Mudcat Café message #1198959 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70252   Message #1198959
Posted By: darkriver
03-Jun-04 - 12:49 AM
Thread Name: BS: New Harry Potter Film (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Subject: RE: BS: New Harry Potter Film (Prisoner of Azkaban)

I respect your opinions, and see the merit in your argument.

However, (you could tell there was going to be a 'however', yes?) I think that you are not giving these books credit for what they are, and are perhaps criticizing them for what they are not. IMO, the HP books fit squarely within a tradition--maybe two or three traditions, and the limitations of the books are the limitations of the genre. Great literature it's not, so the genre is probably not remade or transcended, but why belittle what is there?

They're a Bildungsroman--foundling grows to find his path in the world, finding substitutes for parents he never knew, stumbling through what's offered, and beset at almost every turn with moral choices to make--set in the framework of a traditional Brit public school. Within those limitations, I think Rowling has provided some very witty and thoughtful variations on the traditional themes.

I have read the books with pleasure (and sometimes with irritation). Sometimes the pleasure is private, such as my understanding of the overtones of the names of the magician characters, or the names of the spells, and sometimes more public, in my enjoyment of my children's enjoyment of the dialogue or action. My irritation is sometimes due to the limitations seemingly placed on some characters and relationships--and in my mind this is the weakest part of the series--but I have some hope that perhaps Rowling is going to surprise us, and go somewhere with these relationships. The events in the fifth book, about Harry's father being a conceited bully and about Snape's humiliation, hint at a possible line of development that may transcend the initial limitations--which would be a lot more profound than the initial impression we've been given.

(Sorry--I've just reread that last sentence and am now going to go to my room in shame. I hope the authorities don't come and shoot me for writing it.)

But I hope you see what I mean.