Thursday, September 12, 2013
Reasons Why I'm Not a Fan of Harry Potter
Back when I was in 7th grade, a girl in my class came up to me and said, "Have you tried reading Harry Potter yet? It's really good." Being an avid reader, I was always willing to try new books. So, I read it.
At the time, there were only three Harry Potter books written. At first, I really enjoyed Harry Potter. The books are well-written, the story line is fun and exciting, and the setting was foreign. (Which is probably because its based off of the British school system.) Though the idea of a magical school for children wasn't really original (Tamora Pierce had already written about quite a few, as had some other authors I was reading at the time), I was a fan of those kind of books and enjoyed them. I really liked Harry too. He was a good hero character.
When the fourth book came out, I read it as fast as my hands could get a hold of it. It took me a day to finish it. I liked that book too. However, I began to see a pattern in Rowlings books that I didn't really like, though I could appreciate.
This is a completely personal preference, but you can argue with me if you want. Rowling was notorious for having a twist at the end of every book. However, by the second book, I had discovered that the twist was almost always the same, in a way that I didn't like. I'm the kind of person who likes the main character. I usually become the main character when I read, so I like someone who I can identify with, who is moral, and tries to do the right thing. At this point, Harry had all those qualities. However, I also like this protagonist to have the world hanging on their shoulders and to have the bad guys out to get them. In other words, I like the story to center around the main character.
However, over and over in Harry Potter, it would appear to be about Harry.
In the first book, it seemed like Snape was out to get Harry. In the end, he just happened to get in the way of the bad guy's plot. It had nothing to do with him at all.
In the second book, it appeared that someone was trying to set Harry up, but again, it was just innocent little Ginny being manipulated.
The third book was my favorite at first. It appeared that the prisoner of Azkaban was trying to kill and take revenge on Harry, which is my absolute favorite plot sequence. The whole book I remember thinking, "Don't be another twist, I like the way this is going!" Unfortunately it was. The prisoner was just after Ron's rat.
I was a little disappointed, but then the fourth book came out. Really, that's probably still my favorite book! I really enjoyed it, and I was really looking forward to the fifth one.
Between the fourth and the fifth is when the movies began to come out. Really, the acting was pretty horrible at first, but that didn't get me down. The ever growing hype was beginning to though. I had liked Harry Potter before it became a cult, so the fact that everyone was liking it didn't annoy me too much.
That is, until the 5th book came out. Just as quickly as I devoured the fourth book, I consumed the fifth, and to my horror discovered that someone had turned Harry into a monster! What had happened to the stalwart hero that I had learned to love? Somewhere between the fourth and fifth book, Harry had become an obnoxious, angsty, shallow teenager! To my horror, I found that I simply didn't like Harry the character anymore. My love affair with Harry Potter began to find itself on shaky ground.
The madness of the fans pushed me over the edge. Like I told someone yesterday, if I am already unsure of how I feel about something and people began making too big of a deal about it, then usually I find myself disliking it. I'm not a crowd follower, and I don't want to be one of many. I enjoy being unique. It would have been different if I still could love Harry, because I liked him first, but as the character deteriorated into self-pity, I found myself feeling less and less empathy for him.
In my opinion, heroes are meant to be strong and selfless. They are meant to be as much like Christ as its possible for a human to be. No, I don't like my book characters to be perfect. They all need their flaws and their growing, but at the time I read Harry Potter Book 5, I WAS a teenager. If I was going to be able to identify with Harry Potter as a teenager, it would have been when I was a teenager, right?
Yeah, that's what I thought, but I couldn't find common ground with the new Harry Potter, and the way that she treated her adults as well just made them all look incompetent.
I still read the 6th and 7th book, but it wasn't when they first came out. I just read them whenever. I watched all the movies (and couldn't stand Ron's actor), but I just had lost of lot of my Harry Potter fire. The books just weren't what they had been either. Harry grew up a bit, but to me, the books had lost a lot of their magic.
I'm not going to lie, J. K. Rowlings' world still fascinates me. I've read some pretty neat crossovers where other main characters from other series went into Harry Potter's world and took Harry's place as the main character. I still like Rowlings' world. I just don't like Harry anymore.
We'll probably still own the books and possibly the movies, but they will never be my favorite. I appreciate what they have done to help children learn to enjoy reading, but I like Peter and the Starcatchers and some other children's series much more. The Harry series is still well-written and fun, but personally I'd rather read something else.