• More Harry Potter Balderdash

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 3 comments

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneA couple of weeks ago I mentioned that, yes, I am finally reading the Harry Potter books, something I vowed to do in 2012 but didn’t, because I’m a muggle and we muggles rarely keep our promises.

    I’m through book #2 and am looking forward to #3, because I’ve heard that in the third book Rowling really starts to get into her groove. Last summer, when I originally intended to read them, I threw the following question out on our Facebook page, hoping that someone might talk me out of it: “Thinking about reading the Harry Potter series this summer. Did any of you read one (or all) and not enjoy it? I’ve never heard negative criticism, but there’s gotta be *someone* who didn’t love them.

    A few people tried:

    David: “I read the first one and wasn’t crazy about it. It wasn’t bad per se, just didn’t thrill me. What bothered me the most, as someone who’s really into games, sports, and competitions, and knows a little bit about game theory, is that the rules of Quidditch are fucking idiotic.”

    Janice: “I read #1 and enjoyed it, but #2 started dragging to me and I stopped mid-book and haven’t read any of the rest. And I haven’t seen any of the movies (I know – I’m the only one). I would have loved these books as a kid, but I prefer true life books now, not fantasy/science fiction/etc. But they are certainly well-written books.”

    Nate: “Very well-written, lots of fun if you let yourself be transported back to those teenage school years. Obviously I’m biased, though. Not because J.K. Rowling is my aunt or anything, but because I love those kinds of books. If you enjoy the movies, the books are much better. I say ‘yeah, the movies are pretty good’ when people ask, because reading the series is quite a bit better.”

    Rhonda: “As I recall, I liked the first one but gave up after the second one. It was too long between books (and movies) and I couldn’t remember what had happened before. I also thought it dragged. Perhaps reading one right after the other wouldn’t be as bad, but I don’t have the patience for anything that long that isn’t true to life. I’m also not a fan of the whole fantasy thing.”

    Amanda: “Aunt Petunia thought Dudley looked like a baby angel. Harry thought Dudley looked like a pig in a wig.”…That’s the line in book one where I knew I had been completely sucked in. I’m a HUGE HP fan and proud of it! I was a skeptic when I was finally convinced to read the first book, but I read it in a day…ditto for most of them. Goblet of Fire is one of my favorite books of all time. In my opinion, the quality of the writing is not quite as strong in the latter three books and JK Rowling’s editors just plain got lazy for the last two because each of those could have had at least a couple of hundred pages axed and been okay for it. However, overall they’re funny, smart, and moving. You will find yourself abnormally attached to some of the characters by the end of the series if you stick with it. You’ll also find yourself wishing you could have gone to a school like Hogwarts. One big thing: The books must be read sequentially or the story will make no sense to you. And something that is only mentioned in passing or is very minor in one book often becomes a major plot point of the next. So, if you’re thinking of only reading one or two, then it should be the first two because if you read book one and then attempt to read book five, you’ll be VERY confused…

    Michelle: “I resisted for years and finally caved in and it was literary crack! I couldn’t understand how someone could put together such simple words so that my eyes couldn’t turn away. My die hard sci fi friends think they’re hokey and prefer much more sophisticated reads but if you like magical things and escapism and don’t want to think too hard, this is your series. Plus, if you do snooze thru a few pages, you have access to millions of readers who can fill in the gaps for you.”

    Ethan: “The craft in the first few books can be bit ham-fisted, about what you’d expect from YA lit, but it develops a lot as she gets deeper into the series and gets more experience. I feel like this is also the right time to say that C.S. Lewis sucks butt. Overall I really enjoyed the series, particularly from book 4 on.”

    Jay: “People who don’t like reading Harry Potter hate fun. You can have beefs with individual books, or aspects of books, some of the writing technique, but to claim that they’re not fun reads is just unconscionable.”

    Daniel: “The problem with the first few books is the repetition. Book 1 is rather nice and the humor really helped carry me through it (especially the letter following Harry around England, how it is addressed to him in whatever odd place he happens to be sleeping). But she repeats so much of Book 1 in Books 2 and 3 that an educated adult with a good memory will become slightly annoyed. But keep in mind that originally, her true target audience was the younger crowd and a typical method of keeping them interested in a story is to remind them of the things that occurred before. But this repetition ends sometime in Book 3 and practically does not exist in Book 4 and you can read them without ever thinking ‘yes, I remember, now get on with it!’

    Debbie: “Harry Potter felt a little too young for me.”

    Heather: “I began the series, then became distracted by something shiny on my wall.”

    Anything to add, those of you who haven’t chimed in yet? Are there other YA serieses (yeah) that, as an adult, you’re really into? Are the HP movies better than the HP books? Are movies ever better?


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    Laura Roberts

    You know, I started the HP series, but never finished it – despite having several rabid fans amongst my friends (and some of whom were also booksellers). I will probably have to go back and re-read them, at some point, but right now I just have the Henry Rollins rant on my mind: “Don’t be an adult woman reading a fucking child’s book in my car, get the fuck out!!”

    Carrie Winters

    I love that. And bless you for mentioning Henry Rollins in a Harry Potter blog post comment.


    *chanting* Hunger Games! Hunger Games!

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