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Thread: Harry Potter

  1. #46
    Registered User Leabhar's Avatar
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    JBI, you're wrong. I started on HP myself when I was like 15, and I know people who went on to read actual literature, including myself. And Harry Potter making kids read isn't a fallacy. The Harry Potter books are books, aren't they? They contain words that you read. Of course they suck compared to real stuff, but that's not the point. I actually thought they were good writing, because that is all I was exposed to until I went on to read better books and then realized how crappy a writer Rowling was. The popularity of Harry Potter does make kids read, and they may go on to read better books, or they may not. It depends on the kids. Kids who just watch TV have no chance of reading, though.
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  2. #47
    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leabhar View Post
    Kids who just watch TV have no chance of reading, though.
    Or to take your point further ids who never read anything never read anything good as well as anything bad.
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  3. #48
    8th wonder of the world
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    As a teenager, i feel that Harry Potter is a enhancing peace of fiction. True, it's literary components aren't that great, and that the characters aren't very strong, but her creativity is one of a great source. To create an entire school, with miscellaneous teachers and students, is quite an accomplishment.

    To the classics, yes, many of them are god peaces of work, that enpower the mind, but some are clearly to old fashioned. Take the Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas. A few of my younger siblings friends came to me and questioned it, just because they had heard it was about a sailor, and figured it would be a twist between The Pirates of the Carribean(the movie) and the animated Treasure Island. Naturally, they quickly noticed it was nothing of that nature, but i still got them to read the Oxford edition, finish it, and then I couldn't get them to stop raving about it.

    But when I then supposed Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. They read the first hundred pages, then speedily declinded finsihing it. The reason? Just because there was no overlasting plot, no real point to the book, nothing truly interesting. Dickens only wrote about a plain boy who grew into a man, nothing significant to truly grasp. I agree with them, that the book was a waste of time, and a waste of being called a classic. I also believe that with Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Where were there creativity and originality.

    Many classics were not meant, nor should have been, placed as classics. Have you not noticed that, the reason adolescents and teenagers of my calibur have been playing games and watching television is because of the everlasting fantasies, the magic, the fighting, all of which unfold in Harry Potter, whether or not the characters are strong or outstanding. Pip never truly matured, he was always the same little nervous lad he always had been after being raised by his sister. But with Edmond Dantes, he moves from being a happy-go-lucky shiplad into a canaiving intelligent mastermind.

    I rest my case until someone believes they can outlast my comments

  4. #49
    liber vermicula Bitterfly's Avatar
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    But when I then supposed Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. They read the first hundred pages, then speedily declinded finsihing it. The reason? Just because there was no overlasting plot, no real point to the book, nothing truly interesting. Dickens only wrote about a plain boy who grew into a man, nothing significant to truly grasp. I agree with them, that the book was a waste of time, and a waste of being called a classic.
    Hmmm, honestly, I could have said the same thing about other novels by Dickens which I found rather boring (Little Dorrit, for instance), but Great Expectations? It's practically his greatest novel! And even what you criticize - just the story of a boy growing into a man - is the "plot" of quite a few wonderful novels, a whole genre called the Bildungsroman. I think you might have to study it to understand what an interesting work it is.

  5. #50
    8th wonder of the world
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    Some novels, yes, are interesting to an extent. But all of the pointless plots leading up to Pip's life, they were all meaningless, there was no point at all. Great Expectations cannot be one of Dicken's Greatest novels, for there is no story to tell.

    But take Dicken's Oliver Twist. Is there not an ongoing story, which shapes his future and presents Oliver with many self-abiding tasks? Great Expectations falls short of his truly framed work.

  6. #51
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitterfly View Post

    It's "strange" only when it's applied badly, when it becomes a research tool that yields the same results whatever book you use it on. I've seen enough critics and teachers doing this to know that it's a threat even to critical integrity. But when theory helps you understand a text better, it's extremely useful.
    Exactly!

    ------------------------

    As for all this gibberish about her characters, I think one of the main draws is in fact her characters. There are so many and they are all so different and have such unique personalities.

    The other draw of the series is the setting, the way she combines fantastical tropes and makes them breathe with life and uniqueness, it's a world full of wonder where the everyday is transformed fantastical.

    The biggest weakness is the writing itself. Here still I disagree with a lot of people here. The writing certainly isn't Shakespeare, but I've also seen a lot worse too. It's sort of mediocre, capable writing, with a few too many adverbs, and very simple in style, but its adequate enough to present the vividness of the world and tell the story effectively, even if the prose itself isn't always as vivid as it could be.

    I also think she misses a lot of opportunities with the lack of gay characters, except for telling us Dumbledore is gay after the fact. The gender issues that JBI already raised.
    Last edited by Drkshadow03; 10-20-2008 at 09:04 PM.
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  7. #52
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Honestly, texts must be analyzed beyond plot setting characters. I'm sorry, but that is about a grade 10 level criticism, purely based on content. To say she has an interesting setting is missing the point of reading, and to say she has many characters is also missing the point.

    Thematically, I would argue she is weak.
    Stylistically, I have seen no argument yet to say she is particularly strong
    In terms of originality, she simply isn't.
    In terms of conventions, she is highly fixed into her predecessor's examples
    In terms of credo, The Bible > Bunyan > Lewis > Rowling.
    In terms of relevance? Well, I hardly feel the books are relevant.

    But beyond that, in terms of aesthetics... well, if as people are arguing, it is a starter book for most people, what qualifies them as good judges of literature. Who is to say they won't read anything put in front of them. Are you suggesting this is some sort of gate-way drug, to the better stuff out there, the more shattering.

    Lets be honest. Reading the classics doesn't make you well read, and only reading the classics is the opposite of well read. One must also read contemporary works, and the contemporary tradition. The whole wizard school bit has been done in children's literature before, from Le Guin who I love, to even as different a writer as Thamora Pierce, who I also like greatly. I use the go on to read the classics as an example of what is good, in order to avoid debate about what is good and what is bad in contemporary fiction. The truth is, that against other contemporary children's fiction writers, Rowling is a rather weak voice.

    Look how long her series is for crying out loud. How much of it is just pure filler? in the first 4 books, she uses the same plot construction throughout. Start new year everything fine - secret problem revealed - clue as to the culprit - red herring revealed, true culprit revealed - some deus ex machina fix to the problem, Harry saves the day, whereas his smarter, older, and more experienced teachers and adults have it all wrong, and nearly let things go.

    By that notion, books 1-3 must be filler, as the central plot line isn't begun until the very last chapters of book 4. Nothing really happens in book five until the end, and book 6 has virtually no plot progression, and simple reintroduction to "past events". I haven't read the 7th in entirety (nor, though to a lesser extent, the 6th or 5th for that matter) so I can't accurately judge the pace of it, but from what I know, we have the same reoccuring Ron feud that we have seen since book 4 (and in books 1-3 but to a lesser extent) resurface, and take up a good 200 or so pages. Where's the gold? She plots worse than Tolkien.

  8. #53
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    JBI, well said, but bessech the fact of her filler books and such, is it not true that a large quantity of people did pick up the book? Is it not also true that after reading it, naturally most of them would go on to find more. The only problem with her writing, is it does decay the works of Tamora Pierce, and such. She shadows out greater writers just because she appealed more to adolescents and others.

    But Tamora's books are more set to a woman's liking, seeing the sex and womanly issues and such, although she is very well written and places inane concepts nobody else would incorporate into her stories. The fact is, Rowling purely had a unique idea, whether it has eben done before or not, and transfixed it better than others before her.

    You have to acknowledge that, no matter how poor or splendid her books are. The plots may be meaningless and otherwise a long-length of pointless bad-written scribble, but she still came out on top of other writers. I believe her publiscist may be part of the blame for it, by doing her job exceptionally well.

    Needless to say, this argument will go on for years, but we can't change the course of events that will come across in the future with Harry Potter. The deal is, the movie's are still going to be made, finished, and have high box-officer earnings. Rowling will continue to write to teens, however bad or good it may be, and whether she decides to incorporate our critiques or not is purely her decision. Nevertheless, she is still rich, still famous, and still going to have this book out.

    Needless to say, nothing will coincide with her points and views, as we type our anger and thanks for her. So merely just acknowledge that yes, her books are more on the leanient side of intelligents, and that she still shaped a wide-range and amount of readers. So we should still thank her, because she did get the new era of children and teens to get their faces off of screens and into books, whether they are good or bad.

  9. #54
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    Honestly, texts must be analyzed beyond plot setting characters. I'm sorry, but that is about a grade 10 level criticism, purely based on content. To say she has an interesting setting is missing the point of reading, and to say she has many characters is also missing the point.
    I'm assuming you're gearing this part of the response towards me? I wasn't actually performing criticism, I was making passing comments on the merits of the work as entertainment and what I think readers like about them. In other words, I wasn't making any attempt to deeply analyze Harry Potter. Just comments on why I think they are successful as entertainment.

    For some interesting takes on Potter with someone whose literary tastes I highly respect and have had even more long-winded arguments and epic battles with than with anyone so far here, check out:

    Is J.K. Rowling Becoming the Next Charles Dickens?

    Harry Potter is more than just Plot?

    * Disclaimer: I don't necessarily agree with any of the views provided in the two posts above, but I do think they provide some interesting perspectives.
    Last edited by Drkshadow03; 10-20-2008 at 10:47 PM.
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  10. #55
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drkshadow03 View Post
    I'm assuming you're gearing this part of the response towards me? I wasn't actually performing criticism, I was making passing comments on the merits of the work as entertainment and what I think readers like about them. In other words, I wasn't making any deep attempt to analyze Harry Potter.
    Nah, I was kind of addressing the thread, as I had gone away to attend a lecture, and came back and had found quite a few comments shoved at me. I respect the fact that you are far more knowledgeable in literary theory and criticism than I am.

  11. #56
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    I also read studies showing that Harry Potter generation is not reading more than the previous generation. The reason seems quite simple, HP is a marketing product. There is a spot before, the industry will fill it with a book, use the systems to keep the selling. If HP was that great he would increase those numbers because it would bring something new. It just didnt.
    It is true that as soon people start reading, faster they will develop their sensibility and I am sure some people started with HP. The problem however of the industry is that it does not provoke the reader to go beyond, just to return to the same product over and over, under a new guise. If the kid does not move from HP to the classics (and yes, the classics, not all classics, just find your place among them because it is not possible, with a variations of classics we have you wont like one), then there is nothing benefict there. And if a pop book is wrote in a way anyone can understand, lowering the textuality, then the reader will never have his perception sharpened and they will find reading even Agatha Christie hard. Most best sellers do it.
    As HP, not that bad (not because it is children literature, silly genre, Andersen, Stevenson and Carroll all wrote children literature and are classics, complicated books, great books, specially Alice), everything correct and that is all. The characters do seem poor, simple because they are just copy of hundred other characters and she banalyze a lot of fantasy... but it is not that pretencious as Dan Brown or Paulo Coelho, considerable more damaging workers.

  12. #57
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Honestly - the whole female experience - and that argument... There are female readers of Harry Potter, and that has a male protagonist, are we to assume a double standard? Are male readers not allowed to enjoy a heroine?

    The very genre of the novel was built around female readers. It puzzles me that we cannot accept a female lead, and a book that deals with the female experience, when the vast amount of novel readers are female (according to statistics). If a girl can read a book about a boy, boys should be able to do the same thing.

    Of course, I'm a Can-lit guy, and most of my reading these days has been geared towards that, and the fact remains that Canada seems to have more great female writers than male ones (but only just), and this sort of thing isn't really a problem. But within other canons, the old patriarchal structure of regressive suppression is still there.

    Edit, to built on the above post, if they start with Harry Potter, that doesn't necessarily mean they would not have started with something else. People who read generally do so because they like to; I can't see why Potter would be such a shocker, unless of course you hadn't read anything before it, and once we factor that in, it becomes puzzling to think that the book can be credited with having provoked the necessity in ones life for reading, or the joy that other books bring the reader.

    I am puzzled by the rhetoric that goes around without any real logical proof, which basically says, "they read Potter first, and then went on to read other stuff" but doesn't justify the fact that for thousands of years, people went on to read other stuff without there being a Potter.

    Think of it like sex - if you had a different first partner, would you have stopped having sex altogether? Of course not.

    Also, the dismissal of children's literature as unimportant I find troubling to. It is a legitimate genre, with great writers in it. From Blake's early works, through Rossetti, Carrol, The Brothers Grimm, Anderson, and all the way to modern days, it has been a very strong genre. Why do we think it is fair to say Stephen King writes mediocre books, and they are boring, or Daniel Steele, Does, but when it comes to Potter, criticizing him is blaspheming. I guess I'm the child sitting in the crowd shouting at how naked the emperor really is. (and note, I got that from one of my child-hood favorites, not Harry Potter).
    Last edited by JBI; 10-20-2008 at 11:06 PM.

  13. #58
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    Nah, I was kind of addressing the thread, as I had gone away to attend a lecture, and came back and had found quite a few comments shoved at me. I respect the fact that you are far more knowledgeable in literary theory and criticism than I am.
    Oh. Sorry then. I probably shouldn't be so narcasistic.

    I'll see if I can turn up anymore interesting comments on Harry Potter tomorrow, both scholarly and unscholarly, which may be of interest to this thread.
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  14. #59
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    I am guessing that the higher number of young female witches made the option for a young male witch a better differencial when Rowling started to create the charater, So I also do not understand why the relevance of the protagonist sex.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    Edit, to built on the above post, if they start with Harry Potter, that doesn't necessarily mean they would not have started with something else. People who read generally do so because they like to; I can't see why Potter would be such a shocker, unless of course you hadn't read anything before it, and once we factor that in, it becomes puzzling to think that the book can be credited with having provoked the necessity in ones life for reading, or the joy that other books bring the reader.

    I am puzzled by the rhetoric that goes around without any real logical proof, which basically says, "they read Potter first, and then went on to read other stuff" but doesn't justify the fact that for thousands of years, people went on to read other stuff without there being a Potter.

    Think of it like sex - if you had a different first partner, would you have stopped having sex altogether? Of course not.
    When fishing, never try to hook and pull the fish with the first bite. I am more worried with the destiny after the first reading, the continuity than anything else. I do not see 50 years old people reading HP (those who read it with 10), so what will fill the needs of this reader and how for 40 he kept reading?

    (Note, I dismiss all genres, they are not important unless a help to point a style (Romanticism, realism, etc) or structure (novels, poems, etc. I know some of the best books ever written are written for children)
    Last edited by JCamilo; 10-20-2008 at 11:12 PM.

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