Harry Potter 1 & 2

I just finished up the first two Harry Potter books, in about 3 days total, and I have to say, they are rather good. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I got my money’s worth from them. Having said that, I can’t figure out why these books have people standing in line, in costume!, at the local bookstar at midnight just so they can buy the next book. Have the Trekies moved on to books now? While I admire Rowlings imagination, I don’t find her writing style to be anything special. In fact, her style seems to be brusque, functional, and rather simple. The characters are sympathetic but there’s really not a lot of development of them. I’d say they are great reads for the time investment, but I don’t think they warrant weirdos standing in line, yelling “First!”.


I know they are supposedly written for the younger readers (10+) but the way they books have grabbed mainstream attention just confuses me. Maybe people just don’t have a lot of time, or don’t spend a lot, reading. I guess we’re in the minority when it comes to the amount of books read, well, except for Kevin.

Maybe the movies created a self-feeding cycle that has helped build the hype and sales. Although I think the 1st movie came out after the 3rd book? I don’t know. All I do know is that there is no SF equivalent series that is anywhere near as big (David Gerrold’s series doesn’t cut it, I don’t think. Size-wise anyway). What do you all think?

3 thoughts on “Harry Potter 1 & 2”

  1. I’ve shied away from reading Harry Potter because of my fear that it does not live up to the hype. I saw the 2 movies and enjoyed them. That is enough for me.

    When it comes to a “big thing” in SF, the only serious contenders are on the screen: Stars Trek and Wars. Has any SF book (that has not been made into a movie or tv show) illicited such a following that causes fan conventions and costumes? I cannot think of any. Or did I never hear about the legions of fans who waited in line for the next Foundation story in a Seldon-like wheelchair?

    Interesting you mention Gerrold, though. I have enjoyed reading the first two installemnst of his Juvenille Dingillian family series (Jumping Off the Planet and Bouncing Off the Moon)and I have the 3rd one (Leaping to the Stars) in my soon-to-read pile. They were excellent (In retro, I’d give them 5 and 4 stars, respectively). For something labeled juvenille novels, they sure deal with some mature themes. Certainly more mature than “classic” juvenille novels (as in Heinlein’s juvenilles)

  2. That’s my question too. Why is Harry Potter so big, while there has never been a SF equivalent? I don’t think we can include Stars Trek and Wars because, in their first incarnations, they were in mediums with huge bases. Potter was becoming a sensation before the movies, and I just don’t see why.

  3. I think the appeal of Potter is pretty simple. First, the writing is to about the 6th or 7th grade level (IMHO.) Second, the story is very straight forward – the themes are easy to understand – the good versus evil part of course, but also the Cinderella-like story of Potter (complete with wicked stepmother.) There’s the Hardy Boys style of friends solving problems together and the deus ex machina of Dumbledor who can always make everything all right. There isn’t much character development at all – even after 5 books. I think she’s afraid to mess with the formula – but then if I had this cash cow that was printing money, I probably wouldn’t kick it in the nads either.

    I agree with your assessment – simple to read but still fun.

    Oh, and if you want any more books from the series JP – let me know I have them all.

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