Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) Artemis Fowl discussion


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How is Harry Potter better than Artemis Fowl?

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message 1: by Frog (new) - added it

Frog What in your opinion does Rowling do that Colfer can't?
There's obviously something. I'm just curious to hear other people's ideas.


Julia I don't know that this is something Colfer can't do; but something he doesn't do.

Harry Potter is very multi-dimensional. At the surface is a well-told children's story about magic with all the fun little quips and magical accidents that draw a reader into another world. Dig a bit deeper and it tells a universal story about growing up; complete with pain of homework, sibling rivalry, mean teachers, and childhood crushes.

That's about where Artemis Fowl stops. And Artemis growing up isn't nearly so universal, because he is an extremely atypical child. For that matter, there are very few universal truths contained within Artemis Fowl. It really just tells a fun story, and not much more.

But Harry Potter goes much deeper than that incorporating subplots that deal with the internal fight we all face between good and evil; struggles with depression and the urge to just give up; the real power of love and sacrifice. And it delves deeply into the facets of death that people generally only glimpse when they've just lost someone (or will very soon).

As I write this, what stands out most for me is that Harry Potter and his friends really are - in areas that matter - quite normal. Normal in how they see the world, how they approach problems, and how they interact with each other. What makes them different - the magic, Harry's destiny - is really quite superficial. Because the meat of the story lies not in their abilities, but their choices. And they make choices that many normal people have also made in muggle-equivalent circumstances. This almost creates a "greatness can happen to anybody" type of message to the reader.

By contrast - as I've mentioned above - there is very little that is normal about Artemis Fowl. He's extremely unique, and for that the reader can't quite relate. The other characters in the story are more similar to action movie heroes and villains than real people.


message 3: by Frog (last edited Aug 21, 2015 02:07PM) (new) - added it

Frog What you're saying reminds me of a quote by Chesterton:

“oddities only strike ordinary people. Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining of the dullness of life. This is also why the new novels die so quickly, and why the old fairy tales endure for ever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world.”

Also, I keep seeing the idea of universal truth and morals making stories better... This is why I believe books like Tolkien and Potter have lasting effect while others fade away. Most books stop short for some reason. And I wonder if it's really because the author won't go further... or that they can't. I wish I knew.


Julia Fish wrote: "Also, I keep seeing the idea of universal truth and morals making stories better... This is why I believe books like Tolkien and Potter have lasting effect while others fade away. Most books stop short for some reason. And I wonder if it's really because the author won't go further... or that they can't. I wish I knew. "

First of all: Yes, Chesterton's quote describes it very well.

As for the part I quote above: I think the inclusion of universal truth and morals makes it more than a story; it helps people find answers they didn't know they were looking for. I should add that I've lost track of how many times I've re-read Harry Potter. I find it to be the perfect comfort novel, and I get something different out of it depending on what I'm going through in life when I read it. The first time I re-read them, I was extremely depressed and I found a lot of truths (that I hadn't noticed the first time) that I needed in the forefront of my mind while I was battling depression.

Why authors don't include these things is going to vary by author and circumstances. Maybe they can't, maybe they don't realize they should, maybe they just weren't so inspired when they were assembling the story.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer. But while my teachers thought my writing was brilliant - and my technical skills were pretty good - I found my stories were seriously lacking compared to the ones I like to read. As an adult I recognize that what they lacked was that knowledge of the world that I just didn't have as a child. I think many writers have the same problem - they just haven't lived enough. But I suppose that's another form of "can't"


message 5: by Frog (last edited Aug 21, 2015 03:11PM) (new) - added it

Frog It makes me wonder what my own stories are lacking, considering I'm only a college student.

I guess that's why it's good to take your time. Sometimes even just a year later you realize things that you never noticed were missing.

Also, I think Rowling spent more time on Harry Potter, which surely has something to do with it. The more time you spend on anything, the better.


message 6: by Julia (last edited Aug 21, 2015 04:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Julia I agree on all points. And don't even have anything to add.

Good luck with your studies (and writing).

Thank you for posting this question. This has been an enjoyable conversation.


message 7: by Alana (last edited Aug 21, 2015 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alana H The fact that Harry Potter is--when you get down to it--a classic story about fighting the evil in the world while fighting the evil inside yourself. Artemis kind of got old after a while, because Colfer played at his pro/antagonist's "good side" for too long, it got boring, waiting for the character to make up his mind.


message 8: by Frog (new) - added it

Frog Thanks, Julia!


message 9: by Frog (last edited Aug 21, 2015 05:07PM) (new) - added it

Frog Stella, do you think there could be a more interesting way to write a "bad" main character?
It sounds like most people think it's more interesting when the character has to make choices and grow as a person. But in Artemis's case it was tedious because, like you said he kept flip flopping. So I wonder what a good way to write about a "not good" character might be.


Actually, when it comes to Artemis, I think he was tedious because he was supposed to be a genius, yet the author was... not. Artemis was therefore never in the story as much as he might have been or really that impressive (except compared to other characters or due to convenient circumstances).


Eleni I think it's also the fact that the world JK Rowling created for Harry Potter is one that almost every kid wants to live in. It's easy to imagine yourself getting a letter by owl and going off on the train to Hogwarts to learn magic.

Eoin Colfer's story is great and I like the fact that the main character isn't a goody-goody hero - but the fairy world he describes isn't somewhere that humans can belong.


Faith Moy I don't think that Harry Potter is better that Artemis Fowl because I haven't read Harry Potter yet. Can anyone give me a review for Harry Potter so I may decide?


message 12: by Frog (last edited Oct 30, 2015 08:46PM) (new) - added it

Frog How to review Harry Potter?

There are so many little things that Rowling does (and doesn't) do that make Harry Potter stand out from any other YA Fantasy.
Harry Potter isn't a YA Fantasy series... it's THE YA Fantasy series. J. K. Rowling is a master at avoiding the common traps that all the other authors inevitably fall into.
Maybe it's not quite as grand as Tolkien, but she does what she does near perfectly. The fact is nobody else has actually written a YA Fantasy without major problems. (Fight me, I've read them all).
I think it can be taken for granted, but we need to realize it's unique for being the only one that succeeded in what it set out to do.
Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, Septimus Heap, Maximum Ride, Charlie Bone; they all have the same watered down feel. They simply try less hard. Harry Potter is the real thing. It's the only whole and complete YA Fantasy. And I'll stand by that.


Natalie Hodson Dear All

I am new to Goodreads, and this discussion caught my eye!

I think what makes Harry Potter so special is that it's set in/around the timeline of a child's education. Harry Potter, His Dark materials, The Black Magician Trilogy, are all heavily relatable to everyday life because the majority of people know what it is like to be in that situation. They may not have experianced a troll in the dungeon but certainly we all know what its like at your first day of school, and finding your place within it.
I could never fully relate to Artemis in this way, he is more like an adult than a child. Rowling is particulalry good at showing how children react in adult situations (regardless if they are magical or not)and it is captivating. I think Colfer missed a trick when he wrote Artemis to be so calculating and intelligent beyond his years, he removed that which Rowling instills so brilliantly, the ability to directly relate to the character.
I don't think enough children in YA Fiction act their age, authors seem to be writing their characters as if at the age of 10 they have led a full life, creating these complex characters. I think books like HP, The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials start simple and let their characters grow into dynamic people.


message 14: by Frog (last edited Nov 18, 2015 10:26AM) (new) - added it

Frog Good points, Natalie.

Harry Potter might be a wizard, but we relate because of his personality. Artemis doesn't just have a super ability.... being an evil mastermind is a personality itself, leaving much less to relate to. It's really quite a different situation when you think about it.

It seems like some books these days are more about adoring characters for their own sake than learning or growing from their experiences. I think this is why we have problems like Mary Sues and Gary Stus, and also narcissistic self inserts. It's a mistake to think that reading for somebody's experience and reading for someone's personality are the same thing.


Janet Moore I enjoyed Artemis Fowl very much - in fact I would love some new work, but Harry Potter is IMNSHO in a class by itself.

I recently picked up the first 4 Potter audio books to replace my worn out cassettes. I've read the books and listened to the books more times than I can count. What struck me recently was what I was hearing in the story that I had not grasped the first x number of times I'd read/heard it.

Rowling weaves a tale that is multidimensional, incorporating threads of an arc that will flow over all 7 books. Her characters are rich and robust and the stories have multiple levels to them. And the story as well as the characters grow and age as they progress. This was something I found amazing - not your typical children or young adult book series.

All in all, it has been a true delight to rediscover these books.


message 16: by Frog (new) - added it

Frog Sigh.
Harry Potter has left my expectations of YA Fantasy far too high...


Julia Natalie wrote: "Dear All

I am new to Goodreads, and this discussion caught my eye!

I think what makes Harry Potter so special is that it's set in/around the timeline of a child's education. Harry Potter, His D..."


Absolutely! That's what I miss about the movies. They do a good job telling the story, but only the 1st one did a good job of sharing the experience of being in school.

I loved reading about the kids studying for their exams in Order of the Phoenix; some times it makes me think about going back to school.


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