Now, JK Rowling's literary borrowings from various sources are obvious in many ways - the structure of school series like St Clares, with each book having the "lacrosse/ Quidditch game" the "new teachers" and so on; shades of the Worst Witch and Wizard of Earthsea etc. Nothing wrong with that.
But I think I have unearthed a new and previously undiscovered source of Rowling's creativity - Thomas the Tank Engine. Can it be a coincidence that on the back of the Thomas books which list all the other titles in the series, Arthur ( a red train) is next to Molly (a yellow train), reflected in Rowling's choice of Arthur and Molly Weasley as the names of Ron's Mum and Dad?
Not only that but other titles include: Percy (Ron's brother); George (Ron's brother); Freddie (kind of Ron's brother if you lose the ie); and Bill and Ben (Bill is Ron's brother). The only Weasley family members not represented by trains are Ginny and Charlie. What can this mean? I feel a PhD coming on.
PS Don't start telling me that both the Rev Awdry and successors and JK tended to pick traditional British boys names and there's not that many of them - I shall just put my fingers in my ears and hum.
An interview with Sarah Matthias
1 day ago