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Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 05:50 PM
Sometimes I wonder about the big deal with harry potter, it's a series about a kid who learns about his secret family and a secret world, a world where egotistical wizards seem to like medieval technology(besides the toilet) and fail to realize that a gun can kill them, in less time than it takes a wizard to cast a normally forbidden spell, with less training, and there are more of them.


Don't get me wrong, I think that it's an okay series, but not good enough to make book deliverers swear an oath of secrecy(I heard one teacher threatened to fail any student who spoiled deathly hallows), which leads to the question of what makes fans act in a manner that gives them such a reputation.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 05:53 PM
Harry potter fans aren't as bad as Eragon fans, because at least Harry potter is actualy good


I think the logic of HP is where it fails however.


i mean in the last fight, how much better of would voldemort be if he check if harry was dead himself? Is walking three feet too hard against a foe who simply won't die


from
EE

Haruki-kun
2008-05-04, 05:58 PM
Well, it had a good storyline, the universe it was set in was well planned out, and it was in a way a charming story. It's not about it being a Big Deal, it just so happens that a lot of people liked it.

As for fail to realize that a gun can kill them..... several times the killed a bunch of people faster than any one gun could have. Example: the beginning of The Third Book.

Oh, and EE... I suggest you put that last bit under spoiler tags.

Rogue 7
2008-05-04, 05:59 PM
*shrugs*. It's that good. And willing suspension of disbelief for a better series goes a long way towards covering a lot of the fridge logic there. If you simply say that "Sure, they could use guns, but it wouldn't be as good of a story if they did", that, to me covers it.

I've been a fan of Harry Potter since day 1, almost. In a way you could say that it was my first real fandom. I sought out a lot of the online forums and much good times were had. But the books are simply that good. They're well-written, have great characters and an exciting plot, and are set in a reasonably internally consistent universe that allows my imagination to take off in terms of all the cool stuff that could go on there. The pacing is good (I wish that the first few books were a bit longer), and the foe is credible. There are few legitimate criticisms you could make that would have much of an impact on how much I enjoyed the books (and none that would make me stop reading them). I followed every single release from book 4 onwards and only had book 6 spoiled for my (by CNN of all things, but that's another story). Deathly Hallows was read at midnight as soon as it came out and I didn't stop until I finished. Read it in about 7 hours, and. it. was. awesome. I can't fully say why I like them as much as I do, just like I can't really say why I like Avatar, or Haruhi Suzumiya, or similar stuff. I just do.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 06:01 PM
Well, it had a good storyline, the universe it was set in was well planned out, and it was in a way a charming story. It's not about it being a Big Deal, it just so happens that a lot of people liked it.

As for fail to realize that a gun can kill them..... several times the killed a bunch of people faster than any one gun could have. Example: the beginning of The Third Book.

Oh, and EE... I suggest you put that last bit under spoiler tags.

1) thanks for the spoiler note, wouldn't want to ruin it for somebody. However ruining death note would be worst
2) Actually the group thing struck me as odd, if he could do that then, why didn't he do that the many other times he was in trouble in the books? Or his more powerful masters?
3) the thing with a gun is you don't have to say the words
4) Rouge 7, one of my favorite skills is being able to say why i like things, so HP is odd in that it isn't so much the world or hte plot, just the writing itself
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EE

Icewalker
2008-05-04, 06:08 PM
The series is well-written. The basic idea of the story on the very lowest level is rather corny: "woohoo, wizards! Magic! Silly sounding mystical things!"

However it is just so well done, and the world is put out in such full detail that it makes it a very interesting read. Which is part of why I think the movies are so bad, they don't spend time developing the world in the least and only run the plot (in the Philosopher's Stone, there are about 20 pages devoted to the main plot at the end, whereas it takes up what, half the movie? Maybe a third?)

They are good books, although some of the rabid fans are a little extreme I think.

Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 06:19 PM
Well, it had a good storyline, the universe it was set in was well planned out, and it was in a way a charming story. It's not about it being a Big Deal, it just so happens that a lot of people liked it.

As for fail to realize that a gun can kill them..... several times the killed a bunch of people faster than any one gun could have. Example: the beginning of The Third Book.

Oh, and EE... I suggest you put that last bit under spoiler tags.

Most of these are reputed to be the best of the best, think a commando versus a civillian for the people really good at it.

and am I the only one who thinks that magic email would make sense for homes, y'know, rather than a series of forest swelling birds.

Blayze
2008-05-04, 06:22 PM
Just like most things, it's an average-at-best series that has been overhyped and ruined by its own fandom.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 06:23 PM
Just like most things, it's an average-at-best series that has been overhyped and ruined by its own fandom.

I think your being overly critical, it isn't that bad, it is still a very good book in its own right. Just not amazing
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EE

RTGoodman
2008-05-04, 06:26 PM
*They're well-written, have great characters and an exciting plot...

This I disagree with. They were well-written and had pretty good characters and exciting plots for a few books, but after that went sharply downhill.

I loved the first, third, and fourth books. Two was okay, but not a favorite. Five and six, I thought, were terrible and full of bad writing (especially the dialogue), unnecessary teen angst, and mediocre, cliched, or otherwise unmemorable plot. And I do mean "unmemorable" - I can't tell you how many times I had to look characters up on Wikipedia when a new book came out just so I could remember who they were (e.g. Tonks). I mean, I know it's a "children's series" (supposedly), but I don't think that's a good excuse for some of things I see wrong with the series.

The last book was better, but I was very disappointed in Rowling's lack of, well, balls. I fully expected characters, and I mean important characters, to die, but I was sorely disappointed. Also, the Snape thing was a cop-out. He should have been a bad guy in the end. [Spoilered above in white text, but if you haven't read the book by now, I don't think it'll be that big of a surprise.]


Just to clarify, the first few books were a big deal. They got kids reading at least decent literature (and fantasy literature at that!), and that's a great thing. Plus, they were fun and great as children's lit. I think the problem came as Rowling took herself too seriously, and then things just got bad after that.

*Braces himself for certain doom*

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 06:28 PM
I think snape should have been good in the end, like really on the good guys side, just a bad person. Which is somewhat what J.K. did, but she handled it very badly i felt.

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The Vorpal Tribble
2008-05-04, 06:31 PM
I'm no fanatic, but I have to say I did very much enjoy both the movies and the books.

For kids it's especially good as the series is so easy to read.

Can't say I really know how to describe the appeal, but they are quite entertaining and that's all I ask of it.

Spiryt
2008-05-04, 06:36 PM
Those books, unlike most of widely advertised, popular stuff, were just OK, I really enjoyed reading them.

Two first films were rather crappy, third was kinda good.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 06:38 PM
Danal radcliff is an awful actor, almost as bad as olando bloom
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EE

Closet_Skeleton
2008-05-04, 06:39 PM
They are good books, although some of the rabid fans are a little extreme I think.

I think that's pretty obvious from the fact that they're rabid :smallwink:

Rogue 7
2008-05-04, 06:41 PM
*Cracks debating fingers, prepares to defend books he loves*

I was always ambivalent at Snape's motives and the like. The plot twist was expected, but he got a very good death scene and reasonably coherent reasoning. I still think he's an ass, but he was our ass, so it doesn't matter as much.

Now, for the plots of 5 and 6. Yes, there was teenage angst. Perhaps I sympathized more because I've basically aged alongside Harry- I read the first book when I was 9 or 10 (can't remember exactly), and book 7 when I was 18. So Harry's always been around my age. And 1. Any claims of angst are invariably overblown, and 2. It was perfectly justified. In book 5 (the primary angstHarry book), Harry has to deal with the fact that there's an immensely powerful dark wizard out there who would like nothing better than to torture him, he's having his mind invaded on a regular basis (though he doesn't know that), everyone thinks that he's a freak and a liar (again), he has to deal with a woman so mind-blowingly foul that I don't think it can be accurately described, half his friends think that he's a liar, and he's having piss-poor luck with the ladies. All that combines for an amount of angst I see as perfectly justified.

Perhaps I've got a better casual memory than you (and I'm a compulsive re-reader-I must have read all the books at least half a dozen times, more for most of them), so I can literally quote many parts word-for-word, but I never had anything close to that problem. The plot of book five was something that I don't think I've seen very often- a government conspiracy based off of sheer pig-headedness to deny that trouble is coming (at least not often enough for it to become cliched- Tropes are not bad, after all), and book 6...yeah, the plot wasn't the greatest, but I liked it anyways- it gave good backstory on Voldy and I enjoyed seeing Ginny more (I'll admit to nursing a bit of a crush on her since about book 4). So I disagree with your complaints and I find a few of them to be groundless.

But man, how could you not remember Tonks? She was awesome!

Icewalker
2008-05-04, 06:42 PM
I'm with rtg on this to some extent. Books 5 and 6 were awful. Harry was just moping the whole time, and when he wasn't nothing else was happening. Honestly, I've reread them and I still can't name one thing that happens in book five other than 'Umbridge is at the school', Fred and George's escape, and the half-nonsense final scene in the ministry.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 06:45 PM
Sorry Rogue





I was always ambivalent at Snape's motives and the like. The plot twist was expected, but he got a very good death scene and reasonably coherent reasoning. I still think he's an ass, but he was our ass, so it doesn't matter as much.

Snape's death scene was very badly hanlded, along with the 'big' reveal. I felt like she wrote it back around book 4 then just cut and pasted it in. Snape should have been are major camra character in book 7 and attracted lots of attention. Instead he just kinda died. Also his motivation as having an obsession with HP's mom is just kinda lame. Personally i think he should have opposed V simply because of moral reasons, even through he is clearly a bad person
Also tonks struck me as a very cliched character sadly, moody however...

from
EE

Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 06:49 PM
Sorry Rogue




Snape's death scene was very badly hanlded, along with the 'big' reveal. I felt like she wrote it back around book 4 then just cut and pasted it in. Snape should have been are major camra character in book 7 and attracted lots of attention. Instead he just kinda died. Also his motivation as having an obsession with HP's mom is just kinda lame. Personally i think he should have opposed V simply because of moral reasons, even through he is clearly a bad person
Also tonks struck me as a very cliched character sadly, moody however...

from
EE

Same with Hedwig, a good deal of the deaths in deathly halows could've ben handled better

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-04, 06:50 PM
Personally? I don't know why the HP books are such a big deal. They just hit that special knack in my mind when I picked up Philosopher's Stone.

I will NOT say that it's magical.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 06:51 PM
Same with Hedwig, a good deal of the deaths in deathly halows could've ben handled better

Wormtongue, Fred, and pretty much everybody but dobby. I felt like she realized she hadn't killed enough characters yet and went on a rampage



Mr. Scaly, you know you want to
from
EE

Nerd-o-rama
2008-05-04, 06:55 PM
The books are okay. The hype was annoying.

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-04, 07:02 PM
Mr. Scaly, you know you want to
from
EE

Not under the pressure of all the tortures Asmodeus can unleash.

Regarding the deaths, I actually was pretty fond of them.

These are characters that have been around since Day 1. For me, the way they just died in mid sentence like a common Red Shirt really made more of an impact on me than if there was some big fancy climax scene.

Except Voldemort. That was the best death scene ever.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 07:06 PM
Not under the pressure of all the tortures Asmodeus can unleash.

I'll force you to play F.A.T.A.L.


These are characters that have been around since Day 1. For me, the way they just died in mid sentence like a common Red Shirt really made more of an impact on me than if there was some big fancy climax scene.

Except Voldemort. That was the best death scene ever.[/QUOTE]
[/SPOILER]
1) It wasn't hte way they died, it was she wrote their deaths.
2) Are you kidding? It was so lame. I mean he had too wands, why not use the other on instead of blindly attacking

I'll say that FF7 have more zealous fans than HP, the later at least deserves its praise
from
EE

Mr.Silver
2008-05-04, 07:06 PM
Just like most things, it's an average-at-best series that has been overhyped and ruined by its own fandom.
The fandom isn't really that bad as fandoms go, certainly not on the same level as, say, the Star Wars or FFVII fandoms.

As to why it's so successful, I think it's down to a few factors. First, there's Rowling's world, which manages to blend enough familiar real-world elements (school-life, well-known places) with enough fantastic elements to be compelling. Come on, who hasn't at one point in their childhood wanted magic and fairies and unicorns to be real? The world of Hodwarts is exactly that kind of fantasy world most people secretly want/wanted to be true.
This probably influences it's cross-generational appeal, which has been massively influential in it's success. Kids like it obviously, and adults find enough complexity in the story to be pulled-in.
There's probably also a bit of chance in their two, it may have just come along at the right time. Remember that it was turned down by something like 12 different publishers before Bloomsbury ran with it.

It's kind of hard to say really. I mean, why were the Beatles so hugely successful back in their day? How was the Star Wars franchise made such an obscene amount of money? Why has football (actual football, not the American version) become the single most popular sport on the planet? It's the same sort of question, and I suspect it'll be puzzling people for a long time to come.

Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 07:16 PM
Not under the pressure of all the tortures Asmodeus can unleash.

Regarding the deaths, I actually was pretty fond of them.

These are characters that have been around since Day 1. For me, the way they just died in mid sentence like a common Red Shirt really made more of an impact on me than if there was some big fancy climax scene.

Except Voldemort. That was the best death scene ever.

Yeah but what about the reactions to those deaths, the kid that's been harrys supporter for six books even when his best friends were given grief, his corpse got half a sentience for fighting to the death for harry rather than giving in or going home.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 07:24 PM
Yeah but what about the reactions to those deaths, the kid that's been harrys supporter for six books even when his best friends were given grief, his corpse got half a sentience for fighting to the death for harry rather than giving in or going home.

is this thread spoiled?
from
EE

Blayze
2008-05-04, 07:31 PM
Except Voldemort. That was the best death scene ever.

You mean "LOL Expelliarmus reflection saves teh day"?

Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 08:01 PM
You mean "LOL Expelliarmus reflection saves teh day"?

You mean the move that he was told he would be expected to use early on and manages to kill the big bad with?

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-04, 08:36 PM
E.E: 1) F.A.T.A.L?

2) So...the exact wording was what annoyed you?

3) And we all saw what happened when Voldemort tried using another wand on Harry. Incidentally, Lucius Malfoy no longer has a wand anymore. And Harry had openly declared that the Elder Wand was his, challenging Voldemort's power directly. And since V was supremely arrogant he wasn't about to just back down and let Harry win.

And besides...he's dumb. We all know it.

Jayngfet, Colin right? He was always a minor character. Why should his mourning scene overshadow Fred's for instance?

Blayze, If that's the way you want to describe it, then yes...completely ignoring the magic of the Elder Wand, the massive battle that had ensued in the castle, and the moment of revelation that Voldemort was going to die like the dog he is.

nothingclever
2008-05-04, 08:39 PM
I hated the HP books I read. They were just so boring and cheesy I couldn't care at all about the characters. Oooh Harry's friends think he's a loser AGAIN even though they should know by now from past experiences that any time Harry acts strange something is going on that most likely endangers the entire school and he's saved their lives too so they should cut him some slack.

Some boring broomstick soccer. Yawn.

Harry being emo and crying under his cloak of invisibility. Yawn.

X random character must warn Harry of X really pathetic threat that could be easily defeated if Harry just told his friends and teachers about it so they can confront it together.

X random scene where Harry has to sneak out into the woods or inside the school for an item/person crucial to the plot because doing something during a curfew is EPIC.

X random dorky character like Dobby must annoy us with his repetitive whiny lines.

X loser like Ron whines like a little baby even harder than Harry and generally fails at life to make Harry look a little better.

X random teacher must hate Harry and another must like him.

X random Dumble Dork scene where he just looks at Harry or says something obscure and completely ignores the fact Harry is on some epic quest to save the school he could probably be helping with.

X random tragic past/great reveal event, a few scar seizures, a flashback of mommy and a bad guy laughing evilly before he gets beaten. Oh and a scene where people make fun of Harry cuz he sucks at something even though he saved their lives/has better magic.

That's about all you need to make a Harry Pothead book.

Vella_Malachite
2008-05-04, 09:09 PM
I think that the books aren't amazing, they are good, though.

I think what some people fail to realise is that it is almost impossible for a fantasy novel or story these days to be completely original. Most of the good ideas were stolen by J.R.R Tolkein or around his time. Ergo, we end up with the TV Tropes from Wiki, you almost have to use them to create a story; nowadays there are even tropes for going outside the tropes!

Harry Potter, like a lot of good fantasy fiction, has just taken a lot of well-known tropes and put them together in a different way. It just so happened that people like normalcy, something they can relate to, someone they can feel for, and J.K Rowlings gave them that. She gave them a character that aged as they did, mostly, and a story that, while completely cliche, was acceptable to many, many people, hence the massive fandom.

I'll agree, it's not the deepest book around and the last one seemed a little like a cross between the battle scene in the third Matrix movie (we've built them up for this whole time, let's break out some special effects and really stun some people) and the old DM ruling: "rocks fall, everybody dies" (seriously, nearly everybody dies...)

But, y'know, they're not all horrible. Really the only difference between Harry Potter and Eragon is that (gets ready to run from the people with pointy bits of metal) Eragon used the tropes particularly badly. Think about it; the stories are actually really similar *runs*.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 09:16 PM
E.E: 1) F.A.T.A.L?

2) So...the exact wording was what annoyed you?

3) And we all saw what happened when Voldemort tried using another wand on Harry. Incidentally, Lucius Malfoy no longer has a wand anymore. And Harry had openly declared that the Elder Wand was his, challenging Voldemort's power directly. And since V was supremely arrogant he wasn't about to just back down and let Harry win.

1) Oh, the game that must not be named. It is the shreeded Moose of Video games
2) No it was the way she wrote it. For example, when worm died, the way he died was really cool, but she just wrote it in half a paragraph.
3) Which is very stupid, and makes for a bad villain. Things i would have done if i was the apparently smart Dark lord
A) Aim my wand at somebody else, and threaten them with death
B) Use my other wand anyways,
C) use a different damn spell rather than the one that never workds
D) have somebody else kill him
E) Hell, i'd check if he was dead the first time



And besides...he's dumb. We all know it.


Which makes for a bad character sadly. Voldemort is an awful planner

from
EE

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 09:19 PM
I think what some people fail to realise is that it is almost impossible for a fantasy novel or story these days to be completely original. Most of the good ideas were stolen by J.R.R Tolkein or around his time. Ergo, we end up with the TV Tropes from Wiki, you almost have to use them to create a story; nowadays there are even tropes for going outside the tropes!

THAT IS NOT TRUE

I"m sorry, but i hate that phrase. There is no limit to imagination, and it is easily possible to come up with original ideas in this day and age with fantasy. I could come up with half a dozen right now
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Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 09:27 PM
I think that the books aren't amazing, they are good, though.

I think what some people fail to realise is that it is almost impossible for a fantasy novel or story these days to be completely original. Most of the good ideas were stolen by J.R.R Tolkein or around his time. Ergo, we end up with the TV Tropes from Wiki, you almost have to use them to create a story; nowadays there are even tropes for going outside the tropes!

Harry Potter, like a lot of good fantasy fiction, has just taken a lot of well-known tropes and put them together in a different way. It just so happened that people like normalcy, something they can relate to, someone they can feel for, and J.K Rowlings gave them that. She gave them a character that aged as they did, mostly, and a story that, while completely cliche, was acceptable to many, many people, hence the massive fandom.

It's not so bad until you realise what would happen if common sense was applied, if technology didn't work in hogwarts, how do the toilets in a medieval castle work, why doesn't arthur weasly spend a few days working with the internet so you can send packages through it, or even people, and revolutinise magic and get royalties off it, plus stop getting made fun of for liking non magic things(electric toothbrush? dumbest thing ever), or even get people to admit that maybe muggles can do more in some respects, I mean come on, he can make a car fly better than some aircraft and usable by two elven year old boys.

and on originality: Yes but there are lesser known tropes or whole new ways to play them that would make perfect sense, Like the aformentioned email.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-04, 09:33 PM
THAT IS NOT TRUE
I think what some people fail to realise is that it is almost impossible for a fantasy novel or story these days to be completely original. Most of the good ideas were stolen by J.R.R Tolkein or around his time. Ergo, we end up with the TV Tropes from Wiki, you almost have to use them to create a story; nowadays there are even tropes for going outside the tropes!
There is an error here, specifically that the time frame doesn't matter: it always has been almost impossible to create any completely original work of fiction. It has always been about using pre-existing concepts (tropes, if you will) to tell a story. It's just how the human mind and imagination work, they simply aren't good at coming up with things completely out of nowhere.

Also, this may be a bit off-topic, but I've noticed several people now who claim that things are 'forced' to follow tropes from the TVTropes Wiki as if this is a detriment. I think it's worth pointing out that this is mistaken, in fact the wiki itself explicitly states that this is not the case, that the tropes there are usually not the same as cliches (a word which has had it's significance of meaning degrade to a point where it's only surpassed by that of the word awesome) and that yes, it is blatantly impossible to produce anything that won't contain at least some. Hell they even have tropes that apply to real life events.

Phase
2008-05-04, 09:47 PM
You know what's really funny. I can tell that most of the people here are huge fans.

Like you, Jayngfet. Not to degrade it, as it's quite good, but the mere fact that you actually take the time to work out a new, magical e-mail transport system. How would that work as a story?

"Oh, Hermione, how ever will we get this magic item to hogwarts before Voldemort kills Crookshanks?"

"Don't worry, Harry, I've got a palm pilot!"

Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn!

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-04, 09:47 PM
1) Oh, the game that must not be named. It is the shreeded Moose of Video games
2) No it was the way she wrote it. For example, when worm died, the way he died was really cool, but she just wrote it in half a paragraph.
3) Which is very stupid, and makes for a bad villain. Things i would have done if i was the apparently smart Dark lord
A) Aim my wand at somebody else, and threaten them with death
B) Use my other wand anyways,
C) use a different damn spell rather than the one that never workds
D) have somebody else kill him
E) Hell, i'd check if he was dead the first time

1) The 'shredded moose of video games?' That's a new expression for me.
2) Ah, I see what you mean. It's been a while since I read Deathly Hallows, but I could accept that. Other death scenes I thought were pretty good in their shortness.
3) Not necessarily. Xykon is stupid, but he's an amazing villain. Of course I just read The Start of Darkness...
A) Harry said something about that, about his love protecting them like his mother's protected him.
B) Hmm...imagine this. You and Joe each have a six shooter pointed at each other on a hair trigger. And suddenly you KNOW that your gun could backfire on you if you pull the trigger. You have a second in your holster, but do you really drop your weapon and try to draw the second before getting blasted? Otherwise that would make sense.
C) Well, I can't fault that idea. XD
D) All his followers were defeated by that time.
E) That would have been the wisest course.



Which makes for a bad character sadly. Voldemort is an awful planner

Again, not really. Being dumb or a bad planner doesn't make someone a bad character.


from
EE[/QUOTE]

Jayngfet
2008-05-04, 10:06 PM
You know what's really funny. I can tell that most of the people here are huge fans.

Like you, Jayngfet. Not to degrade it, as it's quite good, but the mere fact that you actually take the time to work out a new, magical e-mail transport system. How would that work as a story?

"Oh, Hermione, how ever will we get this magic item to hogwarts before Voldemort kills Crookshanks?"

"Don't worry, Harry, I've got a palm pilot!"

Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn!

To be honest I thought of it for a high technology fanstasy setting that's still in rough sketches, I just took it and applied it here.

EvilElitest
2008-05-04, 10:14 PM
1) The 'shredded moose of video games?' That's a new expression for me.
2) Ah, I see what you mean. It's been a while since I read Deathly Hallows, but I could accept that. Other death scenes I thought were pretty good in their shortness.
3) Not necessarily. Xykon is stupid, but he's an amazing villain. Of course I just read The Start of Darkness...
A) Harry said something about that, about his love protecting them like his mother's protected him.
B) Hmm...imagine this. You and Joe each have a six shooter pointed at each other on a hair trigger. And suddenly you KNOW that your gun could backfire on you if you pull the trigger. You have a second in your holster, but do you really drop your weapon and try to draw the second before getting blasted? Otherwise that would make sense.
C) Well, I can't fault that idea. XD
D) All his followers were defeated by that time.
E) That would have been the wisest course.

1) Worst webcomics (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76776)
scroll down for a while
2) Meh, the felt rushed and over used. Dobby was fine
3) Except that Voldemort is support to be threatening, and a moron isn't threatening.
A) BS, just cast Crucio on a kid. People tend to react badly when your willing to mutilate some kids
B) Well first wands are slower than guns, but yes better riske of death than real death
C) Thank you
D) And they didn't aim for harry en mass, like they should have
E) thank you


Again, not really. Being dumb or a bad planner doesn't make someone a bad character.

True, but when the character is suppose to be threatening

And mr. Silver

1) yes you can. It takes a lot of creative thinking, but you can create new tropes and new ideas
2) Well most people are mocking the book for bad use of tropes, which is something different



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warty goblin
2008-05-04, 10:29 PM
Harry Potter is one of those things I have a somewhat hard time with in some respects.

On the one hand the characters, although somewhat stock, are well realized and believable. The writing is also good, which goes a long way, and the pacing tends to work pretty well for me. As a series it also remembers that people laugh and make jokes, which far too many tend to forget, and unlike some that remember it, the jokes are usually reasonably funny.

What sucks? Well pretty much everything else unfortunately. The main villian frankly lacks the survival sense and general intelligence given to many rodents. Since he is the main plot instigator (really, remove him from the books and they become boned fish, flopping around without purpose), this means that most of the actual backbone plots of the books are pretty stupid, and this just gets worse as the series goes on. It took me a while to realize this because the pacing, characters and dialogue do a lot to cover for it, but the only way most of Voldemort's schemes represent a serious threat to an actual intelligent person is the concussion they risk collapsing with helpless laughter upon hearing them.

Worldbuilding is pretty horrible, I think the stuff I was making up to accompany the (truly terrible) homebrew RPG I wrote when I was 12 was more internally consistant and logical than most of Harry Potter. Now I have no problems with quirky and slightly inconsistant settings, Diskworld springs to mind (although that fascinatingly makes its inconsistancies consistant) but the nigh constant violations of it's own internal rules just annoys the snot out of me. The whole underage magic changing detection methods every book is a particularly galling example, as is the idiocy of pretty much the entire Ministry of Magic- if they know what the Death Eaters call Voldemort, can put a detection spell on an individual word, and want to find out where he is, I seem to detect a logical course of action here. I'm not even going to mention "Voldemort's Healthcare Plan"

A lot of this stems from the magic, which is never explained, or even experienced by the reader. The thing is I know what it's like to hit something with a stick or metal pipe, so I can reasonably imagine what swinging a sword feels like, I've shot a bow, and so on. These are actions I can relate too because they have real world analogues. Spellcasting does not, and hence this places a greater burden on the book to explain the experience of casting them in an immersive and engaging manner, which it completely fails to do. I don't demand detailed metaphysical magi-babble explanations, but some sense of what casting a spell actually feels like would be very helpful, and there never is one.. Contrast this with something like Dragonlance, where we know what it feels like when Raistlin casts a spell, exhilerating, exhausting and apparently better than sex as well (which kinda explains why magic is such an attractive option, come to think of it, no mess, no fuss, no unwanted entanglements throwing up at 3:00 AM, you get to start at a very young age, don't lose sleep, and it just gets better and better with time. No wonder everybody hates wizards...).
For a quick example contrast the understandability and relatibility of the following two sentences:
1) He swung the sword into the creature's raised shield, feeling the hilt jar against his palms.
2) He finished speaking and the fioadshfisa flew into the creature's raised fhoidfa. (yes those words were created by banging the keyboard randomly)
In the first one I can relate to action, and in the second I have exactly no clue wtf just happened. Obviously Harry Potter is not this extreme, but you get my point.

So there you have it, Harry Potter is a fun series, but terrible fantasy, which is probably what makes it so popular.

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-04, 10:40 PM
1) Worst webcomics (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76776)
scroll down for a while
2) Meh, the felt rushed and over used. Dobby was fine
3) Except that Voldemort is support to be threatening, and a moron isn't threatening.
A) BS, just cast Crucio on a kid. People tend to react badly when your willing to mutilate some kids
B) Well first wands are slower than guns, but yes better riske of death than real death
C) Thank you
D) And they didn't aim for harry en mass, like they should have
E) thank you

True, but when the character is suppose to be threatening

1) Wow...I managed to get through two pages before being forced to stop. It just...hurt my eyes.
2) Well to each his own.
3) When the moron is known for murdering, torturing, kidnapping, mentally abusing, genocidal tendencies though, the threat factor starts to rise.
A) Crucio needs some concentration to maintain though. While he's crucioing someone, he gets blasted because he can't defend himself.
B) Death would have resulted either way then.
C) Getting a Furnunculus reflected wouldn't have quite the same effect as Avada Kedavra.
D) They all thought he was dead before he popped out of nowhere, and by then Voldemort was on his own.
E) Alas, t'was not the case.


And again, I cite the case of Xykon.

from
EE[/QUOTE]

Vuzzmop
2008-05-04, 10:54 PM
her first books were a big deal. They got a lot of kids reading something decent, the same way Roald Dahl did. Not to compare his genius with the meh'ish writing of JK.

The problem comes from the fact that she tried to change her books for an aging fanbase, and began to take her storytelling too seriously. They were children's books to start with, and they should have ended that way.

As for hype, its all down to a large young fanbase, and its opposition. Nothing is better for a book franchise than religeous zealots claiming it to be "evil". Its possibly the best advertising system ever devised.

Vaynor
2008-05-04, 11:11 PM
I think people like it so much because it is a well written series of novels geared towards children, which is good for introducing them to books and the idea of fantasy altogether. Children, and most people, enjoy reading about things that are fantastical, that couldn't happen. Having a story about a young boy allows the reader to connect, along with the similarities to the real world. All in all, it's just a good series for young readers.

Anteros
2008-05-04, 11:58 PM
People like them because they are fun. Things are magical, and mysterious, and often very imaginative. Saying the world is well thought out is a bit silly though, considering that there are lots of things that the author just purposely ignores.

"Hey, we have this unfallible truth serum...guess we'll never know if this person is telling the truth or not on trial...better let them go free."

or "oh no, this person just died and his death will rock the entire world! Truly we are doomed! It's a shame there is no way we can turn back time and fix this!"

As long as you shut your brain down while you read though, they are quite good.

Haruki-kun
2008-05-04, 11:59 PM
Wormtongue, Fred, and pretty much everybody but dobby. I felt like she realized she hadn't killed enough characters yet and went on a rampage



Mr. Scaly, you know you want to
from
EE

I do agree with this. I think she put every character's name in a hat and started drawing them out to see who died in the last book. Snape and Dobby's deaths were well-handled. Moody's death was also OK and necessary. Of course, Voldemort's death was a must, no point arguing there.

However, Colin, Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Crabbe..... those were unnecessary. (Well, maybe not Crabbe.)

Still, I forgive all that. HP gets so many points for actually being fun to read that (to quote Ben Yahtzee) "It would have to release flesh-eating beetles into my house before I started seriously considering marking it down."

Rogue 7
2008-05-05, 12:15 AM
I do agree with this. I think she put every character's name in a hat and started drawing them out to see who died in the last book. Snape and Dobby's deaths were well-handled. Moody's death was also OK and necessary. Of course, Voldemort's death was a must, no point arguing there.

However, Colin, Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Crabbe..... those were unnecessary. (Well, maybe not Crabbe.)

And that's the reason I liked them. It's war. There are supposed to be unnecessary deaths. War sucks like that. That made it better, in my mind.

Semidi
2008-05-05, 12:36 AM
Harry Potter is easy, it's fun, and its well... it's fun.

It's the literary equivalent to a really good sugar cookie. Sure there's not much interesting going on, it's not nutritious, and itís predictable. But God damn it's still a tasty cookie. Can I have another?

Dumbledore lives
2008-05-05, 12:40 AM
I do agree with this. I think she put every character's name in a hat and started drawing them out to see who died in the last book. Snape and Dobby's deaths were well-handled. Moody's death was also OK and necessary. Of course, Voldemort's death was a must, no point arguing there.

However, Colin, Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Crabbe..... those were unnecessary. (Well, maybe not Crabbe.)


I completely agree with this and it makes me really sad. Tonks and Lupin got a mention, a mention of there deaths! where as Crabbe probably had more emphasis put on. It just makes me really sad that two characters could have such a casual mention of death. Especially two characters I actually liked.

On the end It seems like Rowling wrote the entire book aimed at an older audience, then at the last minute she realized these where supposed to be children's stories and made Harry live. If Harry died it would have been a much better ending. In that sequence at nine and three quarters he could have got on a train, signifying his passing from this world, but no, he had to go and get back up magically. He should have died, and Neville shouldn't have just killed the snake with the sword, but run Voldemort through with it. It would have been pretty freakin' awesome.

Otherwise I loved the books, though the earlier ones where better, though I did like the department of mysteries and hope to hear more about it in the encyclopedia she's making. Which I will consider going to a midnight release if possible.

The movies where alright, though they could make them a bit longer, at least an hour longer would be appreciated. Also, more Quidditch is needed in the movies, the third had all of five seconds, and the fourth didn't even have any, it completely skipped over it!!!:smallfurious: They set it up, and they could have added about 10-20 minutes easily, but they didn't. The fifth also skipped Quidditch, which would have made a nice quick sub-plot. I hope the sixth will have some as it is the last chance and he is the captain after all.

Fri
2008-05-05, 12:54 AM
The first few book is amazing, and climaxed at the fourth book (that coincidentally is the middle book)

I remember reading the fourth book, griped with suspense, adventure, and I remembered how it feel when I fall in love in my youth.

The later book... not as good. Maybe just because the fridge logic catches on.

Seriously, now I can't stand the setting. Wizards are idiots, nuff said.

The only redemption from the later books is Luna Lovegood.

I GENUINELY FALLEN IN LOVE WITH LUNA LOVEGOOD

There. I've said it.

Lord Seth
2008-05-05, 01:01 AM
I think the reasons the books hit it off was, well, besides being interesting, managed to pull off the whole "wizards exist in OUR world" quite well. Let me explain.

If wizards or other superpowered people are well known, it's not our world. It might be an entirely fantasy world (Lord of the Rings; well, technically it BECOMES our world at some point in the future I believe, but still), an alternate universe of some sort (Narnia), or a world LIKE ours but still not the same (almost every superhero comic ever made).

Rowling didn't do any of that and instead set it in our world, had wizards and other magical creatures exist. That of course begs the question "why wouldn't everyone know?" Well, because they live in secrecy and try to keep everything under wraps. Granted, that's a minor point, but I think the whole premise of it being "our" world works out well. It's kind of like Stargate SG-1 in that way, but aimed for a younger audience and Fantasy rather than Science Fiction. Some other things have done that, but I don't think they managed to blend the "real world" with "magic" in the same way HP did.

Interestingly enough, a similar formula was used in The Dresden Files, though it used a "humans either don't care about or don't notice wizards" to explain how wizards and other magical creatures manage to exist in our world without people noticing. While not as popular as Harry Potter, I believe they managed to reach the bestseller list. If only the TV series had managed to keep the charm of the books...

Darn it, I'm pretty sure TV Tropes listed a trope for this kind of "magic or science fiction is real, but it takes place in our world" thing. Anyone remember what it is?

bladedSmoke
2008-05-05, 01:11 AM
The last book was better, but I was very disappointed in Rowling's lack of, well, balls. I fully expected characters, and I mean important characters, to die, but I was sorely disappointed. Also, the Snape thing was a cop-out. He should have been a bad guy in the end.


...What??? :smalleek: Were we reading the same book?

There's many things HP7 can be accused of, but 'not enough deaths' most definitely ain't one of 'em.

tyckspoon
2008-05-05, 01:13 AM
The movies where alright, though they could make them a bit longer, at least an hour longer would be appreciated. Also, more Quidditch is needed in the movies, the third had all of five seconds, and the fourth didn't even have any, it completely skipped over it!!!:smallfurious: They set it up, and they could have added about 10-20 minutes easily, but they didn't. The fifth also skipped Quidditch, which would have made a nice quick sub-plot. I hope the sixth will have some as it is the last chance and he is the captain after all.

Oh gods please no. The last thing the movies need is to be longer. The books themselves are already longer than is good for them. Rowling's greatest failing, IMO, is that she obviously did not allow any editors to do their job on the latter half of the series. Those books do not need to be the multi-hundred page tomes they are, and they do not need to be transcribed into the movies in their entirety. Movies 6 and 7 may well be superior versions of the story for having been edited for the adaptation.

Various
2008-05-05, 01:36 AM
Escapism and projection. The characters are living the life the viewer wants to. Its not really as bad as it sounds, everyone does it to varying degrees with different hobbies and fandoms. Least that's my theory.

<- still wants to grow up to be a Jedi

Fri
2008-05-05, 01:42 AM
Darn it, I'm pretty sure TV Tropes listed a trope for this kind of "magic or science fiction is real, but it takes place in our world" thing. Anyone remember what it is?

It's the masquerade (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Masquerade)

And it seems that my trope-fu is stronger than yours (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MyKungFuIsStrongerThanYours) :smallbiggrin:!

poleboy
2008-05-05, 01:50 AM
her first books were a big deal. They got a lot of kids reading something decent, the same way Roald Dahl did. Not to compare his genius with the meh'ish writing of JK.

The problem comes from the fact that she tried to change her books for an aging fanbase, and began to take her storytelling too seriously. They were children's books to start with, and they should have ended that way.

As for hype, its all down to a large young fanbase, and its opposition. Nothing is better for a book franchise than religeous zealots claiming it to be "evil". Its possibly the best advertising system ever devised.

I completely agree. I enjoyed the first few books, but the later parts of the series (I think I gave up around the 5th one) will only ever appeal to those who grew up alongside Harry or die-hard fans.

Rogue 7
2008-05-05, 01:52 AM
Escapism and projection. The characters are living the life the viewer wants to. Its not really as bad as it sounds, everyone does it to varying degrees with different hobbies and fandoms. Least that's my theory.

<- still wants to grow up to be a Jedi

Well, Duh. That's half the reason I like some of the shows I do. Hell, that's bordering on 3/4 of the reason I still watch Naruto- there are other things I like about it, but the idea of these warriors throwing around elemental powers, summoning, and magic kung fu is far too cool. And I hope I never stop.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-05, 05:00 AM
...What??? :smalleek: Were we reading the same book?

There's many things HP7 can be accused of, but 'not enough deaths' most definitely ain't one of 'em.

Matter of personal preference I guess. I fall into the 'not enough deaths' camp, but then again I'm someone who thinks George R R Martin is a bit heavy-handed with the plot armour.

Oslecamo
2008-05-05, 05:51 AM
A lot of this stems from the magic, which is never explained, or even experienced by the reader. The thing is I know what it's like to hit something with a stick or metal pipe, so I can reasonably imagine what swinging a sword feels like, I've shot a bow, and so on. These are actions I can relate too because they have real world analogues. Spellcasting does not, and hence this places a greater burden on the book to explain the experience of casting them in an immersive and engaging manner, which it completely fails to do. I don't demand detailed metaphysical magi-babble explanations, but some sense of what casting a spell actually feels like would be very helpful, and there never is one.. Contrast this with something like Dragonlance, where we know what it feels like when Raistlin casts a spell, exhilerating, exhausting and apparently better than sex as well (which kinda explains why magic is such an attractive option, come to think of it, no mess, no fuss, no unwanted entanglements throwing up at 3:00 AM, you get to start at a very young age, don't lose sleep, and it just gets better and better with time. No wonder everybody hates wizards...).

Read the first book again, when Harry gets his first wand.

And as someone said, the books are already big enough. If there was a description of what the characters feel everytime they cast a spell, we would have 14 books and not 7.

Mind you, in HP world people use magic for everything and anything. It's quite possible that they simply grow dull to the sensation of using magic. They use it so much that they simply don't feel anything special anymore.

In most other fantasy setings magic is a really special thing wich even the masters use sparingly, in HP even yound wizards use magic left and right whitout noticing it.

RTGoodman
2008-05-05, 08:26 AM
...What??? :smalleek: Were we reading the same book?

There's many things HP7 can be accused of, but 'not enough deaths' most definitely ain't one of 'em.

Oh, there were a lot of deaths. It just seemed to me (though I was bored with the series at that point) that none of them were particularly important or impactful (if that's a word). Out of all of them, the only one I remember being slightly sad about was Dobby's, and the rest made me just wonder why - especially Hedwig (I mean, sure she'd been there a while, but she's a freakin' owl), the Weasley twin (I don't remember which), or Lupin (who was awesome, but the handling ruined it).

Also, I was talking to one of my friends about this, and I remembered a conversation about HP that we had with my Modern Fantasy professor a year or so ago. His argument against the series is that, in the HP world, magic has no purpose. In most fantasy, it does something overarchingly important. In the world of HP, the magic is secret, so it's not contributing to the good of the world unless there's a crisis (and even then it's very hush-hush), and most of the time those who do have magic sit around disarming each other, shooting sparks, or stuff like that. Basically, Rowling's magic is fancified, secret technology, but since it's based in the modern world there already is technology (so a lot of it becomes "Hey, we can do this thing that the normal people do, but better! Because it's magic!"). If all magic has to be secret, there should be a reason for that. I mean, the only argument against that is the bad wizards and whatnot, but the worst spells are "illegal" anyway.

Renx
2008-05-05, 08:46 AM
Meh, I always thought HP was the McDonalds of fantasy literature -- OK as long as you don't care it tastes like cardboard.

Anyhoo, I got thrown off at the very first by the similarities to Books of Magic, namely the bespectacled British kid with a penchant for magic (shall we say, prodigal?) and an owl familiar and a broken + unknown family past. *sigh*

Not that I'm saying that there's a connection -- Neil Gaiman has said that there's probably no foul play involved -- but I just see a 'CARBON COPY -- NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE' printed on every HP copy. The new medicine is doing wonders, though.

My gf has read all of the HP books and I watched some of Prisoner of Asgsothoth (sp) and it was obvious why it worked -- it was Books of Magic broken down for children. The last two (or three) books apparently have lots of angst so they're probably geared for teenagers. "As if teenagers need help to be depressed" (C) Simpsons.

As to why all the popularity, well, they're probably easy to read, have uncomplicated, chewed-down plots (now this one I do know), magic and flashes and most of all, the books seem to involve ridiculing, kicking the ass of and generally outdoing teachers and figures of authority in a school environment. Now I wonder why that appeals to children, school haters and academics alike...

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've never read a HP book from cover to cover (I have watched one burn, though, if that counts) so be free to flame me on that and ignore whatever point I may or may not have made.

Hesquidor
2008-05-05, 10:18 AM
I used to be a big fan of the Harry Potter and I think that books 1-4 are quite good. After GoF though they start to go downhill and start to be wildly inconsistant with the previous books (and each other). I'm not sure if this is because JK's planned storyline ran out at GoF or she simple long momentum after the three year summer or what.

Book seven however is just a complete mess and it frustrated me greatly when I read it. The completely non-sensical camping trip, the blink and you'll miss it character deaths that evoke no emotional reaction whatsoever, extemely banal character motivations and no forgetting the very silly climax (complete fanfiction-esque epilogue).

Blayze
2008-05-05, 10:59 AM
And let's not forget the "beast" in Harry's chest. I couldn't read that section without laughing at how pathetic it was.

RTGoodman
2008-05-05, 12:56 PM
And let's not forget the "beast" in Harry's chest. I couldn't read that section without laughing at how pathetic it was.

...I've forgotten that, apparently. Care to remind me?

Selrahc
2008-05-05, 02:13 PM
Anyhoo, I got thrown off at the very first by the similarities to Books of Magic, namely the bespectacled British kid with a penchant for magic (shall we say, prodigal?) and an owl familiar and a broken + unknown family past. *sigh*

I don't really see it. Aside from the main characters looking alike, I don't think the series follow similar territory at all. What the main characters are doing is completely different, the nature of magic is completely different, the supporting cast is completely different, really there aren't many similarities once you go past "Bespectacled British Boy who Knows Magic"

DomaDoma
2008-05-05, 02:21 PM
...I've forgotten that, apparently. Care to remind me?

Throughout the sixth book, Harry's love for Ginny is represented by a metaphorical scaly, roaring monster in his chest.

I absolutely love the series - themes, characters, descriptions, MacGuffins, idealism lacking in all my other fandoms save Avatar - but yeah, I choked on my iced tea laughing at that particular conceit.

Blayze
2008-05-05, 02:36 PM
Throughout the sixth book, Harry's love for Ginny is represented by a metaphorical scaly, roaring monster in his chest.

I absolutely love the series - themes, characters, descriptions, MacGuffins, idealism lacking in all my other fandoms save Avatar - but yeah, I choked on my iced tea laughing at that particular conceit.

Let's not forget that said "beast" also apparently "purrs". Having read and written quite a bit of Inuyasha fanfiction in my time, I drew instant links in my mind between Harry's monster purring and the "purring" that many like to write Inuyasha doing, usually when his ears are stroked.

EvilElitest
2008-05-05, 03:09 PM
I GENUINELY FALLEN IN LOVE WITH LUNA LOVEGOOD

There. I've said it.

Strange and unthinkable crushes with people you don't know personally, what does that remind me of?





1) Wow...I managed to get through two pages before being forced to stop. It just...hurt my eyes.
2) Well to each his own.
3) When the moron is known for murdering, torturing, kidnapping, mentally abusing, genocidal tendencies though, the threat factor starts to rise.
A) Crucio needs some concentration to maintain though. While he's crucioing someone, he gets blasted because he can't defend himself.
B) Death would have resulted either way then.
C) Getting a Furnunculus reflected wouldn't have quite the same effect as Avada Kedavra.
D) They all thought he was dead before he popped out of nowhere, and by then Voldemort was on his own.
E) Alas, t'was not the case.
1) I know. It is some of the vilest crap on the internet. F.A.T.A.L. is far far worst
2) I didn't mind the deaths themselves, just way she wrote them
3) Except, as WG said, he is suppose to be actually threatening. And he isn't when he is silly
A) So does the AK. Or use Fiendfire
B) Not quite, remember V can cast without a wand, and harry wouldn't kill him. Better than the alternative.
C) I was thinking casting Fiendfire on the ground next to him, then run. I mean why not, your desperate. or summon something
D) Harry started fighting in the massive battle i believe
E) sigh
Xykon is scary, but he is suppose to be comical/stupid. Voldemort wasn't designed with that purpose. I mean it is like Sauron making massive tactical errors

Thank Haruki- Kun

Rogue 7, i understand the value in random death, i just think that it could have been written better. Also if only red shirts get plot armor, the point isn't really made sadly. Ron should have died i think


Fri's Trope Fu astounds the world, he uses the power of awsome

Does nothing clever love anything?


I think taht Harry Potter should be an anime series, maybe 55 eps long
from
EE

Mordar
2008-05-05, 03:16 PM
This is a topic I've seen debated in a few different settings, and the fangeek (do they still use that for Fantasy Geek?) setting is always the one in which it generates the most "hate"...well surpassing that seen even in the "religious debate" setting.

I suspect that's for much the same reason as "Comic Book Guys" hate the success of any of the superhero films or the X-men books...because it lessens the exclusivity of their special club. The popularity of the HP books makes fantasy readers feel like everyone else is now moving in on their territory so they're somehow losing their "specialness".

Is Harry Potter as enticing a fantasy figure as Bilbo or Drizzt? Is Dumbledore the newest incarnation of Allanon or Gandalf? Does Rowling's plotting match that of Eco? Are the settings described with the ability of Michner? Is modern-day England colored with a magical backdrop the most innovative setting ever devised? All resoundingly no. The bigger question by far is this...does it matter? No.

The big deal with Harry Potter? The overwhelming quality that makes these books by far the most important publications in this generation? They have sold 50 million copies in the UK/USA alone. Even if you consider as many as 50% of those sales going to adults, that's still 25 million copies in the hands of children. You want magic? There it is...in a day and age where its competing against Nintendo DS, PlayStation, The Cartoon Network, iPods, text messaging and every child 12 and over with a cell phone, these books managed to captivate and educate millions of children. The education they received? Books can be fun. Maybe that Modern Fantasy professor should consider that and recognize it as being the "purpose of the magic".

That lesson is far more important than any concern about shallow character conflict or logic breakdowns or any of a laundry list of petty complaints. How was that lesson achieved? A combination of more-than-adequate originality, characterization, plotting, description and a PR campaign that started with word-of-mouth.

So much hate for these books from the people that should embrace them...not as paragons of the genre, but as a key to the clubhouse. The more people in the club the better...sure, it loses its exclusivity, but it brings the genre to the minds of people funding books. Maybe that means we put up with 9 knock-offs and rehashes of "kiddie fantasy" for every 1 Jordan/Martin/whomever the heck you like, but when the number of books and films in the genre is increasing I'll take the extra oysters to get my pearls.

- Mordar, Self-avowed Fangeek and Comic Book Guy.

PS: Yup, I own all 7 books. Nope, I wouldn't list any of them in my Top 10 Fantasy Books from a quality or personal enjoyment position. I would, however, list them in my Top 10 Books to Loan to New Fantasy Readers.

Dervag
2008-05-05, 03:23 PM
Re: Mordar

Now, if only someone could do the same thing for science fiction, I'd be happy...


I don't really see it. Aside from the main characters looking alike, I don't think the series follow similar territory at all. What the main characters are doing is completely different, the nature of magic is completely different, the supporting cast is completely different, really there aren't many similarities once you go past "Bespectacled British Boy who Knows Magic"Plus, I honestly don't think that Rowling was familiar enough with comic books before she started writing to even know who Neil Gaiman was, let alone what Books of Magic are.

Eerie
2008-05-05, 03:54 PM
The only objective way to somehow measure a book is to check how mich money it did.

Harry Potter did LOTS.

Everything else is inherently subjective and a waste of time. Love it, hate it - but no one can`t deny it is a hit. :smallamused:

EvilElitest
2008-05-05, 04:42 PM
The only objective way to somehow measure a book is to check how mich money it did.

Harry Potter did LOTS.

Everything else is inherently subjective and a waste of time. Love it, hate it - but no one can`t deny it is a hit. :smallamused:

By that standard, isn't Eragon a good book
from
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Oslecamo
2008-05-05, 05:02 PM
By that standard, isn't Eragon a good book
from
EE

The ultimate purpose of any fantasy book is to entertain the reader.

Both HP and Eragorn seem to have managed to do so, since they both sold quite well.

Why would people buy something they don't need and don't like?

The_Snark
2008-05-05, 05:05 PM
Now, if only someone could do the same thing for science fiction, I'd be happy...

Star Wars did it the first time. We just need another one.


The only objective way to somehow measure a book is to check how mich money it did.

Harry Potter did LOTS.

Everything else is inherently subjective and a waste of time. Love it, hate it - but no one can`t deny it is a hit. :smallamused:

I wouldn't say that anything subjective a waste of time. For that matter, the only thing how much money a book makes tells you is how financially successful it is.

There are other ways to objectively measure books, too; looking at how long they've stayed popular and well-known is a good one.

I enjoyed the books; they weren't my favorite fantasy books, but they were generally pretty good. Fifth and sixth books did kinda irritate me, mostly because of the aforesaid angst thing and the fact that the relationships felt like reading a soap opera, and there were a few repeating events (Harry being shunned by one of his friends/the rest of the school comes to mind, I'm pretty sure one or the other happens at least once a book) that started to get old. On the whole, though, they were enjoyable.

Lord Seth
2008-05-05, 05:05 PM
By that standard, isn't Eragon a good book
from
EEHahaha, so true...


If all magic has to be secret, there should be a reason for that. I mean, the only argument against that is the bad wizards and whatnot, but the worst spells are "illegal" anyway.In the first book Hagrid does give a reason. I don't have the exact quote (can't find my copy), but it goes something like this:
Harry: What does the Ministry of Magic do?
Hagrid: Well, their main job is to prevent people from knowing there are wizards up and down the country.
Harry: Why?
Hagried: Why? Blimey, Harry, everyone would want magical solutions to their problems. Nah, we're best left alone.

warty goblin
2008-05-05, 05:07 PM
The only objective way to somehow measure a book is to check how mich money it did.

Harry Potter did LOTS.

Everything else is inherently subjective and a waste of time. Love it, hate it - but no one can`t deny it is a hit. :smallamused:

That is one objective way to measure a good book. There's also the metric of how many copies I tie to ropes hanging from trees and beat into fluttering papery oblivion with a large stick before dousing the remains in lighter fluid, smearing my face with mud in ritualistic patterns and burning the lot under a full moon will dancing and singing to make the evil spirits go away.

That's a perfectly objective measure of a book's goodness or badness right there.

EvilElitest
2008-05-05, 05:17 PM
The ultimate purpose of any fantasy book is to entertain the reader.

Both HP and Eragorn seem to have managed to do so, since they both sold quite well.

Why would people buy something they don't need and don't like?

Bad taste? i mean 300 was awful and it was extremly popular. Birth of a nation was popular, as was the Devinci Code. That doesn't make them good
from
EE

Mewtarthio
2008-05-05, 05:21 PM
In the first book Hagrid does give a reason. I don't have the exact quote (can't find my copy), but it goes something like this:
Harry: What does the Ministry of Magic do?
Hagrid: Well, their main job is to prevent people from knowing there are wizards up and down the country.
Harry: Why?
Hagried: Why? Blimey, Harry, everyone would want magical solutions to their problems. Nah, we're best left alone.

That's still not a very good explanation. Basically, Wizards are all arrogant bastards who don't want to be held responsible for helping people outside of their little clique. Anyone not born with magical powers is considered inherently inferior, and there is nothing whatsoever morally wrong about screwing with their memories to keep the unwashed masses from discovering that you could magic their problems away. :smallwink:

Jayngfet
2008-05-05, 05:22 PM
Personally I'd take a lesser known well written book over a hit series with six movies, but it's not like a good series never got popular.

Mordar
2008-05-05, 05:26 PM
Bad taste? i mean 300 was awful and it was extremly popular. Birth of a nation was popular, as was the Devinci Code. That doesn't make them good
from
EE

But you must also remember...just because it's popular doesn't make it bad, no matter what the intellectual elite might want you to think. Even if they are right much of the time... :smallsmile:

- Mordar

EvilElitest
2008-05-05, 05:31 PM
But you must also remember...just because it's popular doesn't make it bad, no matter what the intellectual elite might want you to think. Even if they are right much of the time... :smallsmile:

- Mordar

Oh it isn't bad for being popular. Its bad for being bad. its being pouplar just shows you can't trust the plebs:smallbiggrin:

I mean shredded Moose is awful but next to nobody likes that
from
EE

Blayze
2008-05-05, 05:36 PM
I have been reminded of something in (I think) the fourth book. A Muggle made mention of people trying to pay with "gold coins the size of hubcaps" (Galleons). Near the end of the book, Harry places a sack containing (I think) a thousand Galleons into his pocket.

I fully expect to be countered with the TARDIS excuse, despite (As far as I can remember) no mention ever being made of TARDIS-like qualities existing in Harry's pockets or in that sack.

Phase
2008-05-05, 05:51 PM
"Hey, we have this unfallible truth serum...guess we'll never know if this person is telling the truth or not on trial...better let them go free."

J.K. Rowling said that Occulamency could be used against Veritaserum, and therefore does not hold up in court.


Also, more Quidditch is needed in the movies, the fourth didn't even have any, it completely skipped over it!!! They set it up, and they could have added about 10-20 minutes easily, but they didn't.

Um... there was no quidditch in the fourth book, other than at the very beginning, which could have been better, you're right...


burning the lot under a full moon

Please don't affiliate me with any sort of book burning.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-05, 05:53 PM
I have been reminded of something in (I think) the fourth book. A Muggle made mention of people trying to pay with "gold coins the size of hubcaps" (Galleons). Near the end of the book, Harry places a sack containing (I think) a thousand Galleons into his pocket.

I would assume the muggle was just overstating the size of the coins. People have been known to do that.

Bandededed
2008-05-05, 06:06 PM
My friend actually came up with a reason for Hedwig's death

If she didn't, then Harry and Hermione and whoever would be able to keep contact with the outside world during their fun camping trip with the teleporting and whatnot, during which they can't for yadda yadda (i stopped listening around there)

Which may have been a good reason, but... I don't really think it was that thought out.

I really like the middle books (3 & 4), but by the time the others were coming out, the writing style really changed. Suddenly they were really dark emotionally speaking, trying to work up to the climatic fight against the BBEG - who, incidentally, was a horrible BBEG, as his stupidity was barely outweighed by his monumentally bad leadership skills (which one needs to have an evil army).

On character deaths, though: Especially if you read for escapism or the like, a pointless character death to model war is not the best idea. It makes the book more like real life, and when you have a fantasy setting that is so like our world, yet obviously not, well...

That said, it was great that these books got so many children reading. I enjoyed them, but I'll take The Dresden Files any day.

warty goblin
2008-05-05, 06:08 PM
Please don't affiliate me with any sort of book burning.

Best avoid my house at the end of the semester then. I've got plans for certain things I was forced to read, most of which involve high temperature oxidation of said material. I don't wanna store 'em, and I can't recycle them because they are highlighted like mad. I refuse to sell 'em back to the college bookstore due to the rovolting scalping moves they pull on resold books, so I'm just gonna burn 'em. 'Sides, I only do that with books I know for a fact I'm never going to need again, I keep all of my textbooks for reference.

Blayze
2008-05-05, 06:33 PM
I would assume the muggle was just overstating the size of the coins. People have been known to do that.

But a thousand? A thousand 5p coins (A pretty tiny coin here in England) still takes up a hell of a lot of room. And since these are Galleons, we can assume that they'd be somewhat bigger and more impressive than 5ps. The largest coin we have here in England is the £2 coin, and a thousand of those? Oof.

TSGames
2008-05-05, 06:43 PM
All I can figure, is that a lot of people enjoyed the formulaic, thrid-grade reading level of the books. It made them feel clever when they guessed a plot twist, and the writing was well within their ability to read easily.

Jorkens
2008-05-05, 07:02 PM
I really like the middle books (3 & 4), but by the time the others were coming out, the writing style really changed. Suddenly they were really dark emotionally speaking, trying to work up to the climatic fight against the BBEG
Yeah, the sixth book in particularly was pretty unremitting. It seemed like she was doing the classic plot structure of series of minor victories for the good guys -> bad guy gets the upper hand, things look bad for the heroes -> final victory for good guys, but because it's a seven book series, the middle stage lasts for about a book and a half.

I actually quite liked the camping stuff in a weird way, having a prolonged period of inactivity and inertia on the part of the protagonists was a rather unexpected idea and quite cool. And I find it odd that people see the whole
Harry dies / Harry's alive again
thing as being a bit tacked on and random - it seems pretty much like she'd been setting it up for the entire series. The thing with the wands seemed a bit weird, though.

In any case, I think the reason it's so astronomically popular is that the series was initially good and enjoyable enough to get a bit of buzz about it, and once it attained critical mass it turned into a media phenomenon and millions of people bought it to see what all the fuss was about (and a lot of them got hooked) and that turned it into an even bigger media phenomenon... they're good books and deserved to do well, but I thing it was the hype that took them stratospheric.

Johnny Blade
2008-05-05, 07:07 PM
Don't get me wrong, I think that it's an okay series, but not good enough to make book deliverers swear an oath of secrecy(I heard one teacher threatened to fail any student who spoiled deathly hallows), which leads to the question of what makes fans act in a manner that gives them such a reputation.
Escapism and wish fulfillment can turn an average narrative (or even an absurdly bad one (http://www.dominic-deegan.com/), as you know as good as I do) into the next big hype (or, in the case of Dominic Deegan, into a popular webcomic that keeps its author above the poverty line).

If anyone cares for my opinions on the individual books, here they are in a nutshell:

1. Actually pretty good, I think. Hermione-Sue got on my nerves, but well. Adults are useless, of course.

2. Okay, now little Miss Awesome Author Avatar really pisses me off. Other than that, the plot was rather interesting, as was Malfoy's scheme. What makes me wonder, though: In the end, why didn't they just consult, well, I don't know, McGonagall, who could easily turn a pencil into a rooster. Or Snape or Flitwick, the renowned duelists. Oh yeah, I forgot. (This isn't that bad, but still bothered me.)

3. I don't really remember it, but I think it had the best writing of the first three books. However, it's the same formula again: Hermione the Wonderful unriddles everything, Harry does the action part, and Ron ends up being incapacitated so he doesn't even have the opportunity to steal the limelight from any real protagonists. Also, time travel. What the hell? I mean, neat idea, but it ****s the whole world up.
Finally, I first suspected that Fred Weasley would die after reading this book. After all, one of the Weasley brothers just had to, Percy is a jerk, the two older ones are unimportant, Ron is Hermione's love interest, and Fred always gets better lines than George, so he was in for it. I mean, I don't want to brag, really, but it says something when the only important character death (besides the totally obvious one) is so unsurprising.

4. Ridiculously contrived plot. I liked the final confrontation, but really, that wasn't even convoluted anymore, it was just silly.

5. I liked that one, mainly because it had a working villain with Umbridge. Exaggerated, yes, but worked for me. And I knew Fred would die in the end at the middle of this book. Although, admittedly, this belief was shaken by the beginning of the last volume.

6. I keep forgetting what the plot was here. It's really mostly relation- and friendship troubles (and Ron's ego which belongs in the gutter, because he's a useless moron), isn't it? Also, the wise old mentor guy dies. Shock!

7. Boring. That scene at Gringott's was okay, though ridiculous. The rest was mostly just bland. Oh, and Fred died. Woohoo! So did Tonks and Lupin, which pissed me off a little.


To make it short, it has a pretty nice setting if you can suspend your disbelief, but logic and consistency are not to be expected.

Also, Hermione and Ron disgust me.
Hermione for obvious reasons (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySue).
Ron because he's an idiot. I mean, really, it's no surprise that his power animal is a mutt, because he really has to be happy when he's thrown a bone (can play chess, is a good keeper) once in a while.

DomaDoma
2008-05-06, 01:13 AM
I have been reminded of something in (I think) the fourth book. A Muggle made mention of people trying to pay with "gold coins the size of hubcaps" (Galleons). Near the end of the book, Harry places a sack containing (I think) a thousand Galleons into his pocket.

I fully expect to be countered with the TARDIS excuse, despite (As far as I can remember) no mention ever being made of TARDIS-like qualities existing in Harry's pockets or in that sack.

How about, y'know, hyperbole?

Mewtarthio
2008-05-06, 01:36 AM
How about, y'know, hyperbole?

Still, a thousand anything is pretty heavy. A thousand dimes is around 5 pounds (~2.25 kg), and we can assume that galleons are significantly heavier than dimes.

bladedSmoke
2008-05-06, 01:41 AM
All I can figure, is that a lot of people enjoyed the formulaic, thrid-grade reading level of the books. It made them feel clever when they guessed a plot twist, and the writing was well within their ability to read easily.

That is not only infuriatingly patronising, and insulting to both Mrs Rowling and those who read her books, but also wrong on so many levels. No-one reads Harry Potter because 'it makes them feel clever.' Certain people read philosophy books, or War and Peace, because 'it makes them feel clever,' but Harry Potter? No. People read Harry Potter because the books are fun, riveting works of fiction with well-thought-out characters and a captivating plot. Sure, it has flaws, what doesn't? But that doesn't make it 'formulaic' or 'thrid-grade,' as you so elegantly put it.

(Edit: I'm in no way criticizing philosophy books, or War and Peace, or suggesting Harry Potter is better than they are. I'm just saying that many people read those sorts of books because it makes them feel as if they are intellectual, and for no other reason - such as reading it to actually improve their minds. This is not the only reason to read those books - I've read War and Peace myself, not to say that I have, but because it is a literary masterpiece.)

Secondly, you seem to assume that everybody who reads Harry Potter is a stupid adult, and not, as is usually the case, a fairly intelligent kid. Harry Potter encourages people to read, and has introduced a whole new generation to books. How can anything which does that be considered a bad thing? Of course, if it gives you a warm tingly feeling inside to act all intellectually superior because (gasp!) you don't read Harry Potter, go ahead. After all, it's popular, so it must be bad.

Note: The last sentence was Internet Sarcasm. Consume at own risk.

WalkingTarget
2008-05-06, 08:40 AM
The only objective way to somehow measure a book is to check how mich money it did.

Harry Potter did LOTS.

Everything else is inherently subjective and a waste of time. Love it, hate it - but no one can`t deny it is a hit. :smallamused:

It was a hit, yes, but (as others have said) that doesn't make it "good". I only recently read the books (stayed out of it until all 7 were out as I'm hip-deep in ongoing series as it is and didn't feel like getting into waiting-mode for any others just now) and overall thought they were pretty meh. Best thing I can say about them was that they got kids reading (adults, not so much, I've met too many people whom I've asked what they like to read who say they like Harry Potter, but haven't read much of anything since). After I got to the last book I realized that most of what I disliked was the boarding school format. The restrictions it put on the story made things terribly formulaic and I think that bored me somewhat. Once they moved past that I got much more invested in what was actually going on.

I'd say another "objective" thing it's possible to measure is time. The Hobbit and LotR are still popular 70 and 50 years after original publication respectively. H.P. Lovecraft was unsuccessful during his lifetime, had trouble selling his stories to the editor of the one magazine that regularly published them at all, and died poor, yet his stories are largely recognized as some of the most influential of the 20th century (in certain fields) over 70 years after the man's death; the same can be said of Poe with even longer time frames. Robert W. Chambers wrote some amazing weird stories from the 1890's through the early 20th century (The King in Yellow, etc.) but eventually started writing romantic fiction which sold much better at the time, but guess which category of his stories is still generally read.

Sure, "popularity" itself is subjective (and sorry about the limited scope of my examples, but I went with subjects I'm familiar with without having to look things up, I'm sure there are plenty of writers that sold amazingly well a hundred years ago but nobody reads today), but a consistent readership over a prolonged period of time tells you something about the work in question. We'll see if people are still talking about/reading Rowling's work (or other best selling authors, like King, Crichton, or Clancy) in 50 or 100 years.

Kenori
2008-05-06, 08:57 AM
Honestly I greatly enjoyed the series, that is all the way up until the 5th book. While I did buy and read them all, I just think the last 2 read ENTIRELY too much like a fanfiction.

Mordar
2008-05-06, 12:24 PM
Secondly, you seem to assume that everybody who reads Harry Potter is a stupid adult, and not, as is usually the case, a fairly intelligent kid. Harry Potter encourages people to read, and has introduced a whole new generation to books. How can anything which does that be considered a bad thing? Of course, if it gives you a warm tingly feeling inside to act all intellectually superior because (gasp!) you don't read Harry Potter, go ahead. After all, it's popular, so it must be bad.

Note: The last sentence was Internet Sarcasm. Consume at own risk.

This is exactly the point I was alluding to in my original post on the subject. The HP books are popular so there will be members of the subculture to which the books are most closely tied that will decry them as childish (despite the obvious target audience being *gasp* children) and insult the works, author, fans or anyone peripherally affiliated with them in an effort to maintain the exclusivity of their subculture.

This is very different from the several people who said things much like the McDonald's comment, or that it was "just OK" or "average" or those who liked books X, Y & Z but disliked all or portions of Q, R and S. Even had someone said "I really didn't like the one(s) I read so I didn't bother with any of the others" or "They weren't as good as the majority of books I've read" those critiques would carry much more weight that one containing insults and the "stay out of my yard" feel of the one to which Hollow Zaraki has replied.

- Mordar

Irenaeus
2008-05-06, 12:38 PM
"I really didn't like the one(s) I read so I didn't bother with any of the others"This is me. On the positive side they didn't require a large investment of effort to read, so I can't really gather any animosity towards them.

Agamid
2008-05-07, 12:42 AM
In my opinion, Harry Potter is a dull and childish set of books that isn't worth the time one would have to spend reading the whole series.

Good on JK for making it as a writer, as i writer myself i congratulate her on 'making it', but her writing style reminds me somewhat of Enid Blyton. i.e. great when you're 12... frustratingly over simplified and shallow when your pretty well any older.

That said, i loved Enid Blyton when i was a kid, so if one day my kids are potheads, so be it, I'll just make sure i introduce them to quality fantasy books when they're old enough.

Anteros
2008-05-07, 05:17 AM
J.K. Rowling said that Occulamency could be used against Veritaserum, and therefore does not hold up in court.


First off, how does clearing one's mind keep them from telling the truth?

Secondly, it's a glaring flaw within the book, and should be addressed there. Readers shouldn't have to scour everything the author has ever said or written for a book to make sense.

Third, why would it be inadmissable? You use it and see if anyone confesses. If they don't confess then they aren't cleared, but if they do you convict them. There's no way it could make them confess if they aren't guilty, occuwhatever or not.

Lastly, Occuwhatever was apparently a rare and hard to use skill. This is why Snape was such a valuable spy. It's made quite clear that the vast majority can't handle it, just like they can't resist the imperius curse.

TheElfLord
2008-05-08, 02:10 PM
Lastly, Occuwhatever was apparently a rare and hard to use skill. This is why Snape was such a valuable spy. It's made quite clear that the vast majority can't handle it, just like they can't resist the imperius curse.

See that's where your confusion comes from. Nothing is rare in the Potter world once it has been introduced. Its like how Patronis charms were suposed to be rare and hard but by the end everyone is using them as messengers. or how apporation is so difficult most wizards don't bother, but by book seven everyone is apperating everwhere. Or how non-verbal spells are rare but at the end everyone is using them like it is normal.

If you book tells you something is rare or difficult Don't believe them.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-08, 05:09 PM
First off, how does clearing one's mind keep them from telling the truth?

Because it clears the mind of external magical interference. Which is pretty much exactly what a truth potion is. Therefore, anyone with occulamency skills could resist the effects of a truth potion.

GrassyGnoll
2008-05-08, 05:28 PM
My sister introduced me to the series before it was cool. At first I thought it was pretty hot stuff. Then the books got more popular, the characters got too wangsty, and the fans more rabid.

What really got me what how the media made such a big deal over it. Suddenly Rowling was a patron saint of literacy and inspired a generation to read. The style was great, but not as revolutionary as it was hyped.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-08, 05:41 PM
My sister introduced me to the series before it was cool. At first I thought it was pretty hot stuff. Then the books got more popular, the characters got too wangsty, and the fans more rabid.

What really got me what how the media made such a big deal over it. Suddenly Rowling was a patron saint of literacy and inspired a generation to read. The style was great, but not as revolutionary as it was hyped.

Actually, in terms of both sales and the number of children reading it 'revolutionary' is exactly the right word. There has, quite simply, never been any literary phenomenon on the same scale as Harry Potter before.

Surfing HalfOrc
2008-05-08, 06:14 PM
I enjoyed the series, although I think the first three-four books were better than the ones following.

But the part that annoyed me was the almost smug "Dumbledore was gay" announcement AFTER the books were over. I mean, really! If you're gonna pander to the fanbois, go all the way! Admit that Draco was gay, in love with Harry, and be done with it!

To me, there was nothing added to the story by posthumously "outing" Dumbledore. It came across more like tweaking the noses of all the "Christian Conservatives" who flopped and twitched all over the place when the latest book came out.

Neon Knight
2008-05-08, 06:30 PM
Actually, in terms of both sales and the number of children reading it 'revolutionary' is exactly the right word. There has, quite simply, never been any literary phenomenon on the same scale as Harry Potter before.

It was also made in a time like none before it. There are, after all, more children in the world than ever before, more presses, and more people available to read them, in a time where much of the world is to a degree educated. Operating by pure numbers is, I think, something of a mistake and highly misleading. Quite simply, there could be nothing like it before because the number of readers wasn't available in this magnitude. There are probably a couple of "literary phenomenons" of the past which would have been on the same scale as Harry Potter had they occurred during this day and age, but by now we have completely forgotten them. Until it stands the test of time it is unproven.

DomaDoma
2008-05-08, 08:58 PM
To me, there was nothing added to the story by posthumously "outing" Dumbledore. It came across more like tweaking the noses of all the "Christian Conservatives" who flopped and twitched all over the place when the latest book came out.

So his romantic choices don't have any impact on the story, is what you're saying? Ha. And ha.

Szilard
2008-05-08, 10:02 PM
Still, a thousand anything is pretty heavy. A thousand dimes is around 5 pounds (~2.25 kg), and we can assume that galleons are significantly heavier than dimes.

His pockets are bigger on the inside.:smalltongue:

Anteros
2008-05-09, 12:40 AM
See that's where your confusion comes from. Nothing is rare in the Potter world once it has been introduced. Its like how Patronis charms were suposed to be rare and hard but by the end everyone is using them as messengers. or how apporation is so difficult most wizards don't bother, but by book seven everyone is apperating everwhere. Or how non-verbal spells are rare but at the end everyone is using them like it is normal.

If you book tells you something is rare or difficult Don't believe them.

So, you defend the poor writing and world building skills with....poor writing and world building skills. Damn your flawless logic! :smallsmile:

@ MrSilver. That is not what Occulamancy is stated to do. It's simply stated as a clearing of one's mind so that your thoughts can not be read. Snape specifically tells Harry that Legimens or whatever works by reading the persons current thoughts. Occulamancy works because it keeps you from having any current thoughts. It has nothing to do with removing magical interferences.

Arioch
2008-05-09, 08:57 AM
To me, there was nothing added to the story by posthumously "outing" Dumbledore. It came across more like tweaking the noses of all the "Christian Conservatives" who flopped and twitched all over the place when the latest book came out.

Really? I thought it added a whole additional level to the story.

Mordar
2008-05-09, 11:59 AM
It was also made in a time like none before it. There are, after all, more children in the world than ever before, more presses, and more people available to read them, in a time where much of the world is to a degree educated. Operating by pure numbers is, I think, something of a mistake and highly misleading. Quite simply, there could be nothing like it before because the number of readers wasn't available in this magnitude. There are probably a couple of "literary phenomenons" of the past which would have been on the same scale as Harry Potter had they occurred during this day and age, but by now we have completely forgotten them. Until it stands the test of time it is unproven.

It's true that the world's population is growing and there are more literate children available to read than ever before. Not sure about the presses comment, but that's beside the point.

There are also far more distractions, more ways to spend leisure time (Wii, anyone? DS? GBA? Et cetera). Additionally, if your point is taken to a reasonable interpolation, there are also more authors releasing more books, elevating the competition for the book-dollars being spent.

Adjust sales for population growth in the two nations of greatest sales (UK/USA). Adjust sales for inflation. You're still going to see exceptional performance by these 7 books. In 2001 (may have been 2000) all the HP books currently in print were on the list of the top 20 children's bestsellers of all time in both hardcover and paperback All-Time Bestselling Children's Books (http://www.publishersweekly.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA186995), contending with or surpassing several series that had been out decades longer (including LIW's Little House books and the CS Lewis Narnia books). Will they have the staying power of those series'? Doubtful. However, they don't need it.

Keep in mind these numbers are absolute...but if it's only about the number of available readers, the fact that the others books on the list have had decades to build their circulation, decades of being assigned reading, decades of being proven classics and still being available to every single reader that has picked up an HP book yet still lag behind the HP sales speaks volumes.

Have there been other literary phenomena like this before? Of course - SE Hinton, the aforementioned LIW and Lewis, Judy Blume, Where the Sidewalk Ends...several hugely successful books and authors. Just not as hugely successful as Rowling's HP books...and she hasn't had the advantage of those decades of school-assigned reading. Stand the test of time? Well, after 7 years she's already in front all time...its just about "holding the lead" now.

Another difference to consider...look at the page counts. Some of the works I've mentioned run over 200 pages...but not all. The volume of pages (good or bad) speaks to the dedication of the reader to the material. Must be what...2500-3500 pages in HP?

Well I understand your point and it would often carry a lot of weight (non-normalized data is misleading) in this case it doesn't stand up as well as in other situations. Even after normalization and without consideration of issues that lower overall readership, these books are still way ahead of the curve.

- Mordar

DomaDoma
2008-05-09, 04:50 PM
@ MrSilver. That is not what Occulamancy is stated to do. It's simply stated as a clearing of one's mind so that your thoughts can not be read. Snape specifically tells Harry that Legimens or whatever works by reading the persons current thoughts. Occulamancy works because it keeps you from having any current thoughts. It has nothing to do with removing magical interferences.

It'd still work against a Truth Potion - it's pretty clear you can lie while employing Occlumency; sort of a compartmentalization process, I think.

The only thing that would obtain a false positive under Veritaserum that I can think of is the Confundus Charm.

Also, yeah, it's spelled Occlumency. It has to be the least-correctly-spelled fictional word ever to grace Internet debates.

warty goblin
2008-05-09, 05:12 PM
Really? I thought it added a whole additional level to the story.

It is somewhat cheap in my opinion to not put in the story to begin with. I mean, if Rowling decided that the question of which gender Dumbledore waves his wand for is significant enough to decide, let alone anounce, isn't it important enough to include in the actual books?

Don't get me wrong, I honestly have no feelings on whether or not Dumbledore charms for the home team or not, I just find it a vague insult to reader intelligence that she kept it out of the story, then announced it like it was relevent. Since it concerns a fictional character, it's really only relevent in the context of the story, but since she decided not to put it in the story it ends up being irrevent because it's not in the story.

Surfing HalfOrc
2008-05-09, 05:37 PM
So his romantic choices don't have any impact on the story, is what you're saying? Ha. And ha.

It might have impacted the story IF she had bothered to include it IN the story, rather than a couple months later after the publishing. She dropped way more hints that Draco was gay and in love with Harry throughout the story, but left Draco safely in the closet.

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-09, 10:48 PM
Why do people even care about Dumbledore's sexuality?

Anteros
2008-05-10, 01:47 PM
It'd still work against a Truth Potion - it's pretty clear you can lie while employing Occlumency; sort of a compartmentalization process, I think.

The only thing that would obtain a false positive under Veritaserum that I can think of is the Confundus Charm.

Also, yeah, it's spelled Occlumency. It has to be the least-correctly-spelled fictional word ever to grace Internet debates.

Eh, it's not like it's a real word anyway, so I'm not going to look up spelling for it. As long as people know what I'm talking about, it's good enough.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-10, 02:04 PM
Why do people even care about Dumbledore's sexuality?

Well, they mainly fall into to camps: slash fanfic writers/theorists and the religious nutjobs who have their knickers in a huge twist about the books as it is. There is also a smaller third group who are annoyed Rowling announced his sexuality because of the effect this had on the first two groups, because obviously if some people react completely irrationally over a fairly minor detail, it's the author's fault for including it:smallwink:


She dropped way more hints that Draco was gay and in love with Harry throughout the story, but left Draco safely in the closet.
.....

I'm not even going to ask.

Jayngfet
2008-05-10, 02:07 PM
Well, they mainly fall into to camps: fanfic writers and the religious nutjobs who have their knickers in a huge twist about the books as it is. There is also a smaller third group who are annoyed Rowling announced his sexuality because of the effect this had on the first two groups.

What about the fourth group, people who love watching the reactions of the first three.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-10, 02:09 PM
What about the fourth group, people who love watching the reactions of the first three.

They don't usually care that Dumbledore's gay, just that the first three are all riled up.

Anteros
2008-05-10, 02:25 PM
Rawling stating that D. is gay does not actually make him gay any more than if I state it. He is a fictional character who only exists within the context of the books. Since he is not gay in the books, then he is not gay. Or rather, maybe he is gay and we just don't know? Whatever. Either way it has literally no effect on anything and should just be ignored.

Things that do not exist within the canon of a series do not exist.

Really it would have been a better character if he was gay. But she didn't have the stones to do it, and thus he is not. If anything he isn't interested in either sex.

Jayngfet
2008-05-10, 02:36 PM
Rawling stating that D. is gay does not actually make him gay any more than if I state it. He is a fictional character who only exists within the context of the books. Since he is not gay in the books, then he is not gay. Or rather, maybe he is gay and we just don't know? Whatever. Either way it has literally no effect on anything and should just be ignored.

Things that do not exist within the canon of a series do not exist.

Really it would have been a better character if he was gay. But she didn't have the stones to do it, and thus he is not. If anything he isn't interested in either sex.

Even if he was, it hasn't come up for how many decades in his life?

Mr.Silver
2008-05-10, 02:40 PM
Rawling stating that D. is gay does not actually make him gay any more than if I state it. He is a fictional character who only exists within the context of the books. Since he is not gay in the books, then he is not gay. Or rather, maybe he is gay and we just don't know? Whatever. Either way it has literally no effect on anything and should just be ignored.

Things that do not exist within the canon of a series do not exist.


Word of God (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WordOfGod) says he is, so he is. For spatula's sake she created the damn character and the world he inhabits so yes, what she says goes.

Surfing HalfOrc
2008-05-10, 03:37 PM
Word of God (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WordOfGod) says he is, so he is. For spatula's sake she created the damn character and the world he inhabits so yes, what she says goes.

What did it add to the story? What makes Grindlewald Dumbledore's lover, and not just an influential friend? That's why people asked "what was the point in outing Dumbledore?"

OTOH, Draco spent so much time trying to attract Harry's attention, from the first ride on the train, to buying his way onto the opposing team, finally to stalling and avoiding Voldemort's orders to kill Harry. Then toss in JK's "Love conquers all" theme in the final book, and Draco's infatuation becomes obvious. Or at least a heck of a lot more obvious than Dumbledore x Grindlewald.

EvilElitest
2008-05-10, 07:01 PM
What did it add to the story? What makes Grindlewald Dumbledore's lover, and not just an influential friend? That's why people asked "what was the point in outing Dumbledore?"

OTOH, Draco spent so much time trying to attract Harry's attention, from the first ride on the train, to buying his way onto the opposing team, finally to stalling and avoiding Voldemort's orders to kill Harry. Then toss in JK's "Love conquers all" theme in the final book, and Draco's infatuation becomes obvious. Or at least a heck of a lot more obvious than Dumbledore x Grindlewald.

the moral of this story is, all ships are evil

Shut up Tengu
from
EE

Mr.Silver
2008-05-10, 07:55 PM
What did it add to the story? What makes Grindlewald Dumbledore's lover, and not just an influential friend? That's why people asked "what was the point in outing Dumbledore?"

It didn't add much, which was why she only 'outed' him in response to a reader directly asking a question about Dumbledore's love life. Are you saying she shouldn't have, that she should have just dismissed the reader's question and said 'it doesn't matter, ask a question that's already answered in the books'? It wasn't as if she organised a press conference to say 'Dumbledore's gay, so screw all you shippers!'.
The basic point about Dumbledore was that a lot of things about his life weren't revealed in the books, hell it took until book 5 to reveal that he had any living relatives. Fact is, when an author gives a character a backstory, not all of it is going to be able to be featured in the plot, particular if, like Dumbledore, the character isn't in the spotlight very often.



OTOH, Draco spent so much time trying to attract Harry's attention, from the first ride on the train, to buying his way onto the opposing team, finally to stalling and avoiding Voldemort's orders to kill Harry. Then toss in JK's "Love conquers all" theme in the final book, and Draco's infatuation becomes obvious.

That's some definition of obvious you've got going there. I suppose the whole fact that he ended-up married and with children was just his cover then?:smallamused:

Surfing HalfOrc
2008-05-10, 08:11 PM
It didn't add much, which was why she only 'outed' him in response to a reader directly asking a question about Dumbledore's love life. Are you saying she shouldn't have, that she should have just dismissed the reader's question and said 'it doesn't matter, ask a question that's already answered in the books'? It wasn't as if she organised a press conference to say 'Dumbledore's gay, so screw all you shippers!'.
The basic point about Dumbledore was that a lot of things about his life weren't revealed in the books, hell it took until book 5 to reveal that he had any living relatives. Fact is, when an author gives a character a backstory, not all of it is going to be able to be featured in the plot, particular if, like Dumbledore, the character isn't in the spotlight very often.

True, Dumbledore kept quite a few things to himself, but his orientation didn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the story. It seemed so "tacked on, after the fact."


That's some definition of obvious you've got going there. I suppose the whole fact that he ended-up married and with children was just his cover then?:smallamused:

Um... yeah. It does happen all the time. Gay men marrying and having children. Especially if they live in a society that frowns on "that sort of thing." Since no one was openly gay in the series, it seems like there are other areas where wizards lag behind Muggles besides technology.

Afterall, Dumbledore stayed in the closet his entire life, didn't he? :smallwink:

warty goblin
2008-05-10, 08:13 PM
Afterall, Dumbledore stayed in the closet his entire life, didn't he? :smallwink:
I believe the correct wizarding term is 'stayed in the tower' actually...

Blayze
2008-05-10, 08:25 PM
Or possibly "stayed in the fireplace".

Mr.Silver
2008-05-10, 08:37 PM
Afterall, Dumbledore stayed in the closet his entire life, didn't he? :smallwink:
We don't know he did, actually. His love life wasn't something he ever discussed with Harry (which makes perfect sense, Harry never really discussed his love life with Dumbledore either). It's this fact that makes me completely unable to see why you take so much issue with the fact that Dumbledore was gay; there wasn't any point in the story when his sexuality was likely to have come-up. Also, isn't any piece of information about a character's life that's released after the series they were in has ended 'after the fact' by definition?

Serenity
2008-05-10, 09:06 PM
EE: Sauron did make huge tactical errors based upon his villainy and arrogance. It's explicitly stated that he literally couldn't conceive of anyone trying to destroy the Ring, which was why he didn't put a constant guard on Mount Doom. We all know how that turned out for him.

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-10, 10:19 PM
You know what? I think I prefer it when the authors drop hints like this. The debates that ensue are very entertaining.

Phase
2008-05-10, 11:20 PM
Secondly, it's a glaring flaw within the book, and should be addressed there. Readers shouldn't have to scour everything the author has ever said or written for a book to make sense.

But the thing is, it didn't have to be in the books. Harry didn't ask Snape whether Veratiserum was foolproof, so we don't know if it is. Rowling's books have enough fluff; we don't need an extra paragraph explaining exactly how veratiserum works...

And on the Dumbldore is gay thing, it added tons to the story. It's how he grew up (though we really don't know whether he acted on it) and determnes is day to day life. Instead of saying: "Please pass me the margerine, Professor." He might say: "Would you please pass the Margerine, Professor?"

Everything matters, whether percievable or not...

Anteros
2008-05-11, 11:12 PM
But the thing is, it didn't have to be in the books. Harry didn't ask Snape whether Veratiserum was foolproof, so we don't know if it is. Rowling's books have enough fluff; we don't need an extra paragraph explaining exactly how veratiserum works...

And on the Dumbldore is gay thing, it added tons to the story. It's how he grew up (though we really don't know whether he acted on it) and determnes is day to day life. Instead of saying: "Please pass me the margerine, Professor." He might say: "Would you please pass the Margerine, Professor?"

Everything matters, whether percievable or not...


Wait...what? No. No it does not matter. It does not matter is Dumbledore was straight, gay, bi, or a hermaphrodite, he was written in a specific manner. He is a fictional character in a book. Why do people continually apply real world logic to things like this? He was written in a specific manner. His sexual orientation did not effect the way he grew up, because he never grew up. He was simply written in a specific manner. Did I mention that he was written in a specific manner? I'm not sure I quite drove it home.

And no. I'm sorry, but just because you link tvtropes, you don't win an argument. That's the equivalent of "well this guy on the internet said..." It doesn't hold water. Dumbledore is not gay, because he is not gay in the books. Neither is he straight in the books. Dumbledore literally has no sexual preference at all. He is a fictional character who only exists within his own novels. His universe begins and ends within the pages of those books. I don't care if Rawling comes out tomorrow and says D. had 3 heads and 8 eyes. It didn't come up in the book, and thus does not exist as far as the character is concerned. This is the same as asking "What job did Harry grow up to have?" or any other such question. It doesn't matter if Rawling says he is a bum or a star quiddich (sp?) player. Unless it is mentioned within the canon of the works it does not exist.

If Rawling chooses to extend her universe's canon with other works, such as her encyclopedia or Harry Potter land, and one of those works mentions that Dumbledore is gay, then Dumbledore is gay. But until facts are established within the story, they do not exist.

Phase
2008-05-11, 11:39 PM
No, see, that's like saying things like that Harry didn't eat for the many years at the Dursley's because it wasn't specifically mentioned. Actually, that's worse because at least Rowling (not Rawling) told us this. It's an almost completely fictional world, it exists in only two places, the books, and the mind of J.K. Rowling.

If you thought up a completely original fantasy world entirely in your head and told someone about it, it's non-canon, apparently, as you didn't write it down. Don't forget, she has most details written down on notes somewhere, so it is an established world with established characters who are controlled expressly by J.K. Rowling.

Every tidbit about a character influences what happens to them. Suppose Joe Schmo goes for a walk. He likes ice cream, a fact that is not explicitly stated in his book, and so heads towards an ice cream parlor on his way home and stubs his toe. Then he walks differently on the way and all these other variables that can be changed by the most insignificant detail.

Phase out.

Artemician
2008-05-12, 06:50 AM
Regarding the ongoing debate about Canon versus Non-Canon, I find this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_author) particularly insightful. Perhaps it might clear up some matters.

DomaDoma
2008-05-12, 09:59 AM
Regarding the ongoing debate about Canon versus Non-Canon, I find this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_author) particularly insightful. Perhaps it might clear up some matters.

Oh, no. We are not even going there. It's that school of thought that somehow twists Taming of the Shrew into a feminist tract. It's that school of thought that engenders the philosophy that Lord of the Rings was about the Second World War, and who cares what Tolkien said on the matter? The author lives, damnit. You don't have to subscribe to their opinion - you can imagine Draco as a good boyfriend, even if JKR doesn't - but when it comes to concrete facts, the author knows their own damn universe.

(As for the issue at hand, the Dumbledore/Grindelwald subtext would get on just fine, author or no author.)

Dervag
2008-05-12, 10:38 AM
Wait...what? No. No it does not matter. It does not matter is Dumbledore was straight, gay, bi, or a hermaphrodite, he was written in a specific manner. He is a fictional character in a book. Why do people continually apply real world logic to things like this? He was written in a specific manner. His sexual orientation did not effect the way he grew up, because he never grew up. He was simply written in a specific manner. Did I mention that he was written in a specific manner? I'm not sure I quite drove it home.

And no. I'm sorry, but just because you link tvtropes, you don't win an argument. That's the equivalent of "well this guy on the internet said..." It doesn't hold water. Dumbledore is not gay, because he is not gay in the books. Neither is he straight in the books. Dumbledore literally has no sexual preference at all. He is a fictional character who only exists within his own novels. His universe begins and ends within the pages of those books. I don't care if Rawling comes out tomorrow and says D. had 3 heads and 8 eyes. It didn't come up in the book, and thus does not exist as far as the character is concerned. This is the same as asking "What job did Harry grow up to have?" or any other such question. It doesn't matter if Rawling says he is a bum or a star quiddich (sp?) player. Unless it is mentioned within the canon of the works it does not exist.

If Rawling chooses to extend her universe's canon with other works, such as her encyclopedia or Harry Potter land, and one of those works mentions that Dumbledore is gay, then Dumbledore is gay. But until facts are established within the story, they do not exist.Literary analysis doesn't work like that.

Many excellent novels make implied references to facts about their characters without explicitly stating them. The amount of veiling over the reference varies. So does the importance of the fact. For example, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey never explicitly comes out and says that the title character is bisexual, not least because it was written in Victorian England where that was in fact illegal. However, it is blindingly obvious he is. It would be absurd to say that "Dorian Grey has no sexual orientation, be it straight, bi, or gay" because of the lack of explicit statements such as "Dorian Grey is attracted to men" in the story.

The set of all true statements about a fictional character is not always limited to the set of things said about the character within the book in a declarative sentence.

Now, the homosexuality of Dumbledore is infinitely more subtle and far less important to the storyline than the bisexuality of Dorian Grey. You could read all seven books and never guess or even consider the possibility, and many people did. But that doesn't mean the character is necessarily 'neutral' with respect to sexual orientation. It just means that, from the perspective of the viewpoint characters, Dumbledore's sexual alignment is a well-kept secret with no perceptible consequences.

You have to remember that most modern fiction is written from a 'tight-focus third person' perspective, where we follow the experiences of a single character. This is distinct from the 'third person omniscient' view in which we can reasonably expect to know what every character is thinking and why they are acting. We know more or less what Harry Potter is thinking in the books, but we don't know what Snape or Dumbledore or Voldemort are thinking normally- only what they are saying and doing.

So Dumbledore, in his capacity as an old man interacting with boarding school students, doesn't do anything that gives his students any reason to have a specific opinion about his sexual orientation. Is that such a big surprise?

And that's all we can know from reading the books. That doesn't mean there aren't canonical facts about Dumbledore other than the ones Harry perceives. It only means that those facts occur 'off screen' in such a way that their only relevance is in how they influence Dumbledore's behavior. And they can do so in subtle ways that Harry doesn't necessarily pick up on.

For example, we know Dumbledore is quite old, even in the first book. As far as I can recall, his age is never explicitly stated. But it would be absurd to pretend that he has no specific number age just because the age is not stated in one of the books. It is similarly absurd to pretend that he has no sexual orientation.


Regarding the ongoing debate about Canon versus Non-Canon, I find this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_author) particularly insightful. Perhaps it might clear up some matters.I think the ideas that are expressed in the text of that article are nutty.

Because I think so, I also think its author is nutty.

Assuming the wiki article is a fair representation of the opinions expressed in "Death of the author," I say that this is a natural expression of a deeply wrong approach to analyzing stories. To summarize my objection, I think that in this approach there isn't any meaning to be found by analyzing the story, because all ways of doing the analysis are equally legitimate and all conclusions drawn by such methods are equally legitimate.
__________________________________________

The assumption is that the meaning of a text is something that exists on a vast multitude of layers, with the result that a given work can 'legitimately' be interpreted as a straight-faced claim, a satire, or indeed anything else under the sun. The problem with this, as I see it, is that it erases the distinction between art and nature.

Nature does not have self-evident, or even evident, intrinsic meaning. It is not obvious that a cloud has an intrinsic meaning. Even if it has a shape we can recognize, the shape is a purely random event. Give it a few minutes and the wind will change that shape.

We may be able to perceive underlying order in nature, but not meaning. Religious people may find meaning in nature, but this is a normative judgement and not one that can be demonstrated to people who do not follow the religion.
___________________________________

How is art distinct from nature? The most obvious difference is that art is made by an intelligence. Absent an artist, there is no art.

However, not everything an intelligence does is necessarily art. For example, scratching an itch is not a work of art. It could conceivably become a piece of performance art, but it doesn't have to.

I would argue that the true distinction between art and nature is that art is constructed to have a meaning. Someone sat down and thought "I want to say X," and then came up with some object or process that, when examined using process Y, would express X.

Thus, a painting of pure black or blue can be a kind of art, because the artist thought "I want to express X," and decided that the appropriate method of expressing it was with a big black canvas. Now, it may be hard for other parties to figure out what the meaning is, because in the case of a black canvas the process of unraveling meaning is obscure. But the art is still art- a construct intended to have a meaning.

If the same black canvas had been produced by an explosion in a paint factory, it would not be art, because no one intended it to have any particular meaning at all. Even if the canvas had been rendered black by the action of a particular person, it would not be art because the creation of the black canvas was an accident with no underlying intent to express anything.
____________________________________

Now, you can debate this argument, to be sure. But if we accept it, then it becomes clear that something must be very wrong with the idea of analyzing a text as if authorial intentions are irrelevant.

In that style of literary analysis, a black canvas (or any other configuration of paint) is exactly as meaningful if it was created consciously by a painter as if it was created by an explosion in a paint factory. The author's intentions are irrelevant, therefore the author's presence is irrelevant.

Now, if this style of post-structuralist analysis made a serious attempt to distinguish between meaning and non-meaning, that would be all right. However, it does not. The style basically amounts to "I take a text, and analyze it using an approach of my choosing, and draw a conclusion."

The reason this is problematic is that there are methods of analysis that can derive a conclusion from anything. A Freudian analyst could probably derive conclusions from a completely random string of words, even one generated by a non-intelligent process such as a paper shredder running amok in a pile of dictionaries.

But in that case, if we abandon the test of authorial intent, and we abandon the ability to reliably tell whether or not a thing is meaningful, then we reach an intellectual dead end. We can produce messages and conclusions by analysis, but the process is rote. The text itself that is being analyzed might as well not exist, because its content no longer matters. We might as well say our conclusions without reference to the text, because the nature of post-structuralist analysis is such that we could equally well have used a different analytical method to derive the exact opposite of our conclusion. Or to draw the same conclusion from a very different text.

The result is that any text, even one created by random processes, can be 'analyzed' to mean anything. At which point there isn't any meaning and there isn't any point in doing the analysis. The analysis of the text will conclude whatever the analyst wishes to conclude.
_____________________________________________

This is problematic because it makes a 'text' produced by intent and a 'text' produced by random processes free of intent co-equal. Which leaves us in the position where we could quite easily be performing literary analysis on the result of an explosion in a printer's shop. Such a literary analysis is no more useful or productive of meaning than an attempt to divine the future by examining sheep entrails would be. We might as well not bother.

Which brings me back to my definition of 'art'. If we accept that art is constructed to have meaning, then there is one 'authoritative' method of analysis. Namely, the one that derives the author's intended meaning from the work.

There may be alternate methods that can be used to derive correct conclusions such as 'the author is a pretentious jackass'. However, the point remains that we can't extract the author and the author's intended meaning from the text without extracting all meaning from the text. Without the reference point of the original intended meaning, we can examine any text and conclude that it means anything, at which point we might as well not be examining texts at all. We might as well instead examine sheep's entrails, or tea leaves, or our own navels, or nothing at all, and make our pronouncements on the basis of those examinations.

Artemician
2008-05-12, 11:03 AM
<Long and logical argument chain which I actually pretty much agree with>

You know, I never really said that I agreed with the article, merely that I found it insightful in helping us to understand the ongoing debate.:smallwink:

Nicely articulated though.

warty goblin
2008-05-12, 11:17 AM
Oh, no. We are not even going there. It's that school of thought that somehow twists Taming of the Shrew into a feminist tract. It's that school of thought that engenders the philosophy that Lord of the Rings was about the Second World War, and who cares what Tolkien said on the matter? The author lives, damnit. You don't have to subscribe to their opinion - you can imagine Draco as a good boyfriend, even if JKR doesn't - but when it comes to concrete facts, the author knows their own damn universe.

(As for the issue at hand, the Dumbledore/Grindelwald subtext would get on just fine, author or no author.)

Heh, well Taming of the Shrew is Shakespeare after all, which means almost any interpretation has some sort of textual support. I once wrote a Shakespeare paper nearly arguing that the only way for people to recover from madness is to be kind to somebody, then go kill a blood relative. Textual support out the ass for that thesis...

Mr. Scaly
2008-05-12, 03:58 PM
Shakespeare is funny that way. Everything seems to support each other.

Anteros
2008-05-12, 10:36 PM
Many excellent novels make implied references to facts about their characters without explicitly stating them. The amount of veiling over the reference varies. So does the importance of the fact. For example, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey never explicitly comes out and says that the title character is bisexual, not least because it was written in Victorian England where that was in fact illegal. However, it is blindingly obvious he is. It would be absurd to say that "Dorian Grey has no sexual orientation, be it straight, bi, or gay" because of the lack of explicit statements such as "Dorian Grey is attracted to men" in the story.



But in this case, the author implied nothing about her character. She just stated it after the fact. There is a vast difference between an author hinting at the existence of something, but leaving it unsaid, and an author randomly adding things that had literally nothing to do with the story.

You say that Dumbledore has other aspects to his personality besides what Harry percieves. This is not true. Dumbledore literally only exists within the perceptions that the readers are given of him through Harry. Things cease to exist at the end of Harry's perception.

If Rowling creates an extended universe, and then extends the canon of the series, then extra things like this become official. However, as long as the H.P. universe exists soley within a few books, then only the words of those books matter. If she wants Dumbledore to have a gay love triangle with Harry and Donald Duck, that's perfectly within her right. But until she actually makes it a part of the universe with a book, or movie or whatever, then it's nothing but a random idea floating around her head.

Hallavast
2008-05-13, 05:19 AM
The reason for Harry Potter's popularity can be summed up in three words: Excellent marketing strategy.

The series is only as good or worse than a dozen other series I could name. Dragonlance fans, for example, are just as fanatic and would be just as protective about spoilers if they thought anybody else in mainstream society actually gave a damn. Sadly, Dragonlance was never marketed to said mainstream anywhere near as effectively as HP. Give mainstream bookreaders exposure to any decent 7 book fiction series and you'll have the same effect.

Edit:

Anteros,

So if Rowling were to write and self-publish a one page book with the words "Dumbledore is a homosexual." and nothing else, then it would be "canon" in your book? Is that really what you're arguing?

Dumbledore is Rowling's intellectual property. She has publicly stated in an answer to a direct question about Dumbledore's romantic life that he is gay. I don't see why you want to split hairs like this.

Anteros
2008-05-13, 07:14 PM
The reason for Harry Potter's popularity can be summed up in three words: Excellent marketing strategy.

The series is only as good or worse than a dozen other series I could name. Dragonlance fans, for example, are just as fanatic and would be just as protective about spoilers if they thought anybody else in mainstream society actually gave a damn. Sadly, Dragonlance was never marketed to said mainstream anywhere near as effectively as HP. Give mainstream bookreaders exposure to any decent 7 book fiction series and you'll have the same effect.

Edit:

Anteros,

So if Rowling were to write and self-publish a one page book with the words "Dumbledore is a homosexual." and nothing else, then it would be "canon" in your book? Is that really what you're arguing?

Dumbledore is Rowling's intellectual property. She has publicly stated in an answer to a direct question about Dumbledore's romantic life that he is gay. I don't see why you want to split hairs like this.

No of course it wouldn't make it canon. What I'm saying is that fictional characters only exist within the context of the story they tell. Things that have no bearing on that story simply do not exist.

DomaDoma
2008-05-13, 09:56 PM
So you're saying Dumbledore's affection for Grindelwald has no bearing on the story. Alrighty then.

Anteros
2008-05-13, 10:17 PM
No. The fact that D. felt affection for G. certainly had bearing, and is made quite clear. The fact that it was gay affection has no bearing since it was not included.

WalkingTarget
2008-05-14, 09:32 AM
So...

By that logic, we have no idea what Sauron or the wizards are in The Lord of the Rings. There are hints that the wizards, at least, are something more, or at least different, from Men and Elves, but there's not much even in the appendices to inform the reader of the existence of a quasi-angelic pantheon of sorts of which they are members.

Sure we have letters that Tolkien wrote to fans wherein he explained some of that, and his son eventually published the notes and backstory that he'd written up, but none of that was in a "finalized" form and therefore shouldn't count, right?

EvilElitest
2008-05-14, 09:48 AM
EE: Sauron did make huge tactical errors based upon his villainy and arrogance. It's explicitly stated that he literally couldn't conceive of anyone trying to destroy the Ring, which was why he didn't put a constant guard on Mount Doom. We all know how that turned out for him.

that may be partly arrogance, but think about it, he overestimated his foes. I mean, the idea of sending a hobbit into morder to destroy the greatest weapon in the world is absurd. Its moronic, its stupid, nobody is that dumb right........

Sauron didn't consider it, because he knew that the Good Guys could really hurt him if they used the ring to their advantage. Even if he won eventually, he would have a lot of trouble and hte good guys knew this. And throwing such a powerful weapon away? Its silly. So Sauron didn't expect them to do something stupid. Which Gandalf admits, it is so dumb, it worked
he isn't Genre Savvy
from
EE

Fri
2008-05-14, 10:59 AM
You say that Dumbledore has other aspects to his personality besides what Harry percieves. This is not true. Dumbledore literally only exists within the perceptions that the readers are given of him through Harry. Things cease to exist at the end of Harry's perception.

Sorry, I found this completely ridiculous. I agreed that suddenly saying dumbledore is gay after the series was finished isn't cool, but seriously.

Dumbledore literally only exists within the perceptions that the readers are given of him through Harry?

That basically means, nothing in the series exists if harry didn't know it?

Harry didn't know a lot of thing, either about other characters, or even about the setting itself. Sorry.

warty goblin
2008-05-14, 11:02 AM
that may be partly arrogance, but think about it, he overestimated his foes. I mean, the idea of sending a hobbit into morder to destroy the greatest weapon in the world is absurd. Its moronic, its stupid, nobody is that dumb right........

Sauron didn't consider it, because he knew that the Good Guys could really hurt him if they used the ring to their advantage. Even if he won eventually, he would have a lot of trouble and hte good guys knew this. And throwing such a powerful weapon away? Its silly. So Sauron didn't expect them to do something stupid. Which Gandalf admits, it is so dumb, it worked
he isn't Genre Savvy
from
EE

I'm not really sure why this is going on in this thread, but I feel it important to note that the good guys were unable to actually destroy the Ring on their own. Forseeing not only that they would be stupid enougth to try to destroy it, but that they would get far enough, have Gollum in tow, and that Frodo would have specified on the Ring that if Gollum ever touched it again, he would be cast into the Fires of Mt. Doom seems like a specific enough allignment of bizzare events that one can be pardoned for not having a counter-measure in place.

I mean, that's like walking down the street one day when space aliens driving Sherman tanks that shoot carnivorous flowers land right in front of you, and being expected to have a detailed plan in place, including things like special anti-tank rockets coated that disperse vast clouds of herbicide on impact.

Just to keep this from being totally off topic, I'll say that on the whole Dumbledore is gay thing, yes it is somewhat relevant that she declared him gay, but it's sort of disappointing because it could have been actually important to the story or something (and I find it hard to believe that a subtext that subtle which is never even talked about explicitly and has very little plot bearing is particularly relevant to the story.

Sleet
2008-05-14, 01:07 PM
However, as long as the H.P. universe exists soley within a few books, then only the words of those books matter.

My, what a... limiting view of literature.

The Extinguisher
2008-05-14, 01:41 PM
It isn't important to the story, or else it would be in the book.

But that doesn't mean it isn't true. She answered a question in a Q/A. Are you saying she should never answer questions based on her notes?

EvilElitest
2008-05-14, 02:33 PM
If George Orwell writes history of Big Brother and the party down on a napkin, and only the waitress reads is, is is true?


Ill shut up now
from
EE

Anteros
2008-05-14, 05:37 PM
Look, we like to relate these characters to real people. We like to believe that they exist somehow within our minds or our hearts or some other load of crap. Unfortunately, they do not. They are not real people. They are fictional beings who are transcribed onto paper by an author. Anything outside of that paper does not exist.

It's human nature to get attached to these characters. We want them to be real. We want to know more about them. How did their lives turn out? Who married who? Things like that are simply a part of human nature.

However, as much as we hope, nothing can change the fact that these "people" remain nothing more than literary figures. They have no life outside of the canon of their work because they do not exist. If a Harry Potter game is made in which Dumbledore is gay, then he is gay because the game expands upon the base universe. Likewise if another book is published, or an encyclopedia, or a movie or anything that expands upon the original canon of the universe, then those events become canon.

An interview is not canon because it is simply an idea the author had. Rowling also originally planned for Hagrid to die. Does this mean that Hagrid died? Of course not, because he did not die within the books. She also originally said that only two characters would die in the 7th book. Obviously this did not remain true either. Until an idea leaves the authors head, and makes the transition into canon, it is not canon.

You will note that I am not saying "Dumbledore can't be gay!" or "Dumbledore shouldn't be gay!" I am simply saying, they Dumbledore is not gay within the current canon of the Harry Potter series.

PS. Not every thread has to be about Sauron.

EvilElitest
2008-05-14, 07:46 PM
PS. Not every thread has to be about Sauron.
Which begs the question, why do hte people who don't support him keep bringing him up?
from
EE

Squidmaster
2008-05-14, 08:24 PM
Which begs the question, why do hte people who don't support him keep bringing him up?
from
EE

jealousy?



and also, about toilets working in the castle, I though the magic in the air only messed up electronics.

which leads to the question: wouldn't the muggles get curious if there was constant radar malfunctions in one area. If I was in charge I would have definitely mobilized the military to investigate.

CommodoreFluffy
2008-05-14, 08:44 PM
I feel that I need to say, for the good of many a voiceless person, that Harry Potter is written, OKAY, as in Oscar Kilo Alpha Yankee, it was written well, even enough for them to make a movie of it, but not that well. There are many more sophisticated books out there, with better...well...EVERYTHING, but the thing is, that Harry Potter was tailored for a multitude of audiences, so that even people who didn't read often could pick it up and enjoy it, it was VOLUME that let Harry Potter get so huge, not style, not skill, not plot, not wit, just the fact that so many people could pick up a three inch thick book, and say they read, and enjoyed it, it made people feel empowered to read.

Catskin
2008-05-14, 08:59 PM
It isn't important to the story, or else it would be in the book.

But that doesn't mean it isn't true. She answered a question in a Q/A. Are you saying she should never answer questions based on her notes?

If I understand correctly, I pretty much agree with Anteros on this one.

For me, the point is that in the context of fiction what is "true" or not is what gets published into those fictions or fantasies. In the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore isn't gay or straight. It's unknown. It never comes up. (I actually haven't read the 7th book :smallredface: --I assume it doesn't come up.)

I can also see, certainly, that if Rowling said Dumbledore is gay or whatever else, then it becomes part of the character for a lot of fans. But not in the books. Not only is it not important to the books, it's not even in the books.

Just my $.02

CommodoreFluffy
2008-05-14, 09:01 PM
Does it really matter if dumbolore is gay? He's a fictional character, put whatever attributed you like to him, so long as it doesn't disrupt the story, and it'll all be fine.

Anteros
2008-05-14, 10:46 PM
Does it really matter if dumbolore is gay? He's a fictional character, put whatever attributed you like to him, so long as it doesn't disrupt the story, and it'll all be fine.


This is why, in my mind, when Dumbledore dueled against Grindenwald (spelling?) he didn't use a sissy wand, but instead used brass knuckles. The fight becomes much more entertaining that way. Unfortunately, I think my beliefs on this matter may differ somewhat from the canon...

@ poofbunny. I hope we haven't ruined anything for you.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-15, 12:42 PM
The reason for Harry Potter's popularity can be summed up in three words: Excellent marketing strategy.

What marketing strategy? The first two books were sold on nothing other than word of mouth. I can't even remember seeing an ad for the series until after the third hit paperback, and they still sold stupidly well before then. By the time the later books came out, there still wasn't much advertising simply because by about the time of book 5 the publishing date just had to be announced and people would be camping overnight to buy the things. I'm sorry, but I don't think this can be explained simply by a good sales-pitch.

Raider
2008-05-15, 02:41 PM
It's a series meant for parents to read to children and spark imagination give it a break

Mauve Shirt
2008-05-15, 06:13 PM
I don't know if I've already posted this in this thread, but I don't feel like looking, so you get it again.
The best thing about Harry Potter is it aged with its readers. I read the first book when I was 10, and as each one came out when I was two or so years older, they were written for someone older than the previous one.

CommodoreFluffy
2008-05-15, 10:19 PM
HA! Redshirt!

TheElfLord
2008-05-16, 11:29 AM
We don't know he did, actually. His love life wasn't something he ever discussed with Harry (which makes perfect sense, Harry never really discussed his love life with Dumbledore either). It's this fact that makes me completely unable to see why you take so much issue with the fact that Dumbledore was gay; there wasn't any point in the story when his sexuality was likely to have come-up. Also, isn't any piece of information about a character's life that's released after the series they were in has ended 'after the fact' by definition?

See that's what bothered me about Rowling's after the fact announcement, because there was a spot where it should have come up in the books. A major subplot of book seven concerns Rita Skeeter's book that is out to air all of Dumbledore's dirty laundry. Now, maybe wizard society is open enough that being gay isn't looked down on there, but given how backwards and discriminating their society is, I personally doubt it. The book would have been the perfect place to mention it. It would have gotten reaer courious, and exposed them to the concept in the books, not after the fact.

As to the announcement itself, I am of two minds. If Rowling intentionally created that detail after the books, or held of mentioning it, and jus threw it in, then I think it was a pointless addition. If, as some people suggested and her immideate reaction seemed to be, she thought she had indicated that Dumbledore was gay and in love with G. in the books, then it was just poor writing on her part.

I like the books, though I am often critical of them. I think 1-4 were the best, and that the quality went down once the focus shifted to a metaplot of saving the world instead of just learning about magic and the wizarding world at school. I think a major problem in the books is that aspects that make sense for a 1 or 2 book series based on a school fall apart when applied to an entire hidden world.

Zenthar
2008-05-16, 05:56 PM
I've read all the books, and they were a nice time-killer. As people have said, you just need to turn your brains off while you read them, because of many "stupidities" and illogicality.

Great books for children, OK read for others if you don't have better books at the moment.

Hallavast
2008-05-18, 07:06 AM
What marketing strategy? The first two books were sold on nothing other than word of mouth. I can't even remember seeing an ad for the series until after the third hit paperback, and they still sold stupidly well before then. By the time the later books came out, there still wasn't much advertising simply because by about the time of book 5 the publishing date just had to be announced and people would be camping overnight to buy the things. I'm sorry, but I don't think this can be explained simply by a good sales-pitch.

Huh... I remember a whole bunch of promotional stuff at my school bookstore for the first book, and I remember something in the news about it, but I can't remember if this was before or after the third book was published... I was 12 years old, so... 1999? But I'd argue that it was around then that the book really started to pick up. Any abnormal amount of success before then I couldn't attest to or comment on.

Mr.Silver
2008-05-18, 07:58 AM
Huh... I remember a whole bunch of promotional stuff at my school bookstore for the first book, and I remember something in the news about it, but I can't remember if this was before or after the third book was published... I was 12 years old, so... 1999?
Same year book 3 was published (in Britain anyway).

EvilElitest
2008-05-18, 11:02 AM
jealousy?


It would explain a lot
from
EE

Recaiden
2008-05-18, 10:09 PM
The first few book is amazing, and climaxed at the fourth book (that coincidentally is the middle book)

I remember reading the fourth book, griped with suspense, adventure, and I remembered how it feel when I fall in love in my youth.

The later book... not as good. Maybe just because the fridge logic catches on.

Seriously, now I can't stand the setting. Wizards are idiots, nuff said.

The only redemption from the later books is Luna Lovegood.



It's fun to read. When you actually think about it, it's not so great, but that isn't the point.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-05-18, 10:49 PM
I'm not really sure why this is going on in this thread, but I feel it important to note that the good guys were unable to actually destroy the Ring on their own. Forseeing not only that they would be stupid enougth to try to destroy it, but that they would get far enough, have Gollum in tow, and that Frodo would have specified on the Ring that if Gollum ever touched it again, he would be cast into the Fires of Mt. Doom seems like a specific enough allignment of bizzare events that one can be pardoned for not having a counter-measure in place.

I mean, that's like walking down the street one day when space aliens driving Sherman tanks that shoot carnivorous flowers land right in front of you, and being expected to have a detailed plan in place, including things like special anti-tank rockets coated that disperse vast clouds of herbicide on impact.

Just to keep this from being totally off topic, I'll say that on the whole Dumbledore is gay thing, yes it is somewhat relevant that she declared him gay, but it's sort of disappointing because it could have been actually important to the story or something (and I find it hard to believe that a subtext that subtle which is never even talked about explicitly and has very little plot bearing is particularly relevant to the story.

One of the major thematic elements in LotR is faith. The Free Peoples' situation looked hopeless, but they had faith that the Great Enemy would be defeated--and they were vindicated. While Tolkien didn't intend the work to be an allegory, his beliefs infuse it very much. And Tolkien, as a Catholic, believed that holding on to faith even against impossible odds will ultimately deliver you, just as he (had to) believe that all evil was at least once good. He has the parallel beliefs that even the highest good can fall into temptation, and that not even the darkest evil is beyond redemption.

Understanding that is absolutely fascinating, which is why I hate post-structuralist criticism. As the others were saying, it renders analysis meaningless--just a mental game. If you really believe that you can prove that Mobey **** represents the Republic of Ireland or whatever, regardless of what Herman Melville knew or intended, then literary analysis has no point beyond mental wankery and has no business being taught in schools.