Harry Potter Vs The Worst Witch

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I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. It’s my favorite series of all time, it’s what started my love of reading. A few years ago, I discovered Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch series and I noticed similarities. Now that The Worst Witch has been re-done for Netflix, I’m thinking about it again. I recently read the first 3 Worst Witch books and ended up loving them, though, not as much as Harry Potter. Still, the similarities are there.

  • Both have 7 books in the series.
  • Magical castle boarding schools
  • Students are divided into houses, each with a different color.
  • Horrible, hateful, hook nosed potions teacher.
  • Who happens to hate the protagonist. (Professor Snape for Harry and Miss Hardbroom for Mildred)
  • And adores the Protagonist archenemy. (Harry/Draco and Mildred/Ethel)
  • Both enemies (Draco and Ethel) are blonde and snobbish.
  • Both have old, kind Headmasters (Miss Cackle for Mildred and Dumbledore for Harry)
  • Both have broom stick lessons in much the same fashion in their first year at school.
  • Both Harry and Mildred seem to get into a lot of accidental trouble.
  • Both start out with one bestie but end up as a group of Three. (Harry/Ron/Hermione and Mildred/Maud/Enid)
  • Both protagonist usually end up saving the day for school.
  • Both eat meals and have lectures in the great hall, while the teachers/staff sit at a long table at the head of the hall facing the students.

The Worst Witch was published in 1974 by Jill Murphy and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling didn’t arrive until years later, in June of 1997. I’m not saying that Harry Potter was plagiarized, it clearly is a story all of it’s own, but the similarities are too much to ignore. J.K. Rowling hasn’t even cited The Worst Witch as one of her influences. It could just be a hive mind thing, but more than likely it’s that the similarities are all stereotypical for English schools, witches and childrens books.

Here is another article that talks about the similarities between the movies. What do you think is happening here? Are there more similarities that I missed? Let me know what you think of these books and if you’ve read them both!

7 comments

  1. I haven’t read any of The Worst Witch books so I don’t feel that I could make any sort of commentary on it, but there are a great number of writers and creatives out there who are quite fond of saying that pretty much every story we take in now is just a recycled form of a story from before. We take ideas and concepts from a myriad of sources and blend them together into something else in the hopes that it will be good and entertain others.

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    • That is a very good point! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Also you should read the Worst Witch if you ever get the chance, it’s pretty cute. It’s definitely more of a childrens book than Harry Potter though.

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      • Good to know! I shall add it to my TBR, especially since I like to feature Middle Grade books on my blog too. Every March I host Middle Grade March and try to post more MG reads/recommendations/etc then.

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  2. Harry Potter is almost identical to the worst witch! I much prefer Harry Potter but they are very similar so I am not surprised I actually enjoy the worst witch tv series! I can think of some more similarities as well as the great ones you listed. Thanks for the info Zane reads!

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  3. I do believe there was a trial but she got off. It is clearly plagerised. In addition to all the things you mentioned the same spells are used . Maude’s glasses repaired and the levitation spell is featured . It’s endless. Im crushed.

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  4. Oooh where do I begin? Agatha is Voldemort’s counterpart, Maud is like a morphing of Ron and Hermione, the prejudice against muggle-born/mud-blood and “non witching families” is right in your face. Wormwood Academy is just Azkaban for minors. Pippa Pentagle could be Delores Umbridge’s counterpart in that she always wore pink and was almost going to run Cackle’s Academy. The only difference is that Miss Pentangle is one of the nicest adults in the show. THEN we have suspicious teachers who sometimes are already on the staff and get kicked out (the red headed lady who was in cahoots with Agatha) or are brought in before being vetted (such as Miss Mould, even though she redeemed herself before anything got ugly).

    Key differences are that Enid is all her own character, Ethel has siblings whereas Draco is an only child, Mildred and Ethel actually make amends and become friends in the end, Ethel is quite intelligent and gifted (albeit mean and self centered) while Draco is just a magical bully.

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