Bloomsbury Publishing PLC is defending its popular author, J.K. Rowling, against claims that she may have stolen material for her Harry Potter series from Adrian Jacobs’ book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No. 1 Livid Land. The claim of plagiarism is due to uncanny similarities between parts of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and the previously mentioned Adrian Jacobs book.
The Specifics of the J.K. Rowling Plagiarism Claim
In his fantasy book, Adrian Jacobs’ wizards travel by train. J.K. Rowling makes heavy use of this activity in all of the Harry Potter books. The train traveling sorcerers alone is not enough to hold water, but the likeness does not end there. One strikingly similar scene involves Harry and Willy in a situation where they each have to figure out the precise nature of the main task of a contest. Both characters work through the problem – in the exact same setting, a bathroom, and they are both assisted by helpers. When they each accomplish their task, they end up rescuing hostages from half-human, half-animal beasts.
Adrian Jacobs died in 1997, but his son and grandson are suing Rowling on behalf of the Jacobs estate.The pair believe that the plot devices are almost identical, and the similarities are far too involved to be mere coincidence. They allege that Jacobs created his content 13 years before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published. According to an article from Reuters, Jacobs died “penniless” in a London hospice. The lawsuit further alleges that Rowling copied a considerable amount of material from Jacobs’ book.
Bloomsbury’s Reaction to the Law Suit
In June of 2009 Bloomsbury stated that the allegation that Rowling plagiarized Jacobs’ work is “unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue.” They further claim the she has never read The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No. 1 Livid Land, nor has she ever heard of Adrian Jacobs (before the initial accusation).
Although the lawsuit claims Rowling stole substantial amounts of content from Jacobs’ book, Bloomsbury stated that “The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard.” The publisher plans to “vigorously defend” their client.
Rowling Reaction to the Law Suit
Rowling, who has been accused of plagiarism before, has stated “I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry. The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author’s estate in 2004; I have certainly never read the book.”