All on topic stuff

Gross Family argross at
Sat Jul 21 23:48:03 EDT 2001

Melissa wrote:

 (I know it bugs *me* when people talk about Harry
> Potter as though no one had ever thought of such a thing before--I can
> imagine how frustrating it must have been for DWJ!)

Sorry for picking out only one sentence of yours, but I Just *have* to tell
you a story about something that very reacently happened. In one of my
classes (I'm a substitute teacher) a student was reading Witch Week. They
more or less had a free period, so he was allowed to read. I was delighted
when I saw him reading this, and asked him
if he was enjoying it. He said, "Yes! It's based on Harry Potter." My mouth
must have dropped a few feet. You'd think I'd expect something like this,
but I was really taken aback.
"No, it isn't," I replied. "It was written about 20 years ago, a long time
before Harry Potter."
"No, it's based on Harry Potter," said the kid, with complete authority.
"Have a look at the very front page," I said (I meant, where the publishing
details are).
I helped him find it (of course he didn't really know there was such a page)
and showed him where it said "First published 1982". His mouth flew open and
he didn't know what to say. It was obviously a real shock to him, and he
looked dazed, as though he didn't know what to do with this information.
What struck me about the incident was that it seemed completely outside this
boy's experience that someone could write a book about witches or wizards
unconnected with Harry Potter, and twenty years ago into the bargain! Of
course, I know that there are lots of kids out there who have been reading
fantasy and know better, and of course I also think it's great that Harry
Potter has got some kids to begin reading, but absolutely
bamboozled me.


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