Apr 072012

The cover of the first edition of the first Harry Potter book. The title was changed for U.S. publication.

The Harry Potter books really are magic.

According to J.K. Rowling’s website, the idea that would become Harry Potter just “fell into her head.” As anyone who has ever written knows, that’s usually how it happens. What fell into her head, though, was better than anything that’s ever fallen into anyone else’s head.  Harry Potter is virtually flawless. The characters, universe, story, plot, and writing are all nearly perfect. Sure, there are a few places where it might, maybe, have been better, but if that’s the biggest complaint you can make in over four thousand pages, that’s amazing. Snobby literature types have taken issue with the writing, and some authors I really respect, such as Ursula K. Leguin, were less than impressed. What the critics fail to grasp is what Stephen King understood, which is that Harry Potter was storytelling at it’s finest.

I love Harry Potter, and I don’t mean the books, I mean the boy. I love Ron and Hermione, and I also loved being part of their lives, and the lives of everyone else in the Harry Potter series. Should I ever live to be a great grandparent, I am confident that I will be able to hand one of these books to one of my great grandchildren, and they will fall in love just as I did.  The Harry Potter books aren’t about just about magic, they are magic, and that’s why I wish I’d written them.

Also, the money.


  1. Bill Coffin says:

    What I love so much about Harry Potter is much of what I love about Tolkien. There is a wonderful story and deeply compelling characters, but there is a world that is so much bigger than all of it, a world I want to live in and world I would want to defend alongside its greatest heroes. What a towering work of imagination this is. Rowling deserves all of the praise she has received for it.

    Also, the money.

  2. Bryn Snyder says:

    Personally, I didn’t care much for Harry and I couldn’t stand Ron. Since Hermoine wound up doing most of the leg work and was always the most practical and “together” character, the series might as well have been about her!

    But that’s not why I loved Harry Potter. I loved it for Hogwarts. Like you’re saying Bill, it was just an environment or world that really seemed alive and awesome. What I wouldn’t give to have gone there! I enjoyed reading about the goings on in and around the school so much I couldn’t put the books down until I had finished each one. It helped that when I started reading the books I was the same age as Harry!

    I didn’t enjoy the Deathly Hallows as much for that reason. Hogwarts WAS, in my mind, the Harry Potter universe. Once the series left its confines, I lost interest. Deathly Hallows read as a nail-biting deconstruction of that universe; it was good in its own way, but I didn’t feel it had the “magic” of the previous entries.