"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
comes out June 21, 2003, which is in:


"The Worst Witch" vs. "Harry Potter"

Bits and pieces of "Harry Potter," the increasingly popular book series by JK Rowling, have been borrowed from many places. I'm not at all asserting that the books are works of plagiarism, for overall, the stories are very original, and I enjoy them. However, I found the most striking similarities between "Hary Potter" and "The Worst Witch," a series of books by Jill Murphy. Murphy wrote the first "The Worst Witch" novel in 1974 at the age of 18. This book was made into a 1986 TV movie, that was one of my childhood favorites for many years--okay, it still is.

"The Worst Witch" is the story of Mildred Hubble and her adventures at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches," which Murphy based on own school, along with a little imagination. A pointed hat was added to her original school uniform, and spelling class actually became SPELLing class. Miss Cackle's Academy For Witches may have been founded in 1504, over 500 years after Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded, however, the first book "The Worst Witch" was written almost 20 years before the first Potter book, and the movie was made 15 years before "Harry Potter" hit the screen. I was there. I remember.

"Harry Potter" fans, know your roots read these startling parallels between "Harry Potter" and "The Worst Witch."

First--an exerpt from "The Worst Witch," by Jill Murphy (1974)

"Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches stood at the top of a high mountain surrounded by a pine forest. It looked more like a prison than a school, with its gloomy grey walls and turrets. Sometimes you could see the pupils on their broomsticks flitting like bats above the playground wall, but usually the place was half hidden in mist, so that if you glanced up at the mountain you would probably not notice the building was there at all."

"Mildred Hubble was in her first year at the school. She was one of those people who always seem to be in trouble. She didn't exactly mean to break rules and annoy the teachers, but things just seemed to happen whenever she was around. You could rely on Mildred to have her bootlaces trailing along the floor. She couldn't walk from one end of a corridor to the other without someone yelling at her, and nearly every night she was writing lines or being kept in (not that there was anywhere to go if you were allowed out). Anyway, she had lots of friends, even if they did keep their distance in the potion laboratory, and her best friend Maud stayed loyally by through everything, however hair-raisng."

Now, the characters:

"The Hero"




Harry Potter vs. Mildred Hubble

Mildred Hubble, the worst witch, untidy hair and all.

"My stylist said it was an original!"

Unruly hair isn't the only thing these kids have in common. They both:

- go to magical schools, where they made enemies with the rich, arrogant, blonde kid on the first day

- have a penchant for breaking the rules and getting away with it

- fall ass-backwards into situations in which they save the lives of their fellow students and teachers

- are more powerful than they give themselves credit for

- are brave and persevering

- have special relationships with their pets (Mildred's cat, Tabby, and Harry's owl, Hedwig)

"The Rival"

Draco Malfoy vs. Ethel Hallow

These two were made for each other.

Draco Malfoy:

- Arrogant blonde

- Loves to torture Harry

- From a prominent wizarding family

- Father heads the school's Board of Governors

- Favored by Professor Snape

- Gets high marks in Potions

- Once turned into a ferret by a teacher

Ethel Hallow:

- Arrogant blonde

- Loves to torture Mildred

- From a prominent witch family

- Father heads the school's Board of Governors

- Favored by Miss Hardbroom

- Gets high marks in Potions

- Once turned into a pig by Mildred

"The Best Friend(s)"

Ron and Hermione vs. Maud

Maud Moonshine (called Maud Warlock in the movie) is Mildred's loyal best friend, with whom she gets into trouble at Miss Cackle's. Maud is Ron and Hermione in one. Like Hermione, she is very booksmart. And like Ron, she comes from an old witching family, but not as prestigious as some. Also like Ron, she has had a few siblings before her go through Miss Cackle's Academy. In this picture, Maud and Mildred accidentally turned themselves invisible in the potions lab.

"The Scary Teacher"

Severus Snape vs. Constance Hardbroom

With maybe the exception of Draco and Ethel, these two have the most in common. Professor Snape's counterpart in "The Worst Witch" is Miss Hardbroom.

Professor Snape:

- Most feared teacher at Hogwarts

- Teaches Potions class

- Hates Harry

- Tall, thin, and imposing

- Head to toe in black

- Disapproving glare

- Audra loves him.

- Portrayed by Alan Rickman, one of the coolest people on the planet.

Miss Hardbroom:

- Most feared teacher at Cackle's

- Teaches Potions class

- Hates Mildred

- Tall, thin, and imposing

- Head to toe in black

- Disapproving glare

- Audra loves her.

- Portrayed by Diana Riggs, one of the coolest people on the planet (Mrs. Peel from "The Avengers"!)

The Principal (is your pal, remember?)

Amelia Cackle vs. Albus Dumbledore

Miss Cackle*:

- Grey-haired bespectacled benevolent headmistress

- Friend and advisor to Mildred

- Has helped Mildred out of trouble

- Sorts out disagreements between staff and pupils

- Addicted to sweets, especially cream buns

Professor Dumbledore:

- White-haired bespectacled benevolent headmaster

- Friend and advisor to Harry

- Has helped Harry out of trouble

- Sorts out disagreements between staff and pupils

- Addicted to sweets, especially lemon drops

* Miss Cackle has an evil twin sister, Agatha, who is plotting to take over the school so that she can teach dark magic to the students. In the movie, Agatha, her henchwoman, Delilah, and the rest of her follwers set up camp in the forest just beyond the school--a forest that is FORBIDDEN to Cackle students.

Broom-flying Lessons

The students at Miss Cackle's Academy take flying lessons on their brooms in the courtyard. I believe the teacher's name from the movie that is pictured here is Miss Spellbinder.

And here are the Hogwarts students in their courtyard taking their first flying lesson with Madame Hooch

"The Visiting Celebrity"

The Grand Wizard vs. Gilderoy Lockheart

The Grand Wizard is the closest thing "The Worst Witch" has to a Gilderoy Lockheart. He makes all the witches swoon. Even Miss Hardbroom melts a little. But the Grand Wizard is a hundred times cooler than Lockheart because The Grand Wizard is Tim Curry!

The Grand Wizard:

It takes a real man to pull off a pink cape and a bat tie.

Gilderoy Lockheart:

Also fond of pastels


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("The Worst Witch" movie pictures on this page were scanned by Matt for his very amusing "The Worst Witch" movie review at http://www.x-entertainment.com/messages/434.html.

"The Worst Witch" book pictures came from http://worst_witch.tripod.com/index.html.)



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