Why Do People Love These Books?

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Why Do People Love These Books?

Post  Lady Arabella on Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:26 pm

The following is an archive of material originally posted on the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum, hosted by World Crossing, which ceased operations on April 15th, 2011
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Re: Why Do People Love These Books?

Post  Lady Arabella on Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:27 pm

Why do people love these books?
Liz Mann - Nov 27, 2006 11:57 am  
Edited by Kip Carter Dec 2, 2006 12:39 am
I'd like to start a serious discussion on exactly why these books are so much loved by so many people. What is it about them that makes them so appealing? And to so many different kinds of people, so many different ages. Why do we on here all like them so much? What makes these books different from other fantasy/children's books that are liked but have not been this successful?

I'd be interested to see what everyone on here thinks on this.

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Regan of Gong - Nov 27, 2006 1:11 pm (#1 of 35)  
They're so real. They appeal to your imagination, and make you think "What if...". They show magic in a practical sense, instead of a mystical, rarely-used force or something only known by a select few, and it appeals to you, shown in how people buy wands and merchandise.


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virginiaelizabeth - Nov 27, 2006 1:55 pm (#2 of 35)  
I'll second what Regan said, and add that the characters are so normal. Everyone can relate to them in some way. I think that Jo has created such a real world. The kids still have to go to school, and learn about how to control their abilities, and they have to do homework, and deal with everything that a normal person does. It's not some story where a group of kids walk up to a magic ball and suddenly, they can fly. The stuff that happens, actually seems like it's possible, because it's so practical. Her world is very complete, in the sense that there are hardly any details left out.

I don't read hardly at all, and I especially don't read fantasy, because I think far to realistically to enjoy it. Most fantasy books I can't get through because I spend half of my time telling myself that there's no way that would ever be possible, but I've never done this with HP. It's so fully explained that there is always something to back up the information you are told. Plus Jo just writes really amazingly well, so that she captures your attention and holds...for hours on end!

She takes what we've all heard about magic before, and expands it to a level that everyone can understand, and believe.


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journeymom - Nov 27, 2006 2:39 pm (#3 of 35)  
The HP stories have different levels of complexity. They have high drama and lots of humor. JKR's world is fun to read about. Harry himself is a likable boy (though he got on my nerves in OotP) and his journey to adulthood is a universal story.

I have to say, I've learned since reading the HP books that I really appreciate a writer with a devilish sense of humor and whimsy. I don't mean laugh-out-loud stand up comedy or slapstick (though I love physical humor). I've tried to read a few "must read" fantasy stories that seriously turned me off because they simply have no sense of humor.


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Finn BV - Nov 27, 2006 2:56 pm (#4 of 35)  
(For a second while the thread was loading, I thought this was going to be a troll like in the "Does the Harry Potter series have literary value?" thread!  Then I saw it was Liz posting… )

Jo's world is set in modern times, and plays magic into a world just like our own, not a fictional world where everything is magic. (For the same reason, I got turned onto The Chronicles of Narnia.) Hogwarts is just like another boarding school, except that it's magic, of course. There is a mystery from the start, too: you want to know what happened to Harry's parents. Why did they die? Why did he live? What's going to happen to Voldemort? In the mean time, while you're pondering this enormous question which won't fully be answered until the end of Book 7, countless other plot points arise which hold your attention -- romance, treason, identity, etc. Jo's regard for detail makes the books entertaining -- I love every spell, creature, and name that's mentioned, even if just for a sentence or two.

I completely second journeymom's second paragraph, as well. An Umbridge/McGonagall or Umbridge/Dumbledore scenes cracks me up every time!


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TomProffitt - Nov 27, 2006 4:08 pm (#5 of 35)  
Rowling has created a world that has something for everyone. She has that rare ability to write across age, gender, and cultural divides. Most writers can only reach one type of audience while Rowling reaches many. (I still chuckle when at the double entendre when Colin Creevy describes his dad as a milkman.)

There are a lot of other writers I like, most of them are extremely good at what they do, but Rowling is the only one who seems able to cross all of those gaps in what people find interesting and entertaining.

But I guess that's the real question, isn't it? What is it about Harry Potter that crosses all of those gaps?


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Finn BV - Nov 27, 2006 4:41 pm (#6 of 35)  
Wait a sec… what's the joke about Mr. Creevey being a milkman?


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Choices - Nov 27, 2006 6:02 pm (#7 of 35)  
I'm with you Finn, I don't get that either. Tom, are you sure that's a double entendre? I really think Mr. Creevy delivers milk, therefore he is a milkman. I don't think JKR would stoop to using risqué double entendres, if that is what you are implying.


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Mediwitch - Nov 27, 2006 7:03 pm (#8 of 35)  
Maybe the milkman bit is a double entendre or not, but I love Jo's clever word plays: I was hooked once I caught on to Diagon Alley and the Mirror of Erised. The linguistics are fascinating!


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geauxtigers - Nov 27, 2006 8:02 pm (#9 of 35)  
I'll basically second what most of you said. How is it that these books appeal to so many people? This is a regular, plain old world that Harry lives in. There is magic, and its not fairies who go *poof* you've turned into a pumpkin'. Its practical and it seems to be real. And for someone like me, who hardly ever reads, it really has had an effect on me. If my teacher had never read the first book to me, I don't think I'd have ever picked up a book about a wizard. Magic isn't real, and I hate fantasy. But Harry just goes to show that that’s not true.

Harry is in real situations that happen in everyday life. Yes there’s magic involved, but it’s a real world. If Jo had written this series so that it was just a magical world, (no such thing as muggles ect), it wouldn't be nearly as good. I think that’s where a lot of fantasy has gone wrong for me. I know it’s not real so it’s less appealing. But Jo has created a world that is a realistic magical world. Not a fantasy magical world. Does that make sense? The detail she has put into these books is incredible.

Whenever I pick up one of these books, I enter a very real magical world. I think that’s why they appeal to so many people. It takes you to a different place, yet its still the real world. It brings out the inner kid in us all. Everything about these books are completely brilliant! Her characters are so well developed and she ages them so well. The spells, the creatures! The use of languages. How could you not fall in love?


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painting sheila - Nov 27, 2006 8:44 pm (#10 of 35)  
YES!! The thing I love about the Harry Potter books is the fact that it's the people and the complex personalities they have. It's not just about magic - magic just happens to be there. It's about real people with real emotions - real problems that we all can relate to.

There is love/hate, fear/peace, joy/sadness, acceptance/racism, life/death - need I go on?


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Starling - Nov 28, 2006 1:39 am (#11 of 35)  
I'm sure Colin's dad is a milkman, but I think it was meant as a joke at the same time. Just like Cedric polishing his wand before the wand-weighing. We know he really polished his wand ...

Which brings me to one of the reasons I love the book: the sense of humour. I think a book should have that, whatever the subject.


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Regan of Gong - Nov 28, 2006 3:41 am (#12 of 35)  
Dangerous ground.

Heading for the banstick, if my understanding and google's definition of "double entendre" is correct.


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Starling - Nov 28, 2006 6:34 am (#13 of 35)  
Dangerous ground indeed, and subject of a (loud) disagreement or two. And I'm not sure who I should be more afraid of, the stick or the bloke holding it.

But I also like the humour that doesn't involve double entendres ("it unscrews the other way!" Gred and Forge! Naughty, naughty, you'll get caughty!). However serious the subject of a book may be, it needs to have a sense of humour somewhere.


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TomProffitt - Nov 28, 2006 6:46 am (#14 of 35)  
Okay, "double entendre" is the wrong term, but I do think she was implying something. But the point is not that particular joke, but that Jo works on so many different levels. Some of her humor is slap stick and some is very subtle, I enjoy the sly and subtle as much as the not so subtle.


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Ginerva Potter - Nov 28, 2006 6:58 am (#15 of 35)  
One of the things I love about the books is the age progression. I don't know how Jo does it, but I think she is spot on in capturing what the characters are going through at the age they are in the books. Someone mentioned how much they didn't like Harry in OOTP and I had a hard time with Harry in that book, too. But it is such a good representation of how a 15-year-old would be feeling and acting. Now that I've read OOTP several times it's easier to read and understand Harry.

But I also like what you all have said too. Humor, Humor, and more Humor! The same stuff cracks me up everytime!  

Ginny

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Mattew Bates - Nov 28, 2006 12:57 pm (#16 of 35)  
TomProffitt, are you implying that some muggleborns (the Creeveys in particular) might actually be half-blood cuckoos?


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TomProffitt - Nov 28, 2006 3:26 pm (#17 of 35)  
Yes, Mattew, I am.


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journeymom - Nov 28, 2006 4:37 pm (#18 of 35)  
As well as having been a teacher, JKR is a mother of an almost 2 y.o., a 3 y.o. and a 14 y.o. So she has some insight into children's' minds. I suppose she's good at observing human behavior.


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Ludicrous Patents Office - Nov 29, 2006 7:23 pm (#19 of 35)  
I love how she animates everything. My family names everything, tractors, cars, cows etc. (I relate well to Hagrid). The portraits are brilliant. She has a wonderful imagination but it is written in a way you can participate with your imagination. Some authors over write things. Of course the humor is wonderful. I love the names: a vampire called Sanguini! LPO


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Thom Matheson - Nov 29, 2006 9:42 pm (#20 of 35)  
When this thread was first posted, I was torn as to how to answer the question and do it justice.

There are very few fiction writers in the 20th century that have been able to do what she does. Every one of us can close our eyes and "See" the Harry Potter world, so clearly, so vividly, and yet, see it the same. Not only does she put you in the front seat, you occasionally get to drive.

Rowling created a world, with it's own vocabulary, scenery, language, clothing, system of government, and plausibly placed it in parallel to the modern day world. Her sense of timing, humor, cunning, drama, and yes even relationships, all sparkle.

We are all voracious readers I think, but what other book series have you read multiple times? When I saw this thread come up, I knew that I would post to it, but It has taken me this long to get to it. I wanted to really give this some thought. AS you all know about me, I tend to place some bit of humor in all that we do on the Lexicon, but this thread won't allow for that.

Jo Rowling if by chance you come across this thread, let me say without reserve, thank you for all that you have given me in your series. As Hagrid once said to Harry, "I can give you no higher praise then that". God bless you.


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Anna L. Black - Nov 30, 2006 11:45 am (#21 of 35)  
One of the things I really loved about the books at first, was what Rowling did with inserting bits of Mythology, common beliefs, and real events or phenomenons (Nicholas Flamel, anyone?), and explaining it so neatly together. Dementors being invisible and sucking out the happiness around them, and chocolate being the "cure" for this - this is as real as it gets  Phoenixes, sphinxes, elfs, giants, mermaids, leprechauns, flying carpets, broomsticks, werewolves and so on and so on - and all of this together, mixed so believably it just puts a smile on your face  


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Hermionefan(#1) - Nov 30, 2006 6:49 pm (#22 of 35)  
I agree with everything said on here  

It's just realistic and easy to relate to, and everything is so well planned out that it's hard to find error in the writing. All the characters are really individual. The plot holds your attention, there are no boring bits. Even the serious parts have some humorous lines. It's so AP (apparently that's what everyone used to say for action-packed, my friend said her mom said it in the 80s or whatever) anyway, it's just fun to read. It takes you through like every emotion possible (one person can't feel all that, they'd explode!). So yeah.


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journeymom - Nov 30, 2006 10:28 pm (#23 of 35)  
I thought AP meant Attachment Parenting.  That's what Tom Riddle didn't get, poor little tyke.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Dec 1, 2006 3:36 pm (#24 of 35)  
One of the aspects I like about the series is how J.K. Rowling weaves and melds ancient mythologies and lore into the series with ease adapting the folktales and myth ti suit the needs of the stories.


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Solitaire - Dec 1, 2006 9:51 pm (#25 of 35)  
I think Journeymom said it first ... the books have so many levels of meaning that there truly is something for everyone. They can be enjoyed by everyone at his or her level of interest.

As a teacher, I find the books really useful in the classroom when I am trying to explain a concept such as symbolism, character development, etc. Most kids have read at least one of the HP novels, so I can always find a good example of what I'm trying to teach.

I really like the fact that the characters represent all facets of society. We may be dealing with Wizards based primarily in Britain, but we see the same sorts of issues and attitudes in Wizard-dom as we do in the Muggle world. All kinds of families, socio-economic groups, classes, education levels, etc., seem to be represented in the characters and their situations. How many of us haven't had a Ron, Hermione, Malfoy, Molly, or even Snape in our past?

As with other classic (because I do believe it is destined to become classic) literature, there is universal appeal, because the characters face issues and conflicts that cut across country and class. They struggle with personal issues, social injustice, good and evil ...

I've come to love Harry and his friends almost as much as I love the characters who people Jane Austen's world. JM2K, of course ...

Solitaire


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Liz Mann - Dec 2, 2006 5:33 am (#26 of 35)  
What does JM2K mean? I keep seeing it crop up.


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Thom Matheson - Dec 2, 2006 6:27 am (#27 of 35)  
Just My Two Knuts worth


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Liz Mann - Dec 2, 2006 9:09 am (#28 of 35)  
Oh okay, thanks.  


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haymoni - Dec 2, 2006 1:16 pm (#29 of 35)  
I like the idea that there is another world going on right under my nose and that all I have to do is lean on the right wall or knock on the right bricks and I can join it!!!


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Ludicrous Patents Office - Dec 2, 2006 6:33 pm (#30 of 35)  
Nathan I agree. I love the folklore and mythology.

LOL Haymoni! LPO


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juliebug - Dec 4, 2006 7:46 am (#31 of 35)  
My hubby is a big fan of fantasy literature. I am not, but we both love Harry Potter. These books are about the only books that we have both read in the last ten years and we both love to discuss them. They are a common literary ground for us that we might never have found any where else.


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Pinky Prime - Dec 4, 2006 2:31 pm (#32 of 35)  
I like a book that I can reread and still not get enough of it. Now I have an audiobook collection and all the DVD's thus far. I don't have any friends that are into Harry Potter like me.

This forum gave me a chance to explore my own mind and to help create the WW with questions theory's and hope that there is more to life. I am enjoying myself and am looking forward one day of becoming more involved. Say a convention chat and so on... A little tentative though.

I am a middle aged Black American who has become more comfortable with this series because of JKR and her interviews. Wish everyone thought like the Weasleys too!


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journeymom - Dec 4, 2006 8:19 pm (#33 of 35)  
Pinky Prime, that's really interesting to know about you!


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Thom Matheson - Dec 4, 2006 9:41 pm (#34 of 35)  
I am constantly amazed at the real life interactions that take place from people who are involved with the Forum. I see so many different interactions that have been evolved out of the series. Well done. There are so many life lessons that can be learned here, both kids and adults.


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Pinky Prime - Dec 6, 2006 5:10 am (#35 of 35)  
You and many others have made me feel at home! Thank You too and has me thinking of becoming a full member of this forum also. It has tied us together. HOW WONDERFUL!!!!!!
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