Both wildly popular, Harry Potter and Avatar: The Last Airbender are stories built on magic and friendship, though they go about both subjects in different ways. Harry Potter is about tight, lasting friendships that go through rough patches, while Avatar features friendships that last decades, partly due to the connections formed through learning magic and how to control one’s power together.
On the other hand, magic in Avatar is created through the world and using the elements, while in Harry Potter, magic is used by manipulating the universe. Therefore, here are five things Harry Potter does better than Avatar, and five things where it’s the other way around.
10 Avatar: Lore
The lore of the world of Avatar is extremely well-thought-out. The concept of the Avatar, who can master all the elements, and serve as the bridge to the spirits, is fascinating. Avatar draws heavily on Eastern philosophy, which lends a realist touch to the wisdom doled out by the characters.
Personal teaching is a large part of the show, and the lessons taught and learned are important for people’s lives in the real world, as well as the fictional universe. For example, Roku tells Aang that he must be decisive when making choices that can have far-reaching consequences.
9 Harry Potter: Worldbuilding
Harry Potter’s worldbuilding is extensive. There are plenty of characters and rules for magic. Since it is a contemporary setting, it all feels big. It’s the regular world, but with magical places and objects layered on top of it.
Every novel has a new setting for the characters to be introduced to and to explore in turn. Often, these locations end up being important later, such as the Ministry of Magic in book five.
8 Avatar: Characters
Avatar’s characters all pack a punch. There aren’t nearly as many of them as in Harry Potter, but for the most part, they are all memorable in some way or another. The main characters keep the plot moving, as do the villains.
Aang’s quest to master three elements in a year forces the team to keep moving around the world, which means they, and the audience, meet new characters constantly. Side characters are memorable too. For example, who could forget the Cabbage Merchant?
7 Harry Potter: Magic
Magic in Harry Potter is a wondrous thing. There are few limits to it that the audience sees, and for the most part, it seems to manipulate the world. For example, Wingardium Leviosa, the levitating spell, actually causes something to float.
Even though magic constantly causes amazement, the wiser characters continuously remind Harry that more powerful magics are concepts like music and love, which makes them seem more special.
6 Avatar: Mentors
The mentors in Avatar are all attuned to the person they are trying to help, which imbues the scenes with that much more meaning as they dispense advice.
For example, Iroh tries to help Zuko several times with the same types of things, though it takes Zuko receiving what he thought he wanted to begin to realize how his uncle was trying to help in the first place.
5 Harry Potter: Wonder and Aging the Series
J.K. Rowling did a marvelous job in aging Harry with the audience, as well as the series with the audience’s expectations. The first two novels are perfectly fine children’s novels, but something changed with the third and fourth novels, which escalated the conflict.
It did well with bringing in the idea of a looming second war that would change everything as the first war had done. This was effective in aging the series as the readers and Harry aged in turn.
4 Avatar: Spirituality and Belief
The world of Avatar is awash in spirituality and Eastern beliefs. These both fit the setting and assist the characters. The spirits keep the show fresh while reminding the audience of different belief systems and ways of thinking.
Beliefs that the characters hold are important to them, and therefore not treated lightly or tossed aside after they were first mentioned.
3 Harry Potter: Puzzle Pieces
J. K. Rowling is astonishingly good at fitting pieces together in her plots so that seemingly inconsequential actions or things turn out to have enormous significance. Part of this is due to the massive cast of characters that Harry Potter boasts in comparison to Avatar.
For example, in the first chapter of the first book, Sirius Black is mentioned, as is his flying motorbike. Sirius doesn’t become important until the third novel, and the motorbike doesn’t make an appearance until the last novel.
2 Avatar: Plot
The plot of Avatar is detailed and heavy. It also fits nicely into three seasons without feeling too tight or drawn-out.
Aang must master three elements, and the details of the war that’s been raging for 100 years become more and more pronounced with each season. Nonetheless, the series maintains its charm and humor as it moves forward.
1 Harry Potter: Accessing the World
Though Harry Potter is a fantasy series, it’s also a contemporary series, being set in 1990s Britain. As a consequence, it can be an easier series to connect with.
However, Avatar arguably also has a blend of cultures, since all four of the nations the main characters visit are shown to be culturally diverse and separate.
NEXT: 10 Shows to Watch If You Like Avatar: The Last Airbender