I know I’m not supposed to say this right now and that it singles me out as a terrible human being, but I hate the Harry Potter series. I don’t generally read fiction to begin with and never found the books captivating enough to change my custom. As a non-reader of the books, I found the movies boring but also annoyingly self-congratulatory in their attitude toward special effects (“Look! We’re telling a story with our special effects, not like those other big-budget blockbuster movies”). And I could really use a break from all the press coverage.

Thank you. That felt good.

8 replies on “Confession”

  1. You have to say what you have to say! As I’ve noted in my own comments on the book, I didn’t really get into it until we started reading it as a family. The play of identification between my daughter and myself is part of what makes the series compelling to me. After all, it’s about the relationship between children and their parents and parent surrogates more than anything else.

    Film-wise, while I do think the pictures have gotten better and really enjoyed The Order of the Phoenix, I can see why they wouldn’t appeal to those who aren’t interested in the books. Frequently a ten-second glimpse is all we get of a character who gets twenty pages in the books. Fans appreciate those moments of brief recognition, I think, but there’s no reason that someone like you should.

    Since I’m commenting here, I should also put in my standard endorsement of the books’ pedagogic value. When Skylar started reading them on her own at the end of the first grade, she had just acquired the capacity to read longer stories. Now she’s a very proficient reader and the Harry Potter books are a major reason why. They’re especially good for teaching vocabulary because, while they do contain “big words” — the percentage of which increases somewhat after the first few books — the same ones get repeated a good deal, in different contexts and with synonyms usually provided nearby. I sort of feel about the series the way I do about Dr. Seuss, i.e. that they were designed to delight while instructing.

  2. You ingrate! And you don’t read fiction … you’re the reason Western Civilization is eroding! (At least you’re in Mass Comm … imagine being an English professor who doesn’t read fiction.)

  3. I hate Harry Potter too. I’m glad he’s dead. And if I see anyone over the age of 12 carrying a copy I will trip them up and stamp on their glasses. There are countless reasons to hate the Potter brand (just type “I hate Harry Potter” into Google and you’ll see some), but I acquired a new one yesterday, whilst listening to some (thankfully cynical) hype on CBC radio: I realised that in North American pronunciation his name almost becomes “Hairy Potter”, which just makes my hackles rise even further.

    Despite this, respect to J. K. Rowling, almost certainly the world’s richest Morrissey fan.

  4. Thanks to Charlie for a reasoned defence — it’s interesting how closely tied the book is to discourses of parenting in adult media. There was a whole thing in one of our papers today about a parent bonding with her daughter about both getting bored with the latest book.

    And Nick, I didn’t know it wasn’t pronouned “Hairy Potter.”

  5. Speaking of this discussion and bonding with kids, I just got off the phone with my son. He called me to rant about my own comments about Potter and other stuff on my blog … in an interesting turn of events, my kid was telling his dad that his dad was fulla shit for defending the kids these days, because the kids are all morons who got that way because they never read. I half expected him to yell at some youngsters to get off his lawn.

    He also admitted that he always prefers the movie to the book. And he agreed when I reminded him that he’s never been one to read books, that he probably only reads 3 or 4 books a year, tops. He replied, though, that he reads all the time, that there are plenty of other places to read things, while these young whippersnappers don’t read ANYthing. By golly, when they write, he said, they’re always using “dot dot dot” … what can I say, I use it so often online myself that I really have to fight the impulse to do it in my “real” writing.

    I’d add that, beyond the usual reading to your kids when they are little, we never did much reading together, beyond sharing the morning newspaper. They saw their parents reading, that was enough modeling behavior for me. If I was going to bond with my kids, I’d take them to the movies. The result? My son thinks kids should read more, and my daughter is a radical farmer who doesn’t own a TV and is going to Cuba in January.

  6. Besides, everyone knows that if you must read young adult fiction, you’re better off with Philip Pullman. And if you want to enjoy somebody dying and coming back in order to save the world, just watch Buffy.

    This does not excuse the fact that I read all the HP books. But I didn’t necessarily enjoy them.

  7. PS Buffy teaches really well, I discovered! It rocked my Feminist Fairy Tales class last semester and my students are begging for more. Joss Whedon out-saves the world ten times better than J.K. Rowling, and at least he has a message a female empowerment. Come to think of it, so does Pullman.

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