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Harry Potter's Popularity  
User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5632 posts, RR: 5
Posted (9 years 11 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1054 times:

Take this theory with a grain of salt, as I've only read two of the Harry Potter books (Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets), but I've got a theory as to why they're so hugely popular with readers of all ages. It's not J.K. Rowling's writing skill, as excellent as it may be, or the adventures Harry encounters, or the spells and supernatural creatures we meet. It's something much more mundane - the way that most of the children and young adult characters are like people most of us really know.
Consider some of the major ones: the loyal buddy who'll stick with us through anything (Ron); the smart, teacher's pet-ish girl who just barely manages to avoid being an obnoxious know-it-all (Hermione); the spoiled brat (Dudley); the superjock, who lives and breathes sports (Oliver, the let's-practice-at-dawn Quidditch captain); the kid who gets a bit of authority and becomes slightly drunk with power (Percy the prefect); and the archenemy who just hates our guts (Draco). And let's not forget Harry himself, a super-capable achiever who's bewildered by his abilities.
I've been out of school for years yet can picture kids who fit squarely into most of those categories. I'm certainly not alone. And that, in my opinion, is the secret to Harry Potter's huge popularity.


"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineScottieprecord From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1363 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1042 times:

I'm going to have to agree with you on that one. That makes it easy to picture yourself in the book as Harry or one of the others. When I was reading the books a few years ago, I seem to remember doing that... Embarrassment

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21411 posts, RR: 54
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1041 times:

I don´t think so... That formula is used by writers everywhere. You´d find very similar characters in fiction of any kind.

At least for me, 90+% of the appeal is in the world she creates, filled with references, absurd and satirical, still "realistic" in many ways. It´s a great combination. And, of course, ironical humour always helps...  Wink/being sarcastic


User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5632 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 5 days ago) and read 1014 times:

At least for me, 90+% of the appeal is in the world she creates, filled with references, absurd and satirical, still "realistic" in many ways. It´s a great combination. And, of course, ironical humour always helps...

Those things are important, for sure. Even so, the child characters with whom we can identify are a major part of the books' appeal. Other fiction writers may try to use characters of that sort, as you note, but J.K. Rowling simply does so far better than almost anyone else.



"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21411 posts, RR: 54
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1001 times:

No, I don´t think it´s in the characters. They´re too generic for that. Even the more lively ones.

They´re a good and solid part of the scenery, though. And that´s the indispensable part of the books.

Good characters are necessary, but they´re not enough. And not really central, in this case.


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 994 times:

I'd say for some, it's the taboo-concept of the series:

Seen sooooo many kids with fundamentalist-Christian parents who smuggle around Harry Potter books when they can get away with it... ya know, the types (when you were growing up) who were never allowed to join you at Trick-o'-Treating?


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13968 posts, RR: 63
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 987 times:

Concordeboy,

This might be true in the US, but e.g. my daughter, who grew up in Germany in a no very religious enviroment (now living in the US within a pragmatic, but Roman Catholic family) just loves those books. Nobody banned her from reading them. One thing though, even though she speaks fluent English and attends an American junior high, she always wants me to get her the German version. I think she wants something that is truly hers and she doesn´t have to share it with anybody else.

Jan


User currently offlineMt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6574 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 981 times:
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I agree, good characters help the story. IMHO the younger readers go for the characters, while most of the adult go for the story. So i think its a combination of both

Apart from that, i think that the books are indeed very very well written.



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User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5632 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 977 times:

Apart from that, i think that the books are indeed very very well written.

The fact that the books are popular with both children and adults in a sign of writing quality. Not too many other books have such a broad appeal.



"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlineMt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6574 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 973 times:
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The fact that the books are popular with both children and adults in a sign of writing quality. Not too many other books have such a broad appeal.

Yep. I have never laughed outloud when reading a book- usually i see "punch lines" comming a mile away, but Mrs. Rowing has made me laugh outloud several times. Dont know if i should credit her or her editor.



Step into my office, baby
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