Additional reasons 'Harry Potter' is so good

  July 12, 2005 at 8:05 PM ET
  Geri     HPANA (via The Scotsman)
  harry potter and the half-blood prince, half-blood prince, book 6

We all have our own reasons for loving Harry Potter and in an article from The Scotsman the writer adds his own thoughts as to why the world loves the books: "They are superlative works of literature. They are imaginative, engrossing, intriguing, surprising, captivating, moving, exciting, etc."

Additional reasonsopens in new window Harry Potter is so good:

Rattling good read: The simplest explanation of the Harry Potter phenomenon is that they are good books, well written. They are better than good books, in fact. They are superlative works of literature. They are imaginative, engrossing, intriguing, surprising, captivating, moving, exciting, etc.

I subscribe to this viewpoint. Although, as a marketer, I'm hardly qualified to comment on literary matters. I read incessantly and can honestly say that certain passages in the books are beyond good. They are sublime. When Neville Longbottom is awarded ten extra house points in Philosopher's and, at the very end of Goblet, when Dumbledore turns to Harry and says: "You have shown bravery beyond everything I could have expected of you", I not only felt shivers down my spine, but was yanked back to my most emotional childhood reading experiences. I suspect that there are millions and millions just like me.

But, adolescent atavism aside, the argument doesn't really stack up. Meritorious though they are, her books aren't uniquely meritorious. There are many other storytellers of equal merit and many much better, according to leading kid-lit authorities.

King of the world wide web: Alongside worth of mouth, there's word of mouse. It is surely no accident that Pottermania coincided with the casting of the net. One of Harry's earliest and most ardent fans was the son of an AOL executive, who persuaded his father to establish a dedicated discussion group on the portal. As AOL was the ISP that did much to domesticate cyberspace, in the United States at least, the boy wizard was a web wizard from the outset. America, remember, accounts for 55 per cent of total HP sales.However, if Harry's global reach is partly attributable to the weaving of the world wide web, it is also due to his quintessential Britishness. Global culture, despite frequent predictions to the contrary, is not especially homogenised. The goods that sell best globally are often profoundly local, stereotypically national. Harry Potter sells Britishness. All the qualities associated with the UK in the abstract - stoicism, bravery, fair play, determination, good humour, irreverence, etc - are embodied in the boy wizard.


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