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Re: [mythsoc] interesting take on harry potter

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  • Sophie Masson
    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
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 4, 2000
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      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 guesswhat? 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). The HP thing is not
      a fad; it was created by the children themselves, not by adults--the hype
      has come later. And children arereading beyond it--my own books are enjoying
      something of a renaissance because of it. 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. 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.
      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? 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 alwaysas inventive in that way
      as they could be--but let's be honest. Is Lewis? Is Tolkien? Always? 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.
      Sophie
      Author site:
      http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Donander Evre <Ninzian@...>
      To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
      Date: Monday, 4 September 2000 12:58
      Subject: [mythsoc] interesting take on harry potter


      >
      >Ran across this
      >
      >http://news.excite.com/news/uw/000831/entertainment-arts-93
      >
      >which made me sigh with relief that someone else had
      >read the same Harry Potter books that i had. Would be
      >intersted to know what other people think --
      >
      >Nin
      >
      >__________________________________________________
      >Do You Yahoo!?
      >Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!
      >http://mail.yahoo.com/
      >
      >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      >
    • WendellWag@aol.com
      In a message dated 9/4/00 6:40:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... How did reading the Harry Potter books inspire them to write about 16th century Venice? Is it
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 4, 2000
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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
        hype.

        > 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
        them?

        > 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
        inventive

        Wendell Wagner
      • Stolzi@aol.com
        ... youth. ... Mary S
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 4, 2000
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          Here's something fairly wild about Harry:

          > Church to offer Harry Potter service
          >
          > When Brian Coleman, Vicar of All Saints Church in Guildford, Surrey,
          > England, reads the liturgy this week, it won't be the same as in other
          > Church of England parishes.
          >
          > This one will speak of sorting hats, Muggle songs, quidditch, and
          > ton-tongue toffees. It's the Harry Potter liturgy, designed to attract
          youth.
          >
          >
          > "Young folk are all very much into Harry Potter," Coleman tells The Times.
          > "We are using this interest."
          >
          > But the Evangelical Alliance's Paul Harris, also an Anglican clergyman, is
          > dismayed.
          >
          > "We do encourage clergy to connect with contemporary culture," he says.
          > "But it is going too far to use images from Harry Potter. There is a risk
          > that children are going to be very confused by the use of symbols
          > associated with evil."
          >

          Mary S
        • Stolzi@aol.com
          In a message dated 09/03/2000 10:02:04 PM Central Daylight Time, ... Since you ask, Ninzian, I pretty much agree with the article at
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 4, 2000
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            In a message dated 09/03/2000 10:02:04 PM Central Daylight Time,
            Ninzian@... writes:

            > Would be
            > intersted to know what other people think --

            Since you ask, Ninzian, I pretty much agree with the article at
            http://news.excite.com/news/uw/000831/entertainment-arts-93.

            I am a little more sanguine, though, than its author about =some= children
            (at least) being sucked into reading and discovering its pleasures through
            HARRY POTTER.

            Am not so sure about the author's preference for a book called THE WESTING
            GAME. That doesn't sound wike much fun, I would wather be pwaying than
            westing.

            Mary S
          • Berni Phillips
            ... THE WESTING GAME is a good example of a book I think is highly over-rated. Fran Skene told me about it years ago (at the 1989 Mythcon?). She was a
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 4, 2000
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              >From: Stolzi@...

              >Am not so sure about the author's preference for a book called THE WESTING
              >GAME. That doesn't sound wike much fun, I would wather be pwaying than
              >westing.

              THE WESTING GAME is a good example of a book I think is highly over-rated.
              Fran Skene told me about it years ago (at the 1989 Mythcon?). She was a
              children's librarian and said the kids were crazy about this book. It's a
              mystery, not a fantasy, but I didn't find it appealing at all.

              Wendell: Re the Goosebumps books, they are much more simplistic than the
              Harry Potter books. They're obviously intended for younger readers and are
              light-hearted horror. Steven King for second-graders.

              Berni
            • Sophie Masson
              Hi Wendell I should have explained--the children were writing about 16th cent Venice because that was the idea I was working with them on--I used Renaissance
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 4, 2000
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                Hi Wendell
                I should have explained--the children were writing about 16th cent Venice
                because that was the idea I was working with them on--I used Renaissance
                portraits, some of Shakespeare's plays, stories about alchemists, etc; but
                they were familiar with the idea of alchemists and philosopher's stones etc
                because of the HP books, and very keen on entering what for them was fantasy
                worlds.
                My books are just starting to be published in the US by a small publisher
                called St Mary's press--my novel Serafin, which is based n Puss in Boots and
                the idea of the Nephilim, is now available(you can get it through amazon);
                Malkin, which was published in Australia as Cold Iron, and is based on A
                Midsummer night's Dream and the fairytale Tattercoats(and also features a
                Venetian magician called Oscuro!)will be published early next year, as will
                Clementine, which is based on Sleeping Beauty and also the nexus between the
                beluef in fairies and the pre-industrial world. My Australian-published
                books, through Hodder and Harper Collins and so on, are vailable through the
                Australian Online Bookshop, http://www.bookworm.com.au I'm happy to send
                books of mine to people personally too if they're interested; my forthcoming
                novel, The Green Prince(Hodder Headline Australia)is set around legends of
                water and the sea, it's a young boy's underwater journey to the legendary
                Green Kingdom..
                Back to Rowling. I think that perhaps many people are disturbed by the fact
                that she seems to have no specifically religious framework perhaps in her
                books--but i think many people even now don't realise that Lewis and Tolkien
                did, either. I have a good friend who is an educator and a very committed
                Catholic, and she has written to the effect that she thinks the HP books
                actually do have a very strong religious and moral framework. Others think
                not..
                Re the idea of classics versus fads: I have read the Goosebumps books and
                they are utter tripe; poorly written, exploitative, dull as dotchwater in
                the end. Same for things like Babysitters' Club style stuff. It does not
                extend you. The HP books do. Classics become classics because children grow
                up remembering the total pleasure a book gave them--and as grown ups, they
                rseek the out again and read them to their kids. It will be interesting to
                know whether Rowling's books do this. My feeling is that they will.
                Sophie

                Author site:
                http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm

                -----Original Message-----
                From: WendellWag@... <WendellWag@...>
                To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
                Date: Monday, 4 September 2000 23:11
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] interesting take on harry potter


                >
                >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
                >hype.
                >
                >> 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
                >them?
                >
                >> 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
                >inventive
                >
                >Wendell Wagner
                >
                >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                >
              • Stolzi@aol.com
                In a message dated 09/04/2000 8:00:26 PM Central Daylight Time, ... fantasy ... But of course the alchemists themselves thought they were being real (not
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 5, 2000
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                  In a message dated 09/04/2000 8:00:26 PM Central Daylight Time,
                  smasson@... writes:

                  > used Renaissance
                  > portraits, some of Shakespeare's plays, stories about alchemists, etc; but
                  > they were familiar with the idea of alchemists and philosopher's stones etc
                  > because of the HP books, and very keen on entering what for them was
                  fantasy
                  > worlds.

                  But of course the alchemists themselves thought they were being real (not
                  fantasy) scientists. CS Lewis writes about this somewhere...

                  Sounds like you had a great unit.

                  Mary S
                • LSolarion@aol.com
                  In a message dated 09/04/2000 11:11:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Stolzi@aol.com writes:
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 6, 2000
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                    In a message dated 09/04/2000 11:11:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                    Stolzi@... writes:

                    << it won't be the same as in other
                    > Church of England parishes.
                    >
                    > This one will speak of sorting hats, Muggle songs, quidditch, and
                    > ton-tongue toffees. It's the Harry Potter liturgy, designed to attract
                    youth. >>

                    From clown masses in the seventies to this! You've come a short way, baby.
                    I suppose it's inevitable that once the Church waters down or loses sight of
                    the eternal, it will fall for the trendy, trading reverence for relevance.
                    Not a good bargain, in my book. Instead of trying to be what it's not and
                    chasing after every elusive fad that dies daily like the mayfly, not like St.
                    Paul, why can't the church focus on the everlasting Gospel, which is what so
                    many are looking for? Churches that do that are not hurting for young
                    members, who aren't fooled by a lot of patronizing old folks trading their
                    birthright for the pottage of appearing "with it." Young people want older
                    folks to be genuine, not blundering imitations of youth.
                  • Stolzi@aol.com
                    In a message dated 09/06/2000 8:43:38 PM Central Daylight Time, ... No Harry Pottage, you re saying? :) Mary S
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 7, 2000
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                      In a message dated 09/06/2000 8:43:38 PM Central Daylight Time,
                      LSolarion@... writes:

                      > who aren't fooled by a lot of patronizing old folks trading their
                      > birthright for the pottage

                      No Harry Pottage, you're saying? :)

                      Mary S
                    • Sophie Masson
                      Hear, hear! Sophie Author site: http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm ... From: LSolarion@aol.com To: mythsoc@egroups.com
                      Message 10 of 11 , Sep 7, 2000
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                        Hear, hear!
                        Sophie
                        Author site:
                        http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: LSolarion@... <LSolarion@...>
                        To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
                        Date: Thursday, 7 September 2000 11:35
                        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] interesting take on harry potter


                        >
                        >In a message dated 09/04/2000 11:11:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                        >Stolzi@... writes:
                        >
                        ><< it won't be the same as in other
                        > > Church of England parishes.
                        > >
                        > > This one will speak of sorting hats, Muggle songs, quidditch, and
                        > > ton-tongue toffees. It's the Harry Potter liturgy, designed to attract
                        > youth. >>
                        >
                        >>From clown masses in the seventies to this! You've come a short way, baby.
                        >I suppose it's inevitable that once the Church waters down or loses sight
                        of
                        >the eternal, it will fall for the trendy, trading reverence for relevance.
                        >Not a good bargain, in my book. Instead of trying to be what it's not and
                        >chasing after every elusive fad that dies daily like the mayfly, not like
                        St.
                        >Paul, why can't the church focus on the everlasting Gospel, which is what
                        so
                        >many are looking for? Churches that do that are not hurting for young
                        >members, who aren't fooled by a lot of patronizing old folks trading their
                        >birthright for the pottage of appearing "with it." Young people want older
                        >folks to be genuine, not blundering imitations of youth.
                        >
                        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >
                      • LSolarion@aol.com
                        In a message dated 09/07/2000 7:40:38 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Stolzi@aol.com writes:
                        Message 11 of 11 , Sep 9, 2000
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                          In a message dated 09/07/2000 7:40:38 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                          Stolzi@... writes:

                          << No Harry Pottage, you're saying? :)
                          >>

                          I hope not! Hair in my pottage makes my throat tickle.

                          Steve
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