Harry Potter

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Harry Potter

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1Urquhart
kesäkuu 4, 2016, 4:15 pm

I love Harry Potter books esp. the Jim Dale audiobooks!

JKRowling covers many themes but bullying seems to be a major one. I think we have lots to learn from her.

2Urquhart
kesäkuu 4, 2016, 6:04 pm

The fact that Harry Potter on Broadway is sold out through May 2017 suggests she has hit a nerve. Any idea what that is?

3John5918
kesäkuu 5, 2016, 4:01 am

When I read the first two Harry Potter books, I felt that J K Rowling had succeeded in finding a new and updated twist to the children's adventure stories which were so popular in England when I was a child. The traditional English boarding school mystery a la Enid Blyton et al has little attraction for modern children, so she spiced up her boarding school with magic and wizards and things.

For me the series went rapidly downhill after that, when she seemed to switch to what I suppose is termed the "young adult" genre. I think she also became a bit pretentious, writing longer and longer books which were still very clever but could have benefited from some serious editing. But clearly she struck the right note to hook that particular YA audience, and both the early "children's" books and the later "YA" books also appeal to a wider audience.

I realise, of course, that my less than fulsome appreciation of the Harry Potter series could be construed as heresy by many...

4Urquhart
kesäkuu 5, 2016, 5:40 am

"For me the series went rapidly downhill after that"

John, my wife and I agree with you, but I have never seen or heard anyone else say what you did.

Usually people are black and white on the topic and the author but don't qualify it as you did.

5southernbooklady
kesäkuu 5, 2016, 10:34 am

My favorite in the series is the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban. It is, perhaps, more "young adult" but I thought the dementors -- a kind of manifestation of fear and depression -- were just brilliant.

In fact, I thought she dealt extremely well with the complicated fears we have as we mature in all the books - the way things touch our lives, leave us changed, fill us with doubt and desperation. For a series ostensibly about fighting monsters and evil wizards, a significant number of the battles are internal.

6nx74defiant
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 6, 2016, 7:34 pm

"For me the series went rapidly downhill after that"

You are not alone.

I loved the first 4 books.
The 5th was meh.
The 6th a disappointment
Hated the seventh.

7Urquhart
kesäkuu 6, 2016, 8:27 pm

The big question for me is whether or not the Harry Potter series is Young Adult fiction or what.

My wife worked in a Library in Westchester County NY that placed it downstairs in the Children's room.

Any views on that?

8dajashby
kesäkuu 6, 2016, 9:35 pm

Not so much YA as older child, IMO. But of course we all have an inner child, don't we? I seem to recall that you could at one stage buy the books with two different covers, one being designed for adults to save embarrassment on public transport.

I lasted two books and lost interest.

9nx74defiant
kesäkuu 7, 2016, 8:31 pm

Most of the books would be considered Children's books.

The last book could be a problem for younger children.

10dajashby
kesäkuu 7, 2016, 9:19 pm

#9
Agreed, though of course I can only comment on the first two books.

The question is, of course, why did the series appeal to so many adults? It didn't appeal to me because after reading a lot of Enid Blyton at a very early age I got fed up with silly English kids going for jolly rambles and catching criminals before going home for lashings of cream buns. Harry Potter seemed cut from the same cloth.

I never read any boarding school stories. On the other hand, I adored Richmal Crompton's William, because he was so bolshie. Harry Potter is virtuous and courageous, but he never thumbs his nose at the adult world.

11southernbooklady
kesäkuu 7, 2016, 9:36 pm

>7 Urquhart: The big question for me is whether or not the Harry Potter series is Young Adult fiction or what.

Not the big question for me, I have to admit. But the books were written over the span of seven years. Harry, Ron and Hermione were all growing with their first readers, so it is natural that the books would start out "children's" and end up young adult.

I think what really makes them work, though, is that they are multi-leveled, so it is easy for readers to identify with the stories, even if they aren't the same age as Harry et al. Even in the 7th book, which should have been as dark and adult as it gets -- (Hermione is nearly raped, for chrissakes) there are plenty of themes that would touch and appeal to younger children -- a rescued dragon! two best friends fighting! a fairy tale book with hidden clues!

Rowling could be heavy-handed with her metaphors and lord knows she wouldn't use one word when six would do, but the world she created is vivid and real right down to the weirdest flavor jelly bean in the magical candy shop. The only other writer I can think of that is that precise with his world-building and still manages to tell a great story across an entire series of books is Frank Herbert in Dune.

12dajashby
kesäkuu 7, 2016, 9:54 pm

The male half of dajashby here. I have read all the Harry Potters, and I agree that the series went down hill, particularly after #3 (which is the best IMO), although the Quidditch world cup in #4 was a bit of fun. I differ from the female half in that, being English, I liked Swallows and Amazons, etc., as a kid, and I even confess to having read a few of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham's Abbey books with enjoyment (my mother's favourites...). Probably my favourite schoolboy stories are David Blaize and David of King's, by E.F. Benson. Never did like Enid Blyton, though.

14John5918
kesäkuu 8, 2016, 12:33 pm

>12 dajashby:

Have to confess I still like Swallows and Amazons after rereading them recently.

15DinadansFriend
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 2016, 5:51 pm

I'm on board with "Swallows and Amazons" being good fun. And I liked Kipling's "Stalky and Co." book, which really defined the Boarding School book for me. So, I read the first Harry Potter as a novel, and went to the movies for the rest.
>11 southernbooklady::
I think Herbert's Dune was a not bad use of the real world's Ottoman Empire Government system...look it up, part of the history of the Middle east is explained there as well.:-)
the real world builder, is George Martin for his Westeros. As a former RPG dungeon Master, i applaud his work, With JRR Tolkien's Middle earth a good second.

16dajashby
kesäkuu 8, 2016, 7:39 pm

>15 DinadansFriend: Martin is nothing like as good as Tolkien when it comes to world building, IMHO, though the emphasis is different (Tolkien was most interested in languages) - the series of books published by his son Christopher are fascinating. I confess I haven't yet read The world of ice and fire, but it's on my list. I also confess that I gave up on Dune after the first sequel. One of the better imagined worlds of my acquaintance is Terry Pratchett's Discworld.

17ABVR
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 2016, 9:45 pm

>10 dajashby: The question is, of course, why did the series appeal to so many adults?

I think a big part of the answer is that the world, the characters, and the meta-plot all deepen, significantly from the late third book on. There's a scene, midway through Book 3 (Harry, eavesdropping in the tavern), where Rowling pulls the rug out from under Our Hero's understanding of How The World Works. She lets him digest that for a while, then spends the last several chapters of Book 3 busily yanking the floor out from under him, as well.

Harry ends Book 3 just beginning to wrap his mind around the fact that the world is way more complicated than he'd ever imagined, and that all the eccentric adults he's been hanging out with have histories (with the world and with each other) of which he knows virtually nothing. The next four books involve him going, in a plausible-feeling way, deeper and deeper down that rabbit hole. Every book, from 4 through 7, shows him that the stakes are higher, the world is darker, and his adult friends are simultaneously more deeply flawed and more admirable than he'd ever imagined.

To Rowling's credit, Harry doesn't always deal with this especially well; in fact, he spends a good deal of Books 5 & 6 being an insufferable jerk. The thing is, he gets over it, and by the end of Book 7, he's completed the transition from a child whose destiny is controlled by other people to an adult who can (and does) shape his own destiny.

The kids reading Harry Potter think that the meta-plot is "Harry & friends have adventures and defeat Voldemort" . . . the adults realize that the real meta-plot is "Harry grows up," and the series appeals to some adults (me included) because, well, that's about as universal a story as you can find.