Monday, July 30, 2007

The End of the Harry Potter Series?

(My apologies, in advance, to those of you who don't give a rat's behind about the Harry Potter series).

I finished reading the final Harry Potter book last week. I highly recommend it, but anyone who is interested enough to hear me highly recommend it has probably already bought and read through it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shows an improvement in the author's writing skills (which were woefully absent in the early books). However, one mistake is very apparent. While her young heroes go into hiding, she takes an interminably long time detailing it, boring the reader with small details which don't add to the plot, and taking up a vast number of pages to do it in. It's almost as if she felt that she needed to add a great number of pages in attempt to make the reader feel as if he's getting his money's worth.

Other than the rather dull middle, most of the book is an interesting read. When Rowling does crank it up, she can create an interesting environment worth reading about. And this particular book nicely ties up most of the loose ends. I guessed part of the outcome, and was pleasantly surprised by some things, too.

The ending is rather mundane, and is apparently Rowling's attempt to keep anyone from creating sequels involving a young Harry and his friends, but it leaves it wide open for so many spin-offs that I'm almost wondering if this is the point where Rowling will sit back on her laurels and allow ghost writers to take over.

Since the movies are two books behind, we have plenty of time to see what Hollywood and her publishers will cook up next. However, this brings me to a second point: Daniel Radcliff, the actor who's been playing Harry Potter, is really getting too old to continue to play him believably. The same can be said for the other actors who play his sidekicks. What will happen to the movies? Will new actors be chosen or are these actors so identifiable that we will have to suffer through the final two Harry Potters, watching adults pretend to be children?

And what will replace Harry Potter?

There is another magical children's book series by C.S. Lewis. The movie Narnia, which came out a couple of years ago, was an excellent summation of his first book. Perhaps it's time to dust off the other books and create a quality sequel.

Or how about the Oz series? There are oodles of books in that series, and plenty of room to create wonderful, magical worlds. One movie that was largely ignored was Return to Oz (1985). It's a pity that there weren't more movies to follow. Perhaps what killed that particular movie was the implication that Dorothy was insane and was being given shock treatments. I have to admit, it had a rather deadening effect on those of us who love fantasy.

Then there's the original Wizard of Earth series by Ursula Le Guin (Rowling came close to plagiarizing from her, and this was most apparently her source of inspiration). Le Guin did it better than Rowling, and won all sorts of awards and acclaim as a result of her efforts. I would dearly love to see such quality writing transformed onto the Big Screen. However, that would take Le Guin's agreement, and possibly she is careful about sharing such responsibility with others.

There are also other aspiring writers who are attempting to compete with the Harry Potter series. A relatively new Potter wannabe is Charlie Bone. Perhaps there's room for Charlie now that Harry has retired. The Lemony Snicket series seems to be rather prolific, as well.

One thing's for sure: Hollywood is always looking for new kid-themed material. I just hope they don't make us suffer with another version of the Care-Bears.


The Lazy Iguana said...

The movie scripts are probably already written. There is gold in that story line, and the studios know it. They probably should have animated the movies, that way age would not be a factor. But oh well! Too late now.

Years ago I remember hearing a radio bit called "Harry Pothead". It was about Prince Harry and his admission (after being busted) that he drank and smoked a lot of pot when he was 16.

They never play that on the radio anymore.

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Unfortunately I`ve only seen the first movie. I liked it but haven`t read the books. Hope you`re feeling better!


exMI said...

In your list of Potter alternatives you left out the Artemis Fowl series
and the one started by "The tale of the Lightning Thief"

They made a move based on A Wizard of EarthSea. LeGuin didn't like it.

audible said...

When the HP books started to suck less I figured that ghost writers had taken over for Rowling. As a teen I was actually rather offended by the sheer popularity of such poorly written children's books.

RE Return to Oz... If I remember correctly the movie was based off of the second book and the creepy shock treatment was part of that story, too. I loved the film as a young child. I have no idea why it didn't do well. Perhaps not enough merchandising?

daveawayfromhome said...

There are a lot of wonderful "childrens" books out there. I'd recommend Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books (starting with "Wee Free Men")(though any Pratchett book is relatively safe, content-wise), or Debbie Gliori's "Pure Dead" books (not about killing... well, not really), and Gerald Morris's Aurthurian legends.

Ted said...

Nothing beats Chronicles of Narnia.

mal said...

I wonder why Le Guins material has never really been adapted to the screen? You would think if they could adapt some of Phillip Dicks really dark stuff some one like Le Guin with little difficulty.

KristieD said...

i rather enjoyed the book too and am bummed the series is over. of course i feel that way after i finish any series of books. i get to the last book and swear i am going to take my time reading it and really enjoy it and everytime, this time included, end up reading the book in 1-2 days.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Kristie, definately read the books I mentioned. It's nice that others have recommended some I haven't seen yet! We'll have to try those out, too. ;o)

Mal, AH! Phillip K. Dick is one of my FAVORITE authors. He was little-known, too, until the 80s. You're right! I always figured it might have something to do with the special effects that would be necessary, but now we've got great computer graphics.

Ted, so true. I re-read them at least every 2 years.

Daveawayfromhome, Pratchett IS great, isn't he? I'm not familiar with the others but I'll look into them! Thanks!

Audible, it's quite possible that you're right about the ghost writers! I hadn't considered that. Yes, her stuff WAS an embarrassment, and shows how much we've dumbed down as a whole. As for the Oz movie, the shock treatments were born from the director (or the script writer) but the original books weren't like that - the author wanted to create a real alternate universe for kids. I don't think it was the lack of advertising that killed the movie. I'd have to go back and look, but I wonder what other movies it was up against that summer?

Exmi, Ah, you're right! How ARE the Artemis Fowl books, anyway? I didn't know that about the movie! I'm glad I haven't seen if if LeGuin didn't like it.

Tea & Margaritas, thank you for the well-wishes. And instead of slogging through the Harry Potter series to get to the good books, just chuck them and read the Ursula LeGuin books instead.

Lazy Iguana, I'm not surprised. Most people are screwy anyway, and actors would be no exception. In Radcliff's case, I was always disappointed that he made the obvious attempt to fight typecasting by romping about naked on stage in some idiotic play. It said a lot about his weakness of character.

Meow (aka Connie) said...

I loved the last book, but know what you mean about the detail. I was really disappointed, though, with the last chapter ... the 19 years later bit ... it was rather lame, I thought. But, I guess it makes it harder for any sequels.
I am now back to the beginning, and reading the whole series again ... currently into book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Hope you have a great weekend.
Take care, Meow