Some random thoughts on Harry Potter

Some random thoughts on Harry Potter


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

opening in the USA in a week, I thought I’d just put down some thoughts about the Harry Potter book series:

Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (doesn’t include Cursed Child, or the other ancillary titles…this is the first seven books)

  • For a long time, a big thing for Kindleers was that J.K. Rowling wasn’t allowing e-book editions. I wrote about it myself more than once, encouraging Rowling to make them available. I understood the author’s feelings about wanting children to have a similar experience to what Rowling had as a child, but not having e-books disadvantaged those with print challenges.ll and the author had a laudable record of support for those with special challenges. I checked my own posts on Harry Potter, and the e-books were announced in June of 2011 (the Kindle was November 2007…around the same time as the release of the last of the original novels). They finally came out in March of 2012
  • When they came out through Pottermore, that was innovative…and strange. However, over time, that seems to have worked out well for e-book readers
  • Rowling has always been supportive of the fan community, which is great! The author has explicitly allowed fanfic (fan fiction) with certain reasonable restrictions. Rowling has interacted with fans through social media…I admire that
  • One of my relatives had someone tear one of the hardbacks into pieces…because it was too big for that person to physically handle. Not easy…we all love books, and doing that to a book was a difficult choice. That’s another reason why the e-books were important
  • The HP books have now been very available as e-books…they can be borrowed through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), and the first one is part of Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) this month (and I think it will generally be part of that)
  • I loved that they decided to stick with British slang for the American editions after the first book or so!
  • I didn’t have any problem with the appearance of any of the characters or things in the movie versions…probably largely because I generally don’t visualize when I read
  • I liked the movies 🙂
  • The books were, as I understand it, meant to mature along with the characters…and the readers. They become very dark, scary, and depressing…amongst the most disturbing images in books. Not Snape or the unnamed one for me…Dolores Umbridge was absolutely terrifying
  • I’ve been happy to see Rowling continuing the series, keeping it alive. One of my favorite book series is the original Oz series (fourteen books), and Baum actively tried to kill off the Oz series. Rowling did end it…but embraced the ongoing fan love
  • Speaking of Oz, the fandom reminded me of the Oz contemporary fandom. People lined up outside stores for the next Oz book. There were Oz clubs. Children wrote suggestions to Baum (almost like fanfic). There were movies, and Baum was involved in them. There was a stage show and merchandising and ancillary titles
  • The Potter books were ostensibly for children…and not only did they encourage children to read, they got adults to admit and accept that they read books intended for children
  • I think that, like the Oz books, they will still be a vibrant part of our popular culture 100 years from now and more

What do you think about the Harry Potter books? What are your memories of reading them? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.




16 Responses to “Some random thoughts on Harry Potter”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    I wish that the ebooks were available in the original UK English in the USA. It would also be fun to have Kindle In Motion editions.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Oh, I agree! I would love to read Philosopher’s Stone in addition to Sorcerer’s Stone! 🙂

      I read quite a bit of Brit Lit, and I don’t think I’d have problems with the slang…and if I did, I’m always happy to learn new words!

  2. Wildsubnet Says:

    I’m listening to the audio books for the first time (I read HP when my kids were younger). They’re good. All the criticisms she gets are valid (Harry is a little too perfect and Deux Ex Machinas rules the day in the early volumes). But Ms. Rowling spun a good yarn and the books are very enjoyable. She clearly grew as a writer as the years passed on.

    Also the audio books are well spoken by Jim Dale. Just wish he’d stuck with the correct pronunciation of Voldemort instead of adopting the film pronunciation. It actually annoys more than it should.

    Also the movies are a drag. Azkabahn was the only really “good” one (actors started to get it, tight plot, well directed). Revisiting the books now really confirms that … particularly Deathly Hallows, part 1. A film I absolutely hated so much I don’t think I ever sat for part 2.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wildsubnet!

      Jim Dale is one of the praised narrators of audiobooks…I’m glad you enjoyed them! I would naturally have pronounced it with the silent “t”, but I’m okay with either. I’ve never hated a movie…or a book…or a TV show…or a person. 😉 I like to say I have a genetic abnormality: I’m an optimist.

    • Phink Says:

      I love these audiobooks. Jim Dale is amazing.

      For the most part I thought the movies were just OK. Sometimes characters just don’t come across as well on the screen. Probably because of time restraints. Gilderoy Lockheart was an incredible character in the books. In the movies I could take him or leave him.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        I’ll admit: I’ve never actually listened to a Jim Dale audiobook, but I’ve heard great things about them. I probably still associate him first with live action Disney comedies of the early 1970s. 🙂

        Movies just are very different from books, and the inevitable need to cut things out (either out of the plot or depth or both) can feel like a takeaway.

    • Phink Says:

      I think I have posted this before on your post but perhaps Wildsubnet did not see it. It’s a great 4 minute interview of Jim Dale for Audible.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        I’ll check it out. 🙂 I love voice artists (an old friend of mine, Tony Anselmo, was the voice of Donald Duck for quite a while) and it sounds like Dale really falls into tht category when he narrates.

    • Phink Says:

      Speaking more of Jim Dale. I have also seen You Tube videos of him reading the book at a brick and mortar book store reading parts of the 1st book to an audience. The people go absolutely nuts at certain points such as maybe when he breaks into Dumbledors voice. It made me realize that I have no idea what Jim Dale’s finances are but he never has to be desperate for money for long. He could make a fairly good living by simply doing live readings in front of an audience. I have a feeling he’s not hurting for money but he does have that to fall back on.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        Well, online, it says Jim Dale is worth $10 million USD…so the actor may not have to test your theory that enough money could be made doing live readings. 🙂 I’ve done a lot of live events, and it’s not that easy to make a profit, by the time you pay for the space, insurance, marketing, and all that. Fortunately, if Jim Dale had the voice and stamina to do live performances, I think voiceover work would still be an option…including commercials, where there can be some good money.

        Nice to know Dale is that good and that you enjoyed it!

  3. Phink Says:

    If Harry Potter had not been one of the most successful books ever written then I would have never read it.

    Bufo has often said that when he was a manager of a book store he’d suggest to his employees that they read a book from every genre. That is great advice because there was a time when I just knew….I mean I somehow knew I did not care for books about magic, dragons, etc. I have no idea how I knew that but was certain of it.

    I finally picked up the first Harry Potter book for one reason. I just had to see what all the hoopla was about. Everybody it seemed loved it and I just had to find out what that was all about. I was seriously hooked on the first page. On page one I had to have more. It is now my favorite all time series by far and my top three favorite books of all time are Potter books. Also, my only tattoo, which I got on my 50th Birthday, is a small pair of wire rim glasses with a lightning bolt over one eye. On my birthday last year 5 family members plus myself went to the tattoo parlor and we all got different Harry Potter themed tattoos. It was a great family outing. What a great experience.

    By arrogantly thinking surely I would not like books of this nature, I had no idea the joy I was denying myself just as I’ve often said about reading my first book at 27 years old. I had no idea the joy I was denying myself by never picking up a book. Have I learned a lesson from this? Sadly no. I just cannot make myself read a romance novel. Surely, I mean surely I am right on this one. I don’t like that kind of stuff. I just somehow know LOL.

  4. Phink Says:

    For me my favorite parts of the Harry Potter series are not the battles or the fight against You Know Who. My favorite parts are when the characters are simply going through life. I love the little things such as:

    It’s the 2nd or 3rd book Harry is writing an essay about the history of witch tortures or something to that nature. He is writing the essay about the Salem witch trials of the 17th century. He names some witch by name “something the weird” who enjoyed being burned so much (it give real witches a tickling sensation) that they were purposely caught an X number of times just for the joy of it. When reading this I really, really, wanted to read the entire essay.

    Of course some of the points of the above may not be accurate. I’m going off memory of what I read.

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