More on HP vs DWJ (and Susan Cooper)

christian nutt ferricide at
Sun Oct 14 21:13:06 EDT 2001

>From: "Neil Ward" <neilward at>
>Hmmm.  I don't agree that Harry Potter is normal.  I think the point is 
>he *isn't* normal and *doesn't* fit in with those around him.  In his 

i don't know... he doesn't fit in with either world because of circumstance, 
not innate eccentricity, strangeness, foreign-ness, etc. then again, i can 
hardly percieve anything that happens with the dursleys as normal and harry 
not, if you follow.

the dursleys are such ridiculous caricatures of people that to suggest that 
i'm supposed to react as if they're normal (and then harry isn't since he 
isn't then) is pretty silly. i realise they're meant to be the Oppressive 
Normal World Which Squashes Creativity or whatever, but i can't even begin 
to buy into it -- it's too wacky. i actually put down HP2 because i couldn't 
take more dursleys. =) but HP3's dursley scene was more rewarding, at least.

i also have trouble buying into the goofiness of the wizard world, too. like 
the idea that they don't adopt any 'muggle' technologies because they have 
magic! i think the world in LoCC is a much smoother application of that 
idea, and more sensible because it wasn't actually the same world. a sudden 
wild magic or deep secret are better portrayals of magic users working 
within the normal world as well.

>world he's viewed as abnormal by his relatives because he's a wizard, and 
>the Wizarding world he's regarded as extraordinary because he survived
>Voldemort's attack and is elevated above his peers by his various talents.

again, that doesn't really reflect on him, in the sense that it doesn't make 
his core personality (what snippets we can get of it, even) any less normal. 
he's just overexposed. he doesn't have any problems making friends with 
others besides those who have some sort of deficiency (malfoy.) he doesn't 
seem to have anything but fairly normal trouble at school, voldemort aside.

>I agree that DWJ's characters discover themselves in a way that's very
>engaging, whereas in Harry Potter the reader is hankering to hear the
>mysteries of characters such as Harry and Snape from the lips of other
>characters.  I'm a big Harry Potter fan, but, if I'm being honest,

i don't know if your experience with HP is like mine, and i haven't read HP4 
yet, but basically i trudge through the entire book until the ending 
sequence starts, which is in the truest sense the payoff. usually not only 
does harry finally display the talent we long for, considering he's the main 
character (and quidditch talent doesn't interest me) he also begins to 
express some emotion, although he did a few times in HP3 so he's getting 
better about that as the series goes.

plus those bits are usually very entertaining and clever. the first book was 
kind of rote all around, but HP2 and HP3 had great climaxes. the HP books to 
me are merely entertaining, to me. i don't even own them. i just borrow them 
from people. i'm not saying this to belittle you, nor am i saying that you 
shouldn't like them and even invest your thought and time into them. but for 
me, they're just missing something integral.

[ christian nutt - ferricide at ]

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