Weekly BlogScan: Potter and Anti-Potter
Midnight is the witching hour. But midnight on July 16th is the wizarding hour, when the next Harry Potter novel is officially released amidst magic and media fury. So is this a literary event? A celebrity circus? A serious landmark in the chronicles of 2005? For answer, I turned to the blogosphere, to see what's the buzz on the boy wizard.
This is truly a world-wide phenomenon, folks. There are Harry Potter blogs in Spanish, German, and French, of course—but bloggers also focus on the young wizard from Thailand and in Persian.
J.K. Rowling, the series' author, is the world's only billionaire author, and the second-richest woman in Britain (after the Queen), according to the Mirror online. The linked story looks at several other celebrities who've grown from the Potter phenomenon, Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint; and it tracks the actors' growth as the movie versions of Harry Potter novels progress.
Diana Sprinkles uses Harry and his friends as inspiration for her original art. Her images are sometimes reminiscent of animé, sometimes of old drawings in Edgar Rice Burroughs' paperbacks. (You'll know I have permission to use an image from her catalog if it appears in this post.) And dua also borrows creative power to breathe life into Rowling's wand-vendor, Ollivander, with an original story at her Lumos blog.
Ron and Hermoine seem to be linked more and more strongly as the books progress, so it's no surprise there is a blog devoted to them as a couple. These bloggers seem to have Emma confused with her movie role as Hermoine, and likewise with Rupert Grint and Ron.
The Magical Three website concentrates on Emma and Rupert as well. A trademarked image shows Emma sporting braces, which leads one blogger to gasp, "Is Hermoine changing her looks?"
To read Hermoine Grainger's dairy, check out The Firebolt, a realistic (if rather breathless) journal with pictures gleaned mostly from the first movie. The blogger does a good job of reproducing the slightly-snotty tone of Hermoine's approach to life.
"Draco Malfoy" also keeps a blog (at a page called potterstinks, naturally), in which he muses about Malfoy Manor, his sisters and his future. For Harry Potter fans, there's not much here, and for their parents, the site uses language J.K. Rowling wouldn't allow to foul her pen—although it seems natural enough from such a nasty wizard as Draco. Don't miss the Comment threads, where Harry and Draco's mother both put in an appearance.
Speaking of people who hate Potter, there is a world-wide anti-Potter mirror to Pottermania. One group names itself TOOPAP, The Organization of People Against Potter. The emotion here is so total, it appears to have overwhelmed the blogger, who can only say "This page is temporarily down due to how much Harry Potter sucks. Please check back in a few days and it will most likely be back up again." In German, the Anti-Potter Clan hosts modified versions of the German book covers, one of which (Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch (Goblet of Fire)) shows Harry's hair on fire.
There's even an Anti-Potter Yahoo Group!
Some bloggers inveigh against all things Potter for religious reasons. Geocities blogger godluvsusoshea is a typical example:
But there are things people just don't know about Harry Potter. Starting with magic and magic is wrong. So is sorcery and people who do sorcery. Wizards and Witches are bad too. They cast spells and think the power and magic they use is their own. Wrong. There is only two people who can give out power. God is one of them. And since God hates sorcery, he isn't giving it out. The other person giving it out is the devil. Yes, he can do that too.
Despite all this anti-potter activity, Los Angeles Times op-ed writer Joel Stein reaped the whirl-wind when he criticized Rowling's readers as "stupid, stupid, stupid" and worried that "a culture that simplifies its entertainment down to fairy tales is doomed to simplify the world down to good and evil." Blogger Orac responded in kind from Respectful Insolence, with "Joel Stein is a moron." Orac takes issue with Stein's opinion directly:
the very statement shows the utter depths of his idiocy and vacuousness, particularly since he dismisses the first Harry Potter in essence only because it was intended as a children's book and in spite of his recognition that it is "witty, imaginative, and fast-paced"!... There may be many reasons to disparage the Baby Boom generation (and they've probably all been used at one time or another), but the popularity of the Harry Potter books is not among them.
Safely back amongst Pottermaniacs, there's a Myers-Briggs-based Harry Potter Personality Quiz at Pirate Monkey that's fun to do. DrPat's results:
For LiveJournal bloggers, there's a Meme Quiz that lets you define yourself as a witch or wizard in the Potterverse, and a rich source of character pictures for you to use, whether or not you pick Harry as your non de plume. That last link also will lead you to wallpaper and AIM icons with a Potter theme.
But what about Harry Potter himself? It seems no one wants He Who Must Not Be Named after them via the Internet—despite tons of blogs about the young wizard, I found none purporting to be written by Harry Potter. Perhaps that's okay—something is sacred after all. Even if the Pope would not agree.
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