Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtleson August 5, 2008 at 12:53 am
Let me start off by saying that Harry Potter has done plenty of good. It has encouraged kids to read, popularized wizardry, and it has made a single mother rich. I do, however, protest its literary shortcomings. What worries me is that years from now, when the young Harry Potter fanatics grow up to become teachers, principles, and superintendents, they will see it as a “classic” and approve it as a required reading in schools.
I’d like to point out the similarities between the Potter universe and that of one of the most iconic set of characters created by humans. Correct, I’m speaking of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
What the Hell do the Ninja Turtles have to do with Harry Potter? The four turtles have distinct personalities, right? And a reoccurring dynamic within Hogwarts is between the four houses. Let’s see if we can play sorting hat and find homes for these turtles:
- Leonardo: Brave, chivalrous, leader of the turtles, and a strong sense of honor. Seems like a gorgeous match for those courageous numbskulls in Gryffindor.
- Michelangelo: Loyal, easy-going, accepting, and identifies well with the common folk. That fellow would be amongst friends in Hufflepuff.
- Donatello: Brains of the turtles, creative, and wise. Such a bookworm would quickly be typecast as a Ravenclaw.
- Raphael: Slytherin. Duh.
As of now we’ve straightforwardly placed the four turtles into the four houses. Now, for both the wizards and the turtles, if only there was some calm, elderly mentor with long, grey hair who occasionally showed great mastery in the craft that he taught to his pupils.
Oh wait. I guess it turns out that Splinter and Dumbledore would make good poker buddies.
The when I first noticed this alignment I felt a bit cheated. I’m far from saying that Rowling ripped off TMNT. Rather, I think it’s silly that this literary piece that we are likely to see in schools someday lines up so well with an 80s pop culture craze starring four hominid turtles that practice ninjutsu. Also, they are teenagers. Who love pizza*.
There you have it. I’ve heard claims that Harry Potter is similar in storyline to Star Wars. Meh. There’s more alignment in the Manhattan sewers. And Hell, even with their differing personalities the turtles work as a team much more readily than the four houses in Rowling’s saga of owls, thinly-veiled Holocaust allegories, and long-term camping trips.
*Yes, in the Harry Potter series it’s never explicitly said that the kids love pizza. But c’mon, what teenagers don’t? I’ve had pizza in Britain. That shit is delicious.