Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter

Well, I read the new Harry Potter book over the weekend (in English). No spoilers just wanted to generally express that I was a bit disappointed. There were a lot of reasons, none of which I´m going to discuss given that any discussion would give away plot details. I will say however, that even though I was marginally disappointed, I think any fan of the series has to read the book. It does wrap things up even if she didn´t hit a home run.

At any rate, I wanted to make two points. First, this was a children´s book, not an adult´s book, and that was never so clear until the last book. In fact, this may just have been the first children´s epic. I know that given the gross money involved (nothing like being a billion dollar author) that any criticism falls on deaf ears. And I certainly don´t begrudge Rowling for her style, formula, or conclusion. She wasn´t writing the next Lord of the Rings. She doesn´t have that type of poetic skill. Pretty much no one does. She was writing to children and I think she only cares that they like it. And they will.

Two, I think that writing the conclusion of an epic series must be a huge challenge. Epics by nature build things up to almost unreachable levels. The plot, character development, and hints all point to a more sophisticated ending. But, when it comes down to it, it´s damn hard to tie up those loose ends without there being a natural bit of letdown. Perhaps the Lord of the Rings avoided that. Most epics don´t. And I don´t think Harry Potter did either.

Ultimately, I found the Harry Potter series to be enjoyable, but not in the same league as the Lord of the Rings. It´s sort of like an action movie compared to The Sixth Sense. You enjoy it, even if it is a little formulaic, and any criticism falls on deaf ears since it never tried to be something it wasn´t. But at the end of the day, you can´t help feel that the next glorious epic is still waiting to be written.


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