London Nov 4 (Reuter) — An Oxford don has sensationally panned last century’s most popular work, branding JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings ‘an error-ridden pot-boiler’ it emerged today. Oxford professor emeritus of humanities, David J Hickling, launched into the searing critique on one of his own univeristy’s most prominent former dons, just as Tolkien’s hobbit heroes are set to do box-office battle with JK Rowling’s young wizard Harry Potter. ‘I know his work has given many readers a lot of pleasure over the years, but it simply doesn’t stand up to the critical spotlight,’ said Hickling. ‘For a start, this supposedly ‘other world’ uses the Roman calender to measure time. I don’t recall the legionaries ever having to defend a place called Middle Earth,’ he sneered. ‘Even if we judge the text in terms of its own context, it still falls apart. The logical errors are endless. For example, the plot hinges on the destruction of ‘the one ring’. It is a task entrusted to the vulnerable hobbit heroes, who must endure the familiar travails before their heroic task is completed and evil vanquished. ‘Yet, creatures who inhabit this world include friendly giant eagles, who can carry people on their backs! ‘Tolkien could have saved his ‘good’ creatures a lot of time and bother by simply delivering the ring, via eagle post, to its destruction in Mt Doom.’ Prof Hickling was speaking on the eve of the UK release of the Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which also came under attack. ‘JK Rowling is very limited. I would let my five-year-old daughter read her books, but I would expect her to have outgrown them by the time she was seven.’ Post-production work is completed on the first film of Tolkien’s trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring, whic is set down for a December 19 UK release. Critics are expecting a close battle between the two fantasy titans for the lion’s share of the lucrative Christmas box office spoils.