Harry Potter Plagiarism Contest

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In our last installment, you may recall that the estate of Adrian Jacobs, author of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard/, sued J. K. Rowling for essentially infinite amounts of money on the premise that Harry Potter was a ripoff of Mr. Jacobs' work. You may also recall having been through this a couple of times before, first with Nancy Stouffer, and then with the movie Troll. Obviously, there is a great deal of confusion over where Ms. Rowling really gets her ideas.

Well, it's time to clear that up! I hereby declare a contest to find out what Harry Potter has the most in common with, so that the question can be settled once and for all. The rules: Find as many similarities as you can, using any of the methods employed by previous litigants. So the source material, for instance, need not be a book (e.g. Troll). You can combine works by the same writer, as Nancy Stouffer did with Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly and The Legend of Rah and the Muggles. Similarities in names, items, customs, themes, and anything else are eligible-- see www.willythewizard.com for a varied list including "Willy is Famous", "Willy's Temples Throb", and "Solving Problems in the Luxurious Bath".

One work is ineligible for consideration: Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series. J. K. Rowling has openly admitted to reading and admiring it, and we know she would never, ever do that if she had been planning to lift ideas from it. (She says she couldn't make it all the way through The Lord of the Rings, though, so have at it.)

Send your list to picofarad@bidalaka.com by November 1st for consideration. The prize: the eternal gratitude of Harry Potter fandom, because even if you inspire another lawsuit, we'll all know it's the very last one.

Remember, you can look anywhere. For instance, your editor just saw the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, which not only has an Evans in common with Harry Potter, but also a Snape, a Wilkins, a Derwent, and a maladjusted boy named Tom who likes snakes. Beat that!

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