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JK Rowling, et al.

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

JK Rowling, et al.

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri July 8th, 2011, 7:04 pm

[quote=""fljustice""]Started rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows --- I'm taking my time, savoring the story and evaluating the writing. Quite fun![/quote]
Faith, do you feel that JKR could really have used some serious cutting on the last several books? To me, they seemed quite slow in the middle and unnecessarily convoluted.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Fri July 8th, 2011, 7:11 pm

I agree with you MLE - 5 & 6 could have been edited quite a lot, especially 6 which got quite repetitive at times. One of the reasons why I still haven't read book 7! And I couldn't make head or tail of the 6th film - in fact I was quite bored by it.
Currently reading: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

annis
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Post by annis » Fri July 8th, 2011, 7:25 pm

I agree about the HP books. After the first three they became unnecessarily bloated. I suspect this was a response to kids' demands for HP stories that lasted longer as a read.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

JK Rowling, et al.

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat July 9th, 2011, 5:43 pm

So here is the core of my question: why did the Harry Potter books become the phenomenon they are? and the second question, which is related to it, is this: how much of success is due to an author's current book, and how much is riding on name/brand recognition? For instance, if Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were a stand-alone first novel, no hype or movie tie-ins, would it have sold very many copies?

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Madeleine
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Currently reading: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
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Post by Madeleine » Sat July 9th, 2011, 8:24 pm

[quote=""MLE""]So here is the core of my question: why did the Harry Potter books become the phenomenon they are? and the second question, which is related to it, is this: how much of success is due to an author's current book, and how much is riding on name/brand recognition? For instance, if Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were a stand-alone first novel, no hype or movie tie-ins, would it have sold very many copies?[/quote]

I think if we knew the answer to that question, then we'd all be millionaires! ;) :confused:

If I remember rightly, I don't think the Potter books really took off big-time until the 3rd one was published - in the UK anyway - I remember seeing an item on the news about it being published, and children queueing round the block to get a copy, but up until then, as a childless person and with few friends with children of that reading age, I'd never heard of JKR or HP. Then suddenly it was everywhere, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Currently reading: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat July 9th, 2011, 11:00 pm

Right time. Right place. And cross appeal. Frankly I 've never read the things. I must be breaking some secret librarians code, but thats OK. I don't care. They did not appeal to me.


Kids were hungry for a novel they could sink their teeth into. Plus boys don't have many choices, and this gave them a character and series of books they could love.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat July 9th, 2011, 11:16 pm

I have a number of thoughts on this, but I'm not sure which is correct.

I read Harry Potter some time after the second book was out, after it had become quite the phenomenon here in the US. My youngest was still in the Harry Potter reading range--they hadn't really crossed over into adult reading at the time. Anywaqy, the reason I read the book (well, listened to it, actually) was because a couple of church friends were foaming at the mouth about witches, wizards, and contaminating our youth etc. (These were people who had no problem with witches and wizards in Narnia or Middle-Earth, which struck me as odd.)

Now I'm reasonably concerned about youth, but the nature of the accusations sounded pretty far-out, so I decided to hear it myself before weighing in. I confess to enjoying it very much, not a little because the reader is one of the best in the business. Jay listened to the audiobook going to and from work, and loved it.

As to the rabid rejecters, of course they hadn't read HP, nor had they read ANY of the YA or middle-grade offerings out there. If they had, they would have thanked God for Harry Potter, because it's clean, upholds basic human values, and got the kids reading.

But although the book was a nice decent read, there are many, many YA books that excel it on all fronts which did well, but not spectacularly. So one theory is that the great anti-Harry brouhaha was what gave it that extra edge.

I saw another theory on a blog, but I'll save that for another post.

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SarahWoodbury
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Post by SarahWoodbury » Sun July 10th, 2011, 12:03 am

We picked up on the HP books with #3 as someone said. It was given a little blurb in Newsweek (this is '98 or '99?).

So we got the first one. My husband read it out loud to our children, then 7 and 8. They LOVED it. It fed their imaginations like nothing had outside of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. These are the fantasy triumverate in our family.

And I love the books too, even as I can agree and say that 5-7 could have been cut considerably in length. But of all the books that my kids have read, HP ranks up at the top. It's a complete fantasy world that is smart and accessible.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun July 10th, 2011, 2:26 am

Well I'm sure that the anti HP feeling did help it. Even bad publicity is good publicity, or so they say.

Teens and kids want things that their parents tell them are bad...or that they hear are bad. So I'm sure that was a factor, but not the only one.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Sun July 10th, 2011, 2:32 am

I have the HP books, but haven't read them yet. My girls would rather watch the movies than actually read them, which makes me wonder whether the greater length in the later books is due to the expectations from kids or whether it stems from publishers pushing for crossover appeal for adults. I don't think my kids are unusual for not wanting to read big fat epics before the age of 10.

Anyway... I have the same feelings about Diana Gabaldon. There's lots to like about her Outlander world, but good god, no other writer who is not a big blockbuster hit would be allowed to publish the kind of sprawl it has become.

Oh, and I agree with pp, the HP books didn't really become popular until the third or so (Gabaldon wasn't an instant success either, as I understand it).
Last edited by Ludmilla on Sun July 10th, 2011, 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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