A tale of two wizards

  August 11, 2003 at 10:08 AM ET
  Jessica Lares     The Leaky Cauldron (via Sunday Business Post)

Columnist Stephen Price questions the fairytale inspirationsopens in new window J.K. Rowling may have drawn on to create Harry Potter, and makes a few jabs along the same lines as A S Byatt. He makes the argument that Rowling might have lifted ideas from Neil Gaiman's literary boy wizard Tim Hunter from Books of Magic:

Has JK Rowling ever read Neil Gaiman? I don't know. Even if she did, it's clear that she has created something else of her own, drawing partially on literary archetypes that predate DC Comics.

Elves, unicorns and boy wizards have been around an awful long time. The legend of King Arthur, for example, the boy who magically drew the sword from the stone, itself derives from a series of poetic continental predecessors, older than Merlin himself.

What Rowling did, and with great success, was to translate a wide trawl of popular myth and lore into a sort of tweenie format.

Price claims Gaiman never responded to questions about the similarities between Harry Potter and Tim Hunter, when in fact, he answered the chargesopens in new window in a January Magazine profile in August 2001. (Thanks to The Leaky Cauldron for pointing out this interview.)

January Magazine: There's been a lot of muttering in the UK press about J.K. Rowling "borrowing" ideas for her Harry Potter books from you. Would you care to comment on that?

Neil Gaiman: Last year, initially The Scotsman newspaper -- being Scottish and J.K. Rowling being Scottish -- and because of the English tendency to try and tear down their idols, they kept trying to build stories which said J.K. Rowling ripped off Neil Gaiman. They kept getting in touch with me and I kept declining to play because I thought it was silly.

Read the rest of his comments at the above link.


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