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Potter

Posted on Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Dave!Is it a crime that I don't like Harry Potter?

I try to. Honestly I do... all my friends just love Harry Potter books and movies, so I want to like Harry Potter. But I just can't. I read the first book and found it kind of contrived and boring. The second Chamber of Secrets book was so deus ex machina that I only read half of it. I kind of liked the third Prisoner of Azkaban book, but it was still so predictable and unoriginal that I ended up skipping big chunks of it. I tried reading Goblet of Fire but only made it to the sixth chapter before giving up.

I thought that perhaps the Harry Potter movies would be my salvation, but I found them to be haphazard and somewhat incoherent. More flash than substance. I suppose if you were a fan of the books, you'd have the knowledge to fill in the blanks and enjoy the film adaptations... but that wasn't me. I ended up fast forwarding through most of them (and am I the only one that finds "Dobby" just as irritating as Jar Jar Binks?).

I guess Harry Potter just isn't in my destiny...

Davepotter

Which makes it incredibly difficult for me in social situations.

Like last night when I somehow got roped into this huge Harry Potter conversation with a group of people. There was a big debate over whether Snape is evil and something about a horcrux (which I had to Google to spell properly just now). Then they started talking about how Harry Potter was going to die. Then they transitioned into whether the movies would star all the same actors. It went on and on and on.

And the entire time I just stood there being incredibly stupid. I think the only thing I contributed to the entire conversation was how cool I thought that Alan Rickman was in Dogma and Galaxy Quest.

It used to be it was football trivia that made me feel inadequate. Now it's Hogwarts.

= Sob! =

I sure hope there's an Idiot's Guide to Harry Potter out there. Or maybe a CliffsNotes. Otherwise I'm going to be ostracized from civilization because I don't know what a horcrux is.


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Comments

  1. nicole says:

    I could never get into Harry Potter either. :p

  2. adena says:

    First…Batman Legos (and possibly footie pajamas).

    Second….Hello Kitty Pop Tarts (and love of all things pink?)

    Third….Disdain for Harry Potter???!!

    *sigh*

  3. shannon says:

    yeah I’m not a big Potter fan either. Lemony Snicket is much better. But if we’re rating awesome Youth books, than nothing beats Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge. I have no idea why it took Harry Potter books to get kids interested in reading again. When I was growing up, Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary ruled. The characters weren’t wizards, but they were easier to relate to…who hasn’t had their brother swallow their turtle after all?

  4. Eve says:

    It sucks that you couldn’t get into Harry Potter. When the book first came out, I avoided it, because I thought there was too much hype around it. I didn’t want to be one of those adults reading a popular children’s book on the train ride to work. I happened to mention this to a friend who told me not to let the hype get in the way of reading a good book. She said, “No, it’s not what you think. Read it, it’s great. Trust me.”

    Now, said friend worked at the Sci Fi Channel at the time, so if there’s anyone‘s book recommendation I’m going to trust, it’s going to be that of the Sci Fi Channel employee. So, I read it. And I did enjoy it and have gone on to read all the books, liking each book better than the last (except for maybe book 5). I think had I read the book at another time in my life I would not have been as receptive.

    And if it’s a choice between chatting about horcruxes or flea flickers, I think I’d go with the former.

  5. RW says:

    Dave, hold onto your beliefs. I have never read one word of Harry Potter and a lot of that has to do with my experience with Lord of the Rings. I’m serious.

    I read The Hobbit and felt (and still feel) that was top of the line. It was little, intimate, funny, quirky, well-written, and SMALL. It was a tiny gem of a book that held you close in its imaginary world.

    I could not read the Trilogy. I tried. I couldn’t do it. That intimate world was shattered for me – grand armies, big events, a huge cast, and just endless endless BIG scenery.

    And when I tell people this experience I am often given the short shrift. Obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about, as they tell me.

    Well – I know what you mean about Harry Potter, Dave! And don’t let the torrents of trend get to you!

    Carry on!

  6. Karl says:

    Hell, Dave, I’ll still like you even though you’re not an H.P. fan. I enjoy the books the way I enjoy some action/adventure films that don’t require heavy thinking…stuff like “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon.”

    Now the Hello Kitty stuff, I dunno. It’s just so very…pink.

    And by the way, RW, I’m with you. I loved “The Hobbit” but just couldn’t get through the trilogy.

  7. margalit says:

    The HP movies suck. Big time. And yes, we own all of them that are out and yes I’ve seen them a million and one times as my daughter likes them. Me, I like the books for what they are, young adult fiction. They’re decent books for kids. They might be OK for older kids, but beyond that, I wonder why adults fawn over them the way they do.

    My son started reading HP1 when he was in first grade, and all the parents were shocked that I allowed him to read something so ‘violent’ and ‘scary’. You know what? Nobody noted that he was 6 years old and reading HP. But that’s a great age for starting the series because the first book is light and pretty easy to get through. Just like in the books, my kids age right along with the books, and as they get darker, my kids are able to handle more of the tough stuff.

    The last book will come out when my kids are about 15, and a similar age to Harry. Thus, they relate to the books much more than any adult could.

    Don’t feel badly for not being able to contribute to every conversation. Nobody can talk on EVERY subject unless they’re Ken Jennings, and we don’t want you turning into him, do we?

  8. adena says:

    When I was little, I had those little books that had the tiny record (yes, record) in back, and you played the record, and read along in the book. (We’re talking like 5-6 years old here, people.) Anyhow, I had one of “The Hobbit”. I wore that record out. LOVED it. Then I read the real book as an older kid, and loved it, too.

    I have the trilogy, and have read it, but I’m all about the movies. I LOVE the movies! I actually appreciate the movies more than the books…that’s really rare. I can’t wait ’til Peter Jackson does “The Hobbit”, which is his next big endeavor, I think.

    I like Harry Potter. It took awhile for me to get into them, I didn’t read them ’til a couple years after they were popular, but now I’ve read them all (and am waiting for the last one.) They’re definately kid’s books, but I like ’em.

  9. Cavan says:

    I love the HP, but the movies don’t really get good until #4.

    And yes, you’re not the only one who wants to punch out Dobby.

  10. Chaz says:

    Dave, I had that exact same feeling about Harry Potter. I have friends who absolutely love the series and constantly tell me how wonderful it is. I finally caved in one time and actually read the first book, and while I did not think it was terrible, I did not understand all the fuss behind it. Honestly, how is this whole Harry Potter thing all that original or exciting? Until reading your post, I was beginning to feel like I was the only one who thought this way!

  11. Bec says:

    I read the first one when the second one came out because the kid I was babysitting for was so enthusiastic about the books I had to see what made her (usually such a sullen child) so chatty. Then, as I am such an advertising whore, I got totally sucked into the hype.
    Dammit.
    It was quite funny after ‘Half-Blood Prince’ came out when you could see it everywhere. I remember walking onto the bus carrying my copy to see at least 5 other poeple readng it at a furious rate. I just want 7 to come out so the madness can be over.
    And re the LOTR trilogy/Hobbit… I, as the precocious little brat child I was, read the trilogy first, at age 9 or 10… and only read The Hobbit a few years back.

  12. Never mind being an outcast, Dave. I don’t like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, either. I could barely keep myself awake through the first movies.

    Lego rulez, tho! Particularly the Statue of Liberty model made from 2.800+ parts.

  13. karla says:

    It’s ok Dave. You are allowed not to like Harry.

    Just ignore the Harry Potter statue in my foyer if you ever come over, ok?

    And Alan Rickman? Mmm….me likey. I might be the only Goth weirdo to think he’s kinda hot as Snape.

  14. Nicole says:

    I love Harry Potter! I guess I got into the series before all the hype reached hysteria level though. But I just find the books so entertaining and I cannot wait until the final book comes out. But don’t worry, I won’t judge you for not getting into the books and I’m not thinking you’re just another stupid, non-magic loving muggle, really I’m not.

    :-)

  15. Anthony says:

    I’m with ya on this one Dave. I just don’t understand the whole hoopla around Potter.

  16. Neil T. says:

    I’ve never read the books but I do like the films – I have 2, 3 and 4 on DVD. Hari likes them too.

  17. Challen says:

    Well it took an ex-girlfriend to get me involved in the first movie on DVD. Didn’t start reading the books until after POA(Prisoner of Azkaban) came out at the movies. Even then I started on the 4th book just because I had to see what all the hoopla was about. Needless to say I’ve been hooked since. I do feel ya Dave when it comes to these books as they are slow starters but maybe if you got the books on disc you’d enjoy them more. Or maybe get something to lul you to sleep! :o)

  18. Troy says:

    I enjoy the Harry Potter books. Like someone commented before, the books are for kids so they are light and fluffy and an easy, quick read. I think that is what I like best about them. Being able to sit down and read a 700 page book in a weekend (if I wanted to).

    The story is also good (if you ignore all of the teen angsty type stuff left in for the kids, and all the crazy Harry Potter fanatics who ruin it for the rest of us). I don’t think the movies are that horrible, though if you’ve read the books you can figure out what has been cut and what is going on a little better.

    I also know that if someone tries to read a book because of the “hype” and they don’t like it, there is no way to make yourself like it. You just have to deal with it :)

  19. Jeff says:

    I read the first HP because of all the hype, but was never interested in reading any more of them. I’ve been to all the HP and Lord of the Rings movies but only because I have 2 teenaged boys (and my wife won’t take them).

    My verdict – bored by HP and “eh” on the Rings.

  20. Jon says:

    Dave, I’m afraid this is where we part ways. I love all things Harry Potter. The most recent book came out during a time when I was supposed to be studying for law school final exams, and I COULD NOT get back to studying until I had picked up a copy and read it beginning to end. Luckily I was able to finish it in less than 24 hours, so I only lost a day of studying. If I could plow through casebooks like that, I would be clerking for a Supreme Court justice right now…

    And although there are things I don’t like about the movies (mostly having to do with the ways they depart from the books), I own all of them and have watched them repeatedly.

    I’m with RW on The Hobbit vs. the LOTR trilogy. I loved the former, but could not get through the latter. Enjoyed the movie adaptation of the trilogy, though.

  21. mikey says:

    love Harry Potter. Kill the Dobby, Kill The Dobby

  22. Harold says:

    I’m a Harry Potter fan, have all the books and movies, but also have the complete set of “Captain Underpants” books . So not sure if I’m a good spokesman for the literary world.

  23. Dave2 says:

    Nicole: Oh, so it’s just you and me then!

    Adena: Yes, I’m a real renaissance man!

    Shannon: I was always a big fan of Encyclopedia Brown, Half Magic, The Secret Six, and Curious George myself.

    Eve: I’d rather watch Battlestar Galactica and Farscape than Harry Potter! :-)

    RW: The Hobbit was sheer magic… for kids escapist literature, it’s hard to beat. While I agree that the epic nature of Lord of the Rings is a lot more daunting and less intimate, I still enjoyed it quite a lot. It was required reading for a Dungeons & Dragons fan like myself!

    Karl: We’re totally on the same page. Sci-Fi action is may favorite though… T2, The Matrix, and Aliens for example.

    Margalit: I still maintain the Ken Jennings is an alien sent to earth to make other Jeopardy contestants feel stupid. First the break our morale, then they invade. You just wait…

    Adena: Oh yeah… I had those books too… and my own record player! I actually still remember some of those books and songs, because I played them over and over and over…

    Cavan: Never understood why annoying characters are introduced into films and books. Sure they must have some purpose to the author, but in today’s micro-attention-span world, that’s just inviting people to fast-forward or skip pages.

    Chaz: Ah, then it’s me, you, Nicole, Shannon, and RW then. :-)

    Bec: When Half-Blood Prince was released, it was as if other books did not exist!

  24. Dave2 says:

    Marc: Now Lord of the Rings I did like… probably because the books fueled my D&ampD filled High School years. Lego is ALWAYS cool, and it shocks me what people build from them.

    Karla: Alan Rickman is amazing in just about every role he takes. Kind of one of those actors you can count on enjoying even if the movie sucks. I was very happy to see him in the Harry Potter movies! :-)

    Nicole: Well… uhhh… that’s very generous of you! Thanks… I think. :-)

    Anthony: Millions and millions of dollars. J.K. Rowling is going to get richer than Bill Gates off of the HP phenomena.

    Neil: I find it surprising when I find somebody who likes the films but didn’t read the books. I always felt as though I was missing a bunch of stuff when watching the movies, like the book was required to understand them or something.

    Challen: I suppose it depends on who is reading the audio book. If it’s Elizabeth Hurley, I would definitely be interested!

    Troy: QUICK READ?!? Haven’t the last two been like… I dunno… A MILLION PAGES EACH?!? I’m thinking that Goblet of Fire could stop a bullet!

    Jeff: That’s seven of us then. About the only thing I enjoyed in HP movies were the special effects, which were quite good. Certain actors were great too… Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith certainly. I just think that it’s too bad that they don’t have better material to work with. :-(

    Jon: See… you are typical of most of my friends. They are completely absorbed in the Harry Potter world, and are constantly discussing theories and plot points and discrepancies and the like. For somebody who can’t get into the books or the films, it’s kind of tough!

    Mikey: Yes. Jar Jar Binks, David Caruso, and Dobby must all die! :-)

    Harold:I’m a Curious George man all the way… though I have read all the Captain Underpants books as well.

  25. Rabbit says:

    I never read any of the Harry Potter books because I stubbornly refuse to read something just because everyone else in the free world has already. I’ve also never read The Da Vinci Code or He’s Just Not That Into You.

  26. ms. sizzle says:

    i haven’t read the books and one worse, i haven’t watched the movies either. is a land where we are banished because we aren’t in the “harry potter know”? and if so, will there be ice cream there?

  27. Juli says:

    I’m right there with ya Dave. I skipped the books and tried to watch the first movie. It’s almost NEVER that I stop a movie and move on to something else, but I did with that. *yawn*

    Guess I better buy my one-way ticket to the Colony of Those Who Don’t Get It.

  28. RW says:

    Sidenote to Dave Re; Dungeons and Dragons. Back in the day when it and Empire of the Petal Throne were the only venue for nerds (before computers), we worked with and for Gary Gygax (D & D’s chief developer) up in Wisconsin. I saw some things that never made it into the public eye. Thank God.

    But your D&Dness is partially my fault. Sorry about that.

  29. claire says:

    I hate Dobby too! I can be entertained watching the movies despite holes. After seeing the 4th movie, I figured I’d read the book to understand it better, but it really didn’t help. Narratively, even with gaps, the movies work better than the 2 books I read (Azkaban and goblet) imo.

  30. Troy says:

    When I say quick read, for me I determine whether the book mets my critera for a “quick read”, regardless of page length. The critera basically consists of:

    1) Did the story keep my attention?
    2) Did I want to finish it as soon as possible, because the story was good? (the opposite of this is wanting to finish the book so it is finished)
    3) Did the concepts/narrative/story require a lot of thought, so you could only read a chapter at a time? (If you answer is yes the book is not a quick read).
    4) Is there a lot of third person discussion (i.e. “I thought I asked for mashed peas, not pee mash” said Dave.)? (These types of sentences are easy to read since I tend to skip over the “said Dave” parts).

    Those are a couple points of my criteria. I’m sure there are more subconsious points but I don’t feel like deleving too deep into my reading psyche.

  31. nancycle says:

    :-)

    I’m with you on this one. Fed up not “getting” the HP “in crowd”, I’ve begun reading the series to my son.

    All I can say is: Don’t Panic.

    ;-)

  32. Mooselet says:

    What makes people so interesting is that we all don’t like the same things. What a boring world it would be if we did!

    Now I like HP. I avoided it at first, but after taking my young’uns to see the first movie I got hooked. I find them an easy read and can read the big books in a weekend (but I read fast anyway). Yes they are full of teen angst – especially book 5 – but if you can put that in perspective it’s not bad.

    I loved the Hobbit as a kid, but I couldn’t get into the LOTR trilogy in any form. I tried, really I did.

    I still respect you, Dave!

  33. suze says:

    oh god, dobby is awful.

    but snape. snape is hot. Alan Rickman is such fun to watch, whatever he’s in…

  34. Kevin says:

    Well, the third one is the best in terms of both the movie and the book. Alfonso Cuaron did a great job on the film.

  35. Quickbeam says:

    I think there is about 2 books worth of material in the 6 Harry Potter books I’ve read. It saddens me that most of these books weren’t tightened up. The 6th book was 99% filler. Thre are a whole lot of loose threads so JK better double check her continuity before letting # 7 out.

  36. Tart says:

    I always found HP to be fantasy “lite”. And I wonder if books like The Belgariad had been written in a different time…well…who knows what kind of audience it might have received. Also isn’t Harry Potter himself suspiciously alot like Timothy Hunter from Neil Gaiman’s Books Of Magic?

  37. Well, I HAVE read all but the latest HP book and found them a great load of moderately adequate writing (degenerating quickly the bigger they get) with the tension of a modern harlequin romance. Did not diana Wynne Jones create this entire world 20 years ago in Witch Week? Oh I believe she did. And is the entire plot, style and attitude not snatched (with a little ripping off of general english life) full scale from boys tales of 1902-1925? Let’s see, will a plucky lad, who doesn’t fit in at first, gain loyal friends, be the holder of a secret, have a bunch of bullies threaten him with one particular leader, then be accused of a crime or dastardly deed (or just something “not on”) which the headmasters knows he didn’t do but waits for him to show his true colours in order to build character and his moral superiority is displayed in his athletic achievement? Is this Dick of Cock House, or Batman’s Not Out? Or Dougie does a Runner or any of the other hundreds of boys’ tales, or is it just HP? With a sort of dumbed down school boy system with such appalling latin that apparently any decent latin student would be constantly setting entire rooms on fire simply by reading thier lesson to themselves? I suppose so. Oh yeah, those who love HP just LOVE me.

  38. kilax says:

    I HATE HARRY POTHEAD. I was forced to sit through the third film on my plane ride to the States and it was thoroughly awful. I am happy for the people who like the books and movies. I think it is great that they can imagine themselvese in this world of magic and wizards – but it is not for me! I will stick with Star Wars!

  39. apryldawwn says:

    can’t stand it either. we’re reminded of it almost everyday since a local businessman has his name up on his marquis, Harris Potter.

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