16 Comments

  1. Indeed Goblet of Fire is by far my favorite. It expands the world, but not too much, and it’s just plain fun.

    And Order of the Phoenix catered to my love of slow, brooding stuff. And then the series just collapsed under its own weight I think.

    1. I can’t answer for Freddie, but in my case it was because everyone I knew wouldn’t shut up about them and I was sick of being the only person at the bar who couldn’t even follow the conversation.

      Now I’m just the asshole who thinks they’re all equally terrible.

  2. C’mon, Rowling is worth no more than a C+ in my book…and the movies were often better than the book because actor stepped into the skins of those flat characters and shook them to life (the same, alas with Tolkien, whose work is a Norse history and lit scholar’s idea of a novel…like reading an engineer’s idea of a novel. Migawd, the man thought Shakespeare was an arri8viste!). Noted you recommended Diane Wynne Jones, but here are *so* much authors of her quality:
    = Diane Duane of the ‘So you want to be a Wizard’ (young adult) and the ‘Door’ series
    = Robin McKinley
    = Sharon Shinn
    = Wen Spencer’s Tinker series
    = Charles DeLint
    = Peter Beagle, besides the Last Unicorn, his The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Neitzsche
    = Steven Brust
    = Charles Williams, for heavy, serious fantasy
    = George MacDonald
    = a new one, Slyvia Hunter
    All of this are head and shoulders above…yawn…Rowling.

    To me, Rowling’s prominence is as if the world has discovered tricycles and thinks they’re ne plus ultra

  3. Back when Goblet of Fire came out, and the series was something everyone had heard of but not necessarily read, a friend of mine just started reading that one without reading the three preceding, because everyone was so excited about GoF and he didn’t want to waste his time on the others.

    Back then I thought that was a bit silly–if you’re going to do that, why read the entire book? Why not skip to the best chapter?

    But in retrospect I think my friend looks pretty wise. Each of the books reintroduces everything you have to know anyway, so skipping the first couple books isn’t a bad idea.

  4. I actually made a similar graph showing both book and movie back when the last movie came out.

    To me, the order of books (from best to worst):
    2, 1, 3, 6, 4, 5, 7

    The order of movies:
    3, 5, 1, 7, 8, 4, 2

    I felt like the second book was a really well-constructed page turner, which gave just enough secrets from the near and distant past while keeping the fun of developing the world of the school, and moving the plot and the mystery forward at a steady clip. It was also the shortest . I read it in a single night with pleasure. Most of the other books were far too baggy, although over time my respect for Rowling has increased, as I’ve decided that the derivative quality of her work is mostly a positive. The second book seems to be unfairly tarred by the decidedly boring movie made of it.

    The first movie I also consider unfairly maligned. Watching it with little kids who already know the book is really fun, since it keeps very close to the book while having a child’s sense of wonder about the world Harry is entering.

  5. No, no no. Seven is the best. The battle of Hogwarts, man. Snape. Neville. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong on the internet.

    I need to go to bed.

    1. I find the “Harry had to door for Voldenort to die– except he doesn’t, because magic” thing to be pretty unforgivable.

      1. It was clear that the Hallows were introduced solely in the planning for the last book and had no real organic development in the earlier books. The Horcruxes were a decent idea, and much more clearly drew from the themes of the second book, but the particular way they were developed seemed to me like JK Rowling had been watching The Two Towers on DVD and said, hell, let’s put that kind of quest into the last two books.

  6. I just reread the series this summer and, for me, each one improves on the last. The big problem I had with three and four is that they repeat too much of what is said in the earlier books. It made back-to-back reading tedious at points. The reason I liked seven the most is because it finally threw off the structure of Hogwarts that overburdened books four through six. And I really like the deathly hallows stuff. I think my favorite moment in all the movies is where they show the story of the three brothers.

  7. This is my view as well. I almost didn’t bother to read the last one. For the longest time I wondered if it was because I was getting older (Hallows came out when I was 19), but I reread them all in the summer of 2013 and realised I was correct.

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