Friday, July 15, 2011

Not About Harry Potter

Except that it is.

I'm not going to talk about how great the movie was.  If you cared, you were probably there last night and already know.  If you don't care, my gushing isn't going to persuade you otherwise.

What I want to comment on is how amazing the people were.  Anyone who says the power of reading is waning hasn't been outside.  Sure, it was a movie, but these people were there, having wand fights and arguing over who was cooler (Snape FTW).  Those are things that came from reading and loving and living the books.

I'm 33.  I was there with a group of people around my age.  Behind us was a row of 14 and 15 year-olds.  In front of us was a row of 40 something women with nary a child in sight.  There were boys and girls and older folk and every single kind of person you can imagine.

YA is a myth.  The idea that certain books are written for certain age groups is a myth.  The diversity in th theater last night proved that.

When people say that books no longer have the power to reach kids, I think to how many kids love Harry Potter and are searching for the next thing to love, and I can only conclude that people are simply not trying hard enough.

Kids, they want the books, they want to read, they want something magnificent and bigger than themselves.  They want it like oxygen.

If they're not reading, if they're not falling in love with books, then we're not trying hard enough.


  1. A point well made!

    I think it's worth adding that kids are not in the market for a gimmick. Instead, they are looking for the next thing of quality.

    Publishers seem to think they need the next franchise that can be books, movies, graphic novels, amusement parks, and Burger King toys.

    But in the end, Harry Potter is popular because of the stories that came from JK Rowling's head, and not the gimmicks that were created after.

  2. Jonathon - YES. This. Exactly. JK Rowling didn't do a blog tour or get all up in Twitter. She focused on writing the best books she could and then let them stand on their own. I think Rowling is one classy lady for the way in which she handled herself and the books. Even the way she refused to allow her books to become gimmicky. She could have easily sold the rights to everything, and we'd had Harry Potter cartoons and comic books and Happy Meal toys and we'd probably all be sick of it.

    You nailed it. The books are genuine, Rowling's love for them is too, and I think people respond to that.

  3. I feel bad for bashing authors, but I think the downfall of Percy Jackson happened because of Riordan selling out. Of course, he could have sold-out with the series maintaining its integrity. The books are excellent and endearing, but that luster has been muddied with the movies and there's no going back.

  4. Err--it's not the movies that killed the integrity, it's the manner in which the movie were done.

  5. Amen, brother. And I think you both make an excellent point about staying true. Lots of great stories have been ruined by franchising, merchandising, and what essentially amounts to selling out.

    I haven't read Riordan, but Philip Pullman, Christopher Paolini and several others have had great stories ruined, or at least weakened, by Hollywood. J.K. Rowling made sure not to let that happen to Harry. I think she loved him too much to allow it.

  6. Hmmm. "The idea that certain books are written for certain age groups is a myth." True, but I also think that certain books are more successful with some age groups than with others. It's hard for me to say, though, since I am an old lady who reads almost exclusively middle grade books! Thanks for the food for thought.


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