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Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Courtenay » 23 May 2017, 22:29

I got the same summary as Sixret, though with slightly different percentages, but with the houses in the same order. :roll: I would have thought I was a Ravenclaw!
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Katharine » 31 May 2017, 08:18

Reading the comments in another thread about spiders, I was struck by the similarities in Lord of the Rings books Harry Potter, ie large fearsome spiders, friends setting off on a quest together, one main character being the only hope to save the whole world, an elderly wise man with a long white beard, a crucial item (a ring in one story, a wand in the other).

Anyone spot any others?
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby timv » 31 May 2017, 08:51

The whole scenario of the return of Voldemort has some resemblances to the underlying story-arc of the Potter series' world - ie a supposedly deceased or at any rate vanquished/ 'missing in action' past master of evil returning to attempt a second world takeover. In the Tolkien world it is the 'Dark Lord' Sauron who was vanquished by the forces of Good (human and non-human, the latter mainly immortal elves) at the end of the previous, Second Age and at the start of Lord of the Rings his long-suspected return at the end of the Third Age (3000 years later) has recently been announced openly. Gandalf, in the position of the wise old mentor to Our Hero assumed by Dumbledore in the Potter books, has long been warning of this danger, and has been ignored by others - either because they do not want another great struggle and so 'stick their heads in the sand' (the position of most of the Ministry of Magic bureaucrats about Voldemort in the Potter books) or for their own sinister reasons of being the Dark Lord's secret allies (Saruman in Tolkien, assorted Slytherin characters and others in Rowling). The scenario is common enough for such stories, and both may have been influenced by the position of England re: the Nazis in the 1930s - the 'pure-blood' wizarding fanatics in Potter seem to be partly influenced by Nazi theories. The Slytherin 'pure-blood' fanatics who want rule by masterful and all-knowing wizards and so ally to V. are in the position of the power-mad Saruman, who recruits an army of orcs and tempts Gandalf to join the alliance.

Incidentally, I do think you can see an influence from 2000s New Labour and later Conservative UK governments interfering in the autonomy of schools in the Potter books, especially 'Order of the Phoenix'. The Ministry taking over Hogwarts and installing the bossy and ruthless Dolores Umbridge in place of Dumbledore is rather like an unwanted 'super-head' being forced on a 'failing' school.
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Rob Houghton » 31 May 2017, 13:59

Katharine wrote:Reading the comments in another thread about spiders, I was struck by the similarities in Lord of the Rings books Harry Potter, ie large fearsome spiders, friends setting off on a quest together, one main character being the only hope to save the whole world, an elderly wise man with a long white beard, a crucial item (a ring in one story, a wand in the other).

Anyone spot any others?


All these books (and many of Enid's magic books too!) take the form of 'the Quest' story - which of course is as old as the hills, dating way back to Greek Mythology and before. the Quest appears in many stories - The Wizard of Oz, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Book of Brownies, The Yellow Fairy Book, some stories in the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair books, plus The Land of Far Beyond and of course many fairy tales and legends, as well as many others.

Of course, Spiders are just down right creepy and giant ones are always great adversaries! :twisted:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 31 May 2017, 14:41

We had a similar discussion in the "Tolkien" thread a few years ago. At the time I wrote:

Anita Bensoussane wrote:In my opinion Tolkien and Rowling were both harking back to ancient legends and folk-tales which often featured wise wizards, objects of power, quests, battles, the defeat of evil entities and themes like greed, envy, loyalty and courage... Tolkien is known to have had a deep interest in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and other European mythologies and it's clear from the Harry Potter books that Rowling was also fascinated by myth and legend, e.g. Fluffy the three-headed dog resembles Cerberus from Greek mythology. So I think the fact that both authors had a love of ancient legends explains the similarities.

I've since learnt that J. K. Rowling studied French and Classics at university.
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Courtenay » 31 May 2017, 17:38

Rob Houghton wrote:Of course, Spiders are just down right creepy and giant ones are always great adversaries! :twisted:


Hey, Charlotte's Web was another of my favourite books when I was little... all right, Charlotte isn't a giant spider (thank goodness, really), but I'm convinced anyone who read that book as a child would be hard pressed to grow up hating spiders. To this day, I still can't get through the last paragraph of the second-last chapter without crying. :cry:

Back on topic, I'd never really noticed all the similarities between Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series, but yeah, now you mention them, Katharine and Timv... I agree, though, both authors were drawing on similar ancient legends and story-telling traditions, so it's not so surprising that there are many parallels. It's incredibly difficult to write a "truly original" fantasy story, really — and the same probably goes for most if not all other genres! :wink:
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What other author are you reading at the moment?

Postby Daisy » 07 Oct 2017, 17:26

Split from another topic.

I am nearing the end of the last Harry Potter book - my third time of reading the whole series. I have enjoyed it very much.
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Re: What other author are you reading at the moment?

Postby Moonraker » 08 Oct 2017, 13:09

It is queer, but although I loved reading all of the books in the series, I have never wanted to re-read them.
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Julie2owlsdene » 08 Oct 2017, 13:39

I've never read any Harry Potter, doesn't rock my boat really. I think I've seen one of the films which my daughter dragged me to thinking I'd be converted. I wasn't, found the film totally boring! :lol:

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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Courtenay » 08 Oct 2017, 14:14

I've also read them all once but have never had any desire to revisit them. I found them good but a bit overrated in the end, but that's just me — I can appreciate why many other people were and are hooked on them. Certainly a more worthwhile reading craze than Goosebumps, The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High (which were all the rage when I was in primary school, but none of them were my thing)... :shock:
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Moonraker » 08 Oct 2017, 14:46

Yes, I think it was quite a journey reading them all 'live' in the first place. Reaching a great conclusion, I don't feel the need to start all over again!
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 08 Oct 2017, 15:47

I've read the books and seen the films twice each and I'm sure I'll go back to them again at some stage. I very much enjoy the magical atmosphere, the gradual character development and the way the various plot strands are interwoven. J. K. Rowling does a skilful job of blending enchantment, humour, pathos and darkness to create an alluring world.

Tony and I were in the world of Hogwarts on Wednesday, as it happens, watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in London. Getting tickets is a bit of an adventure in itself - we'd had to book 14 months in advance by joining an online queue (or two queues, as the tickets are sold by two agencies) on a ticket release day, and hoping for the best! If you wanted tickets you had to register with one or both queues before 11 am. At that point, all the names were randomised and you found out your position in each queue and were told approximately how long your waiting time would be. We were lucky and got seats in Row H of the stalls, which gave a brilliant view of the action. The tickets weren't posted out until a fortnight before the show but they're rather attractive, being black and gold.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is unusual in that it's actually two plays of about two and a half hours each - one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. That meant neither of us would get home until the early hours but we felt it was worth it.

We met up in time to eat our lunchtime sandwiches in Leicester Square and have a walk round before joining the queue (yes, security is tight!) to get into the theatre. The Palace Theatre is grand and glorious - the perfect setting for an intense play like Cursed Child. In between the two shows we popped into Foyles, walked round the Phoenix Garden, strolled through Soho and had a McDonald's (it was mild enough to eat al fresco, sitting at one of the tables overlooking the Leicester Square gardens).

As for the show itself...

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD**



I'll try not to give away any real spoilers, though of course the playscript has been available in the shops for some time. All I can say about the play is that it's a magnificent spectacle, conjuring up enchantment, mystery and tension beautifully. The lighting effects are superb, there are arches and panels and gloom galore, the stage revolves, the scene changes are almost seamless and the special effects are extremely impressive. We had a dementor flying right over our heads at one point, wands shot out long streams of dazzling flame, items hovered in the air, a bookcase swallowed characters and spat them out, characters dived off moving staircases into the wings, the whole stage appeared to ripple as a certain process was carried out...

Much of the story revolves around Harry Potter's son (Albus) and Draco Malfoy's son (Scorpius), though there's a whole host of other characters too, both familiar and new. We saw Samuel Blenkin playing Scorpius and he was fantastic in the part. Moaning Myrtle was also played wonderfully well by April Hughes.

The play really drew me into the world of Hogwarts and I'm delighted I had the chance to see it - and in the best of company too!
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Rob Houghton » 08 Oct 2017, 16:50

I wondered how you'd both got on, Anita - as Tony mentioned you were going. Sounds like a great theatrical experience, no matter whether the play was a good one or not. I'm not a Harry potter fan - like Julie, I've never really got into the books - or the films - but I think it would be interesting to see it on stage, if only for the magical experience.

I do know enough about the characters to appreciate a play, I think, having seen three of the films and read the first book, but for some reason the books have never attracted me.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Daisy » 08 Oct 2017, 16:52

It sounds wonderful Anita. So glad you enjoyed it so much after all the hoops you had to jump through to get tickets. Tony mentioned that you were seeing it and had booked very well in advance!
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Re: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

Postby Darrell71 » 08 Oct 2017, 17:12

I literally am so jealous right now. :mrgreen: :lol: :lol:
But seriously, I would've loved that experience.
I've only read the books once and not watched all the movies, and don't feel like reading them again. Simply because it's a sensory overload and it's all I could think of when reading the stories and I don't have enough time right now.
I have a much greater affinity for the Percy Jackson series, mainly because I started reading it as The Heroes of Olympus series was being published, and the feeling of waiting for months in suspense for the next book to be published and then dashing to the bookstore the day it comes out to grab a copy is something else :D 8)
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