Thursday, August 11, 2005

36: Harry Potter and the Empire Strikes Back

Less than a month after its release, our first copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince showed up in the shop. Hooray for people. Sadly if you're going to read it you've probably read it by now, and if you're not then you won't care.

Maybe it's because I get out less than I used to, or maybe it's something else, but I've had less of a pod-people vibe from this book. When The Order of the Phoenix came out, it was everywhere. Every bus you went on, every park you walked through at lunchtime for the whole summer, there were people everywhere reading it. I haven't seen the latest one knocking around as much, maybe people remember back to how heavy it made their bags last time and they decided to read this one at home.

And what was the book like? Stuff happens that's supposed to be earth-shattering but I found myself not really caring. I listened to some children talking about it on the radio the other day and it seemed to me that if you are as young as Harry Potter was when the books started, you might find some of the stuff in this book a bit boring. If you're as old as Harry Potter is now, you might find the whole wizarding thing, well, a bit childish. It seems to me that Rowling's wizards are kids' wizards. They have names like Lupin and Dumbledore and even Harry Potter - almost Enid Blytonish names. They need a wand to do their spells. It all seems frightfully jolly hockey sticks and chalet school, which was great when everyone was young and they had adults to look after them. In order to move away from that and into the adult world of peril where Harry is now going, surely a complete change of language is needed? But won't that alienate some of the younger readers and their parents?

But of course I'm not a child and I didn't grow up with these characters and so I don't get particularly excited when cool things happen to them and I don't get teary-eyed when bad things happen because I don't love them like kids do. Perhaps it will be an exciting meme for the future. Where were you when...

Keith says:
I think people have their Harry Potter book space occupied by Dan Brown now. Certainly there isn't the expected decrease in DB book numbers and the expected increase in Potter. I did see a lot of people reading Phoenix before Prince came out, presumably to be ready for it.
Posted by Keith on Aug. 11 2005, at 1:07 PM

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