Despite the marked differences between the genres of science fiction and fantasy, there are many similarities in the styles of storytelling and characterizations of some of their most popular franchises. To paraphrase noted literary professor Joseph Campbell, stories and characters are often repeating motifs, with parallels across cultures and time periods.
This is why spotting similarities between star-crossed franchises like Star Trek and Harry Potter are easy, especially when it comes to its characters. Although each is distinctive and fully-realized, they conform to ages-old tropes and motifs in storytelling.
10 CHEKHOV/NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM
Pavel Chekhov first appeared in Season Two of the original Star Trek series, following a critique from a Soviet newspaper decrying the lack of Russians on a united Earth spaceship. A fresh-faced young ensign, Chekhov evolved from comic relief to a seasoned and mature officer in the films, with some occasional flashbacks to comedic form.
In this way, Chekhov finds his Potterverse mirror image in Neville Longbottom. His initial appearances were often relegated to comic relief, as he had difficulty mastering spells and magic to explosive and hilarious results. He eventually matured into a powerful and brave young wizard whose efforts were instrumental in ending Voldemort’s threat.
9 SULU/GEORGE WEASLEY
Hikaru Sulu is the Enterprise’s resident helmsman and the eventual captain of the USS Excelsior. Off duty, Sulu is a pretty happy-go-lucky, good-natured person, always up for a good time or some light-hearted joshing. However, when things get serious and his ship is on the line, Sulu can take decisive action immediately.
Although he may not be as mischievous as George Weasley, Sulu shares his amiable disposition, as well as his spirit of self-sacrifice. George Weasley laid down his life to protect his friends at the Battle of Hogwarts, which Sulu was prepared to do throughout all his appearances in the franchise.
8 UHURA/GINNY WEASLEY
As the Chief Communications Officer of the Enterprise, Nyota Uhura was the picture of calm, relaying information as quickly and clearly as she could. However, when pushed, Uhura was more than capable of handling herself, as she illustrated in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock with the young lieutenant she maneuvered into the closet.
In her silent competence and fierce ability to defend herself and her friends, Uhura finds her Harry Potter counterpart in Ginny Weasley. This was most evident in her steadfast loyalty to Harry and to Hogwarts, especially during the war with Voldemort.
7 LIEUTENANT SAAVIK/HERMIONE GRANGER
It’s a misconception that Vulcans are emotionless; it’s that they’ve suppressed their emotions so deeply and embraced the discipline of logic so thoroughly that they can sometimes appear cold and remote, as Lieutenant Saavik often does. However, bubbling beneath Saavik’s measured surface is a stewpot of emotions and passions, no doubt reinforced by her half-Romulan heritage.
In her by-the-book approach to dealing with situations, Saavik is mirrored by Hermione Granger, whose book smarts and strict adherence to the rules would make her worthy of being a Vulcan. However, Hermione is fiercely passionate about doing what’s right and protecting her friends, which matches Saavik’s personality perfectly.
6 SAREK/SEVERUS SNAPE
As one of the Federation’s fabled ambassadors, Sarek has had a lengthy and decorated career, but he’s also renowned for his choice of wife, a human woman by the name of Amanda Grayson, and for his son, the legendary Spock. His mere reputation would be enough to freeze anyone in their tracks, were it not for his stern countenance and logically measured tones.
That type of burning intensity is shared by the Potterverse’s Severus Snape, a teacher of Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Both Sarek and Snape are wholly intimidating by both rumor and stature, and deserve a wide berth!
5 SCOTTY/RON WEASLEY
Montgomery Scott or “Scotty” as he was affectionately nicknamed by his colleagues and friends, was the Chief Engineer of the Enterprise for the original cast’s television series and feature films. Bright and competent, Scotty pulled the ship out of danger by the skin of his teeth on more than one occasion, but was usually prone to emotional outbursts, especially if he was surprised or upset.
Ron Weasley may have taken some time to mature into his competency, but when he did, he managed to effectively lead the search for Horcruxes in Deathly Hallows. This, and his propensity to get very emotional very quickly, make him a good counterpart to Scotty.
4 DR. MCCOY/HAGRID
Everyone knows Hagrid as Hogwart’s resident groundskeeper; a hulking, giant, brute of a man with a gruff demeanor. However, his tough exterior belies a strong empathy for other living creatures and a desire to nurse them back to health. This was evident when he clandestinely nursed a dragon, Norbert, to health.
In his own rough and straight-forward way, Dr. McCoy resembles Hagrid. With a bedside manner firmly rooted in the “tough love” school, Dr. McCoy’s compassion for his patients is evident to any onlooker, though maybe not to the patient at the moment!
3 MR. SPOCK/ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
One of the most beloved fictional characters in all of popular culture, Mr. Spock was admired for his cool and logical approach to any problem or situation the Enterprise crew faced. Being half-human, however, afforded Spock the benefit of having compassion temper his logic, although he kept that part of him buried deep within his soul.
As a source of near-infinite wisdom, Spock finds his Harry Potter counterpart in Albus Dumbledore. A near-prescient wizard who always seemed to have the right advice for Harry and his crew, Dumbledore’s logical and compassionate spirit benefitted all he came into contact with.
2 KHAN NOONIEN SINGH/LORD VOLDEMORT
The similarities between Khan Noonien Singh and Lord Voldemort go beyond simply being the most notable villain in the franchise. Both are highly educated, erudite, and extremely deadly. Both have survived a seemingly obvious death and defied the odds to be resurrected many years later. And both would go through any lengths to gain revenge on the subject of their scorn: Captain Kirk and Harry Potter, respectively.
However, their most stunning similarity is their belief in theirs’ and their followers’ genetic superiority- Khan as a result of human engineering and Voldemort by being a pureblood wizard.
1 HARRY POTTER/CAPTAIN KIRK
As captain of the intrepid crew of the USS Enterprise, James Kirk was decisive, self-sacrificing, and compassionate. He had a reputation for hot-headedness, seemingly always ready to jump into a fray to double-fist punch a reptilian alien when he needed to. However, once he calmed down, Kirk could also be quite diplomatic.
Aside from being the central hero in their respective franchises, Harry Potter mirrors a lot of Captain Kirk’s qualities. Harry was always self-sacrificing, putting himself at risk for his friends numerous times. He was also prone to bouts of hot-headedness that once subsided, gave way to an air of conciliation and diplomacy.
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