29 July 2007

Die Harry

Busy days, these, so I can't really justify devoting the time necessary to articulate precisely why I find Harry mania to be as stomach-turning as I do. Fortunately, Ron Charles (senior editor at The Washington Post) has done a marvelous job of it himself, thus relieving me from my duty. (Similarly minded discussions from literary heavyweights A. S. Byatt and Harold Bloom appeared previously.) Charles' insightful discussion begins with the following anecdote:

Harry Potter and the Death of Reading
By Ron Charles
The Washington Post
July 15, 2007

It happened on a dark night, somewhere in the middle of Book IV. For three years, I had dutifully read the "Harry Potter" series to my daughter, my voice growing raspy with the effort, page after page. But lately, whole paragraphs of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" had started to slip by without my hearing a word. I'd snap back to attention and realize the action had moved from Harry's room to Hagrid's house, and I had no idea what was happening.

And that's when my daughter broke the spell: "Do we have to keep reading this?"

That's as priceless as the rest of Charles' analysis is insightful. It reminds me of this fabulous moment from the Simpsons:

In fact, the parodies may be the best thing about the Harry Potter series. Some of the fabulous Mad Magazine titles from this sub-genre:

  • Harry Plodder and the Kidney Stone
  • Harry Plodder and the Sorry-Ass Story
  • Harry Plodder and the Lamest of Sequels
  • Harry Plodder Has Gotta Retire
  • Harry Plodder and the Torture of the Fanbase

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