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Excellent question. The boundaries between different forms of derivative work are constantly being pushed and redefined. "Derivative" has come to be used mostly as an insult, but as you rightly point out, some works of fiction (I would argue 'most works') draw inspiration from preexisting sources. In a way, storytelling is an ongoing cultural endeavour. ...


Your best bet is to break down the source into broad mythical elements and rebuild your story from that. Harry's tale is both a coming-of-age and a Hero's Journey, and you don't get much more archetypal than those. JKRowling admits she modeled Harry-Ron-Ginny after Luke-Han-Leia, and Lucas was working with Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. (An ...

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