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Pottering Out

The world divides between those who think Harry Potter rubbish, and those who love it.  In fact, this could be further split, into those who feel this way about the books, and those who feel this way about the movies, or both.  I personally find the books beneath contempt, amazing only in terms of their unprecedented cultural success, which renders them worthy of study if not approval; and the movies a dull second.  It is good to see this series come to a close, as lifeless, draggy and ponderous as ever.  As one critic put it, it is just one damn thing after another.  The struggle between good and evil has never been more long-winded and lacking in dynamism.  It is a sign of the weak-minded times that a whole generation grew up on this twaddle, when, for instance, previous generations had Tolkien, Lewis, and Frank Herbert, to enjoy.

Comments

Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

J.K. Rowling is the first writer in human history to become a dollar billionaire through her literary endeavours so she must have been doing something right. (Think of all the publishers who turned her down!) I never read the books myself but I did buy copies for my nephew and niece.

Best wishes from Simon
martine said…
I think you have to take the books for what they are, half decent children's stories, and not imbue them with any literary merit. they are not the first books to be over hyped and they won't be the last (I understand from my daughters that Twilight is even worse). It is depressing that mediocre writing can can carry such weight. You don't need to look only to the past for better offerings ... Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy is also a tale of good versus evil but is far superior in writing, themes. storytelling and characters.
thanks for sharing
martine
Todd Swift said…
Simon, yes, she is doing something "right" - making money...
AquaMarina said…
come on Todd loosen up! those books have turned a lot of kids who wouldn't otherwise have dreamt of reading onto books and the magic of fiction. There are far worse things to read out there, get into the spirit of it catch up with the dvds, then go and watch the Deathly Hallows at the cinema with some young folk - you might surprise yourself and even enjoy it!!!
Giles said…
Tolkien Lewis and Herbert weren't that great either--how about Stevenson, Nesbit, and Crompton?
Rachel Fox said…
My daughter's not a fan so I know very little about the whole HP thing (not enough girl characters for her most of all I think). However I do know that the Stewart Lee spoof of the titles and phenomenon is very, very funny... have you seen it?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMjrXRgu8IU
Andrew Shields said…
After I had become a Rowling fan (which I remain), I came across a New York Times profile of Philip Pullman that said pretty much what Martine said above. So I went and read his trilogy, which I enjoyed very much -- but I have to differ: while Pullman is in many ways a more ambitious writer than Rowling, Rowling is the better writer overall.

Her handling of plot is far superior to Pullman's; for example, in Pullman's third book, during intense action passages, the narrative has to stop several times for things to be explained. When things are exciting, Rowling never has to explain anything, because she has already explained all the spells necessary in the action scenes earlier in the book. And she does so without anything having the slightest air of being "set up" for use later; the explanations of things are so fully incorporated into the plot that they never seem like foreshadowing. Top-flight handling of plot, that.
Here, here, Todd!
With age I come to understand how most of the time mediocrity rises to the top.

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