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View Full Version : The Spell of Harry Potter...Give me a Break from it.



Bluebird
17-07-2005, 18:21
It's Sunday, and I've had three or four cups of coffee already, several cigarettes, for good measure; and in the absence of sitting at home, in the UK, and reading the huge Sunday papers in peace and quiet, I'm reduced to reading the papers on my monitor, in my Moscow apartment.

So, what else is annoying me today, one might ask - apart from the fact that I'm not in the UK, reading my beloved papers, in my sacred peace and quiet of a Sunday, in the UK? Well, there's a hell of a lot of noise being made, about a certain Harry Potter, that I find quite annoying.

Yep, you got it, I'm not a Harry Potter fan, nor do I subscribe to all the hoopla, surrounding his over-inflated, marketing, marketing wizardry. And, the reason is, that I'm fed up of this in-your-face marketing hoopla - especially in my hometown of Canterbury.

There is not a shop, apart from the coffee shops, where there is not something connected with Potter; from posters and soaps, to chocolates, and the endless array of other forms of merchandising. And, all of these things vying for prime spots within the outlets too. And, this is something, which I'm finding so in my face.

Having said that, I could admit that if I were in the retail business, I might just be wanting to cash in on the cash cow magic that is H. Potter but, I'm not. And, as a shopper, I just find it all rather shouting at me and, therefore, off putting. So, for me, at least, this aggressive marketing's having just the reverse affect.

Not that my refusal to buy and/or see anything connected with Harry Potter is going to upset HK. Rowling. She earnt an estimated ten million pounds sterling yesterday and Harry Potter merchandise worth an estimated 1bn has been sold to date - without my contribution. And, the very best of British to her too.

Am I just a grumpy ol' sod? Well, I could be accused of being just that and if that's the case, then so be it - I'm not afraid of standing up and being counted. Even if I might, and just might, at that be lumped together with just a small clique of others' who might think and feel the same way as I do.

Harry Potter's become a world wide brand and a marketing man's dream come true. It seems that almost every nation on the planet has come under H. Potter's spell - not least of all here, in mother Russia.

So, what is it about these books that's sending the virtually the whole world into a buying-into it frenzy; with people queuing outside bookstores at midnight, and waiting for the "final countdown" to sale time? And, moreover, even getting learned professor's turning their attention to discussing the sales phenomonem that is H.Potter?

Is it just a mixture of media hype, probable nostalgia, among adult readers, and a growing series of books that have captured the imagination of children?

Forbes magazine recently commented, "If a visitor from another planet happened to browse a recent crop of US Securities and Exchange Commission filings, he might get the idea that Harry Potter runs a powerful Wall Street bank."

Waterstone's booksellers estimates that on the first day of its release, the Half-Blood Prince will sell at least two million copies in the UK and more than 10 million worldwide.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown has said, "I think JK Rowling has done more for literacy around the world than any single human being," he added.

Mr Brown said that the character he would most like to be was Harry Potter, due to his courage and intelligence.

So, here we have politicians getting in on the act too. Brown has publicly stated that he thinks that JK. Rowling "has done more for literacy around the world than any single human being."

So what then about Shakespear, Hemmingway, Pushkin, Dostoyevskiy, Dickens, Tolkien, to name but a few?

And here, I rest my case. For a British Chancellor to make such a sweeping statement regarding literature and some of the world's greatest writers, and H. Potter's creator - that's when I finally say, gve me a break, from this H. Potter hoopla and hyperbole.

chizhik_pyzhik
17-07-2005, 20:25
So, here we have politicians getting in on the act too. Brown has publicly stated that he thinks that JK. Rowling "has done more for literacy around the world than any single human being."

So what then about Shakespear, Hemmingway, Pushkin, Dostoyevskiy, Dickens, Tolkien, to name but a few?

And here, I rest my case. For a British Chancellor to make such a sweeping statement regarding literature and some of the world's greatest writers, and H. Potter's creator - that's when I finally say, gve me a break, from this H. Potter hoopla and hyperbole.

I take your point about the marketing hype being excessive. But, being down on the ground in Britain it hasn't really bothered me.

However, on this final note, I think the amount of children and young people, in Britain at least, who have not only heard of Harry Potter but also read more than one of the books is far greater than the number who have heard of just one of those other names you mention.

It's a shame the kids of today don't read more of those great works, but at least some of them do read. Once they've read The Half-Blood Prince, maybe they won't be so daunted by The Brothers Karamazov or War and Peace.

Halyavshik
17-07-2005, 22:34
Chizhik,

First, I'm pretty sure that Bluebird was just posting an article that he forgot to cite as not his own, so I wouldn't direct your comments at him directly.

And yeah, the author DOES seem like a "bah-humbag" kinda guy. He puts forth ideas about a marketing blitz but completely ignores the fact that one reason there's so much hype is because it IS a compelling read. Yeah, it's childish, simplistic, and cliched, but it hooked me before I'd ever heard of any hype, and I'd be on needles and pins waiting for every next book if there wasn't a single article or news item about it.

No one's comparing Rowling to Shakespeare or Dostoevsky, but surely we can give credit where credit's due, can't we ? Hype or no hype, Rowling has brought a world to its reading knees. Made children actually interested in picking up a book in this digital age of computers, tv, dvd's and sega.

Maybe after Potter they'll pick up Dostoevsky and appreciate it more.

I just can't relate to a guy who wants to be sour-grapes about a phenomenon that's got people reading and seems to need no hype.

chizhik_pyzhik
17-07-2005, 22:46
Chizhik,

First, I'm pretty sure that Bluebird was just posting an article that he forgot to cite as not his own, so I wouldn't direct your comments at him directly.


My apologies for any misinterpretation.

Halyavshik
17-07-2005, 22:53
Accepted, just don't let it happen again.

Bluebird
18-07-2005, 00:15
Chizhik,

First, I'm pretty sure that Bluebird was just posting an article that he forgot to cite as not his own, so I wouldn't direct your comments at him directly.

And yeah, the author DOES seem like a "bah-humbag" kinda guy. He puts forth ideas about a marketing blitz but completely ignores the fact that one reason there's so much hype is because it IS a compelling read. Yeah, it's childish, simplistic, and cliched, but it hooked me before I'd ever heard of any hype, and I'd be on needles and pins waiting for every next book if there wasn't a single article or news item about it.

No one's comparing Rowling to Shakespeare or Dostoevsky, but surely we can give credit where credit's due, can't we ? Hype or no hype, Rowling has brought a world to its reading knees. Made children actually interested in picking up a book in this digital age of computers, tv, dvd's and sega.

Maybe after Potter they'll pick up Dostoevsky and appreciate it more.

I just can't relate to a guy who wants to be sour-grapes about a phenomenon that's got people reading and seems to need no hype.Firstly, the article (posted) was and is mine. So, I suggest you get your facts right, before making flippant remarks.

Secondly, like any journalist, for any paper, I'm merely writing my opinons - the Internet, and this (like thousands of other Internet forums) provides one with that luxury now.

Thirdly, it is NOT a "compelling" read for me.

And, last of all:

A) If it seems, to you, like sour grapes - that's your problem, and your opinion - to which your entitled to.

B). Who's asking you to "relate" to me? Certainly not me.

And, on a final comment; if the books seem to need no hype - then why all the hype then?

Oh yes, and I'm gloriously happy, that I'm being, at least provocotive, with my mumblings/articles posted...I'd be a pretty boring world, if we all agreed with each other. Thanks for taking the time out to read it and respond, anyway.

Halyavshik
18-07-2005, 09:11
Bluebird,

My apologies for not understanding it was your article. Talk about stepping in it, huh ?!? :) Given that your login location says "Moscow" and the article says you're in the UK, I errantly assumed that this was something you pasted, as is the case 99% of the time with other articles posted. I dunno how you expected me to "get my facts straight", however; a google search for HP articles by 'Bluebird' ?

I don't mean any offense, Bluebird, honestly, but you seem pretty critical of me posting my opinion when that's exactly what you're doing, as you state. I at least try to back mine up.

I said 'sour grapes' distinctly because of that; you seem to be very negative on the story and book itself without any other reason that you don't like the marketing surrounding it. You don't mention any pros or cons of the story and ignore the reason that perhaps the hype exists (as I implied in my above message) for a reason: people actually like the books.

You're entitled not to like them, of course, but to base a whole article on why there's this hype when millions of people really do enjoy the books is kind of pointless, I think. It's like criticizing people for liking Christmas. Yeah, it's far too commercial, but the underlying pricinciple is something many enjoy.

Anyway, apologies once again for not understanding that was your article.

Regards,
Hal

flup
18-07-2005, 10:44
At first I was also put off by the hype. Then I thought, what the hell, I'll see what this is all about. I soon ploughed through them all. IMHO, there's a reason why there is so much hype -- the harry potter series is entertaining, fun and addictive. So I'd say it's just plain silly to refuse to read any of the books or watch the movies based on the hype alone. Read it and make up your mind for yourself.

exprumos
18-07-2005, 11:00
"The Spell of Harry Potter...Give me a Break from it."

..and then you start a thread that you will spend the next 3 days checking, dedicated to Harry Potter. Good one!!

JK Rowling has done an immense amount for literacy; the minister was correct. She has created a compelling set of characters, and a fascinating read. Children and adults of all ages, many of whom would not normally read a book, are buying and devouring these stories.
Shakespeare, Pushkin et al have done an immense amount for literature. There is a huge difference, and methinks Bluebird may be mixing them up.

I for one will buy this book sometime soon, and when my kids are old enough, I hope they will read the lot.

Halyavshik
18-07-2005, 11:07
literacy and literature... methinks Bluebird may be mixing them up

Judging by his spelling of 'Shakespeare', you may be right !

veejay
18-07-2005, 12:58
i have to admit...was sceptical about HP when all the hoopla started...but i have to agree with hal -- it's got kids and people reading, and excited about reading. they are fun and entertaining, and what's the harm in that? so, people have gone a bit mad...but they have gone mad about books...and that at the end of the day is a good thing...

seedub
18-07-2005, 13:19
I am the same as veejay. When the first movie came out, I wasnt even interested in seeing it, but my friend and I were bored one day and someone in her family rented it, so we watched it. We were both really surprised by how much we enjoyed it. I probably would have never really read the books if I hadnt moved to Moscow, but I am glad I have. I personally think that what J.K. Rowling has done is phenominal. Its amazing what an imagination can accomplish sometimes and look at her now, she is estimated at being worth something around $1bil, and thats with only 5 books and 3 movies done. All this hoopla isnt undeserved, she has earned it as these books are very well written if not edited all that well. I honestly dont see them much as kids books anymore except that they are written more towards what kids will understand, but they have gotten so dark that I cant see why they are mearly thought of as childrens books. They should be more towards the young adults rather then the kids for 6-11. That of course is my opinion though, but still see them as thoroughly enjoyable.

Bluebird
18-07-2005, 21:15
Halyavshik

My apologies for not understanding it was your article. Talk about stepping in it, huh ?!? :) Given that your login location says "Moscow" and the article says you're in the UK, I errantly assumed that this was something you pasted, as is the case 99% of the time with other articles posted. I dunno how you expected me to "get my facts straight", however; a google search for HP articles by 'Bluebird' ?

I don't mean any offense, Bluebird, honestly, but you seem pretty critical of me posting my opinion when that's exactly what you're doing, as you state. I at least try to back mine up.

I said 'sour grapes' distinctly because of that; you seem to be very negative on the story and book itself without any other reason that you don't like the marketing surrounding it. You don't mention any pros or cons of the story and ignore the reason that perhaps the hype exists (as I implied in my above message) for a reason: people actually like the books.

You're entitled not to like them, of course, but to base a whole article on why there's this hype when millions of people really do enjoy the books is kind of pointless, I think. It's like criticizing people for liking Christmas. Yeah, it's far too commercial, but the underlying pricinciple is something many enjoy.

Anyway, apologies once again for not understanding that was your article.

Regards,
HalMany thanks for your public apology and I appreciate your insight and opinion.

I do not cut and paste - I just love writing, and I'm even prepared to go procvative, self-critical, and even a little satirical - which is my style. My English teacher once said that I'd make an excellent writer, and the pity of it all is that I never thought I would. Therefore, I never followed it up and, I now regret that.

Why did I write what I wrote? Well, I wanted to open this out into a serious discussion. My real motivation was - if anyone noticed the question...??? And here I'll paste in my question...

"What is it about these books that's sending the virtually the whole world into a buying-into it frenzy; with people queuing outside bookstores at midnight, and waiting for the "final countdown" to sale time? And, moreover, even getting learned professor's turning their attention to discussing the sales phenomonem that is H.Potter?"

Of course, it would have been easier, just to have posted the question, in it's bland and basic form. However, I wonder if the response would have been 1/2 as interesting and exciting to watch as it developed...???

The other factor is, I did realise that I would probably have "eggs" thrown at me - so to speak. But, I was prepared to face that too....No point in saying something, and then not being able to accept others' points of view - even anger, somtimes and then, at least, talk it through.

I'm happy that you have taken the time out to respond and critise my mumblings - with very valid points, which I wholly accept. Sour grapes, on my part?...Nah...Not at all.

I'm just a little cheesed off at seeing H.Potter stuff seemingly everywhere; almost as soon as I walk in the door of one my local shops, in Canterbury, when I'm home in the UK.

So, I'm wondering if H. Potter's the brand or if the brand's H. Potter? According to what I've read - even a few learned proffessor's are debating this moot point.

The fact that JK's done wonders for the (modern) world of literature, is seemingly beyond doubt, and she'll be a damned hard act to follow...But, achieve what she's done - someone, somewhere, sometime, will - I've no doubt about that.

My other questions are....Just how great-a-role, has the Internet and modern communications, helped her achieve such world wide acclaim, in such a relatively short space of time? I also wonder if research is happening in that area too - right now?

Halyavshik, many thanks for pointing out my 'typo' too....I get the feeling I'd love to sit down and have a beer with you sometime...If you're up for it - I am too... :)

PS. I did say that Canterbury's my "hometown"...But yes, I live and work in Moscow. I could've made that a little clearer, looking back at it...Point taken and noted.

Seems I've livened up the house of books and films forum a little - nothing like setting the cat amongst the pigeons - once in a while... :)

flup
18-07-2005, 21:17
I honestly dont see them much as kids books anymore except that they are written more towards what kids will understand, but they have gotten so dark that I cant see why they are mearly thought of as childrens books. They should be more towards the young adults rather then the kids for 6-11. That of course is my opinion though, but still see them as thoroughly enjoyable.

Not only for adults. Dark is good, at least she isn't being insulting to kids. My daughter has this tape with mother goose rhymes and it is disgusting, all the dark stuff has been sterilized. Humpty dumpty is happily put together again for example. I'm happy to see that this trend is being reversed.