1. Paki-Writing
    Offline

    Paki-Writing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Near Chicago

    Harry Potter

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Paki-Writing, Oct 13, 2008.

    Why was Harry Potter such a huge hit? My baby cousins LOVE this book, and they aren't reader. One of my cousins, who isn't even 10, has finished the entire series of books. He hasn't read anything else in his life voluntarily.
     
  2. Scarlett_156
    Offline

    Scarlett_156 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Why...? Possibly because it's extremely well-written, features a host of believable, lovable (or hateable, or ambiguous) characters, has snappy dialog, concerns a dual subject that intrigues almost everyone, young or old (i.e., magic and noble self-sacrifice), has interesting settings that are powerfully described, and is full of action? Just a guess. yours in Chaos, Scarlett
     
  3. Mariami
    Offline

    Mariami Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Tbilisi
    It was actually my first book...Read it when I was seven and loved it.

    Embarrassingly enough for me, I just recently got over obsessing about it...It really is believable in a fairytale-sort of way. Characters are well-developed and a lot like real children...so reader doesn't have any trouble imagining the same happening to them.

    I think it gets too much credit though...Considering the unimaginable number of plot-holes and crappy writing in last few books.
     
  4. Scattercat
    Offline

    Scattercat Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Under there.
    It's written simply enough that kids can easily enjoy it, and it involves the ultimate dream of every 11-14 year old: A magical world arrives and announces that the poor, picked-on, neglected child is actually the anointed savior of the whole world AND has superpowers. Most kids at that age feel like their parents are the Dursleys, and they desperately want to be special, unique, and beloved. It's a teenage fantasy writ large (and accessible.)

    The millions of dollars of marketing probably didn't hurt, either.

    I can't really claim the Potter series is "great writing," but it was certainly passable. I read and enjoyed all of the books, albeit not always in the way Rowling intended.
     
  5. Paki-Writing
    Offline

    Paki-Writing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Near Chicago
    Little Potter boy

    Ok, is this the only book like this? I saw part of the movie and had to stop. I just couldn't stand the movie. It's just too childish for me. I can't understand an older person liking it. Perhaps the book is nothing like the movie?!?

    Not only is this a lot of kids first book(s), it's also their only book. Are there no other books like this?

    I could imagine it being the ultimate dream of every 6-11 year-old, but older then that, aren't they more interested in the opposite sex?

    Again, is this the first and only time that a book has been written that let's older children read their ultimate fantasy?

    Dire-hard never-reading TV addicts love this book. Hell, some may have learned to read just to be able to read this book!

    Scattercat, maybe it's because of great marketing?
     
  6. Mariami
    Offline

    Mariami Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Tbilisi
    Well, LoTR series and Dresden Files are pretty popular now as well, from what I know.
     
  7. Paki-Writing
    Offline

    Paki-Writing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Near Chicago
    Matrix

    I don't think they're Harry Potter popular. This is the only time in my life I've seen people that are allergic to reading like a book.

    I did like the LoTR movies, not as much as the first Matrix. The first Matrix, that was a unique movie. I absolutely loved it. Was Harry Potter something like that for readers?
     
  8. lordofhats
    Offline

    lordofhats Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,023
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    The Hat Cave
    Harry Potter is like Eragon and Twilight. It's not the absolute greatest story ever written, but it's tale just seems to hold a certain charisma that draws people into it and they love it. I haven't read much of the series so I can't really say what it is, but most really popular stories are like that. They always have a certain hold over the reader that can be hard to explain (I speak generally of course. I know many books that aren't the best ever written but that I really loved).
     
  9. Scarlett_156
    Offline

    Scarlett_156 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Sorry--I doubted from the first that your questions are sincere. You asked "what is punctuation and grammar?"--I mean, give me a break already.

    If you don't like a movie, then write a negative review about it. There are a multitude of sites where people can post movie reviews, regardless of how poorly they are written. Stop trolling internet discussion forums for victims is my (thoroughly well-intentioned) advice.

    If you can't run your victim down yourself, then you're too weak to be a predator. Start liking grass--grass is good! YUMMMYY!!! GRASS!!!

    (and have a nice day) xoxo
     
  10. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    It's the charisma of the tale (as lordofhats said in his post), the internal & external conflicts of the main characters, and the relatability of the characters, that sell these stories.

    I also, think, though, that the simplicity and clarity of the writing also help sell these stories to the masses. What I mean is that it seems that prose that is complex, symbolic...literary, can take time to understand...takes time for the reader to digest intellectually; and so it can, for the reader, distract and frustrate them. [And I say this as someone who loved Twilight.]
     
  11. Crazy Ivan
    Offline

    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,295
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    The dumpster behind your McDonalds.
    I'd like to be a bit less confrontational then Miz Scarlett, but never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever judge a book by its movie. Judge a book by its cover, sure- hell, judge it by its back blurbs- but do not assume anything about the quality of a book based on the quality of a movie. I'm trying to think of a good metaphor for what a bad thing that is, but I'll just have to suffice with saying that it's very ignorant and never accurate.

    Just because there are other books like this doesn't diminish the quality of any of these books, assuming that you're referring to the qualities listed above such as well-written, good characters, good dialogue, good settings, good action, etcetera. If there are many books like that, you should be rejoicing, not dismissing them.
    And it's not that there aren't other books like that; it's just that somehow, this one became wildly popular, and is thus the one most kids read first. That answers why many kids read it now; I'm afraid it doesn't answer why it became popular in the first place. Sorry.

    First off, as a teen, I'd like to boo that ignorant generalization- "teens = sex hurr hurr hurr". It's not fair, good, or accurate. On top of that, it's horrible logic- because kids like romance, they won't like Harry Potter? For one, hormones fly like CRAZY in these novels, so if anything, that would just be a bonus. And besides, most teens are (believe it or not) lucid enough to see past each others' genitals and admire a book for its good writing, ability to provoke the imagination, and all-around fun.

    Again, no, but see above re: Does not diminish quality.

    There's one thing you've got right. Harry Potter was an exceptionally well-played marketing phenomenon, thanks to the creator just as much as the consumer.

    Wow, I always knew I was a fan of these books, but I never realized I was so passionate. I guess this is just a tribute to how good they really were, underneath all the flash-bang marketing.
    Hopefully this helped clear up some misunderstandings.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Paki-Writing
    Offline

    Paki-Writing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Near Chicago
    Crazy Ivan

    Fair enough.

    I'm not dismissing them. I'm just wondering why this book is so different from other books written. What is it about this book that makes a book-hater read it?

    I'll admit I don't read fiction (except for school). So I don't really know what's in other books. What sets this book apart from all those great other books.

    It must be the marketing. Some genius in marketing found a way to make this particular books a sensation. Of course it helps that this book is clear and easy to read, yet rich in it's character development and plays out the fantasies of older children.


    All you guys have really interested me in reading this book.
     
  13. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Yeah, kids are interested in the opposite sex once they hit twelve, but that's an obtainable goal, not an "ultimate fanatsy." The books are the great fantasy adventure. It's something that they can't have, but would love to believe is possible. The books also have constant mysteries and unknowns. Not especially well done, but good enough to make the readers intensely curious.

    And you're right. You can't ignore the marketing factor, not to mention the so-called controversial theme of a school for witches and that people actually believed it would make kids worship satan.
     
  14. Leaka
    Offline

    Leaka Creative Mettle

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    5,825
    Likes Received:
    36
    For me Harry Potter, wasn't well written a few typos made me go :confused:
    But other then that I think it was the way the story was presented.
    I didn't like the actual story.
    I just like how the book went from very happy light and romantic, to deep, dark, and angry, back to light and happy.
    I like the way the emotion was played in this story.
    I like how the world seem almost real.
    :redface: When I eleven I sat by my mail box waiting for a letter to go to Hogwarts.
     
  15. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    My opinion on this is that Harry Potter isn't any better written than any other children's novels out there. For me, Harry Potter seemed a fad more than anything else. I'm guessing the people liked the plot and the characters and kept returning for more. I always thought that the story was the same in every book: Harry goes to school, Voldemort returns, Harry wins.
     
  16. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    I am going to say, considering all the awards the novels have won, they are written well. This includes the Hugo Award in 2001 for Goblet of Fire. Also in 2000 Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated for the Hugo Award.
     
  17. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    The problem seems to be how people are defining good writing. To one person it might be mainly the quality of the prose, the literary value. To another person it might be the imaginative plot and details, engaging dialogue. Apples and oranges maybe? And if so, then citrus spells commercial success. :D
     
  18. Scattercat
    Offline

    Scattercat Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Under there.
    They won awards because people liked them. Awards for writing are almost never anything but popularity contests, one way or another. (Notice "almost," please, anyone immediately thinking "Nuh-uh! [name of award] is totally legit and based solely on the ineffable rules of writing as laid down by [writing-style maven of choice]!")

    Why did people read the books? People who never used a book for anything other than a doorstop? Charisma?

    Sure, if you spell "charisma" M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G.

    Seriously, give the books a close read. The prose is solid, workmanlike, but hardly what I'd call breathtaking. If you had shown me the book without any advertising or hype (and I'll freely admit the only reason I picked it up at all was because I'd seen a bunch of ads and gushing fans for four years) I'd have said, "Yeah, that's not bad. Pretty good for young adult stuff, but I'd rather read Pratchett."

    (Seriously. You want awesome stuff aimed at younger readers? "Amazing Maurice" is top of the bloody list. The "Truckers/Diggers/Wings" series is rad. "Wee Free Men" isn't far behind, either.)

    I've got about as much faith in literary awards as my students used to have in the books I'd recommend to 'em. (And just like them, every so often I get surprised.)

    Harry Potter was a marketing phenomenon, not a literary one. Its literary merit, however, is sufficient that it kept everyone satisfactorily entertained after they were drawn in by its slick ad package, so I'm not going to fuss too much (other than to note with mild dismay how the Pottermania phenomenon kept the unhelpful "one big hit" meme alive in the publishing industry for a decade or two longer.)
     
  19. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    I bet you respect the winner of a Man Booker Prize. You value literary quality first and foremost. Others value accessible writing and a great story that has aspects to it that they can relate to or appreciate. Why must one be seen as more worthy than the other? Let the JK Rowlings have their commercial success, and the literary writers their sense of superiority. Now everybody's happy, right?
     
  20. Mariami
    Offline

    Mariami Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Tbilisi
    I think so, yeah.
    I can say that based on the fact that, I as well, adored first Matrix. But the difference was that while first Matrix was just one movie (The rest was crap, no offence), Harry Potter continued, staying as interesting as ever and being in spotlight much much longer.

    Plus, Harry Potter books were widely available...I think Matrix book may be as well, but I have never heard of it so probably only in USA and UK.
     
  21. Palimpsest
    Offline

    Palimpsest Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    5
    First and foremost, I think, is that it scans. Literature lovers might pick on world-building ("Not developed enough to take a world war, unlike Middle Earth," "What, they can make Christmas decorations from thin air but suddenly there's a rule that says you can't do the same with food?" even "Who would pay that much to read about going to school?"), sentence structure, bloopers like "the cold was agony: it attacked him like fire" and "...death hung over them like a presence", yes even characterization (the Hero gets away with, even gets rewarded for, every rule he breaks-- every frankly dumb mistake he makes!)

    ... but it scans, without "talking down" like most young adult books (otherwise adults might skim it for fun but drop it when the "this should be read by readers who should be talked down to" tone becomes apparent, and actually from what I remember young adults don't like that tone either,) without the purple prose so prevalent in the fantasy genre, and I think that really expanded the market for this century's busy adults and hook-hungry children.

    Then to follow the hook, there's the humor and plotting. From everything else I've read, only Rowan of Rin was that tightly-plotted but it wasn't very funny, I've only laughed more with Discworld but most of those in the series are neither as tightly-plotted nor do they scan, His Dark Materials has better style, I think, and world-building, which made it my favorite in 7th grade all through high school even if it's not tightly-plotted or laugh-out-loud funny. (And of course, the heavily philosophical angry atheist riff would turn off a considerable chunk of the market.)

    Harry Potter was a perfect balance. It was fresh.
     
  22. Little Miss Edi
    Offline

    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South East, England
    Massive gap in the market at the time.

    It really isn't particularly well written, but it is an engaging story.




    As with all things in the world of creative arts - 'tis pot luck! :p
     
  23. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Insulting comment right there for anyone who likes writing for a teenage audience. Teenage audience does not equal less literary quality as so many people assume.
     
  24. Honeybun
    Offline

    Honeybun Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    UK
    I dunno why the majority who posted above are in some kind of a dilemma?? I mean, hello! Harry Potter really rocked and still is a hit.

    I assume it became so because of the movie when it first was out, so kids loved it (most kids love stuff that have to do with magic, let alone the adventures that take place at school which is particularly unusual and adds spice to school life!) wanted to see it, heard of the book, wanted the book- and then along comes a series- and so on...

    Parents from their concern actually had to read the books and therefore loved it and recomended others to read...and so on.

    One thing's for sure, the movies are nice, bu they're definitely the least loyal to the books, especially The Goblet of Fire...UGH! WHAT WAS THAT!

    All that's just a theory I came up with, hope it makes sense.

    Harry Potter fan.

    Keep it up ;)
     
  25. Scattercat
    Offline

    Scattercat Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Under there.
    Actually, unfortunately, it does. I used to teach seventh grade; the books written for that level have a very high tripe level. I wish to goodness it wasn't so, but the sad truth is that most authors who try to "write for young adults" end up watering down their writing. The authors who simply write good stories that deal with issues important to the age level - such as, for instance, the Harry Potter books - end up being treasured as much because of their rarity as anything else.

    If we just had "books" and "fiction" without that pernicious "young adult" label, I think kids would respond a lot more positively to reading in general. If you look at, say, the Amazing Maurice (to borrow my previous good example), you'd be hard-pressed to find much difference in the writing style Terry Pratchett uses at all. He avoids some of his more academically-toned jokes, and he keeps the violence a little lower (but certainly not wholly absent) but otherwise it's very much like the "regular" Discworld books. That's what "young adult" fiction ought to be; a good book that addresses things a teenager cares about, such as finding one's place in the world, standing up against scorn and derision (and questioning the conventional wisdom when necessary), and dealing with the often-murky waters of the awkward first flirtations.
     

Share This Page