DWJ's answers: Harry Potter

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu Aug 30 12:33:08 EDT 2001


>DWJ's comments about Harry Potter plus a programme yesterday on the 
>television about J K Rowling have made me think again about the HP 
>books (of wch I am not a fan). I'm a bit baffled about why DWJ 
>explicitly says JKR was influenced by her:
>DWJ: "I enjoyed the Harry Potter books, but I did find some parts of 
>them strangely familiar."

Not only that, but she actually used the word plagarism in this 
context - while saying she didn't know whether it was unconscious or 

>Apart from the magical milieu, I can't see many similarities. Yes, 
>in Witch Week DWJ uses a boarding school setting, but it's not a 
>school to teach magic, and there are other much more striking 
>examples - the Worst Witch books, for instance. The book DWJ refers 
>to is Charmed Life, but the basic proposition of the hero developing 
>magic talents has been used in many other books (Susan Cooper's, for 


>So when reading the first HP, I thought I likeed DWJ's approach to 
>these problems better: living together openly with (more or less) 
>open control. Of course, part of what people seem to love about HP 
>is that his world is "close" to ours, like: "Hey, there could be 
>witches an we wouldn't know".

Oh yes, I definitely like DWJ's approach much better too!  No 
question.  But I still agree with Georgia that while similarities may 
exist, a lot of similarities exist between a lot of books, without 
necessarily leading to the use of terms like plagarism, or even a 
statement that the influence ought to be acknowledged.  IMO anyway. 
I get as frustrated as any other DWJ fan with all the HP mega-hype, 
but it still seems less than fair to blame JK Rowlings for the 
idiotic statements made by critics about her books.


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