Sunday, June 12, 2005

Harry Potter and Bluenettle's shame

After the ambling through The Da Vinci code, I finally sucumbed to persuasion and picked up a copy of another book I've been resisting for a while. Years, in fact. Yes, Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone has finally made it onto my bookshelves. After being unimpressed with the films and uninspired by all I've heard so far, a copy was ultimately thrust upon me, and I gave in.

All done and dusted in fact, since the first in the series is remarkably thin compared to later offerings. I imagine if J.K. Rowling had gone along to a publisher with a six hundred page long children's novel a few years ago they would have laughed in her face. Fortunately for me, this makes HPATPS (people call it that, right?) a fairly short-lived affair.

So, what can I say? I firstly must congratulate the author for managing to use an apostrophe of possession correctly, because I don't think I could have got past the first page for worrying about it if she hadn't. As for the story... ultimately I'm left feeling cold.

I really hate to admit that, because generally I find things are never half as bad as I think they're going to be. That's not to say I think the book is bad; it was well written, had a well thought out plot, and was reasonably humorous to boot. It just it did nothing for me. Much as I try, I'm can't raise any enthusiasm for a story about a gang of children waving wands about and chasing monsters.

Don't get me wrong here - I'm not an unimaginative dullard immune to fantasy. I think I crave something more intelligent than this, which I suppose is more than I'm entitled to expect from a children's novel. Now, if you spiced up the plot a bit, made the main characters over eighteen and threw in a bit of gratuitous allegory that I only half get, then I'd probably be raving. Some morally ambiguous characters would be great too. The whole good versus evil storyline is overhyped and overated.

Cast a spell on me if you like, curse me forever and condemn me to the dungeons until the next full moon, but I'm just not a Harry Potter fan. Is there something wrong with me?

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