Monthly Archives: August 2013

Talk About Your Hidden Gems

25 Similarities Between a Certain Boy Wizard and DC’s Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld

For the uninitiated: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld was the star of a 12-part mini-series in 1983 and a 16-issue ongoing series in 1985. Created by Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn (with impeccable artwork by Ernie Colón), she was an average American girl who finds out on her 13th birthday she is actually a princess from a magical kingdom, a place where time flows differently than it does here on our dimensional plane (which explains why the teenaged girl always transformed into her 20-year-old self whenever she returned to her place of birth).

Given all the sparkly gemstones, medieval trappings, handsome suitors and flying unicorns, it was pretty obvious Mishkin and Cohn had done their homework with respects to tapping into the deepest wishes and dreams of most young girls. That said, it was also obvious they wanted their stories to have a more universal appeal, and I say that based on the many similarities between the Amethyst comics and books starring Harry Potter, the young wizard whose adventures made his creator, J.K. Rowling, a very rich woman.

Now, let’s be clear: our purpose here is not to accuse anyone of helping themselves to someone else’s idea (I doubt Ms. Rowling was a big fan of obscure American fantasy comics at the time she was writing her books). No, I’m just pointing out the many cultural archetypes and similarities that can be found in works starring a character who is (justly) lauded as one of the greatest characters in modern literature and stories starring a character who has, as of this writing, yet to receive her proper due:

1. Both are members of a magical race that is removed from the affairs of non-magical humans.

2. Both were born to magic-wielding parents who died protecting them from an attack by an evil sorcerer (Harry’s Voldemort, Amethyst’s Dark Opal).

3. Both have a powerful enemy who not only killed their parents, but also see their continued existence as the only obstacles preventing them from achieving their evil goals.

4. Both were spirited away as infants to live with families in the ordinary “mundy” world for their own protection.

5. Both were brought to our world and watched over in their younger years by an elderly, kindly mentor (Harry’s Dumbledore, Amethyst’s Citrina).

6. These same mentors were also once instructors in the magical arts to the evil sorcerers they now face in battle with the other “good” wizards.

7. Both lived their childhoods in complete ignorance of their true identity, and only discovered their heritage while celebrating a birthday on the cusp of their adolescent years (Harry’s 11th, Amethyst’s 13th).

8. Both were attacked by the big bad villain in their stories very soon after they became aware of their true nature.

9. Both use a talisman through which they can focus their magical energies (Harry’s wand, Amethyst’s necklace).

10. Both are protected in a more physical sense by larger, semi-mythical beings (Harry’s Hagrid, Amethyst’s Granch).

11. Both are considered well-known celebrities in their respective magical realms because of their status (her noble birth as heir to the once-ruling House of Amethyst, his status as “The Boy Who Lived”).

12. Both exist in worlds where a society of magic-users is organized around one’s allegiance to a house or family (and the many networks of alliances and rivalries that connect those groups).

13. Both possess special pets with their own magical attributes (Harry’s pet owl, Amethyst’s flying unicorn).

14. Both lead uprisings against the evil sorcerer attacking them and are chiefly responsible for the downfall of the evil sorcerer.

15. Both stories contain a single cast member who cannot perform magic and has a considerable chip on his shoulder about it (Harry’s Filch, Amethyst’s Carnelian).

16. Both live in worlds where wizards and witches are not familiar with the mechanical inventions of our world (Mr. Weasley, for instance, professes amazement at all manners of everyday objects, while Carnelian’s use of guns and grenades baffle his magic-wielding adversaries).

17. The bad guys in both stories strike at the heroes through agents and assassins before facing them in person for a series of fights that end in a draw until the final battle.

18. Both stories feature a wedding interrupted by the larger war that wages all around them.

19. Both Harry and Amethyst have loyal redheaded allies by their sides who are the same gender as they (Ron Weasley, Lady Turquoise)…

20. …and both are also joined by another ally of the opposite sex (Harry’s Hermione, Amethyst’s Lord Topaz), who although initially infatuated with the main character is fated to instead find love in the arms of the third member of their trio.

21. The evil sorcerers in both stories have one prominent ally who eventually suffers greatly for his allegiance to his dark lord and only avoids punishment by the “good” wizards by shifting his allegiance at a critical moment (Lucius Malfoy, Lord Sardonyx).

22. Both stories feature faceless, hooded creatures that can absorb the energies of others directly through the blank spaces where their faces ought to be (Dementors, the Emissaries of Varn).

23. Wizards in both worlds make use of magical water receptacles that allow them to see into the past (Harry’s Pensieve, Amethyst’s Well of Vision).

24. The main bad guys in both stories are motivated as much by their fear of death as they are by their lust for power.

25. Both stories feature a race to secure items that, if collected together, can be used to either destroy the main villain or give him ultimate power (Harry’s horcruxes, Amethyst’s gemstones representing all twelve houses of the realm).