Harry Potter influences and analogues
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Edited by Cody McCormack)
Writer J. K. Rowling cites several writers as influences in her creation of her bestselling Harry
Potter series. Writers, journalists and critics have noted that the books also have a number of
analogues; a wide range of literature, both classical and modern, which Rowling has not openly
cited as influences.
The Dark Is Rising
Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising sequence of stories (commenced with Over Sea, Under Stone in
1965 and now more commonly bound in a single volume) have been compared to the Harry
Potter series. The sequence's second volume, also called The Dark Is Rising, features a young
boy named Will Stanton who, much like Harry Potter, discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is
in fact imbued with magical power; in Will's case, that he is the last of the Old Ones, beings
empowered by the Light to battle the Dark. The books open in much the same way, with Will
finding that people are telling him strange things and that animals run from him. John Hodge,
who wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of The Dark Is Rising, made a number of very
substantial changes to the novel's plot and tone deliberately to differentiate it from Harry
A Wizard of Earthsea
The basic premise of Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), in which a boy with
unusual aptitude for magic is recognised, and sent to a special school for wizards, resembles that
of Harry Potter. The hero encounters Jasper, a typically unpleasant Draco-like rival, in the
Flashman tradition. Le Guin has claimed that she doesn't feel Rowling "ripped her off", but
that she felt that Rowling's books were overpraised for supposed originality, and that Rowling
"could have been more gracious about her predecessors. My incredulity was at the critics who
found the first book wonderfully original. She has many virtues, but originality isn't one of them.
The Worst Witch
Many critics have noted that Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch series (first published in 1974), is set
in a school for girls, "Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches", remarkably reminiscent of
Hogwarts. The school is hosted in an ancient castle on a remote hill surrounded by a
forest. Classes include potions, chanting and broomstick flying. Though the headmistress is kind
and understanding, the hooknosed Potions mistress is harsh and unpleasant. She is particularly
cruel towards the protagonist, a young witch named Mildred Hubble - but Mildred's nemesis is her
pet student, Ethel Hallow, who is a member of a prominent witch family. Murphy has
commented on her frustration at constant comparisons between her work and Harry Potter: "Itʼs
irritating … everyone asks the same question and I even get children writing to ask me whether I
mind about the Hogwarts school of witchcraft and pointing out similarities. Even worse are
reviewers who come across my books, or see the TV series, and, without taking the trouble to
find out that itʼs now over quarter of a century since I wrote my first book, make pointed remarks
about “clever timing” – or say things like “the Worst Witch stories are not a million miles from J K
Rowlingʼs books”. The implications are really quite insulting!"
In Diana Wynne Jones' Charmed Life (1977), two orphaned children receive magical education
while living in a castle. The setting is a world resembling early 1900s Britain, where magic is
commonplace. Diana Wynne Jones has stated in answer to a question on her webpage: "I think
Ms Rowling did get quite a few of her ideas from my books - though I have never met her, so I
have never been able to ask her. My books were written many years before the Harry Potter
books (Charmed Life was first published in 1977), so any similarities probably come from what
she herself read as a child. Once a book is published, out in the world, it is sort of common
property, for people to take ideas from and use, and I think this is what happened to my
Before the arrival of J. K. Rowling, Britain's bestselling author was comic fantasy writer Terry
Pratchett. His Discworld books, beginning with The Colour of Magic in 1983, satirise and parody
common fantasy literature conventions. Pratchett is repeatedly asked if he "got" his idea for his
magic college, the Unseen University, from Harry Potter's Hogwarts, or if the young wizard
Ponder Stibbons (who first appeared in 1990), who has dark hair and glasses, was inspired by
Harry Potter. Both in fact predate Rowling's work by several years; Pratchett jokingly claims that
yes he did steal them, though "I of course used a time machine." The BBC and other British
news agencies have emphasised a supposed rivalry between Pratchett and Rowling, but
Pratchett has said on record that, while he doesn't put Rowling on a pedestal, he doesn't consider
her a bad writer, nor does he envy her success. Claims of rivalry were due to a letter he wrote
to The Sunday Times, about an article published declaring that fantasy "looks backward to an
idealized, romanticized, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to
Greensleeves". Actually, he was protesting the ineptitude of journalists in that genre, many of
whom did not research their work and, in this case, contradicted themselves in the same
Science fiction author Orson Scott Card, in a fierce editorial in response to Rowling's copyright
lawsuit against the Harry Potter Lexicon, claimed that her assertion that she had had her "words
stolen" was rendered moot by the fact that he could draw numerous comparisons between her
books and his own 1985 novel Ender's Game; in his words, "A young kid growing up in an
oppressive family situation suddenly learns that he is one of a special class of children with
special abilities, who are to be educated in a remote training facility where student life is
dominated by an intense game played by teams flying in midair, at which this kid turns out to be
exceptionally talented and a natural leader. He trains other kids in unauthorized extra sessions,
which enrages his enemies, who attack him with the intention of killing him; but he is protected by
his loyal, brilliant friends and gains strength from the love of some of his family members. He is
given special guidance by an older man of legendary accomplishments who previously kept the
enemy at bay. He goes on to become the crucial figure in a struggle against an unseen enemy
who threatens the whole world."
The Books of Magic
Fans of the comic book series The Books of Magic, by Neil Gaiman (first published in 1990 by DC
Comics) have cited similarities to the Harry Potter story. These include a dark-haired English boy
with glasses, named Timothy Hunter, who on his twelfth birthday discovers his potential as the
most powerful wizard of the age upon being approached by magic-wielding individuals, the first of
whom makes him a gift of a pet owl. Similarities led the British tabloid paper the Daily Mirror to
claim Gaiman had made accusations of plagiarism against Rowling, which he went on the record
denying, saying the similarities were either coincidence, or drawn from the same fantasy
archetypes. "I thought we were both just stealing from T.H. White", he said in an interview, "very
The text adventure game Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls (1990) is the first
installment of the Spellcasting series created by Steve Meretzky during his time at Legend
Entertainment. All the three games in the series tell the story of young Ernie Eaglebeak, a
bespectacled student at the prestigious Sorcerer University, as he progresses through his
studies, learning the arcanes of magic, taking part in student life, occasionally saving the world as
he knows it. Each separate game takes place during consecutive school years as well, much like
the Harry Potter books.
In 1991, the author Jane Yolen released a book called Wizard's Hall, to which the Harry Potter
series bears a resemblance. The main protagonist, Henry (also called Thornmallow), is a young
boy who joins a magical school for young wizards. At the school "he must fulfill an ancient
prophecy and help overthrow a powerful, evil wizard." Yolen has been very critical of
Rowling's work, and has stated publicly that she believes Rowling stole her ideas. In an interview
with the magazine Newsweek, Yolen said, "I always tell people that if Ms. Rowling would like to
cut me a very large cheque, I would cash it."
The Secret of Platform 13
Eva Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13 (first published in 1994) features a gateway to a
magical world located on an underground railway platform. The protagonist belongs to the
magical world but is raised in our world by a rich family who neglect him and treat him as a
servant, while their fat and unpleasant biological son is pampered and spoiled. Amanda Craig is
one example of a journalist who has written about the similarities: "Ibbotson would seem to have
at least as good a case for claiming plagiarism as the American author currently suing J. K.
Rowling [i. e Nancy Stouffer], but unlike her, Ibbotson says she would 'like to shake her by the
hand. I think we all borrow from each other as writers.'"
^ a b c d e J. K. Rowling (2000). "From Mr Darcy to Harry Potter by way of Lolita". Sunday Herald. Retrieved
^ Fry, StephenLiving with Harry Potter BBC Radio4, 10 December 2005.
^ Jeff Jensen (2000). "Harry Up!". ew.com. Retrieved 2007-09-20.
^ Miller, Lisa. "Christ-like." Newsweek. Published: 2007-08-06 Vol. 150 Iss. 6 pg. 12 ISSN: 00289604
^ Jeffrey Weiss (2007). "Christian Themes Abound in the Harry Potter books". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved
^ Simran Khurana (2007). ""For Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also": Bible Quotes or Harry
Potter Quotes?". about.com. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
^ Shawn Adler (2007). "'Harry Potter' Author J.K. Rowling Opens Up About Books' Christian Imagery". mtv.com.
^ "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript". The Leaky Cauldron. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
^ Larry D. Benson, ed (1987). The Riverside Chaucer. Oxford University Press.
10. ^ Melissa Anelli and Emerson Spartz (2005). "The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen
Rowling: Part Three". Retrieved 2007-06-26.
11. ^ "What is the significance of Neville being the other boy to whom the prophecy might have referred?".
J.K.Rowling Official Site. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
12. ^ Boquet, Tim. "J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter". Reader's Digest. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
13. ^ J. K. Rowling. "J. K. Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival". Retrieved 2006-10-10.
14. ^ Susan Larson (2007). ""New Orleans students give Rowling a rousing welcome."". Times-Picayune. Retrieved
15. ^ Peg Duthie. "Placetne, J. K. Rowling?" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-08-28.
16. ^ a b c Renton, Jennie. ""The story behind the Potter legend: JK Rowling talks about how she created the Harry
Potter books and the magic of Harry Potter's world"". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
17. ^ Charles McGrath (2005). "The Narnia Skirmishes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
18. ^ a b "Fraser, Lindsay. "Harry Potter - Harry and me,"". The Scotsman. November 2002.
19. ^ "J.K. Rowling's bookshelf". oprah.com. 2001. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
20. ^ "Real Wizards: The Search for Harry's Ancestors". Channel4.com. 2001. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
21. ^ Evelyn M Perry. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Novel". Farmingham State College. Retrieved 2007-
22. ^ "JK (JOANNE KATHLEEN) ROWLING (1966-)". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
23. ^ "Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference". Retrieved 2006-10-10.
24. ^ J. K. Rowling (2006). "The first It Girl". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
25. ^ Lindsey Fraser (2004). "J K Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival, Sunday, 15 August 2004". Retrieved
26. ^ "Magic, Mystery, and Mayhem: An Interview with J.K. Rowling". Amazon.com. 199. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
27. ^ Jennie Renton (2001). "Wild About Harry". Candis Magazine. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
28. ^ Stephen Mcginty (2003). "The J.K. Rowling Story". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
29. ^ Sarah-Kate Templeton (2000). "How Lolita inspired Harry Potter". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
30. ^ "JK Rowling: Favourite living author". O Magazine. 2001. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
31. ^ "J. K. Rowling's Official Site". Retrieved 2007-06-10.
32. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (2006). "From Beatrix Potter to Ulysses ... what the top writers say every child should read".
The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
33. ^ "Reconstructing Harry". Sydneyanglicans.net. 2003. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
34. ^ Mercedes Lackey, ed (2006). Mapping the World of Harry Potter. BenBella Books, Inc.. pp. 39–52. Retrieved
35. ^Dr Jules Smith (2003). "J K Rowling". contemporarywriters.com. Retrieved 2007-09-20.
36. Nicholas Tucker (1991). "Happiest Days: The Public Schools in English Fiction by Jeffrey Richards; English
Children and Their Magazines, 1751-1945 by Kirsten Drotner". History of Education Quarterly. Retrieved 2007-
37. ^ Ian Wylie. "Stephen Fry's Schooldays". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
38. ^ Monroe, Caroline. "How Much Was Rowling Inspired by Tolkien?". GreenBooks. TheOneRing.net. Retrieved
39. ^Elizabeth Hand (2007). "Harry's Final Fantasy: Last Time's the Charm". Powell's Books. Retrieved 2007-09-
40. Gina Carbone (2007). "Book review: 'Deathly Hallows'". Seacoastonline. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
41. Laura Miller (2007). "Goodbye, Harry Potter". salon.com. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
42. ^ "About the Books: transcript of J. K. Rowling's live interview on Scholastic.com". Scholastic.com. October
43. ^ Thomas, Shippey (2000). J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. Harper Collins.
44. ^Sally Blakeney (1998). "The Golden Fairytale". The Australian. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
45. John Shirley (2001). "Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". LocusOnline. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
46. ^ Feldman, Roxanne. "The Truth About Harry". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
47. ^ Michael Mallory (2006). X-Men: The Characters and Their Universe. Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc..
p. 133. ISBN 0-88363-120-2.
48. ^ Mark Harris (2007). "2007 Entertainer of the Year: J.K. Rowling". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-07-
49. ^ "Author Lloyd Alexander Dies at 83". New York Magazine. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
50. ^Anne Pelrine. "The Christian Guide to Fantasy: The Dark Is Rising". Retrieved 2007-05-17. "The Ottery:
Rereading "The Dark Is Rising"". Retrieved 2007-05-17.
51. ^ Margot Adler (2007). "Author Uncertain About 'Dark' Leap to Big Screen". NPR. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
52. ^ Ben Patrick Johnson (2001). "Rowlingʼs Magic Spell: Two Parts Fantasy, One Part Familiar?".
CultureKiosque. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
53. ^ "Novel Reflections: A Wizard of Earthsea". 2001. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
54. ^ Maya Jaggi. "The magician". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
55. ^ Polly Shulman (1999). "The Harry Potter series". slate.com. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
56. ^ David Aaronovitch (2003). "We've Been Muggled". The Observer. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
57. ^ Jonas Ramstein. "Harry Potter Similarities to Worst Witch, Accusations of Plagiarism, J RK Rowling Same as
Worst Witch Some Say". Retrieved 2006-10-10.
58. ^ Joanna Carey (2002). "Jill Murphy interview". Books For Keeps. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
59. ^ Wynn Jones, Diana. "DIANA'S ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS". Diana Wynne Jones: Official Site. Retrieved
60. ^ "The Last Hero". The Annotatted Pratchett File. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
61. ^KAREN MCVEIGH and LESLEY WALKER (2002). "Pratchett casts a bitter spell on rivals". TheScotsman.
62. "Pratchett wins first major award". BBC News. 2002. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
63. "Pratchett takes swipe at Rowling". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-10-16.
64. ^ "Mystery lord of the Discworld". The Age. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
65. ^ "Rowling Hogwarts And All". Time. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
66. ^ "Terry Pratchett clarifies J.K. Rowling remarks". Wizard News. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
67. ^ Orson Scott Card (2008). "Rowling, Lexicon, and Oz". Uncle Orson Reviews Everything. Retrieved 2008-09-
68. ^ "Potter director's Brit passion". BBC news. 2001. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
69. ^ Brian Linder. "Trouble Brewing with Potter Casting?". Filmforce. Retrieved 2006-10-11.
70. ^ MJ Simpson. "Charles Band (Part 2)". Retrieved 2007-05-06.
71. ^ Vanessa Thorpe (2007). "Second coming for first Harry Potter". The Observer. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
72. ^Danielle Demetriou. "Harry Potter and the source of inspiration". Retrieved 2007-05-06.
73. J. K. Rowling. "J. K. Rowling: Autobiography". Retrieved 2007-05-06.
74. ""J.K. Rowling Discusses the Surprising Success of 'Harry Potter'", Larry King Live". 2000. Retrieved 2007-05-
75. ^ "JK Rowling threatens to sue Political Gateway?". The Political Gateway (2008). "'Harry Potter' at center of
legal battle". Retrieved 2008-04-25.
76. ^ Paul Heath (2008). "Helmer says he invented Harry Potter". The Hollywood News. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
77. ^ Linda Richards. "Interview: Neil Gaiman". January Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
78. ^ Huw Collingbourne (2005). "Huw Collingbourne's Rants and Raves June 2005". Retrieved 2007-08-06.
79. ^ Stephen Richmond (2005). "Before there was Harry Potter, there was Thornmallow!". Retrieved 2006-10-27.
80. ^ Publishers Weekly quoted on amazon.com
81. ^ Karen Springen (2005). "Writing Dynamo". Newsweek magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
82. ^ Amanda Craig. "Eva Ibbotson". Retrieved 2006-10-11.
This document is an abridged version of a longer article on Wikipedia.