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Thread: Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Plot

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    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Plot

    Because my kids own books and films, I've been through the Harry Potter experience from go to whoa.

    Aside from overwhelming feeling that J K Rowling's success is based upon slick marketing rather than good writing, I have one serious issue with her books:

    I get a strong impression that two different writers are involved.

    Maybe it's a deliberate ploy of Rowling's and she's much cleverer than I'm prepared to see?

    Has anyone got any comments in this vein? Is it possible that Rowling, like Dick Francis, has her very own Chamber of Secrets?

    The subject is obviously out there in some form - there's even a betting market on it here - with odds of 25:1 against her having used ghost writers.
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    Bat Country Hank Stamper's Avatar
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    I heard harry potter was written by those same monkeys who wrote all that shakespeare
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

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    Registered User Joreads's Avatar
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    Wow I really enjoyed the HP series but I have to admitt the books got better as they went along. I never considered that she used a Ghost writer but there you go. I will do some research on it now.

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    I don't think so, and if it's true, the ghost writer isn't a very good writer either. Either way though, who cares. The books are on their way out, it's time to move on, and throw out the wand and hat you spent 30$ a piece on for your children.

    Another point, want me to do some word count checks, and phrase checks to compare the documents of each book. I would have to obtain an e-text copy, but then I could scan the text for text usage, and things like that (rather easily).
    Last edited by JBI; 10-24-2008 at 06:22 PM.

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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    I wouldn't waste my time, JBI.

    I'm growing slightly weary from all these Harry Potter threads.

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    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Hey, all this Harry Potter discussion has inspired me to write some HP criticism talking about the virtues of Potter and what Fantasy can do that realism cannot.
    "You understand well enough what slavery is, but freedom you have never experienced, so you do not know if it tastes sweet or bitter. If you ever did come to experience it, you would advise us to fight for it not with spears only, but with axes too." - Herodotus

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    I don't think so, and if it's true, the ghost writer isn't a very good writer either. Either way though, who cares. The books are on their way out, it's time to move on, and throw out the wand and hat you spent 30$ a piece on for your children.
    Potter era's ending, Potter generation's growing up, and beginning to date vampires, once Twilight era's beginning ...

    Oh the youth, the youth ...

    O tempora, o mores!


    librarius

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Fantasy is good, Potter is bad. I have no problem with Crowley, or Le guin, or Thamora Peirce, or Peake, or Roger Zelazny, but Potter wasn't intended to be good. Of the genre itself, I find it ironic that fantasy resorts to clichés, and yet still sells. There is the odd imaginative thinker, like Italo Calvino, but for the most part, it's pretty crappy writing with pretty crappy purposes. Lets be honest. A book is supposed to be one book, not a 6 book series, or whatever. If everyone else can express a whole life saga in one book, why is it that the fantasy writer takes 6 books for one quest.

    Point taken?

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    Charles the Grinning Boy SirRaustusBear's Avatar
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    You can't really attack someone for writing a series. How about Proust or Balzac or Zola or Phillip Roth or John Updike. Writing as a series is not a fault in itself. Commercial fiction tends to use the series as yet another way to turn a profit, more books equals more money, but that is a fault with commercial fiction not the idea of a series.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Balzac and Zola's series are interconnected standalone novels. Proust's is one long novel. Rowling's is 7 dependent novels, with refurbished plots.

    There is a limit to how long a book can hold out. Proust, I would argue did the best job at maintaining throughout, but if we look at, for instance, Robert Jordan, he A) never finished his work which is nearing 10000 pages (Proust at least had an ending in sight), and b) lost even avid fans along the way.

    Rowling's novels are problematic, in the sense that they don't stand alone. What that means is, we must treat the series as one long book, in which case, we can safely say it doesn't quite measure up. If we read the books as independent installments, perhaps it would work better, but I would argue they can't be read like that, because of their dependence on each other, and their unfinishedness. From the singe book angle, we have a several thousand page bildungsroman, which I would argue, doesn't justify itself as quality literature, or worthy of our time.

    That being said, the reason series work, is because they get a following, and sell copies. Rowling manages to do that, and it is quite possible she cheated by ghosting out in order to get the money while she still was hot on the shelves.

    That's all speculation of course - I personally am rather unconvinced of a ghost reader - in terms of writing, no book in the series was that great - the only redeeming qualities of the original 3 verses the other 4 is that they were far shorter, and exhibited a somewhat satisfactory editing of size. By the last books though, she doesn't seem to want an editor anymore, and you end up with fat tombs, which sell just as well, but cost 40$ a pop.
    Last edited by JBI; 10-25-2008 at 01:40 AM.

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    Registered User Etienne's Avatar
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    EDIT: JBI beat me to it.
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    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Stamper View Post
    I heard harry potter was written by those same monkeys who wrote all that shakespeare
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    To expand on my edit, since I don't wish to edit it again with more info, I would note that the time scale is the same in every book, but the lengths are all different.

    I would mark a turning point in book 4 as the transfer from regular size to obesity.

    In terms of time to publish, the first 4 are one year apparent, whereas the rest are about 2 years apart, each installment seeming to come out in the summertime. Meaning she is taking twice as long to write the books, writing twice as much, to three times as much, and making twice as much. I would think no real ghost writer, simply a bad writer, who got arrogant, and stopped trimming her books to reasonable lengths.

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    Ataraxia bazarov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
    Because my kids own books and films, I've been through the Harry Potter experience from go to whoa.

    You!?!?!
    I thought you're raising new Orwellians
    Quote Originally Posted by librarius_qui View Post

    Oh the youth, the youth ...

    O tempora, o mores!


    librarius
    Yes, so sad
    7 books - Divine Comedy, The Brothers Karamazov, War and Peace, Don Quijote, Crime and Punishment, Good soldier Svejk, Hamlet - that would a smarter kid.
    Last edited by bazarov; 10-25-2008 at 06:33 AM.
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    Ditsy Pixie Niamh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by librarius_qui View Post
    Potter era's ending, Potter generation's growing up, and beginning to date vampires, once Twilight era's beginning ...
    Not sure about the twilight generation. Its really only over in America. It hasnt taken off as much over this neck of the woods, and less people buy them because the books are being written to the same standard as the first. I've had it from more than one source. Its like she tryinf to pump out too many books, too fast and is not giving the writing side of it the time it deserves.
    ****
    With the case of Rowling, her first few books were pumped out pretty fast becasue of publisher deadlines, and it was her decission to take a step back and spend more time on the last ones or else we would have had a similar situation as with the twilight series. Finishing off a popular story with poor quality writing.

    You must remember, that it is not always the case of the writer writing a loto f books in a short period of time, but the deadlines and pressure put on them by the publishers.
    Last edited by Niamh; 10-25-2008 at 07:19 AM.
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