CuriousGeorgette

Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

106 posts in this topic

Intelligent discourse is about exchanging ideas and views. Discourse is not about emotionalism. When emotionalism enters, arguments arise and reason does an Elvis. It leaves the building.

                                                                           :giggle2: pearls of wisdom, Virginia :giggle2:

Edited by Virginia

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I fail to see any discrepancy or contradiction but I am bowing out as it is clear that people are unable to discuss a difference of opinion calmly and politely without it being viewed as 'personal' and the rebuttals failing to be anything but defensive responses which add nothing to a discussion. Why is it that people are unable to reply with a well thought out and reasoned response. There are as many, if not more articles defending why Harry Potter is a work of literary genius. How about sourcing some of those to defend your enjoyment of the book instead of reacting with emotion which achieves nothing but to kill the discussion dead? Should that have happened we could have had an interesting discussion.

I don't understand what you are trying to get across. Of course mass marketing was involved in Harry a Potter - and it certainly isn't the only novel involved. Books need publicity to sell - these days social media can have a huge impact on a books sales, but back when the first few books were released I don't think Facebook had such a role in people's everyday lives. Books, like movies or games need to tempt people with their product so they will get more sales - surely what you have been pointing out is a bit obvious? I don't think many people look at the number of sales of Harry Potter and say - seriously, a marketing was involved?!

 

That's just the way our world is - what's the alternative? Force everyone to read certain books which critics decide are the best books ever written? Can you imagine how dull our world would become?

 

Regarding your point about the books not being well written, I know very few people who believe the books are written well. But y'know what that's not the only reason people read books. They read them as a means of escape, as a way of realising that you're not alone.Harry Potter isn't just a simple book about magic - it's about school life and the struggles teenagers face during adolescence. Things like bullies, your first kiss, trying to get through tedious amounts of homework, that know-it-all who always gets everything right. It's about life.Even the dementors weren't simply made up - they stemmed from Rowlings own experiences of depression, something I'm sure many people can relate to.

 

Personally, reading Harry Potter was what opened the door into the world of books for me. It was a book that, as a kid, I could relate to. It want so densely written that I had to grab a dictionary every few minutes.And if people are reading rather than sitting washing TV isn't that a good thing? Imagine how many young kids Rowling inspired to read. Why does it matter what book the kids decided to pick up - what's important is that people are deciding to pick up books for themselves.

 

If you want to begin a conversation about mass marketing, I think there are far more important points you can talk about instead of what books people decide to read - such as Andrew Wakefields paper on the link between Autism and MMR which was published in a well known journal, the Lancet, despite having little evidence and Wakefield being paid £400,000 for his results, which then led to the measles epidemic in Wales in which one person died. If you're going to talk about mass marketing, I think there are more important issues on hand.

 

Regarding your point about numerous articles and websites criticising the Harry Potter phenomenon, that is nothing new. Books will always have their criticism especially best sellers.

What about the numerous websites that have been created by fans to discuss the storylines and characters in great detail? Isn't it a good thing that people have become united over a book series?

 

Here's a list of a couple of such websites:

 

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Harry_Potter_fan_websites

 

Intelligent discourse is about exchanging ideas and views. Discourse is not about emotionalism. When emotionalism enters, arguments arise and reason does an Elvis. It leaves the building.

:giggle2: pearls of wisdom, Virginia :giggle2:

Unfortunately, I feel that emotionalism will always get in the way. We are after all human, and therefore flawed. Edited by Angury

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Ah yes, we are, after all, humans (in my Sheldon voice)!!  When we can respond like Dr. Spock things will be far more civilized but a lot less interesting. ;)

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I hadn't read this thread, as I'm not a Potter fan.  Read the last one only and saw nothing to it.  Not fair, I know as the build-up is the thing. :)

However, reading that last one didn't move me to read the others (on my shelf, btw). 

 

I think, however, that the same sort of marketing strategy that was used for the Potter books was equally successful for the (dare I mention it :D ) Shades of Grey trilogy. And, yes, it's clever as heck, and very effective, and, I believe, highly manipulative.  But we all fall for it.   Nothing wrong with that, at all. 

 

I also believe that when we post something on any of these threads it is our opinion, and don't necessarily have to state IMO at every turn.  I'd assume that if someone posts something it is their opinion.  :doh:

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Pontalba, in your last paragraph, are you referring to all of the posters who has CG has upset? If so, the problem here is not CG's opinion of the HP books. No one has a problem with that (if I may be permitted to speak for everyone). The problem is that CG is belittling the intelligence of those of us who do like the HP books. I could point to several specific quotes, but others have already done that. It is OK to not like a book or an author. It is not OK to personally insult others when you state that opinion. This has always been a rule of this forum, and this is why the forum is (usually) so friendly—we are tolerant of contradicting opinions because they are expressed in a friendly manner. But occasionally one person comes along and spoils it.  :sarcastic:

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I hadn't read this thread, as I'm not a Potter fan.  Read the last one only and saw nothing to it.  Not fair, I know as the build-up is the thing. :)

However, reading that last one didn't move me to read the others (on my shelf, btw). 

 

I think, however, that the same sort of marketing strategy that was used for the Potter books was equally successful for the (dare I mention it :D ) Shades of Grey trilogy. And, yes, it's clever as heck, and very effective, and, I believe, highly manipulative.  But we all fall for it.   Nothing wrong with that, at all. 

 

I also believe that when we post something on any of these threads it is our opinion, and don't necessarily have to state IMO at every turn.  I'd assume that if someone posts something it is their opinion:doh:

 

 

Pontalba, in your last paragraph, are you referring to all of the posters who has CG has upset? If so, the problem here is not CG's opinion of the HP books. No one has a problem with that (if I may be permitted to speak for everyone). The problem is that CG is belittling the intelligence of those of us who do like the HP books. I could point to several specific quotes, but others have already done that. It is OK to not like a book or an author. It is not OK to personally insult others when you state that opinion. This has always been a rule of this forum, and this is why the forum is (usually) so friendly—we are tolerant of contradicting opinions because they are expressed in a friendly manner. But occasionally one person comes along and spoils it.  :sarcastic:

 

I meant "we", the generic "we" of any forum, any gathering.  That includes every poster on this forum, including CG and myself.. If I post something, it's pretty obvious it is what I think, and is my opinion.  I don't think typing IMO is absolutely necessary to say that what I write is my opinion. 

 

She stated her opinion, and it is at variance with the usual opinions expressed here.  Perhaps stated in not the most diplomatic terms, but I truly did not see anything that was insulting or mean to anyone.

 

I have no desire to rehash, I'm just stating my opinion. :)

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I have split this topic so that discussion of the actual story/book is in the original thread, and the arguments about whether it is great literature or not are in this thread as I don't want people who do enjoy it to be put off from posting about it.  

 

You can now talk about whether you believe it is good or not here.  I debated moving it to the Debate Forum (ha!) but I will leave it here for the time being.

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It took me a long time to come to the Harry Potter books - it wasn't till after watching the third film that I thought I'd give them a shot as I thought there were a couple of things that could have been better explained in the movie and figured the book would fill in the gaps. Of course, to get to the third book, I would have to read the first two before it.

 

I fully acknowledge they aren't the most well-written books in the world, and that the plot and characters borrow heavily from other books, but I admit, I rather like them. And there's no denying they introduced a LOT of children who wouldn't ordinarily have chosen reading as a pastime to reading for pleasure, and that has to be a good thing. They also reminded many adults how much they'd loved reading as children, or gave them a love of it in adulthood - another good thing.

So, while I know there are countless better books out there, I kinda like these and am looking forward to reading them to/with my children. We're currently reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Xander, but he has seen all the HP films and loved them, so I don't think it will be long before we start reading those to him, chapter by chapter, at bedtime too. He already loves books, and this kind of thing, with boy wizards, magical creatures, flying broomsticks, good versus evil battles etc, will be something that will engage him and help keep his interest in books alive, even when reading isn't seen as a "cool" thing for a boy to do with his time.

 

And when push comes to shove, they are FAR better written than the Twilight Saga nonsense, which I hate with a passion!

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You make a good point, Kell.  I think the atmosphere in which we have read a book, and therefore the memories attached make a big difference in this.  So, even if a book has certain flaws, it remains enjoyable because of the memories.

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but I truly did not see anything that was insulting or mean to anyone.

 

Really?! I just don't understand how you could not see that. (I could point out similarly insulting posts by the same person in other threads, but I'll just confine myself to this one.)

 

Anyway, I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall ( :banghead: ) trying to get people to understand etiquette here, so I'll leave this discussion...right after I say this: If half a dozen or more people have complained that one person has been insulting and patronising, then there IS a problem, whether or not you personally can see it, and said person needs to think more carefully about how they express their thoughts in the future.

 

ETA: And to be on topic, I think the HP books are written very well for what they are (children's literature).

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Really?! I just don't understand how you could not see that. (I could point out similarly insulting posts by the same person in other threads, but I'll just confine myself to this one.)

 

Anyway, I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall ( :banghead: ) trying to get people to understand etiquette here, so I'll leave this discussion...right after I say this: If half a dozen or more people have complained that one person has been insulting and patronising, then there IS a problem, whether or not you personally can see it, and said person needs to think more carefully about how they express their thoughts in the future.

 

ETA: And to be on topic, I think the HP books are written very well for what they are (children's literature).

 

In my opinion. that's a two way street.  All sides should remain respectful and not throw mud.

 

Re your ETA, you and 10 million others, so that's great. :)  I do think it's good that it seems to have gotten more children to read, I only hope it sticks with them.

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I seriously think it's time to draw a line under this whole thing. It's quite obvious that this 'discussion' could go round in circles for eternity, and the longer it does, the more people will argue, take sides, and fall out. Unfortunately I've seen it happen before on here, and I don't really want to go there again.

 

I think in this case everyone needs to agree to disagree - maybe it's more appropriate to have a discussion in the debating section about marketing in general?

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I'm quite sure marketing had no effect on me reading Harry Potter books, in fact quite the opposite. I'm one of those contrary people who tend to ignore books that have a lot of hype attached. I had heard some negative views from conservative Christians who thought the wizardry and witchcraft contained in the books was harmful for children. As one of my sons had been given one for a gift, I wanted to form my own opinion. Well I loved them! I thought the world she created was highly imaginative and I can't say the writing struck me as poor at all. I don't feel the books are suitable for young children though, they get quite dark further on in the series.

 

There is always going to be marketing of products, for good or bad, you can't really expect otherwise. Just how much you let it influence you, is up to the individual.

 

(sorry Michelle, was writing and posting this before I saw yours :blush2:)

Edited by poppy

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Sorry if I add something, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to here or in another section of the forum. So I must say I'm sorry if I'm doing something wrong. I just wanted to add that I read Harry Potter and enjoyed the books. I take them with me every time I go to the hospital because I need something to cheer me up among all that pain. In Italy the marketing was absolutely meaningful. Only something for the movie but starting from the Order of The Phoenix, nothing for the other four movie. I found a copy of the first book in a library when I was babysitting a dislessic 8 years old treasure. He chose the book .. well no, the end of his "choosing a book"song happened when he had his finger on the back of The Philosopher Stone. We read it together and we both liked it. It was even difficult to find the other books. And usally I'm not a sheep: I don't even wear labels or use chimical products as I home-make everything I use. If HP is just a marketing product read by people hit by a massive advertise, why did I read it if no advertisment was made here for the books? Once again, I'm so sorry if this post is in the wrong place. I didn't find another discussion on the topic. And I'm sorry if I got the whole thing wrong: I'm not native english. Feel free to delete this post if necessary.

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This writer had sour grapes about the whole Harry Potter phenomenon, but it rather back-fired on her.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lynn-shepherd/jk-rowling-should-stop-writing_b_4829648.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

 

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/27/crime-author-urges-jk-rowling-stop-writing

Edited by poppy

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Choosing to bow out of a thread does not mean it backfired on me. I would be quite happy to continue to have a proper discussion.

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CuriousGeorgette, unless you are Lyn Shepherd, the author, or another well-known author who has very publically lambasted JK Rowling, I can in no way see the links I've shared as referring to you. Stating your opinions on a message board anonymously and to a relatively small audience is a very different thing altogether.

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oops sorry I misread ... too early in the am, lack of sleep to blame - apologies, but my comment about being happy to have a proper debate on the subject still stands. 

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oops sorry I misread ... too early in the am, lack of sleep to blame - apologies, but my comment about being happy to have a proper debate on the subject still stands. 

 

That's OK, just a misunderstanding :)

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Well I don't think it was sour grapes  - and I think her points are pertinent to the discussion -

 

 

 

this apparently well-written and well-received crime novel which seems to have sold no more than 1,500 copies under its own steam, suddenly went stratospheric. 

 

1500 copies indicates that the book was not that great, not that well received etc on its own merits. Put the 'name' behind it + the publicity = sales .... popular does mean good and good does not mean popular. A book can be really awful and still be popular (Mills and Boon and the ilk any one?). 

 

She is also right that it is very hard to get published. I was reading a blog written by an editors assistant who said she rejects 95% of the manuscripts that cross her desk ... NINETY FIVE PERCENT - now I would be inclined to accept that figure as being a slightly high assessment of the ratio of good publishable books to the drek if it were not for a few posts in which she wrote about why some had been rejected. Sadly it was not because the writing was bad or didn't fit into the genre of books the company published - no it was some arbitrary objection to phrasing, or a word, on the first or second page! So potentially publishable books (with the help of an editor which is expected) are rejected on some whim. 

 

I don't agree that the solution is for the big names to stop writing in order to allow others to have a chance - no I think that the industry needs a revolution, as well as readers who are more discerning and don't just go for the 'Top Sellers' in the bookstore. 

 

Fight the marketing - it isn't always right about the quality of the book - be more discerning ie read more and cultivate your personal tastes - demand quality over quantity. 

Edited by CuriousGeorgette

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CuriousGeorgette: Just out of curiosity: How much have you read of the Harry Potter books? :)

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CuriousGeorgette: Just out of curiosity: How much have you read of the Harry Potter books? :)

 

most of the first one - by which I mean I suffered through the first few pages, skimmed the rest to see if it got better - it didn't. Seen bits of one or two the movies - didn't grab me any more than the books did. 

 

I found the writing to be condescendingly simple, lacking in good construction, short on creativity - it is SOOOOOO derivative - uninspiring, and appallingly insulting prejudiced against 'muggles' <- ie the reader that I'm surprised it has not come under more criticism for inciting hatred against any one who is different. Any one who has read Enid Blyton will recognise the hankering after this ridiculously outdated and idealised concept of the private boarding school - only Enid Blyton could actually write (but I can't stand any of the school books she wrote either) - where we are all jolly hockey sticks what ho! (Puke!). Harry Potter himself came across as hugely disrespectful of authority and I thought the lines between right and wrong are entirely too blurred to be appropriate for kids - the end NEVER justifies the means! The adults in the books are either stupidly authoritative - do as I say without question and I won't listen to you - or the enemy. Again not something one wants to be promoting for kids. Whilst SOME adults are like this (sadly) - one also wants to create the impression that there are adults who will listen if you have a problem and who will be supportive etc. Too many issues kids have go unreported and unnoticed because kids do not see the adults in their world as being the solution to their problems.

Edited by CuriousGeorgette

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But bestsellers are bestsellers for a reason, CG. Whether or not they're the most well-written books is actually beside the point. Some people  read to learn and be educated, some people simply read to be entertained (it is crucial that you understand this!) and some people read for both reasons (and countless others, no doubt). I enjoy a mix of books myself. 'High-brow' is great, but sometimes I just want a light, fun read. Ultimately, authors who write fiction books are telling a story. Why does it matter how it's written as long as it's a good story? And the HP books fit the bill perfectly for a 'good story' (nay, they are brilliant stories—and I could rattle off a list of books that I love equally that would be much more 'acceptable' to you, but I have no need to justify what I read to you or anyone else).

 

No, many books don't get as much marketing, but they can still sell well through word of mouth. I can't think of a book example off the top of my head, but I can think of a movie. The Shawshenk Redemption didn't do well when it was initially released at the movies, but over time, through word of mouth, it has become one of the highest-rated movies around And, you know, I don't believe the first HP book did that well when it was first published. I believe it also became well known through word of mouth, and then the publishing company started printing more copies and marketing it more.

 

If you're so annoyed by marketing tactics, maybe you should expend your energies in a more positive direction—by writing book reviews here and elsewhere online to recommend books that you love to others. For example, if you use social media, you could reach friends who might not read as much and therefore might welcome guidance. And there are the more usual suspects—Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing etc. I have absolutely no idea what you enjoy reading, CG—so far I only know what you hate and/or refuse to read.

 

You suggest that we cultivate our personal tastes, but that's exactly what we are doing when we choose what we read (note which words I've emphasised!) It sounds more like you want us to change our reading tastes to suit your personal tastes.

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most of the first one - by which I mean I suffered through the first few pages, skimmed the rest to see if it got better - it didn't. Seen bits of one or two the movies - didn't grab me any more than the books did.

 

So you read the first few pages, that's, say, 2-3 pages. I think it's a pretty big jump to read as little of a novel in a book series and then say "that's because they are appallingly badly written - like unreadably, and espouse questionable values, maybe as you read more good writing you will come to see this. I think we may well see these books as the nadir of children's literature, or at least I hope so, because please don't let there be worse."

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