In which H. Potter is Skewered
emcmullin at kl.com
Thu Dec 2 12:25:57 EST 1999
Hey folks, I thought I'd share my bf's rant upon reading the first
Harry Potter book - you may enjoy:
"I'm about halfway through... not sure how much more I will read.
> Maybe I'm out of touch with what kids think and like nowadays. Still, I
> believe people want to be spoon-fed their likes and dislikes the way
> Rowling feeds you. All the bad guys look like bad guys (lank greasy hair,
> sallow complexion, fat) and have Bad names, and all the good guys are Ever
> So Good. Sheesh, gimme a break. I want to see some ugly-looking good guys
> and some handsome bad guys for a change! Though I'm glad she's teaching
> children the important lesson that you can instantly judge people by their
> appearance. We need the ugly kids firmly kept in their place, and anything
> that helps the popular, good-looking kids to keep the geeks in check is
> all to the good.
> The way his aunt and uncle treated him in the beginning was absurd -- a
> caricature of abuse and neglect -- and the way they treated their fat
> obnoxious son was a caricature in the other direction. Needless to say,
> being forced to live under the stairs until age 11 doesn't seem to have
> had any effect on Harry's character (he doesn't turn into a serial killer)
> and he
> still knows how to share despite never having been given anything. Bah,
> humbug. Someone with talent and intelligence raised in those circumstances
> would most likely grow up to be a lawyer, stockbroker, or some other
> materialism-obsessed profession. They'd be hungry, ambitious, determined
> never to return to their native squalor. In short, Slytherin material!
> Which brings us to the Sorting Hat. Oh, please! You put on a hat and your
> whole destiny us decided for you? The least she could do would be to make
> it a three-hour multiple choice exam! (Sorry, Harry, but you didn't score
> high enough on logic games to get into Ravenclaw.) Good thing the Hat
> pigeonholes your enemies for you, isn't it? Will Harry be stabbed in the
> back by a conniving ambitious Griffindor? Or helped by a friendly
> Slytherin? Maybe, but right now I doubt it.
> So far I've seen Harry break the rules a bunch of times without being
> penalized too severely. How does that make him different from the people
> we're supposed to detest? Indeed, I am starting to resent the special
> treatment he's getting. No sign that anyone else is jealous, though, other
> than the vile Slytherins.
> On the whole, thin stuff. Totally undeveloped universe and magic system.
> Weak tea indeed compared to DWJ. I remain puzzled why this pabulum is so
> popular... not everything super-popular is bad. Sadly, you can tell
> Rowling isn't "writing this crap just to make some money, and then I'll
> write what I really want to write." Nope, this is it, as good as it's ever
> going to get. So keep churning them out, JK, and shake the money tree as
> hard as you can until you're Over. Because some day you *will* be Over."
At this point my bf shakes his fist at the unresponsive sky and defies the
marketing and pop culture gods. Hee hee. We ended up debating whether the
popularity of this series is a cause for optimism or pessimism -
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