12 Fictional Characters Who Have Fascinating Based-On-A-True-Story Backgrounds

1. Hermione is based on J.K. Rowling

J.K.’s come out and revealed that when writing Hermione, she was following the writer’s adage “Write what you know.”
“Hermione is loosely based on me. She’s a caricature of me when I was 11, which I’m not particularly proud of. She’s quite annoying in a lot of ways. I like her as a character, but I’m very aware that some people wouldn’t.”
– J.K. Rowling


2. Severus Snape was based on Rowling’s crabby teacher

J.K. got her revenge on a grumpy teacher by writing him as a character that all kids hated for 6 years, even if he was redeemed in the end. John Nettleship taught chemistry to a young J.K., and, as you can see, the resemblance is uncanny.


3. Huckleberry Finn was based on a real boy


Of the character Mark Twain once wrote this: “In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had.”

4. Sherlock Holmes was based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s professor

A professor who, according to Doyle, had Sherlock’s ability to deduce things with even the most insignificant clues.


5. Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars was based on a real-life cancer patient

John Green was working on a book about teenage cancer patients for years, but it really came to life when he met 12-year-old Esther Earl. Green kept in touch with her until her death four years later, and now the main character of his book, Hazel Grace Lancaster, shares Esther’s middle name.


6. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are based on William Deacon Brodie

Brodie was an angelic citizen by day, robber/scumbag by night. He used the money to finance his two secret mistresses and his five hidden children. Eventually he was caught and sentenced to death, but managed to escape by faking his own death.

7. James Bond was based on Forest Yeo-Thomas

Ian Fleming cites many inspirations for his most famous character, but Forest Yeo-Thomas seems like the biggest influence. He was a operative in WWII who reported to Churchill himself. Remember that torture scene in Casino Royale? That’s just about what happened to Yeo-Thomas at the hands of the Gestapo.


8. Alice in Wonderland was based on Alice Liddell

Although Lewis Carroll denied it, the basis of Alice in Wonderland is clear. Carroll was known for weaving tales to impress 7-year-old Alice, some involving her. Carroll’s relationship with Alice was called into question when Liddell’s parents cut off all communication with Carroll, taking away his young muse. Dodgy.


9. Moby Dick was based on another whale, Mocha Dick

Don’t ask the origins of the name, we don’t know. Unlike Moby, Mocha Dick was eventually killed and his oils were used for harvesting perfume.

10. Ebenezer Scrooge was based on John Ewles

Although Scrooge seems too ridiculous to be real, he isn’t. John Ewles was a total scrooge, living on what we know now as about $80 a year. He scrimped by by wearing his daytime clothes to bed, which was as soon as it got dark, because he refused to buy candles.


11. The Big Friendly Giant was inspired by a friendly bricklayer

Walter Saunders build Dahl’s brick writing shed, and made quite an impression on the writer. Walter had hands that Dahl remembers as looking like “a bunch of bananas,” and big ears to match. The little girl is also called Sophie, which is the name of Dahl’s daughter.


12. The Wicked Witch of the West was based on the author’s mother in law

In a move that was bound to incite some family tension, Frank L. Baum based the Wicked Witch on his wife’s mother, who initially opposed his marriage. In reality, suffragette Matilda Jocelyn Gage eventually became close with her son-in-law, and the story had a happy ending.