Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hmmm, interesting

While reading Mark Shea's blog (Yay, he has a new post, and he's almost done with his book on Mary!) I read a comment that linked to this article in the National Post - that is, the Canadian National Post.

Will our grandchildren remember J.K. Rowling?

At times like these, Pottermania can get to be a little oppressive. And I'm not speaking entirely in metaphors here. Last week J.K. Rowling and B.C.'s Raincoast Books turned lawyers loose on some Canadian fans who had happened upon pre-release copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince shelved carelessly in stores...

...This incident, though settled peaceably, left me with a rather poor opinion of Rowling. I realize that in the public mind, she's still seen as the heroic single mum on the dole, toiling away at her baroque personal vision in between baby-feedings. The next door down, basically, from the Virgin Mary. But what are we supposed to make of a billionairess who sets the Dementors of litigation on the very people who made her rich?

Thus ill-disposed, I've been taking refuge in cruel thoughts on the fleeting nature of literary fame. It comforts me to consider whether our grandchildren will have any idea who J.K. Rowling was -- it's a fairly safe bet they won't.
Now, before I get any irate messages from Potter fans, let me say that I like Harry as much as the next gal! Particularly I liked the first couple books. I don't really like the "dark" stuff, and it kind of creeps me out to see really little kids getting excited about reading about ... Murders and things ... And another good reason to like the first books better: Harry's not old enough to have well-developed hormones ...

Anyway, this article has some very interesting points to make about literary fame. For instance, did you know that the first millionaire author was a fellow named Harold Bell Wright? Never heard of him? Neither have I. I guess back in the day he was wildly popular. The writer of this piece calls him "the inflation-adjusted J.K. Rowling of his day."

The best paragraph in the piece comes on the second page:
All best-selling fiction books, the truly elite ones, are baked with generous helpings of naivete. What seems to distinguish the Potter series is its exponentially expanding complexity. For every character Rowling kills off, she begets 20 more: her story is now thronged with choruses of people, all with names like Febrimius Churlcape or Columba Slobmouth. And they're all embedded in their own mini-dramas. Sorting it all out is the sort of hypnotic, compulsive activity children love. Perhaps Rowling's hero should have been called Harry Pokemon.
Bwaaa ha ha! One thing's for sure, the reporter has some familiarity with Pokemon and its completely baffling attraction to children! It seems to do nothing for persons over 15 except give them migraines.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmmm, interesting. While I differ from my mom in thinking whether Harry's evil or not, I think the irony in this article's very appropriate.

    However, was it Rowling or the publisher's that sent SWAT teams after the copies of the books that were sold too soon? (Kinda hard to prove without an incriminating memo at this point.)

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to hot/himud today... Wouldn't mind an ice cube making spell... Jk!!!! ;) ;)