Click through to Neatorama for a fairly entertaining look at the similarities between the first StarWars movie (chronologically speaking) and the first Harry Potter book. At first glance, it may look like JK Rowling plagiarized George Lucas. No such thing, though.
Lucas, first unknowingly and then by design, was merely following the hero’s journey, a narrative pattern found around the world. Joseph Campbell focused attention on this journey, which he referred to as the monomyth, in his famous 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
That the hero’s journey works so well across the years and across cultures and across genres speaks to its power to entertain us. That we may recognize the pattern early on is no impediment to enjoyment; the differences lie in how the hero accomplishes his journey. That’s where the writing matters.