Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the "No, I am bloody well not writing it myself" 

I have just finished the sixth book, and it was as pedestrian a read as the last two. For me, the "magic" stopped at book three, which I am convinced, was the last one written by Joanna Rowling. After that, the merchandising and movie money was rolling in, so, really? Why would she want to sit down and actually write?

The books were conceived as one story, and she admits she thinks of each one as just a chapter, but this latest was a mere paragraph in my opinion. For all the hype, it serves only to set up the events of the last book. And if you think I am just bitter because I couldn't write it, you are wrong. Maybe I couldn't, but every single person I read daily in the blogosphere, could have done a better job than "Team Rowling". Perhaps I have been spoiled, but I go to your sites and see writing infused with such utter charm, that the straightforward storytelling-by-numbers in this latest book had me bored to tears.

There was so much "spice" in the first three novels. Literary / religious allusion, allegory, symbolism, a good working knowledge of politics in it's truest sense: In short, well-crafted writing that appealed to children and adults alike. I thought of them as being like "The Simpsons", in that they were essentially multi-dimensional, working on various levels of comprehension. Now that they are being written on the advice of marketing experts and focus group PR people, "The Chronicles of Narnia", they are not!

I have never bothered to re-read books four or five, as I know I will not discover anything "new" in them. I believe that decent literature compels the faithful reader to learn it's secrets. I studied the Greek epics between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, and every time I read them, I find something I had not noticed before.

The first three Potter books were like that. I read about the illegal curses in book three, for instance: "Imperious", and "crucio" spoke for themselves, but the killing curse, the "Avada Kedavra", now makes me giggle every time I see it on the page. Indeed, I am sure there are many people who didn't even recognise it as a pun on, "Abracadabra!" .When people get murdered, I have to laugh, because the word has long been associated with the crappiest "magicians" ever!

The only "topical"(how I despise that word), subject this book addresses, is the vastly crude analogy r.e Draco Malfoy and Suicide Bombers. Young, impressionable, arrogant, vulnerable and ignorant.

The later books lack style, certainly, but will that stop people buying them? Of course not. I'll buy the last one in order to read the conclusion of the story, as will billions of others. And I don't blame J.K at all. The series was her idea. Why shouldn't she be perfectly content with her wonderful husband, little children, and castles in Scotland etc... I would do the same thing. She had the commercial "business" brain to know that boys don't read about female heroines, by female authors but girls don't discriminate. She wrote in masses of product. Good luck to her.

I just hate the dumbing down of the last books. I really do. I miss the cleverness, and the humor. That our children will read them, and won't be able to come back to them and discover something that links with their further studies.

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