Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Did you see the love light in Spock's eyes? The right computer finally came along."

 Harry Potter. We've all heard about him, right? (Either that our you really are an Alien and I'll be right over.) I believe half the reason he is so popular now is the huge debate over the books and movies. Half the world claims they are evil, the other half the best thing ever written.

 Unsure what to think, I watched the movies and tried to read the books. (I made it through the movies and rather enjoyed them. But the books...well, that is as follows.)

 I have honestly found very little I like in the books. It isn't that there has been a lot of terrible things. (No sexual stuff, not a lot of language, the violence is a bit dark but isn't violence always this way?)
 All in all, they seem to just be stories about good vs. evil, and we all look a story like that, right? We want good to win and we like it when an unlikely character, or characters, defeat a terrible evil.

 Know that I didn't set out to dislike the books. I simply wanted to know what made them the biggest reading rage at the moment. The characters? The plot? The romance? What was so wonderfully or evil about these books?

 I have found some things I like about them, I will admit that. First off is the characters themselves. Harry is supposedly hugely famous all over the world, but in school he has very few friends. Often everyone thinks he is just showing off. Some of the teachers don't like him. He doesn't get prefect grades and muffs many things. He is, in fact, a typical human boy with all the faults that go with it. And he doesn't want fame, just a normal life.

 Ron struggles because his family doesn't have enough money. (As if that matters. Seriously, who wouldn't want to trade places with him and hang out with his cool family?) But, it can be hard, not having much and having a friend who can buy anything he wants whenever he wants.

 Herminie is a geek, simple as that. She loves learning, which makes her an outcast. (How true is that in our own world?) And, she is a bit of a know it all and can get annoying from time to time, but she is also sweet and cares for her friends.

 I also liked the fact that the main plot of the stories is good vs. evil. It isn't mushy romance. It isn't how to fit into school. It is standing up and doing what is right even when you're scared half to death.

 Now, what I have not liked about the books, and what has left me wondering how they became so famous.

 I didn't care for the writing style. It felt lacking in most places. Rowling goes on and on about all these details. What they were eating, what the hall looked like though we've been there before. How the first year students looked, though we were with Harry when he was a first year and we know from first hand experience that they were scared. On and on about things we don't need to know or care about. Then when it comes to how the characters are handling things, she skims it.
 I don't care about their food, or what class they had next. I want to know how Harry is REALLY taking being almost killed, again. And not just telling, I want to see it. I want to feel something for him, to like him. All I really know about him is he gets mad very easily and talks back so much it lands him in all kinds off trouble. (And all of this because she told me. I didn't really get to see it.) I have come off thinking of him as something of a brat who hates his uncle and aunt.
 (And here is where the debate begins. Does Harry have a good reason to hate his uncle and aunt? They are VERY mean to him after all - unrealistically so by the way. They make him live in a broom cupboard and eat less then their son. So, lets take a quick look at this one.)

 Harry is the hero of the books. The reason we love heroes is because they make us wish to be like them. Yes, we want them to have faults, but we also want them to be better then us. We want to have a reason to admire them. Therefore, can one admire Harry?

 So far, all I've found is a bitter little boy who won't forgive because he believes he has a right to hold all this anger. He was mistreated, HOW DARE THEY! Someday he will make them pay! Do kids really need this message? Someone hurts you so make them suffer, spend all your time plotting revenge? No, they come up with that on their own.
 What if Harry was angry with his family, and learned how to overcome it and forgive them? What if he learned to stop harboring all his hate. Wouldn't that make him a worthy hero? One everyone could love and children could look up to and wish to be like? Isn't that what of the qualities we love in heroes?

 The same with Ron and Herminie. (Sorry, I keep spelling her name wrong.) What if Ron was to learn that family is more important then things, and that he has a pretty grand family. It is so rare for a husband and wife to love each other as much as his mum and dad does.
 And Herminie, wouldn't it be better to learn that, knowing things is fine but she needn't show off about it all and make everyone around her look stupid.

 And now I think I will go, because it is late and this is already long. I will do a part two likely tomorrow.

 What are your thoughts on the books, stories, movies, or all of the above?

 Quote is from Star Trek, where Spock finally finds true love, in a logical computer.

 Bonne Nuit
 Au Reivor




  1. ~OMG!! I agree with you! I can`t seem to really like Harry too much, and I really did not like the parts where so many people were willing to sacrifice their lives for him... I`m glad i`m not the only one who doesn`t have one of the main trio as my favourite character. (I like the janitor dude with the cat.) Who`s your fav char?

    ~I only watched the movies. My brother read the books, and whatever my brother reads I try to avoid >_< (Don`t ask why, it`s just that whenever he suggests books, they`re pretty lame.) Most of my friends at school seem to worship the books, though. The girl who sat behind me said it was her entire childhood! o_o

    ~Maybe that`s why it became famous? Maybe children can understand and relate more with kids who hate rather than forgive? I remember when I was little, it was much easier to hate everything >_< And those characters who forgave mostly only existed in fairy tales....

    ~Also, i do think it`s a controversial topic. My Christian friend told me she`ll never read the books cause her religious teacher told her that when the author wrote Harry Potter, she was possessed by the Devil.... Idk how true that is, I just listened and gave no comments. (I don`t really believe her, but hey, it`s her opinion and I respect it.) ^^

  2. I really enjoyed this review! I too have "heard" all about Harry Potter, since...forever! But I haven't read them yet. I want to know why they're so famous, so that's why I'll read them (and maybe watch the movies). Honestly, I do like the sound of the characters and I'm still pretty interested in reading them to find out what the "hype" is.

  3. I love all the Harry Potter books ever since I read the first book!
    I started reading them because of the movies :). They seriously cut out a lot just to fit it in 2 hours :(.

    Funny enough though, I don't really have a favourite character in the books. The closest to favourite is probably the Weasley twins :)

  4. I've never read the books and the bits of the movies I've seen have been kind of boring.....I'm not quite sure I get the fanaticism, but then again, most people don't get why I love steampunk and old movies!

    To each his own I guess!

    Have you read The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series? I just discovered it and read the first 4 books in a week and am very impatiently waiting on the others from the library!

    And do't feel bad about misspelling Hermonies name, I pronounced it in every wrong way possible and never did hit on the right way! And was shocked when I finally did hear it about how it was said!

  5. I have never read the books or watched the movies and at the moment am not ever planning to. But I thought this was a really great review. I like where you take it and the thoughts you have of where the book SHOULD have gone. That really is the point, isn't it. To make a book WORTH reading. Otherwise it's just a great story. And then it's no different than a million other books out there. I think that is why Hunger Games excels...

    1. Did anyone notice that all the new books are based off of Twilight, were based off of HP, and now the Hunger Games is taking over literature? I'll take "Original Plots" for $500, Alex. Seriously, can I have a Fantasy book that is not wizard-y, vampire-y, or... what describes The Hunger Games in one word?
      ~Robyn Hoode
      P.S.- to anyone who hasn't read The Ranger's Apprentice, The Ruins of Gorlan-- go read it!

    2. It is hard to find a new plot. All plots are the same, there are five basic plots I've been told, it is just the new twist one puts on it. But there is having the same plot and there is HAVING THE SAME PLOT. I have seen many books just like The Hunger Games, or near enough.
      I go to the young adult section of the book store adn there are vampires everywhere, though it isn't as bad now as it was.
      Even if those books are or did well, authors shouldn't follow right in the foot steps. Think of when it was pirates. How many pirates in books had the name of Will?
      One must use ones imagination and come up with something new. Not another copy. Though this is very hard to do.

      (I've read all the Ranger's Apprentice and rather enjoyed them. *Grin*)

  6. I have played with the idea of reading the books, but never have. Until I was old enough to read pretty much whatever I wanted (with some exceptions) I wasn't allowed to read it. The witchcraft being a good thing is the main reason. And we could get into a whole discussion on why is Harry bad, but Gandalf good... but I really don't want to. See Kiri Liz's post on this. I also think that as Harry learns these spells, the author is actually teaching the reader too. Not a good thing.
    Another reason. I was listening to an iTunes U course on children's literature (LaTrobe U's courses are excellent!), and the speaker compared HP to books by Charles Dickens, saying that they were similar. I am by no means a Dickens fan. So, when someone compares a book to Dickens, it won't be one I'll pick up right away. (Though I must admit that I will be trying Dickens again).
    Now... I am going to say something good about HP. I love the idea of school in a castle and I wish I had thought of an owl-postal service. :)
    ~Robyn Hoode

    1. I have given much thought about wizards and magic. I know some Christians avoid it and I hold nothing against them for doing so. That is there conviction and I admire them for holding to it.
      I do not have the same conviction but I am still careful what magic related books I read. What the books deal with, what their plot is. What are the wizards like in it? Is the magic a kind of talent or are they - basically - like gods? One must always be on one's guard. Which is why I was so wary about Harry Potter. But in my reading I found nothing like this. Just a story which I thought could have been better written and characters I couldn't feel bad for. Had Harry died, I wouldn't have cared. And I want to CARE about the hero. I want to worry about him when he faces the enemy. I want to hold my breath and hope he will live. I don't want to sit back and say, "Well, if he dies the book will be over that much sooner."
      And I don't like reading fat books unless all the words are needed. (You mentioned Dickens. He is another writer I cannot get into. It feels like he rambles much of the time. Victor Hugo, he is another I haven't been able to get through.)

      Anyways, that was a bit long.
      But aye, i woudln't love an owl postal service! That would make mail even better then it is. And a school in a castle, with lots of secret passages.

  7. Off subject, what Star Trek is the quote from?

    ~Robyn Hoode

    1. I don't remember the title...but it is the one where Kirk is forced to replace most of his men with this brilliant computer which can fly a ship almost by itself. And Kirk doesn't trust it because it cannot make the same choices as men. Also, it is all logical, which Spock loves and he often defends it but it turns out he would rather have Kirk and the crew with him, his friends, then a computer.
      THen the computer goes batty and kills other ships because it thinks they are bad so Kirk has to out smart it. (Which he does, because he's Kirk and he had Scotty, McCoy, and Spock with him. *Nods*)

  8. This is a good review. I never got the hype about Harry Potter either, nor the controversy. I read a few of the books. The first 3 were the best, in my humble opinion, and I actually really liked "The Prisoner of Azkaban". I hated the 4th book, however and never bothered to finish the series. I know I've seen a few of the films, throughout the years but can't say that I remember much about them at all. The Lord of the Rings was coming out, and I was far more interested in that.

    I do think J. K. Rowlings got bogged down with details. I shall come right out and say that I enjoy good old-fashioned weighty books, and am not easily put off by attention to details. Indeed, if the slower pace of the writing helps me to get into the world of the story, and into the heads of the characters, then I much prefer it over a faster paced story. However, I do also think that there is a right way to go about that, and a wrong way. Tolkien does it right, Rowlings does not.

    That being said, I think it is a pity that Rowlings did not take the time to sharpen up her writing skills, because there were a lot of rather brilliant ideas in her books. Like Robyn Hoode, I liked the owl-postal service. I liked the howlers, and rather wish it were possible to really send such things. I liked the quidditch games. I just think that the series itself was decent enough but had the potential to be more than it was.

  9. Reading through this, I was thinking. "Yep. Yep. Agree. Agree. Yep." (Hehe, I sound like Ella the Harpie in "The Son of Neptune") I haven't actually read the books, I watched all the movies with my uncle, and they were good enough, but I didn't ever really CARE about anyone. (And what's the deal when my favorite character was always Snape?)My favorite was the last movie, mostly because I really liked Neville in it.

    But yeah. I don't get the extremes view points people get over it. The "It's AWESOME!" or "IT'S TOTALLY EVIL!!!!!" bothers me. I don't think they're either, they're just average books. (I know that JK Rowling got rid of her editor halfway through the series, and I think that was a huge mistake.)

    As it is though, I'm more of a LOTR type of girl. :) Harry, Ron, and Hermione just didn't do it for me.

    (by the way, I just finished rereading "The Son of Neptune" again the other day. I'd forgotten how cool Percy is. I wish the library had the Mark of Athena, because I really want to read it, and I can't afford to buy it yet. Grrr and hiss. lol. )


  10. Hahaha! I agree with all of this! I never actually read the books, some of my sisters did and weren't overly impressed, so I never bothered. But I did watch some of the movies, and while I enjoyed them, I've never had the urge to re-watch them. I'm not super fond of Reeeeally long series anyway. I tend to get burnt out after book four or five...unless the story is fantastic. Or when it's a series but every book is a story in itself. I don't like the stories that just go on and on andonandonandon! *Shrug*.
    And yes, I do expect quite a bit from my heroes. If they're going to be heroes, they'd better be PRETTY FREAKIN' AWESOME! *grin.*

  11. I personally loved the Harry Potter books, mostly because I liked the characters. I was bent on them being absolutely terrible for years, and then I finally broke down and read them last summer after I watched the movies with my sister.
    Also, have you read all of the books (maybe I missed that detail)? Because I thought in the end (and if you haven't read the last book, completely skip over this sentence) that Harry was the one who decided even though his family was despicable, he had to protect them, and that he and his cousin made up in their own weird way. At least, that's how I perceived it.
    Other than that, I think your judgement of the books is fair. They really aren't the best books in the world, they just had the plot that drew everyone like flies to rotting meat. Still, to each his own, right?

  12. I've only seen the movies - never read the books. Probably never will.
    Sad people think they are evil though. I'm a born-again Christian, and I see nothing wrong with them. Kids are smart enough to know what is real and what is not.

  13. I watched all of the movies and I've finished the first book. I could safely say that I'm a fan, but I wouldn't put Harry Potter above any of my other favorite movies (or books, but then again, I haven't finished the series reading-wise).

    ---Whoa, wait...? You...find Rowling's Writing style...*gasp*"lacking in most places". Wow. That's...quite opposite of my own opinion. The reason why I liked the first book was because of her style...not so much the characters.

    Oh well, people will be different. =P

    What I don't like is, of course, the tricky subject of witchcraft. I'm a Christian, to be sure. And it's true, sorcery is real---the Bible mentions it---and frankly, it is satanic.
    But does that mean that I can't enjoy pieces of entertainment (note, BBC's Merlin and Harry Potter) because they portray witches and wizards to be good and not evil?
    Is it unhealthy? Is it against God's will?
    Those are only a few questions. But one could present their case on such matters for an eternity, and I s'pose it would be prudent to leave it at that.

    I'm glad you threw in a little blurb about this Lewis. I kind of was wondering your opinion on it.

    1. I think that it is a matter that is ultimately up to the person whether or not they watch and read those kind of things. It's a matter of preference and conscience. Who knows? I may one day read HP and think "this is amazing, why didn't I read this before?" (see my previous comments on why I haven't)

      ~Robyn Hoode

    2. Agreed. God gives each person convictions for a reason, and we should hold to them. If one is convicted NOT to I think it would be very wrong to read them or watch the movies. Some feel this way about The Lord of the Rings and Narnia as well. There is a reason behind this that maybe only God knows and we must respect it and not try to get them to change because we think they should.

  14. I'm not a huge fan of HP but I enjoyed them. Some things about them annoyed me. JK Rowling rambling was irritating. When she published book 4 she stopped having an editor. Bad idea. She could have cut down every book by half. (get rid of Hermione and the House Elves. LAME)

    I liked the movies better. The last one had me tearing up actually. Ron's brother dying? SO SAD! Also, I love the Weasley's they are so cute :) *my* kind of family. I love Ron's mom. She is amazing - I also really loved how they were all ginger. A nice, big, happy family with ginger hair. *Smile*

    Harry's Aunt and Uncle were unreal and over-played. Harry himself was pretty good but sometimes he annoyed me - like when He got lippy. "Get that wand out of my face."

    Was it just me or did JK kill off every good character? Sirius Black, Snape, Mad-eyed Moody, Fred, Digory, and so on. In the movies these deaths were better - except in the Last Battle I thought they should have SHOWN the good character fighting and dying in battle. They should have shown Fred die protecting George like in the book. It would have been even sadder.

    So I'm gonna say I like the Harry books but I don't think they are THE BEST thing ever. I think LOTR is much better in every way

    God Bless

  15. Hey, Jack! Hope you don't mind me dropping in with a few thoughts!

    I would give you all I think of about HP, but I've already gone through the witchcraft issue on my blog, a post that has already been mentioned (thanks, Robyn Hoode!! Seeing that totally made my day! I had no idea people were still reading it!), and really it's the witchcraft that I have the biggest issue with.

    In response to Kismint's comment -- Is it wrong to enjoy reading something? Nope. Not at all. I have a million books I love to read. Is it wrong to get enjoyment from something the Lord calls wicked? I would caution you to be wary of what those things are. In Romans 1, the last couple of verses give us a list of evil things, wrapping up with: "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." I won't hate anybody who loves HP. That's between them and their parents and the Lord. But personally, I cannot, in good conscience, enjoy HP.

    Anywho.... God bless!
    Kiri Liz

  16. Robyn -- On a weird sidenote, I noticed you mentioned that someone compared HP to Dickens. Out of curiosity, do you recall what the comparison was? I'd love to hear it.

    Kiri Liz

    1. One of the comparisons was the names. Someone named Uriah Heap does not sound like a good person; same with Servus Snape. I don't remember the other comparisons. I'll have to listen to it again or give you the name pf the course.

      ~Robyn Hoode

    2. For anyone who wants to know, the comparisons are in an iTunes U course-- La Trobe University, "Genres in Children's Literature", Lecture- "Harry Potter and High Fantasy", about 40 min. into it. :)


  17. What an interesting review! I loved it! I have never read a Harry Potter review quite like it before.
    Usually, all I hear about HP is "HARRY POTTER IS AMAZING! GO READ IT!" or "DON'T READ HARRY POTTER BECAUSE OF THE WITCHCRAFT!" It's always about the magic... that's all you ever hear. It's great to hear something different for a change.
    P.S. Last night I was sitting at my computer going, "Why hasn't Jack answered my comment yet.... OH WAIT. I need to answer HER comment!" xD I will get to that hopefully tonight. Since I have family over, I might not be able to... But I wanted to comment here without commenting the whole thing back.. Anyway, it's coming.

  18. I loved the Englishness of the books, and all the detail just reminded me of reading a fairy tale, where they sometimes focus on the most innocent aspects, before the real action starts.
    I hadn't thought about that before - Harry forgiving his family. The movies really don't explore these things very well. In fact, there's a lot of forgiveness that happens, first between Harry and his cousin in the third book, and much later with his Aunt Petunia.


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