16 Books That Inspired J.K. Rowling to Write Harry Potter

Posted by Hayley on May 20, 2015
J.K. Rowling may be a Muggle (as far as we know), but she creates magic with the written word. Instead of a wand, she wields a pen, and in place of a Hogwarts education, she has years of voracious reading under her belt.

We've collected a list of books the beloved Harry Potter author has said inspired her as a child and as an adult. How many have you read?

I Capture the Castle
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I Manxmouse
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The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
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The Iliad
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Emma
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The Wind in the Willows
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The Sword in the Stone
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The Enchanted Castle
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Do you and Rowling have similar reading tastes? Let us know in the comments! And discover more magical adventures on Listopia: What to Read After Harry Potter.

Comments Showing 1-50 of 116 (116 new)


message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows).


message 2: by Callie (new)

Callie (The Book Bunny) I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable.


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie I feel like Roald Dahl must have been an influence, as well. A lot of Harry Potter feels very Dahl-ish to me, especially the Dursleys and living under the stairs.


message 4: by KimeyDiann (new)

KimeyDiann Callie wrote: "I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable."

I agree with this completely! I'm reading LOTR for the first time and I see lots of similarities between the two series.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda Rowling read MacBeth as a child?! I'm impressed.


message 6: by Maya (new)

Maya Julie wrote: "I feel like Roald Dahl must have been an influence, as well. A lot of Harry Potter feels very Dahl-ish to me, especially the Dursleys and living under the stairs."

I agree!!


message 7: by Mariantonela (new)

Mariantonela Emma? Really?


message 8: by Chebionne (new)

Chebionne Where's charlie bone on this list? I feel as though charlie bone and harry potter could almost be brothers!


message 9: by Johnie (last edited May 20, 2015 08:45AM) (new)

Johnie Greenlight-Effect Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows)."

Harry Does Not Die!!!!! I would know I have watched EVERY single movie And read EVERY single book too!
And also Aslan comes back thanks to The Deep Deep Magic Deeper than The Deep magic


message 10: by Remy (new)

Remy Blas Callie wrote: "I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable."

Agree. That's the first thing I thought when I saw this.


message 11: by Moloch (new)

Moloch Unpopular opinion: these blog posts are more or less interesting, but... it's (almost) always the same books: HP, Jane Austen, Tolkien, maybe To Kill a Mockingbird etc. I have NOTHING against any of them, in fact I plan to read some of them, but I'd like more diversity, please


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Johnie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows)."
...

I never said either of them died.



message 13: by Remy (new)

Remy Blas Michelle wrote: "Johnie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deat..."

Don't feed the troll.


message 14: by D.G. (new)

D.G. Moloch wrote: "Unpopular opinion: these blog posts are more or less interesting, but... it's (almost) always the same books: HP, Jane Austen, Tolkien, maybe To Kill a Mockingbird etc. I have NOTHING against any o..."

LOL, Moloch. I mentioned a similar thing in the comments of the last blog post. I think I've seen HP & Jane Austen mention on them all!


message 15: by D.G. (new)

D.G. Julie wrote: "I feel like Roald Dahl must have been an influence, as well. A lot of Harry Potter feels very Dahl-ish to me, especially the Dursleys and living under the stairs."

Very true!


message 16: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Deckinga Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows)."

I thought the same thing!


message 17: by Francesco (new)

Francesco Zullo I think Neil Gaiman's the books of magic, must be added to this list, is a graphic novel but the main character IS Harry Potter Neil GaimanThe Books of Magic


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian The Books of Magic should be in here, since Harry Potter's image and occupation are directly taken from Timothy Hunter


message 19: by Dani (new)

Dani Baxter Johnie wrote: Harry Does Not Die!!!!! I would know I have watched EVERY single movie And read EVERY single book too!
And also Aslan comes back thanks to The Deep Deep Magic Deeper than The Deep magic


He definitely dies a little bit.


message 20: by Deuce (new)

Deuce Naftel I was surprised not to see The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, and its attendant sequels. It so reminds me of the HP books. I thought for sure JK must have read them as a child.


message 21: by Louise (new)

Louise It was never great literature but I am sure she must have read some enid blyton books as a girl. All English girls who lived to read did. The mallory towers series especially seemed in someways like a less magical hogwarts for girls.


message 22: by Sauron (new)

Sauron I'm surprised not to see Ender's Game. The similarities are almost obvious


message 23: by Kristy (new)

Kristy Miller Linda wrote: "Rowling read MacBeth as a child?! I'm impressed."

Reading Shakespeare as a child isn't normal?


message 24: by Larissa (new)

Larissa Callie wrote: "I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable."

pardon my ignorance, how so?


message 25: by Kristin (new)

Kristin I have to say that I am surprised that The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 is not on this list. I thought for sure that she had to have been influenced by Diana Wynne Jones.


message 26: by Ruth Wilson (new)

Ruth Wilson Or Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin.
A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin


message 27: by Louie (new)

Louie Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows)."

Of course, they're similar - they're both based on the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ.


message 28: by Roxana (new)

Roxana Simonet Johnie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows)."
..."


Calm down! Michelle put quotation marks around "killings". And congrats on reading all of the books and watching all of the movies- I'm sure Michelle also did, just as I did and most of the other people on this page did.


message 29: by Roxana (new)

Roxana Simonet Louie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Not surprised to see The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list. I have always thought there were similarities between the "killings" of Aslan and Harry (Deathly Hallows)."
..."


That's really interesting! I knew Aslan's death was based on Christ's, but I didn't Harry's was too, although it makes sense.


message 30: by Roxana (new)

Roxana Simonet Dani wrote: "Johnie wrote: Harry Does Not Die!!!!! I would know I have watched EVERY single movie And read EVERY single book too!
And also Aslan comes back thanks to The Deep Deep Magic Deeper than The Deep mag..."


I think he dies for a moment too! That whole conversation with Dumbledore happens in like a split second, and I think he's dead for that moment, if not in the middle of life and death- so dead, basically.


message 31: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca She also seems to have taken a lot of lore from Lancashire and the Pendle Witches.


message 32: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Draganov Narnia and the Illiad - both great works


message 33: by Nour (new)

Nour Sharif In tales of beedle the bard J.K. Rowling clearly states that she is a muggle born wizard, so your first statement is wrong :D


message 34: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Douglass I am sure these are a small sampling of the books that influenced Rowling. She has always struck me as very well read.


message 35: by Scott (new)

Scott The Once and Future King should be on here--Neil Gaiman said all the similarities between Harry Potter and Tim Hunter are commonalities with this book.


message 36: by Dracula (last edited May 20, 2015 12:13PM) (new)

Dracula Raupe I have collect of J.K. Rowling but I haven't read all yet. Because there are 5th book and I want to look for 1st book, if I find it then start to read the book. Also I collect of Harry Potter, but I have 4th book, I keep look for 1st book to start to read the book.I collect C.S. Lewis, I have 2nd book but keep look 1st book to start the book. I Don't like jump other book. LOL I like to begin the 1st book follow the books. :) I have collect those books of authors.


message 37: by Mia (new)

Mia Faith This is the first Goodreads list that I've found to be inaccessible with a screenreader. The only book title that actually shows up for me is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. How sad.


message 38: by Beccie (new)

Beccie Eva Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13 is so similar to Harry Potter that I'm surprised there was no lawsuit.


message 39: by Callie (new)

Callie (The Book Bunny) Lara wrote: "Callie wrote: "I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable."

pardon my ignorance, how so?"


Harry's quest to destroy Voldemort's horcruxes is very similar to Frodo's quest to destroy the ring. Both have a profound effect on the wearer; shifting their personality and making them feel weak/tired. Both of the main forces of evil (Sauron and Voldemort) are destroyed when these items are destroyed as well. Also, both feature giant spiders and wise, old wizard guides that sacrifice themselves for the protagonist.


message 40: by Ben (new)

Ben Simon Chebionne wrote: "Where's charlie bone on this list? I feel as though charlie bone and harry potter could almost be brothers!"

Charlie Bone is inspired by Harry Potter, not vice versa. The first Charlie Bone book came out in 2002, five years after The Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone.


message 41: by Ben (new)

Ben Simon Julie wrote: "I feel like Roald Dahl must have been an influence, as well. A lot of Harry Potter feels very Dahl-ish to me, especially the Dursleys and living under the stairs."

Umbridge is also very much like the Trunchbull from Matilda.


message 42: by Ben (new)

Ben Simon Linda wrote: "Rowling read MacBeth as a child?! I'm impressed."

It says that she read some of them as a child and some as an adult.


message 43: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Linda wrote: "Rowling read MacBeth as a child?! I'm impressed."

"We've collected a list of books the beloved Harry Potter author has said inspired her as a child and as an adult."
The list also includes books she has read as an adult.


message 44: by Ann (new)

Ann Callie wrote: "I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable."

YES,


message 45: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Linda wrote: "Rowling read MacBeth as a child?! I'm impressed."

she may have read it as an adult..


message 46: by Grace (new)

Grace I definitely thought Roald Dahl would be on here. The first book especially reads like Dahl's children's books (orphan, horrible caretakers, living under the stairs, only friends are spiders.) I even thought as much when I read them as a kid.


message 47: by Larissa (new)

Larissa Callie wrote: "Lara wrote: "Callie wrote: "I don't think this list can really be complete without the inclusion of the Lord of the Rings series. It's influence in Harry Potter is unmistakable."

pardon my ignoran..."

I had never thought of the similarities between Frodo's quest and Harry's. Old wizard and spiders were easy enough to spot. Thank you!


message 48: by Sue (new)

Sue Mariantonella wrote: "Emma? Really?"
I thought the same thing


message 49: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante Linda wrote: "Rowling read MacBeth as a child?! I'm impressed."

It was Julius Caesar that first turned me on to reading The Bard. I was 7. I was 9 when I read King Leare.

I believe I was 12 when I first read The Scottish Play, and 14 when I read Shakespeare's histories for school. It's not unheard of.


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