I have been creating a story in my mind from early childhood. Now, I am very talented in writing, so I decided to give it a try one day. It was awesome! The book I imagine in my head was being written, I was happy, it was just scaring me that it was set completely in the Wizirding World of Harry Potter. I don't know is that good and okay to do that.

The characters are very different, the place where the story takes place is in Southern Europe and not Eastern Europe, they speak another language and the book is written in another language. I planned on having some spells from her books be a part of my story too, it is only natural to have at least 10 same spells if the characters are from Europe, and that is the place where the spells were created. I have many things explained that Rowling didn't, I am planning on having a vampire show up in the story, where as they were just a chilling presence in her lovely books. I was, as well, introducing readers to new creatures, and even have complex characters, still very different from the master pieces she has created, some even with big traumas, some with happy lives.

Is it legal to have a story set in this same universe that Rowling created? Not one character is similar to hers, and many things are different. From culture to economics and religion in different parts of the wizarding world.

  • 11
    From your description, it's not similar to - it's based on. Big difference.
    – user18397
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:41

2 Answers 2


There are two elements to your question. The first is the similarity to an existing work. That question is answered here: Is my story too similar to an existing published work?

The second is the shared universe. Now that is a problem. Some authors have explicitly allowed their universe to be used by other authors. J.K. Rowling did not. Her world is copyrighted, and no other author may write stories in it.

That said, if you do not use Rowling's locations and characters, if a lot of core concepts are different, why do you need her world at all? Give your spells different names, and it's a different world that just happens to share some similarities with Rowling's work - you're in the clear. (That's assuming there are indeed only a few similarities - I'm basing this statement on your description of your story.) There are examples of stories originally written as fanfics, "recoloured" and published as stand-alones. Fifty Shades of Grey is an infamous example.

Alternatively, you could publish your work as a Harry Potter fanfic. What that means is that your work is published free on the internet - you cannot sell it, and you clearly label it as a fanfic work, with Harry Potter being the original. That route is perfectly legal, and quite common. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a famous example. The disadvantage is you receive no money for your work.

  • 1
    But, if I were to mention Voldemort or Hogwarts, or anything in particular connected with her work, it still counts as the use of her world she doesn't want to share with other authors? Or, is it just a funny easter egg that no one should really care about? Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:24
  • 8
    @Nikolakreten - that would be a surefire way to get a very direct letter from her lawyers. Why do you need to publish a story set in her world, why can you not set it in one of your own?
    – user18397
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:40
  • 7
    @Nikolakreten If you want an Easter Egg, you can mention "a school in Scotland". Anything more specific would be a problem, like Thomo says. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 9:32
  • 3
    Fanfic is not automatically legal. It infringes copyright just as commercial fiction would. However, many authors like having people writing fanfic in their world, and others just tolerate it. If there's already fanfic communities around a certain world, then it's almost certainly OK to join in. If you're not finding fanfic, there may be legal reasons. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 23:08
  • 1
    @Galastel I believe I saw a reference to that "other Harry, across the Atlantic" in one of the Dresden File stories. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 23:09

Nikola, you can write any story you like, and copy any characters you like - there's no law against writing. The issue is what you want to do with your finished story.

If you are writing purely for personal pleasure and you have no intention of publishing your story, then there's no problem. Show it to your family and friends; add sequels; enjoy the delight in creative writing!

As Galastel's answer notes, an alternative might be to publish it as fanfic, but be aware this isn't a free-for-all: you can still find yourself in a legal dispute if what you publish materially impacts on the copyright holder's interests. For example, I'd expect Rowling's lawyers to take immediate action if you published a story that portrays Hagrid as a paedophile.

  • 2
    Could you maybe have picked a different example than a pedo-Hagrid? I'm never gonna un-see that image now!
    – Dan
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 18:53
  • 1
    "For example, I'd expect Rowling's lawyers to take immediate action if you published a story that portrays Hagrid as a paedophile." - My Immortal is still waiting on that enforcement action...
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 20:31
  • 1
    Thank you so much guys. I now understand and it is because of you, I have a lot of time to think what to do before publishing it. But, I would rather publish it as my own work, changing mostly everything, than something based on anothers novel just as a fanfic. I will think about this, and the comment that said about writing being something for fun is amazing. Again, thank you all for being so honest and professional. Chappo and Galastel you helped me the most, being quick and informative, thank you very much! :D Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 1:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.