Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to

Harry Potter and the … Adventures of Willy the Wizard?

When you’re richer than the Queen, you’re bound to attract some money-hunting crazies. J.K. Rowling and her publisher Bloomsbury  are rejecting “unfounded, unsubstantiated, and untrue” plagiarism claims from the estate of author Adrian Jacobs, which has filed a lawsuit accusing Rowling of borrowing ideas for her Harry Potter series.

The lawsuit claims that the fourth novel in Rowling’s series (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) copied elements from Jacobs’ 1987 book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard “ No. 1 Livid Land. According to the suit, some of these similar elements include a wizard competition and wizards using trains as a mode of transportation. From the CBC:

“Both Willy and Harry are required to work out the exact nature of the main task of the contest, which they both achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues from helpers, in order to discover how to rescue human hostages imprisoned by a community of half-human, half-animal fantasy creatures,” the suit says.

In its defense, Bloomsbury described Jacobs’ book as “a very insubstantial booklet running 36 pages, which had a very limited distribution. The central character of Willy The Wizard is not a young wizard and the book does not revolve around a wizard school.” A statement released yesterday also added that Rowling “had never heard of Adrian Jacobs nor seen, read or heard of his book Willy The Wizard until this claim was first made in 2004, almost seven years after the publication of the first book in the highly publicized Harry Potter series.”