dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #370

Ven ven at vvcrane.fsnet.co.uk
Wed Oct 10 22:23:53 EDT 2001

Lizzie wrote

 I read the scene in which Harry gets on a
> broom for the first time.  And felt betrayed.  He could fly!  He was going
> to be a Jock!  He was going to be the the type of person who fit in with
> others (if not his family).  And that's what bothers me about Harry
> Potter.  He's so normal.  If it had been DWJ, it would have been--no, it
> was, Nan, bumping up and down on a broomstick after having been tormented
> by classmates.  There's some element of angst that's missing in Harry
> Potter, and because of this there's not as much to overcome.  Harry has
> problems, but they're mainly external--y'know, evil wizards, dead parents,
> school rivalries--they all are connected to other people.  I can't think
> of a single moment of self doubt in the books--and therefore there's no
> revelation of Harry as being more than we expected.  More than he
> expected.  I think I've expounded on this before--what draws me to DWJ's
> work is the way the characters discover something in themselves.  That's
> missing from Harry Potter.  I like the books, and I'm looking forward to
> the movie, and I even cried once while reading them, but I think they
> would mean more to me if Harry'd fallen off that broomstick.

and Ferricide said> 
> you have done an excellent job of summarizing what's ... wrong ... with
> harry potter. or pulling out a great example of what bugs me about it.

absolutely Lizzie

> i've read the first 3 books and they're entertaining.. well, the last
> third of the 2nd book and most of the 3rd book, anyway, imo.
> but the problem that has always bothered me is that harry has no internal
> life. there is nothing going on inside his head there. there certainly
> isn't much in the way of emotional development. that's why i think the HP
> books are basically fluff. i suppose he will never be challenged or change
> or have to change. he made his lifelong friends 10 minutes into the first
> book, so that's the end of that.

And between the two of you I had a revelation, well, came up with a 
theory -- the Potter books don't so much resemble school stories 
as books so much as school stories in comics. Specifically the 
kind of boys and girls comics that I read as a kid, Lion, The Eagle, 
June and Schoolfriend etc etc. It's in the instant group of friends 
and the easily identifiable enemies (sorting hat, pah), the use of 
mindless spite as a motivation for the opposition and in the rather 
repetitive structure.  Of course they are not wholly like those 
comics, but does anyone else think I have something here?


You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.

Samuel R Delany. "The Fall of the Towers"
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