My Complicated Relationship with Harry Potter

thoughts orangutan

Ooh this post is not going to make me popular. In fact it might be the most controversial post I ever do. Harry Potter has a certain sacred status in some bookish circles and there are those who won’t have a bad word said against it- and for obvious reasons. It’s certainly a cultural phenomenon and marked the beginning of many reader’s journeys. I’m included in that group- I owe a lot to Harry Potter and I vividly remember reading the first three back when I was seven. I often cite it as the *great origins* of becoming a bookworm, because although I know there were books that came before, none played quite as big a role as the Boy Who Lived.

my harry potters
My beloved Harry Potter books

And yet, I always knew that I would end up doing a post like this one day. Because my journey with Harry Potter has not always been, shall we say, clear flying. In fact, after religiously rereading Harry Potter as often as I could in my early teens, I’ve picked up only book 1 of the series a grand total of one time in the last seven years… Until last month, when I decided to reread the whole thing (to my family’s bafflement and consequent chorus of “again?!”).

Some might say that it was predictable that I had a great deal of fun re-entering the *absolutely magical world* of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It gave me all the *warm, fuzzy feelings* I had the first time I read it. I felt like that seven year old again, rediscovering my love for the world building, the magic and the characters. Plus there was the added bonus of thinking about how well some of the “tropes” are applied here, being able to note how *phenomenal* the Easter Eggs are throughout and doing loose psychoanalytic readings (thanks to Dr Peterson!). It was an absolute pleasure to experience that childlike wonder as an adult.  

But I couldn’t reliably predict that would be my reaction. You see, part of me was expecting the same ennui I had four years ago to Philosopher’s Stone. And I had cause for even greater concern. I’ve said it before on hereHarry Potter was not just the first “big” book I read, it was also the first I critiqued. Specifically The Order of the Phoenix. I was ten when that came out and starting to be a bit more critical as a reader… and it was then that I started to find flaws. To this day, book 5 remains the one I like the least- heads up for when I review it, that’s where diehard Potterheads might want to look away! I did like it more this time round- nonetheless I will always have reservations about it.

A lot of people say that my generation grew up with the books and perhaps I just experienced a severe bout of growing pains. Either way, I have to admit that alas I did not fall head over heels for books 6 and 7 when I initially read them. For book 6, I largely had questions over the nature of Voldemort’s evil and was dissatisfied with the born that way element. And, sorry there’s no way to sugar coat this, I was disappointed with the finale. My response to the Narnia­-esque resurrection was pretty much “are you kidding me?” and I my too-cool-for-this teen sensibilities found the “love conquers all” aspect a bit lame (yeesh, I’m gonna get an army of angry comments for this- may I suggest if you do take that message to heart not getting too vitriolic about it?). I can only say that, while often viewed as more grim than the previous entries (debateable), my proclivity for darker books meant that I was dissatisfied that all Voldy did was break a few bridges and wands (and a few murders, let’s not forget those 😉 ). While the parallels with the KKK and Nazi Germany were initially shudder-inducing, the unwillingness to take this to its natural conclusion when they gained power left a lot to be desired in my eyes (what can I say, I guess I was a bloodthirsty 14 year old). If something is going to be dark, let it be dark.

Okay- phew- if you’ve made it this far into the post CONGRATULATIONS you’ve made it through my harshest criticisms. As an adult, I must admit, I’m far less critical of any childishness– if anything it’s a welcome reprieve and a comfort to know it never goes full out genocidal. Also, I can’t really hold myself accountable for every view I’ve ever held- I went through a phase of not liking Disney movies and, well, what the hell was I thinking?! Still, even though I no longer stand by a lot of the criticism in the last paragraph, I fear that any opinions I might have had, have now or might have in the future will elicit a response akin to “HOW DARE YOU SAY ANY OF THIS- CRUCIO, IMPERIO- AH FORGET IT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS WORLD- AVADA KEDAVRA!”

And that’s where I often worry about Harry Potter. Because not only am I afraid to talk about it, but I’ve seen other people discussing the pressures of the fandom (eg this fantastic article by Anushka) or even non-fans saying they’re too nervous to pick it up. That’s terrible! Why should we fear dissenting opinions? Isn’t being an individual something to be celebrated? Don’t people love the books for their appreciation of difference? What is even the point if we can’t get that right?

Maybe it’s the Ravenclaw side of me that can’t let things be- but I simply cannot respect a book I’m not allowed to critique, because that means I’m not allowed to get to the bottom of it. I have to take it apart, see what makes it tick, figure out the mechanics of the thing. I’ve spent my entire literary life dissecting both things I love and things I hate. Indeed, I’ve made a point in the past of pointing out that a lot of my favourites are decidedly not perfect. To me, that’s a mark of reverence to the book and the literature world in general.

Of course, you do not have to listen to other opinions, you’re entitled to disagree- just know I’m not trying to aguamenti cold water all over your favourite books, I’m merely trying to expelliarmus the idea that there’s only one view allowed.

So if you like that principle, stick around, I’ll be talking more about the books (I may refer to Rowling’s later comments and the movies, but at the risk of sparking a “Death of the Author” debate, I view those as interpretations). And yes, I have dressed my Orangutan up in wizard robes– I mean, I did once write myself a Hogwarts acceptance letter in green ink, posted it through the letterbox and then acted surprised when my mum gave it back to me- I don’t do things in half measures 😉

yer a wizard orangutan
Yer a wizard Orangutan!

So what do you think of criticising popular books? Do you support it? Have you been in my shoes? Or do you think I’ve overstepped the mark? Let me know in the comments!

180 thoughts on “My Complicated Relationship with Harry Potter

  1. I read all the HP books as an adult (I was forbidden as a child) so I got to read through it without the lens of childhood wonder and nostalgia. Coming at it from that angle, I enjoyed the series for the most part and shrugged off the stuff that I took issue with. It was a fun world to dive into, and I appreciated the real-world parallels, but I never understood the obsession. Critique away, I say! *whispers* Order of the Phoenix was so angsty and dreadful

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  2. CRITIQUE AWAY!

    I really liked almost all the books, though Half-Blood Prince *seriously* tested my limits at times. And because Dolores Umbridge was SO *horribly* horrific, I couldn’t wait to see the back of her — and honestly am disappointed to this day that she wasn’t offed in some fitting, Bellatrix-LeStrange-esque method.

    I *do* understand what you’re saying, though, about how it reached a point where the evil had to become “more evil,” to prove why Voldemort was truly so terrible and why they needed to defeat him. (For example, in my own series, if I had other characters constantly say, “Prince Victor is the worst ever,” but didn’t back it up with, say, him kidnapping a halfbreed and violently attacking her, none of the readers would believe it.)

    As a parent, however, I appreciate the lack of gore and intense bloodshed on page.

    And quite frankly, no book is going to be perfect, ever. (Except for mine. They are absolutely, ultimately perfect, in every way.) So I totally agree with finding a few flaws but still liking the work, and seeing no need to pick apart the author that, in our view, did a really good job!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much!! I completely get that! And I hated Umbridge, but also had a problem with how she was dealt with (or wasn’t as the series ended!! She got her comeuppance in book 5- and then she got even worse and nothing happened to her at the end?!)

      Yeah exactly. I think I’m okay with that now, but when I first read it the overt references to much darker things made me a bit frustrated.

      hehehe I totally get what you mean 😉 Absolutely! I’m so glad you agree! And yes I really agree, you can critique the work without referring to the author (which I personally wouldn’t want to do)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OG,

    You have not overstepped the bounds whatsoever. We should be free to offer up our takes, be them lovey dovey or hateration, and all the many in between variants. There’s no fun, or education, if we all saw things the same way.
    I enjoyed reading these books to my kids. I read them the first four after which they were avid little readers by then. I must say, the Harry Potter series was so difficult to read aloud. It did not flow when I read it aloud . . . at all. I guess my affection for the early books is on account of how much my kids loved them.

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  4. Although I adore Harry Potter I am definitely not blind to its problems! I do wonder what I would think if I read it for the first time as an adult because I definitely think nostalgia plays a large part in why I love it so much! There is so such thing as a perfect book and I think it is important that be open to all critics of books we love even if we don’t necessarily agree with them!

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  5. As a diehard Harry Potter fan…I applaud your bravery. They’re probably my favorite books because of the incredible world-building, the characterization, the uniqueness of JK Rowling’s voice buuuuuut I see the flaws in the series as well. Especially towards the end, it felt like Rowling was sort of scrambling to knit the 7-book plot together. Some of it seems forced. And a lot of it needed editing. Phew, that felt good!!!

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  6. I also vividly remember the magic of picking up the first Harry Potter book. I remember falling utterly in love with it. And I have to say, I’ve read them a few times over the years and love them still. I think I love them too much to pick them apart. That being said, I know they aren’t perfect and I can’t see why we shouldn’t pick things apart and try to figure out what makes them tick. What is the point of art if it doesn’t make us think and stimulate discussion? If it also comforts and revives our sense of magic in the world, fantastic. But no art should be off limits for discussion. I like listening to dissenting opinions on books I loved. I’ve bought books because the things the reviewer disliked, I thought I would probably appreciate.

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    1. I totally get that- and I think it’s fine to want to leave things be- sometimes there’s art that I’d rather just leave alone as well. But I’m glad you agree on the principle 🙂 Absolutely! And yes I’m the same- I will always read criticism on books I loved. And yeah I totally get that!

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  7. Okay, I’m a fan. Was since the first paragraph and will be until….. well… whenever… Lol.
    I will admit, that I was also a bit disappointed by the “love conquers all” explanation. I too had expected something a bit twistier. But I’m also happy to overlook it as the series brought me so much joy overall and will forever by a favourite. And as Daley said, the ‘lighter’ explanations and experiences make the books great to read with a younger group.

    This is the first time I’ve ever read anyone call out the “love” explanation that bothered me too. (whispered thanks) I don’t see anything wrong in critiquing a much-loved story. Freedom of speech and whatnot, plus you’ve been superbly and wonderfully Britishly polite in your critique. 😉

    By the way, that’s the same collection of the books that I have. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hehe totally get that lol! Yeah I agree with you- I do think that it was something I didn’t mind this time round, although it initially really bothered me. And yeah that makes sense!

      hehehe thank you- I’m just glad I’m not the only one to be honest, cos that’s the sort of thing people only ever agree with me on in private 😉 Thank you very much! I’m so glad you thought so! 😀

      Yay! I love this collection (I know there are loads of other gorgeous copies, but I will always love these best 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😊😊
        I don’t think I’ve ever discussed that with anyone actually. Hahahah.
        Book discussions are great. And it really doesn’t take away the fact that as a whole, it is a body of work I love.

        I share your attachment to those copies 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I would love to critique Harry Potter but I am genuinely afraid of the reaction I’d get, and I’m not usually one to hold back on my opinions. I will say I enjoyed the first four books when I was a teenager but I never loved the last three. I don’t think I’ll re-read them because then I might have to change my indifference to dislike and I just can’t be arsed with the hate I’d get.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know, I honestly understand that, cos I was terrified to do this post. That’s pretty much how I felt. I much preferred them this time round- but I genuinely feared rereading them cos I worried my indifference would turn to dislike too. Fortunately I read them in the right mood, but it could have gone either way to be honest.

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  9. Yes – absolutely we should be able to critique popular books. I’ve read all the Harry Potters and totally enjoyed them. That doesn’t mean they were perfect! I thought the last three were over-long and the plots needed tightening. And as you say, the evil wasn’t actually all that dark. But this didn’t reduce the enjoyment I got from reading them.

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    1. I’m glad you agree! That’s exactly what I think- I have a much bigger preference for the first 4. And yes- even as a teen I wanted a bit more from that aspect. While I still am not entirely happy with that, I’m more forgiving of it though (I guess being told “but it’s a children’s book” is not a legitimate argument to use on a child, but it totally works as an argument on an adult 😉 ) So yep, definitely didn’t reduce my enjoyment this time round!

      Like

  10. CRITIQUE AWAY! Seriously, go for it. That’s the fun of reading. No book is going to be perfect and it’s important to see that even the greats like Potter are flawed. Now, confession, I’ve never read Potter and truth be told I don’t have any desire to read them beyond the fact that I want to see if it’s worth the hype.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much!! I really think that too. I totally get that and have heard loads of people say that. I think you should do whatever you want and if you have no desire to read them, there are plenty of other books out there 😀

      Like

  11. This is one of my deepest darkest secrets…I don’t understand the ending of HP. I didn’t so much read the final book as devour it on the day it was released so it wasn’t until I watched the films that I realised I have no idea why Harry doesn’t die (or why he drops the resurrection stone). I googled it, and the answer was so weak I thought “nope! Gonna go with the Master of Death thing instead!”

    Also don’t understand why Snape was welcomed back into the Death Eaters and why he couldn’t be saved. Also why time turners weren’t used more.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I hit reply too soon!

      Also don’t understand why vanishing cabinets were invented when you could just apparate the fuck out of there.

      Apart from that (plus a ton of other inconsistencies) I love HP with all my heart. Sure it’s problematic but the scale of the world building, the word play, the way the books get longer and harder so you can grow up with them…all amazing. I do feel like it’s being flogged to death now though.

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      1. hehe no worries!

        hahaha that’s an excellent point- hadn’t thought about that! (see, that’s why I like these discussions cos people can tell me all the things I missed!)

        But yes I totally get what you mean. hehehe I do understand that- frankly I’ve managed to steer clear of a lot of it (not seen/read cursed child/fantastic beasts and don’t plan to #sorrynotsorry)

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        1. I have literally zero interest in Fantastic Beasts/Cursed Child. I watched the BBC adaptation of the Robert Galbraith novels and MY GOD they were tedious. Who calls a character in a serious drama Luna Landry? Try saying that five times without it grating on you. Plus I kept imagining Luna Lovegood.

          One of my friends pointed out that if HP is set in the 90’s then why aren’t there magical versions of normal technology – like surely Hermione would be like “sod this talking through the flue network for a game of soldiers, why don’t we just use my Nokia?” and Malfoy would be like “hahaha look at that muggle crap, my speakywhizz 3000 is far superior – it does voice and video calling in 3D holographs” then Ron could pull out his 80’s mobile that his Dad’s been fiddling with and it could explode in magical sparks and then Snape would give them all detention.

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          1. Totally get that. Honestly I can’t remember if I even finished the Galbraith TV adaptations and can’t remember anything about what I did see.

            hahahaha that’s absolutely hilarious! Pffff! I would love to see that version of HP lol!! There must be a muggle conspiracy to keep all of the muggle technology out of the hands of muggles!

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    2. hehehe I love that you shared that! I think in the film it’s even more confusing? I haven’t rewatched them all, but watched a couple of scenes, including the final battle, and I don’t think they made head or tail of it there. It’s basically the same principle as in Narnia/Jesus- he dies for them- and his acceptance means that it kills off the Horcrux in him, I think… actually I’m not sure it’s that clear!

      Very true. Yeah the time turners she destroyed in book 5, cos *massive plothole* (although I never try to get too bogged down in the time compendium stuff- too confusing)

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  12. I am totally with you on your feelings here, don’t be afraid to express them! I think HP is often in that “untouchable” category where many of us are blinded by nostalgia to the fact that there are some flaws along the way. It’s still wildly entertaining, and holds a lot of great memories for me as a kid too, but now that I’m older I definitely recognize where it has drawbacks. (Like that final prologue – boy was that the epitome of cheesy or what?) I really experienced the series in the same way as you though: hooked on books 1-4, but I became much more critical of the rest of the series as I got older. OoTP is my least favorite book too!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you very much!! And yes I really get that- and I do think that it’s fine to be in that frame of mind, just as long as people who aren’t blinded by nostalgia are allowed to criticise it all they want. I really do think it’s a wonderful series, but it isn’t perfect (I mean, what is?) hehe I totally get what you mean!! I’m glad I’m not the only one there!

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  13. I really love your point about wanting to be able to critique a book that you love. There should definitely be ways to critique something but still genuinely enjoy it. Nothing is untouchable 🙂 Great post!

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  14. Although I do love Harry Potter, I do know it has its problems, like literally every other book on the planet. And as much as I love them, the fandom scares me (just like every other big fandom). Either they’re overwhelmingly protective, or they tear it down to a ridiculous amount. It’s like, appreciate the good, and critique the not so good! Everyone has different opinions, we need to respect that.
    That’s probably why I like smaller fandoms now and tend to get into really underrated stuff; less drama that way.

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  15. I 100% support criticising popular books. There’s no way we’re all going to like the book regardless of the popularity and I’m sure authors know that going in. I’ve only read Harry Potter once all the way through and as I got into my teens and my book horizons expanded, I realized I had no desire to read them all over again. My sister grew up with Harry Potter with me and she didn’t like them at all. Wasn’t even remotely interested. I might pick them up again for my kid and relive them but for now I’m content with the memories that I had of loving them before. The books definitely got super dark and more romantic after Goblet of Fire though and I remember thinking, “hmm. Not sure how I feel about this”. But I kept reading anyway, lol.

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    1. Thank you!! I’m glad 🙂 Absolutely agree with you! I totally get that. And yes my sister was the same- she really has very little interest in them. One of my brothers actually read the first six books and then never bothered with the last one- that’s how much he cared 😉 I think that’s a good idea! 🙂 hehehe I totally get that lol!

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  16. I totally agree with you! I think we can and should critique books regardless of their popularity and the size of their fandoms. I read all of the Harry Potter books as they came out but I’ve never really had any desire to reread them. Even if I did, I’m afraid I wouldn’t like them as much now that I’m older.

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  17. Ha. Death to the weaklings. Let them rot in their cowardice.

    I say, if it smells like shit and there are flies buzzing around it, then call that bag a sack of shit. Don’t throw rose petals under it and say it’s a flower.

    But then, I don’t make any bones about my disgust with the final couple of HP books and my general dislike of Rowling, so I’m not exactly going to be boo’ing you on this post 😀

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  18. I’m kind of genuinely shocked about this, because lately (especially on Twitter) I see a LOT more HP hate than love. So many people are SOOOO outspoken about how much they dislike the series and Rowling, especially LGBTQ and allies. Honestly, I’m more nervous getting on social media in favor of my favorite series than I ever would be to critique it.

    That being said, I think your critique is fair. BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE HARRY POTTER IS PERFECT AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE WILL BE AVARA KADAVARAED OUT OF EXISTENCE. 😛

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    1. Oh wow- that doesn’t really surprise me cos it’s twitter, but at the same time it surprises me, well, cos it’s twitter and I barely go on there 😉 I have seen people occasionally get into stuff about Rowling- but tbh I don’t really get into those debates (like I said really briefly at the end, I consider a lot more of those things interpretation and frankly I’m just not going to go after an author- I’m only interested in discussing their work)

      hehehe that’s fine lol!! 🤣🤣🤣

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  19. I think it’s always nerve wracking writing a post that potentially irks some people of due to our certain opinions.. I think those posts when we feel exposed show true bravery and many readers will appreciate both that as well as vulnerability that comes with it (as you know from my blog I love Brene Brown hence all of this ‘insight’ he he). Honestly, I think it’s a terrific post and I applaud you for standing up for what you believe.
    On the side note: I never cared much for HP, never read the books but have seen a few of those movies but somehow never got into them. I am 100% happy to critique my favourite books and/or listen to others critiquing them. We all have opinions and being open minded and listening to others views could give us another useful perspective. 😊
    PPS. Don’t you ever dare critiquing Brene Brown though! 😂 (kidding)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. hehe yes, it’s definitely nerve wracking, but thank you so much for saying that! (hehehe yes! good insight! 🙂 ) Thank you so much! You’re so sweet to say that!
      And that’s totally fair (I’m reallly not into the movies, but I thought I’d leave that, since I have no desire to rewatch them lol) I’m the same- I’m happy to read people’s critiques of my favourite books (I mean one of my favourite books had an introduction that described it as “a failed book about failure” 🤣 ) I definitely agree there 🙂
      PPS lol- wouldn’t dream of it 😉 (actually I seriously doubt that I ever would 🤣)

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  20. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts on this most beloved series.
    I am a proud Hufflepuff, but no series is perfect, and that goes for even our “untouchable” Harry Potter.

    Here is my deep dark Harry Potter secret… when the books first came out and my friends were clamoring over them, I initially refused to read them for two or three years because I was essentially being a book snob! (It’s super popular, therefore I won’t read it)

    Then I needed to get Accelerated Reader points for school and thought “here’s an easy series I can do”, and I was hooked by chapter 2 of Philosopher’s Stone.

    I think I will write a blog post about my HP fandom experiences soon 🙂

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  21. The Harry Potter books came out when I was already an adult, and while I’m a huge fan, I adit to their flaws. There is nothing wrong with stirring a healthy debate by critiquing well-loved books. The only thing that drives me NUTS, is people (who usually haven’t even read the books), scream hysterically that they’re promoting Satanism.🤦🏻‍♀️🙇🏻‍♀️ I’m looking forward to your posts.

    And I love Ravenclaw Orangutan!🤗

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ah that’s cool! And yes I really agree with you there. And yeah- yeesh- I know people do that- but it’s basically a Christian allegory, sooo… not sure where they got that from (I guess they think witches are real?) Either way, don’t expect that kind of argument from me 😉

      hehehe! Thank you!!

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    2. Oh I need to butt in here just to say that 10 or so years ago dvd’s were being sold in stores here (Serbia) about popular culture promoting satanism, like the band Slayer and the show Charmed for instance, and of course HP. I just HAD to buy it, brought it home and watched it with my mom in disbelief, but we ended cracking up. Who even does that and why jeesh. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well Slayer is a death metal band so I can see the logic, but for the witches thing I guess those people really believe in something like that, like orangutan lady said, because in order to be afraid of something you have to believe in it 😀 Joke’s on them haha

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  22. I’ve always been a bit nervous talking about Harry because, back in the early 2000s when I started reading them, Harry’s books were getting banned and challenged. Kids (including myself) were told that it wasn’t good to read that sort of thing because of the “bad stuff” in them. I’m honestly like, really careful when I mention that Harry Potter was one of the books that really got me to read. I was fourteen and had read other books beforehand, but it hooked me in a very special way. I wanted to become an author after that. I knew it. But yet there’s still this hatred for it that goes around because people are still banning it (though not as much). I’ve always tiptoed around it with people. Even a few years ago, I got told that book was “bad for you.” I was pretty speechless. I thought we’d grown past that stage, but apparently not. As to your assessment of HP, I agree it has holes and, I guess, like any old book, I love it anyway. I think people are way too quick to judge things online, myself included. Loved your article. Will continue to follow. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gosh, I think that;s a terrible shame- because I really don’t think they’re controversial. I’m really glad they got you hooked on reading and inspired you to become an author. And yeah, I really cannot stand books being banned, so I think that’s a terrible thing. I don’t really know why people have that view tbh. That’s totally fair! 🙂 Thank you very much!!

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  23. YASSSSSSS. I might be the biggest advocate when it comes to Harry Potter, but my love for it glitches just a bit when it came to Book 5. It’s a tad too angsty for me (and abruptly at that), and for Book 7, I almost like pretend it doesn’t exist. I mean, I was so disappointed by the tone, epilogue, and the rushed swarm of deaths at the end that it’s the only book in the series I haven’t read since the first time (And I’ve read the others more than a dozen times.)

    And THANK YOU about the Voldemort thing!! I really don’t understand how he keeps on topping the best villains list because for one, he’s kind of a tantrum-prone baby for me lol, and secondly as you say, he’s not that complex. I don’t buy the “born that way” argument either because it’s simply not a realistic reason for someone to evil (unless he’s psychopathic, which might explain it). 😉 Great post! Full support from a Potterhead! 😀

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    1. I totally agree and get what you mean!! And it certainly felt like the angst came out of nowhere (at least for me). hehe I completely get what you mean!! I think I’ve read 7 a total of 3 times (including my recent reread) So yeah, I hear you there.

      I’m so glad you agree with me on that! Cos that’s one of my biggest contentions. And yes, I really get what you mean- I personally did view it as him being presented as psychopathic, which was… disappointing. Thank you so much!! 😀

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  24. I read the first three potter books in Afrikaans, I have to reread them in english still. When it came out i believe I was 12 but only found out about it at 14 or so. Loved it, but as i grow older i have a problem with the kid that harry was, very much like frodo, always going looking for shit. I have such a dislike in dumbledore that he features in my review of some other book earlier today.

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  25. I’ve pretty much always maintained that Harry Potter is great primarily because of its worldbuilding. I find the characterization weak, the romantic relationships unconvincing, and, yes, Book 6 is pretty awful because it’s comprised mostly of flashbacks (aka infodumping). I think HP got so big because it grew up with the fans, so people could start the series as a child and see it grow darker and more mature as they aged. That sort of thing won’t happen ever again for fans unless they specifically hold off on reading the later books (which I suppose some might if their parents get concerned?). I love HP, but, as you said, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect or that we can’t critique it like any other literature!

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    1. I totally get that- I love the world building above everything else in the series. I have mixed feelings about the characterisation- I usually don’t like it that much, but am feeling a bit more generous of late 😉 But the romance… yeah I don’t buy that 😉 I completely get that (though for me personally I didn’t like the more “grown up” parts as much) absolutely!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I read these books as a young(er) adult and only the one time. I think it’s time I re-read them. I did love them at the time. I love classic Good vs. Evil themes and when you throw in a little magic it’s a recipe for wonderfulness. Now that I’ve seen how crazy book bloggers are about these books I want to take another look. As far as your critique, I think everyone has a right to their own opinion. Own it, celebrate it, and speak about it! Discussions are always welcome on your blog!

    Liked by 4 people

  27. I fully support your criticism, and I think Rowling would too. This is the best part of reading books-interacting with them in a meaningful way. Don’t worry about pissing off people, this is what we do as book reviewers, we make people question things.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. Strange things happen when you read HP as an adult. For me it was that I realised that I didn’t like Harry at all. I have watched the films many times (I love them!) but I never realised how whiny Harry is. Yes, he’s the boy who lived, the chosen one, his lot is dark and all that but seriously, Harry, get over it. On the other hand I totally fell for Hermione – she’s so great in the books. And Ginny too, and Ron, and Neville, and everyone.

    I guess this won’t be a very popular opinion either but what’s the point of book reviews and bookish blogs if they’re not to be honest. I think it is perfectly fine to shake up conventions from time to time, even necessary in order to promote critical thinking. So yeah, I’m very looking forward to your reviews and harsh criticism on HP – and I’m a fan of the series!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hehehe I so get that (although I didn’t like him much as a teen either, though I liked him when I was a child 😉 ) hahahaha so true. I really love a lot of the other characters as well- especially Hermione and Ginny.

      And yes I completely agree. Absolutely- love that point!! Thank you so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. All is good – critique away, just shows that you’re a human being with more than cotton balls between you ears. 😉 And I so love that you write yourself an acceptance letter!!! 😄💕

    Liked by 3 people

  30. My kids loved Harry Potter. I tried to read it to them but was bored after a few pages–guess I’m just not into magic (or maybe I was in a bad mood that day). My kids just grabbed the book from my hand and devoured the series. My son liked it more than my daughter.

    I’m all for dissenting opinions as long as they are expressed in a respectful way. I hate when some reviewers seem to have some weird personal ax to grind with the author. Free speech is sacred to me but I don’t have to like venom spewing reviews. Just strange to take the time to hate on someone so much.

    You, my friend, are the perfect mix of sugar and spice and everything nice (not a very feminist reference sorry! LOL).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think that’s fair enough. That’s cool 😀

      Oh that’s totally fair enough- I don’t believe in attacking the author in general on a blog/review (that’s just my personal opinion). Obviously I’ll say things like “I don’t like x writer’s style”, but I consider that being critique of the book. I think there’s a huge difference between disliking a book and attacking a person as an individual (of course people have a right to do it, it’s just not very polite)

      hehehe aww thank you! (don’t worry, I’m not a feminist 😉 ) ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  31. I was really afraid to read this but actually it makes a lot of sense! I agree with you on the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that especially book bloggers/readers should not feel scared or pressured to like something, just because everyone else does. Also- Order of the Phoenix is my least favorite book in the series as well, for many of the same reasons.

    Truthfully, I haven’t reread the books in years. I used to reread them all the time, but I haven’t because I have been catching up with other books. And now I wonder, if as an adult, who has been exposed to, and read a number of different styles of writing, if I will feel the exact same way about these books that I remember feeling from the last time I read them. Listen, Harry Potter is always going to be important to me, and I will always claim it as my favorite, but I never could see myself judging someone for disliking it. In the very least I want everyone to read it, so it makes me sad that some people really feel that kind of anxiety about reading them because to the extreme fandom that follows it.

    Very interesting post my friend. As always, I LOVE the graphic :]

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aww thank you- I’m really glad! And thank you for taking the time to read it! (I know it can be scary going into a post like this, it was certainly scary making it 😉 ) And yes for sure! I’m glad I’m not the only one there!

      I totally get that- it’s been years for me as well- but I haven’t really reread much of anything in that time either. And I think that makes total sense- I feel much the same way- it means a lot to me, but I think I’m a bit more chill about it and also in general don’t mind when other people dislike what I like. And yeah, I see that opinion about a lot, and I get it, but I kind of get a bit sad about that, cos sometimes I think the people that say that would like it if they gave it a try!

      Thank you!! And aww thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Critique away! I have always held that the Harry Potter *stories* are good, but that the *actual writing* is only okay. And I think that as the books got more popular, people got afraid to tell J.K. Rowling that she needed to EDIT THEM BETTER, and so there’s a lot of stuff in the later books that makes me roll my eyes (at best) or want to scream (at worst).

    I was already an adult when I read them the first time, and though I did get caught up in a little bit of the hype for the releases of the last two books I never found them to be perfect literature that had absolutely no flaws. I have no patience for the portion of the fanbase which won’t hear any complaints against the series. The books are good, and they’re important, and I love how many people started reading for fun again because of them… but they’re not the Holy Grail of Fiction. They’re just books.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you- I really agree with you there. That’s basically my problem with a lot of the later books as well- especially book 5. And while I like the simplicity of the writing style, it’s certainly not my favourite style (and also explains why I had other favourite children’s books).

      I think that’s totally fair enough- I think that’s a very fair assessment. And I completely get that, because I see that opinion around a lot (and must say I don’t get it- I read plenty of criticism of my favourite books, it doesn’t effect how much I love it). Absolutely agree!

      Like

      1. Yes, I agree that I think book 5 had the most unnecessary stuff in it. We always used to joke that Harry in book 5 turned into a teenage girl. His mood swings seemed to match ours (mine and my sister’s) better than they matched the boys we knew, LOL.

        I don’t understand how people can’t take criticism of their favorite books, either. I can understand how FOR THE AUTHOR it might be hard to hear criticism, depending on how it’s worded. But really? I’m just a fan, so what does it matter to me if someone else doesn’t like this story that I DIDN’T WRITE?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. hahaha yes! So true lol!!

          and yes I really agree with you. And yes, very true. I personally don’t even think that when it comes to something as famous as HP, it’s not like it’s going to get back to Rowling (especially as I’ve had a lot of backlash in private conversations)- I get that people revere the books, but there’s no need to defend their honour at every opportunity. *Exactly* (I used to use the phrase “I don’t care, I didn’t write it” lol)

          Like

          1. Yeah, I don’t think Rowling’s going to ever read my opinion of her books. There are so many people out there talking about them. Sometimes I think, though, that some of her fans take that to mean that they need to protect her good name on her behalf, since she’s too busy to do it herself. Oh well. Usually the more rabid fans aren’t the ones who will have logical conversations about it anyway.

            Liked by 1 person

  33. I love this post so, so much. I think it’s SO important to remember that no book is ever perfect, even our favorites and everyone has the right to critique books and have their own opinions on them 🙂
    I read Harry Potter as a late teenager, much later than everyone else, because I saw all the movies before getting to the books…. I know, that’s weird, haha. So my experience is a bit different from people reading the books really early on as children. Still, I enjoyed the series as a whole, but I think it can and should be criticized as well, other books can, so why not harry potter, too. It’s a book and everyone’s entitled to share their opinions 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  34. I really love this post, and I get what you mean about there being this whole kind of ‘thing’ surrounding Harry Potter where you’re almost worried about expressing any opinion to the contrary. I always talk about how much I love the series, and there’s always going to be a part of me that always does love it, but it’s been ages since I’ve read it and a lot of the details have kind of escaped me you know? I do remember being a little disappointed with the seventh book when I first read it (looking back I can’t for the life of me remember why, guess it’s time for a re-read) but overall HP was part of my childhood growing up so part of me feels like it’s the nostalgia I remember the most (I hope that makes sense).
    I will say with some of the thing happening recently in the fandom some of the shine is coming off the HP books for me.
    Great post, and I’m really looking forwards to seeing your reviews for these books, no matter how controversial they may be. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you!! And yes I definitely see that quite a bit and people have directly told me they can’t handle any criticism of the series- which I get, but also think it stifles debate from other people. And yes I completely get that. I so understand that. And yeah I completely agree there- it’s a huge part of my childhood too and tinged with nostalgia for sure.
      Ah that’s a pity.
      Thank you very much!! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah that seems kind of strange to me. I love the series and always will and I don’t see how someone else’s opinion/criticism will change my mind. Just because you had some issues with the books doesn’t mean I’ll love them any less.
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  35. I loved this post, especially the part about the fans! I feel like Harry Potter fans especially go a bit too much (speaking as someone who was once one of those fans). Like, it’s totally fine to just enjoy the books!! You don’t need to analyze them!! It’s okay if someone’s only seen the movies, or forgets little details, or doesn’t like them!!! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion!! And I feel like HP fans forget that a lot and have this MASSIVE superiority complex! It gets exhausting to deal with. And honestly, it’s the most popular series in the world? You’re not special for reading it because literally hundreds of millions of people have read it!!!! (again, coming from me, who was definitely once one of those fans)

    The Order of the Phoenix was my second favourite book in the series, and I’m looking forward to reading your review of it! I love critiquing these books – I think there are so many flaws, but like good, interesting flaws that are fun to critique.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much!! And yeah I relate! Absolutely- everyone’s entitled to take whatever they want out of the series. I can understand that. hehehe very true! LOL!
      Ah that’s interesting! I’ve heard a lot of people say how much they love it- out of interest which one’s your favourite? Just out of curiosity. Fair enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I tend to give more weight to reviews that share the good and the bad. Also, it’s terrible, but I haven’t read HP yet. I was older when they came out, and I saw the movies, and I have a hard time reading a book after I’ve seen the movies. I’ve promised myself I will read them, though, and soon. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  37. I like how even though this post is a critique of the series, it’s obvious that you’re still a fan despite recognizing its flaws. I laughed when you talked about the Ravenclaw in you.
    (Hufflepuff for the win!)

    Liked by 3 people

  38. So, I’ve never actually read Harry Potter so I can’t comment on that aspect of the post, other than to say that the level of Potterhead disapproval for never having read it (and having little interest in reading it) can be as annoying as the blowback from writing a non-gushing review of it. However, I agree that it’s intimidating to write a review of a wildly popular book that you had some problems with, even if you liked it as a whole. I like appreciate reviews that honestly discuss what a person did and didn’t like about a book, so that is the kind of review I try to write. It seems to be fairly well accepted in the book blogging community, but commercial sites like Amazon and Goodreads can be brutal!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ah yes I have seen that about and I think it’s a bit unfair to be honest- I don’t think it’s right to tell someone off for not having read any book. And yes I completely agree with you there. I definitely think the blogging community is generally great about that 😀 (and yes that makes sense- though I don’t tend to use those)

      Liked by 1 person

  39. I read the first book in (I think) 9th grade. I was surprised when a friend recommend it to me. It was an awfully low-level read. It turned out to be a very well-written book. I thought kids would like it. The main theme seemed to be “lying is okay” (thought I’m a better reader now and should I ever reread to my own child, I’ll probably—hopefully—catch another theme), which really bothered me for some reason. But beyond that it was a good book. Not compelling enough for me to pick up any of the others from the series, but it was certainly something I could see younger readers getting into.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hahaha oh gosh having read the whole series, one of the main issues I have is often that one of the characters has an issue with telling the truth. I mean, there is more to the books than that, but I don’t blame you for picking up on that 😉 (actually I think it was pretty smart 😉 ) And fair enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. I’m all for critiquing books whether they are popular or not and I LOVE it when people go in on Harry Potter and rip it apart. They are my favorite books, but I love when peeps critique the shit outta them. That’s why I love the Witch Please podcast so much because the hosts go in on the series. They also love the books, so they rip it apart with love. Lol! 😀
    I also didn’t buy the “born this way” evilness of Voldemort. My belief is that the love potion his mom used ensnare his dad affected Voldemort making him incapable of love and thus evil. With that said, I wonder if his hunger for power and importance is a yearning for love and care but because he doesn’t understand/is incapable of love, he doesn’t realize that’s what he wants/needs.

    I didn’t like the end of book 7 either. I don’t mind the whole “love conquers all” resolution, but it is a trope I’m tired of, tbh.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you- I;m glad you agree. hahaha!! That’s such a refreshing thing to hear!! and now i have to listen to that too- thanks for the tip!! 😉
      And yes I do get that- and yeah I have heard that argument- it’s just it also takes away some of his agency- I guess that just doesn’t sit well with me because the greatest evil is often committed by mankind, and there’s no way of excusing that (I have a personal preference for books that explore how people get to that point and increasingly like to read around the subject, so Voldemort doesn’t do it for me as a villain). But I think that’s an interesting perspective- I really like that analysis.
      And yeah I totally get that- it’s not the worst- but it’s been used enough to be a bit of a cliche.

      Like

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