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Harry Potter is too violent

Matthew Hamilton
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  Responses to this Comment:
Sean Raduechel
Harry Potter is too violent   Monday, August 19, 2002 (4:53 p.m.) 

The Harry Potter books are a fine addition to English children's fantasy literature. Certainly J.K. Rowling had no idea of the future success of these books when she scribbled down the beginnings of the series on scraps of paper at a local café. At the time she was a struggling single mum living off government assistance as well as being a newly divorced lady. But those few scraps of paper have evolved into not only a children's bestseller but it's also an adult’s bestseller. But why is Harry Potter so special. Adults love it because it reminds them of what they wanted to be when we were little. Most young girls read the books with admiration for the clever Hermione, who is a wonderful role model for younger girls. The magical aspects and sheer wonderment of a world that is so totally different to their own is what appeals to most girls. For boys, there are the attractions of such sports as Qudditch, such beasts as Fluffy, Hagrid's three headed dog and scenes of good versus evil, with Harry and his friends always coming out on top. Another reason that the books are so popular with parents and kids is that there are always new surprises in each book. These books are like a vegetable covered in chocolate - pleasing for kids and adults. There are many twist and turns in the novel and you can never expect what is going to happen next.

Not everyone enjoys the highly successful books though. Parents and school officials question Rowling's use of witchcraft and wizardry for Harry's adventures. There have been some cases throughout England where the books have been removed from the shelves of school libraries. Some people object to a world where dragons, gigantic spiders and three-headed beasts are the norm and where you have to watch your back incase a crippling and often fatal curse is thrown upon you. Not every child, also, has one of the world's worst Dark Wizards as their arch nemesis. However this is a touchy subject and a lot of the people that have rejected the series haven't even read it. I believe that this book into introduces the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Yet most parents are not only worried about the witchcraft, they also feel that Harry and his friends defy authority, teaching young readers it's okay to break the rules. In several of the books Harry sneaks across the grounds of Hogwarts after hours and he challenges his teachers when he thinks that they are wrong. There are even parts were Harry becomes Violent to his teachers and fellow students.

While it's true that Harry is not the most perfect student when faced with a decision, many of his readers appreciate the fact that he always chooses good over evil. In many cases other parents feel that some parents are over reacting by not letting their children read the books. These books allow a childs imagination to expand. So I ask, what is the difference between imagining witches, wizards and magic and imagining aliens from outer space?

Nevertheless, as Harry Potter continues to gain widespread appeal and success, soon you'll be able to buy all kinds of Harry Potter stuff. Already companies such as LEGO, Mattel and Hasbro have purchased the rights to sell Potter-related items to millions of fans. Warner Brothers, who has already produced the first Harry Potter movie and are working on the second, due to come out next year, has an official line of clothes, notebooks, watches, jewelry and Christmas ornaments. Many fans wonder how the Harry Potter movie and merchandise will affect the book series. Some people fear that what's been so great about Harry Potter is that all of the craze and the fascination over the books are completely in the kids' and the grown-ups' imaginations and that when the movie comes out it will change what people have imagined.

Who is Harry Potter? For those of you who don’t know, here is the basic plot of book one, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry turns 11 years old and learns that he's a famous wizard. This informationwas kept from him because he lives with his Muggle (non-magical people) relatives, the Dursleys, who want nothing to do with the wizarding world and hate magic. Harry also learns that an evil wizard called Lord Voldemort killed his parents and he also tried to kill Harry, but somehow he survived leaving only a small lightning bolt scar on his forehead. Soon after this discovery, Harry enters Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy where he takes classes such as Transfigoration and Potions and gets to taste Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (and that's every flavor from sardines to chocolate to ear wax). Harry quickly makes two new friends named Hermione and Ron and together they begin their first year at Hogwarts. It is here they learn their first magic skills and make friends with the school’s gamekeeper Hagrid. Not to mention the game of Quiddich, in fact Harry becomes the youngest seeker to play Quiddich for his house in over a hundred years. However, its not all fun and games, Harry has to learn quickly to avoid his arch rival, Draco Malfroy, his potions teacher, Professor Snape and of course the return of Lord Voldemort.


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Sean Raduechel
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  In Response to:
Matthew Hamilton

  Responses to this Comment:
Agent Q
Lilly Bear
And I thought my posts were long   Wednesday, August 21, 2002 (12:36 p.m.) 

Impressive review. I'm assuming this is an indirect response to mine. You mentioned that most who reject the books haven't read them, not at all my case. I read Sorcerers Stone and saw the movie twice (I fell asleep the first time so I rented it again.) I try my best to hold to the rule of never judging something until you've tried it, a rule I have only broken with Spy Kids (frightful shiver). Having seen the story up close actually solidified my opinion of them. I still do not feel that any really genuine or original morality issues are portrayed in those books, that the story really only appeals to those alternate reality escapes so many in todays world seem to flock to (including myself, although I desire to be rid of them), and that the only pluses it has is clever humor, good character development, and the draw to influence people, especially kids, to read more.

Oh, just to let everyone know, after this post I will be changing my screen name to ashitaka. Thank you.

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Agent Q
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  In Response to:
Sean Raduechel

  Responses to this Comment:
Ashi-taka469
Re: And I thought my posts were long   Thursday, September 5, 2002 (11:15 a.m.) 

>I still do not feel that any really genuine
> or original morality issues are portrayed in those books, that the story
> really only appeals to those alternate reality escapes so many in todays
> world seem to flock to (including myself, although I desire to be rid of
> them), and that the only pluses it has is clever humor, good character
> development, and the draw to influence people, especially kids, to read
> more.

Harry Potter teaches a lot of morality issues. And a lot of common ground issues as well that kids can really relate to.

For example, Harry is afraid he won't fit in. This is a real issue with kids now a days, when they move to a higher class or go to a new school. It's kid instinct, as well as adult instinct.

Bravery and courage are well-painted here, as well as the drive to succeed that is in so many minds today. Remembering others before yourselves is also in there, including in Harry's rush to make sure Voldemort didn't get the stone -- even though he stands no chance against the more powerful adult.

Friendship is a wonderful thread in these stories, as well as family ties. Harry's friendship with Hermione and Ron makes him feel at home and welcome, and not alone before as he was. He risks himself for his friends, such as in the second book when he saves Ron's sister.

About the rule breaking, mentioned in the first post:

Harry and his friends break rules that need to be broken, at that moment. Some rules are good for some times, and then work against you later when you are trying to complete a goal. This may seem odd, since a rule is put down to keep us from doing something, but humans haven't really been proven to be the smartest of creatures. Some rules, after a while, become obselete.

Anyway.

This was my post. I hope I got my point across.

--Agent Q


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Ashi-taka469
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  In Response to:
Agent Q

  Responses to this Comment:
Agent Q
the Tora, the Bible, the Koran, and Harry Potter, oh my   Friday, September 13, 2002 (7:33 p.m.) 

> Harry Potter teaches a lot of morality issues. And a lot of common ground
> issues as well that kids can really relate to.

> Bravery and courage are well-painted here, as well as the drive to succeed
> that is in so many minds today. Remembering others before
> yourselves is also in there, including in Harry's rush to make sure
> Voldemort didn't get the stone -- even though he stands no chance against
> the more powerful adult.

> Friendship is a wonderful thread in these stories, as well as family ties.
> Harry's friendship with Hermione and Ron makes him feel at home and
> welcome, and not alone before as he was. He risks himself for his friends,
> such as in the second book when he saves Ron's sister

This is all true, but it differs slightly from my point earlier. I do not deny that there are all of these moral themes to be found in the books, but I also have seen many of those same virtues portrayed in very similar manners in episodes of pokemon and digimon while watching them with the kids I sometimes babysit. Those kids also read Harry Potter. The funny thing is with these morals is that when I inquire to the kids as to whether they noticed those morals, they have no idea what I'm talking about. Their only concern is with how cool this aspect of the action is or that part was. The point I've been getting at is that Harry Potter, although it does exhibit morals, exhibits the same ones portrayed by many other youth programs and books today and in a very similar manner, and as with all of the others, those morals tend to go unnoticed, except by those with the moral development to notice them. And in exchange, those who fail to notice them instead favor the fantasy and fun attributed to those books and programs. And as I mentioned before, the one thing Harry Potter is good for is the encouragement of reading among youth so eventually they feel compelled to read things of greater substance. I do not consider Harry Potter evil or something to be done away with, I just consider it over-rated and over-glorified, merely a medium of entertainment for some that should not be elevated to anything greater.

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Agent Q
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  In Response to:
Ashi-taka469

  Responses to this Comment:
Dan Sartori
Re: the Tora, the Bible, the Koran, and Harry Potter, oh my   Saturday, September 21, 2002 (5:34 p.m.) 

I misread your comments, now that I read them again... sorry about that. My computer's been acting up lately. *siigh*

>I do not consider
> Harry Potter evil or something to be done away with, I just consider it
> over-rated and over-glorified, merely a medium of entertainment for some
> that should not be elevated to anything greater.

Well, go look at some childrens' literature that was recently published. If it's fantasy, by the way, it usually doesn't count; just more people trying to capitilize off JK Rowling. There is a disturbing theme in these: most of them are below some of the IQ of some children today. This makes most books have kids go, "Oh. That was predictable," and go play a video game.

The HP books have wonderfully developed characters, plots, and their world is incredibly developed with alot of attention to detail and continuity in the books.

It should never be, say, something to be worshipped, but I myself would prefer they read this than a, say, book especially developed for kids. My definition of that is a book that is put forward by someone to keep them enertained so they're out of the parents' hair -- not truly interesting, just something to put in their hands and say "Read."

--Agent Q


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Dan Sartori
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  In Response to:
Agent Q

  Responses to this Comment:
Agent Q
this is great   Tuesday, November 5, 2002 (9:47 a.m.) 

> I misread your comments, now that I read them again... sorry about that.
> My computer's been acting up lately. *siigh*

> Well, go look at some childrens' literature that was recently published.
> If it's fantasy, by the way, it usually doesn't count; just more people
> trying to capitilize off JK Rowling. There is a disturbing theme in these:
> most of them are below some of the IQ of some children today. This makes
> most books have kids go, "Oh. That was predictable," and go play
> a video game.

> The HP books have wonderfully developed characters, plots, and their world
> is incredibly developed with alot of attention to detail and continuity in
> the books.

> It should never be, say, something to be worshipped, but I myself would
> prefer they read this than a, say, book especially developed for kids. My
> definition of that is a book that is put forward by someone to keep
> them enertained so they're out of the parents' hair -- not truly
> interesting, just something to put in their hands and say
> "Read."

> --Agent Q

Sometimes I read comments on this site that I just can't help but respond to. I think the notion that all fantasy books published recently are attempting to cheat Harry Potter is one of the most ridiculous things I have read in a long time on this site. Ok, so nobody can ever write another children's fantasy book, because if they did it would be such an obvious attempt to steal J.K. Rowling's ideas? PLEASE!

As for my opinion on the Harry Potter books, I don't really see a problem with them. They're fun, entertaining books meant to exercise kids' imaginations. They're not the greatest pieces of literature or anything, but they sure are fun to read - and that's ok.


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Agent Q
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  In Response to:
Dan Sartori

  Responses to this Comment:
Dan Sartori
Re: this is great   Friday, November 8, 2002 (11:21 a.m.) 

> I think the notion that all fantasy books published recently are
> attempting to cheat Harry Potter is one of the most ridiculous things I
> have read in a long time on this site. Ok, so nobody can ever write
> another children's fantasy book, because if they did it would be such an
> obvious attempt to steal J.K. Rowling's ideas? PLEASE!

They're not all just hype, the rumors about plagirism. There is a book recently published in Russia called Tanya Grotter and the Magical Double Bass.

Grotter is an orphaned 11-year-old girl who rides a magical double bass, wears glasses, has an unusual mark on her face (a mole on her nose), and makes use of magic words to set spells in motion.

Sounds like plagirism to me.

--Agent Q



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Dan Sartori
(p-proxy-5-int0.net.wisc.edu)

  In Response to:
Agent Q
Re: this is great   Friday, November 8, 2002 (3:17 p.m.) 

> They're not all just hype, the rumors about plagirism. There is a book
> recently published in Russia called Tanya Grotter and the Magical Double
> Bass.

> Grotter is an orphaned 11-year-old girl who rides a magical double bass,
> wears glasses, has an unusual mark on her face (a mole on her nose), and
> makes use of magic words to set spells in motion.

> Sounds like plagirism to me.

> --Agent Q

No, I'm sorry. Authors have the right to write stories of their own to sell, and you have no right to tell them that they can't. All of the characteristics you mentioned are things that are not trademarkable - they're common characteristics that could conceivably exist in multiple stories at the same time without plagiarism. It seems that you've absolutely ruled out the possibility that two people from COMPLETELY separate areas of the world can come up with roughly similar ideas (which happens much more often than you think). In fact, if we're going to take this to the Nth degree, the whole setting spells in motion with words thing could be used an as example of J.K. Rowling plagiarism, since it's hardly an original concept at all. It's time to take Harry Potter off of that pedestal, buddy, and realize that everything is not a takeoff on HP.

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Lilly Bear
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au)

  In Response to:
Sean Raduechel
Re: And I thought my posts were long   Monday, June 23, 2003 (3:30 a.m.) 

> Impressive review. I'm assuming this is an indirect response to mine. You
> mentioned that most who reject the books haven't read them, not at all my
> case. I read Sorcerers Stone and saw the movie twice (I fell asleep the
> first time so I rented it again.) I try my best to hold to the rule of
> never judging something until you've tried it, a rule I have only broken
> with Spy Kids (frightful shiver). Having seen the story up close actually
> solidified my opinion of them. I still do not feel that any really genuine
> or original morality issues are portrayed in those books, that the story
> really only appeals to those alternate reality escapes so many in todays
> world seem to flock to (including myself, although I desire to be rid of
> them), and that the only pluses it has is clever humor, good character
> development, and the draw to influence people, especially kids, to read
> more.

> Oh, just to let everyone know, after this post I will be changing my
> screen name to aaka. Thank you.

Great to hear there are still some people in this world who can critically review something for themselves without being drawn and influenced by marketing hype. I'm afraid I agree, the stories are good old fashioned fantasy adventure, but if you want to give your kids something to think about try some great classics, like Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and other real literature. Otherwise take the Potter stories for what they are, just good old rollicking fun reading, today's version of Biggles or the Famous Five!!!! (and ps I have also read two of the books and seen the film and funnily enough seeing as we live in the country and don't get the brunt of the marketing hype, both my two kids and their country school friends cannot get too excited about the books or the film!!!!!)

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