You really believe that people won’t be reading Harry Potter a century from now? Wow, I must say, that’s the first thing you’ve ever written that comes across as flat-out ignorant. You don’t happen to be one of those religious types who hate Harry Potter on sheer principle, do you? Have you ever even read Harry Potter? If not, then I suggest you don’t speak about what you don’t know.
Can you name any other piece of children’s fiction that has been written in recent decades that will have longlasting staying power? If you don’t think Harry Potter will still be around, then you must not think anything else on the children’s market is worth a dime (which, actually, I would agree with), since Harry Potter stands head and shoulders above everything else that’s been written in years.
Why on earth do you think that Harry Potter won’t be successful in the future? Seriously, I want to know. You can’t just say something like that and not expect to get called out on it. I don’t want to hear anything about “black magic” or any nonsense like that, either. I’m serious: if that isn’t your reason, then I honestly can’t figure out what your reason is. Please explain!
Let me give you some comparisons…
Peter Pan is still relevant a century after it was written. Harry Potter is much, much better than Peter Pan. (And, yes, I have read both–in fact, I am a lifelong fan of Peter Pan.) People still know about the Oz books (well, some of them), and, frankly, Harry Potter is much more fun to read than any of them. And, yes, I am saying this as a longtime fan of Oz. Hell, even the Hardy Boys are now closing in on three-quarters of a century, and you’ll probably still be able to buy reprints of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books for several more years to come. Do you honestly believe that Harry Potter, which has much greater storytelling value in its seven books than any of these classic children’s stories have in any seven of theirs, will fail to come close to that achievement? Stepping outside children’s fiction for a moment, I would go so far as to say Harry Potter is flat-out better than the Lord of the Rings, a boring series I’ve never managed to bring myself to finish, despite making multiple attempts at it over many, many years. It’s certainly more entertaining. It’s considerably better than the Chronicles of Narnia, which is quite possibly the most overrated piece of literature ever written. Ever heard of the Chronicles of Prydain? There’s a series that will sink beneath the sands of time.
It’s also outrageously uninformed of you to slip in this comment while you’re writing a post about good vs. evil storytelling, which is something Harry Potter does better than just about any other piece of mass market fiction written in the last fifty years. By the way, I write fiction for a living (comfortably enough to live off it, I might add), and I’m saying this as a fiction writer–the fiction market sucks (which is good for me, since it’s one of the reasons why I’ve been able to be successful), and it has for quite a while. Harry Potter, by contrast, is like a heaven-sent breath of fresh air. Have you even read these books? There’s a reason why kids are willing to read these books on their own time and aren’t willing to read some of the awful books they’re forced to digest for homework assignments. Can you explain why that is? Do you know anything about them? Or are you scared because they contain “black magic”? I’m serious–I honestly can’t figure out what other problem you could have. I didn’t even get into the series until it was nearly over, and I was already an adult, so I did not grow up with it and I have no sentimental attachment to it, as some of the kids of the day did. My childhood series were…Narnia, Prydain, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. The worst of Harry Potter is better than the best of them. I assure you, I was quite skeptical of the series before I read it. But when I finally sat down and read them, I was blown away by how well put together they were. It wasn’t long before I was eating crow in front of my family, who’d been bugging me to give the series a try for years.
Oh, and I don’t care if anyone “hears” about J.K. Rowling anymore. I don’t want to “hear” about J.K. Rowling. I don’t want to “hear” about any author. Once the product is for sale, the author becomes invisible. The author no longer matters. And I’m saying this as an author! I don’t care beans if anyone “hears” about me. I don’t even use my real name on my books. No one “hears” about J.M. Barrie, Franklin W. Dixon, Frank L. Baum, or Carolyn Keene anymore (and no one cares about C.S. Lewis or Lloyd Alexander), yet I can still go to any Wal-Mart, let alone an actual book store, and buy products that are ultimately credited to those names.
Or maybe you just don’t know anything about children’s fiction. Hmmm. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Seriously, explain what you mean about Harry Potter.
All I said was that ‘no one is going to be reading J.K. Rowling a century from now’. The laws of probability says that is a very safe statement to make as very, very, very few people get read a century from now. The odds are against Rowling, not for her.
What I find striking is the hostility dripping from the email above. Why does it bother you if Rowling is not read a century from now? You’ll be dead anyway.
Here’s a statement I will make: 99.9% of all video games will not be played a hundred years from now. It might even be 100%. There is no way to know for sure unless you have a time machine.
I know this because very few things from entertainment are still used a century later. The burden of proof is not on the critic of Rowling on this but on the fan. Why would anyone be reading Harry Potter a century from now? Heck, Harry Potter is already old news! It is all about Game of Thrones today.
Does anyone think that the only play enjoyed in ancient Greece was Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex? Of course not! There were TONS of plays. Most of them aren’t interesting to us today. But they were interesting to the people in that time period as entertainment. Shakespeare wasn’t the only playwright in his time. There were MANY playwrights. They just aren’t interesting to us today as, say, Shakespeare is.
And surprise! There have been COUNTLESS children’s books make. Nearly an infinite number. The sheer ODDS of the probability that Harry Potter will have the longevity of something like Alice in Wonderland are extremely low. Who would bet money on such a low probability.
So why would anyone bet so much emotion on something that has an extremely low probability?