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
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
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
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.
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,
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org