First, Rowling was sued by Nancy Stouffer in 1999, author of the children’s fantasy series The Legend of Rah and the Muggles. Stouffer claimed that Rowling stole the word “muggle,” which refers to non-magical humans in Harry Potter, and to a race of mutated humans in The Legend of Rah. Stouffer also claimed that the name of our hero was taken from a series of activity books titled Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly. Obviously, there are some similarities here (Larry Potter sounds like a parody name!), but the court found that this was not enough to infringe copyright.
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Another author, Adrian Jacobs (or more accurately, his estate) also claimed that Rowling had copied parts of his work titled The Adventures of Willy The Wizard: Livid Land. The short children’s book, Willy The Wizard does have some similarities to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: they are both about magical tournaments involving a water-rescue round. Rowling claimed that she wasn’t aware of the earlier work, and the case was found in her favor.
Finally, Rowling and WB were taken to court over the inclusion of a band called “The Weird Sisters”, when Canadian band “The Wyrd Sisters” refused to allow them the rights to their name. Making Rowling’s record a straight three-for-three, the suit was dismissed out of court.
12. Tom Riddle’s Name Was Taken From A Real-Life Gravestone
It seems that Rowling included some more names in the books that were borrowed from real life. She admits that several characters monikers were inspired by streets and landmarks in Edinburgh, including the famous Greyfriars Kirkyard where two tombstones read “Thomas Riddell” and “William McGonagall.” Presumably, Rowling was hanging out in the cemetery after dark to practice black magic, which enabled her to find fame and fortune with the Harry Potter franchise.
Fans believe that these stones were the inspiration for the names of Voldemort (Tom Riddle) and Professor Minerva McGonagall, and flock to the graves to leave tributes of flowers and notes.