Thursday, 21 July 2011

Another Extract From "The Godfather Was a Girl"

The following is taken from The Godfather was a Girl by Eamon Evans (Hardie Grant Books), a great new book that looks at the real-life origins of fictional characters. 

Harry Potter’s Professor Snape

Is it better to be famous for being a prat, or to never find fame at all? Like anyone who’s ever appeared on reality television, John Nettleship picked fame. The black-haired chemistry teacher, who taught the young JK Rowling, now sells pamphlets claiming to have been her inspiration for her black-haired Professor Snape in the Harry Potter books. ‘I knew I was a strict teacher but I didn’t realise I was that bad.’ The author herself admits that the sallow-faced sadist (named for the Suffolk village of Snape) was ‘loosely based on a teacher I myself had’, but she has never confirmed it was Nettleship.

Not that he’s the only teacher wanting a slice of the spotlight. Rowling’s history lecturer at Exeter University, Hugh Stubbs, has ‘no doubt’ that he was the model for the tedious Professor Binns, whose over-long lessons send students to sleep. ‘I admit I could be a bit dopey first thing in the morning and I probably did give some pretty boring lectures.’

And how about Hogwarts, the magical castle where they taught? Scots like to believe it was based on George Heriot’s School, an enormous Gothic edifice in Edinburgh, not far from Rowling’s home.
As for Hogwarts’ students, we know that the character Ron Weasley was based on Sean Harris, the author’s long-time best friend. Ron ‘isn’t a living portrait of Sean’, says Rowling, ‘but he really is very Sean-ish’. A major in the British Army and decorated veteran of Iraq, Sean owned a turquoise Ford Anglia in his schooldays, which inspired the character’s flying car.

Rowling herself is Hermione Granger, Ron’s know-it-all, bookish girlfriend. ‘She’s a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I’m not particularly proud of.’

Hardie Grant Books have kindly given us some copies of The Godfather was a Girl. If you'd like to win one, comment below and tell us which fictional character you think could have been based on you. The more creative the response the better! (please note that you must be able to collect the prize from us) The winners will be notified on Monday 25/07.


  1. I think J.K. Rowling must be confused because I am Hermione Granger. I even have the bushy hair!

  2. Garfield. Short, fat, lazy, very fond of lasagne and my son's name is Jon lol

  3. Obviously the correlations between Agent 007, Mr James Bond and myself are uncanny. Every book released that is based on this "fictional" character is like looking in a mirror. It's eerie. Given my connections, I've made various enquiries and a number of parties were 'silenced'. Unfortunately another book has been released this very year. Astonishing. These people have no limit! They must understand the repercussions. Surely? So there you have it. I’m luck y the internet is so secure I can enter a competition such as this without exposing my identity!

  4. Thanks to you all for entering! I have to say that I like all your entries, so everyone wins! Email your details to and we'll organise your prizes! Thanks again for playing!