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


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#101 MrCat

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 06:24 AM

I love the HP book precisely because they are not complex. I would not say the fantasy genre is hard to get into, unless you somehow read Ursula LeGuin as your first but most people go for The Lord of the Rings as a first "serious" fantasy read. LOTR isn't very complex at all and at the first reading, unless you have a little background on Tolkien, you miss on a lot of his points. 

 

As far as the genre itself goes, does it really matter how serious it is? Why would you even expect it to be anything but childish in the first place? Fairy-tales are childish and for kids but you don't expect them to be serious (not these days at least, I don't wanna get into the Grimm brothers now).

 

Also, your categorization on people that love H.P. is plain silly.  



#102 Michelle

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 10:53 AM

For goodness sake everyone... why is it that Harry Potter of all things seems to divide people and cause problems? It's ok to have differing opinions over books, and over fantasy as a genre, there is no need to make an argument out of it, and to start making sarcastic comments!



#103 davidh219

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 10:55 PM

I love the HP book precisely because they are not complex. I would not say the fantasy genre is hard to get into, unless you somehow read Ursula LeGuin as your first but most people go for The Lord of the Rings as a first "serious" fantasy read. LOTR isn't very complex at all and at the first reading, unless you have a little background on Tolkien, you miss on a lot of his points. 

 

As far as the genre itself goes, does it really matter how serious it is? Why would you even expect it to be anything but childish in the first place? Fairy-tales are childish and for kids but you don't expect them to be serious (not these days at least, I don't wanna get into the Grimm brothers now).

 

Also, your categorization on people that love H.P. is plain silly.  

 

Lord of the Rings is, however, far better written than Harry Potter is and was far more original for its time. Honestly I don't think LotR holds up that well anymore, but that's besides the point. Again, I have nothing against people that love Harry Potter. I feel like I have to repeat that over and over. The OP was questioning the validity of Harry Potter's popularity and whether it was a mass marketing manipulation or not, which they believe is the case because the books aren't very good nor very original. I'm just explaining that it blew up in popularity precisely because it's simplistic and very derivative of all other fantasy that came before and contains practically every fantasy trope that has ever existed. This is true of lots of super popular things, whether it's a fairy tale for children or a BDSM erotica novel for adults (I think you know the one). The more popular something is, the more likely it is that it's just an "entry point," into a niche that has already existed for a long time but wasn't palatable to the general public until somebody wrote a boiled down, oversimplified version of it. If you find that offensive don't get mad at me, I have absolutely nothing to do with it, I was just countering the OP's nonsense with the truth. 

 

Also, my categorization is not silly, because it comes from my life. I said, and I quote, "most people know." I also still fail to see how people are taking offense to it. Is there something wrong with somebody reading Harry Potter, loving it, but then moving on to Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Pratchett, Patricia A. McKillip, V.E. Schwab, or the Thursday Next series? Ya know, things that scratch that exact same itch but don't have terrible prose and plot holes, have a more complex plot, more complex characters, and that actually attempt to invert or avoid tropes so that their work doesn't just come across as completely generic? What's wrong with that? I'm not talking about James Joyce here when I say "deeper," I'm just saying, "better written and more original than Harry Potter."


Edited by davidh219, 08 July 2016 - 11:01 PM.


#104 MrCat

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 09:11 AM

Tolkien was an academic so it's only natural that he should be a better writer. H.P. universe is not that original but then again neither is Tolkien's if you think of it. It's just that when it comes to a wide audience, that is not relevant. Quality and popularity don't always go hand in hand (Tolkien's work wasn't exactly deemed as being good back in the days) but simplicity goes hand in hand with popularity and sales. I am not blaming Rowling for writing like this since many popular books and authors are junk(Dan Brown being an example)but most readers want something accessible and easy to pick up. 

 

My point is that maybe so many bad/average works come out because the audience demands it.



#105 davidh219

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:40 PM

Tolkien was an academic so it's only natural that he should be a better writer. H.P. universe is not that original but then again neither is Tolkien's if you think of it. It's just that when it comes to a wide audience, that is not relevant. Quality and popularity don't always go hand in hand (Tolkien's work wasn't exactly deemed as being good back in the days) but simplicity goes hand in hand with popularity and sales. I am not blaming Rowling for writing like this since many popular books and authors are junk(Dan Brown being an example)but most readers want something accessible and easy to pick up. 

 

My point is that maybe so many bad/average works come out because the audience demands it.

 

Tolkien's world may not be original now, but it was wholly original when it first came out. Everything that the epic fantasy genre is started with Tolkien. Fantasy as we know it started with Tolkien. Dungeons and Dragons would not exist without him and, by extension, video games would be wholly different. The only author who could be said to have an earlier influence on modern fantasy is George MacDonald, the author of arguably the very first modern fantasy novel, but even those were still more like extended fairy tales for adults than the epic fantasy we know today. It was Tolkien that took those ideas and really bridged the gap and created the template people would be copying for the next forty years, and then trying very deliberately not to copy for the next twenty (Game of Thrones).

 

As much as I feel lukewarm about Tolkien's work and think modern epic fantasy authors have surpassed him in almost every respect, especially character and plot, to not give due credit is downright criminal. We've been living in Tolkien's shadow for sixty years, whether we like it or not. Harry Potter's influence is practically non-existent in comparison. It has changed literally nothing about how stories are written because it was just a generic copy of everything that came before.



#106 timebug

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 09:10 AM

I have often upset friends and family members when discussing the boy

wizard. Have I read them? Yes,all of them. Have I seen the films? Again,

yes to all of them. Do I think they are good/brilliant/wonderful? No, I find

them pretty poor on reflection. Good luck to anyone who likes them, but

please bear in mind that not everyone finds them works of genius!






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