Monday, 9 April 2012

H is for Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling






It may surprise my regular readers that I am inspired by Harry Potter, when I don't write YA, fantasy or series (serieses? is there a plural of series, or is it like sheep?).

The hype passed me by for the first three books, largely because of the reasons above. But the first four were a present for my son when he was a year old. And because they were in the house, I picked them up, read them, and enjoyed them.

When five, six and seven came out (okay, I'm not such a fan that I can immediately recall the titles - lol), I bought them. In fact, I read each of them in one day. It became a ritual - I'd pre-order my copy, clear the day (kids out with dad, no housework) and just read. Bliss! A further fact: I ended up with two copies of the final book because Hubby was invited out to meet his friend who was dressing up as HP, and bought me another copy in case the pre-ordered one didn't arrive!

Anyway, none of that had anything to do with why these books are included in this list. When I read all the books in quick succession (while bedridden with flu), I was struck by the obvious planning and plotting that went into the stories. For example, in the Philosopher's Stone a cat walks across the page; and only in a later book does the significance become apparent. The smallest things tie in to bigger things later on, and that impresses me.

I don't plan or plot. If something important happens, you can be sure that I've re-edited to foreshadow events, rather than the foreshadowing always being in place.

But that's obviously not how Rowling worked because she didn't write all seven books at once, so as a feat of planning and plotting Harry Potter is on my list.

And now, I've got to ask: has anyone not read these books, and why?

71 comments:

  1. She really does have foreshadowing down to a fine art doesn't she?

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  2. She has a detailed world created most of which don't even appear in the books. I love her world building abilities and while the series have a linear connection they still manage to explore diverse territories. But I wasn't a fan till the the third one, Prisoner of Azkaban.

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    1. I think that must be part of her skill. If you know your world so well, you don't have to include all the detail in the novel but it's there to make the prose richer.

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  3. Harry Potter is a work of absolute genius. J.K Rowling not only created a new world, she used well known mythical creatures and made them fit into the world she built. I am one of those Potter geeks who had long discussions about whether Snape was good or bad, and what was really behind the veil in Order of The Phoenix lol.

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    1. I love Snape! I loved him even before Alan Rickman played him, but more so afterwards :-)

      I find it interesting travelling around Britain and realising how many names she took from place names.

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  4. I think I read the first three and I didn't enjoy them as much as I maybe should have because I always knew what was coming as I read them after watching the films. I never finished the series.

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    1. I prefer the books because I read them first; but I can see hopw you'd prefer the films if you saw those first. There's a lot more in the books though.

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  5. I think there's a huge difference in techniques between the first book and the subsequent ones. The series grew as she did as an author. I read each one as they came out and seemed to grow with her.

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    1. I think the sheer number of words in the later books overshadows technique for me - I remember skimming some sections...

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  6. I am a book worm and I have finished reading all the series of Harry Potter
    Greatly written :)

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  7. I've read them, loved them, and have been inspired by them. Great choice for H!

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    1. My 'H' choice was one of the easier ones!

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  8. I love Harry Porter! But I haven't finish reading the series. You post inspired me to continue reading. Thank you!

    visiting from
    withapinkie.blogspot.com

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  9. Great choice for H! Love Harry Potter. Wonderful books:)

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    1. My son - who the series was bought for - read the first couple and didn't bother with the rest.

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  10. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z challenge. Lovely post...good luck with the challenge. I'm a new follower!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Donna, thanks for the follow. I'll be over to check out your blog soon.

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  11. 'It became a ritual - I'd pre-order my copy, clear the day (kids out with dad, no housework) and just read.'

    That does sound like bliss, Annalisa.

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    1. Oh, it was. And yet these days I feel too guilty reading all day, I barely read anything at the moment. I must rectify that!

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  12. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I know a few people who haven't read them, despite my repeated urgings, because it's not a series that appeals to them.

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    1. I'm not sure I'd have read them if they weren't already in the house.

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  13. I have a few friends who haven't read Harry Potter. I'm thinking it might be time to reevaluate our friendships. Harry Potter is the best (and that's in a long line of amazing books). Rowling is my idol.

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    1. She certainly had vision and went for it. A lesson to us all: never give up.

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  14. I'm one of the few who haven't read these books. I really dislike fantasy, so that's my main reason. I also wasn't too impressed by the first movie, though I hear the books are far superior to the movies. I will likely succumb one day and read this series, but for now I'm content to stay with my preferred genre of adult romantic suspense!

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    1. Like I said in the post, I don't like YA, fantasy or series... and yet HP covers them all! The books are certainly better than the films, though.

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  15. I've read some but not all of the books. I don't have a reason why. They just didn't get me exciting enough. I do admire her planning skills though, especially in respect of the smaller points - like the cat - that come into earlier books and then become significant later on.

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    1. That's pretty much the same reason I haven't read Twilight, Hunger Games etc, so I completely understand.

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  16. I think her planing was great - BUT it's very easy to back-plot - so a cat crosses the page in an earlier book? Make it significant later on.

    I bought HP when it first came out and could kick myself I didn't get a first edition - I usually do straight after reading something I really enjoy. I read it to a class at school where my son was and they really enjoyed it, couldn't wait for the next installment - I was very impressed how there wasn't a dull moment in the first book!

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    1. My only point with the cat is that it's not really something you'd put in if there wasn't a reason, so I assumed there must have been.

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  17. Forgot to say, in case you should want to see my blog, I'm leaving you my A-Z link as blogger
    always identifies me as my shared blog with other authors - my A-Z is this one: http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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  18. Love the HP books! I fell in love with the first one because of it's pure storytelling magic.

    It was a long time ago, but I saw/read an interview with her once where I believe she mentioned having lots and lots of notebooks dedicated to plotting etc. I struggle with the plotting part myself but I'm working on it. :)

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    1. Yes, I heard she had many notebooks too. It sounds horrendous to my unorganised mind!

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    2. Tried to comment on your post today, but Blogger wouldn't let me - sorry! I would have said good writing days make all the bad ones bearable!

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  19. It's especially amazing when you consider she was unpublished at the time, so she devoted a tremendous amount of time planning all the books in advance when the first had yet to sell. I'm so impressed by that series!

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    1. I guess she really believed in what she was doing.

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  20. I didn't start reading them until the fourth or fifth book came out. One of my sons started reading them and talked me into starting. Glad I did.

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    1. My son isn't interested! I'm trying to get him to read them.

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  21. I agree... it really is genius how Rowling crafted the whole series. I read all 7 books at once too when I was pregnant with my first and too large to do anything but lay. LOL

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  22. I have nothing but respect for J K Rowling - the continuity in those books is awe-inspiring! Going on the studio tour later this year - pretty exciting!

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    1. I've not seen the films properly, so I'm not sure the tour would be that exciting for me - but it looks great from what I've seen on the BBC.

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  23. Totally agree! I have no idea how she planned and organized it all so well. I wish I knew so I could do the same :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. Lots of notebooks and a huge memory! I've got the notebooks, so I'm half-way there!

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  24. I read the first chapter of the first book and decided it wasn't for me. Maybe I should have persisted, but that chapter didn't pull me in.

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  25. I've read them all - I've only seen five of the films. I lost interest in them when they started cutting some of favourite bits out of them.

    Chippy

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    1. That's the problem with adapting books, especially big books like HP. I've got a post about films a bit later on this month!

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  26. I have not read any of them! YIKES! Why not? ... I have no reason! I just haven't gotten to them, yet. I've also never seen any of the movies. :)

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    1. lol... I wasn't accusing! My question stems from the fact that I read them - when they're not at all the type of book I usually read. I just wondered who'd resisted the lure.

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  27. That is a lot of pre-planning. I've seen all eight movies but sorry, never read the books.

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    1. I think there are lots of people content with just the films - I've never watched a whole one, just bits and pieces. I'm really keen to see the last two though.

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  28. I've only read the first book...but I am a fan of plotting. I outline heavily and hopefully some of what you mention JK does appears in my work as well. :)

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    1. I admire anyone who can plan and outline - my story changes with almost every draft!

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  29. I love these books! And you're right, however J.K. planned or plotted, she did an amazing job. After so many pages and so many books, it all works and came together perfectly.

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    1. It's those moments when you suddenly think 'Ah' when those plotlines are resolved. I was particularly happy with the Snape plotlines - all the flashbacks to the way he treated Harry, and Snape's take on events!

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  30. I had a similar experience with these books. I found the hype annoying at first and had never been interested in reading these books, but then I finally gave in. By the time the last three books were published I bought them immediately and also read constantly until I finished. I was actually so sad when I finished the last book, I hated that I wouldn't have another one to look forward to!

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    1. I am so anti-hype I can avoid things for years... Hunger Games is one such example.

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  31. First weird thing: I didn't start reading them until the summer that book 7 came out. And then I just wondered, Why in the world did I not read these until now?!

    Second weird thing: I just barely talked my kids into letting me read the books to them this year, even though I've been trying to talk them into it since I read them! Don't they know that they'd wonder why the heck they ever said no?

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    1. I think perhaps they'll be around for a while, as new readers come to them. I hope your kids are enjoying them too.

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  32. JK Rowling is a great planner, and her new deal with the HP e-books is hopefully a trendsetter too.

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    1. Deal? I haven't heard about this. I'll have to investigate. I bet it involves a shed-load of money though!

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  33. I think the planning and foreshadowing in the Harry Potter series is EXCELLENT! She must have done a huge amount of work before actually writing any of those books.

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    1. Yes, I would imagine she completely immersed herself, and completely believed in what she was writing.

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  34. What is there not to love about Harry Potter?

    Not only fantastic books about family and friends and doing what is right, but it got kids to read and turned an out of work mother into a billionaire!

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    Tim
    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

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    1. When you put it like that, Tim, nothing at all!

      Good luck with your visiting. I'm trying my best to visit as many new blogs as I can, but I'm sure I won't manage all of them!

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  35. so awesome! all of it! the intertwining, linking, surprising us and enchanting us!

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    1. I think one of the most amazing things is writing a book that gets pre-teens queuing up to buy the books! Truly awesome :-)

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Please comment - I love a good chat!