JK Rowling

So obviously I’m not going to read Harry Potter – I will be tortured in hell with this kind of stuff – but has anybody read her mystery novels? Are they any good? I’m very much into mysteries, the trashier the better, and I wonder if JKR’s are OK.

28 thoughts on “JK Rowling”

  1. “So obviously I’m not going to read Harry Potter – I will be tortured in hell with this kind of stuff ” – I think you’ve read less interesting to you books to Klara, or not?

    HP is nicer and more interesting to adults than many children’s books. There are word games, a certain sense of humor and the mystery aspect of the books which was one of the main reasons for becoming a HP fan for me. That’s why I loved the second and the third books in HP series the best.

    Btw, the mystery in the third HP novel is unexpected, truly well-done and deals with extremely complex adult themes in a child-appropriate fashion. Most adult HP fans became fans after the third book got out and they read it to their children.

    A few quotes from the first book demonstrating JKR writing style:

    [Description of Harry’s relatives] ‘Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense. Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache. Mrs Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere’

    [Hermione, Harry’s studious friend, to Harry and Ron] “Now if you two don’t mind, I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed – or worse, expelled.”

    “What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows.”


    1. I tried reading Harry Potter to Klara, actually. We both hated it. Maybe she’s too young but I do notice that happy girls don’t tend to love it. Of course, it’s completely anecdotal and goes almost exclusively for girls but I’m noticing that there’s a link between being lonely and not socially adjusted and liking these books.

      Weirdly, I don’t know many people with boys this age so I can’t verify how it works for boys.


      1. My six year old son loves Harry Potter. He listened to the Jim Dale audio recordings and is now having me read them to him. Before you dismiss Potter, you owe it to yourself to hear at as read by Dale.


          1. Although, honestly, I would have hated it at any age but I’m not a boy. It’s a boy thing and boys should definitely have their own forms of entertainment.


      2. I wonder if this has changed. When I was a kid, EVERY kid liked Harry Potter. At this point, annoying Harry Potter fans are having their kids of their own and shoving the books on them. Whenever a book feels “required,” there will be a backlash.

        I’ve also heard some schools assign them in class, to “make reading fun.” But Harry Potter was fun because it was extracurricular; when you make it a school reading, that sucks the joy out of it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I read the Harry Potter books and found them enjoyable for the most part, but I don’t think they belong in a school curriculum. They are “fun”, but I found the writing of variable quality and I don’t think they are good enough to be mandatory books in school. In 100 years, I doubt anyone is going to consider Harry Potter an example of great literature from the early 21st century.

          As far as the Rowling’s mysteries are concerned, I read a couple of reviews and decided to skip them. It sounds like they are set in literary and publishing circles in the UK and lots of the jokes and references only make sense if you are familiar with that scene. That didn’t sound all that interesting.


          1. Yeah, they aren’t great literature. Their value is that they’re fun and they “get kids reading.” But that value is stripped from them once you make them curriculum. So you get resentful kids trudging though a book they now hate…for what? The don’t have any particular literary value.


      3. Oh?!
        I wish you’d told me this. I keep trying to force it onto Mikaela because I felt that it was a modern classic of sorts but she is really not into it + continues to turn me down. I can stop now.


        1. For real, girls who are happy and have a wide circle of friends just don’t get into it.

          With boys it’s different. But girls, it’s anecdotal but it what I keep seeing.


          1. And again, I’m sure there are exceptions, etc. This is not a condemnation of anybody. But girls have their own set of interests and characters, and this is not part of them.


      4. My 8yo son has been reading them aloud to my 5yo son, and they both love them. I’ve read them, and… meh. Maybe if I’d been 8 when I read them, it’d be different. The kids are also big fans of Tintin comics, and seem to hold them in similar esteem.


  2. I tried reading Harry Potter several times and dropped it because I find the prose too precious and irritating. I hate writers of any genre who can’t get out of their own fucking way, having to constantly remind the reader that they’re a so clever or such a ham! eyeroll I generally stay away from anything with magic wands and potions, because it irritates me to no ends. Horror is great, as is science fiction, but put bat wings in a cauldron and I’m out of here!

    My eldest son, who a big reader and very much into fantasy, loved Harry Potter. My younger two aren’t as much into reading (I know, I know). The middle one is a jock (into sports, leader of a large group of friends); he loves anime and manga, also much prefers nonfiction to fiction. He was force-fed Harry Potter in 6th grade by his English teacher (who is a big fan) and he absolutely hated it and it was a source of much friction (also a B in English that year; this year, with a different teacher, no issues whatsoever). I think people overestimate the kids’ love for fantasy (also boring preachy realism) and underestimate the kids’ love for engaging nonfiction. The youngest loves science and history books, funny books, and particularly scary books (e.g., Goosebumps series). So he and I bond over (mild) horror! ❤ (Btw, he’s the sweetest, kindest, most lovable kid you’ll ever meet, and he loves creepy content. My husband says that’s because he has no care or fears IRL, so creepy is pure thrill/excitment.)


    1. “I tried reading Harry Potter several times and dropped it ”

      I was too cheap to spring for the originals so I read (second hand) copies of the first two books in Polish – that was enough…
      I don’t inherently hate magic in fiction but it needs… something that the HP books don’t have. I basically couldn’t get over the logistics… all those magic classes and what good did they do when HP and company still have to figure everything out, the school setting made it seem more bureaucratic than exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think your husband is absolutely right. N was watching Moana with Klara, and there’s this scene where Maui’s parents don’t like him when he’s an infant and throw him into the sea. N was so traumatized by the scene that he was in tears. But Klara didn’t notice the scene at all.

      Horror only traumatizes the kids who have an experience of really horrible stuff it taps into.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is a thing. I used to watch all kinds of movies, no problem! After my sister died, I was absolutely stunned by how many movies feature scenes of people trapped underwater, nearly drowning, performing CPR (and weirdly, in movies it is always successful!– most people have no idea how dismal the statistics are for actual CPR). I watch maybe two movies a year now, because it’s just not that fun anymore. My husband tells me when it’s safe to uncover my eyes.


          1. Thanks: it was terrible, but it’s been more than a decade now, and we’ve assimilated it– so no need to feel bad.

            Before that, I never realized how weird it is that we have whole genres of entertainment that rely on activating an adrenaline response (horror, action, suspense). And people consume them because this is fun. Perhaps it is because our lives are so artificially comfortable and safe, and some built-in danger-sense is under-stimulated.


            1. “Before that, I never realized how weird it is that we have whole genres of entertainment that rely on activating an adrenaline response (horror, action, suspense). And people consume them because this is fun.”

              We also have things like thrill rides at amusement parks, bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding, extreme mountain climbing, motorcycles, ATVs and all sorts of of other fast motorized things. Lots of people like an adrenaline rush.


              1. Yes! I used to love roller coasters, too! I think adrenaline is like an emotional key. When there is nothing bad for that key to unlock, maybe it’s fun to open up that box, pretending there is a monster in there. Whee! What a rush! Just like when Dad used to toss us up in the air.

                But now, there is a real monster in the box, and unlocking it isn’t fun anymore.

                Does it work this way for other people?


    3. “put bat wings in a cauldron and I’m out of here!” -> :)))
      I don’t mind fantasy in principle, but I never read it because it is usually very boring and one-dimensional.
      I read several books of the Harry Potter series to find out what the hype is about and kept waiting for them to improve, but they didn’t. I detest books with a protagonist that is oh-so-misunderstood, brooding, sad, and yet so incredibly special, gifted, respected, popular (and all of this, as far as I understood, just by birth, like nobility). It seems to just very dumbly play with people’s narcissistic desires.
      I can excuse this for children, although I would probably not have liked them even as a child. And I deeply disrespect adults who like those books.
      Good for you Clarissa that you are spared having to read them with Klara, there are so00 many better novels for children!


  3. I’ve always said Gen X doesn’t get Harry Potter. It’s not a girl thing or a boy thing, it’s a Millennial thing. When I was young, every child my age read and enjoyed these books, even children who never read for pleasure at all. They were a phenomenon, not just a book series. Not that children can’t enjoy them now, but the culture has changed and they no longer have the same value or impact. But for those who grew up with them, they are a landmark.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Harry Potter. It’s not a girl thing or a boy thing, it’s a Millennial thing”

      I think that’s a very valuable insight, one of the few I’ve heard about HP.


    2. I thought it would have depended on whether you have anything resembling British boarding schools in your culture. The movies were huge in Japan. Maybe that says something about the Japanese school system.


      1. “whether you have anything resembling British boarding schools in your culture”

        I remember long ago reading that the first book at any rate was a pretty standard school novel, a genre familiar to younger British readers (they might be a different name for them) even down to points like the protagonist discovering an affinity for the school sport.
        The US has nothing like the boarding school system in the UK so American readers found the setting exotic beyond the magic while the appeal for British readers was the way it tweaked a very familiar format.


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