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13 Brazen Harry Potter Knock-Offs From Around the World

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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15 Powerful Quotes From Margaret Atwood
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MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

It turns out the woman behind such eerily prescient novels as The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake is just as wise as her tales are haunting. Here are 15 of the most profound quips from author, activist, and Twitter enthusiast Margaret Atwood, who was born on this day in 1939.

1. On her personal philosophy

 “Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

2. On the reality of being female

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

3. On limiting how her politics influence her characters

“You know the myth: Everybody had to fit into Procrustes’ bed and if they didn’t, he either stretched them or cut off their feet. I’m not interested in cutting the feet off my characters or stretching them to make them fit my certain point of view.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

4. On so-called “pretty” works of literature

“I don’t know whether there are any really pretty novels … All of the motives a human being may have, which are mixed, that’s the novelists’ material. … We like to think of ourselves as really, really good people. But look in the mirror. Really look. Look at your own mixed motives. And then multiply that.”

— From a 2010 interview with The Progressive

5. On the artist’s relationship with her fans

“The artist doesn’t necessarily communicate. The artist evokes … [It] actually doesn’t matter what I feel. What matters is how the art makes you feel.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

6. On the challenges of writing non-fiction

“When I was young I believed that ‘nonfiction’ meant ‘true.’ But you read a history written in, say, 1920 and a history of the same events written in 1995 and they’re very different. There may not be one Truth—there may be several truths—but saying that is not to say that reality doesn’t exist.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

7. On poetry

“The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

8. On being labeled an icon

“All these things set a standard of behavior that you don’t necessarily wish to live up to. If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

9. On how we’re all born writers

“[Everyone] ‘writes’ in a way; that is, each person has a ‘story’—a personal narrative—which is constantly being replayed, revised, taken apart and put together again. The significant points in this narrative change as a person ages—what may have been tragedy at 20 is seen as comedy or nostalgia at 40.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

10. On the oppression at the center of The Handmaid's Tale

“Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here. Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.” 

— From a 2015 lecture to West Point cadets

11. On the discord between men and women

“‘Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine. … ‘They’re afraid women will laugh at them,’ he said. ‘Undercut their world view.’ … Then I asked some women students in a poetry seminar I was giving, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ‘They’re afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

— From Atwood’s Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982

12. On the challenges of expressing oneself

“All writers feel struck by the limitations of language. All serious writers.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

13. On selfies

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

14. On the value of popular kids' series (à la Harry Potter and Percy Jackson)

"It put a lot of kids onto reading; it made reading cool. I’m sure a lot of later adult book clubs came out of that experience. Let people begin where they are rather than pretending that they’re something else, or feeling that they should be something else."

— From a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post

15. On why even the bleakest post-apocalyptic novels are, deep down, full of hope

“Any novel is hopeful in that it presupposes a reader. It is, actually, a hopeful act just to write anything, really, because you’re assuming that someone will be around to [read] it.”

— From a 2011 interview with The Atlantic 

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China's New Tianjin Binhai Library is Breathtaking—and Full of Fake Books
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A massive new library in Tianjin, China, is gaining international fame among bibliophiles and design buffs alike. As Arch Daily reports, the five-story Tianjin Binhai Library has capacity for more than 1 million books, which visitors can read in a spiraling, modernist auditorium with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Several years ago, municipal officials in Tianjin commissioned a team of Dutch and Japanese architects to design five new buildings, including the library, for a cultural center in the city’s Binhai district. A glass-covered public corridor connects these structures, but the Tianjin Binhai Library is still striking enough to stand out on its own.

The library’s main atrium could be compared to that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But there's a catch: Its swirling bookshelves don’t actually hold thousands of books. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the shelves are printed with digital book images. About 200,000 real books are available in other rooms of the library, but the jaw-dropping main room is primarily intended for socialization and reading, according to Mashable.

The “shelves”—some of which can also serve as steps or seating—ascend upward, curving around a giant mirrored sphere. Together, these elements resemble a giant eye, prompting visitors to nickname the attraction “The Eye of Binhai,” reports Newsweek. In addition to its dramatic main auditorium, the 36,000-square-foot library also contains reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, and meeting spaces, and has two rooftop patios.

Following a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library opened on October 1, 2017. Want to visit, but can’t afford a trip to China? Take a virtual tour by checking out the photos below.

A general view of the Tianjin Binhai Library
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People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman taking pictures at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A man visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman looking at books at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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