1. enough
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    enough New Member

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    Can Anything Surpass Harry Potter?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by enough, Oct 2, 2010.

    I had a unique conversation with a close friend several days ago. Her concern was about the Harry Potter series and the fact that they are so great. I have only finished books 1-6, and I find the characters very close to heart.

    Her question was have I ever read/watched (Movie) a more compelling plot with twists and characters such as Harry Potter?
    I laughed and I could tell she was very serious and so she went on, asking: has there ever been a better Plot/Character Development in the past and will there ever be a more compelling Plot/Character Development as good as what JK Rowling has created?

    Most of this is word for word from her. And I thought it would be appropriate to bring it to the forums and asking others opinions and beliefs.

    ***Remember I have only read books 1-6 from the Harry Potter series so please do not spoil or give any clues/hints as to what happened in the seventh book.

    Thanks, SP
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It may not be as popular but personally I think Robert Neill is even better. I do love Harry Potter lol I guess for me it is the goal with my writing - I would love to produce something with enduring quality like Jane Eyre, Little Women, Harry Potter etc She is a fabulous storyteller. However I can name others who are as good and there will be others. Even something like Dolly Parton or Gary Barlow in song. There is a writer on the forums here who i think is one of the best I have ever read, I can't wait for him to get something published so I can have it on my shelves. Shakespeare gives her a run for her money with characterisation and dialogue.

    Oh and can't believe I forgot Agatha Christie - have your read much of her work? I could go on listing others but generally the most enduring books like Narnia etc deserve their status.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rowling might not be the best writer of recent times, but she's one of the best storytellers. Any comments I'd have about where her storytelling might get a bit strained relate to the 7th book so I'll have to talk really vaguely - though she brought in a ton of stuff from the previous novels, there were things she introduced as new concepts when the 7th book ought to have been about wrapping up with what elements she already had. It was a pity she couldn't use what had already been established and settle for that by the end.

    But aside from that, I re-read the whole series over the summer (note: first time I've touched the books since the 7th came out) and I was just in awe of how well she'd told the stories - just the sheer amount of "every word on the page seems relevant once you read it knowing what happened" --- even in the GINORMOUS tomes in the middle of the series. It was like... Okay, the fifth book was massive, but I don't see how she could have cut a thing without damaging it somehow.

    I even ended up admiring Harry as a character, which I didn't used to. :p

    As for anything surpassing... Well, I haven't read enough to know. There presumably is a lot of stuff, but not getting the duly deserved attention.
     
  4. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Of course there will be something better. I agree wholeheartedly that Rowling is an exceptional story-teller, but hey--we live in a time were hundreds (if not thousands) of novels are published every year. I find it hard to believe that man won't be able to surpass itself in the field of literature as it has done with almost every other field or category. A great example of this is the Twilight phenomenon: it wasn't even a decade for another series of novels to almost reach Harry Potter status. So I guess we aspiring writers shouldn't be so worried about it, and instead we should focus on the quality of our work as it stands by itself without comparing it to other ones. :)
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I liked the Harry Potter books, but I also think there is much better out there. In terms of plot twists, world-building, etc. it's hard to see anyone else coming close to, much less surpassing, Steven Erikson (who people seem to either love or hate).

    Rowling is a great storyteller, and if you're a great storyteller I think you'll be much more successful than if you're a technically great writer (if that distinction makes sense). Stephanie Meyer is also a very good storyteller to a vast multitude of people, whether any of us individually care for her or not.

    So to get back to the topic, I think there is much out there that surpasses Potter. Unless you are talking in a purely financial sense - but it looks more like you're talking about the stories themselves. And that's not a slam on Potter - I enjoyed those books. They were a lot of fun, imo.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, Rowling's work is engaging and satisfying in a way... but so is a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and a Mickie-Dee's QPC is not exactly what I would call gourmet.
     
  7. Daisy215
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    Daisy215 Member

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    I've read plenty of other books with engaging characters that I've become attached to. Also, there are numerous books with great plots, like everyone has been saying. That said, I do enjoy Harry Potter.
     
  8. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Wreybies, and that's a pretty good example he gave, lol.

    Of course something will beat it...I mean, they haven't read my book yet. :p
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Suddenly, I have a craving for a couple Quarter Pounders with Cheese.

    After all, one need not always eat, or provide, gourmet creations.
     
  10. makdadsb
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    makdadsb Member

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    There are certainly millions of people out there who don't think the Harry Potter series is all that great. So certainly there is plenty of room for something even better to come along - at least in some people's minds.
     
  11. Benevolent Pudding
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    Benevolent Pudding Member

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    Harry Potter is the Devil, I say! He's teaching our kids magic, I say! And to kill! And to hate! He's the debiillllllll!!!!

    I've never thought much of the Harry Potter series, as I've never really gotten into it. I prefer books that make you think a little, instead of books like Harry Potter, where the plotline is rather simple (in the context of not being risque or philosophical).
     
  12. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Might not be risque, but by the end there was some philosophy going around. Well, it was the same philosophy she's been using from the start, but it was expounded in rather more blatant terms.

    Just that the stories to get there are quite simple in nature.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like with all books how simple or complicated it is depends on your life education. Even the title the Philsophers Stone has a great classical and fun reference which has a baring on the story. It is a shame it didn't transfer.

    Think it helps I can so see the Scottish Curriculum in her books lol Which helps me get a huge amount out of it. Keep meaning to check what Standard/O Grades and Highers she took.

    But ultimately it is just a fantastic fairy tale. Unlike a lot of modern fairy tales it didn't shy away from the more violent elements.
     
  14. Joanna the Mad
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    Joanna the Mad Senior Member

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    Yes, anything.


    edit: Nahh, I love Harry Potter, but I think there's better stuff out there. It's pretty much as Wreybies summed up in his blog, it's extremely entertaining, it's like, the summus of entertainment, but literature is more than that. Literature is innovative, or challenges you, or enriches you in some kind of way, changes the way you think.
     
  15. caesar_
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    caesar_ New Member

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    Agreed.
     
  16. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, jeez... I don't think Rowlings' plots are all that hot. I think they are complex, but also far-fetched and contrived. What elevates the books in my eyes are the rich character and environment descriptions.
     
  17. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's more than when you're reading, she can get away with such ridiculous plots since she presents them in such a good way. :p
     
  18. pumpkin
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    pumpkin New Member

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    Personally my favourite aspect of Potter is how Rowling depicts the disintegration of the wizarding world across the novels effectively into a fascist/police state. This is something that the films really missed out on so far (at least... trailer for 7a looks like it might do a bit more for that).

    Is there anything better than Potter? Yeah critically, there's loads. But that's not to say it's not enjoyable. Also she's hilarious for reading the sexual innuendo. Seriously, it's crammed full of them.
     
  19. Joanna the Mad
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    Joanna the Mad Senior Member

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    (Spoiler alert) Harry Potter dies and then comes back from the dead... he's like.. Jesus!
     
  20. Jones6192
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    Jones6192 Member

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    I doubt anything will match the sheer entertainment value of the series. So all us rookie fantasy writers can hope to do is pay tribute to our superiors by either making something that pays homage to said superior thing (as I am doing), or try to go the complete opposite direction and make something mind-blowingly new. Fat chance on that last one.
     
  21. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is a depressingly defeatist attitude. There's nothing saying that Harry Potter is the be all and end all of fantasy literature. And there's nothing saying that you have to pay homage to it.

    Just come up with your own ideas and write them as well as you can. That's all JK Rowling did. It's all Tolkien did.
     
  22. Trace
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    Trace Member

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    OK, do you mean can anything J.K. writes surpass Harry Potter or just any series?
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not to mention that there's plenty of stuff out there that already surpasses Potter on these terms. I did like the Potter series, though.
     
  24. Ganman3
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    Ganman3 Member

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    The Potter series, for me, was a great read, but it was also exceptionally well-written. It's one of the few popular works that achieves both those feats. A great amount of care was put into every word and detail... Rowling studied mythology and philosophy as she was writing the work and applied that to her world. As such, to those who say that the series doesn't make you think, I say nay. There's a great deal of philosophy contained within the books, and it really explores the archetypal hero quite well (though Rowling doesn't say whether or not she read that... I doubt she didn't.)
    Also, the central protagonist's coming back even after death is a popular theme among novels that follow the heroic archetype. It's intended to demonstrate that said protagonist is somehow beyond the laws of the ordinary world.
    However, I am pleased that nobody has said the Harry Potter series was outright horrible. (And if you don't think there's a lot of thought behind it, you should pick up a book sometimes about it's mythology and philosophy... there really is a LOT to it, and I'm amazed how well it all fits together.)
     
  25. nomescreed202
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    nomescreed202 New Member

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    Terry Rotter and the Saucer Scone - Better than Rowling Ever Thought About Being

    Actually, I'm just kidding with the title. Though I have to admit I considered writing a parody of Potter many years ago before the gi-normous popular avalanche of the Hogwarts tales made even parody seem beside the point.

    I've listened to all the Potter books (listened because I walk alot and that's the easiest way for me to "read" particularly event stuff like the Potter novels). I've seen all the movies up to Deathly Hallows. I like, even admire, the books. Don't love them. I don't care for the movies, either for the casting or the script quality. And the movies miss alot of obvious stuff that makes the books memorable.

    I think the best way to go about writing in the "shadow" of Rowling's accomplishment is simply to imagine a story - in a setting, with characters - none of which you've seen before, but which you'd like to read yourself. Write the book you feel hasn't been written yet, but should.

    This is exactly the situation Rowling was in when she was an unpublished author, scribbling on restaurant napkins (is that mythology, or true?). It's what I find most admirable about her. She had the courage not to be cowed by rejection or the popular success of the Big Names at the time - which I think must have been Koontz and King, in this field. She became intrigued with an idea and built a huge mythological structure out of it. And, even though it's not for me, her accomplishment is undeniable.

    Don't imitate the Potter books, or try to recast them in some other context (space cadet academies, vampire libraries, etc). Put yourself at that ground level that Rowling was at many years ago, and take it from there.
     

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