spira to return to ‘his’ Zanarkand, Jecht accepted his fate and changed. Jecht transformed from a mean-spirited person to a wiser gentler man.

Harry never could remember his father, but the stories of James’ school days gave Harry an image of James that he highly regarded. That all changed in Order of the Phoenix though, when we actually get to see James during Snape’s worst memory. The portrayal of James during the memory (though it may be slightly skewed) shows that James was just as mean and arrogant as Jecht. However, just like Jecht, James eventually changed (in this case because of Lily). When we first meet Jecht/James we gather a certain idea of their personalities. After time though we understand that they are just people and are as vulnerable as anyone else. Eventually both mature from arrogant young men and gain the realization that they are merely players in a greater world.

The Society of Spira and the Wizarding World

One of the most amazing parallels I’ve noticed is how similar the societies of Spira and the wizarding world are. Both reject machinery and are deeply segmented societies. Both are stuck in a cycle that is in danger of repeating itself. Spira constantly sends summoners to battle Sin, whereas the wizarding world is in danger of repeating the same mistakes when dealing with Voldemort. It is only when Tidus/Harry arrive (think of them as outsiders) and they manage to rock the very foundations of the societies they are in. Tidus manages to break Spira’s never ending cycle and end its citizens’ reliance on Yevon. Harry has managed to change a lot of people’s perceptions about the Ministry of Magic and will probably prevent Voldemort from returning ever again.

The society of Spira is highly segmented. The Al Bhed are shunned by the rest of Spira’s society as the Al Bhed accept machines to improve their lives, but the followers of Yevon (basically everyone else) do not. The wizards readily accept magic to improve their lives, but shun muggles’ use of machines to improve their own lives. Though wizarding society takes it one step further with the whole mud-bloods and pure-bloods issue. While Spira may regard the children of successful summoners (those who defeat Sin) in a higher light, they do not openly bicker about those who display the talent of summoning (but are not the child of a successful summoner).

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we see the extreme control the Ministry of Magic actually has over the British wizarding community. Spira is similarly under the strict control of the Church of Yevon. Both are extremely powerful organizations and are difficult to battle. In Yevon’s case, it is defeated (and changed) by breaking the cycle and finding another way to defeat Sin. The Ministry’s power is broken when the return of Voldemort is confirmed. Both organizations still exist but will be very different the next time we see them.

And on that I think I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from Final Fantasy X:

“Just, one more thing… The people and the friends that we have lost, or the dreams that have faded… Never forget them.”