Posted by: Opey | July 21, 2007

Harry Potter: Some Bad, But Some Good

I will first assure anyone reading this that there will be no mention about what I may or may not know about how the final Harry Potter ends. I wanted others to keep their mouths shut about the finale of The Sopranos, so I will return the favor in this case. I had a great joke about the end being set in a diner and the scene fading to black as a Journey song plays, but it’s starting to get played out. This book, and the subsequent movies and other forms of merchandising, leaves me with a mixed reaction. I have not, nor will I ever, read this or any other of the Harry Potter books. I haven’t watched any of the movies and I don’t plan on changing that. This type of book just doesn’t appeal to me. I read non-fiction or realistic fiction based novels, and the world of magic just doesn’t appeal to me. But, in the case of small children and a certain segment of the older population, these types of books give out a message of hope and a certain air of empowerment. If I understand correctly, Potter was mired in a rather unhappy life until he was given the chance to learn about his magic abilities, or something like that. That type of story allows children to learn to strive for something better and it presents it in an easy to take form. I am also fully in favor of anything that gets kids to read more. There are numerous studies that show that children who read, regardless of the subject, will do better in school and will surpass other non-reading children in other areas. All of that good aside, there are still some things that irk me about this series, besides that it is not my cup of tea. The all encompassing subject that best defines my problems with Potter is greed. I don’t think that there is anything that has not been touched and turned into cash by Harry’s magic. The books started the money train, but they were soon followed by movies, toys, video games and much more. Why couldn’t J.K. Rowling stop at the books? The profits form the books alone would have been enough for hundreds to live off of comfortably. And even regarding the books, after she has publicly said this will be the end of the line for the books, Rowling’s camp won’t rule out an 8th book.  The motives of profit and promoting reading seem to be becoming intertwined.  The merchandising also dulls the good aspect of the imaginative nature of the books.  It’s fine, in my opinion, for kids to read about a fantasy land or even for young children to play with toys.  However, when kids start to dress up in costumes and buy up Harry Potter merchandise, the line between reality and fantasy becomes dulled a bit.  All in all, I still think that the ability to get kids to read gives the Harry Potter series a good name, but it’s close.


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