Friday 26 June 2020

#Booky100Keepers Day 54: The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling (Bloomsbury)

Good grief, what is there left to write about the publishing phenomenon known as Harry Potter? We started to read the entire set of books about four years ago, and it took us nearly that long to get through them all.

At first I wasn't really sure what C would make of them, and I think it's probably one of my worst habits as a dad that I feel I want to get her as enthusiastic about stuff I love as I am. Bad bad habit, kids should really be able to find their own routes into reading.

Between watching the movies and reading the books I didn't actually have that hard a task convincing her that Harry Potter was a thing she would end up loving to bits, and as we read through "The Philosopher's Stone" the books began to sink their serpent's teeth into her - as did the world of Hogwarts.

Probably the most interesting thing about C's appreciation of Harry Potter is her intense dislike of the boy wizard himself, which holds quite the parallel to my own dislike of J.K Rowling, the creator of a world that won so many over with its appearance of appealing to hugely diverse audience, yet when you scratch the surface you find Rowling's blisteringly unpopular politics seeping up from the foundations of her bookworld like dry rot.

Like many authors and creatives, you've got a straight choice of distancing yourself from them and their work because of their outspoken beliefs, or you can choose to do what many others have done, and take the work and make it your own. We've had to do this so rarely on our #Booky100keepers list - we admire the work hugely, but the folk themselves are dumpster fires, best avoided when they're on a rant.

I didn't actually realise that it was a "thing" that quite a lot of Harry Potter fans are not fans of Harry at all. As we read the books C began to question just how HP ended up as "The Chosen One" at all. He seems to stumble his way through the books, saved again and again by his besties Ron and Hermione, or any supporting characters who just happen to come along at the time.

Think what you like about J.K. Rowling, but despite her outright thievery of just about every possible children's fantasy story trope, she somehow managed to concoct a book world that gets its hooks into you (and I still maintain that the movies have an awful lot to do with the colossal worldwide success she's enjoyed - and if there's one thing no fan would deny, it's the sheer amount of amazing work and effort that went into those movies - both by the actors and their performances, and the amazing art and special effects teams that worked on them to bring Hogwarts properly to life).

The books still inspire us, in that they feel comfortable when you dip back into them, that they spur our imagination (particularly our visual imagination, helped in no small part by the truly glorious illustrated versions we have with Jim Kay's beautiful work in them, and production books from the movies filled with awesome concept art and amazing props and costumes).

When we got to the end of our mammoth read of all the novels, I wondered if C would ever return to them on her own - to hoover up the bits where I skirted through chapters that weren't quite suitable for a ten year old - or bits where she might have missed some of the subtle allegorical stuff that J.K. managed to work in there, despite her sometimes really clunky dialogue and prose.

I sound a bit negative about these but let's face it, if a book series can have a huge effect on a child's love of fantasy fiction, who am I to deny that those books are keepers for sure? Damned shame about J.K though. All that money and she just can't keep a lid on her poisonous opinions (seems to be 'a thing' for rich folk in general, I guess).

Original Review Links: 

ReadItDaddy's Book(s) of the Week - Week Ending 22nd December 2017 - "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone / The Chamber of Secrets / The Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K Rowling and Jim Kay (Bloomsbury)

'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' marks J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros return to 'Harry Potter Universe'

"How can you NOT like Harry Potter, Daddy?" - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

Happy 20th (US) Birthday Harry Potter - A good excuse for a booky ramble...

When is the best time to introduce your child to the Harry Potter universe? A ReadItDaddy Editorial

Having the 'Bad Guy' Talk - What on earth do you do when your daughter loves Draco more than Harry? A ReadItTorial