Harry Potter and the Chosen Ones: The Bagginses
Just as Harry was chosen to defeat Voldemort, many heroes in literature are chosen to fulfill a destiny bigger than themselves. The Chosen One tends to be an unexpected hero, often underestimated by the enemy they are fated to destroy. So it was in the story of Middle Earth. In a world of powerful beings like Elves, Dwarves, and wizards, it was a humble Hobbit that took down an evil force that had persisted for thousands of years.
The story of the One True Ring features not just one Chosen One, but two: Bilbo Baggins and his young heir, Frodo.
The most obvious similarity between Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings is the powerful, white-bearded wizard who helps the Chosen One fulfill their potential. Like Dumbledore, Gandalf is a wise and skilled wizard, feared by those who seek to spread evil. They both serve as mentors, and they both tend to be secretive when it comes to their grand design.
While Voldemort himself chooses Harry to be his downfall, Bilbo Baggins is chosen by Gandalf for reasons unknown. Gandalf first chooses Bilbo to help the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain return to the home that was stolen from them. While the Dwarves don’t understand how a small, complacent Hobbit can help them, Gandalf insists that Bilbo is special. Gandalf never reveals whether he knows Bilbo will find the Ring, but it’s clear that he knows this Hobbit is destined to be part of something big.
As Bilbo’s days of adventure come to an end, he passes along the burden of the Ring to his heir, Frodo Baggins, much like the Cloak of Invisibility passes down through the Peverell family line until it reaches Harry. That’s not the only similarity between the Ring and the Deathly Hallows. Both make the holder master of death, and both must be destroyed because their power will inevitably lure good men into darkness.
Gandalf trusts Frodo with the Ring because he believes the Hobbit’s heart is not easily tainted. While many men throughout this epic tale wish to use the Ring to help them win the war against Sauron, Frodo knows that the Ring’s power will corrupt them and lead to their destruction. He knows the only way to end Sauron’s reign of terror is to destroy the Ring beyond recovery, even if it means sacrificing his own life for the good of Middle Earth.
In Harry’s case, he uses the power of the Deathly Hallows once to defeat Voldemort. Harry knows Voldemort must die at his hand according to the prophecy, but first Harry himself must die to destroy the final Horcrux. Harry, like Frodo, faces his death with courage because he knows that it will be worth it if it means Voldemort is destroyed forever. But because Harry holds the Deathly Hallows, he returns from death to fight Voldemort one last time.
After his mission is complete, Harry destroys the Elder Wand, even though he is its rightful owner. He knows that its power can corrupt people’s hearts, and he decides it’s best to rid the wizarding world of the temptation to wield the Deathly Hallows. He also loses the Resurrection Stone in the forest. Even though it’s his deepest wish to see the people he has lost one more time, he knows it’s selfish to bring the dead into a world where they no longer belong.
Harry and Frodo may have been chosen to defeat the evil in their respective worlds, but they don’t do it alone. They are both in the middle of a war that affects everyone, and battles rage around them while they attempt to fulfill their mission.
The Order of the Phoenix and the majority of Hogwarts face Voldemort’s Death Eaters while Harry meets his fate in the Forbidden Forest, and Aragorn leads his men to battle at the Black Gate to distract Sauron from sensing Frodo’s approach to the molten core of Mount Doom to destroy the Ring and its dark power.
While both stories center around the Chosen One, they also show us that many people are equally brave, willing to sacrifice their lives in the fight for good.