I just watched this Monty Python sketch and instantly noticed the mention of "Cockroach Clusters" as a kind of confectionery.

As any HP fan should know, Cockroach Clusters are also a fictional type of sweet sold at Honeydukes in Hogsmeade. Was this a deliberate reference by JKR to Monty Python?

In fact, even the title of that Monty Python sketch ("Crunchy Frog") is suspiciously similar to the most commonly mentioned Potterverse sweet, Chocolate Frogs. Perhaps the similarities go even further?

Has JK Rowling ever acknowledged Monty Python as an inspiration for her work?

  • 2
    I am tempted to downvote solely for linking this (admittedly classic) skit immediately after my dessert.
    – Radhil
    Jan 7 '17 at 2:17
  • 4
    "This is an ex-Blast-Ended Skrewt!"
    – CHEESE
    Jan 8 '17 at 15:23
  • Video link is dead
    – Jenayah
    Nov 16 '20 at 18:45
  • @Jenayah Whoever owns the copyright on Monty Python videos went on a massive scourge some months/years ago, and loads of them disappeared off Youtube. It's hard to find any good versions any more :-(
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 16 '20 at 18:55
  • @Randal'Thor Happily it seems someone less vigilant holds the rights to the Hollywood Bowl version: youtu.be/mK3B0gjEjTs?t=171 - bonus TIL the French for cockroach is cafard Nov 16 '20 at 21:49

I can't find any reference to that specific element being inspired by Monty Python, but J.K. Rowling has admitted to being a fan of Monty Python, and has hinted at it being one of her inspirations for the Dursleys and Hagrid.

As an adult reader, I loved the books and was surprised at how much humour is in them. The Dursleys sound like something out of Monty Python! Do you like British comedy?

J.K. Rowling: British comedy is an obsession of mine. I love Monty Python.
About the Books: transcript of J.K. Rowling's live interview on Scholastic.com," Scholastic.com, 16 October 2000


You were just saying how you read it to your daughter, to your 6 year old daughter. When we sat down, we read this chapter by chapter. Every night the kids couldn’t wait for the next night. The characters are so great you can come up with wonderful voices, reading out loud to your kids with Hagrid and Dumbledore. Did you get that with your daughter too? Were you getting into the voices?

J.K. Rowling: Well, I’m really into the voices and I really let myself go when I read to my daughter. I’m not quite that uninhibited when I’m reading to a lot of people.

Jo1, let’s hear what Dumbledore sounds like.

J.K. Rowling: Well, I use a little Sean Connery production. I put a little shurr into the s’s. (slurred Albus Dumbledore voice) But my favorite was Hagrid. He was more of a Monty Python character. (Does Hagrid voice)

(Laughs) One of the Gumbys

J.K. Rowling: No, he wasn't gumby wasn’t he?

(Still laughing) No, I don’t really see Hagrid as a gumby though I like your interpretation.

The Connection (WBUR Radio), 12 October, 1999

1. Note: A different transcript attributes these lines to the caller, whose name was Joe. I cannot find a copy of the original recording.


I haven't found a direct quote from JKR about Cockroach Clusters, but I think it would be far too much of a coincidence for Rowling to have included something called Cockroach Clusters in Harry Potter without it being influenced by the sweetmeat of the same name in the Monty Python sketch.

Her IMDB page says she is a fan of Monty Python, and includes the following

Is a huge fan of "Monty Python" and claims to put some of their humor into her books. Two apparent references to the "Monty Python" sketch "Crunchy Frog" can be found in her "Harry Potter" books: two of the sweets are a chocolate frog, and a cockroach cluster. "Monty Python" member John Cleese appears in the films.

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    "claims to put some of their humor into her books" - if you can find a source for this, e.g. an interview transcript, that would clinch it for me.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 7 '17 at 12:22

The video:

The video describes a couple walking as perfectly ordinary people who nothing extraordinary would ever happen to, much like Rowling discusses the Dursley's as being "perfectly normal", basically people who didn't have anything extraordinary happen to. We do know something extraordinary does happen to them, but the setup feels very similar. Plus the first main character in the sketch is named Harold Potter. The rest of the sketch really goes in another direction, but still, it's Monty Python, and rightly hilarious.

  • 2
    I think you meant this as an edit to your previous answer. Since there's no point in duplicating answers, I've edited in the part of your first answer which wasn't in this one and then deleted the first one. In future, please remember that you can edit your own posts any time by clicking "edit" or "improve this answer" below the post. Thanks!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 1 '17 at 12:24

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