Why I Hate Harry Potter


Over the weekend, I finally finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment in the series. I started it six months ago and then went on to pick up and finish dozens of other books while Harry sat neglected. But this weekend, it is done and I can move on to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This fourth book has me worried. It’s where J.K. Rowling reached the point that she was successful enough to pretty much publish anything. The books explode to over 700 pages. Will this help?

With the SCBWI conference coming up, this series is mandatory reading. I know Harry Potter will come up. I know other attendees will swoon at the mention of him. I know that J.K. Rowling is richer than the Queen and quite a lovely woman to boot, but I just don’t get these books. At least this year I can speak from having actually read the first three of them.

Here’s why I (gulp!) hate Harry Potter:

The Dursleys. Come on, this kid goes off to wizard school, yet every summer he returns to a family of Muggles who terrorize him. And why do these Muggles harbor such resentment toward wizards? Wouldn’t they feel thrilled to be related to wizards? They seem the shallow sort who would wrench all they could out of such an advantage. And why are they, out of all the Muggles, the only ones allowed to remember any of their encounters with wizards? It makes no sense. Can’t Harry just wave his wand and tie them all up for the summer? Yes, it’s against the rules but the rules never seem to stop him anywhere else in the books. Or better yet, he could move in permanently with the Weasleys. He seems to always end up there anyway.

Broomsticks, really? I can’t imagine why these kids get so excited about broomsticks. You’d think they’d be decking the things out so that they look and act more like snowboards, or skateboards, or even just bikes. All the excitement about new broom models feels so antiquated. And Quidditch? Could a game be more complicated? It seems that we get four pages explaining how it’s played, and then the game itself all comes down to Harry catching the Snitch which takes all of ten minutes. I hope they don’t charge much for Quidditch World Cup tickets.

Lame monsters. I love creatures in stories, and Harry Potter has tons of them–but so far they’re all dumb brutes. Whether it’s a three-headed dog or a half-horse and half-bird thing it acts just the same. There’s nothing that distinguishes these creatures from one another, and no lore or stories of where they came from or what they did in the days of yore. They feel tacked onto the story, and crumple when given a firm tap. (Though the ghosts are solid, you get a real feel for the ghosts and their history.)

Even lamer kids. Harry constantly bends over backwards to please his teachers. If I was Harry Potter, I’d be like: “I saved all your asses and defeated Voldemort when I was nothing but a babe in arms, and all you lame-o wizards can’t even say his name! He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Oh, you mean Voldemort, the guy who put this scar on my forehead.” Instead, he’s all yes ma’am and no sir, I’ll go back and live with the Dursleys again. And Hermione? Don’t even get me started on Miss Study-all-the-time and Tattletale. Ron is the only cool kid, and he’s constantly presented as the dumb one who needs to be saved by Harry and Hermione.

Overall, I just don’t like how the books harken back to the days of C.S. Lewis more than look forward like the work of Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer, or Jeanne DuPrau. There’s nothing that feels contemporary about the Harry Potter stories. Why wouldn’t Harry put his owl in the closet and get himself a cell phone and an iPod? Yeah, the owl can find people anywhere, but so can’t a cell phone.

But Harry Potter cannot be ignored. I shall finish, just another 3,200 pages to go and maybe, partway through this fourth book, it will all come together for this poor Muggle.

Advertisements

15 Comments

Filed under Reading

15 responses to “Why I Hate Harry Potter

  1. Pingback: Why I Heart J.K. Rowling | Scribbles

  2. Pingback: No More Hardy Boys, Enter Golden Age of Kid Lit | Scribbles

  3. HS

    Most of your questions listed above would be answered if you read the next three books. But since you haven’t, I’ll tell you the answers.
    1. The Dursleys: Why do they hate magic? At first, when Lily realized that she was a witch, Petunia was really envious and even wrote a letter to Dumbledore asking if she could go to Hogwarts as well, but Dumbledore said no (very kindly, I might add), so Petunia was jealous. Furthermore, Lily started hanging out with their neighbour, Snape (Yes Snape, he used to be their neightbour. That’s part of the reason why he hated James, he married Lily, who Snape loved). Also, Lily’s parents were all proud of her etc. which made Petunia even more jealous. Next, why they were allowed to remember? They are Harry’s guardian, and parents and guardians have a right to know. And the not allowed to use magic outside of school is not only a rule, it’s a law. Harry can get expelled easily for that. And since he doesn’t want to get expelled, he won’t do magic. Why doesn’t he move in with the Weasleys? Before his mother died, she evoked an acient magic that gave Harry a certain degree of protection as long as he stayed with his blood relatives for an amount of time with his relatives each year. This explains why Voldemort couldn’t touch him.
    2. It’s a broomstick that could fly at high speeds! And how is Quidditch complicated? It’s no more complicated, and a lot more dangerous and exciting, than sports like hockey and soccer. And since the book is based on Harry’s POV, and Harry’s the seeker, it would naturally be about how Harry tries to catch the snitch.
    3. For more about the beasts, read Fantastic Creatures and Where to Find them.
    4. Bends over backwards to please his teachers? Really? I suggest you reread the book. As for Hermione, well, that’s just who she is. There are many people in real life that are like her too. And learning about magic! Who wouldn’t be enthusiastic about that? Especially people from muggle families, who used to learn the boring stuff like math at school. And, well, Ron IS a bit tactless. And dense. But that’s Ron. It’s his personality. Oh, and who would want to brag about something that they can’t remember, that they haven’t caused, and that got their parents killed?

  4. judoka13

    Well first of all you are forgetting the biggest reasons the series is terrible and why I never got past the third book.

    1. Repeating plot devices and story lines. How many times will it take before you realize people that work in Defense of the Dark Arts are evil/corrupt/bad/cursed? How many times must Harry defeat a new monster that gets no back story, no lore, and no personality? How many times will Harry stay at school over Christmas? How many times will Harry save the day in a TEAM sport? (for that matter why even have a team HARRY will save you) How many times will Harry’s house have a come from behind victory at the end of year ceremony? I don’t need to read any more books because after reading the second I got deja vu after the third I felt like i was stuck in a good Bill Murray movie or a bad Star Trek episode.

    2. THE villains are lame. They are either bumbling idiots, inept, or just plain bad at their jobs. Seriously. Voldemort wants to kill Harry then do it. YOU KNOW WHERE HE SLEEPS. YOU KNOW WHERE HE LIVES. HE HAS A SET SCHEDULE THAT HE FOLLOWS IN SCHOOL. Any assassin worth .99 cents or more could kill this kid. Hell, magically whip up some small pox and take out the whole school. The whole child vs. adult thing does not work, adults are intellectually more advanced, more experienced, wiser, physically more powerful (just bitch slap him Voldemort), and have access to things children can’t buy like hitmen and guns.

    3.Useless tangents, There are soo many of them in every book. I keep thinking that these tangents will tie in to the book or maybe the next book but I am always disappointed.

    4. Look, just because you can throw lightning out of a wand doesn’t make an owl better than a cell phone.These books forget about things that exist.I am fairly certain that if Harry had an iPhone he could Google all the questions he has about his parents and everyone else he meets. Bad guys forget things like GUNS, BOMBS, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS, and ANYTHING ELSE THAT MAKES THEM NOT SUCK. magic and technology are not mutually exclusive if it was they would not take a train to school, or have magic cars.

    5. Hogwarts. Sigh. How about teaching things to children that they need like language skills, math, science (yes they have magic but it helps to know HOW the Laws of Physics work so you can break them. Just saying) Also worst security of any school EVER. You have MAGIC. Take a 6th level spell and put Anti magic Shell on all the parts of the school that do not have a lab and 99% of your security issues are solved. How about a MAGIC alarm that alerts you when dangerous, mythical beasts stop in to take residence? HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW DUDE IS A WEREWOLF? Why are you not using magic to screen your employees? I understand that not doing this allows her to keep her scenery small but it’s a big world let Harry have adventures somewhere else.

    • Selena

      Well! Excuse me! The story is supposed to have a mystical, old world feel. iPads, cell phones, my Lord! You want to hear Harry describing how he’s playing Angry Birds or Pocket God while there’s people dying for his cause? That’d be a sitting target AND a weak main character, just like Bella Swan. Language skills, sciences, […]! They’re NORMAL studies, and if you haven’t noticed, this is a FANTASY FICTION book. Your Harry Potter would be some kinda gangsta. Want modern, “cool” exploding bodies, lazy leads, and sloppy writing? Then don’t read actually good literature. Worst security, haha. One, it’s Rowling’s world, let her make the rules. Second, stuff like Lie Detectors would be howling in a second with students fibbing about their homework. And honestly, if you want to go modern, criminals have ways of NOT tripping security! You know, that’s how they’re not arrested on the spot! Take a magical powerful murderer, and I’m sure he’ll have Dark Arts and Charms to break boundaries. Child vs Adult, adult is smarter? And really, you want hitmen and guns? Wouldn’t be published. Bad influence. Go play Halo or Call of Duty. A child knows more than an adult, because they have no boundaries of the mind. Their imagination opens eyes. Their sight extends to everything they believe in, while adults have ideas hammered so hard in their head that they refuse to accept a new/foreign concept. Voldemort does not know love. Harry understands difference. As for “predictable”, then usually fiction ends in victory. Have Voldemort win, then. Wanna hear about suffering, terror, torture? I imagine that it wouldn’t go well with readers or the media, and the ending wouldn’t be satisfying at all. Well, now, let me think, Harry has friends torn away from him, and it hurts that they’re dying for him […]. Repeating plot and devices. Of course, you’d have to touch base on the storyline of previous books and reintroduce familiar things. Plot–fantasy fiction has a formula, just like every other genre. Plot repetitive? Well, something has to happen to Harry. You contradict yourself over and over again. If nothing happened to Harry, you’d be bored and say there IS no plot. If there was something jarring, you’d say that you’ve been expecting it. […]. 😉

  5. Sanity! If you really wanted to KNOW about Potter you would read this. The truth my friends can be found nowhere else because suppressing the truth is what Potter and Rowling are founded on. http://travelswithlipo.com/blog/archives/2312

  6. Harry Potter

    1. In the later books you will find out that Petunia hates magic because she was jealous of her sister Lily, being a witch and her parents being so proud that Petunia felt neglected.

    2. Why can’t her just tie the Dursley’s up? Because it’s not only a school rule, it is also a Ministry law for wizards under the age of 17 to preform magic outside of school. ESPECIALLY in front of muggles even if they are family.

    3. Harry couldn’t move in with the Weasley’s because when his mother cast herself between Harry and Lord Voldemort, an enchantment was created. And if Harry left the Dursley’s it would ware off. So he had to stay with them for a few weeks every spring break. The enchantment broke after he turned 17.

    4. Brooms are awesome! And Qudditch is not really that complicated, I could explain it in about 1 minute or less. Unlike muggle sports, like Cricket.. and it is all about Harry catching the snitch, well because Harry is the main character, it is in his point of view. It does mention Wood, Fred, George, Katie, Angelina and Draco quite a lot through out the books though.

    5. First off, why would Harry brag about his parents being killed by Lord Voldemort It’s just crazy. And Harry does not bend his back for the teachers look a little closer.(not trying to be rude there. ;)) Ron, well yes he is pretty dense. But that’s just how Ron is, and we love him for it! And there are many people like Hermione in the world. I get very upset when I don’t get good grades. So yeah.

    6. The creatures get better as the book goes. But I love Buckbeak and Fluffy 😮 I guess it’s just different opinions though.

    🙂

  7. Anna

    I think you should finish the books BEFORE you start critcizing the plot that you obviously don’t understand.

    • Carrie Ann

      Thank you very much. My sister and I enjoy the books. The rest of the books explain EVERYTHING!!!! Not much to say about the movies, but that’s Warner Bros.’s fault.

  8. manjit

    you obviously need to carry on reading, the plots are always different and so clever!

  9. Amber

    Read books 4,5,6 and 7. There are answers to your questions there. Stop criticizing the books until you read them all and completely understand the plot. Please.

  10. herman shinkleburgur

    harry potter rox bozo

  11. HP

    I suggest you read all of the books first before judging the story. Honestly, the Harry Potter series has an excellent plot. I, for one, consider it seven of the best books I have read throughout my entire life, and I do read a lot.

  12. AD

    Harry Potter is an exceptional character and I must say I am very pleased with the story. It has caused me several sleepless nights after I’m done reading all the books. The story has a great effect on me and I am almost certain that it also will for you once you’ve read everything. So have a little patience and enter again the world of Harry Potter. Trust me, I never left it.