Joel Stein and the Cauldron of Mediocrity (a Harry Potter related pitting...

Man, that is a great description of an archetype everybody knows. There were people in this group who sneered at me because I said the Indiana Jones movies (which they had never seen) were fun, but raved over literally anything with subtitles (it being a well known fact that other nations don’t have hacks) or any unbearably pretentious movie with 4 minute long black and white close-ups of water spouts.

Are you comparing Harry Potter to Scooby Doo?

[Sampiro tosses a six-shooter on the ground at Hentor’s feet]
[Jack Palance]Pick it up… [/Jack Palance]

I’m not sure people are analyzing them so much as they’re trying to guess what will happen next. People seem to already have forgotten what a phenomenon Twin Peaks was, but people, on the net in its infancy, and face to face, took part in endless discussion about the current episode, and how it affected their interpretation of the previous episodes, and what this scene or that shot indicated, and so forth. And when they finally revealed WKLP, America was knocked on its collective ass.

People are naturally curious, that’s all. Give them a mystery, and they try to solve it. Everyone wants to be the one to say “I knew it; I KNEW it!”, and that’s what both Lynch and Rowling tapped into.

And I totally intend to say that, no matter what’s in Book VI.

In fact I’ll go ahead and say it now: whatever happens in Half Blood Prince, I knew it was going to. (I don’t like to mention this, but I actually came up with the idea for the Harry Potter series, it’s just that Rowling wrote it down first. Of course there were differences in mine [Harry was a young gay guy, for example, and it wasn’t set in England or at a school and it didn’t have the supernatural stuff], but Rowling did such a good job with my idea that I just don’t have it in me to sue her.)

“…but when I became a man, I put away childish things–including the fear of being thought childish.”

C. S. Lewis

Can we all agree to never refer to Harry Potter as H-PO ever again? Please? :rolleyes:

He works for E!? Why is he out criticizing other people when he should be hiding in his basement hiding his face in shame?

I’ll enter this under the category of “Slash Fic We’ll Never See.”

Names, dammit, NAMES!

Yeah… I guess I am. Draw!

I predict that the seventh book, Harry Potter Defeats Voldemort Again, will end with Tom “Marvolo?!?” Riddle/ Lord “I am” Voldemort being led away shouting, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

This after the clever plot contrivances that lead the most powerful wizard ever to decide it would be best to leave Harry alone and in the dark about what is going on through the whole book, while Hermione and Ron snipe at each other and at Harry in highly unrealistic ways and Snape does things that are just bad enough to make you wonder why the hell he does anything he does (oh yeah, because Harry’s dad showed everyone his drawers)!

I mean, we could discuss some of the lesser contrivances that serve major “plot” points (such as why it would be a good idea to leave a portal that leads to irrevocable living death standing up on a platform with no barrier and no apparent warning or description), but we don’t really want to get into all that, do we?

How about H-Pizzle. Um…fo shizzle?



And another quote from Lewis, in (I believe) The Screwtape Letters, where he talks about one sign of maturity being the ability to like something for itself, and a serene indifference to whether “everybody” else likes it or not.

One of the liberating parts of a literary education was coming to the realization that some writing, even some that is pushed really hard by those attempting to be the arbiters of merit, is crap. And some that the same self-appointed arbiters class as trash is really good. And it doesn’t matter. Another quote from C. S. Lewis -

Stein is free to complain to his narrow, constricted heart’s content that I shouldn’t be eagerly looking forward to HPatHBP. I’m not listening. I’m busy preparing to enjoy myself.


The good people of this board had Joel Steinpegged as a gigantic ass for quite some time.
Martha Stewart should have run him through with a pine cone while she had the chance.

Crap! This should work better.

Obviously, Joel believes we should be spending our time on more fulfulling and mature entertainment, like watching “I Love The 80s Strikes Back” or “101 Biggest Celebrity Oops!”

Someone who says “reading is hard. I try to avoid it whenever possible” is not someone who should be critiquing others’ choices of books. Perhaps the idea of reading for fun, rather than to learn something or prove to others that you’re smart/enlightened/clever, has never occurred to him?

I see your point, and think that there is better children’s lit out there (Narnia Chronicles for one)–but I take issue with the “it’s just a kids book” attitude. I will have to paraphrase Madeleine L’Engle here, but when she was interviewed about A Wrinkle In Time --and patronized about it being a kiddie book, she said something along the line of “I don’t recognize the difference between children’s books and adult ones. If a book is to be good, (or literature), it must meet a standard–there is no writing down to children.” I hope she said more succinctly than I mangled it! And what IS kid-lit, anyway? I would argue that Dr. Seuss is kid-lit–yet most of his words are mono-syllabic!

HP is a classic–but not highbrow. Yes, there is contrivance and sometimes the plot devices are a bit creaky. I wonder how much of that is due to formula on JKKR’s part and how much is pressure from the publisher (if any-she could probably make her time frame)–and how much is the relentlessly dumbing down of all reading material today?

In no way would I equate HP with Scooby (and the first Scooby’s were the best–loved that Saturday morning cartoon!). But each is good in its own way.

IMO, JKKR has written some memorable characters who are involved in interesting events. Some of the characters are better developed than others, but overall, the books hang together well and the world is not only plausible, but appealing.

Many could do worse.

What I love about HP (besides the whole saga) is that it may spark kids and adults to read Narnia, and The Phoenix and the Carpet and other children’s classics. IOW, HP is a window into an aging(and please God, not fading) world.

I am not a fantasy coneisseur(sp?), but other books that come to mind is Eragon -forget the author’s name, but very good first book of a series; I am awaiting the second one with baited breath. Also, Gerald Morris has written a number of witty, light-hearted, almost satirical youth novels about the Arthurian legends (and wizards). There is also the Pern series–again, I forget the author’s names (I am not good at remembering authors). Hope this helps.

Lewis, Narnia series
McCaffrey, Harperhall series
Duane, Wizard series
Hancock, Circle of Light series
Alexander, Prydain series
Jane Yolen has done some trerrific YA stuff as well, though I’m a bit out of date on her.

These are some good pics. I would add The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. I enjoyed them enormously growing up, though perhaps less as an adult. As a child I saw an epic battle between darkness and light. As an adult, I see transparent and very vaguely distasteful religious ideology. YMMV.

At least he admits he can’t write worth a damn.

I read the first Harry Potter book too. I didn’t like it either. Not because it’s a “kids book,” not because it reminded me too much of Roald Dahl, but because I didn’t find the story interesting. I don’t trash those who do. Hell, a lot of people probably think the books I read are boring, but they don’t tell me I’m an idiot for liking them.

May his testicles be crushed by the hardbound copy of War and Peace he’s probably never read.

Nah, making him read it would be worse…but crushing his testes would take him out of the gene pool.
Hmmmm, I’m torn on this. Making him suffer now or preserving future generations. Anybody got a quarter I can flip?