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13 Brazen Harry Potter Knock-Offs From Around the World

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If J.K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books left you hungry for more Hogwarts, you’re not alone. Fortunately, a whole bunch of totally unauthorized Potter novels have been published in other countries. To give you a taste of the kind of quality reads available to Potter fiends, here are the plot summaries of a few brazen knock-offs.

1. Harry Potter and the Leopard-Walk-Up-To Dragon (China)

This book manages to rip off two best-selling franchises. After getting caught in a sweet and sour rain, Harry turns into a fat, hairy dwarf. To recapture his magical powers, he teams up with an old wizard named Gandalf to find a mystical ring, kicking some serious dragon butt along the way. Essentially, the anonymous author took a bunch of scenes from The Hobbit and swapped in Harry Potter and his friends for Tolkien’s characters.

Here’s the first paragraph, as translated by Young-0:

Harry did not know how long this bath would take, when he would finally scrub off that oily, sticky layer of cake icing. For someone who had grown into a cultured, polite young man, a layer of sticky filth really made him feel sick. He lay in the high quality porcelain tub ceaselessly wiping his face. In his thoughts there was nothing but Dudley's fat face, fat as his Aunt Petunia's fat rear end.

2. Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll (China)

Harry heads to Asia after learning that Voldemort is attempting to persuade his Chinese arch-enemy/protégé Yandomort to attack the Western wizarding world. There’s only one thing that can stop the dynamic duo: a porcelain doll. While en route to China, Harry runs into Long Long and Xing Xing — two Chinese circus members. As it turns out, Yandomort used to work for a circus under the name Naughty Bubble. When Voldemort murdered Naughty’s mother (Big Spinach), he also took the boy under his wing and taught him black magic.

3. Harry Potter and the Big Funnel (China)

Life at the Dursley house turns awkward when Dudley starts dating a belly dancer. Harry, who has just graduated from Hogwarts, accepts an internship position at another wizarding school. The job starts out okay – until his students start turning into wooden stools left and right. Harry is understandably confused and sets out to solve the mystery. He’s got four primary suspects: an evil student, Hagrid, Voldemort, and The Filler of Big (the big funnel). While we haven’t read the book, it's safe to assume that the funnel is the culprit.

4. Tanya Grotter and the Magical Double Bass (Russia)

Harry’s Slavic twin rides a double bass instead of a broomstick and has a large mole on her nose instead of a lightning bolt on her forehead. Other than that, she bears a striking resemblance to our favorite boy wizard -- she lives in a cupboard in the home of her relatives, the Durnevs, after her parents are killed by the evil sorceress Chuma-del-Tort.

5. Tayna Grotter and the Golden Leech (Russia)

Grotter takes on Hurry Pooper (seriously) in the World Dragonball Championship. While trying to catch the snitch, they crash and accidentally create an alternate timeline in which the evil Chuma-del-Tort has won control of the wizarding world. In this dystopian land, characters speak the Russian equivalent of Orwellian Newspeak. To make things go back to normal, Tanya must defeat the Golden Leech – which may or may not symbolize American capitalism.

6. Harry Potter in Calcutta (India)

After finishing his first year at Hogwarts, Harry hops on his Nimbus 2000 and zooms halfway across the world to Calcutta. He meets a young boy named Junto, and the two kids meet up with characters from classic Bengali literature. Legal pressure from Rowling and her publishers kept this book off the shelves.

7. Harry Potter and the Water-Repelling Pearl (China)

Harry teams up with Gandalf again (plus some guy named Peter and a team of little warriors) to find a sea city in the desert. They pass through a magical keyhole into a mysterious land, where they battle monsters and come out on top. But when he returns from his victory lap, Harry learns that Hermione’s been kidnapped by the Dragon King. To rescue her, Harry must break into the Dragon Palace using the magical waterproof pearl.

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Relative Prince (China)

Surprisingly, this novel bears very little resemblance to its namesake. In the book, Harry decides that Hogwarts isn’t rigorous enough and transfers to the top wizarding school in Asia – Qroutes School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But while there, Harry turns to the dark side and becomes evil. In the end, his peers band together to take him down, giving him a good beating in the process.

9. Porri Gatter and the Stone Philosopher (Belarus)

In this Belarusian spoof, the magical wizard boy we know and love takes a turn for the badass. Porri Gatter rides a motorcycle instead of a broomstick and carries a grenade launcher instead of a wand.

10. Harry Potter and the Chinese Overseas Students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (China)

Voldemort’s getting stronger, so Dumbledore decides to bring in a little mental muscle to keep Hogwarts safe. He recruits six Chinese students -- all of whom are super-geniuses with incredible work ethic -- to help whip his pupils into shape. The transfers inspire Hogwarts students to stand up to Voldemort when he launches a full-scale attack with his posse of dementors, werewolves, giants, and Death Eaters in tow.

11. Harry Potter and the Showdown (China)

Following Dumbledore’s death, McGonagall and Slughorn reopen Hogwarts. Cho Chang introduces the school to a book of Asian spells called 36 Strategies to help them defeat Snape (who remains evil in this alternate ending). In a wild turn of events, McGonagall is assassinated by the sword of Gryffindor. Harry confronts Voldemort at Azkaban and kills him. The conclusion’s a real cliffhanger: Harry is stuck in an unresolved love triangle.

Bonus: Two that are only sort of serious:

12. Harry Pórrez and the Mystery of the Holy Grail (Latin America)
This is the first in a four-part Spanish language comic book series. The story chronicles an 11-year-old boy and his friends Ron and Hermania in their attempt to take down the evil Condemort. The author, Bernardo Vera, admitted that it’s just a totally shameless knockoff of Harry Potter – dressed up with “unnecessarily dramatic” transitions between chapters. Subsequent titles include Harry Pórrez and the Prisoner of Alacrán, Harry Pórrez and the Trophy of Fire and Harry Pórrez and the Ace in the Condemort's Hole.

13. Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone (Canada)
Harry enrolls at Hempwards School of Witchcraft and Weedery after being rescued from the banality of everyday life by a biker dude. While there, he learns how to use a magical glass bong and discovers a remarkable talent for the sport Qannabbi. This Canadian spoof is basically Harry Potter meets Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The book’s author, Dana Larsen, was running for office in Canada when the book was published and believed it would win him support. No, he wasn’t trying to recruit young voters: Larsen is a founding member of the single-issue Marijuana Party that fights to repeal cannabis prohibition.

Thanks to the New York Times for translating and providing plot summaries for several of these books back in 2007.

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Kyle Ely
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Dedicated Middle School Teacher Transforms His Classroom Into Hogwarts
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Kyle Ely

It would be hard to dread back-to-school season with Kyle Ely as your teacher. As ABC News reports, the instructor brought a piece of Hogwarts to Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon by plastering his classroom with Harry Potter-themed decor.

The journey into the school's makeshift wizarding world started at his door, which was decorated with red brick wall paper and a "Platform 9 3/4" sign above the entrance. Inside, students found a convincing Hogwarts classroom complete with floating candles, a sorting hat, owl statues, and house crests. He even managed to recreate the starry night sky effect of the school’s Great Hall by covering the ceiling with black garbage bags and splattering them with white paint.

The whole project cost the teacher around $300 to $400 and took him 70 hours to build. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, he said that being able to share his love of the book series with his students made it all pay off it. He wrote in a Facebook post, "Seeing their faces light up made all the time and effort put into this totally worth it."

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Though wildly creative, the Hogwarts-themed classroom at Evergreen Middle School isn't the first of its kind. Back in 2015, a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City outfitted her classroom with a potions station and a stuffed version of Fluffy to make the new school year a little more magical. Here are some more unique classroom themes teachers have used to transport their kids without leaving school.

[h/t ABC News]

Images courtesy of Kyle Ely.

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How the Rise of Paperback Books Turned To Kill a Mockingbird Into a Literary Classic
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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

If you went to middle or high school in the U.S. in the last few decades, chances are you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's now-classic novel (which was adapted into a now-classic film) about racial injustice in the South. Even if you grew up far-removed from Jim Crow laws, you probably still understand its significance; in 2006, British librarians voted it the one book every adult should read before they die. And yet the novel, while considered an instant success, wasn’t always destined for its immense fame, as we learned from the Vox video series Overrated. In fact, its status in the American literary canon has a lot to do with the format in which it was printed.

To Kill a Mockingbird came out in paperback at a time when literary houses were just starting to invest in the format. After its publication in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was reviewed favorably in The New York Times, but it wasn’t the bestselling novel that year. It was the evolution of paperbacks that helped put it into more hands.

Prior to the 1960s, paperbacks were often kind of trashy, and when literary novels were published in the format, they still featured what Vox calls “sexy covers,” like a softcover edition of The Great Gatsby that featured a shirtless Jay Gatsby on the cover. According to a 1961 article in The New York Times, back in the 1950s, paperbacks were described as “a showcase for the ‘three S’s—sex, sadism, and the smoking gun.’” But then, paperbacks came to schools.

The mass-market paperback for To Kill a Mockingbird came out in 1962. It was cheap, but had stellar credentials, which appealed to teachers. It was a popular, well-reviewed book that earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, it was in virtually every school and, even half a century later, it still is.

Learn the whole story in the video below from Vox.

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