Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Growing up with Harry – A review on the Harry Potter series

I have been reading novels since my third standard. Before that I used to read illustrated stories and comic books. I have read books of all genres, my favorites being the fictions, especially the thriller variety.
It was when I was in college that I laid my hands on Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. I am a person who reads a book and forms an opinion on it. I found Harry Potter fascinating. Creating a new world and trekking into new quarters is always a challenge. No only did Rowling step up to the challenge and meet it, she has done it time and again. Thats the mark of a great author. The last time the world saw such a hysteria for a series of books was during the time of Sherlock Holmes.

Personally, I like the HP series for the familiarity that it gives me. I love fantasies because I feel they are the products of genuine and innocent creativity. Stories of flying mountains fascinated me when I was a child. As I grew, society deems fit that I meet elevating standards of decorum. I do. But sometimes, I feel the need to bring out the child in me. I feel the need to regain my lost innocence, the need to think what I want to think. Reading HP provides with me with all the freedom that I want to have. Not to mention, it transports my mind to my school days. I have met characters like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Snape, McGonagall, Hagrid, Malfoy, Dumbledore and most others she describes. I love the individual potrayals that JKR has drawn for her characters.

Coming to the literary comments, JKR has a penchant for detail, akin to Arthur Hailey. Hailey goes dry in some places. JKR doesnt. She can detail out everything – from color to odor, to features, to places, to surroundings, to characters, ancestries and so much more. She has a sense for subtle comedy which is very rare in english literature. She can bring out commoness and make the reader feel one with the characters. She has this miraculous ability to take her readers into another world. As I already mentioned, the characters she has created are very much like those we have met during our school days. The emotions that they display are all very familar to the ones that we had then. Its a very big thing to bring about familiarity in the alien world that she has created. It takes great writing skill for that.

The way she can link details from book to book and keep all characters fresh is simply fascinating. It is one quality that I have seen only in the greatest of authors. She made the characters grow with age, something most authors from Enid Blyton to Ruskin Bond did not do. She made sure that the childishness was shown when they were children and the pangs of adolescence were reflected when they grew. Some people like Archer and dont like JKR. I feel thats stupid because the writing style is all the same. JKR’s is even better when it comes to comedy. Only the setting of the story is different. She fits in lots of valuable lessons too.

Some people say it is a children’s book and that there is no need for adults to get so involved in it. I feel otherwise. In a world where everything happens in split seconds, in a world where adults are stressed to their core and all life is mechanical, there is a definite need to let it out, to get immersed in creativity. What better way to leave behind your stress than reading a book? The HP series by JKR gives so much of scope for creativity, so much of scope for unleashing your mind, transports you to the carefree school days and provokes in you or gives rebirth to the passion to read.

Some people say HP is all hype. I find that comment hilariuos. I read a review yesterday in one of the newspapers which said "when history looks back, it will look at Harry Potter books as a record in terms of finance. Perhaps, better literary works require a different kind of magic." I laughed out rioutously on reading it. Later on, I pitied the author. All the qualities of HP books are present in the best of books in history, in hysteria of people wanting Harry to be alive is more like that which happened to Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle had to bring back his character alive to satisy the people. It is obvious from the author’s comments that he did not appreciate Sherlock Holmes series of novels. Pity the paper featured a column by such a person.

I feel the HP series by JKR will be written in history as one of the all time best books ever to be published, in terms of literary achievements, in terms of hysteria created, in terms of creating reading habit especially among children and ofcourse in terms of monetray success. Kudos to JKR, Kudos to Harry Potter!


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This entry was posted on July 24, 2007 by in Books.

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