Certainly a lot of the success of the Harry Potter books can in part be accredited to the ancient myths and legends it takes references from.
Charlemagne warrior (1532)
Harry riding Buckbeak the hippogriff (2004)
I also leant from this lecture that things can be linked either consciously or unconsciously so often you don't realise you associate one thing with another. Like perfumes you begin to associate a certain perfume with one person so the next time you smell it you always think of them.