Writing Confessions: I DON’T WANT TO READ HARRY POTTER

When I tell this to people, I am met with three reactions:

  1. WHAT? Oh my God, that’s insane. It’s so good! (Then they will proceed to say why they love it so much. Or, if in a group of people, they will discuss their favourite moments and characters, which goes right over my head.)
  2. Yeah, I hate Harry Potter too. So overrated. (When I remind them that I don’t hate it, since I haven’t read it, they will sheepishly change the subject.)
  3. FINALLY! God, I thought I was the only one.

It’s this last response that interests me the most. Because I feel it too.

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When a hype train such as Harry Potter – a train which has officially been rolling for twenty years today – fails to pick you up, you can’t help but feel abandoned on the platform.

Don’t misunderstand: I admire Harry Potter for what it has done to a generation of readers. When I went into seminars at university, you couldn’t last a lesson without someone bringing it up as an example.

It is the one book franchise which gets everyone talking – the one which brings stars to people’s eyes, skulls and crossbones to others.

The story of J.K Rowling’s rise to success is one which tears apart my heart strings whenever I read it (and, if you haven’t, I really recommend Very Good Lives which is an illustrated print of her speech to Harvard students. A bloody brilliant read. )

But I’m sorry. The premise of Harry Potter just doesn’t interest me. Wizards and schools, dark magic, magic wands, three best friends on a magical adventure. Meh.

Not to mention that, thanks to the movies and tumblr, I already know how the whole series ends. I know who dies, who lives, who gets what girl and how. It’s like giving someone all the answers to the test, then expecting them to sweat when you hand them the paper. If I know what’s going to happen, in that much detail, it really turns me off.

I know I am oversimplifying – I know the story has much more depth and detail than I have been able to deduce, and I know that I am painting a red target on my head by saying I’m not into it.

But it’s true. I have never read Harry Potter. And, at this moment in my life, I don’t want to.

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I’m sure the characters and story are fantastic – and if you like them, good for you! But as we celebrate this monumental franchise today, don’t forget to include those who might have missed the hype train.

Take their opinions of the movies seriously.

Try and ask them about books they enjoyed instead of Harry Potter, and watch their faces light up in glee.

If Harry Potter has done one thing these past twenty years, it’s bring readers together. Let’s not use it to tear readers apart.

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9 thoughts on “Writing Confessions: I DON’T WANT TO READ HARRY POTTER

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  1. I don’t blame you for not wanting to read Harry Potter. I love reading – I’ve read all the Harry Potter books multiple times – I tend to re-read books that I enjoy every couple of years (because often I can’t find anything new that I want to read).
    With that said, there are some (popular) books that I also can’t make myself read (e.g. A song of Fire and Ice – can’t get past the first couple of pages before the irritation becomes too much).
    It is enough to want other people to read, without prescribing which books they should read and enjoy.

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    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment! And I agree. We should read what we want to read – everyone has different tastes, and even if we don’t agree, discouraging someone to read what they enjoy is the worst thing you could do. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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  2. I totally get why you wouldn’t want to read it, especially since a lot of the mystery has been taken out of it over the years. I’m a huge fan myself, but just because a certain book or series is popular doesn’t mean everyone’s going to be a fan. And personally, I often prefer reading books that not many people know about that I can enjoy without everyone giving me their opinion!

    Charlotte xx

    theassortedwriter.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I’m a massive Potterhead, but I can also understand where you’re coming from! This is how I feel almost any time someone tells me about some new TV show that I just *have* to watch. It’s rare for me to actually feel like taking their advice, but like you, I don’t begrudge them their enthusiasm. Live and let live!

    xx
    Emily
    emilyhallock.blogspot.com

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  4. I’m not a Harry Potter person myself, but I do admire it for what J. K. Rowling accomplished. It got children reading again and stirred the imagination of a new generation of readers as well as writers. While the genre is not my genre of choice, what the series has created cannot be denied.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to love Harry Potter. I’m the same age as Daniel Radcliffe so I’d fallen in love with the books in time to grow with the movies. But as the series went on, I began to love it less and less. I struggled to read such lengthy books and with so many years between releases it was difficult to remember the minor characters who came back in major roles. I didn’t pour over every detail so felt like even though I loved the books to begin with, I didn’t fit in with the fans.
    Everyone has a different relationship with a book and that’s awesome. No one should be made to feel any less because of it. We don’t all have the same best friends, we don’t all have the same opinions on books.

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  6. I feel ya. I’ve read HP and enjoyed it, but there are plenty of popular things I don’t want to dip my toe into, and people’s reactions to those choices frequently amaze me. It’s as if they’re directly tied into book sales or something…

    Personally, I’d never got the hype about LOTR. Eventually, last Xmas, after people badgering me about it for years, I decided to watch the films. And, predictably, I didn’t like them. I got precisely nothing from watching them and should have listened to myself in the first place.

    So here’s to watching, reading, listening to, and doing whatever you want, whether it does or doesn’t align with other people’s ideas of what you “should” enjoy.

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