6 Baffling Attempts to Ride Harry Potter's Coattails

#3. Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone

Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone is exactly what you'd expect from a publication called Cannabis Culture -- which is to say, something that seems funny while high, and embarrassing when (or if) you sober up the next day. It tells the story of a young boy who is rescued from his boring life on Mainstream Ave. and told that he is in fact a "weedster."

More like Ron Weedsley. Oh dear Lord, writing that felt awful.

Oh, Jesus fucking Christ. Do we really have to type the rest of this out? How much do we get paid again? Whoa, how much? Really? All right, here goes:

Lucky Hairy gets to go to Hempwards School of Herbcraft and Weedery, where he learns from his teachers Professor McGanjagal and Alwaze Duinthedope. He discovers he has a talent for a game called Qanabbi and fuck you, that's enough. If you make us type one more drug-themed pun, we will quit and burn this website to the ground.

Don't test us, matches are cheap.


Really, a pot-themed Potter parody was almost as inevitable as a porn-themed one; nobody loves their terrible puns more than dudes with temporary brain damage and girls that have had two or more dicks in them at the same time. No one would have batted an eye if it wasn't for the book's author, Dana Larsen: At the time the novel was published, Larsen was running for office in Canada, and hoped the book would help him to gain popularity.

Via DanaLarsen.com
Want to take a guess how that worked out?

No, politics in Canada are not "just that chill." Larsen was one of the founding members of the Marijuana Party of Canada, whose sole aim is to end the prohibition on marijuana. Larsen eventually left the party in 2003 and joined the New Democratic Party instead. In 2008, the NDP made Larsen its candidate for Parliament in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast. Then, in a shocking turn of events, Larsen was forced to resign his candidacy when it became apparent that he *GASP* did a lot of drugs.

Not the esteemed author of Hairy Pothead! Who could have known?!

#2. Ben Rowling

It's awful having a famous relative: Always showing up at family functions, acting superior and trying to buy your love. The only thing worse is when they refuse to pay up. Such is the logic of Ben Rowling, who for years has claimed to be the "real Harry Potter." Ben is first cousin to J.K. Rowling and they often played together as children. So when he picked up Harry Potter for the first time, decades later, he was shocked to find that Harry had many of the same characteristics that he did as a boy:

  • They both had dark hair
  • They both had glasses
  • They both attended a boarding school
  • They both rode on trains at one point
  • They're both human beings with fingers

Ben contacted his cousin, who by this time had made a fortune off of the first Harry Potter film, and presented his undeniable evidence. Of course, J.K. publicly announced that Ben was in fact her inspiration and offered him half of her royalties just for living through childhood.

Via Cube47

Wait, she didn't?! Madness!

Instead, J.K. politely dismissed the idea and decided not to pay her cousin for wearing glasses and being a kid annoying enough to warrant boarding school. Ben immediately went to the press, stating that, though the cousins hadn't spoken since they were teenagers, he was now overcome with a sense of betrayal: "She knows I'm broke and yet she hasn't reached out a finger to help."

J.K. finally commented publicly on the issue, once again denying that she was inspired by her cousin. She also pointed out the futility of the argument, saying that given the set of criteria that he based his claims on, she herself could be the "real Harry Potter." With nothing to lose except all human dignity, Ben decided to go on the show Lie Detector to prove ... something? It was unclear what. The show's most damning evidence was pictures of Ben as a teenager:

Look! It's the same uniform that everybody wears at every boarding school! That's what the word "uniform" means!

For Ben, vindication came in the form of a polygraph test that proved he was "telling the truth" when he claimed to be J.K.'s inspiration. That is to say, he truly believes deep down in his heart that he is the real Harry Potter. Just like every 11-year-old boy on Earth.

#1. Harry Potter and Bao Zoulong

You can imagine the excitement readers in China felt when they finally got their hands on the fifth Harry Potter book several months early -- finally something goes right!

Everything's comin' up China!

After standing in line and purchasing their copies, fans eagerly pored over their new books and journeyed through the enchanting tale of Harry Potter and Bao Zoulong, where Harry turns into a hobbit, discovers a magic ring and ... battles a dragon.

Sound familiar?

That's because, in what may have been the most ridiculous act of plagiarism ever, Bashu Publishing House printed thousands of books claiming to be the Rowling's next masterpiece that were not in fact Rowling's. An anonymous "author" took a word-for-word translation of The Hobbit and changed the names to those of Harry Potter and his friends (with the exception of Gandalf, who is apparently so unlike Dumbledore that any comparison would just be silly). He also added a chapter at the beginning, explaining how Harry was turned into a hobbit while taking a bath one day, and a few paragraphs at the end describing how he became human again.

Actually, yeah, we can kind of see that.

You know, so as not to break continuity (he's a barely literate plagiarist, not a monster).

The fraud was discovered pretty quickly, but Bashu Publishing managed to sell thousands of copies before the injunction, and only fined about $3,500, so they came out well ahead. Due to its fame and rarity, the book might actually be a bit of a collector's item these days. If you're looking for one, you can recognize it by the entirely appropriate cover art: A composite of some Warner Bros. sketches from The Sorcerer's Stone fighting the dragon from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

Via Wikipedia
In this case, J.K. stands for "Just Kidding."

For more stolen concepts, check out 6 Famous Characters You Didn't Know Were Shameless Rip-Offs and 9 Foreign Rip-Offs Cooler Than The Hollywood Originals.

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