So what exactly is one to make of all this Harry Potter mania? At first I thought I would capitalize on its popularity by starting a book club. That went over like a lead balloon (Potter won but participation was not exactly gangbusters). Oh well, I thought I will just read the book and post my own review. But now I wonder what exactly I am to say. Doesn’t Blogcritics have that covered already?
Discussions of the phenomenon are already taking on political dimensions. First Natalie Solent links Harry to Libertarianism. Then Assymetrical Information picks up the idea. Soon even the Instapundit is linking to it. Heck, no pop culture reference is complete without being mentioned in The Onion.
Not to be out done by blogs, we now have fancy schmancy literary types bashing HP in the New York Times (I don’t know what took Byatt so long people were talking about this weeks ago). Soon the
Libertarians are debating the subject again.
After all this and thousands more, I am really not that excited to spend a great deal of time on this subject. So let me give it to you in a nutshell: the book left me rather unimpressed. (Minor plot spoilers ahead in case you are the last person on earth not to have read it but still want to)
– For one the book was just too darn long. The story wandered around like a drunken sailor. I get the whole plot development and all, but sheesh 800 pages is a bit much for a kids story.
– Also I got real tired of Harry’s crappy mood. Perhaps adolescence is like that – I don’t remember – but it made for dull reading. There is only so much teen angst and self doubt one can take. The book may be about the banality of evil but I got tired of Harry’s life sucking practically the entire book.
– I was also unimpressed with the way Rowling handled Harry’s dreams. I mean can you honestly tell me you didn’t know that was a trap? Pahleese. Oh and the character who dies? Yeah saw that coming too.
– I really thought the book drifted along until almost the very end. Things got interesting say 500 or 600 pages in but that is a lot of reading for background.
All in all it was a decent read but not worth all the hubbub if you ask me. I am disturbed to see the books practically double in size with each new installment but I think the author is simply trying to give her audience what they want. The kids read the stories and just enjoy the characters and the unique settings. Me I want a little more pull to the story. The themes in this one may have been more mature but the story was slower and less exciting as a result.
So there is my drop in the ocean that is Harry Potter!