Eric's Reviews > Harry Potter Boxset

Harry Potter Boxset by J.K. Rowling
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Dec 04, 10

bookshelves: children-s, worldbuilding-magic, all-time-favorites
Read in January, 2009

This is a review for the HP series as a whole, not this particular boxset.

Overall, I loved the series. The biggest thing for me was the world Rowling created and all the imagination that went into it. Strip away the world and you've got a fairly good storyline/mystery and some good characters. But it is the fantasy world that elevates this series for me. I remember reading the first book and thinking, "Rowling presents a new invention on almost every page!" Imagine how long a list would be of all the imaginative elements she used in this series. Many things she created; others she borrowed or developed. Quidditch, womping willows, pensieves, Marauder's Maps, multiflavored beans, living paintings, howlers.... As for creatures, she's got most of the Monster Manual covered. All of this, for me, was the magic of this series.

There's been a lot of talk about Rowling's writing ability. By making one little distinction, I think the answer is much clearer. As a prose writer, she is average or better. As a storyteller, she is excellent. I think her prose does a fine job. It makes the world and the characters vivid in the reader's mind. But Rowling's storytelling is above my own reproach. I can't cast a stone until I've written something that spawns millions of discussions and hundreds of commentaries and "What Will Happen Next?" books.

Why was/is Harry Potter a phenomenon? First, these are excellent books. But this isn't the whole reason why the series was a phenomenon--there are other excellent books out there which get only a fraction of the amount of attention. I think one big reason is because it is a seven-book series. Where were all the midnight release parties for book 2? book 3? The momentum started to pick up when book 4 came out. Then it snowballed until book 7. If this was a three-book series it would have been big, but no phenomenon.

Another reason for the phenomenon was its broad appeal--kids, teens, adults, fantasy-lovers and non fantasy-lovers. In contrast, the Wheel of Time series is also excellent and a long, momentum-building series, but its appeal is significantly narrower.

Favorite of the series: The Goblet of Fire.
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Uzma Shaikh I couldn't agree more with what Eric has said above. The series completely blew my mind. I have read and reread the whole series and it still doesn't fails to amaze the genius behind this series. J.k Rowling has done a wonderful job. Hats off


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