28 July 2011

Why I am (not) inspired by Harry Potter

I know by posting this I run the risk of losing some of my followers and readers….so, for you Harry Potter fans out there, I would highly suggest you skip my blog post this time, as I would still love for you to continue reading my blog.

*looks around* Are they gone?

For the rest of you, and for you Harry Potter fans who have continued reading out of morbid curiosity, you may be surprised to know that I am not a fan of Harry Potter. Yes, I said it. I don’t like the Harry Potter series.

Now, before you begin organizing a protest against me, let me explain. I did used to be a Harry Potter fan. I got all the way up to Prisoner of Azkaban and then….I stopped. And I’m not sure why. With the final Harry Potter movie out on the big screen and all my friends, fellow bloggers, and movie critics praising wonderful things about the last movie (just take a look at a this review here), it has made me stop and think about the reasons behind why I am (un)inspired by Harry Potter.

Before I got into that, I will say this…it is a great book. I loved it when it first came out. It just made me want to go to a nearby train station and run into the nearest brick wall. But things changed for me, though. Maybe it was the media hype. Maybe it was the commercialization. Or maybe it happened when the movies started coming out and everyone loved it so much that kids as young as six or seven were in Barnes and Noble dressed up as the characters from the book.

And then, just a few months ago, when I was mentoring freshman during my senior year of college, I told a student that I used to be a fan of Harry Potter until it got really popular, and she said, “Oh, you’re one of those?”

Well, maybe I am.

But at some point between the series appearing on bookshelves and the movies showing up in the theaters,my opinion of J.K. Rowling and the world she created changed. She is a wonderful writer, but somehow I hated the idea of her selling out for this type of commercial mess.

Here’s where I get confused, though, because that isn’t how I feel about plenty of other books-into-movies type of writers. To this day, I still enjoy reading books by Stephen King and just look at the amount of movies his books were made into: Christine, Carrie, Shawshank Redemption, The Shining…all of these are classics, and I’ve seen all of those movies and enjoy them. I remember when the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out (which inspired my major crush on Aragorn…hang on I need an Aragorn moment…


Ah, okay, where was I?) Oh right…well, I loved that series. It inspired me to not only read the entire series, it even inspired me to write a fantasy novel  (…well, a good majority of one).

But not once did these change my opinion of Stephen King or J.R.R. Tolkien like the Harry Potter films did for me about J.K. Rowling. The thing is you rarely saw a bunch of people in a prom dress covered in blood walking around a bookstore, or a guy so obsessed with his car that it becomes more of a romantic relationship than a human-machine relationship (okay, maybe that one is a bit more common…)

But you get my point, right? What is it about J.K. Rowling’s success that just bothers me? The thing is you almost never see pictures of Stephen King or J.R.R. Tolkien strutting the red carpet (okay, I know, it’s a bit more obvious for J.R.R. Tolkien). And come to think of it, how often do you think of the author attached to the movie on the screen? For example, how many of you saw In Her Shoes? Did you immediately know the writer attached to that movie? Maybe some of you did, maybe a lot of you did…but for me, I saw a great film, and then realized there was a book attached to it, and then found a great writer that I enjoyed reading (and I love when that happens).

But I guess it is a bit different for J.K. Rowling. She did create a world that inspired kids everywhere to feel comfortable reading 600 page novels like it was nothing. I mean, how can anyone resent her for that?
I guess I just don’t like the hype. I do like the idea of the author of the novels staying behind the scenes and I don’t like being a witness to millions of dollars being made off of something should have stayed rich in the literary world.

Or maybe I don’t like there being this rags-to-riches story attached to the writing world. The writing world is hard enough as it is, so when I hear that story about how she stared writing this book in a coffee shop on the napkins, I just die a little inside. I mean, why don’t we just say that she wrote out the first novel in her own blood?

So, I’m not sure I can quite work out why I feel the way I do, but today…I’m inspired to write because of the writer that I hope to become. While I hope for the literary world that I create to be so real that people dress up as my characters on Halloween, I don’t wish that my books become so popular that it becomes all people hope that I write. I am inspired to write today because of the slow climb to success that I think most writer’s face…a climb that I have a strange admiration for.  And you know what? I’m inspired to write because I’m not wishing a tearful farewell to the world of Harry Potter (that I still feel got sold out to Disney). Okay, my last cynical comment I swear….




(Seriously, last one…for real, this time...)

 But, really, am I so alone?

7 comments:

  1. Okay, I'm not going to throw an "Avada Kedavra" at you or anything, although I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I can see where you are coming from with this.

    My sister is a lot like that when it comes to music. She will love a song until everyone knows it. Then she hates it. It's a bit strange, but I understand.

    As a side note, at least JK Rowling never played a part in her movies like Stephen King. ;)

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  2. I don't mind the movies. I'll still be a Harry Potter fan, eventhought I did't care for the last book. It annoys me when they kill off my favorite characters. You are definitely entitled to your opinion. I hear the last movie is pretty good...planning to go see it soon. :)

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  3. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. I guess in some distant way I am a little similar since I tend to avoid most things where any hype is advanced. I have not read any of the H P books and sat through only one of the movies. I think there is a fair amount of peer pressure at play in this instance. It is fashionably dictated that everyone should be part of the fan club. Perhaps it is that which is off-putting.

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  4. I have seen a couple of the sequels but not really into it. I guess, I just like something realistic. I am not saying it's lousy or anything..It's not that bad. My kids though like HP movies big time.

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  5. You bring up some interesting points. She is a wonderful writer but the commercialism that is surrounding Harry Potter does, at times, seem a bit much. Hi! Following you from Blog Frog in the Top Social Giveaways Community. Would love a visit and a follow back on my blog: http://blog.writerslairbooks.com. We are having a fantastic iPad 2 giveaway and I hope you will enter if you haven’t already! Thanks! Nice to meet you.

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  6. Not a potter maniac either. Not into wizards and such.

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  7. @Cherie Reich - AH! Glad I missed that one. :) I'm glad I'm not alone in getting disinterested from things that get way popular!! And I still am wondering which movie Stephen King appeared in! I can't think of any!!! And you are the third or fourth person who has told me that!!

    @Laila Knight - Aww, well I'm glad you aren't too offended by my post. :) I hope you enjoy the movie despite my cynicism!

    @Desiree - I think you may be right on that one! It's the peer pressure that makes me turn away from it (which doesn't only makes its appearance for me in books...it's happened in other areas of my life as well! Very weird of me, I know!) :) On a similar note, though, about peer pressure, I'm amazed the Twilight fan club didn't last as long as I thought it would! (Or maybe it has?)

    @Yetsky - Yah I guess I'm not quite into fantasy as I used to be! I used to be heavily in fantasy genre, and then I've just lost interest. I hope your kids enjoyed the last movie!!

    @Shana - Thank you!! And definitely the commercialism is a lot! And I'm following your blog now!!

    @Aguilar Elliot - yup, that definitely seems to be a sentiment on the non-HP fans!!! :) Thank you for reading!!

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