Harry Potter, Literary Hog

Something has been bothering me the last couple months.  Read your paper.  Does it seem to have many articles about a certain wizard?  Every year, at about this time, the papers are innundated by articles about the Harry Potter films and books.  I have two problems with this. 

All this attention is given to Harry Potter.  The books are popular, but there are many many more books out there.  Harry Potter is often portrayed as the “be all end all” of contemporary lit.  I see Harry Potter as the road block to other great works.  I agree that HP has reinvigorated reading in our society.  I just don’t see any effort being made to encourage reading beyond HP. 

When the LotR films came out, how much focus was given to Tolkien and his works?  From what I recall, next to none.  Sure, there were a couple more shelves in the bookstore, but that was it.  There was no real credit given in the mass media.  It was all about Jackson.  Seeing all the “hoopla” over HP helped me realize this.  There was almost no effort to get the word out.  In some ways, it was made out to be Jackson & co.’s creation alone.  I’ll admit, there were blurbs here or there saying “JRR Tolkien’s epic…blah blah blah” etc.  But really, except for saying he wrote a book, nothing more was done. 

Thus we get Harry Potter, the Literary Hog.  Taking the spotlight, and obscuring other great works in darkness.


4 thoughts on “Harry Potter, Literary Hog

  1. You’re absolutely right. A big deal is always made about how Harry Potter has gotten kids into reading, but it does them no good if that’s ALL they go read. I honestly think the series gets more credit than it deserves as far as content as well, but that’s a separate matter entirely.

  2. I’m actually finally reading HP after the urging of a fellow Tolkien fan. She fully admits Rowlings intentionally borrowed heavily from Tolkien (as well as Greek and Roman mythology), which, I realize, is rather obvious. I’ve only read up to about half of the 4th book and it’s clear anyone who knows Tolkien: the parallels between the Dementors and the Nazgul, as well as Wormtail and Wormtongue, etc. The funny thing is how few people realize the allusions to other works, but I think it’s that way with anything. People who read “The Christmas Carol” think they know Dickens and people who read Pride and Prejudice think they have novels down. Again, if they stop with these works, they’ll know nothing of truly great literature (but think they do). Likewise wtih HP. We can only hope their parents, teachers, classmates, or they themselves are curious enough to find out more and to give other books a chance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s