harry potter

I was talking to a friend the other day and the subject of Harry Potter came up. She remarked how heroic he was and how thrilling the adventures were. That got me to thinking...

J.K. Rowling is a very talented writer. I suspect that most of what is in the books is there for a reason. The 6 books written so far have a fair share of logical inconsistencies. Why are they there, you might ask yourself? Up to now I'd just assumed that Rowling included them because they play well to younger readers--but now I have a different theory.

Harry Potter is a loser. Poor fellow. An outcast at school and with an unhappy family life.

Let me explain. Let's posit, for the moment, that the home life with the Dursleys, the ultimate muggles, is Harry's reality. That would mean that all the tales of wizardry and gallant fights against evil and black magic are simply an unhappy adolescent's fantasy escape from a reality he didn't like.

Much of what happens in the books, when looked upon from this angle, makes sense. The things about his real life that Harry resents most--that scar on his forehead that no doubt kids tease him about, his parents that seem to love his brother more than him, even his lack of friends--become positive in the fantasy world. His scar denotes a history of tragedy and a promise of greatness to come. Those uncaring parents aren't really his--no, his real parents died to save him. Yes, they loved him that much. And Harry has no friends because he's not a muggle. He's of a different sort. He can do magic.

Does this sounds like a typical maladusted drama queen adolescent? Sure does to me. I especially like the "I must have been adopted" part. Very typical.

Anyway, just a thought. It doesn't detract from how good the books are.

Comments

Chas Ravndal said…
well harry potter is quite n interesting story but with a common setting like, parent's death and other melodramas since the original target is actually the GP audience. So at least it wouldnt be somewhat farfetched and can also relate to most people.

Btw, Michele sent me
sage said…
Interesting take on Mr. Potter... I haven't read the books as one child was too old for them and the other is probably a year away from reading them (she is in the 2nd grade but reading ahead).

How's things in the Old North State? Michele sent me...
Sandy said…
I've yet to read the books, but I did take in at least one of the films. I'm looking forward to when my kid's are big enough to partake in a good tale like Potter's. I'd read them myself if Only I had the time.

All that to say, from what I know about the story it sounds rather plausible an explanation. You ought to host a book study on it. :)

Michele sent me.
Juggling Mother said…
It's a good psych reading of the books, but I would be very upset if that's how she finishes it all:-) talk about i was in the shower the whole time!

Off to see the new film tonite. Woo hoo.

I like the books & the films, but think they will rapidly date - it's not the new Narnia:-)

Here from Micheles today, although I come anyway.
Morning to you, Utenzi...I've never read any of the Potter books and haven't seen any of the films either, so I have no opinion about your theory...it sounds 'right on' to me though , just from an age-group perespective...
I'm here from Michele this morning here in L.A. Hope your day is a wonderful one!
Carol said…
Hi Utenzi, I haven't read any of the books or seen any of the movies but I like your theory nonetheless!
Michele sent me.
Dave said…
Oh.... I would be most ticked if she did that. That to me would be a huge cop out.

Even though I am 41 I am an avid Harry Potter fan. I have read the books several times, and listened to them on CD, and watched all of the movies. The latest one was fantastic.

All in all there arent really that many incongruities in the books. I have spotted one or two, but they really are minor.

J.K. Rowling has done a fantastic job at planning our her novels, and covering all of the bases.

My vote is for Harry taking out Voldemort, then asking Ginny to Marry him. LOL
Erin said…
Hubs and I just saw the film last night. We critiqued it all the way home.

The books, not surprisingly, are better than the movies. Nevertheless, the movies are exciting and well done.

I agree that there is a whole lot of teen angst in the books, but when the element of magic is added in, it is taken to a whole new level.

Have a great weekend!
utenzi said…
Mrs A, it was so funny to read your comment. The cable network TV Land is going to show a program next week on "The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments" and the shower scene in Dallas is #3 on the list. Since I'd just read about it the day before reading your comment, it was weird reading your comment.

Dave, I've spotted dozens of plot problems in the books but I think they're all there on purpose. I'm probably counting things that you don't feel are relevant. I'm a bit anal about things working right.

Erin, I've only seen the first two movies but I have borrowed the third on DVD so I might watch it tonight. I didn't like the first two. The books were so much better!
Laurie said…
I read the first three books, I think, when I was down with some nasty virus for several days. Excellent sickbed reading for any age. I like your theory-the maladjusted drama queen adolescent nails my personality. But I didn't go hogwild over the whole series like other "adults" did.
Michele sent me, by the way.
ribbiticus said…
haha! funny theory. still doesn't take away anything from my enjoyment of the series. and this latest film is excellent! :)
WendyWings said…
I have to confess we pretty much ignore Potter around here.
My son has read the books but we only catch the movies if they happen to be on TV.
Carmi said…
Yo'ure definitely onto something here. HP's success lies in its relatability to its target audience. Sci-fi follows a similar thread. Sure, there's no way in heck we'll have any means of understanding routine space flight and limitless technology. But the stories that weave portable themes through their plots can hook us all the same.

Once you strip away the supernatural BS from HP, you come up with stories that kids really dig because they can see themselves within them.

Popped in from Michele's.
Hi Utenzi..
Well, I STILL haven't read Harry Potter yet, since I was here earlier...
Michele sent me this lovely afternoon!
Teresa said…
I've never read the books (though I have them should I decide to do so) and never seen the movies (I like to read the book before seeing the movie of the book. However, your assessment is exactly what I thought the series was about. None of your supporting info means anything to me, but somehow that's what I thought. You scare me sometimes...
Angela said…
That's why I love HP, because there are so many interpretations that one can make about it. However, I do hope that's not how this series turns out. I think part of what attracts children (and adults) to it is the idea that there *really* could be a whole magical world out there that we're getting a sneak peek in to. I'd be heartbroken if this was all just in Harry's imagination!!

Michele sent me ;)
utenzi said…
Don't get me wrong--I don't think Rowling will ever say that the books are about that. I just think that it's possible that her concept for the books arose from the perspective of a fantasy-addled teen's mind. Personally I don't see the series end after book 7. Consider that Hogwart's is just the way you learn your gift and train for your ultimate profession. So the series can certainly follow Harry as he enters the adult world of magic--after all, that's when he's most likely to track down and destroy Voldemort.
Aaron said…
I'm not an English lit major, but what you've said sounds like a plausible interpretation. I've heard lit professors describe certain types of stories in the same terms; fantasy fulfillment about unhappy kids who discover they're more special than they previously believed. An especially salient feature of such stories is the child's discovery that he's really of some sort of noble or privileged birth.

Anyway, since you're familiar with Neal Stephenson, I'll suggest that The Diamond Age is similar (but more complicated) in this regard.
panthergirl said…
Hahaha... good theory! I've been underwhelmed by the books, personally. My son read the first one when he was four. We started reading it together, but he finished it alone after I lost interest.

I much prefer the Lemony Snicket series (the movie was a horrible interpretation of REALLY wonderful books). If you haven't read (or listened to!) those, you should.

And you can look at C all you want... in her case, beauty is TRULY skin deep!! ;)
stranger said…
wow i've never thought about HP in that light, but the idea does give me pause. it's really a very insightful look at the story.

a similar approach is taken in a buffy episode (not sure if you're a fan). in the episode, she starts having delusions (or are they the truth?) that she is in a mental hospital and she has imagined her entire life of killing vampires, of all of her friends, etc. makes the whole story take on a whole new light.

anyway, yes, it's 2.30am, and i'm drunk and rambling. happy saturday to ya.
Michelle said…
Never read the books or seen the movies, that is till tomorrow. My daughter wants to see the latest one. although i have been told its a bit of a fizzer compared to the others.
J K Rowling certainly has money to burn now.
rashbre said…
I was told you are always supposed to kill the parents at the start of a kids book to give them extra freedom to act, be alienated, be on a quest or similar.

Roald Dahl, would do it quite blatently in some of his stories.

I really like the Harry Potter films, perhaps more so than the books.

rashbre
I think these are great, though I marvel at the fact that for a "star" student at a Wizard's school, Harry Potter never uses magic!

Doctor Life doesn't like Harry Potter... His mm.mm.mm.m.mmomma said Harry Potter's the Divil.
Ditsy Chick said…
I like the books. I will be sad when they end. However, I think your interpretation sounds more like how JK Rowling came up with the idea. It sounds a lot like how she has described her childhood.
YellowRose said…
I'm a big Harry Potter fan for a 41 yr old gal...I have read the books and seen the movies. The books are much better than the movies, but isn't that the way it always is. I think JK Rowling will be seeing HP into his adulthood. The story won't end with it being just a dream....it had better not anyway!! :)

Here via Michele's!
Bhakti said…
I am here because Michele sent me to pick up some cash...

Are you suggesting that Harry's whole experience is a fantasy life??

I don't know...I haven't been able to get past page 100 of book 4. I enjoyed the first three; book three being my favorite, actually. I just found the first one hundred pages of book 4 to be an incredibly laborious (mis)adventure.
MissMeliss said…
Love the books. Enjoy the movies, for what they are. Your interpretation of the possible inspiration for the series is interesting (and the fanfic writer part of my brain is now clicking into gear.)
Yeah you keep beating Doc Life now :) With Harry Potter too :P
Doctor Life said…
Interesting...interesting....
God Bless.
Lish said…
Hey Utenzi! Sorry I haven't been around much. I've missed you!Thanks for doing the 3 things meme. I love all the Harry Potter books, but I was disappointed by the latest movie. Probably because I it was my favorite of all the books.

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