The Spectator

Talking about Harry’s generation

Talking about Harry's generation
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I am of the “Harry Potter Generation”, but truthfully, the massive hype really puts me off the whole thing. I wish I could escape it. Inevitably there are some of my friends who are proud of their Harry Potter obsessions, but not many. It’s for kids and ‘big kids’, right? It’s not very cool. I actually agree, but I have a problem. I’ve been hooked since 11.

I genuinely like the books. I like the characters and combinations of all the great things that have made good stories for ages. I think JK Rowling can write; I’m engaged enough to keep reading. So far, I’ve managed to read them all, without giving up and putting them down half way- and that’s something. Despite loveable aspects, the marketing and the fact that every book becomes a film, truly gets under my skin.

I’ve read the books before seeing  the films, and I’m disappointed by how much doesn’t come across, although the visual tricks are good. I’m also a little cross that I cannot now read Harry Potter without Daniel Radcliffe’s face in my head. Harry Potter’s not a work of literary genius, it’s not the best thing ever, and not everyone of my age is queuing round the block for a piece of it.

As for the marketing - have you seen the billboards on the Tube? Of course you have. They are for the latest film, but keep everyone awake to the book’s release.

The most hilarious thing I find is how excited adults are about the book- probably more than the age group the books are aimed at. I feel like Harry Potter’s been hijacked by overexcited, cloaked, wand-bearing 30 year olds. Everyone’s so enthralled, or should I say brainwashed, by the media. It’s everywhere in the newspapers today. The funniest thing I’ve heard is that Childline has jumped on Harry Potter too. Childline is asking its volunteers to work extra shifts, claiming “the story could bring back unhappy memories for children who have lost friends, relatives or pets.” It’s utterly ridiculous to claim that the death of characters in the latest book is going to result in depressed, possibly suicidal children.

I admit, I have ordered the latest book, simply because I want to read it and enjoy it by myself. I want it all to be over. If there were an eighth book, I think I’d scream and give up now. I really hope there’s not another hype-making phenomenon like Harry Potter again, but it’s a losing battle.