Have there ever been any good criticisms of this series?

Ray McCarthy

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#21
Traditionally the girls didn't read Biggles. Or "The Saint" (IMO better than Bond).

Then there are the Pony books ... :)
The novel Black Beauty, although about a horse and not a pony, is seen as a forerunner of pony book fiction.
Pony books themselves began to appear in the late 1920s
Though I'm only familiar with Follyfoot and World's End series. (Both Monica Dickens), not the genre as a whole. Well, maybe Silver Brumby, if it counts but I KNEW the sort of girls that would have nearly paid to be allowed to muck out the stalls ... :D One even lived next door and had her dad erect a Corrugated iron stable in the suburban back garden and got a horse.
http://www.ponymadbooklovers.co.uk/

The Pony and Ballet books are escapist Fantasy just as the [Boarding] school stories. A survey many years ago discovered that kids suspected they didn't want to go to "real" boarding schools but liked reading the stories of privileged kids. Similarly few fans of Ballet stories really wanted to put in the hours of practice daily and really go to Ballet School. The Pony stories are more unrealistic fantasy in a way but people more would really like to have had a pony.

P.S. I'm always a big vague on difference between a Horse and Pony (I've even had real lessons as a kid and "Pony Trekking" as an adult. I can tell what a Donkey is. I've petted them. Never ridden one. Loads of horses and some donkeys near here. Owned by rich or very poor!

I think writers need to read outside their favourite genre.
 
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#22
I read Biggles and actually the book I think is perhaps most like Harry Potter is Tom Brown's School Days - if I remember rightly it even have a tower in it (but that might have been just the film). Dumbledore reminds me a little of a Mr Chips style character.

My view is JK Rowling just has an incredibly English view of literature and it shows in the stories. They are great old fashioned fairy tales were the three main characters take it turns to be tied up and scream. It's far darker than Jill Murphy's stories. There are elements of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Elinor Brent Dyer, Pamela Brown, Jean Ure, Judy Blume etc in her books. Bet if you read my stories you could find the echoes of all the stories I grew up absorbing. One element a few beta readers said was original in my books was Angus becoming a falcon but I knew I'd taken that and other elements from He-Man.

It's like the ridiculous attempt to say she ripped of Narnia because it had a portal to another world - umm it's a junior fantasy story a lot of the have portals. It's quite apparent that a lot of the literary critics who took on JK Rowling had a poor education in children's literature particularly fantasy. I think it is very difficult to find anything that even attempts to be objective with JK Rowling. I bought the Cuckoo's Calling based on the reviews and a flick through the book at a local shop just a week or two before it all exploded and we found out the real author. (Keeping hold of it). But wow did the reviews changed and polarise as soon as it was revealed JK Rowling wrote it. I am not a massive Rowling fan (I waited two years to read Deathly Hallows after he release) but I enjoy the stories and think they deserve their place.
 

David Doherty-Jebb

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#23
I love Harry Potter- really, really love it!! I liked the first two books, but Prisoner of Azkaban made me a bona fide fan. However, it's quite clear to me that JK Rowling is not an avid reader of fantasy fiction, or she would have seen how derivative it is from a mile off. Originality is a myth, yes, which is why the series works so well and is loved by so many, but to say she broke any ground whatsoever would also be a myth.
 

Ray McCarthy

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#24

Dave

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#25
Jill Murphy's Worst Witch series.
I was going to mention this. Not to say that 'JK Rowling ripped off Jill Murphy' but those books were popular long before Harry Potter and you could see that this genre had potential. I don't understand the dissenters because I found Harry Potter a great page-turning read and could easily see why my children were reading it. I do think that having a boy as the main character was risky given that more girls read, but it was a risk that paid off and resulted in increased numbers of boys reading. It isn't great literature and whether it will stand the test of time like Biggles, Famous Five and Black Beauty, I couldn't say.
There is the scene in the time-travel film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home -
Kirk: You'll find it in all the literature of the period.
Spock: For example?
Kirk: Oh the collected works of Jacqueline Susann. The novels of Harold Robbins...
Spock: Ah, the "Giants".
 

David Doherty-Jebb

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#26
Rowling put lots of love into her characters, creating some real heroes and villians with rich backstories. I believe this is the power of the series.
Strangely, or maybe not, Harry was far from being my favourite character throughout the series, with Ron being more believable due to his more human reactions, and Luna being just this beacon of strength against adversity. Also, Voldemort is not the worst villain IMO. Dolores Umbridge, with her Fascist, totalitarian stance, wins outright, while Lucius Malfoy comes second.
Like I said before, I love the Potterverse, but its durability lies not in Rowlings use of the tropes, but her crafting of people we love or hate.
 

RightersBlock

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#27
Yeah, i stumbled upon an article discussing that while ago by accident. Pretty interesting. But Star Wars is just a rewrite itself.



http://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/file/1c8115fc-50d1-7dd6-0a2a-6446e33c7437/1/destiny.pdf
As for this thing ^

I agree with a lot of what he/she says about the second book and the 2 final books, and the characters of Harry, Dumbledore, Voldemort, Ron and Malfoy. However, no one is perfect and she did a really good thing with the series.
 

Boaz

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#28
DDJ, I agree there are better villains than Voldemort. Umbridge, Hopkirk, Skeeter, Percy, and all the other toadies who never question neither the actions nor the motives of Fudge and the MoM. And then there's Snape... and HPatOotP makes us first think he might be good. We wonder if he's still an agent for V, or a double agent for Dumbledore, or actually a triple agent still serving V!!!! He was mean, petty, and vindictive, but he was on the right side.

I also wholeheartedly agree that Ron is a much better character than Harry. I've mentioned it in other threads, but here's the quick version. Ron is better because he's more human. HP is the hero so he can't really make the really stupid, embarrassing, or unforgivable mistakes that his sidekick can. Ron does every dumb thing that a teenage boy can do, but because we know these things we can never put him on the hero's platform like we can with HP. Ron fleshes out the life of a teenager without tarnishing the hero. To make up for this, I suspect, Rowling gave him Hermione.

Of the young crowd surrounding Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I think that Neville and Luna stand out. Ginny is just waiting in the wings. Fred and George would've ended up like Stan Shunpike or Mundungus Fletcher if Harry hadn't given them money. Everybody went to school with someone like Draco.

Dismissed as a hopless first year, time is good to Neville. He's able to find out where his passions and talents lie. After that, his competence and confidence grow... yet, his ego does not.

And Luna... she's crazy in the best way possible. She dreams of ways to bless her family and friends. She does not care a fig for her detractors. She only cares about the ones she loves. Styles mean nothing, principles mean everything.
 

Dan Jones

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#29
I always thought Voldemort was a pretty awful villain (in amongst a cast of pretty good characters, all in all) because he was 100% bad. And that's never good.

There are very, very few bad guys throughout history who have been written as 100% bad and gotten away with it as a credible character. Sauron is one, and only then because you never actually see the git. Heck, even The Devil was supposedly a Good Guy at one point. Who else is 100% bad and manages to be a good, memorable character? King Joffrey? Biff Tannen? Nina Myer (of 24 fame)? I have to admit, after those three I'm struggling to think of any.

Mmmm, Nina Myer.
 
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#30
Hi,

Does anyone else think that the quality of the series declines after the fourth book? I really like the Harry Potter world and the story but the last three books are quite poor. I'm in the middle of the last book at this moment and I'm keeping my hopes up that this would be better than the last two.

It would take me too long to explain everything in detail so I just list some of my biggest personal issues with the last three books. If you disagree, I would gladly provide you with a more comprehensive argument. And I'm quite aware there could be somethings that I havent noticed etc.

- Harry has become a prejudiced little twat. Or at times he feels like that anyway. Always complaining and so quick to blame and judge everyone. At times, he is downright annoying.
- Dumbledore's time wasting errands and info dumbs. And all the withheld information and waiting.
- All the Deus Ex Machina -scenes where something always happens in the right time, and usually to spare Harry from a certain demise.
- Ron has become a fairly unnecessary character. as has Hermione (she is still my favourite character though, and the only one with even a little meaningful character development).
- Quidditch, I don't care too much of quidditch.
- The formulaic manner of the books feels like a chore at times.
- Certain character relations don't evolve. For example Potter vs. Malfoy/Snape.

I understand that the books are probably written so that the reader can 'live' in it and gather more information about the world. Which is fine. But for a reader (who is not a crazy fan) that searches for a solid read with certain qualities, the last three books don't deliver. The last one has a chance still however. I would be too hasty to review it before I'm done.

In the end I must say though that the books are all extremely readable and most of the problems really get lost in the smooth flow. The world is great but boy do I feel like these books would have benefitted from a more aggressive editor.
 

Dan Jones

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#31
Harry has become a prejudiced little twat.
Dem sum bare harsh words bruv. Don't forget, he's only 14 or so!

Other than that, reasonable critique. I always thought Hermione was a Mary Sue, and thought Ron was the other end of the scale (what's the opposite of a Mary Sue?).
 

Caledfwlch

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#34
Dem sum bare harsh words bruv. Don't forget, he's only 14 or so!

Other than that, reasonable critique. I always thought Hermione was a Mary Sue, and thought Ron was the other end of the scale (what's the opposite of a Mary Sue?).
Not to mention a 14+ year old, who literally has the weight of the world on his shoulders, having been told he is instrumental in stopping the most warped and powerful Dark Wizard to stalk the Earth.

Someone noticed something about Ron and Neville recently, vis their incredibly poor talent at Magic - poor Neville almost seems a squib.
What most of us missed or forgot is "The Wand Chooses the Wizard, that much is clear"
Ron had a hand me down Wand from an Elder Brother, Neville had his fathers. It's no wonder they were dreadful at magic, they were using Wands loyal to other people.

One person I really didn't like was Neville's Gran - and then (spoilers from Deathly Hallows)
She turns up at "Dumbledore's Army HQ in the Room of Requirement" "I'm so proud of you Neville, you ARE your fathers son" and off she trots, and she's all forgiven and everything is well.
She has spent the poor boys life, treating him almost as bad as the Dursleys treated Harry - constantly disappointed in him, in putting all this weight on his shoulders, instilling into him what a great man his Father was, and how he isn't remotely fitting the impossible to fit mould. His childhood must have been utter misery, living in the shadow of Frank Longbottom, and not only that, but it's even worse for Neville, Harry's parents are dead, he has closure, poor Neville has to go visit his insane parents in hospital.

Wizarding Society in general, and the Ministry of Magic are also very unpleasant, their general distain & racism isn't just restricted to Muggles & Mud Bloods, but sentient non human beings like Centaurs, Goblins, House Elves etc
 

Caliban

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#35
Blog | Eruditorum Press

You guys asked for critical take son HP. And I’ve linked to what you asked for but fair warning this guy really doesn’t like Harry Potter and is very left wing. Not everyone will like it or enjoy it and if you really love the serious it isn’t a pleasant reading experience.
 

Caledfwlch

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#36
I started reading the blog and I stopped.
Quote"the death eaters "magical Nazis" didn't kill anyone.
Seriously has the guy read the books?
Has he not heard of the "fallen fifty"the fifty plus wizards and witches who died in the Battle of Hogwarts? Inc Fred, tonks a d lupin?
-
He accuses the series of Harry using others to kill. He makes Harry to be a coward hiding. He walked into the forest not knowing what dumbledore knew. He walked there to die.a

Will. Response more later this article has Really annoyed me. As the author has not read the material it's vejry nasty
 

Caliban

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#37
Yeah. Oftentimes I do t think his language is very helpful but I do think Harry Potter is very one nation Tory in its approach and politics. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing it’s a perfectly valid position but I’d argue that’s what it is.
 

Anushka Mokosh

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#38
I started reading the blog and I stopped.
Quote"the death eaters "magical Nazis" didn't kill anyone.
Seriously has the guy read the books?
Has he not heard of the "fallen fifty"the fifty plus wizards and witches who died in the Battle of Hogwarts? Inc Fred, tonks a d lupin?
Not just the Battle of Hogwarts. Entire Half-blood prince had mentions of students being pulled out of classes to be told their parents and loved ones were dead. Hannah Abbott was noted. As well as the Montgomery sisters whose 5 year old brother was killed by Greyback. Another prominent death was Amelia Bones as well as Emmeline Vance. It is even noted that students were living in constant fear of being the ones called outside to be told the news.

Even the Deathly Hallows is filled with deaths prior to the ending. Ted Tonks, Dirk Cresswell, Dobby, etc. They even hhad a bit in Potterwatch where they listed the dead as means of commemorating them.

And don't even get me started on the first war. Molly's brothers for instance.
 

Caliban

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#39
I must confess I can’t see the bit where he says they didn’t kill anyone. I can see him refer to them as magical nazis but as far as I can tell he doesn’t say they didn’t kill anyone.
 

Anushka Mokosh

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#40
I must confess I can’t see the bit where he says they didn’t kill anyone. I can see him refer to them as magical nazis but as far as I can tell he doesn’t say they didn’t kill anyone.
Harry Potter and the Popular Consumption of Hegemonic Bourgeois Moral Ideology | Eruditorum Press

" Luckily, the magic-Nazis also (for some reason) generally refrain from using the killing curse. "

This bit implies it heavily. The truth is, it is explained in the books. Killing curse is notoriously difficult to cast. Barty Crouch Jr. while disguised as Moody even says that an entire classroom could cast an Avada Kedavra on him and he wouldn't even get a nosebleed. Not all Death Eaters are top notch wizards. Also, continuously casting curses takes a toll on wizards similar to physical exercise from what we saw so one would indeed be saving that one for sure hits. It also requires concentration as all difficult spells do so it is not easy to throw around unless you are Voldemort or Bellatrix. (And those two do throw them around quite a bit.)

And the entire premise is wrong. Killing curse is an Unforgivable because its essence is just to kill. It is a curse which has no other use but to kill. Likewise with two other Unforgivable curses. But there are plenty other curses which are deadly and are not unforgivable. Heck, there are curses which can blow you to smithereens and they are not prohibited. And Molly most certainly killed Bellatrix. And that even happened in the movie (heck, in the movie she did blow her to smithereens) so the author has no excuse that they are just not killing. Heck, how many did Neville kill when he blew up that bridge? Or how many were vaporized by the shield? And that is all in the movie. Killing is happening and it is done by the heroes. In the books, well, Madame Sprout and Peeves throw around all kinds of nasty deadly plants on the Death Eaters. Hagrid's big bro stomps around on people. And so on, and so on.

To be perfectly honest, I stopped reading at "I could go on with that kind of stuff (the books give me plenty of scope)..." because I could as well go on and on with poking holes in the author's theory. The entire post completely ignores the framing instead taking cheap shots reminiscent of those accusing The Beauty and the Beast of being Stockholm syndrome. It reads as if the author came up with a thesis and is now scrambling to support it by twisting the actual things that happened in the books and how they were framed.

Take the house-elves. Are they "a race of cutesy, servile elves who love to work and obey, roll their huge bulging eyes, and speak in what is recognisably a kind of parodic pidgin 'black slave dialect', i.e. "I is not doing it Sir!""? Sure. I don't think that anyone would argue that. But is that portrayed as good and right? Bloody no. It is framed as something needing to be changed. The elves need to be liberated and treated like the magical brothers they are. That is in the books. Literally. But the question of how is not an easy one. We have Hermione's attempt and it is portrayed as misguided and silly because in its essence, it was. However, it does not mean that it doesn't need to be changed just because the approach of a teenage girl is not a good one. For centuries or even several millennia, the elves were indoctrinated to act and think in a certain way. Their liberation first must liberate their minds before anything else can do done and the books do not shy away from that. Kreacher, Winky, and Dobby all exist to show why elves are the way they are and why it needs to be changed.

tl;dr I do think that there is a lot of ground for an eloquent critique in Harry Potter, but for those looking for one, this blog isn't it. I might go back to this blog and read it more in depth and write a more eloquent rebuttal, but right now, much like Caledfwlch, I am massively annoyed by the undeserved high and mighty attitude of which the posts reek.
 
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