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Sunday, February 17, 2019

The diminishing appeal of Harry Potter

I never, ever, thought the Harry Potter books were destined to become classics. This commenter at Castalia House gets it:
I started reading Harry Potter in 2004. I devoured the 5 books in less than 6 months, and followed the release of the last two books. Harry Potter was the fever of my teenage years. What I think made me like HP was not exactly the characters themselves, but the universe created by JKR. I liked to imagine myself inside that universe, being a witch like Harry and studying at Hogwarts.

Of course, as a teenager, I knew very little about other fantasy works and literary classics, so back then I really believed that Harry Potter was a genius story and JKR was the best writer in the world. Today I recognize that this is far from being true. JKR's characters are mostly shallow, static and stereotyped. Voldemort is part of the villain trope I least like, an irremediable psychopath who was born evil and died evil, remaining eternally static, and without any trace of humor. There are villains who are irremediable but at least they have a vein of great humor, like Joker. Voldemort is nothing like that.

In addition, I think JKR made some bad decisions and wasted a lot of interesting characters on the books. I've always found it a shame she'd never delved into such treacherous characters as Wormtail / Peter and for example. Traitorous characters can make great stories, but instead of going into a story of redemption, she decides to put him in the shadows of the story with a death so irrelevant that it does not even appear in the film's adaptation. Game of Thrones does a much better job with Theon Greyjoy for example, giving him more prominence and a arc of his own.

Talking about her bad decisions... I never liked JKR's decision to make Ginny be Mrs. Potter. In a universe where we have unique and fantastic female characters like Luna and Hermione, why did JKR make Ginny the Mrs. Potter? The romance between Harry and Ginny was poorly written in the books, and extremely cringeworthy to watch in theaters. They make the most insipid and generic pair of literature, IMO. Luna Lovegood would was the best choice for Harry's romantic pair, imo. Or if Harry finished the story with no one, it would not be bad either. I just think Ginny / Harry was hideous.

I'm not saying that the HP series is horrible and unimportant. Quite the contrary, it was part of my adolescence and in a way, it is nostalgic. The fact is... the Harry Potter books lose more and more appeal to me every time I revisit them, and today, I do not feel like reading them any more.
Rowling's one skill was creating vivid and compelling characters. But that's not enough to create a classic capable of withstanding the erosion of time.

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125 Comments:

Blogger Sam Gem February 17, 2019 7:07 PM  

Just another way to promote the occult and anti-Christinity to children.

"Harry's world says that drinking dead animal blood gives power, a satanic human sacrifice and Harry's powerful blood brings new life, demon possession is not spiritually dangerous, and that passing through fire, contacting the dead, and conversing with ghosts, others in the spirit world, and more, is normal and acceptable." - Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged

Blogger MichaelJMaier February 17, 2019 7:08 PM  

I only read the first book after seeing the film and hoping the ending made more sense in print.

I am still astounded at the way Harry wins by accident... time and time again.

Rowling is a lucky hack.

Blogger Ahărôwn February 17, 2019 7:09 PM  

It's funny. When the books came out, aside from Christians looking askance at them, I recognized them for the fad that they were, and never read them. Also, aside from one small Lego set back when that was a hobby of mine, I never bought any of the merchandise either.

It helped that I had already read such authors like Tolkien. When you've had fine Swiss chocolate, why would you then eat Hershey's? Reading is no different, and if I only have so much time to do so, I may as well read the classics.

There's a reason they're classic, and with the onslaught of time and with increased mediocrity in the literature sphere as well as everywhere else, it's less likely that there will even be new classics to replace the old.

Blogger Moor February 17, 2019 7:13 PM  

JKR is the Bono of literature.

Blogger Kat February 17, 2019 7:13 PM  

It’s also a very small story for what’s meant to be a massive, earth-shattering conflict. The scale actually felt bigger in the early books when everything centered on the school.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 17, 2019 7:15 PM  

He was completely right about Voldemort.

There was nothing there other than racism. That was it. Voldemort was racist against non-magic users, even though he was half "mud-blood" himself.

This was supposed to mean something but I don't know what other than the fact that Rowling is an SJW and so racism is worse than genocide in her part of Scotland.

He was also dead right about Nolen's Joker. He was probably the best villain for the last forty years.

Motivation is everything for great villain.

Tell me a about a guy who...

That's supposed to be the setup of any character. Joker was a monster who wanted everyone to know it only took the right push to make them monsters too. That was his joke.

He succeeded with Harvey Dent (the White Knight) but failed with Batman (the Dark Knight).

Voldemort was racist who was kind of a hypocrite about it. That was all he brought to the party.

Millennials can't get enough it.

Blogger FUBARwest February 17, 2019 7:19 PM  

My experience is extremely similar to that commentator, except the series lost its luster once the 7th book was released. I finished it the day I got it and that book soured the entire series. She pulled most of that book and the resolutions out of her butt to end the story.

I don't think there will be anything like the HP phenomenon. It was a generational series where the characters grew up alongside its target audience did. Unfortunately they turned out to be the only books a segment of that generation ever read.

The movies have given the books a boost in lasting power but it won't help the series endure. Very few children who read will be reading those books in 30 years or so. The LotRs on the other hand will definitely be.

Blogger Rough Carrigan February 17, 2019 7:21 PM  

O/T
Trump wins again.
He released a statement point out that spending bills are nothing more than receipts or vouchers for a certain amount of spending and do not otherwise make law.

I quote from Qanon:
These phrases below imply that Trump plans on following his constitutional rights no matter what he signed iin the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019” (the “Act”), which authorizes appropriations to fund the operation of a number of agencies in the Federal Government through September 30, 2019.
“My Administration will treat each of these provisions consistent with the President’s constitutional authorities with respect to foreign relations.”
And
“my Administration will continue the practice of treating provisions like these as advisory and non-binding.”
And
“My Administration will make appropriate efforts to notify the relevant committees before taking the specified actions and will accord the recommendations of such committees all appropriate and serious consideration, but it will not treat spending decisions as dependent on the approval of congressional committees.”

Blogger testtesttest February 17, 2019 7:21 PM  

Throne of bones will be read on Titan

Blogger flyingtiger February 17, 2019 7:22 PM  

Harry Potter always seemed to be the anti-Tolkien.

Blogger Jean Durtal February 17, 2019 7:22 PM  

Some guy online put forward the theory that Rowling wasn't really poor, but is actually a member of the British aristocracy. Rowling was just the face put forward as the "author" of a book series that was actually written by a committee in British intelligence for the purpose of further degrading the masses.

Apparently the idea of the magical school for children is just a metaphor for "monarch"-style child mind-control programming which the intelligence elite have been using for decades.

Makes Harry Potter slightly more interesting.

Blogger Fuzzums Wuzzums February 17, 2019 7:28 PM  

I remember way back when there was an account on DeviantArt of this girl who was completely obsessed with the books, particularly the character Snape. She was very famous in that community and all she drew was Snape-related art and make constant blog posts about the Harry Potter world.

It was some time before the 6th or 7th book (the one which revealed whether Snape was a good guy or a bad guy) that her insane fandom reached a peak. Then, about a few days before the release she wrote a blog where she basically said that she woke up that day and discovered she didn't give a damn about Harry Potter and Snape, or anything related to that whole universe. She continued doing art but nothing HP-related because it didn't interest her anymore. Nor could she explain why it interested her in the first place.

That's the most extreme example I can think of but all HP fans went through the same process. Once they reached a certain age the allure of the books completely fades away. What remains however are the memories of really enjoying the books and if they didn't still make movies those would probably disappear too.

Blogger FUBARwest February 17, 2019 7:34 PM  

"Harry Potter always seemed to be the anti-Tolkien."

GoT always held that title for me.

Blogger ar10308 February 17, 2019 7:44 PM  

Harry Potter books appeal for one reason and one reason only: They provide the ambiance of an Anglo and Western setting for which most of the readers long. They make people nostalgic for a time and place they've never been. Same reason Renaissance Fairs are becoming bigger and bigger.

Blogger Nathan February 17, 2019 7:53 PM  

One of the many problems with Harry Potter is that the protagonists lacked any sort of coherent world view or philosophy. What were the charges of Hogwarts academy supposed to DO with their newfound fantastical powers? Live in their own cloistered little world apart from humanity? At least Voldermort had some motivation to dominate ordinary niggles. Harry Potter, on the other hand, was looking to do what, exactly? Not help the rest of humanity. Not try to do something worthwhile with his magic. Contrast this with the much better Jonatahn Strange and Mr. Not tell, where the central question is what is the proper thing to do with magic powers. Harry Potter is too caught up with the British boarding school fantasies of an American expatriate to actually grapple with questions like what's the point of all this magic, and what does it all really mean?

Blogger doctrev February 17, 2019 7:57 PM  

Both these things are true:
- Rowling's characters are generally stereotyped, static and shallow.
- They are nonetheless iconic, and responsible for most of the book's success.

Because the fact is, it is really, REALLY hard to write truly deep characters that also succeed in capturing the public's imagination. Some of the best writers have the best characters never seen, but no one beyond a small coterie truly cares.

Hermione is the Smart Girl, Ron is the Best Working-Class Bud, Harry is the Chosen One. Draco is the Snobby Rich Kid, Dumbledore is the Mysterious Wizard (who never does a gay thing within the actual book, for -some reason-), Voldemort is the Politically Incorrect Villain, ad nauseaum. They were generally as bland as plain oatmeal, but true to themselves. That shouldn't be a hard bar to clear, but just wonder how hard the producers at Game of Thrones seem to find it. Many authors and most critics will never succeed in making characters as jump-off-the-page interesting as she did. GRRM caught lightning in a bottle multiple times. Then, like a truly asinine fat pig, he shattered them all. Now few actually care what happens to the remnant. I think Valerius Corvus might be the most popularly iconic out of all the characters in Throne of Bones, kinda wish we could have seen more of him in FUTURE novels.

Anyways, JKR is very good with characters that have iconic appeal to the masses, and more importantly she perfectly matched the establishment zeitgeist of the late 20th century. Characters Matter More than Plot or Setting, Racism is BAD, You Are Born Amazing, Diversity Is Our Strength, Girls Rule Boys Drool. She'll be Dame Rowling in time, which will only be stopped by the unlikely yet welcome (and ENTIRELY deserved) event of the current British establishment being rounded up and executed wholesale. Never mind that her setting is entirely incoherent, depicting a magical society more bigoted than Japan 1941 that actually holds nonhumans as slaves!

Blogger Matrick February 17, 2019 7:59 PM  

I've never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen any of the films. Can anyone else make the same claim? (I'm under the age of forty).

Blogger Randomatos February 17, 2019 8:00 PM  

The greatest value the Harry Potter movies brought was a target-rich environment for the Rifftrax versions. Check a sample on youtube: https://youtu.be/0pzYTZctL4g

Blogger doctrev February 17, 2019 8:03 PM  

Matrick wrote:I've never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen any of the films. Can anyone else make the same claim? (I'm under the age of forty).

I'm sure the Amish could manage it, but congratulations! What a special individual you are, who never had any family, friends, or social groups interested in the biggest pop culture phenoms of the last few decades.

Blogger LibertyPortraits February 17, 2019 8:06 PM  

I, too, haven't read a Harry Potter book. I like fantasy enough to try some titles that aren't LotR but, never did I find Harry Potter desirable. Maybe if it came out when I was a kid, but it was very annoying to have people say I looked like HP because I slightly resembled him, that alone turned me off. I came before him, not the other way around. Probably just as annoying as every girl name Elsa before Frozen came out is now banging their head against the wall.

Blogger Emmett Fitz-Hume February 17, 2019 8:07 PM  

I always wanted JKR to throw a massive curve-ball and make Neville the true chosen one. Have Dumbledore use Harry as decoy for his entire life. Would have made the series a hundred times more interesting.

I read the books to my kid brother, who was a "surprise" kid for my parents after I was out of the house. We enjoyed them, for what they were:shallow, simplistic children's adventure. But they can't hold a candle to LOTR or Narnia.

I also seem to remember reading that JKR ripped off another series by Dianne Wynn Jones. But I wasn't familiar with it.

Blogger Stilicho February 17, 2019 8:15 PM  

Didn't JKR have a son by some imported "Dutchman" that was the impetus behind the whole "mud blood"/raciss bad thing?

Blogger Vaughan Williams February 17, 2019 8:15 PM  

On a scale from Tolkien Lord of the Rings to Robert Jordan Wheel of Time, I find Throne of Bones closer to Lord of the Rings in quality and enjoyability than it is to Wheel of Time. On a scale of Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter, Throne of Bones is closer to Harry Potter than to Lord of the Rings. Which is another way of saying it is better than Harry Potter.

Blogger Jezebel's Mother February 17, 2019 8:15 PM  

Just admit you didn't read the books. That passage you are quoting is from a book written in 2009 by Ignatius Press. I've lost track of the number of times I've seen people quote it. It's a sure sign they don't know what they're talking about.

P.S. I agree with Vox about the appeal of Rowling being more about the vivid characters and not the world building. Rowling is a terrible world builder.

Blogger Damelon Brinn February 17, 2019 8:16 PM  

A friend who knew I liked fantasy novels pushed the first Potter one on me years ago. It was fine, but nothing memorable, seemed pretty by-the-numbers. I started to notice that the people who raved about it weren't regular fantasy readers, or even readers at all. As if it's fantasy for people who want the lightest level of fantasy, and also want to be reading what's popular.

It used to annoy me that Harry Potter got turned into movies while better books like the Covenant or Black Company novels didn't. But considering the movies they make nowadays, that might be a blessing.

Blogger Jezebel's Mother February 17, 2019 8:18 PM  

Although ironically, Voldemort actually isn't a global threat. He basically was only a threat to Great Britain. It is rather strange that no other countries lifted a finger as he took over the country. I think Rowling may have forgotten that she created a wizarding U.N. in GOF.

Blogger Jezebel's Mother February 17, 2019 8:22 PM  

Voldemort was motivated more by fear of death than anything else - hence the obsession with Hocruxes. The racism against Muggleborns was more a motivation for his followers like the Malfoys.

But yeah, he's not a "cool" villian. He's not even Rowling's most compelling villian. That honor goes to Dolores Jane Umbridge.

Harry Potter is relevant to Millennials who grew up with it, but not so much with Generation Z.

Blogger Jezebel's Mother February 17, 2019 8:25 PM  

Harry Potter will always have a loyal Millennial following, but it probably won't go past that. Generation Z aren't interested in Harry Potter.

I can't say Generation Z is interested in Lord of the Rings, either, though. What DO they read?

Blogger Aeroschmidt February 17, 2019 8:33 PM  

I really enjoyed the Redwall series... I don't think they'll make it either. Times is cruel.

Blogger MichaelJMaier February 17, 2019 8:33 PM  

"Read another book" pisses of HP fans... big time.

Blogger Matrick February 17, 2019 8:34 PM  

Settle down, bucko. I'm just genuinely curious if anyone else managed to go this long without indulging in this particular franchise. Believe me, I've watched plenty of other rubbish.

Blogger My 1 millionth internet profile February 17, 2019 8:41 PM  

Many people who know I'm an avid reader kept encouraging me to read HP 'because it's really good!', and even though I knew they were wrong, I tried. When I got to the part about the mirror that showed you your deepest desires was called "the Mirror of Erised", I said "That's it, I'm off".

Blogger InformationMerchant February 17, 2019 8:45 PM  

People in here are giving JKR way more credit than she deserves. There's no way she actually planned to be subversive in any of these ways beforehand. She wasn't even a proper SJW back then, hence her constant need to retroactively make characters gay or black.

Of course, I admit she did say she was trying to "subvert the genre." But she did say that in the same interview she said that she didn't think Harry Potter was a fantasy novel as she was writing it.

I'm surprised so many people are crediting the characters for the success. I'll trust you guys although I can't see it. Before I had some of this appeal explained to me, I considered the world to be the salvageable bit and huge chunks of the rest to be the terrible bits. 1984 is a better example of that, the world itself is excellent, there are massive parts of that book which are awful.

@17 At some point UK schools started reading them. My sibling and I had the same experience despite a 5 year gap.

Blogger Amethyst Dominica February 17, 2019 8:50 PM  

12. I wonder if your DeviantArtist is the same girl I knew. She was a HUGE Snape fan and ran (I believe it was) a mailing list containing 50,000 names or more. She was also a Young Earth Creationist. When news came out that Dumbledore was gay, she destroyed her mailing list/fansite, and dumped most of her Harry Potter fanart because she now thought the series promoted sodomy. It seemed an extreme act to me at the time, but I admired her ability to endure the butthurt of thousands of her peers, just to stand by her principles. I couldn't imagine anyone else in our generation capable of doing that.

Blogger Amethyst Dominica February 17, 2019 8:52 PM  

@12 Whoops. Should have put a @ before the 12...

Blogger CS February 17, 2019 8:56 PM  

Rowling's books have immense appeal chiefly because people have a natural inclination to believe in the supernatural, and in a world where belief in a supernatural creative power is ridiculed, make-believe is an appealing alternative.

Blogger Ann February 17, 2019 9:03 PM  

I read 6 of the 7 books aloud to my son over the years, age 7-10 or so. I had fun making up different voices for all the characters, but the books themselves always devolved into utter nonsense at the end and by the 7th, no, I just couldn't hack it anymore.

Blogger Fuzzums Wuzzums February 17, 2019 9:11 PM  

Randomatos wrote:The greatest value the Harry Potter movies brought was a target-rich environment for the Rifftrax versions.

Let's not forget how totally "based and redpilled" the movies were. Check out the shape of the star on the floor of the bank.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwC6IFi6RuU
It's insane to think that even a movie like Harry Potter would be boycotted if it were made today.

Blogger tuberman February 17, 2019 9:12 PM  

I read the HP books when they came out, and never reread any of them, and thought, on first read, that the school, and the school's characters were a fun read, yet the head bad guy was lame. They were kind of a "coming of age" novels, and for that area, it worked for me, as a one time read.

On the other hand, I've read "a Throne of Bones" once, about two years ago, and will read it again soon, or get the audio.

Blogger Gollios February 17, 2019 9:14 PM  

Copyright won't allow it for a long time, but I look forward to someone writing something like "The Flashman Papers" to JKR's "Harry Potter's School Days."

Blogger Amy February 17, 2019 9:15 PM  

Tatooine, people told me the same thing about Twilight. I like vampire lore but most contemporary vampire fiction sucks (hah!). Anne Rice did a good job.

Twilight though...couldn’t make it past three or four chapters. MIL of my brother raved about them as the best books she’d ever read (this woman is one whom would tell blue collar workers to learn to code).

HP was enjoyable enough, but I was already in my twenties when it was published so the story had little appeal to me from a “let’s grow up with Harry” perspective. A lot of fellow teachers and education “experts” raved that they finally had a book kids would read. They’re not the worst books ever written, but not worth reading twice, unlike LotR, which I’ve read multiple times.

Stereotype characters and obvious plot resolutions are a big problem, but so many people love these books so much they have difficulty seeing it. OP sees, but it’s a minority view.

One thing that always irked me, this school is in constant turmoil and danger lurks in every nook and corner, kids are always being confined to their house towers, monsters are loose in the castle paralyzing students, the dark Mark appears in the sky, etc etc etc, SCHOOL IS STILL IN SESSION YEAR AFTER YEAR, and the faculty and parents just sort of accept it as normal and no one really gets too worked up about much of it.

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 17, 2019 9:25 PM  

In HP the way the school was structured was too "masonic" for me.

Blogger Daniel February 17, 2019 9:30 PM  

Can relate
After the 4th its all way down

Blogger Desert Screamer February 17, 2019 9:31 PM  

That's way I like My Inmortal. Is the best piece of Harry Potter-related media
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/MyImmortal?from=Main.MyImmortal

Blogger Daniel February 17, 2019 9:34 PM  

I find narnia unbearable, dont know why.
I read lotr al least 8 times between my 13 and 18
Always awesome

Blogger doctrev February 17, 2019 9:38 PM  

Matrick wrote:Settle down, bucko. I'm just genuinely curious if anyone else managed to go this long without indulging in this particular franchise. Believe me, I've watched plenty of other rubbish.

That's reasonable. I dated more than one woman who loved the Harry Potter universe and insisted on watching the movies with me. The worst part isn't even that I could have been suffering through Twilight instead with a dumber woman. The worst part is that my last such date was a year ago. No obvious signs of brain damage either, and a perfectly sweet woman overall.

Really makes you think about how hard writing iconic characters is.

Blogger Ransom Smith February 17, 2019 9:40 PM  

The most perfect thing to happen to the HP universe is JKR constant changes to the lore and the new movies which irk many of the legacy fans.
Even the average normie tier fan can only handle so much before they bolt the franchise.

Blogger Lamarck Leland February 17, 2019 9:49 PM  

Matrick wrote:I've never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen any of the films. Can anyone else make the same claim? (I'm under the age of forty).

Me too and I never read/watched Da Vinci Code either, and I only watched the first LOTR.
IMO "Kung Pow" was the best movie of that time.

Blogger tdcommenter February 17, 2019 9:54 PM  

Back when Potter first came out, I was a broke college student. The fantasy at the local book store, local library, and hometown library had the true classics and some truly wretched then recent works that turned me off from the genre:
- "Black Wine" with praise from Samuel Delany
- some story where rapey mercenaries & their victims changes sexes, so the victims could rape their rapists
- a book that might have been by Sheri Tepper, where science had regressed and the future looked like a bad sociological experiment. For instance, men & women segregated into different groups and only got together to have children. It also had some incestuous, necrophilia with a cyborg; a sort of twist on Slyvia Plath

The first few books of Potter were fun & a breath of fresh air compared to the other drek out there. Plus it trounced the pretension NY Times bestseller list for years at a time, they were eventually forced to break out the categories of fantasy & YA fantasy from the other bestsellers.

Potter is a milestone for a generation, but the fun of the first half disappeared by the second.The series really suffered from that and having all of the main characters subsumed into the Grand Weasley Unification Theory at the end.

Blogger Akuma February 17, 2019 9:58 PM  

I enjoyed them for the mythos, but remember getting a lecture about how they were anti-christian, which me being an altar boy took to heart. I always thought it'd be cool to see a story set in the Harry Potter universe during the middle ages, or at the very least what the wizards were doing while Rome was being sacked. Dragons thar be in the skies over Rome.

Blogger Fozzy Bear February 17, 2019 10:02 PM  

@Matrick 40, no HP, no LOTR. I’m the guy who was always annoyed the bookstores kept polluting my sci-fi shelves with bearded wizards, cave bears, and sword and sorcery crap.

Blogger Garuna February 17, 2019 10:09 PM  

Harry Potter will be remembered as a millennial fad.

I'm a millennial and my younger siblings are GenZ. I loved Harry Potter growing up. None of my younger siblings or their friends ever gave a shit about it. My family traveled frequently. So I can confirm this is the case with GenZ across North America, Europe, and Asia. They just don't give a shit about Harry Potter and they never have.

Blogger Ingemar February 17, 2019 10:11 PM  

I ain't read the books nor seen the movies. I'm 33.

Blogger Nathan February 17, 2019 10:15 PM  

O/T: True Detective is pizzagate the show. Don't know how it's on HBO.

Blogger Nicky Haflinger February 17, 2019 10:22 PM  

I've always maintained that HP was the third best example of its genre, its genre being epic adolescent wizard fantasy set in the modern day. It was a crime that the best of that genre, Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" was butchered by Hollywood in the fad.

Blogger VFM #7634 February 17, 2019 10:23 PM  

Rowling in an interview insisted that the magic gene was dominant, when based on how it operated, it couldn't possibly be anything other than recessive. Can't even get basic genetics correct. /spergout

Blogger VFM #7634 February 17, 2019 10:29 PM  

"One thing that always irked me"

@Amy
Nah, it makes total sense. It's just like the attitude toward blacks and other Dieversity in the real world.

Blogger ZhukovG February 17, 2019 10:29 PM  

I read them. I enjoyed them. I see no need to read them, ever again.

Blogger damaris.tighe February 17, 2019 10:48 PM  

Progressivism in a nostalgic skin suit.

Gross.

Blogger cyrus83 February 17, 2019 10:54 PM  

I was never interested in the books and never read them, so I can't comment on the quality of the writing. Based on the movies seen on TV over the years, Snape is the only character who strikes me as having an interesting story.

JKR came along at about the right time to exploit an interest in magic among the young. I'm 36 now, but I remember growing up that magic was in a lot of video games in the 80s and 90s and the cartoons on TV at the time, and the taboo against magic and the occult really wasn't there except from a few Christian voices.

The high school kids I have in Sunday school now are mostly into Youtube videos and whatever apps are popular on their phones and don't watch a whole lot of TV or play a lot of video games, though they still have a dangerous fascination with the occult.

Blogger Student in Blue February 17, 2019 11:00 PM  

There's a reason why stereotypes and cliches stick around, after all. They work.

Blogger David The Good February 17, 2019 11:03 PM  

Matrick wrote:I've never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen any of the films. Can anyone else make the same claim? (I'm under the age of forty).

No, never read them.

Blogger Rhys February 17, 2019 11:11 PM  

I was about 8 when the series started, so our schools worked pretty hard to get us to admire it. Never caught on with me for whatever reason.

Blogger widlast washere February 17, 2019 11:17 PM  

Tolkien's gift was that he made his fantasy world appear real, a place that you would want to visit. Few writers can do the same.

Blogger turk187 February 17, 2019 11:33 PM  

I loved the books, and mostly liked the movies, though I've never seen the Deathly Hallows 1&2. But the more JK opens her mouth, the less I like her. Where are The Editors when you need them?(they time travelers who kill artists after they finish there best works from FAQ About Time Travel.

Shes gone from filling in backstory, to straight-up lying about her own works.

Blogger Daniel Babylon February 17, 2019 11:37 PM  

If this is not too off-topic, is there anybody here that enjoys Tolkien more than GRRM? People usually praise Tolkien's world-building, but is that enough to make him more entertaining?

Blogger tublecane February 17, 2019 11:44 PM  

@6- An essential element to the Joker was also his mercurialness. He exaggerates to Two-face when he describes himself as a dog chasing cars. Because he clearly plans everything out, to exponential degrees of contingency. But at the same time we see him switch basic goals.

For instance, at first he terrorizes Gotham City to give up Batman's identity. THen, when the weasely Wayne corporation employee is about to give Bruce up, the Joker is all, "Nah, nevermind. I like Batman too much."

Blogger Nate February 17, 2019 11:45 PM  

We say Read Another Book for a reason.

Blogger tublecane February 18, 2019 12:00 AM  

I read maybe a couple pages of the Philosopher's Stone, but otherwise don't know the booka. My knowledge comes from seeing parts of the movies and hearsay from more knowledgeable parties. Two things always bothered me:

1). Why didn't Big Bad guy just kill Harry? Several times they're face-to-face, and he lets him lived.

I figured later that there is something special about Harry's lightning-bolt scar, and Big Bad needed him alive. But the movies didn't do a good job explaining that.

2). Why didn't the good guys just get some guns? I could draw and fire on a wizard in the time it takes him to flick his wrist and incant a spell.

Human objects can travel into magicland, can't they? Imagine if Hogwarts had sniper rifles and mortars when the evil army was making its way across that bridge.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia February 18, 2019 12:02 AM  

Well, JK made a ton of dough, and it definitely got kids to read actual books with physical pages.

The entrepreneurial spirit in me gives her props for that, and the cultural critic in me gives her a few props for getting kids, including mine, to stay up late and actually read a book with more than 100 pages.

There are many many worse things in the culture than that.

Blogger CoolHand February 18, 2019 12:43 AM  

@66 I very much enjoyed the Hobbit and the LoTR, while I couldn't even finish ASoIF.

Violence in service of the story I can handle just fine, but GRRM seems to mostly enjoy violence, rape, and incest for their own sake, which I did not find entertaining at all.

Washed my hands of the series after that and have zero regrets, especially now that it seems it'll never be finished.

VD's AoDL is far and away better, IMO. It's still exceptionally violent, but he doesn't dwell on the violence and it's only there because the story demands it.

Blogger cecilhenry February 18, 2019 12:50 AM  

Its strange, but from the moment I saw the books and series I was not impressed.


The immediately struck me as derivative and imitating other well worn stories.


I rolled my eyes at the popularity and couldn't stand watching. Seems like so much better and deeper stories out there, even from the past 30 years let alone the classics.

The spirit of the series strikes me as somehow very fake.

Blogger pyrrhus February 18, 2019 12:51 AM  

Never read HP or saw the films, but didn't like what I saw in the media about the series...Whereas, I really enjoyed the Wizard of Earthsea series, which was quite well written.

Blogger Up from the pond February 18, 2019 1:07 AM  

Diminishing appeal?

How can something diminish if it starts at zero?

Blogger Constantin February 18, 2019 1:20 AM  

Good riddance. It's had a mostly bad influence on both fiction and culture.

A lot of people like to defend Harry Potter on the basis that "it made kids love reading!" Sure it did. It got kids to read more Harry Potter. And books inspired by Harry Potter. Such staggering masterpieces of the modern day like... Twilight. And other YA greatness like... Hunger Games... and other garbage like that.

Can't imagine why so many of them are adults now but still stuck in in their teen days emotionally.

Blogger Unknownsailor February 18, 2019 1:37 AM  

I'm with @70, she got kids reading books again, if nothing else.

I was reading Hardy Boys and Tom Swift when I was a kid. I switched to military fiction after that (Larry Bond, Clancy, Harold Coyle), with a side helping of Clyde Cussler. Now, in my late 40s, I have about 8 bookcases worth of books.

--Unknownsailor--

Blogger JAG February 18, 2019 1:53 AM  

Never read any or watched any of the HP stuff. Not really in my wheelhouse being a Gen X. The Elric and Corum books were the closest analogue for Gen X, though much darker. And like what some have said about the HP books being a one time read, the Moorcock fantasy is the same.

Blogger The Lizard King February 18, 2019 1:55 AM  

@14

I think that is exactly one of the biggest reasons why HP became so popular. Related to that, I think that my generation loved HP is because I think we were the last generation to really have an early childhood that was not completely dominated by electronics and computers. I think HP spoke to that memory my generation had.

Blogger Pax_Romana February 18, 2019 2:08 AM  

Didn't read HP until I was in my 20's, after the 7th had come out. By this time, I thoroughly loved Harry Dresden, been disappointed by the Song of Ice and Fire, and had poured through the first book by Patrick Rothfuss, so when I read the Potter books, I thought JKR's Harry protagonist was dull and a whiner by comparison, and that her school sucked compared to "The Name of the Wind."

Probably would have helped if I'd read them as they came out, when I was a kid, but...I was reading LOTR at that point, so maybe not.

Blogger Ranger February 18, 2019 2:28 AM  

@66, Tolkien has a far better plot (with far greater control over it), more believable and relatable characters, better world, and, when he is at his best, probably the best prose in literature.

Oh, and reading him regularly makes you a better person.

Less rape, though, so if you are really into that I can see how you would like Martin better.

Blogger Unknown February 18, 2019 2:30 AM  

Excellent observation. Sadly many of the people who really enjoy being in the sort of culture that only hyper-White demographics allow are the absolute worst about being blind to the realities of the multi-cult.

Blogger Archella February 18, 2019 2:40 AM  

I am going to stick up for the books, the movies were shit. But I also completely and totally condemn jk rowling herself and her politics, the politics she supports are the exact opposite of the protagonists and their struggles in the books. He who cannot be named, and his followers, once they seized control of the government, acted exactly like SJW's. It was like 1984. But I will agree with Vox here, on this completely, her characters, not her world, were what made that story compelling. And her public opinions after the end of the books, are totally incongruent with the text. the exact opposite. also, from vox's scope, I also, was filled with loathing for peter jackson's completely false depiction of Faramir. It was almost as if Jackson, took the exact opposite and made that the character. Evil. Peter Jackson's version is an evil travesty of Tolkien.

Blogger Mr. Blue February 18, 2019 4:32 AM  

When the books first came out, in the UK, at least, they had two editions with different covers, one to market to kids, one to grown-ups -- clearly trying to trade on the nostalgia market. As pastiches of the traditional English school adventure stories, the first couple were acceptable, except that JKR missed that the protag isn't supposed to be any good at sports, outside of a specific sport-focused series.

Then the series became too popular to have an editor involved in the process.

@66. Daniel Babylon
GRRM went on the "I don't care for this guy" list from his early work in Analog in the '70s alone, so count me in the Tolkien column.

Blogger wahr01 February 18, 2019 4:34 AM  

Harry potter was a fun series for its panoply, but the events and charaters were terrible and full of continuity errors.

"How it should have ended" did a good and comical breakdown of it all.

What is VERY interesting to me given rowling's political leanings is how damning the series is of "big government" as incompetent, authoritarian, and dangerous.

Then again, leftism isn't very rational, so it makes sense for Rowling to publish such a huge self-own to her prevailing dogma.

Blogger wahr01 February 18, 2019 4:41 AM  

Come to think of it, the only piece of pop media I've seen that's more overtly damning of government and bureaucracy is the Anime series "GATE", which was written by a Bolsonaro-tier Nationalist.

Blogger VD February 18, 2019 4:55 AM  

If this is not too off-topic, is there anybody here that enjoys Tolkien more than GRRM?

Yes, definitely. I have read and re-read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I never even finished the 7th book of Harry Potter and never re-read any of the previous six books.

Blogger jijijeac February 18, 2019 5:22 AM  

HP is a kids book heavil promoted by the media. Even as a kid I didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

Blogger Lovekraft February 18, 2019 5:53 AM  

Rowling is a bitter rich catlady.

Blogger Silent Draco February 18, 2019 6:30 AM  

Rowling's first book was discovered by a Scholastic staffer, and then retitled for the U.S. This got it to in-school sales and notice, at the X and Millenial transition. That was another "why don't the kids read?" Moment of Woe. Along comes "Dick and Jane go to Magic School"; problem solved. Otherwise, it stays a back-bencher in the U.K.

Blogger sysadmn February 18, 2019 7:35 AM  

While Harry Potter used tired tropes, recall that for many readers it was their first exposure to those tropes. My kids thought the "orphan secret hero on a journey to defeat a powerful evil leader" was bold and new, until we watched the first Star Wars trilogy together.

Blogger CM February 18, 2019 7:46 AM  

A better comparison for HP is Narnia. Tolkein was always more complex for a more sophisticated audience that older teens and adults can seriously sink their teeth into.

Narnia pt 1 is predominantly a kid's book with a static villain - and that should be ok for a kid's book, because children deal in black and white. Satan is an irredeemable and static villain, too.

Also, the adults in potterverse are incredibly secondary to primary characters of children, wherein Malfoy is not so static. He isn't as well developed, but there is conflict there. The relationships between him and his parents is more interesting towards the end.

I can recognize they aren't great quality that stand the test of time. It is no Narnia, however hard it may try to be, but I did see value in the sacrificial love aspects of the story. Willing to die for those you love is the ultimate good and fear of death is the ultimate evil. Harry Potter is only the central figure because of the conflict between 2 adults: his mother and voldemort.

HP is only ever what he is because Voldemort feared him (and Neville - both satisfied the prophecy, so it wasn't uniquely Harry until his mother died for him and Voldemort tried to kill - which would just as easily have been Neville if Voldemort had gone after the Longbottoms instead).

So Lily impersonates the perfect good, Voldemort the perfect evil, and Harry with both residing in him in conflict with each other.

It isn't a horrible story. It just isn't the best.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 18, 2019 7:50 AM  

As a Baby Boomer never had the slightest interest but ironically at least for the first book my Silent Gen aunt thought it marvelous, but I would probably as 90 stated it was bringing back a trope.

Never found much interest in supernatural or fantasy but I do remember a book as a youngun about a farm boy in South Dakota one night being woken up by the ghost of a murdered farm boy seeking justice or closure, and the world building, small as it was really appealed to a rural boy such as myself.

And Jim Corbett, damn I wish I still had that one book of his that I read way back in the day.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 18, 2019 7:55 AM  

I really enjoyed "Magic Broken", adult level fantasy reading.

Blogger CM February 18, 2019 8:00 AM  

If this is not too off-topic, is there anybody here that enjoys Tolkien more than GRRM? People usually praise Tolkien's world-building, but is that enough to make him more entertaining?

What defines entertaining? GRRM is easier to read than Tolkein. Tolkein is meatier. I had high Hope's for GRRM, but I don't think he is skilled enough to flesh out the undercurrent he introduced in the first 3 books. And he will never be as good as Tolkein if he can't produce a cohesive story in his world.

Tolkein did that. There's a story there with surface appeal for story's sake, and depth to delve into for the more critical reader. The language is more advanced than our devolved states can handle, but if you start with 18th and early 19th century children's literature, you can work your way up to Tolkein.

Blogger Silent Draco February 18, 2019 8:04 AM  

Mr. MantraMan, "A Magic Broken" has the feel of a Conan story, set in his younger days as a thief and rogue. Good story on its own, and a nice setup for AToB. It's the setup for a difficult job, and then tension and explosive action in the night.

Blogger CM February 18, 2019 8:05 AM  

I got my centuries wrong. 19th and early 20th - Kidnapped, Treasure Island, Louisa May Alcott is even advanced for our age (and she wrote for 7-12 year old girls). A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, etc.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 18, 2019 8:08 AM  

Good Lord GRRM' literary influence was Penthouse Letters for all it matters.

Blogger Timmy3 February 18, 2019 8:16 AM  

It’s quite true that the Tolkien Hobbit and LOTR books are much superior to the Harry Potter books. However, they are not as accessible. Tolkien packed so much detail in each page that either you keep reading or you’ll be reading & analyzing forever and never moving forward. I couldn’t finish for exactly that reason. It requires such intelligence to read it. Harry Potter is a quick read, but the books feels like a mystery detective instead of an adventure. Why did his parents die? Who is the villain that no one can name? So once you know the ending, the story is ruined. JKR can of course add more story with supplements like Tolkien. She sort of did with Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child. There’s still an audience for more material. I stopped reading Harry Potter after the second book. I barely read half of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Blogger Damelon Brinn February 18, 2019 8:44 AM  

What is VERY interesting to me given rowling's political leanings is how damning the series is of "big government" as incompetent, authoritarian, and dangerous.

For liberals, it's always 1967 and they're always fighting against The Man who is coming to shut down their music festival. Even when The Man in the real world has been attending their dinner parties and taking their orders for years.

Blogger Daniel February 18, 2019 9:01 AM  

Everyone sane and literate is infinitely more entertained by Tolkien than by GRRM.

Blogger Cloudbuster February 18, 2019 9:15 AM  

When I read the first book, I came to the conclusion, within the first dozen pages or so, that the author was doing a pretty creditable Roald Dahl impersonation.

And that's all she ever was. The Roald Dahl impersonation was played out by the end of the first book and she had nothing more to bring to the table.

Blogger Josh Randle February 18, 2019 10:01 AM  

At least she finished her fantasy series and didnt George RR Martin it, unlike some people I known.

Blogger Mr. Deficient February 18, 2019 10:34 AM  

@102

I am pretty moderately convinced based on my own reading that a large part of 6 and all of 7 was ghost written. It's a pretty dramatic departure in many ways including theme, writing style, tone and quality. I haven't read them since I was a teenager though

Blogger Igor the Obscure February 18, 2019 10:35 AM  

When the series came out, our children were in the target audience age group. My wife was (justifiably) suspicious of the occult aspects of the story and banned them. There was some slight push-back by one or two of our children, so on a business trip, I read the first two and the start of the third. I thought they were repetitive and I really disliked Harry's character - the rules didn't apply to him! I hated those kind of guys when I was in school.
One of our daughters eventually read the whole series when she got to college and became a bit of a fan - buying all of the videos and such. None of our other six children caught the bug.

Blogger Nate73 February 18, 2019 11:13 AM  

I thought Harry Potter was a fun fantasy romp on the level of the hobbit or so, never really became a huge fan of it. Plus it had this odd emphasis on the british boarding school, like if the first couple Narnia books were all about Peter and Edmund trying to win at lacrosse or something while solving magical mysteries. Eventually in the last book I ended up just laughing at having the Final Battle to Save The World (TM) at the school.

Also there's this...

https://twitter.com/pottermore/status/1081242428105998336

Blogger Станислав Бартошевич February 18, 2019 11:26 AM  

Harry Potter is okayish and fun one-time reading, with some dubious messages, like "your superiors manipulate you all the time and it's OK", and a weird/laughable mix of liberal claptrap with the exact attitude liberals are supposedly fighting against (i.e., "big government is bad" but "your goal is to preserve the system as is"; "racism is bad" but "not only racism but institutionalized slavery are OK, as long as targets are different enough"). Unfortunately, Rowling's attempts at overarching plot ended up as a convoluted nonsense that required the same characters to be nigh-prescient schemers one scene and retards the very next one. Not only there are much better fantasy books, there are much better fantasy books featuring "Britain, but with wizards, a young apprentice magician and detective-like plot", the Bartimaeus Trilogy for example.

Blogger Legacy16 February 18, 2019 11:48 AM  

Rowling is a satanist pedophile. Nothing good can come from this.

Blogger Kat February 18, 2019 11:53 AM  

Lamarck Leland wrote:Matrick wrote:I've never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen any of the films. Can anyone else make the same claim? (I'm under the age of forty).

Me too and I never read/watched Da Vinci Code either, and I only watched the first LOTR.

IMO "Kung Pow" was the best movie of that time.


Older Millennial - never saw Titanic (nudity), HP in any medium (witchcraft), and was thoroughly disgusted by Jackson's LOTR fiasco. I did see the rifftracks Twilight.

Yes, I'm weird and don't have the same cultural memories as many in my cohort. My parents were Fundy and didn't give a flip about things like that. I generally approve of their decision.

Blogger sammibandit February 18, 2019 1:21 PM  

>And that's all she ever was. The Roald Dahl impersonation was played out by the end of the first book and she had nothing more to bring to the table.

Interesting you saw this as well. Dahl actually appeared to like children. He understood they see many things and have faults, but they are children. His autobiography written for children has a fantastic story about having his adenoids removed we still talk over coffee about at my parents.

I find his children's lit and adult lit, like Skin, much more readable year after year. With Witches I get a real sense of holding back for the younger reader the horrors of this world. Dahl's adult characters had depth. The grandma in Witches made some really silly mistakes as I remember but she was never not totally devoted to her grandchild. Dahl seems to understand love itself much more than Rowling.

Aside, but being that Dahl was in the RAF I think his literal eagle eyes were instrumental in his writing. I don't know what it is about pilots but they write very well time and again.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella February 18, 2019 1:45 PM  

I feel very in the minority here, but I read Harry Potter while pregnant or nursing, and for me, it was the greatest thing ever. It had straightforwardly heroic characters who had no idea what they were doing, perplexingly evil sterile people menacing children, and just enough magic to make life bearable. I did have a life where I had no idea what I was doing, and I did have perplexingly sterile people wishing ill on my children, and for that matter, people who I'd never met praying for my children and rediscovering churches that didn't specialize in sermons on all the many different ways one goes to hell, this was a fictional analogue of my life.

For that matter, I liked Twilight. I liked the readers community built up around Twilight.

JKRowling doesn't get to live in her Harry Potter world anymore. She's desperately trying to find that magical bridge again. I don't have to listen to what she says anymore than I have to take literary advice from late-stage alcoholic brain damaged Hemingway.

My daughter read Harry Potter in third grade. She didn't view herself as smart, or academic. The books lit her spark. She plowed through them in six weeks. And then she kept going. She's got two bookshelves completely filled with YA books. She goes to book author festivals. I don't know if she re-reads Harry Potter, but she definitely reads because of Harry Potter.


Blogger Kathy February 18, 2019 2:04 PM  

I read Harry Potter around 18 or 19. I read through the first five books but lost interest after book 5. I really enjoyed the coming of age type stories back then so I found it somewhat enjoyable but not enough to get into the fandom for it. Ultimately, I consider it somewhat forgettable because it never actually hit my re-read list. My Gen Z kids have never wanted to read it.
Of course, I was in the habit of reading everything I could get my hands on back then.
When I was target age for Harry Potter, I was going through a phase where I only read classic literature and classic Fantasy/SciFi.

Blogger El Rojo February 18, 2019 2:28 PM  

..." read because of Harry Potter...."

The fact that many say that the Harry Pothead books got their kids reading again, should cause them to question exactly what books their kids were required to read in school that that made them not want to read before.




Blogger sammibandit February 18, 2019 3:02 PM  

I find it odd that a book marketed to boys is so well enjoyed by the fairer sex and was since its market entry. What happened to stories like The Hobbit, Treasure Island, or 20,000 Leagues Under he Sea? The Curdy stories? Am I way off base here, or is YA fiction now mostly sold to girls?

Blogger sammibandit February 18, 2019 3:11 PM  

Someone asked the other day what parts of Tolkein are exciting. My answer from The Hobbit:

1. the dwarves and Bilbo stuck in the trees, trapped by warg riders before the eagles save them. I know it appealed to those who like action because I, being female and low on spatial reasoning, could not picture it. I also asked my dad what he thought about it and he really liked that scene.

2. in follow up with my dad he indicated that the whole Laketown sequence was exciting with Smaug.

3. Less important but still exciting was the escape in the wine barrels scene.

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 18, 2019 4:05 PM  

I thought the first four HP books were excellent. The next two...faded. And "Deathly Hallows" was a grade-A dud.

With an extended series, it's normal form to have the key pieces on the board BEFORE the final book. Instead, Rowling tossed out the Deathly Hallows...and ignored the OBVIOUS plot line. Which would have been The Great Horcrux Hunt. Complete with periodic duels with Snape (who would win the first one or two, making snide comments all the way, but never finishing HP off).

Of course, this is a front. Snape is training HP the only way he can...as a sparring partner. Of course, HP wins the final duel, grabs Snape, disapparates back to headquarters...and then picks Snape up and asks, "How's Dumbledore getting on with the Horcrux Hunt?"

Then set up the final battle. Easy.

BTW, Tolkien is on a completely different level, at least with LOTR. The Hobbit...is a pleasant story. Tolkien clearly set out to write Hobbit II, but in his own words, "the tale grew in the telling."

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 18, 2019 4:08 PM  

@112: Most likely, the kids were being fed a steady diet of romances, sappy poetry, and you-go-girl feminist twaddle. Dull as dishwater, and toxic. Particularly to boys. Hand those same boys classic SF, Kipling, and well-written histories, and they'll devour it.

Blogger White Knight Leo #0368 February 18, 2019 5:12 PM  

I was part of a literature discussion group in my college years, and much of the time a regular topic of discussion was how much potential JKR had missed in creating her stories. Of course, a lot of what we were saying got derailed after the release of the final book, because so much came out of left field.

I despise much of literature written for children not because what children find interesting is bad but because so many children's lit authors don't put in the work to create a compelling *world* for their stories, and JKR is exemplary of this. Her "wizarding world" is cartoonishly lacking in detail - which admittedly gave her a lot of room to fill in the details later, when she thought of them.

Blogger Brett baker February 18, 2019 5:12 PM  

People tend to forget kids are still in the process of learning things "everybody knows"

Blogger CostelloM February 18, 2019 5:42 PM  

I never understood the appeal of the Harry Potter universe - I just couldn't get into it giving the glaring problems with the motivation of all the characters. The universe is setup as follows... there are those who can do magic and those who can't. Those who do magic have separated themselves using said magic into their own little slice of the world. So far so good. Non-magic muggles occasionally inter-marry. Full stop and red alert sound. So wizard males are attracted to non-wizard females? Right... so you've got a bunch of teenagers able to learn mind control spells and they wouldn't use those to take sexual advantage of the rest of the non-magically gifted? Oh and you also have no real GOD or religion just nebulous changing concepts of "good" and "evil" with no real qualifying definitions thereof and no super powerful entity stepping in to police behavior.

The universe given the rules presented would quickly become the greatest male wizards controlling and ruling entire continents with super harems and mind controlled eunuch slaves as enforcers. The wizards would likely battle each other frequently throwing the Earth in continuous calamity. With this in mind it became impossible to suspend my disbelief no matter how compelling the characters because they didn't act like humans with magic they behaved as an entirely new sub-species.

Blogger Silent Draco February 18, 2019 6:16 PM  

Sammibandit, add:

4. The Riddle Gsme with Gollum. It's exciting and scary, because you're not sure until the end if Bilbo gets eaten. I read the chapter to my daughter at 11, and she panicked near the end of the riddle game.

Blogger Geoarrge February 18, 2019 7:14 PM  

It's not hard to imagine how the issue with Ginny actually happened. The author needed a large cast of characters and ended up drawing blanks when the time came to develop the character of Ginny. Rowling told herself it wasn't actually necessary for the first one and a half books, and wrote herself into a corner. The first few books had already been published and the characterization still wasn't coming, but Rowling was unwilling to dispense with her original plan to pair Ginny and Harry.

This forms a valuable lesson for writing in any kind of serial format: figure out who a character is before starting a development arc, or be ready to change the story.

Blogger CM February 18, 2019 8:54 PM  

That would be middle school required reading for mid 90s (when first book came out).

Scholastic books were mealy mouthed - Judy Bloom, Stuart Little type stuff. I know nothing about required reading, as I was homeschooled. HS required reading, a couple years later, was atrocious. Cry the Beloved Country, Great Expectations, Maya Angelou, The Color Purple. It was rough going for 9th-10th grade (approx 2-3 years after Sorcer's Stone release date).

I read Stevenson, classic Nancy Drew, Alcott, and a ton of biographical-fiction YA books on inventors, and Lloyd Alexander while homeschooled (girl).

Blogger CYGNUS FACETIOUS February 19, 2019 4:55 AM  

Passing over Snape's implied paternity of Harry prevents the series from locking-in that Star Wars level cultural touchstone status; that cuckholding is foundational to the universe. Learning his own parents Lilly (Lillith) and James (Heb. heel, usurp) were possibly cunts, and his biological father too assblasted a cuck to take charge of him under the circumstances could have been cathartic, with Snape eventually laying down his life as he did, in addition to mentoring him in a more streetwise manner leading up to that point. Similarly, Hermoine not fame-whoring over Harry (he, oblivious) as the teacher's pet type undercuts the 'Secret King' archetype baked into the structure of the thing.

Blogger tublecane February 19, 2019 10:46 AM  

@105- "this odd emphasis on the british boarding school"

Not so odd. Boarding school stories have a virtual subgenre of their own. Probably because most all famous English writers suffered through them. But

It's a bit odd over here, because most of us don't go to Groton. But there are famous American examples, for instance A Separate Peace.

Blogger great_o'rety February 19, 2019 4:27 PM  

This is a very rare occasion when Vox errs and this comment section looks really, really silly: http://www.scifiwright.com/2016/02/the-superversive-world-of-harry-potter/

Also watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgNSxA21CAE

I don't care how great a SJW Rowling is. God works in mysterious ways and she did write a superversive work that smuggles Christian themes wholesale into the unwitting minds of millenials (and no matter what one thinks about the Deathly Hollows book, it only solidifies this assessment).

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