Eight Days of Luke and Harry Potter

Ven ven at vvcrane.junglelink.co.uk
Mon Aug 7 20:02:45 EDT 2000

Neil said
>   Someone on a Harry Potter message board I'm involved
> with posted a comparison between "Luke" and JK Rowling's "HP & The
> Philosopher's Stone".  A magazine had claimed that JKR had plagiarised much
> of DWJ's work and cited this as a particularly blatant example.

I agree there's not enough of Luke in HP to make this stick. 
Allegations of plagiarism are notoriously difficult to prove in any 
case, particularly so in fields like SF and Fantasy where so much 
depends on the use of imaginary common references like  faster 
than light drives, spellbooks or  time travel. I think what galls about 
Rowling is that her books are so clearly derivative of others in the 
field yet there is no acknowledgement of this in the publicity, the 
interviews or in the texts themselves. HP is presented as a 
miraculous flower emerging full grown from Rowling's head when it 
is in reality one bloom among many on the tree. I suspect the pr 
people and the media are more to blame for this. 

Since I wrote the above there have been quite a few good posts on 
this preempting most of what I was going to say next! So I'll just 
add that F&H both contains some good discussion about invention, 
originality and the wrong way to imitate (the story Polly writes after 
reading Lord of the Rings) and is itself quite a good example of how 
a writer can acknowledge her sources by referencing them in the 
text. I should think the books Polly is sent pretty much constitute 
a bibliography. Writers can also pay tribute to their inspirations by 
using names of character and places or by allusion.

For the record and IMHO of course the I think the HP 3 time travel 
denoument remarkably similar to the one in Black Maria.I'm also 
sure there's precedents for both.............

It seems to me that one way for a writer to retain an originality of 
approach is to go back to the original sources in mythology and 
history. This avoids the fiftth generation xerox feel of (for example) 
the Tough Guide kind of fantasy world, So if you like " X's Viking 
book" and want to write something like it read Norse mythology 
and Icelandic saga not more fiction in the same vein. A common 
fantasy cliche is the love potion, which usually causes trouble for 
the spellcaster, in a book on "real" medieval magic I found that 
hate spells were far more common -- and they make great plot 

Back to Rowling I often frustrated reading her books because they 
don'yt seem to fulfill their full potential. She doesn't get enoufgh use 
out of her ideas. For example the magical sweets which are 
described but don't make it into the main plot. I would have filled 
that stupid fortunetellers room with bluebell coloured bubbles for a 

My monitor has been going on the blink intermittently recently, so 
if I don't post for a while it will be because it has gone completley 

You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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