Sunday, 29 July 2007

Harry Potter - all gone :(

I am feeling better because the tablets are working - hurrah! And hubby and childers are on their way home to me - bigger hurrah!!! House is cleaner than clean, washing is washed, and dinner is cooked... and I actually really truly dearly miss them! Christ. I must be iller than I at first thought!

And I finished Harry Potter No.7. And I read the reviews (yesterday's Guardian and today's Sunday Times). Hmm. The Guardian is complaining about poor writing and inconsistencies of plot, whilst the Sunday Times is full of praise and admiration. I am apt to sit on my fence and agree with both. Sort of.

Okay - so the writing is not exactly Dickens, or Joyce, or Byatt. In short - it isn't literary as such - but it is Literature. The story moves along at a cracking pace and I don't care if some sentences make my literary critic want to grind to a prescriptive halt because the child in me wants to read on, read on, read on. I cared soooo much about the characters, about Harry, and Hermione, and Ron. (And everyone else too!) And Snape. What a relief (I knew it all along - I hoped so!). And there were deaths, and battles, and excitement. I cried a bit (but did not feel compulsed to phone the Samaritans), and laughed at some rather good jokes - I love the Weasley Twins. In fact I love the Weasleys. I want to be Mrs Weasley!

For all the complaints against Joanna Rowling, none can dispute the fact that her creation has captured the hearts so many children (and er, ahem, grown ups). I couldn't get through Lord of the Rings past book 2, and have ground to a halt halfway through Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy (Sorry Philip). But the Potter books? I read the first five in one week before my PGCE, and read the last two over these three days past.

So what of the children who grew up with this series of books? One of them wrote in the Sunday Times today, that now Harry has grown up, they'll have to as well, but that isn't true at all. You can read them over and over again. Revisit your childhood whenever you please, and return to it with your own children if you have them.

Potter (Rowling) got the kids reading, and that is all that matters. The Potter books revere books - are full of other texts. So let he/she/it who is without grammatical error, who has never told instead of shown, or used a slightly unnecessary speech tag, or spliced with a comma two perfectly good sentences... you get my drift here... well let them cast the first editorial blow. Me? I'm keeping shtum, mate. I likes Harry Potter I does.

I am sad that the book is finished, but not because of how it ended. Rowling didn't desert her young/growing/old readers in the end. She gave us the ending we expected, wanted, dreamed of. Just as the Times reviewer said - Thank you JK Rowling. Thank you!

I suppose I'll have to get on with my novel now. But it is forming in my mind. Albeit slowly. It is about character isn't it? Nothing more and nothing less. To help the reader (who wants to really) to fall in love with the characters and care about them so much that they care what happens to them (enough to keep reading). Like little Anna, in Mister God, This is Anna, who I still see in my mind's eye as plain as when I read the novel over 20 years ago. Like Pooh Bear, and Alice. Like Bilbo (I did enjoy The Hobbit). Like Pip and his Great Expectations, or Cathy and her Wuthering Heights. The Giant in Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House (I cried for him too), or like every last one of Toni Morrison's Beloved. Character. It's all about character. And yes, Caroline, your dear Jude. She joins them all!


Jon M said...

With you all the way, there. Thick books frighten simple souls like me and it's easy to pick holes in any great book. It was agood story well told (and quite a bit of back story, well told, which was me own gripe!).

Caroline said...

I can't read this post in case there are any spoilers in it. But thought that I'd say hi anyway.

hesitant scribe said...

Caroline - no spoilers! I wouldn't be so cruel!

Jon - Yes - it's got me thinking lots about what I'm trying to achieve with my, albeit very different, novel. Hmmm.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

She wove and maintained a great story arc from beginning to end of the series She sustained her readers' interest throughout. True, the writing is not brilliant, the editing could have been much better, there could have been less backstory in No7, and personally I found the last three books and No7, in particular, far too dark and I missed the gentle magic that the first three books had - but that said, she has created something quite remarkable and good for her.
BTW - I loved His Dark Materials and tore through them - they are worth persisting with :-)

hesitant scribe said...

Vanilla - thanks for that - will give dark materials another go - incidentally my daughter said the same thing! As for the Potter - yes, I agree, now that the dust has settled a bit and I can take more of a step back. Do you know, I might even finish my first novel attempt (sci-fi philosophical comedy) after this realist PhD nonsense is done with!