1. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    J K Rowling

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by zilly, Feb 18, 2011.

    I'm curious to see how other writers feel about her. Personally, it seems like a lot of people hate on her massive success. Obviously, I don't think she's the best, or even one of the best, writers of all time, but I think she's still very talented.

    I feel like Harry Potter is an average story at best, but she did a great job telling it.

    What do you all think?

    Thanks,
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I watch an hour long speech (on TED) she did on her work for Amnesty both before and after she published Harry Potter, and how she put her experienced into the books. And since then I have had a great respect for her.

    In my opinion she is a fantastic writer because she sparked so many kids reading interest.
     
  3. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't hate her, but I respectfully disagree that she's talented. It's cool that she got kids reading, but, c'mon, it's kids. Kids like stupid things. Turn on the TV on a Saturday morning if you don't believe me.
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well you could turn on Tv any time of the day, and assume that every one is idiots.

    But most people isn't most people when you get to know them is fantastic, creative, friendly and intelligent people. With the occasional spots of stupidity we all tend to have. And so are kids, smart, charming and fantastic.
     
  5. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    My point is they're not exactly a tough crowd. You get a bunch of them in a room and you could have them rolling in the aisles for half an hour with a set where you said nothing but the word "poop".
     
  6. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    i have never seen a series where so little growth occurs within the characters...the first book had charm...the rest...awful...just awful...
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think she is an amazing lady. Fantastic storyteller, intelligent and educated - I love the stories, the themes she has in the books and the examples they set. I have a great respect for her attempts to improve life for others as hers has improved. Thanks to a couple of simple actions of hers Comic Relief in the UK has raised millions.

    I love her stories, and think the woman is a fantastic role model. What I have seen of her on interviews and with speeches constantly increases my respect for her. She has a picture next to Dolly Parton in my great women scrapbook lol
     
  8. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the Harry Potter books have great characters and environments. There's a lot of originality in the little details, like the candy that can taste like anything, or the beasts that take the form of anything you're most afraid of. There's also a lot of satire which I think is on-the-spot - Quidditch is like a parody of Cricket,The Daily Lunatic is a parody of conspiracy rags, The Ministry of Magic is a satire on inflexible and incompetent authority figures, and so on.

    I don't think the story itself is anything special. The main story arc is a tale of good vs. evil, where the rather ordinary hero must grow and rely on his friends to handle a task which is really too big for him. The mundane sub-plots are in many ways more interesting - for example, how Hogwarts is taken over by the Ministry of Magic, or the sad tale of Sirius Black.

    In fact, I think many plot twists are contrived and ridiculous. For example, that Hermione would get to borrow a time machine just to attend more classes, even though they are considered so dangerous ordinary people can't have one. Or that Harry is forced to participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament just because someone puts his name in the cup, and it "constitutes a binding magical contract". Or that non-participants are kidnapped without their consent and imprisoned under water as part of said contest.

    But on the whole, I think they're very good books, and I think people will still be enjoying them one or two hundred years from now.
     
  9. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    The Harry Potter books are good children's books. I don't think they're groundbreaking literature, but as a child I really enjoyed them. The level of mania in adults is, for me, a little harder to understand, but I suppose each unto their own. The stories aren't perfect, but they're certainly good, and Rowling is at least competent writer, which can't be said of all published (or even popular) writers at the moment.


    Plus, her choice of political allegiance is spot on ;)
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually having had a good friend at school who was what is known as the Dux in Scotland (basically outstanding student - she was so outstanding that despite being unpopular when the headteacher tried to give it to someone else there was an outcry) - she would have borrowed the time machine to attend more classes no matter how dangerous. She studied five hours a night even in highschool, she would attend classes in her lunch hour, eating at her desk, read during breaktime or go to the library - she had to be the best and study everything from all areas. My grandfather had a similar menality - my grandfather was acknowledged as a genius and won awards for having the best school attendance in Liverpool five years running. That was achieved at several major sacrifices on his part.

    Its a very Scots mentality, I think it comes from the poverty that was experienced here in history.
     
  11. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I might post my opinions on JK Rowling later but there is something I need to comment on.

    I love when Harry Potter/JK Rowling come up on forums like these. The series and the author seem to truly have people all over the spectrum. About 3 hours(atleast according to the forums clock) and we already see such a variety of answers. She is either very talented or competent or simply dreadful.

    Why do I love this? I honestly don't know. I think maybe its because on a lot of similar discussions tend to go down the route 'you either love it or you hate it' now thats never exactly true as few sometimes make it clear they are rather neutral or well towards the middle of it all.

    But not this. Neither extreme side is usually overly populated. A nice spread. :)

    ...

    OK that bit was longer then expected. I also think I should make this post far more relevant.


    Personaly I love her writing. I loved the characters and the world she created in the Harry Potter series. They may not be the most amazingly written stories, but I had a lot of fun with them and still do occasionally. Which is all that truly matters. For me I can pardon poor writing if I enjoy the story enough. Otherwise I doubt I would enjoy Goosebumps... yeah I still read them, gotta problem with that? ... but yeah.

    I think she is talented and yeah.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The number of people that say this is what tells me she is talented - even if I don't like a book or it isn't my thing this is what tells me she is a good writer - she managed to capture people and take them along on a journey that tells me she is a good writer because she achieved my ultimate goal as a storyteller to have people read my work and say I had fun reading it, I was entertained etc No matter what people say if someone can do that with millions of people they are a talented storyteller and have a good abilty to communicate that in writing.

    I don't overly enjoy several writers but when they have captured a few hundred people and entertained to me that is what is being a talented storyteller is all about.
     
  13. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I think you misunderstand kids. O course they like stupid things - but that doesn't mean they are stupid. They won't read anything - it has to have merit.

    And, if you think that either entertaining a child, or keeping its interest in anything for more than ten minutes doesn't take talent - you're wrong.
    J.K. Rowling did more for children, in a literary sense, than anything for a long time. And the point about Harry Potter is that the books came before the films - and the kids loved the books. Yes, there's rubbish on the telly - and not just aimed at the kids. Take a look at the trash that parades itself as 'entertainment' for adults.

    I've heard a lot of would-be writers condemn her. Usually they haven't got the ability, the determination or the patience to produce a book - any book. Mainly sounds like sour grapes to me.

    Give the woman credit.
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL my kids enjoyed your work ;) Did leave me answering some weird questions but they sat and listened.

    I write for teenagers and have about 120+ on my email list for short stories etc, they are by far my hardest critics they will tell me if I get something wrong or my characters sound wrong. They generally have a better knowledge of SPaG, syntaxs etc because they are still learning it in English. They also demand I keep working - ask for more. My work has improved a lot because of them.

    As an adult I like some stupid things - I love Carry On Films, John Barrowman singing Man I Feel Like a Woman, Pantomime, Slapstick Humour. I love the Two Ronnies, Morecombe and Wise etc - stupid can sometimes be brilliant. There are some amazing children's programmes I love Jakers, Postman Pat's Special Delivery Service, The middle Fireman Sam, LazyTown, Bookaboo, from my own era He-Man, She-Ra, Button Moon, Ulysses, Dogtanian, Cities of Gold, Thundercats (My kids watch them as well) - I often put on the Cbeebies bedtime story to go to sleep to (John Barrowman, David Tennant etc can read me a bedtime story anytime :))

    Kids books some are amazing I love the Gruffalo, Winnie the Witch, Pinkie, Pipkin of Pepper, Alfie Bear, Big Bear/Little Bear, Quentin Blake. They are beautifully written amazing stories with rhythm and style. Lend themselves to being read and acted out loud. Children these days are spoiled in the UK they get stories read to them by some amazing actors, Kenneth Brannagh, David Tennant, and my favourite is Meatloaf - not keen on him as singer but he is fantastic at reading a children's book. I know my children know what they like in a story and won't read something they do not like, they like rhyme, they like rhythm, the characters need to be imaginative, they need a repetitive shoutable line etc

    I personally think over the last 10 years the Gruffalo and Harry Potter have done a huge amount for raising children's interest in stories. Throw a Gruffalo or Harry Potter event at the library and it is full.
     
  15. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    The same can be said for adults. And you shouldn't underestimate kids.

    Anyway, back to JK Rowling. I don't know much about her, the other things she's done, but as for Harry Potter it is a good series. She writes reasonably well, and has good plots. Yes, there's not a lot of character growth and whatnot, but perhaps one of the reasons both children and adults like Harry Potter so much is because of the excitement of the plots. So yes, she's not the best writer but she certainly isn't the worst. Good on her for getting children to read.
     
  16. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Damn, got me there :)

    I guess I do. They are mysterious little things; I never know how to interact with them.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    :) Also the first to tell you if something is rubbish lol
     
  18. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh yes, I agree it's in Hermione's character to use the time machine without hesitation if it can get her better grades. I just think it's unlikely they would let her.
     
  19. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're not wrong!
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not a great or even very good writer... but a phenomenal businesswoman who's become a billionaire with not-all-that-original stories she's sold masterfully...
     
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  21. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plus one. She's a great writer in the same way Kenny G is a great musician, or Thomas Kincade is a great painter.
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Firstly being a good businesswoman is part of being a good successful author - it is evidence of an intelligent woman who did her homework. Why shouldn't the person who can actually do what the job requires be the one that succeeds. Being a great author involves a lot more than just writing a story - it always has. She has made it easier for the rest of us, without her and other successful writers I wouldn't have known about the Writers and Artists Yearbook - she had spent time approaching agents before someone gave her a copy. If you want to be a successful author then learn about the career you want - and that involves making case studies of those that have gone before, allows you to see changes and trends and what in your story should be marketed to an agent or publisher etc

    Her insistence that she did not lose creative control over the movies shows where a lot of her brilliance lies - visually they are some the best book to movie for me, also earned her more money because it took Warner Bros several attempts to realise she didn't want more money she wanted control. I love her relationship with her characters its brilliant.

    So let me get this straight someone who communicates a good story in such a way it captures the imagination of many people is not a good writer ??? How many times does Cogito post his standard post that its not the plot that counts its the way you tell it? The purpose of writing a story is to communicate your ideas on paper in such a way you tell a story that intrigues, engrosses and pulls the reader in.

    Yes there maybe are better writers out there but unless you have that ability to grab your reader by any protruding parts and take them on a journey you are not a great storyteller. One thing history bears out again and again is - the great storytellers are remembered, over the great writers (Shakespeare vs Marlowe - Charlotte and Emily vs Anne and Bramwell). Whatever I think of Hardy, Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Alcott, Conan Doyle, Christie, Blyton, Lewis, Tolkien, Brown, Rowling, Meyer, King, Pratchett etc They all have a fantastic story telling ability and an ability to WRITE and communicate their ideas in a way that captures, transports and entertains the largest number of people. The one thing they all do amazingly is characters and dialogue.

    All I can say is please God make my writing ability as bad as Rowling, King or Meyer :) I would be so gutted if I produced stories that millions of people actually enjoy and entertain many. It would be just so terrible to produce a story as bad as Harry Potter ;) Personally I'd rather write a good story than win a Booker Prize.
     
  23. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    Having ignored everything else. She is quite the "Rags to Riches" story. And I promptly endorse myself to marry one of her fat (female) cousins, in order to get a cut.

    Of course, this could all be tongue in cheek. Unless I really have a shot! :D
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    We have civil partnerships the cousin doesn't have to be female :)
     
  25. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    LOL, I'm going to insist that my cousin-in-choice is female. Failing that, maybe we can hang out and drink beer. Hehe.
     

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