LORD OF THE RINGS vs. Star Wars

One Ring to rule them all,

One Ring to find them,

One Ring to beat Star Wars

And in the Pitchfork bind them.

Before I’m surrounded by a mob of angry “Star Wars” fans and/or Jedis, let me say that there is absolutely no way I can say that Tolkien’s universe is better than “Star Wars,” just as there is no way to accurately claim the opposite. I can, however, say that I like Tolkien’s Middle-Earth works better than George Lucas’ Sci-Fi universe, even though I do like “Star Wars.”

There are several reasons for this. “Star Wars,” as awesome as it is, just doesn’t have the pseudo-realism, the acute heroics and emotions or even the culture that Tolkien’s mythology has.

“Star Wars” has a bunch of planets, many of which have convenient whole-planet governments. That’s obviously realistic. Just look at Earth. Meanwhile, Middle-earth and the rest of its world have several different kingdoms and lands whose differing cultures, histories and stories provide a wonderful network of complexity that provides a marvellous backdrop to stories such as “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

Those stories, in turn, feature characters and storylines of breathtaking scope. Who can forget Bilbo leaving everything to go on a spectacular adventure, Ecthelion heroically slaying Gothmog at the cost of his own life to give the Gondolindrim time to escape from their conquered city or Aragorn killing a huge number of orcs just because he’s awesome like that? And who can ignore the villains: Morgoth, the ultimate Dark Lord, with his Iron Crown and his hammer, Grom; Sauron, his servant, who troubled the peoples of Middle-Earth and Numenor for two ages after his master’s fall, and eventually became an eye doctor’s worst nightmare; Smaug, the dragon who destroyed the Dwarf-kingdom of Erebor?

Sure, “Star Wars” has Darth Vader, Darth Sidious, Darth Maul, Darth Bane and Darth Malgus, which makes my brain suffer from Darth overload. Sure, it has the Sith Empire — all five of them — and yes, the Sith are awesome. But still, they all fail to reach the level of “Ultimate Evil Villain” that Morgoth, the biggest villain in all Tolkien-dom, reached before he was even called Morgoth.

Star Wars does have the Death Star, but Middle-earth has a piece of very ‘precious’ jewelry. Anakin Skywalker’s story is depressing, true, but the tale of the Children of H́urin is pretty dang sad, too. “Star Wars” does have epic technologically-advanced wizard ninjas, the Jedi, but Tolkien has even better: the Istari, the Five Wizards. And Gandalf, one of those five, is just as awesome as Yoda, if not more so.

Some people may find the One Ring to be confusing. Yes, it makes the wearer invisible, but that’s not the only thing it does. If Sauron had reclaimed it, his sheer power would have been amplified to huge, world-conquering levels, since he was its creator. Way cooler than a giant gray space ball, if you ask me.

Both of these fandoms are strong. In fact, “Star Wars” has its own religion, Jediism. But Tolkien has two Elvish languages, two alphabets and people who sit around studying his works just to learn little bits of information about his fictional world.

Yes, “Star Wars” is awesome, but at its core, it’s a Sci-Fi movie series. Tolkien’s mythology is a fantasy series, but it has truths about the real world embedded in it. It has heroics, romance, tragedy, the rise and fall of peoples and nations and all of that wonderful stuff that people look for in works of fiction.