Did J.K. Rowling Steal Ideas for ‘Harry Potter’ From a 1986 B-Movie?

Troll vs. Harry Potter
Empire Pictures/Everett Collection and Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

Every week, it seems as if there is a new remake, sequel, reboot or biopic in the works and it makes some people moan about how there are no original ideas in Hollywood anymore. One might argue that one of the best original ideas is the Harry Potter franchise, which started as a series of books and was made into movies and soon will be made into a series. But, some say that it wasn’t as original as one might think and believe that Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling (who has her own series of controversial opinions) stole ideas from the 1986 film Troll.

Troll US poster, 1986

Empire Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

The 1980s B-movie, Troll follows a young lad named Harry Potter Jr., played by The Neverending Story star Noah Hathaway. Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, June Lockhart, Sonny Bono and Shelley Hack also appear in the film. There are several similarities besides the name as both stories feature witches, wizards and even an evil villain who hides as someone close to Harry. Some say that the character Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series is very reminiscent of the main witch in Troll and some other little things appear to be the same including some of the magic creatures.

Troll Noah Hathaway, Michael Moriarty, Jenny Beck, Shelley Hack, 1986

Empire Pictures/Everett Collection

While fans of both movies are quick to find similarities, apparently the filmmakers behind Troll noticed too. Back in 2015, filmmakers hired an attorney (the infamous Tom Girardi!), just in case Warner Bros. tried to come after them, as they were working on a new movie called Troll: The Rise of Harry Potter Jr. The movie ultimately never got made after director John Carl Buechler died.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Daniel Radcliffe, 2001

Everett Collection

Have you ever seen Troll? If not, you can watch it here. Let us know if you think Rowling stole ideas from the film or came up with them on her own!

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