Harry Potter

Character in one of the hottest book series. The books are for children, but reportedly they are just plain good, regardless of reader age. Initially, there was significant fuss over the magic and witchcraft theme. As usual, it's not clear that this had the effect intended, as some people first read the books to see what all the "controversy" was about witchcraft.

Harry Potter and ... See also: IsWikiOnlyForMuggles, HarryPotterVsLordOfTheRings


I'll confirm that. They have their flaws (and the flap about whether Potter should've beaten Heaney's new Beowulf for the National Book Award strikes me as absurd) but they are great fun. I picked them up just after the birth of our second son; I was much too tired for anything very deep or complex, but I needed an escape. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books and I'm looking forward to reading the new one. -- GlennVanderburg



... they are just plain good regardless of reader age.

Aye! IMO the most original children's literature to be written in many years. -- DanielKnapp

Original? I wouldn't say so. They're public school stories; there are many other rather similar books. Still, good fun, though, and don't push the parental/school-teacher view of what's "good behaviour" like the older books in the genre. --AnonymousDonor

I take my 5-year-old to book stores every weekend.

Therefore, to keep ourselves safe, I've taught her, "Ashley, say 'Just Say No to Harry Potter'!"

This goes with the policy of constantly trying to talk her into liking PokeMon?.

-- PCP

So far, we have read the first three books for my son (age 8) as bedtime reading. As soon as we finish one, we go back to the beginning and read it again, and with the knowledge we now have, we can say Aha as we spot significant things we didn't notice the first time. Clearly, the books have been crafted as a whole, with some characters mentioned in passing long before they take centre stage. I take the point that this is a translation of a boarding school into a new idiom, but it is not necessary to even know that boarding schools exist to enjoy the books. The imagination in the detail is magnificent. The only things comparable for that sort of thing are the visual gags in Wallace and Gromit. -- JohnFletcher

(Only thing written in English. Compare most good JapaneseAnimation, such as the recent PrincessMononoke?. -- DanielKnapp)

Agreed. There's a rather obvious RedShirt in book 4, though (details and discussion on HarryPotterSpoilers for obvious reasons).


The characters drink ButterBeer. The most drinking happens in the fourth book. Although the characters are supposed to be quite young, the behavior they exhibit is that of usually someone much older than they are. There is no mention of smoking pot.

I didn't get the impression that ButterBeer was alcoholic. I read it as being like RootBeer? or GingerBeer?. (I could be wrong, though.)

I agree. What kind of warp-minded beastly person thinks children anywhere should be In the fourth book (ISBN 0807282596 ), the house elf gets wasted and the lady in the picture gets drunk too. Reading level is supposed to be ages 9-12.

ButterBeer does have a detrimental effect on house elves, but it is not alcoholic to humans.

What warped view of the world are you teaching your children? When I was that age, we were already reading stories about drinking. It's a matter of course. Most children aren't trapped in boxes. They know people drink, like their parents (on occasion, I hope). Many children have even tasted beer by the age of six (just a sip - ewwwww). In grade six (age 11), the public school system introduced alcohol in detail. A year later, we learnt about illegal drugs. Nowadays, many 10 year olds smoke cigarettes (disgusting, but true). By the age of 12, we were already reading stories about terminal cancer, talking about constitutional amendments, and watching and relating to the daily news. I recall my sister doing a project on euthanasia when she was 12 and another classmate of hers on fetal alcohol syndrome. -- SunirShah

Get the kids ready for real life then. Only joking of course. :-)


I just saw the first Harry Potter movie, and it was okay. The child actors were good, and Alan Rickman's Snape was entertaining - his glares and sneers cracked me up! Much of the goofy humor of the book was missing, and partly replaced by a few sitcom-style one-liners.

And that snail-mail denial-of-service attack that Hogwarts attempted on Harry's foster-parents at the start was not very ethical. :-)


Retitling of the first HarryPotter book

The first book and movie is released as HarryPotterAndTheSorcerersStone? in the US, and HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone? in Britain (and Australia/NZ/Canada for that matter). ISBN 059035342X

A PhilosophersStone, of course, is a mythical object sought after by alchemists. It supposedly gave the ability to turn lead into gold, and extend life. Thus, a PhilosophersStone makes sense for the title, especially once you've read the book.

It doesn't just "make sense", the quest for the philosopher's stone hidden in Hogwarts is the whole plot of the book! I'm guessing that the US edition had the words "philosopher's stone" substituted throughout.

A SorcerersStone? is a made up term. The idea of retitling came from the American Editor, the term itself from JK Rowling: http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20020123.html Interesting tidbit:
As a result of the name change, all the scenes in the movie that mention the stone were filmed twice - once with actors saying "sorcerer's" and once with them saying "philosopher's."

Apparently, the rationale for changing the names was that British kids know what the Philosopher's stone is, and American kids don't... and I don't think I've ever heard anything more absurd. By that rationale, they should have renamed the hippogriff and a dozen other things in the books... now kids will read about the Philosopher's stone one day and go "Oh, that's a rip off of the Sorcerer's stone from Harry Potter"

A quick, informal survey of around 10 children aged 13-15 indicated that those who'd read HP knew what a Philosopher's Stone was and those who hadn't, didn't. An equally informal survey among adults of my acquaintance said that of those who hadn't read HP, about half knew what the PS was.

They are fun, really good books but not good literature, as TheHobbit. I recommend then for adults and children.

I might question your definition of literature a bit ... I would certainly call Harry Potter Children's literature, though it hardly seems fair to compare it to Dostoyevsky, as the intended audience is entirely different. If you want to say Goosebumps is fun for kids but isn't literature, I'm with you, but Harry Potter deserves a little more credit.

Rowling does deserve some credit, but not perhaps as much as she has been getting. I have heard all sorts of ridiculous claims for these books - 'the best ever' and other nonsense - they are better than average kid-lit for certain, but there are much better books in the genre. Even within the sub-genre of children's fantasy there are many. For example, Tolkien's book was mentioned above, or Ursula K. LeGuin's 'Earthsea' series.

I second that - I challenge anyone who has read both to say that the HarryPotter books are better than UrsulaLeGuin's EarthSea books (the first three, at any rate).

The HP books owe a lot to Tom Brown's Schooldays. Therefore, I'm waiting for an analogue of the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. Draco Malfoy and the Intifada, anyone? -- EricJablow

I don't know what the criteria are for literature, but I think the Harry Potter book series will become classics in the same way as Star Wars and E.T. movies. I'm not sure the HP movies will stand the test of time, but I think the book series will remain popular for future generations. Having read the first two books, I see it as the retelling of a classic good versus evil science fiction story theme in the original Star Wars movie and yes, the Tolkien's works before that. However, I see Harry Potter contributing greatly, almost a stepping stone to the more mature and distant world of the Hobbit. Not only does HP have a solid storyline with distinctive, complex, yet understandable characters, but it has done what few other recent books have done, inspire children to read. -- GregGola? -- The author, JK Rowling, is currently thought to be the third richest woman resident in the UK, just behind Madonna and the two of them a long way behind the Queen. So she's probably the richest actually British woman who actually earned her money.

A recent survey of women's incomes agreed with the above order. I'm not sure whether the conclusions also apply to net worth. Women of high net worth (mostly earned) also include Anne Wood and Steve Shirley.

How about Celine Dion (of Titanic) and Yoko Ono (widow of JohnLennon).

Still no word how she compares to (famed UK multi-millionaire bellwether) Paul McCartney.
I loved them all. Most importantly, I know of no other "movement" within our society that has done more to get our kids to read. And since that that was the only unusual thing about me as a kid (and I think I turned out mostly ok :-), I think it is fantastic. And when I get phone calls from my 7 yr old nephew to tell me how far along he is on a 700+ page book, I think this is just remarkable. Rowling deserves every penny. -- RichMacDonald?

It might be interesting to compare the longer-term effect of the Harry Potter series with the TerryPratchett books. -- CarolineWilliamson


They are just fantastic, amazing and wonderful! I just love the books, every single one. I read them when they came out - the whole lot are wicked - I can't wait for the 5th book to comes out! I don't as such care what others think about them - they are just the best! And JK Rowling is just so good ... that's why I love her books. I got some of my friends to read them and now they love them as much as I do. Harry Potter Rocks! -- MonserratKoyMartinez?
Volume 5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

With a June 21, 2003 release, volume 5 is slated to be the largest single print run in publishing history at about 13 million copies. Amazon.com alone has sold 875 thousand copies in pre-release sales. After the initial run of English copies, about twice as many translated copies will hit the presses. By the time the book has been in paperback for four years it could challenge the King James Bible as the most popular book in global circulation. The first day sales are estimated to be worth $90 million in royalties to J.K. Rowling.

The Canadian version refers to the Philosopher's Stone (from the first book). Since the American version of the first book was edited to replace Philosopher's Stone with Sorcerer's Stone, is the American Volume 5 also edited to mention Sorcerer's Stone, or is it correct to the British version? (I don't know the chapter, but it's when the group is visiting Hogs Head tavern and is discussing Harry's previous triumphs against the Dark Arts.)
Apparently, the first book is now also available in Latin: "Harrius Potter et Philosophii Lapis". I wish more children's stories were translated to Latin like this; it tickles me for some reason. The only other example I can think of is "Winnie ille Pu". -- KarlKnechtel

There is also, in the same vein, "Winnie Ille Pu Semper Ludet".

It would be strangely appropriate if they translated the spells to pidgin English or some other barbaric tongue. -- IanOsgood
CategoryOffTopic

<sigh> I wish people would stop labeling everything they don't like as "off topic," since a lot of these pages have their own value. -- MartySchrader

Movies in General are OffTopic. Those related to computers and technology and thereby related to the purposes of the wiki, should not be labeled OffTopic. Note the comments made on the CategoryOffTopic page. It is not a valuation based on likes or dislikes.

Perhaps the C2 Wiki community as a whole needs to thrash out this issue of "off-topic"-ness a little more. Again. Yet again. More. Still. Whatever. This pissing match business is getting old.

Yeah, those OffTopic thoughts have to be banned!

We could make a case that Hogwarts is a good model for HatchingNewProgrammers. -- PhlIp
CategoryMovie CategoryBook

EditText of this page (last edited September 3, 2006) or FindPage with title or text search