Sunday, December 12, 2010

Re-reading Harry Potter

I’m re-reading Harry Potter novels these days. Rather slowly, I must admit because I’m really busy on other fronts. However, some observations are interesting to note.

1. I’ve read too much by now. I last read Harry Potter in high-school. That was between 2001 and 2003, I guess. I think it was the very first fantasy I’d ever read. I was amazed. Rowling seemed so imaginative and new and cool. I was completely floored. Since then, I’ve read Tolkien, Gaiman, Pratchett, and several others. Rowling doesn’t seem that cool anymore. She doesn’t even seem like a very skilled writer. Don’t get me wrong. She’s still fun, but not that much anymore.

2. I’m noting how she has so many woman characters. Of course, there’s Harry and Ron and Dumbledore and Snape. But then there’s also Hermione, Ginny, McGonnagal and several other woman characters. Quidditch is a co-ed sport which has more than a single token girl in it. Maybe this is the reason for Harry Potter’s immense popularity. Many books alienate at least half their audience by being male-centric.

3. I noticed how Rowling ‘writes in scenes’. While this technique is often taught in writing workshops, I’m not entirely sure this is the best way to write. That’s why she doesn’t come out as a skilled writer in a re-read. That might also be the reason why the Harry Potter movie adaptations aren’t as good. The book too strictly defines every scene. Becomes harder for the script writer to change anything and not spoil the effect. Compare this to the Lord of the Rings which is writer in the epic format and was wonderfully adapted to screen.

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