Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kyle Smith: Taking J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter to Task At the Post


FINALLY SOMEONE TELLS it like it is when it comes to Harry Potter the squirt hero of J.K. Rowling's fabulously successful series. Kyle Smith does the honors today at the NY Post saying,

....her writing is dreary, her jokes terrible, her characterizations mostly one-dimensional (the Dursleys are swine, Slughorn a suckup, Hermione a teacher's pet, Dumbledore the wise old font of plot exposition). And Harry might be the blandest superhero ever conceived. He simply follows the trail, learns the spells and saves the day. Kids love to be in Harry's shoes: all zapping bad guys, no taking out the trash...

And that's just for starters. Then she tells us what she really thinks. Smith asks if there's any author anywhere more dismissive of morals than J.K. Rowling?

A Rowling kid starts learning at an early age that principles are adjustable depending on convenience.

Rowling ignores ethics to the point of encouraging dishonorable behavior. Harry spends "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- the film version of which is raking it in this weekend -- cheating out of a textbook that has all the answers written in the margins, causing him to fraudulently win a luck potion that he uses to solve the central mystery. And his punishment for this is . . . nothing.

Harry's taking advantage of the annotated textbook is depicted as simple resourcefulness.

Compare Luke Skywalker, who has to conquer his own vanity, laziness and anger in order to earn his place. Harry, like many of his generation, is the Cosseted One from an early age. He's told that he's special, that he's got awesome gifts, that those who don't understand this are blind to the plain facts. Deploying his powers involves no more character or soul-searching than following a recipe....

Read the Kyle Smith's entire review then think twice about taking your family and children to line more of J.K's fleece pockets with your hard-earned money. Harry has never intrigued me in the least nor his antics so I'll save my pennies for a real movie of substance soon.


Alfred T. Neuman said...

Dismissing Kyle Smith's nonsense, As every year and every Harry Potter movie, I will load up all my grandchildren and we will have a tremendously entertaining time at a tremendously entertaining movie.

mkfreeberg said...

I'm pushing the envelope of my sphere of knowledge here; the movies are so bleak and boring I've seen very little of them. But the point Smith is making is real, and worthy of acknowledgment as well as of linkage. For this, one of my most faithful readers thinks I'm in need of a rare mid-course correction. He seems to know the Harry Potter subject matter much better than I do, so I tentatively accept his reprimand.

However, like I said I see some merit in what the article points out and I think it deserves serious consideration.

I would so much sooner expose a child to raunchy sex scenes, or to stomach-churning violence, before exposing a child to a message that life isn't worth living, choices aren't worth making, or that natural consequences aren't worth bearing. Whether Harry Potter is part of the phenomenon or not, this is the most toxic pollution confronting the times in which we live: Apathy.

Concerned parents should be taking note. This one certainly does. The article has value.

Webutante said...

Well said, Morgan. And thanks.