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August 11, 2007 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Christopher Hitchens reviews Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. nyt, via their book review podcast.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed (63 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Another Harry Potter review by John Dolan of the Exile. I actually liked the books but his criticisms are pretty much right on.
posted by afu at 7:25 AM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


And here's me, just reading the darned book for an entertaining story.
posted by liquorice at 7:26 AM on August 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


That was a better and more fair review from him than I would have expected.
posted by empath at 7:27 AM on August 11, 2007


He sounds almost annoyed that there's no religious statement for him to argue against.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:31 AM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Christopher Hitchens has kids? That's fucking disturbing.
posted by Optamystic at 7:33 AM on August 11, 2007


Christopher Hitchens has kids? That's fucking disturbing.

Haha! Yeah! Cuz don't he support the war and stuff? I heard he likes to drink scotch too! Asshole! The state should take his kids away!
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:36 AM on August 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


And here's me, just reading the darned book for an entertaining story.

This is an argument I often hear come up when people criticize genre favorites. For instance, when I argued that Transformers was really stupid, my friend countered by asking me what else I could possibly expect, and by saying that I should just enjoy its unimpeachable awesomeness. Why should fun things be immune to critique?

I'm not saying that it's not okay to enjoy something on the level of pure entertainment. I just think that it's possible to enjoy something on that level while still turning a critical eye to it.

I would also argue that, despite the critique, Hitchens's constant name-dropping of various characters betrays a certain affection for the series of books, or at least what it's done for young readers. Certainly the last line of the article points to that.
posted by HeroZero at 7:41 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I recommend that they graduate to Philip Pullman, whose daemon scheme is finer than any patronus.

Hitchens just scored major points with me on that one.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:45 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Excellent review, but I still enjoyed the books.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:49 AM on August 11, 2007


One day Rowling will say the trigger phrase and the potterhead zombie army will march. Zombie Hitchens will be among them and he will look only slightly more disheveled.
posted by srboisvert at 7:54 AM on August 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I fully respect Hitchens as a critic but find the series unreadable for me.But that is simply that many of us like diferrent types (genres) of books--I dislike sci fi too, for example. That review was not the first to note that such materials unlike C.S. Lewis et al do not posit Good (god) versus Evil (the devil) but is secular in nature. Believe it or not, it is possible to have good and evil without the overlay of religion in our lives.
posted by Postroad at 7:54 AM on August 11, 2007


I heard he likes to drink scotch too! Asshole! The state should take his kids away!

Ummm.... you're angry people are worried about the welfare of the children of a raging alcoholic?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:58 AM on August 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


This is what Hitchens should have been doing for the last seven years, instead of wasting his time as a pundit. The wars and invasions could have happened without him and did not need the support of a socialist-democratic Englishman, but literature and criticism and the small things (like his journalistic turn in The Missionary Position) that a smart, inquisitive, skeptical person can do in the world require those smart, inquisitive, and skeptical people to do them.

He has a real talent as a writer, and the fact that he owes his opinions to the likes of Orwell and Jefferson is reason enough to want to read his prose. He has been, and will be again, a great critic. I sort of hope he might turn his own hand to fiction at some point. But I also hope he'll shut up about Iraq and Bush and God and all the other hobbyhorses by which he has made himself notorious and rude.

Thanks for the link: I wouldn't have caught it, but I'm glad I did.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:00 AM on August 11, 2007


I don't bother reading Hitchens anymore. Let me guess-- the review is about how the likable heroes of the book are really huge assholes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:01 AM on August 11, 2007


Thank goodness I now know what an overly verbose and tedious NYT reviewer thinks of the book. Now I can forget the pure pleasure I had reading a good children's story (admittedly tarnished a bit by the overly long storytelling) and revel in my coastal intellectual snobbery. Ho Ho, Beowulf, I come to read you next!
posted by Nelson at 8:07 AM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ummm.... you're angry people are worried about the welfare of the children of a raging alcoholic?

No, not angry. Unless you work at the Department of Health and Human Services and have personal involvement with and knowledge of a record of abuse or neglect of his children, I'd merely suggest minding your own business and refraining from making libelous accusations at a writer who is mostly hated because he's an apostate leftist. I seem to remember nobody making these bullshit ad hominem attacks against Hitchens when he was a contributor to The Nation. Now that he's publicly supported an unpopular (and in my view completely illegal and illegitimate) war, the first words out of everybody's mouths are a snarky reference to him being a "raging alcoholic". What a sophisticated analysis.
posted by inoculatedcities at 8:08 AM on August 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm not really familiar with Hitchens in general--does he always write like such a pompous ass or is this a special display just to demonstrate that he's too intellectual for Harry Potter?

It's not that I disagree with his criticisms, it's that I can't help but imagine that in the stereotypical world of the English boarding school, he was the imperious prefect who ordered his minions to beat up on all the small boys. Or, that he was the small boy who wanted not to be big enough to defeat the prefect, but rather, big enough to be the prefect so he could have minions of his own.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:13 AM on August 11, 2007


I'm not really familiar with Hitchens in general--does he always write like such a pompous ass or is this a special display just to demonstrate that he's too intellectual for Harry Potter?

His modus operandi is basically to write an article asserting "your favorite X sucks" with George Will-style overly flowery language and as many references to himself as possible.

If he panned the book, it's because most people like it. He'd write articles about how kittens, ice cream and your grandmother are actually horrible if someone would publish them.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2007


Mayor, have you actually read the article?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 8:26 AM on August 11, 2007


Very little of Deathly Hallows takes place at Hogwarts, and that parts that do are in the context of a battle there. Hitchens doesn't even mention this, which challenges his whole clever "working class envy of boarding school elite" theme. Besides, doesn't the popularity of this series outside the UK, and even the English-speaking world, call this whole notion into question?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:26 AM on August 11, 2007


Perhaps you should direct your criticism to Orwell, who according to Hitchens actually made the ("working class envy") argument you're criticizing. What Hitchens actually says on the same question is,
I would give a lot to understand this phenomenon better. Part of it must have to do with the extreme banality and conformity of school life as it is experienced today, with everything oriented toward safety on the one hand and correctness on the other. But this on its own would not explain my youngest daughter a few years ago, sitting for hours on end with her tiny elbow flattening the pages of a fat book, and occasionally laughing out loud at the appearance of Scabbers the rat. (One hears that not all children retain the affection for reading that the Harry Potter books have inculcated: this isn’t true in my house at least.) [emph. added]
As to the observation that most of book 7 takes place outside of Hogwarts, you need only remember that Hitch is trying to understand the popularity of the whole series, most of which takes place inside Hogwarts. (And, indeed, the opening night crowds he describes likely didn't know book 7 was set mostly outside Hogwarts.)
posted by grobstein at 8:36 AM on August 11, 2007


I kept waiting for Hitch's Tourette's to kick in, but that was actually a very pleasant and thoughtful review. (The digs on organized religion were even context appropriate!) I'm a little stunned.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:39 AM on August 11, 2007


I don't bother reading Hitchens anymore. Let me guess-- the review is about how the likable heroes of the book are really huge assholes.

Henry Kissinger? Is that you?
posted by grobstein at 8:41 AM on August 11, 2007


(I should add, though, that one little bit of snobbery seemed a little misplaced -- not only is Beowulf still taught, but there's a big budget film version coming out soon. It hasn't exactly been consigned to the dustbin of history by an ignorant public. Plus, "touched by Harry in the night" was just kinda creepy and weird...but, you know, so is Christopher Hitchens, quite often.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:45 AM on August 11, 2007


if people are surprised by this review they should try reading more of hitchens than the "omg war idiot" selections posted here. his books are excellent.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:56 AM on August 11, 2007


Henry Kissinger? Is that you?

Or possibly Mother Theresa.

(Hint: the man's right about Mother Theresa.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:00 AM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


(And, indeed, the opening night crowds he describes likely didn't know book 7 was set mostly outside Hogwarts.)

Really? 'Cause I knew, from the point at the end of book 6 where the main character said they weren't going back for the next year.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:15 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


a writer who is mostly hated because he's an apostate leftist

That's not why he's hated. He's hated because he's a professional curmudgeon. In essence, he's paid to be hated, it's what he aspires to.
posted by psmealey at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


My biggest problem with the Harry Potter series isn't that all the ideas are recycled from better books that now languish in obscurity, or that it's not "challenging" reading for our youngsters and thus somehow unworthy.

No, my problem is the story itself. It teaches the wrong lesson. It's a bad lesson. The lesson is that, provided you're a "special" person, everything will always go right for you. No matter how smart your are (or aren't) or how hard you try (or don't), all the results have been tallied long before you stepped out of the womb.

Harry walks into the world of magic and right from the start it's "Oh, look, that's Harry Potter!" and "We expect great things from the great and wonderful and powerful and amazing and I-think-I-just-wet-myself Harry Potter! He doesn't just have potential that he has to actually work at to get good. No, he's the best! on his first try. He doesn't just help win the Quidich match... no, he wins the whole thing himself, in spectacular fashion, all at his first ever match.

It's almost like there are these certain kinds of people that are just pre-destined to be in God's Magic's favor. Which is great, provided you're Harry Potter. If you're just some poor shmucky kid in Podunk... oh well. Get in the back of the line.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:33 AM on August 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


you know who else did excellent other stuff?
posted by mr.marx at 9:34 AM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


I seem to remember nobody making these bullshit ad hominem attacks against Hitchens when he was a contributor to The Nation.

And I seem to recall nobody saying Michael Jackson was a pedophile until he starting, you know, getting caught trying to fuck little boys. What's your point? Hitchens suffers from a progressive disease (no pun intended) which has become more noticeable in his rapid decline of both the intellect and quality of his writing. His pathetic spat against Juan Cole last year was depressing to the degree Cole had to flat-out say "this guy's fucking drunk and it's embarrassing." I would equally say Dennis Miller has declined in quality over the last decades for far more reasons than merely becoming a Republican. At least he's not on the sauce.

You're arguing that people are hypocrites for not saying ten years ago that Hitchens is a hollow shell of who he was... ten years ago. Trippy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:50 AM on August 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


Plus, "touched by Harry in the night" was just kinda creepy and weird

It's a reference to Henry V before the battle of Agincourt:
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks;
A largess universal, like the sun,
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night.
When he was prince of Wales Henry V was sometimes called "Harry".
posted by amery at 9:51 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been following Hitchens's work at Slate for years -- though evidently not enough years to have read him back when he was a leftist. He's one of those people I read because he so rarely fails to inadvertently reinforce my opinions, which are usually the direct opposite of his own. I don't know enough about his personal life to know whether his shift in politics is the result of alcoholism, but his deeply flawed thinking, arrogance, weird and sudden flashes of unexpected (and usually unwarranted) sentimentality (see his stirring defense of poor, put-upon Paris Hilton), and general assholism do put me in mind of drunks I've known. Still, I'd rather read him than any number of conservative pundits, because at least he can write.

(Dennis Miller, who stopped being funny well before he became a republican, has no such saving graces, however.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:09 AM on August 11, 2007


It's a reference to Henry V before the battle of Agincourt

Which is fair enough, but in the context of a review of a Harry Potter book, it does seem slightly pedo and odd. I'm sure he could have reached into his Bartlett's for a somewhat less eyebrow-raising allusion, y'know?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:21 AM on August 11, 2007


hitchens doesn't need a book for his quotations, y'know?

stick to harry potter.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:22 AM on August 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm not really familiar with Hitchens in general--does he always write like such a pompous ass or is this a special display just to demonstrate that he's too intellectual for Harry Potter?

Hitchens is all about schtick, and his readers' vicarious delight in his lifestyle as a drinking, overweight, acerbic journalist who is equally comfortable in a war zone, a cocktail party, or a bar. He is a walking cliche, a character dreamed up when he was an ambitious young careerist, and which he has played to the hilt ever since, with enormous success. So when you see a magazine cover that says, "Hitchens on Pez Dispensers," this is meant to appeal to the groupies who love to see "Hitch" train his (patented) drunk, shabbily aristocratic, chain-smoking schtick to the cultural phenomenon of the moment. These articles aren't meant to really shed any light on the subject at hand, but rather an occasion for "Hitch" blow some cool riffs.

His admirers are generally pathetic ... read this account of a sycophant's evening with Hitch.
posted by jayder at 10:45 AM on August 11, 2007


The writing in the NYT review was not particularly tight. Explosions did not go off in my brain, as they do when I read, say, a film review by Anthony Lane. Hitch's piece was more self-indulgent than anything else. Kind of like the Harry Potter books. But it was a pleasant read, none the less.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:46 AM on August 11, 2007


stick to harry potter.

Never read it, actually. And since this is such a nice Saturday afternoon, I'll thank you to keep your snotty little aspersions to yourself, yes?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:55 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


No one is as likely to be sneered at by Hitchens as the pathetic loser who pretends to the stature he feels is necessary to dare to presume to praise him; I doubt his own children can so much as kiss him goodnight without having to endure some kind of sarcastic putdown.
posted by jamjam at 11:22 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Very little of Deathly Hallows takes place at Hogwarts, and that parts that do are in the context of a battle there. Hitchens doesn't even mention this

You're not a very close reader, are you ethnomethodologist?

"The grand context of Hogwarts School is removed, at least until the closing scenes..." seems like the mention you were looking for.

I think the key to Hitchen's personalizing-attack approach to the world is his book Letters to a Young Contrarian. Like Orwell before him, he'd rather be right than on-message, which is laudable when it involves exposing the corruption of a living saint like Mother Theresa. Sadly, this kind of arrogance tends to lead one astray just when depending on common sense and communal judgments would help most: that is, when the question is not one of taste or personal ethics but of the practicality and justice of an imperial invasion. The key to being a good contrarian is to recognize that the majority is sometimes right.

If he panned the book, it's because most people like it.

So if he liked it, what does that mean, Mayor_Curley? It's a good review, regardless of the by-line.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:31 AM on August 11, 2007


Perhaps I'm not intellectual enough to be able to discuss this review, but I thought he made some interesting points, that have lead me to think about certain aspects of Potter. And surely that's all a book review should do? Pique your interest if you haven't read it, prompt you to think about various things if you have.
posted by djgh at 11:48 AM on August 11, 2007


Civil_Disobedient, I think you've largely missed the point of the Potter books if that's what you got out of them. Since the very first story, Rowling's prose has been abundantly, even excessively, clear that Harry has to choose how to apply what he has been given. Yes, he is born with infinite potential, but the series focuses on what he does with that power. The author's lesson to children is that no matter what your circumstances, you ultimately choose what kind of person you want to be. You can't choose to be famous or rich or smart or beautiful, but you can choose to be kind and brave and ethical. Harry's victory is not his fame (which actually proves to be quite a burden throughout the series), but his character. She glorifies those who are kind to others, not those who are born into greatness. Consider Draco Malfoy: he is born into a wealthy and prominent family, displays talent in his classes, earns renown on the sports field, and finds popularity among his housemates. Still, the narrative establishes him as a villain because he is judgmental of others for their differences. Ron Weasley, on the other hand, is poor, not particularly skilled on the field, and no outstanding student. But he chooses to be loyal to his friends and helpful to those in need, and for that he is a hero. Consider also that Rowling was a struggling single mother when she began her first novel; it seems unlikely that someone in her position would attempt to teach others how nice it is to be born special and never have to work for anything. I think the messages she weaves into her books are morals any parent would be glad to see their children embrace.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 11:48 AM on August 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


hitchens doesn't need a book for his quotations, y'know?

now that's a fanboi. and for chris hitchens. wow.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:47 PM on August 11, 2007


Harry Potter and the Kukla Fran of Ollie

Hothead Payman and the Sean of Delta Farce
posted by ZachsMind at 2:44 PM on August 11, 2007


You're not a very close reader, are you ethnomethodologist?

Not today, apparently. Thanks for the correction.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:06 PM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's almost like there are these certain kinds of people that are just pre-destined to be in God's Magic's favor. Which is great, provided you're Harry Potter. If you're just some poor shmucky kid in Podunk... oh well. Get in the back of the line.

This is the exact thing that completely shits me about Bryce Courtenay's books. Particularly The Power Of One. Ooooh Peekay, you're so special!
posted by Jimbob at 4:39 PM on August 11, 2007


Civil_Disobedient: "My biggest problem with the Harry Potter series... is the story itself. It teaches the wrong lesson. It's a bad lesson. The lesson is that, provided you're a "special" person, everything will always go right for you. No matter how smart your are (or aren't) or how hard you try (or don't), all the results have been tallied long before you stepped out of the womb.

"Harry walks into the world of magic and right from the start it's "Oh, look, that's Harry Potter!" and "We expect great things from the great and wonderful and powerful and amazing and I-think-I-just-wet-myself Harry Potter! He doesn't just have potential that he has to actually work at to get good. No, he's the best! on his first try. He doesn't just help win the Quidich match... no, he wins the whole thing himself, in spectacular fashion, all at his first ever match.

"It's almost like there are these certain kinds of people that are just pre-destined to be in God's Magic's favor. Which is great, provided you're Harry Potter. If you're just some poor shmucky kid in Podunk... oh well. Get in the back of the line."


You're precisely correct. The world needs fewer children's books with themes like "you've got incredible powers, you can do great things, and you can live an exciting life because of who you are," and more children's books with themes like "look, kid, it's not gonna get handed to you, so you'd better work your ass off" or "look, I hope you're aware that you're just the damned same as everybody else, because you're not getting any kind of special treatment, mmkay?"
posted by koeselitz at 4:48 PM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


HeroZero : I would never suggest that anything is immune from criticism, I was just relaying my view that I read Harry Potter for an entertaining story and not much else.

(Hey, I'm the one who relishes scholarly essays on a little show about a blonde girl who beats up vampires)
posted by liquorice at 5:00 PM on August 11, 2007


"look, I hope you're aware that you're just the damned same as everybody else, because you're not getting any kind of special treatment, mmkay?"

Fight Club's a great read eh?
posted by Foaf at 5:26 PM on August 11, 2007


That wasn't a bad review at all. I enjoyed the last book, just as I had enjoyed the others, but I also saw the flaws in it. So did Hitchens, and he pointed them out. That's what a reviewer does.
posted by yhbc at 5:34 PM on August 11, 2007


Help, I think you have the book nailed. Note that one of the very first things Harry does in the wizarding world is choose between Slytherin and Gryffindor (and it's affirmed later that he did have that choice). So while the book does bend the rules a bit in making Harry undeservedly lucky and powerful, it also makes it pretty clear that his success stems from his kindness and morality. This is a pretty common fairy tale trope: The hero is kind to a bird or a troll or a mysterious old woman, and as a result they get knowledge or power that allows them to do something totally beyond their usual means. This may also be the moral or even religious overlay that Hitchens was looking for: the idea that maybe evil is too powerful, and maybe good has no realistic hope of triumphing... but if everybody does their best and really believes and doesn't give up on their own morals, then maybe the universe will tip things in their favor.

It's also worth noting that the series is full of people who got to be extraordinary (and well-loved by fans) through their own hard work: Dumbledore, Hermione, Neville, and most of all, Snape. I'd be willing to bet that more readers (or at least more of fandom) identifies with Hermione than with Harry anyway.
posted by inhumandecency at 6:26 PM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


While I'm here: Has anyone ever wondered, just for a second, if the Harry / Hermione pairing was a shout-out to Steppenwolf?
posted by inhumandecency at 6:27 PM on August 11, 2007


and more children's books with themes like "look, kid, it's not gonna get handed to you, so you'd better work your ass off" or "look, I hope you're aware that you're just the damned same as everybody else, because you're not getting any kind of special treatment, mmkay?"

I sometimes see that in those Japanese children's cartoons, whether it's Pokemon or one of those martial arts things, where there's this emphasis on hours and hours of ridiculous training, not that I think that that's always a good thing either. I had an English who would complain about that sort of thing when media discusses sports stars and how hard they train, as if they didn't have a special innate ability that makes them better than everyone else, and it gives the false impression to kids that they can be a pro athlete if they work hard at it. It's a little depressing when you see somebody who's smart and hard working but just isn't cut out for what they're trying to do.
posted by bobo123 at 7:01 PM on August 11, 2007


My point was that, while I'm not exactly an unreserved fan of the Potter series, it's silly to object to it by saying "what about everybody that's not Harry? Why aren't they as lucky as he is? And how is it that he's so lucky?" Stories, good stories anyway, have heroes. The people who read the stories relate, or try to relate, to the heroes. The kids who read the Harry Potter series don't relate to nameless unmentioned 'muggles' in Detroit while they're reading; they relate to Harry, or at the very least Ron Weasley. And in the heart of that relation is a sensation that there really is something magical and superlative about who they are and the powers of sensation and cognition that they were born with. The reason kids often can relate to Harry Potter is because, if their parents are any good at parenting, they already have that sensation.

And, to be quite frank, I sometimes feel like there's not enough happy providence in the Harry Potter books. Heaven knows that our entertainment and the entertainment of our children is all too filled nowadays with so-called 'gritty realism.'

posted by koeselitz at 11:16 PM on August 11, 2007


I found Stephen King"s review of the series much better reading.
posted by quaisi at 12:52 AM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


The lesson is that, provided you're a "special" person, everything will always go right for you.

Civil, I agree with you that it's an ugly lesson, but it's a lovely fantasy. If we set our fantasies to a standard of rightness, then they're no longer fantasies. They become acceptable but, I fear, useless.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 3:36 AM on August 12, 2007


I seem to remember nobody making these bullshit ad hominem attacks against Hitchens when he was a contributor to The Nation.

Not true. Folks on the left were talking about Hitchens' history with alcohol long before the Iraq war, believe me. His stance on the war just made the problems with alcohol famous elsewhere.

That said, I still like reading the guy. He's got that "hate me hate me please hate me!" thing going, sure, but he's also one of the best-read, best-educated commentators around.

Very little of Deathly Hallows takes place at Hogwarts, and that parts that do are in the context of a battle there. Hitchens doesn't even mention this

Huh? You should try finishing the article:

The exchange takes place during an abysmally long period during which the threesome of Harry, Hermione and Ron are flung together, with weeks of time to spend camping invisibly and only a few inexplicable escapes from death to alleviate the narrative. The grand context of Hogwarts School is removed, at least until the closing scenes...

Most of all this is true of Voldemort himself, who becomes more tiresome than an Ian Fleming villain, or the vicious but verbose Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind series, as he offers boastful explanations that are at once grandiose and vacuous. This bad and pedantic habit persists until the final duel, which at least sees us back in the old school precincts once again.

posted by mediareport at 5:45 AM on August 12, 2007


Stephen King sees it another way.
posted by absalom at 7:26 AM on August 12, 2007


ethnomethodologist, that favorite is sincere.
posted by NortonDC at 9:32 AM on August 12, 2007


If we set our fantasies to a standard of rightness, then they're no longer fantasies. They become acceptable but, I fear, useless. -- Me, 3:36 AM

Wow, do I sound like an ass when I drunk-post. Having said that, I admire Hitchens' stance on alcohol.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 12:48 PM on August 12, 2007


The lesson is that, provided you're a "special" person, everything will always go right for you.

His Mom and Dad were killed. He endured years of physical and emtional abuse. He watched his uncle die. He saw other friends die or be tortured. Every fairytale image he had of his past (His Dad was a pure hero, Dumbledore was saint, Snape was pure evil) were crushed

That is not"everything will go right for you". That's you've been given something special and you have a choice to live up to that potential, no matter what.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:39 PM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow. That review of Harry Potter by Steven King is one if the best critical pieces on fiction I've read in a while. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 4:00 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pullman's books are teh awesome. Period.

You may resume your discussion.
posted by Dantien at 9:17 AM on August 13, 2007


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