July 22, 2005
Fuck you, Harry Potter.

New print article -- a lengthy rant about how J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is hardly worth the excessive praise and fervent devotion it receives from millions of zombified admirers all over the world. Fuck Harry Potter. This piece has it all -- a mini Hot Flash style comic, mini-reviews of other books, anecdotes from my time spent working at the bookstore -- even some more sophisticated literary and social criticism. And if you've got anything to add -- agreements, disagreements, expositions on certain plot points that may contradict certain arguments voiced in the piece (because, admittedly, I haven't read any of the books save the first one, though I have seen the fucking boring films that never fail to put me to sleep), etc. -- that's what the comment form is for.

This article is dedicated to all of the people who, like me, dislike the Potter books but are nonetheless forced to live in a world where their influence, at times, seems all but limitless. La Resistance lives on, my friends.

-posted by Wes | 4:35 am | Comments (63)
63 Comments »
  • Robweiller says:

    I bet there must be some subliminal messages encrypted between the lines of every HP books like "Buy my books, act like a zombie". ^_^
    I saw a talk-show yesterday concerning "Harry Potter vs. Catholic Church" problem. Potter Followers almost yelled at poor vicars that HP is nothing about occultism, witchcraft or black magic - it preaches about the importance of friendship and self-esteem - "and if everyone read HP, world would be a better place". Well, haven't read all of HP but they were bullshiting IMO. And they were acting like members of some very dangerous sect who bash everyone not involved enough 😛
    I prefer Roald Dahl to Rowling, the latter couldn't ever hook me in really. But hey - it's cool to meet more HP dislikers in the net. We shall uprise when the time comes... :>

  • Jaime says:

    Bruce Coville wrote a book called "Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher" and it's one of my favorite books of all times

  • Burton says:

    I like the HP books but they're definatly not worth all the hype. Me and my friend went to the Borders on the island on the night of the release. We didn't even know it was happening, that's just where we hang out. We saw loads of cars in the parking lot and were wondering what's happening. Then I remembered. Harry fucking Potter. We went in and people were actually dressed up.... I LIVE ON A FUCKING ISLAND. It's not even one of the better Hawaiian islands. NO ONE should have dressed up for that. I can MABYE understand doing it in like New York but NOT here. I would prefer if something like Ender's Game and all it's side stories or something got this hype. Then it would actully be worth it. Ugh.

  • Greg says:

    Sadly, everything you've described in the article is true in every one of the books and it wasn't just a few bad choices the first go around. Having just finished the latest book, it becomes more and more clear how much J.K. Rowling doesn't really care if her writing matures or not, cause she knows her books will sell like crazy, even if it's just "All work and no play make J.K. a dull boy."

    What's worse than the books, however, are the movies. Where the books are dull and immature, the movies are just painful. No artistic skill used whatsoever. The first two films are nothing more than books-on-tape, only with moving pictures. They picked children based on how close they looked to the book art, not on their acting ability. The dialoge is copied word for word, and things got cut from the movie for timing reasons, not because they're bad scenes (which they are). No artisict changes made, no substance in it.

    This was improved slightly in the third movie, what with the change in director, but not enough to save the film in any way.

    One last note. My family loves Harry Potter. All of them but myself and my dad are crazy for the books and film. My sisters have all at least reread the books and watched all three movies a thousand times. It's enough to drive on batty. This last time, they actually bought the latest book TWICE, just so there wouldn't be any conflicts on who gets to read it when.

    🙁

  • I bought the sixth book about five minutes after it was released, read it in the subsequent eight hours, and enjoyed it so thoroughly that I couldn't even get to sleep that night. 😀

  • De says:

    Finally another voice not buying the hype. Thanks for the article, Wes.

    I've never read the books because fantasy novels don't usually appeal to me, but if the movies are any indication of what to expect, I'll pass. What floored me about the movies were my friends' responses on how I would enjoy the films better: "If you'd read the books, you'll get more out of the movies and like them better." Whaaaat??!!

    Reading a book shouldn't have to be a prerequisite for watching a movie. I didn't have to do it for Gone with the Wind, The Hunt for Red October, Catch-22, or Great Expectations, to name but a few.

    I think what floors me most about this whole Potter hype is that the maniacs truly believe this is great literature instead of the bubble gum that it is. I like Star Trek novels, but I would never put them on par with Dickens, Lee, or Thompson.

  • Shaun Watson says:

    good for you. barely got through the first book without throwing it down in disgust. i can't imagine how reading harry potter SPECIFICALLY make kids read more. it might be a peer-pressure thing. that's not the focus of this comment, so i'll move on.

    the focus is that i really like what you had to say about reading not being fundamental, but instrumental. i don't know if that was something you had to think about or whether it came off the top of your head, but it is a brilliant statement. thank you.

    -swatson

  • Robweiller says:

    Yep, that sentence about reading is going to be my personal credo... Thank you Wes, you are my on-line hero... 🙂
    I reckon some people read HP because they associate themselves with the main character, especially the one from earlier books. 80% of world population consider themselves uncommon and above the average, having hidden talents which are about to show up someday. Dream on, dream on... :>

  • NJWT says:

    How about this? What kind of a shithead non-parent teaches her kids to vehemently chase after the latest craze? And people wonder why the rich get richer!

    Good call on Ender's Game.
    Did anyone read the Tripod trilogy, the first of which was "The White Mountians"?

  • De says:

    The Tripod trilogy (The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire) were decent reads as a kid, but they don't hold up terribly well for me as an adult. I find it incredibly hard to believe that aliens capable of taking over the planet can be felled by a single punch to the head.

    John Christopher had a prequel to the trilogy published in 1988 called When the Tripods Came. Unfortunately, the book tries way too hard to explain the inconsistencies in the stories than be a narrative unto itself.

  • Ty says:

    Ugh. The Tripods was drivel.
    Wes, this is one of the few times I haven't agreed with you on this kinda thing, but you made excellent points, and all of the other books you listed kick huge amounts of ass.
    Kudos for having a well-formed opinion that's different and expressing it!

  • Molly says:

    I took a children's lit class in 2000 and Harry Potter 1 was on the syllabus. It was one of the only books on there that I had not yet read, and I tried to find a way around it. I managed to read half of it before the final, and still got an A in the class. But there was something about it... sure, the first half was slow and dull but I wanted to know what happened next anyway. By the end, I was hooked and wanted to read the others (only 2 and 3 were out, then).

    It's weird. Over the years, I've gotten into many so-called crazes. When Titanic came out, I was one of the girls going to the theater multiple times and putting up DiCaprio pics. I've also found movies/tv shows/books to get scarily excited about... things that weren't necessarily popular. If I make a connection with something, I latch on. If something excites me and makes me happy, I will be one of those people who goes out and buys the merchandise so I can look at it frequently and be reminded of the thing I like. The thing itself does not have to be brilliant.

    With HP, I love the characters, the storyline, and the clever magical stuff. Yes you can argue that Rowling is not original but... what does she have to do? Go back in time and be one of the first people to write a novel, so that she can't be accused of using devices already used in literature?

    Okay so I'm an aspiring writer. Not published so I hate even saying that, I feel like a moron, but whatever, I WANT TO BE A WRITER or some shit like that. Literary agents advise that anyone who wants to be published should be very familiar with the genre & target audience for which they are writing... ie go out and read all the best-sellers out there that your book would (theoretically) be competing with. Know the market. But every time I go read a book that's out now, I think... fuck. This part here is exactly like something I wrote in my novel. And shit, this character is like mine... people are going to think I lifted everything from this book! Or, oh crap, this has already been done, so no one's going to want to read mine. Then I get paranoid and hate my own writing and want to burn it. But only for about five seconds.

    That said, I don't think it's possible to be completely original anymore. You just put what's in your head onto paper, do the best you can, and hope it makes something resembling sense. Writers, we all have it in us, and it needs to get out. JK Rowling is no different. It's not her fault 90% of her fans are insane.

    I do agree that Rowling has no reason to improve her writing technique. She could sell a blank book and people would still buy it. But I also can imagine how difficult it must be to try to write a novel while the public is going "MORE! MORE!!! NOW!!!!!" If I were her, I'd throw rocks out my window and yell SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But there would go the fans.

    I read a lot of children's lit for my job. I certainly don't think HP is among the best-written books out there. You're right about Maniac Magee, if you want thought-provoking social commentary and a writing style that's full of flair and fun, that's your book. Bridge to Terabithia. From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basiel E Frankweiler. And on and on. Why do kids flock to HP when there are so many better books out there? I couldn't tell you. But maybe for the same reasons I'm attracted to the books. For some mysterious reason, they make me happy. And when you've tried many many things looking for happiness and have been unable to find it, when you do find it in something, you latch on and don't let go.

    I wouldn't say fuck Harry Potter. I would say fuck that crazy woman who came into your bookstore. Fuck anyone who reads ONLY those books and thinks they're well-read now.

    There IS so much more out there. I just think so few are willing to even try to find it.

  • Netadmin says:

    First of all does the word diversity mean anything? Are we all the same color? NO. Do we all like the same things? NO. I am all for someone speaking what they feel just so long as it does not involve putting down what others like. So what Harry Potter has taken off yet again. I personally like them, but i agree in some aspects of people being controlled by it. I work in a library for gods sake. I see this behavior with the "unfortunate events" series.

    You can rant and rave, but honestly is it making any change? Why raise your blood pressure complaining over something petty. You dont like the books, ok. Say it and move on.

  • Wes says:

    Molly: I'm saying fuck everybody! 😉 But you're right that, while the books themselves aren't surpassingly great, the main problem with them is that people go absolutely apeshit for them when, I argue, they could be paying attention to better books. However, I do think Rowling is to blame as well.

    You rightly point out that she doesn't have any (practical) reason to improve her writing -- and so she hasn't! -- but I'd argue that the devotion of her fans is reason enough to do so. You see that your books are inspiring an entire generation of adults and children alike? Take some time to really write something spectacular. Fill it with positive teachings and thought-provoking symbolism and whatnot. Etc. Granted, I can't gauge the extent to which she's actually done this, given that I haven't read the latter books in the series -- but as I noted in the article (I think), even the people who love the books will admit that they're several hundred pages too long -- which, I think, indicates that they contain a lot of bullshit and useless fluff.

    And like you, I aspire to be a (professional) writer -- which is another reason the success of books like the Potter series annoys me. Here I am, trying to fill my stories with depth and social commentary and whatnot, and I can't get anything printed to save my life -- which suggests to me people wouldn't want to take the time to read my short stories -- but they'll spend however long it takes to read a 900 page story that has no greater didactic aims? Fuck those people! And fuck Rowling for feeding their cotton candy craving. 😛

    Netadmin: I'm not sure I understand your point about diversity (perhaps you'd care to clarify your meaning in a comment on this entry?), but as far as the point about it making any change goes -- I dunno. I like to think, however, that throwing out a non-mainstream point of view may help to put things in perspective for the uninformed and the folks in the middle! And, at the very least, a concurrent opinion might help those of us who don't view the Potter series as manna from Heaven to feel less alone in the world. Or something. 🙂

    And regarding saying it and moving on -- we've done that! Are you familiar with Scary-Crayon? Stick around! We've got a new article up every few days or so.

    By the way, I never met any raving fans of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events during my time at the bookstore, but it's far superior to the Potter books, IMNSHO. But that's a discussion for another time.

  • Netadmin says:

    Wait til october, i know book 12 is coming out in the Lemony Snicket series. The guy "supposedly" did not want to write childrens books but now there are 12. However, when the movie was about to hit theaters we could not keep them on the shelf. Which now we can't keep the HP books. The diversity thing, I think it was clarified, meaning we are not all the same. People have different opinions, thoughts etc.

    On that note I could clarify it more and more but why keep picking a scab? I agree that some people go overboard when it comes to the HP series. I wish i had a dollar for everytime someone came into the library and asked for the book 10 or more months before it ever came out. I'd be one rich B*$@#!. I told them to get online and preorder on Amazon if they wanted it that bad.

    However being that I work in a Library i have to just kinda put aside my personal thoughts on some of the things people read and the way they act. Which i am sure its the same for you being you work in a bookstore. But we can still laugh at some of them i suppose.

    I like the HP books, but I'm not dying to read the book at all hours of the night just to find out what happens. I'd rather sit up all night reading Unix commands. Im just more of a collector not a psycho. Anyway this has been amusing but i think we've chewed the fat out of this one. Till next time......

    Netadmin

  • Netadmin says:

    Molly-

    I agree most books have all the same story lines. Danielle Steel for instance, all her books are pretty much the same. I have noticed lately people like James Patterson pairing up with other authors. Lack of creativity? Who knows. The books sell though.

    J.K. Rowling started a fad, people are hooked and your right, she could sell a blank book and i think even then people would still come in 10 months or more ahead of time asking "do you have this book?". This last book in the first 24 hours sold 6.9 billion or million i can not recall which at this point especially after working 10 hours. But the fact is she established her fan base.

    If you want to be a writer, great. I do not however possess such skills to do so (guess thats why i majored in computer networking). Good luck.

    Netadmin

  • Lara says:

    I know this is a bit late, but I just wanted to say "amen" to everything in this article. I absolutely agree that the books are little more than hackneyed drivel and I find their popularity infuriating.

    I am one of the only people in my social circle who doesn't cream their fucking jeans at the mere mention of Harry Potter (I hang with nerds... so what?), and I simply cannot take it anymore. When each book comes out I would always get left out of some conversation or another about whether Sirius and Lupin would make a good couple or Hogwarts house whoever was talking thought they would be in if the books were real.

    After being told time and time again that I would really like the books if only I "gave them a chance", I finally did. I borrowed them from friends and I read them. All of them. Now I not only *think* the Harry Potter books are shit, I *know* they are and I can cite specific examples as to why to whoever sings their praises a little too enthusiastically in my presence.

    Now, there are some books I happen to really like which are admittedly terrible from an objective perspective (Storm Constantine's Wraeththu series chief among them), so I definitely can overlook flaws in writing and storytelling if the work is unique and interesting or posesses other redeeming qualities. I could find no such qualities in the Harry Potter series. Over and over again I found myself unbelievably frustrated by uninspired, contrived, or completely uncalled for "twists" in the story only to turn the page and find something even stupider had happened. In the end it's a wonder I got through them all, though I will admit I skipped a lot of the inane rambling that beefs up the books to 500+ pages when the same garbage could have been said in about 200. I'm anti-Potter and not ashamed to admit it. I intend to link this article to a few people who could use a wake-up call.

  • Lara says:

    Forgot to add how I love (re: hate) how the ONLY word ever used to describe Harry's love interest Cho Chang is "pretty". I guess we are supposed to just read her name and picture a stereotypical Asian girl, only more "pretty". Not to mention that unless I'm horribly mistaken, both "Cho" and "Chang" are surnames. Goes to show just how racially sensitive Ms. Rowling is, even while people praise her about bringing up such mature racial themes when dealing with wizard/muggle relations.

    She obviously just threw together the first Chinese sounding utterances she could think of and called them a name. I'm sure it would fit right in with children and/or racist dicks who pull the corners of their eyes and go. "Ching chong cho chang! Look, I can speak Chinese!"

    Come to think of it, I think once or twice there was another descriptive phrase used on Cho. It was mentioned that her hair is black. NO SHIT! A STEREOTYPICAL ASIAN GIRL WITH BLACK HAIR?!? WHAT WILL ROWLING THINK OF NEXT?!?!?!

  • Wes says:

    Thanks for the input, Lara! I had no idea about the "Cho Chang" thing. You're right -- that's bloody ridiculous.

  • Mike says:

    Ugh. I tried to read the first book and found myself wondering what the hell was so appealing about it. I might have been interested when I was a child, but through adult eyes, it's just tedious tripe. Then I wondered if Rowling had somehow imbued the tome with some sort of heroin that could be absorbed through the fingertips.

    The read wasn't a total catastrophe, however. Some poor Pott-head, who had obviously robbed his parents, coughed up over $300 on eBay for my copy.

    This post is late, and obviously piling on but I just came across your excellent rant.

  • debbie says:

    My grandson reads you motherfucker and so so I, I happen to like the stories, so does my gramdkids. so keep it clean for them. If not, fuck you.

  • debbie says:

    I love the books, keep them coming. I get real involved in the books, but then, I get into any book that holds my intrest and Harry Potter books or movies does just that. You are up there with patricia cromwell. and I just adore here novels. I have all of them
    Thank you for the entertainment. and keep them coming

    a fan forever\
    Debbie Heiney

  • Skeletoncrew says:

    LOL! I'd like to crown "debbie" Queen of Fucking Irony!

  • Wes says:

    Really! Seriously, Grandma, fuck you for expecting me to censor my language (and apparently yours) for little children who probably shouldn't be reading this site anyway.

    Also, what the hell is up with that second comment? I'm not J.K. Rowling and unfortunately don't have any published books, thanks very much. (But if you think I'm that great, feel free to donate money to the site and encourage magazines to print my work. :P)

  • evil ash says:

    damn good and damn right: fuck harry potter! theres nothing more to say.
    anyone left on this earth with a little piece of functioning brain knows where to place this incredible shit. but the worst thing seems to me that there are hundreds and millions of idiots who dont seem to realize that this shit hasnt got anything to do with a good book, a good story or any good kind of writing ever. burn in hell, potter.

  • drette says:

    harry potter stinkt nach fisch

  • PyrateJenni says:

    The books are popular because they're fun.

    That's it. They're not supposed to be Great Litterachoor, or teach morals, or anything else. JKR had the right book at the right moment to become a phenomenon, and that's exactly what happened.

  • Kacy says:

    Hmm, on the subject of books you don't like, here's a screenshot comic I made based on the concept.

    http://img506.imageshack.us/im.....cks0fa.jpg

  • Lord Chomsky says:

    I loved that review, good to see anti-potterism spreading like "a rotten apple".

  • JH14 says:

    *sigh* okay then, my points are as follows:

    Your article would have been a lot better if you'd avoided the use of the word 'fuck'. I know you're angry but using that word so often just makes the whole thing look like a load of rubbish piled together because you snapped or something... if you didn't repeatedly write 'fuck Harry Potter' I might have taken in your points more. And you did make some very good points. I was just distracted by the unnecessary swearing.

    Secondly, the race thing. And especially the Cho Chang problem. You argue that Cho Chang has black hair and that makes JK somehow racist.... but if Cho Chang had blonde hair you'd post a comment saying 'Cho Chang has blonde hair... JKR doesn't know anything, she's stupid and racist and I hate her!' and to be honest, I didn't find anything wrong witht the Cho Chang situation.

    Thirdly, Harry Potter is encouraging people to read. I don't know if it's encouraging them to read more in general or just the same six books over and over, but they are reading. And while you make the very excellent point that reading isn't necessarily good, I'd have to argue that in countries where children spend hours and hours on computers and watching TV, reading is the lesser of two evils.

    Fourthly, Harry Potter isn't original - now this one, I don't get. As someone else posted, it's IMPOSSIBLE to write a completely original book these days, but I believe Rowling has made a very good attempt at it. You can't compare Harry Potter to any other series completely and say 'look, it's just like so and so'. Therefore she has succeeded.

    Fifthly, the Harry Potter books are boring... isn't every book? There's always a small minority (or a large majority for the particuarly dire books) who find a book terrible. It's expected. Because not everyone is the same, after all. We all like different things, different styles of writing, different genres. But Harry Potter has proved incredibly popular. For anyone to say the books are crap is a completely stupid comment to make. How can they be crap, if they're the most successful series in recent years and probably, by the Seventh, final book, of all time? What a contradiction!

    Sixthly, I know fans go over the top. I'd refer you to Star Trek and Star Wars, both of which have huge numbers of fans dressing up and attending conventions. Harry Potter is not the only one out there causing Zombie like symptoms. And while some fans are over the top, is there actually anything wrong in being like that? I refuse the believe the woman in your shop really did love Harry Potter more than her daughter (or dog, for that matter).

    So overal, some good points made. But I'd have to disagree. (Then again, I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so I'm ever so slightly biased - But hey, I'm not a zombie, that's a plus).

  • Wes says:

    First of all, I'm glad that people are still reading and commenting on this piece! I wrote it in July and it's what, December now? Thanks for the continued interest. 🙂

    Now, to address JH14's points...

    Your article would have been a lot better if youd avoided the use of the word fuck. I know youre angry but using that word so often just makes the whole thing look like a load of rubbish piled together because you snapped or something

    Actually, while I do find it exceedingly disappointing that people lose their freaking minds over Harry Potter, I'm not particularly angry about it (nor am I surprised). Ocassionally, however, I like to represent myself as a lunatic on the site, so yes, the use of "fuck" was intended to convey the impression that I had snapped. And I feel like I should be snapping over this and other societal trends. So it fits.

    Secondly, the race thing. ... You argue that Cho Chang has black hair and that makes JK somehow racist. but if Cho Chang had blonde hair youd post a comment saying Cho Chang has blonde hair JKR doesnt know anything, shes stupid and racist and I hate her!

    Actually, reread the piece -- I didn't mention Cho Chang at all, because I haven't read the book(s) in which Cho Chang appears. As I noted in the article (multiple times, I believe), I read the first book. That's all. The Cho Chang comments were made by Lara, and though they sound like something I would've said, I didn't say them. My problem was with with Rowling's portrayal of Dean Thomas. Whereas apparently white characters like Harry Potter get to be scrawny and have shaggy brown hair and disheveled clothes and spectacles and whatever the hell shape Rowling described Potter's nose as having, Dean Thomas got to be "black." Period. Apparently, Cho Chang was only described as having black hair and being "pretty." Granted, Rowling is not the only author to exhibit this descriptive bias in her writing, but one cannot credit the books with being insightful and progressive books while failing to acknowledge this oversight.

    And while you make the very excellent point that reading isnt necessarily good, Id have to argue that in countries where children spend hours and hours on computers and watching TV, reading is the lesser of two evils.

    This depends upon what the kiddies are watching, doesn't it? I spend quite a bit of time watching children's programming (among other things), and I'd have to say that I find the bulk of it to be far more engaging and intellectually stimulating than the first Potter book or any of the Potter films. Knowledge of computers is also a valuable skill in today's technological society.

    You cant compare Harry Potter to any other series completely and say look, its just like so and so. Therefore she has succeeded.

    The key word there is completely. You can't compare anything to anything else and say that the two things are similar in every single aspect. Moreover, if you don't believe it's impossible to write an original series at all, where's the disagreement? Wittgenstein argued that tautologies are devoid of meaning, but they are nevertheless true.

    For anyone to say the books are crap is a completely stupid comment to make. How can they be crap, if theyre the most successful series in recent years and probably, by the Seventh, final book, of all time? What a contradiction!

    This only entails a contradiction if one believes that the tastes of the majority are beyond reproach. I clearly do not. Moreover, given the manifold attrocities that have been perpetuated by the majority throughout the history of human society, I submit that this would be a "completely stupid" belief to hold.

    I refuse the believe the woman in your shop really did love Harry Potter more than her daughter (or dog, for that matter).

    You would be surprised. But my point was that people exhibit far more enthusiasm for Harry Potter than they devote to recognizing the accomplishments of their loved ones -- or even their own achievements. Moreover, they likely spend more time geeking out over Harry Potter than they spend developing their own beliefs and analytical thinking skills. Or worshipping their gods. Or whatever it is that they claim to value.

    Whew!

  • JH14 says:

    Okay, maybe I said some things the wrong way. More than that the word 'fuck' makes you look angry... it kind of means I can't take it seriously. I read hundreds of people's comments and over half of them are idiots swearing repeatedly. It's kind of become indented in my brain that anyone who swears like that is a bit of an idiot, which is a shame, because I read the rest of the article and I don't believe you're an idiot at all. It's just the impression the word gives to me.

    The Cho Chang thing was aimed at the person who said it here in this blog. About the race thing in general, I still believe that JKR's books do promote an idea of racial equality, especially over the half blood, pure blood ideas. But maybe as a writer JK is guilty of failing to describe black people or asian people correctly. I can't see how that one thing can cancel out the rest of her work though.

    And the TV problem. Nope, I still think reading provides a better way of passing time than watching the average television program. I refuse to believe that reading a book like Harry Potter can be worse than watching reality tv shows and cartoons. And I don't doubt that a knowledge of computers is useful. But the average kid is playing video games, not learning programming languages.

    Okay, replace the word 'completely' with 'mostly' or even 'partly'. I can't think of another book like Harry Potter. There are other books about witches and wizards, even magical schools, but nothing like Harry Potter. It is original - or at least it works old stories and traditions into a new, original format. I still believe nothing can be truly original, but there's nothing wrong in borrowing aspects of other stories.

    I'm afraid to say that whilst the opinions of the majority can be wavered, it's not going to be the case with Harry Potter. Although the fame the Harry Potter books have recieved is far more than they deserve, they're loved by too many people, for too many good reasons, for opinions to change. Unless the seventh book is a complete disaster, or simply blank pages, people will always love Harry Potter. Therefore Harry Potter will always be a success. Therefore the series cannot be crap.

    And finally, I'm the first to admit that I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I visit websites every day, I've reread the books more times than I can count, I was in the queue at midnight for the Sixth book and I read the book in just eight hours. I am obsessed.

    But I don't put Harry Potter above my family, or my beliefs, or even my homework! I wish I could, but I don't. I'm realistic. While you do get the occassional mad fan, not everyone is like that, and certainly the majority of fans are (other than wearing a lightning shaped scar on their forehead for book releases) completely normal.

  • Jade says:

    An enjoyable piece of writing that I found myself nodding my head to more than once. I can say with pride that I have never read the Harry Potter series, nor shall I ever. If I want to read a bit of fantasy fluff aimed for young adults, I will go with Diana Wynne Jones and her Chronicles of Chrestiomanci series. It deals with young, magial teens struggeling to fit in, a hidden magical city inside a normal city, "muggles", a school for young wizards, and a plot that doesn't make me want to throw the book aginst the wall. It was also written before Harry as well, yet Diana is compared to J.K. Oh well.

    I have also had the pleasure of working with the maniacal fans as well, and I work in a fabric store. In the months before a new book or movie comes out, creepy fans come out of the woodwork wanting costumes to dress-up and wait in line in. It's sad to see people under the delusion that dressing up in a giant robe/cape will make them look just like the professor that looks like Trent Reznor of NIN, despite the fact he is thin and middle-aged, and they are some pimply eighteen year old with a glandular problem. I do get a chuckle out of them, though. They think they can make a cape with two yards of fabric. The average pattern takes between six to ten yards. We see them come shuffeling in a few days later to buy more fabric after we told them it would take more than the two yards bought.

    Damn, I sure like to ramble.

  • OK, here's my two cents.

    I havent read the books but I've seen the movies, and I do like them. But, I still loved this article, and I still defend Wes' right to hate these books. I mean a guy can hate a book if he wants to.

    Also, I thought it was great how he mentioned those old books, and it does piss me off that so many wonderful books like these are forgotten (Though I don't belive HP is really to blame for that). I just wish i could find copies of Bruce Coville's "Space Brat" trilogy. Bruce Coville totally rules.

    But, the main thing I loved about this article, was that FINALLY sombody besides me is saying that no medium is inherrantly more intelligent than another. That not all books are automatically more intelligent than all TV shows, movies, video games, etc. A well written TV show, or cleaver Video-game can also be stimulating in the same way a good book can be, you just have to judge on CONTENT rather than PREJUDICE toward a certain form of entertainment.

    I also strongly disagree with the belief that it's somehow impossible to come up with an original idea. For example I think the anime series Tenchi Muyou was a very unusual concept.

    And Molly, I totally sympathize with what you're saying about coming up with a chraracter and then finding out that somebody else made something simular.
    My comic character "Whiteshell" has a condition simular to Alphonse from "Full Metal Alchemist". But, I came-up with and published "Whiteshell" a full year before ever watching or even knowing about FMA, and since WS has a martial-arts and organized crime theme. I think I'm safe from being accused of plaigerism.

    But, if I were you, I wouldn't follow that agents advise on buying best seller's and trying to emulate them, that's sure to squash your originality and ensure you write crap. Just write the story you want to write and don't worry if it's popular or not.
    Just like you said about, "Just putting what's in your head on paper."

    Anyway, that's really my two cents.

  • katie says:

    hey, maybe j.k. rowling isn't being racial when she describes dean as black and Cho as pretty maybe it just wan't that important to describe them because they are not main characters. She didn't go to in-depth descriptions of Seamus, Lavender, Katie, Oliver, Pavarti, or Luna, now did she?

  • katie says:

    I love to read, not just harry potter books, but everything. I don't think that you are being fair to the author of the book if you hate it before you have even read it. You should at least give it a chance before you post all these riddiculus things about it. IT IS JUST A BOOK!!!
    If you have read it, you have every right to not like it, it is your opinion. I however also plan to be a writer and enjoy the competition of the harry potter books, they expand my imagination and encourage me to work harder.
    One last thing, I just hope you all know that by doing this you are just adding to the never ending fuss about harry potter. Which is probably the exact opposite of what you wanted to do.
    Good Job Guys!!!

  • Meg says:

    I love Harry Potter. I don't see why people like you have to ruin it. You're steriotyping us. Not all of us are like that. I don't wait in line for the books to come out. I don't read the books in one day. If you don't like Harry Potter then so be it, but for the rest of us who do lay off. You have your opinion we have ours. Just leave it at that. You don't have to go putting labels on all of us. It really doesn't bother me that you do, becuase after all it is your opinion. You just don't have to go putting us in the insane group of people.

  • katie says:

    thank you meg

  • Yayoi says:

    Whoa. I actually came to this article after I read your TMNT anime reviews (which were, by the way, hilarious), so the switch in moods was a bit jarring, but anyway...

    Well, yeah, the HP books are not worth the hype--not many things that get hyped up *are*--and the fandom is a terrible place to be. But I guess more and more, I'm having slight problems with people who flip out because they don't think something deserves the popularity it gets. People "saying with pride" that they haven't read a book (I know that's not you) of this overly-hypped-up series are being just as ridiculous as the crazy fans, and more than a little snobbish. Oh my goodness, you haven't read a book, you're friggin' amazing! Yay for not sinking to the level of the masses! I suppose you never eat at MacDonald's or buy clothes at the Gap? And, whoa, too cool for all those Survivor rip-offs, right? I mean, good lord, I don't watch the shows because I actually do think they're drivel, but I don't go around foaming at the mouth and/or acting all superior because of that.

    Ok, sorry, that was a slight digression and not targeted at you, more at some of the people who commented. I'll get back to your article now. Maybe your issue is more with the fans, who make these books out to be more than they actually are, and less with the books. If Harry Potter had not become an insane fad, I honestly doubt you would have written this article.

    I've read the Harry Potter books and genuinely enjoyed them (and look, I'm saying that "with pride"), but that was because I didn't sit there trying to psycho-analyze every aspect of the book. All that stuff people bring up about the books dealing with racism and other "serious" issues is just nonsense; it's a bunch of fans trying to make a fluffy book into more than it actually is. So riling on J.K. Rowling for something her fans have created is unfair. All J.K. Rowling was and is doing is telling a story that she had intended to tell her daughter--she thought magic and wizards and witches would be fun, so she wrote a story in which they actually existed and were integrated into the world at large. Entirely original? Of course not. Kind of cute? Sure. I enjoyed the spell that allowed witches being burned at the stake to enjoy a "tickling sensation;" it was fun, it gave an amusing explanation of why the witches couldn't just escape from a stake if they really had power (answer: they could, they just chose not to), and then you move on.

    Regarding what Lara said up there about "Cho Chang," that's really an unfair remark. I am Chinese, and I assure you, "Cho" does not have to be a last name. I'm not saying Rowling gave intense thought to picking out the girl's name, but it's not as insulting or racially insensitive as you guys are making it out to be. Depending on the character that matches the pronounciation, "Cho" can very well be a first name--Romanizing the language just tends to make people unfamiliar with the language think that everything that sounds like "Chang" (or "Cho") must be the same word.

    In fact, this whole J. K. Rowling is racially insensitive is just...I dunno, kind of a pointless argument. If a Chinese writer wanted to write a book where American characters feature, chances are he or she will describe the Chinese people with great detail, and the American as "blonde," especially if the American is not a major character (incidentally, like Dean Thomas and Cho). Does this mean the Chinese writer is uncaring about race, or that he's racist? Hardly. You just tend to describe what you're familiar with more easily. What this means for J.K. Rowling is that she's not giving that much thought into her books--she's not sitting there going, "OMG am I being PC??" This should hint to the readers that we shouldn't give it that much thought either. Save that for Kant. I understand that you're finding these points annoying because people keep putting Rowling on a pedestal for dealing with "real" issues, but by actually trying to debunk them, you're taking those guys far more seriously than they deserve.

    I also note a recurring point in your article: whether or not HP is educational and good for kids, whether they make someone a better person after reading it. I put forth the argument that HP is hardly intended to be any of those things; it is, as I've said before, a piece of FLUFF. Cotton candy for the eyes and the mind. It "teaches" things like most fluffy children's pieces "teach" things: be nice to friends, help them out, killing people is bad, love is good...I dunno, stuff like that. Comparing HP to classics like Maniac Magee is expecting too much of it, because Maniac Magee was written to include those issues, HP was written just for fun.

    You're obviously well entitled to your opinion, but I'm just asking for a little fairness. Yes, there are better books. Yes, the slobbering fans in the bookstore probably worked on your last nerve. But for a fun kids' book, J.K. Rowling has really done quite well. And while your words on reading are mostly true for people who already read, the fact remains that there are far too many kids who *don't* read--anything, educational or useless. They don't even watch educational programs on TV as you've pointed out in a comment. No, they sit on their behinds and play violent video games, or watch shows with no value whatsoever--they aren't even good stories. The lack of imagination in these chlidren is appalling, and you can't get them to open a book if you tried. J.K. Rowling deserves some praise for getting these types of people to read. After the HP books, chances are they will pick up other books, better books like the ones you've mentioned in your article. I appreciate Rowling not for her amazing writing (b/c it's not amazing), not for her deep insights into human nature (it's a children's series, people, it's not "deep."). I appreciate Rowling for being amusing, for trying to write a fantasy children's story that at LAST does something beyond Tolkien ripoffs (and that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the other authors who try the same thing, some of whom you've mentioned in your article), and for getting a high school classmate, who prides herself on never finishing a book, to actually finish a book (Sorcerer's Stone). At least now that she's been taught all reading is not painful, that girl will have more reason to pick up a different book in the future. Plus, I would even argue for some intrinsic value in the act of reading itself. This may be just because I've been around way too many people who don't read at all, but the lack of immediate rewards in most books (and I would argue HP books are those types; in any case, she still writes better than James Patterson), and the lack of visual stimuli (i.e. in TV) makes reading a more challenging mental activity. And people need to work their freakin' brains more.

    Sorry this is so ridiculously long. I'm not insulted or anything, and I hope you aren't either. It's just that, well, I came to this site because of your hilarious TMNT reviews like I said in the beginning, and it surprised me to see you expecting Harry Potter to be so much more than it actually is, when you treat TMNT with such fond amusement.

    Thanks for the article though, it was an interesting read. 🙂

  • Avalock says:

    Yes, Sir-- would you write another?

    I agree wholeheartedly, and have since these books first hit the stores back in ['98?] I worked a Borders at the time, and the initial response to these books was gutwrenching enough. The rise of this cult since then has been nothing short of intestinal.

    Something else I might add to the fury you've vented is this: Bloodlines?

    The notion that either skill or ineptitude is buried in the blood, and that children can only aspire to what's coded in their DNA is a fucking travesty. Or, that you already have to be special in some way in order to ever truly be Special? Fuck That.

    Even the name "Half-Blood Prince" is offensive to a Thinking Person. Any real study that's ever been done with regard to Aptitude in Children usually comes back with the conclusion that it is Interest and Cultural Values that determine what it is a kid ends up being Good At. Not what's floating around in their Hemoglobin. Moreover, it really is a matter of Greater Merit when an individual overcomes difficulty and manages to excel in their Field of Interest than it does to hear about some "Natural Born Winner" sort-of-twat who dominates things.

    Just more Victorian Eugenic Bullshit, as far as I can tell.

    Cheers, Dude. Thanks for the rantspace.

  • Matto says:

    Ok, I am, let's see, a year late, but reading this article made me want to give you a big THANK YOU for finally showing that J.K. is just some lazy bitch who knows that her books will sell.

    Cheers.

  • Anonymous says:

    ya dude harry potter is a fucker and an ass hole. what do you have to say about the new movie. fuck it. your website is funny. aqain fuck hairy potter.

  • jared rice says:

    fuck hary potter hes whiter then snow. he is a great domb ass bitchhed who thinks hes magical. if i saw him in real life i would shuv a brum up his white white white ass hole. fuck harry potter.

  • Brad Avooske says:

    Fuck Harry Potter! Why people are so enthralled over this bullshit totally escapes me. Get a life...get a job!!!

  • Starman69 says:

    Holy moley. I must say that it is quite refreshing to read/hear about someone who finds the whole Harry Potter phenomenon to be utterly ridiculous and super duper absurd. Grown people losing their water over sub juvenile "literature" has baffled me since day 1. I watched the 1st H.P. movie after much hype and excitement, I figured certainly this must be GREAT! Oh no dear friends, I immediately realized that there is no accounting for taste and that the brains AND imaginations of millions are securely wrapped up in hype with no substance whatever. "I like it cuz someone else said they like it." "I like it cuz you like it". "He he he, isn't this fun?" Just kill me now. Wanna read a book that should be celebrated? Read the brothers karamazov. Fine writing, incredible story...But who am I to say? Dostoyevsky died poor, and a long time ago. Rowling is alive and well and VERY well off! Jokes on who?

  • grh says:

    I found this site while searching for the phrase "fuck Harry Potter", and I just wanted to say A-freakin-men. We are, hopefully, coming towards the end of this madness and will be granted a brief reprieve from it before the lemmings choose another cliff to go dive off of.

    I want to say, children liking these books does not bother me in the least, adults liking these books doesn't bother me. Children up to a certain age showing a little more exuberance than necessary for these books is just fine with me, but beyond the early teen years, I think it's time for every fanatic to grow up a little.

    I've been treated to seven long years of people behaving as if giving away the ending to a book is a moral outrage. A moral outrage. As of this very moment, victims of Hurricane Katrina have been languishing in FEMA trailers for two years, many unable to keep jobs because they have no access to transportation or childcare. But spoiling the ending to a Harry Potter book is a moral outrage. The employees of the book stores that sell these books are paid minimum wage, many of them have to raise children on that one paycheck, cannot afford health care, and struggle to bridge the gap between food stamps and their actual grocery needs. People are starving to death on the minimum wage while the middle class lines up to throw money away that they'd never dream of giving to someone in need. But giving away the ending of that book would be a grave transgression.

    Our priorities as a culture are so far out of whack. Rowling has not caused this drift with her books, but certainly our unwillingness to question the value people have invested in those books has contributed. I question it, I charge the fanatics to regain their grips, realize that it's just a bunch of children's books, and remember that there are more important things in life. Take that $20 you were going to give to the richest author on the planet and donate it to a homeless shelter, trust me when I tell you she will never miss it.

  • PotterKiller says:

    I agree fuck harry potter

  • marekk, warsaw, poland. says:

    what a great article it is, Wes!

    thank you for that, man! I was searching for persons who dislike, the harry FUCKING potter, but what I've come across (meaning your article) I wasn't even counting on. you provide the readers with many interesting issues/hints (just re-mention the mother and sciencie daughter at your store) on the f*****g harry, that I 'veread the article just with an open mouth...

    ... just kidding - I am not a potter fan 😀

    For those potter fans I would be perceived as the one 'who haven't even read any single MASTERPIECE' (irony) but let me justify myself - I simply don't follow the crowd and was not interested in the story at the very f......g beginning of it. moreover, the paranoia it has created only could increase my attitude.

    thank you for the article, Wes.
    will try to promote it within Poland 🙂

    b. regards,

  • Don says:

    I was going to say something witty and with food for thought about this Harry Potter crap but I think most folks here have voiced what i wanted to say already. So I guess all I can say is this:

    Fuck Harry Potter, Fuck that be-itch J.K. Rowling and Fuck the fucking fans that go nuts over this stupid lame book...Fuck them twice...no Fuck them again...NO STILL NOT ENOUGH!!!...Fuck the fucking bastards till they bleed out the mouth!!!

    Ok...ok...I am cool...I'm ok....Sorry I am just so fed-up with this HP shit....I guess the fans are just...

    Nah!

    FUCK THAT!

    FUCK HARRY FUCKING POTTER!!!!

    There!

  • lili says:

    well i totally agree with you hp is written from devil and there is like 100000000000000000000000000000000000 better books

  • Jester says:

    Hey, Wes,
    Not sure why but i thought I'd get your take on the recent revelation by Rowling that Pro. Dumbledore is gay. I assume that is is an attempt now that the series is finished to add more "diversity" to the cast which is predominantly white heterosexuals , but I've been met flack from Potterphiles. Comments?

    Jester

  • Wes says:

    I think it's pretty lame, actually. Insofar as Rowling really had decided upon Dumbledore's sexual orientation previously, she essentially implemented the "don't ask, don't tell" policy with respect to him in order to keep the revelation from potentially cutting into her profits and inviting controversy when it might have mattered. I'd have applauded her if Dumbledore's sexuality had been explicitly mentioned in the story -- insofar as it was relevant to mention, of course -- but retroactive characterizations of this sort are both useless and cowardly. Once again, fuck J.K. Rowling.

  • antihp says:

    ok i am writing it for all cristian people this books are written from devil i am cristian ok and since God says no to magic i say it too besides playing with magic is dangerous for cristian and atheists well of course you can say harry is good he fights bad yeah sure he is wizard and they are bad people they say us "you dont need God you have your own power" jk rowlling borrowed ideas for books from celtic and some other occult so i fell really sorry that many cristians people read this books an dare also part of hp fan clubs. my dear people wake up those books are totally satanistic so next time let your children read bible otr an yother books instead of thi satanistic books.

    God bless you!

  • Jester says:

    Well, here's another Harry Potter related annoyance. I work at a grocery store, maybe even better called a supermarket and we have a small video department where I occationally work (Which rocks cause I can rent for free....boss. But I digress). The video manager calls me up to the counter and tells me she has this preposterous document for me to read. I look it over and it's the requirements for a retailer on how to promote the upcoming DVD release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I thought I'd share it with you and see if it makes you all chuckle half a much as it did me.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/4676.....quirements

    Enjoy,
    Jester

  • charli says:

    So I too found this article after searching for "Fuck you Harry Potter!"
    And it's well written with exaples for each arguement. I love when people have well thought out opinons. Very entertaining as well.
    I was never a crazy dress up and foam at the mouth while waiting in line for the book. I like the idea of Harry Potter and to me it had so much potential to be the kind of children's book with deeper themes, but it failed. I just fell out of touch with the series after the third book.
    I'm going to check out the books you suggested. I'll admit that the covers of the My Teacher is An Alien series always scared me into not reading them.

  • erma says:

    on one hand, I do agree that there are much better books in the world to be read and people need to calm down on the hype and get a life outside of hogwarts. But at the same time, you have to think of it through someone elses perspective. If there was an author that you loved and thought was brilliant, wouldn't you be excited to read the next one?...While I dont agree with people who think harry potter is the next jesus christ, I do accept the fact that they are passionate about something (shitty or not)...so many people in this world lack passion.

  • calc says:

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH,
    I completely agree with everything you said in your "Fuck Potter" article, except maybe that a critic should suggest better works, ideas or whatever, because some "works," like the Harry Potter series, deserve nothing more than outright ridicule and dismissal.

    These books are so horrible that the fact they are so immensely popular should be insulting to humans as a species. So, fuck you Rowling, fuck you Harry, and fuck all of idiots who bought the books.

  • Fuck Harry Potter says:

    The books are ok but the MOVIES ARE FUCKING TERRIBLE especially the 6 one, IT FUCKING BLOWED ASS, biggest waist of time

  • Vicki says:

    Please be, at least, maybe, just a touch (or not really, which is probably the case, on account of you have no idea if what I'm about to say is actually true) relieved to know that at least one (i.e. me) person who loves the Harry Potter books, is actually able to read more than the description of other, better, more intelligent books. And, for what it's worth, while I've never read the Teacher series, Maniac Magee itself has a spot on in my bookcases.

  • Harrry Pottter says:

    FUCK ALLLLL OF YOUUUU AND HARRRRY POOOTER

    FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKTARDED BASTARDS ALL OF YOU FUCCCCCKERS WITH NO FUCCCCKING LIVVVVES!!!!!!!!!

  • GS Higley says:

    Thank you at least for the mention of Bruce Coville and the "My Teacher is..." series. truly one of my favorites as a child.

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