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2265Re: [mythsoc] interesting take on harry potter

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    Sep 4 6:14 AM
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      In a message dated 9/4/00 6:40:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
      smasson@... writes:

      > Well, I've just been running writing workshops with kids,
      > based on things I've always been interested in myself--
      > folktales, mythical creatures, monsters and fairies: and
      > guess what? Many more kids are interested in those
      > things now, because of the HP books. They fought over
      > my copy of Katherine Briggs' A Dictionary of Fairies;
      > they wrote brilliant stories about 16th century Venice,
      > alchemists, and the like (my suggestion).

      How did reading the Harry Potter books inspire them to write about 16th
      century Venice? Is it mentioned in one of the later books. (I've only read
      the first.)

      > The HP thing is not a fad; it was created by the children
      > themselves, not by adults--the hype has come later.

      Perhaps the early good reception of the books was created by the children
      themselves, but the more recent publicity campaigns stink to high heaven of

      > And children are reading beyond it--my own books are
      > enjoying something of a renaissance because of it.

      I didn't even realize you were an author, Sophie. Are your books only in
      print in Australia? Or are they available elsewhere and I've just missed

      > I don't have to explain anymore why I like using
      > traditional stories as a base. Let's face it, JK Rowling
      > is not being 'original' ;she is simply reinventing tradition.

      I don't think that anybody here has complained that Rowling is working in a
      bad tradition. I think we all love children's fantasy. If we didn't, we
      wouldn't be contributing to this list. Our complaints are that the Harry
      Potter books just aren't a very good example of children's fantasy.

      > This is an old old way of writing, and a very good one.
      > She is not, by any stretch, the best writer working in
      > this field--but she is good. This is not Goosebumps,
      > that's for sure.

      Are the Goosebumps books that bad? I've never read any of them.

      > As to the complaints about characters--they are
      > archetypes, just as fairytale characters are. Just as
      > the characters in Lewis or Tolkien are. So what?

      What can I say? I like archetypal characters, and I didn't find the
      characters in the Harry Potter books to be interesting archetypal characters.

      > Harry is marked out from birth as the hero with a
      > destiny--all such heroes, from Cuchulain to Arthur,
      > have that about them: this kind of still quality. The
      > people around them often change much more. As
      > to the language--well, the books are not always as
      > inventive in that way as they could be--but let's be
      > honest. Is Lewis? Is Tolkien? Always?

      What can I say? I find Lewis's and Tolkien's language to be consistently
      more inventive.

      > And one must admit her ideas are most inventive,
      > sometimes even brilliant. There's a sprightliness, a
      > delight in tradition which I for one find most appealing.

      Again, what can I say? I didn't find her ideas particularly brilliant or

      Wendell Wagner
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