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Despite having served as the catalyst for the show"s core story, as well as being established as a somewhat mythological figure, Gol D. Roger has been one of the most intriguing aspects of One Piece and a lot of mysteries still surround him. However, what we do know about Roger has a lot of connections and parallels to series protagonist Monkey D. Luffy.
The similarities between the two aren’t just coincidental. Luffy’s motivations are heavily inspired by Roger’s own achievements and exploits, and as Luffy has continued on his journey to find One Piece and inherit the title of Pirate King, the comparisons between the two have only grown.
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More Than Just A Fashion Statement
Of the many parallels series creator Eiichiro Oda has drawn between Luffy and Roger, the most easily noticeable is Luffy’s signature straw hat. The straw hat signifies the beginning of Luffy’s adventure and has become synonymous with the One Piece series itself. The hat has quite the history, as it was first shown to have belonged to Luffy’s idol, Shanks. But prior to the "Fish-Man Island Arc," Rayleigh reveals that the hat once belonged to a young Gol D. Roger.
While not much is known about Roger’s exploits -- especially his early years as a pirate -- Rayleigh’s story of his first meeting with the Pirate King draws an interesting parallel with another infamous first encounter in the series: Zoro and Luffy. Both Zoro and Rayleigh are exceptional swordsmen, and end up becoming the first members of the Roger and Straw Hat Pirates, respectively. The straw hat then takes on a more symbolic meaning. It not only signals the beginning of two parallel journeys, but can be seen as a means of passing on Roger’s legacy as well.
Luffy and Roger may not be immediately related -- though there’s still much Oda has yet to reveal -- but they do share some sort of familial ties. Roger’s son, Portgas D. Ace, was raised as Luffy’s adopted older brother and as their names imply, they all possess the mysterious Will of D. which has yet to be fully explained. Though this is not necessarily a biological familial relation, Luffy and Roger are bound by this shared heritage -- as are all carriers of the initial.
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The Voice of All Things
Luffy’s personality is very similar to Roger’s. But as the story continues to expand upon and place significance on the Poneglyphs, and a much more noteworthy similarity is Luffy’s ability to understand the Voice of All Things. The ability allows the user to interpret the words expressed by things that don’t speak the human language. Though it may not sound impressive, this ability holds an overwhelming significance in One Piece’s narrative, now that things seem to be moving towards the endgame.
Roger was known to be very adept at utilizing the ability. His mastery of it played an integral role in deciphering the various Poneglyphs that led to Laugh Tale and the One Piece itself. As Oda continues to make connections to Roger and Luffy, it wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for the latter to incorporate this ability in his own quest for the fabled treasure.
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Loguetown: A Beginning & An End
Loguetown is a notable landmark in the One Piece universe, serving as Gol D. Roger’s birthplace and the setting for his public execution. The city is revisited during the events of the "Loguetown Arc," where the most notable parallel between Roger and Luffy’s journey is shown.
Roger’s execution is mirrored by Buggy’s attempt to execute Luffy on the very same platform 24 years later. Luffy exclaims that he will become the Pirate King and the events that ensue are nearly identical.
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Luffy -- like Roger -- smiles prior to his “death,” only to then be saved when lightning destroys the platform. Luffy and the rest of his crew then vow to accomplish their dreams before setting out towards the Grand Line. In a way, Loguetown served as not only the beginning of Roger’s journey, but also set Luffy on a similar trajectory with his ambition to follow and eventually surpass Roger in his own journey to claim the title of Pirate King.