S.'s Reviews > Harry Potter Boxset

Harry Potter Boxset by J.K. Rowling
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Jun 17, 10

bookshelves: children-s

At last.
It's been fourteen years, but I think I have finally acquired enough distance to be able to review these books in an honest way:

They are utterly flawed, but utterly enjoyable.

The books carried me through an incredibly trying time in my life and for years I wasn't able to hear any valid critique about either the writing, the messy way in which certain plot threads were resolved etceteras.
But I knew they weren't perfect, I knew they weren't even all that orginal, I knew they were hyped beyond what they were.
But I loved them with a fierceness that can only be diagnosed as Terminal Geekitis.

I was the kind of Potter reader plagiarized in programs like The Simpsons. Think of a cross between Seymore the Principal dressed as a faun and Lisa and Comic Book Guy's 'I think you'll find' detail obsessed stand-off.
Yes, that bad.

I don't think I have much constructive literary comment in general, but from a coherent narrative point of view, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix rise miles above the others and they are still also the funniest. Call me juvenile but I find a firework spelling 'Poo' amusing.

You are completely emotionally manipulated throughout the books and if you allow this to happen it will be a good reading experience, as long as you do not look too closely at certain other things that might make you go 'Ang About!'

Characters-wise, I think I stand quite alone in this: I absolutely, deeply loathe Hagrid and always have done. With a vengeance.
Someone that well-meaningly stupid should be locked out of other people's way or put down.
What a thoroughly, frighteningly dangerous person he is.
Rowling mentions him as a particular personal favourite.
We're clearly meant to find him lovable and endearing.
I find that seriously worrisome.
But at least one thing is accurate about him: He survives. People like that always do, blundering their way to safety while better people die.

Deathly Hallows was much anticipated by me; so much so that the whole thing was anti-climactic.
The convoluted Elder wand story was too stilted.
I also hated the choices Rowling made as to who died.
A lot of the renegades, the minorities that were discriminated against actually did come to a bitter end and the goody goodies got to live.
Now wouldn't it have been devastatingly cool if Teddy Lupin had grown up with his parents, turned out to be a shapeshifting Animorphmagus and became Minister for Magic?

The conclusion seems to be that if you break the rules, say, Enid Blyton-style, but grow up into a responsible line-toeing adult all is well.
But exceed too much in otherness, even though your heart is in the right place and you have admirable life-skills, you are cosmically marked for failure and tragedy.

Dare I mention the epilogue?
I wish I had a clever quip but I'm cringing too much to think clearly. The sugar content actually rotted some enamel off my teeth. Someone kick the editor.

I have still given the books three stars for two reasons:

One for making the concept of Death accessible to young readers, although she is by no means the first or only writer to have done so.
Take a bow, indomitable Astrid Lindgren.
I'm pretty certain kids who otherwise never read tuppence will at least have somehow ingested Harry Potter. Maybe they even picked up on it.
Finally a second star for outselling the Bible, which was hogging first place like a washed out Hollywood actor clutching his Oscar everywhere he goes, including the bath and to bed.

Three: They made me very, very happy.



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Steven I hate Hagrid too. :)


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