28 March, 2014

#GuestPost :: The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter By Ayush Pathak

From the demolition of the ancient civilization of Harappa, Egypt, and Mesopotamia—to the event which changed the rich lands of Africa into a forever desert—An evil which the avatars Ram, Krishna and others fought at the end of eras but were unable to defeat--- To a curse which is finally destined to be the doom of the world. 
The Temple of Avinasi is not just another story. It’s an Epic of one of the greatest story ever told- the struggle of a secret brotherhood trying to protect the world for the last four thousand years—the sacrifices of the elite group named Avatars—the event when the Almighty Creator’s powers took physical form—And a ray of hope that there will be a single warrior at the end of Kali-Yug who will stand between the world and its doom. It’s the story of the last prophesized avatar of the Indian mythology- The Kalki Avatar. 

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The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter

The comparison between these two Epics has been one of the favorite topics among critics. This kind of thing is bound to occur when one (LOTR) is the second most selling fiction of all times while the other is the highest selling book series ever. The fact that their genres match adds more fire to the discussion. Let’s have a look about similarities and differences of these two of the most popular fantasy literatures ever.
Starting with the older one, we see that LOTR was published in the 1950’s, far before any of the other writers had ventured so deep in the myths of a parallel world. It was the success of Tolkien’s book that ensured a way for other writers in future to dwell in the imaginary world of Fantasy. Such was the power of Tolkien’s book that it invented an entire new genre to be added in literature. And though the title is not official, but Tolkien is widely believed and called, by his fans and readers, as the Father of Fantasy.

On the other hand, in the late 1990’s, when the addictiveness of internet hadn’t yet completely spread, and the idiot box of Television was yet having its day, a great decline was seen in the number of readers. The decreasing interest in reading of the new generation used to be a matter of debate for the intellectuals, and a matter of survival for the book stores and small publishers who were on the verge of collapsing. At that time a divorced woman with a child, training to be a teacher in Scotland wrote a book on children’s literature which once again changed the course of popular literature. 

Harry potter’s unexpected success changed many myths in the literary world, especially the one which said that the new generation was losing its interest in reading. It was then understood that the young generation could be drawn to books if there was good material available. In a way, J.K Rowling’s book changed the publishing scenario as much as Tolkien’s, ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

Coming to the writing style of the two literary giants, Tolkien, having created a virtual world, the likes of which had never been attempted before, preferred to provide a detailed explanation of the sceneries and events to the readers. Though largely appreciated by readers, his style has been criticized by some critics and later authors, saying that, “Due to his excessive explanation of each and every detail, Tolkien hardly left anything to be deciphered by the readers’ imagination”. It should be noted that the same point is raised by many of his strong supporters in a quite positive display of Tolkien’s literary prowess. His characters are black and white, they either cling to the good or the evil side. Living in a world where he had to bear witness to two world wars and lose many friends and relatives, Tolkien had an exceptional hand in displaying battles and warfare. The battle of Helm’s deep and Minas Tirith, and the destruction in them, show an influence of the two world wars he faced. Although Tolkien always denied the influence of the World Wars in his book, the effect of war on his subconscious can be clearly seen through his novel.

A century after the celebrated children’s fiction, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, no one had expected the genre to pick up once again, until the advent of Harry Potter. Harry Potter’s fame and popularity, in many ways, even precedes the magic of Alice created by Lewis Carroll or any other children literature.Till date, Bible remains the only book which has possibly sold more than the Harry Potter series. Alike Tolkien, J.K Rowling’s writing can also be seen as being influenced by her real life conditions. Having spent her early writing years in destitution, she has shown a bluntness in describing the poverty of her major characters (Harry Potter, in his early years and the Weasley Family). Her over fondness of describing the magnificence of food in her books adds to the point. Her characters are not completely Black or White, but gray: an excellent example would be Severus Snape. 

Some say that Harry Potter would never have existed if Tolkien hadn’t invented the genre of Epic Fantasy. Rowling’s work is also said to be inspired by the other to some extent. The similarities in the characters of Gandalf and Dumbeldore(Mentor wizards), and Sauron and Voldemort(both have forbidden their names) have been pointed out. Also the character of Wormtail in H.P has similar traits (including first names) with Wormtongue of L.O.T.R.

While a true dominancy cannot be decided among the two great works. Comparisions has been and will continue to be made in future. But the fact will remain same that both the books have a special place in popular literature and are certainly ‘Classics’. In J.K Rowling’s own words-  “Tolkien created a whole new mythology, which I would never claim to have done. On the other hand, I think I have better jokes!”

I was born in a region in the region of Mithila. As per the scriptures of the Ramayana, the inhabitants are widely believed to be the descendants of King Janak, the father of Lady Sita, my family being of them. Various folk tales and many other scriptures also verify the same.
Being from a family with roots so deep in the Epics ensured that mythological tales would be part of my blood, and my entire childhood was spent listening and dreaming about them. Engaging more into these tales, I found it to be a promising possibility that the Ramayana and Mahabharata could not have been the conclusive parts of the great battle between evil and the good. It struck me then, ‘What if the main conclusive battle is to take place in our present time, the 21st century?’ And hence the idea of Temple of Avinasi was incepted. Ten years have passed since the day the concept came to me. And finally, now, after such a long span of grooming, polishing and re-polishing the story several times, the book is now finally having its moment in the sun. In the last ten years this story has been a part of my very soul and each moment of my life had been spent while being lost in the story’s world. As a so-called descendent of Lady Sita, I felt it my responsibility to bring the story forward to the readers and now, when it is finally done, a wave of relief passes over me to see the work in print.
This is the first part of the six book long series and is named “The Temple of Avinasi: The Legend of the Kalki.”


Ayush Pathak is an Electrical Engineer from BIET Jhansi and is presently residing in Nasik, Maharashtra. His theory about life is - “A life which begins with a dream, ends with success.”
He can be contacted at ayushofavinasi@gmail.com

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