Is “Harry Potter” Literature?

Most of my friends around me say that they have ‘grown up’ with Harry Potter, he was with them through their childhood years and now that all of the films have ended, they are struggling on how to ‘move on’ with their lives. My reaction to them was of course laughing in their faces.
I have said before in an earlier post that it wasn’t for me to judge how a book has changed someone’s life, now I would not identify myself as a hypocrite and nor do I ever want to become one, the human race is already blighted by plenty of those. Because of this I won’t be discussing whether I believe Harry Potter has the ability or power to exert a life changing force on someone, rather, should the Harry Potter series be classed as literature?
I grew up with the books, I can vaguely remember reading ‘Order of the Phoenix’ at 4am in the morning despite having school to go to the next day.
I do, however, believe that Harry Potter has escaped harsh criticism from many because of its mass popular culture and avid followers. But many critics have still ‘slammed JK Rowling’ for her work. Some saying that:

‘She has achieved nothing ‘new’ in terms of themes, character motifs, morals of characters. overall moral and meaning of the book and/or series’

Others have said that her writing style isn’t particularly unique and brings nothing new into the world of writing as well as the books being ‘rather simplistic.’  This I agree with and, although I enjoyed the books when I was younger, if I was asked to read them now I would consider it an insult to my intelligence. I wouldn’t consider Harry Potter to be literature and if I am wrong and people do believe it to be literature (my purpose isn’t to prove you otherwise, merely to say why I don’t believe it is) then it isn’t great literature. The language and dialogue between the characters are poor, many of the main characters are weak in moral, and I believe hardly any of them actually grow between the seven books.
Literature calls for powerful, complex characters and a series with more underlying motifs. Harry Potter simply does not have these. But I’ll leave the dear reader to form your own opinion as always and if it is indifferent to mine, please do not hesitate to tell me so.

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2 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Opinions, Thoughts, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Is “Harry Potter” Literature?

  1. A story doesn’t have to be revolutionary to have a powerful effect on people’s lives. I think the characters in the Harry Potter series are sufficiently complex, keeping in mind that it is a YA series that is meant for younger people.

    I could easily make the argument that the Harry Potter books are the most important contributions to the world of literature in the past 10-15 years if for no other reason than the fact that it got young children very interested in reading.

    Is this series the greatest literary achievement of all time, no, and I don’t think it needs to be. There are very few truly original stories anywhere, and this series is no exception. It is however a very successful retelling of a familiar tale.

    • Indeed you do make a very rational point of view and i’m glad you shared it so frankly.
      It is true to say that Harry Potter has got many young readers interested in books and although the series, may not be in my eyes revolutionary, it has of course probably impacted a life. My post wasn’t about challenging that possible fact it was about examining whether or not the series should be classed as literature.
      From my personal viewpoint comes the opinion that the Harry Potter characters aren’t strong enough to be considered a strong, ruthless force in leading literature characters’ which people look back on and think have made a real impact on their life, possibly even on the world.
      Maybe you’re right nevertheless, this is the 21st century and times do differ and change, but I like to be old fashioned when it comes to my morals and viewpoints. For me the characters in Harry Potter show no excursion of strength and both the series and characters for me are easily forgotten and not missed.
      But that is, of course, just my opinion.

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