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Autumn

I love your analysis!

I always get frustrated when people say they just couldn't get into the first one. I want to tell them to stick it out, but it's hard to convince someone to muddle through the not so good books 1 and 2 (especially 2). (At least for me, it was book 3 when things really got interesting.) I'll be very interested in your book group's reactions.

Littoral

I have to say that I am a sci fi fan but could not read the HP books as I found that Rowling's poor writing detracted terribly from the story. I have never been able to get anywhere near thenm for that reason, I find her writing clunky and irritating.

Chipmunk

You do a good analysis. However, regarding the formulaic plot development, and gimmicky plot devices, I think that it is important to remember that this is a series written for children first. Adults became interested only after children in the UK started spreading the word about the books on their own (60 Minutes had a good story a few years back on how this started). The stories become more complex over time because each book in the series is supposed to progress to an older child.

As to the phenomenon that became Harry Potter (and made Rowling's an obscene sum of money), I think we need to return to the 60 Minutes piece (or, almost any of the other articles/broadcasts about Rowling). Once the adults became interested, it was over. Hollywood became interested. The marketers looked to see what products could be attached to the name. Underpaid workers in Asia had a new character to mass produce.

I am a fan of both the books and the movies. My wife makes sure I have the books as soon as they come out (she hasn't read them). It's wonderful escapism. But, it's important to remember that this isn't Shakespeare (though, I am sure there's a dissertation for some English Ph.D. candidate - didn't Shakespeare also appeal to the masses). It's a childrens series designed to entertain and get kids to pick up a book (we'll not address whether it was also designed to get Rowling's out of poverty - though it did).

Nancy Drew

I have never been into sci fi or fantasy novels but I love the HP series. The imagination that goes into building level 2 just constantly amazes me. But, I haven't actually sat down and physically read any of the books - I listened to them all on audio. If someone just can't seem to get into reading these books - I highly recommend listening. The narrator of these books is phenomenal and brings a whole new level to the series.

Pat

All true; the books weren't designed to be the Great Novels and the whole project is epic storytelling as well as escapism that you can read without having to feel terribly guilty.

As for people who don't enjoy the books, we could "round up the usual suspects":

Religous zealots of any sort whose are threatened by anything that however faintly conflicts, criticizes, or questions a world view in which All The Questions Have Been Answered and If You Ask Too Many Questions Maybe You're Going To Hell.

Folks who have left their imaginations undeveloped and who are perfectly happy in the "real world" of soap operas, reality telly, and game shows.

Literary sophisticates who demand particular levels of plot sophistication, originality, have strong opinions about certain writing techniques and plot devices, social relevance, or a particular slant toward certain contemporary issues.

People who think recreational reading is a waste of time, and aren't going to read a map, directions, assembly diagram, or operating manual, much less a novel.

Individuals who want smut, and more of it.

People who think they are too Serious, Responsible, Important, and Busy to indulge in genre fiction, especially youth-oriented fantasy literature.

and

Sailors who own classic wooden yachts and are too busy with the brightwork to have time for genre literature.

bill

I like Harry Potter but I've never been too interested in rereading any volume. Minor digression - The Dispossessed was an awesome book. Have you noticed that Le Guin is a solemn writer? There's very little humor in her books, but I still love most of them and have reread some of them several times.

LvL

I'm one of those people who can't go into an imaginative landscape. I enjoy a very, very wide variety of fiction, but it is absolutely essential to my enjoyment that I be able to believe what I'm reading, and I just can't make that leap when it comes to fantasy/science fiction writing. Something like The Handmaid's Tale is the closest I can handle. I'm the same way with movies too. I occasionally enjoy movies like Armegeddon, where although it is not realistic, it is still about real people. I would love to hear if you gain any insights from your book group about what it is that allows people to be accessible to that other landscape, although I doubt I will ever go there.

Pre- empting the West Point speech with what has become typical Democrat sentiment, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Rep. David Obey has already pulled a Harry Reid by announcing the anticipated troop surge is” a fool’ s errand.”

jim and tonic

I loved this movie more than any of the previous HP films, and now that you mention it, I think it is because of how much the younger actors have all developed and grown into their craft. Radcliffe was freaking hilarious during the liquid luck scenes.

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I like Harry Potter but I've never been too interested in rereading any volume. Minor digression - The Dispossessed was an awesome book. Have you noticed that Le Guin is a solemn writer? There's very little humor in her books, but I still love most of them and have reread some of them several times.

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