Ursula K. Le Guin on JKR and Harry Potter:Harry Potter combines so many existing tropes and ideas from folklore and other works of fiction, there's very little that's original other than how it's all combined. JKR is really good at ripping off or syncretizing other works, depending on how generous you're being, into an accessible whole. If something feels familiar to the world of Harry Potter, chances are it first appeared elsewhere.
“When so many adult critics were carrying on about the ‘incredible originality’ of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled. It seemed a lively kid’s fantasy crossed with a ‘school novel’, good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited.”
"I didn't feel she [Rowling] ripped me off, as some people did though she could have been more gracious about her predecessors. My incredulity was at the critics who found the first book wonderfully original. She has many virtues, but originality isn't one of them. That hurt."