Similarities must be magic

Have you ever heard of a popular and award-winning fantasy franchise that features a young dark haired sorcerer?

Have you ever heard of a popular and award-winning fantasy franchise that features a young dark haired sorcerer, a prodigy at a wizard’s school, who has trials and tribulations learning the art of sorcery, gets a scar on his face and survives in a world of mythical beasts on his way to becoming a great wizard?

Then you’ve heard of the Earthsea Trilogy written by famed science fiction author Ursula K. LeGuin. The trilogy, consisting of A Wizard of Earthsea, the Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore (which won a national book award in 1973), feature the exploits of the wizard Sparrowhawk. They were published in the early 1970’s.

What’s that? You thought I was referring to another series of books about a dark haired boy attending a wizard’s school? Boy wizard Harry Potter has become a global phenomenon since his first adventure was published in the late 1990’s.

Harry Potter’s famous author, J.K. Rowling, is an interesting person, regardless of your opinion of her work. First publishing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the late 1990’s, single-mom-turned-fantasy-author Rowling saw her Potter franchise explode around the world. It’s now a multi-media franchise including a plethora of novels, movies, companion books, artwork, video games, t-shirts, lunchboxes and much, much more.

Rowling herself has faced numerous lawsuits since her famous creation’s debut. The lawsuits claimed that Rowling plagiarized her dark haired boy in a wizard school idea, and many other ideas, from other authors. As far as I can see her work does have deep similarities to other authors works, including LeGuin’s Earthsea trilogy. In fairness, it should be noted every lawsuit filed against Rowling and her famous creation has been thrown out; a number of Rowling defenders state that the lawsuits were simply an attempt to extort money from a very famous and wealthy person. Happens all the time. Oprah Winfrey has stated in the past she regularly gets requests from strangers for $50,000.

But it’s difficult to dismiss entirely the similarity Potter has to other literary creations, especially LeGuin’s that were published about 25 years beforehand. LeGuin herself, who also won the coveted Nebula Award for her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness, has commented on the fact she feels Rowling got a few too many pats on the back for “originality” in the Potter books, quoted in Dec., 2005 in the Guardian Unlimited that Rowling “could have been more gracious about her predecessors. My incredulity was at the critics who found the first book wonderfully original. (Rowling) has many virtues, but originality isn’t one of them.”

The issue came to mind again earlier this month with the passing of actor Alan Rickman; a lot of people apparently know him from the Harry Potter movies, although we dinosaurs from the 80’s know him as Hans Gruber, terrorist from the first Die Hard movie.

There’s a false quote circulating on the internet claiming Rickman loved the Harry Potter books so much he looked forward to reading them at 80 years old to his grandkids. Rickman did not, in fact, say that; it’s been revealed that an obsessed Harry Potter fan on Facebook invented the entire thing. As a humorous aside, there’s now an illustration also circulating on the internet that includes a photo of Rickman and the text, “I never said that.” Maybe if the reading-to-the-grandkids quote is repeated enough times, it will cast a spell to make it reality.

Interested in reading more about the similarities between Potter and the Earthsea trilogy? If you’re internet-equipped, do a Google search for “similarities between Harry Potter and Earthsea.” There’s plenty to read.

Stu Salkeld is the new editor of the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.

 

Just Posted

Robbery report at outlet mall turns out to be fake: police

Leduc RCMP respond to weapons complaint at premium outlet collection mall

Road allowance agreement approved by county council Aug. 7

Road allowance lease also affects access for other resident

Suspect in Wetaskiwin trunk kidnapping arrested

Ponoka RCMP seek arrest warrants for suspects of armed robbery as well

Man attempts to stop fight in Wetaskiwin, gets stabbed: RCMP

Wetaskiwin RCMP looking for two suspects involved in assault with a weapon

Bonus RCMP officer for Breton region courtesy County of Wetaskiwin

Councilors examine details of enhanced RCMP officer for far-west side of county

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on customer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Most Read