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Has anyone who read JK Rowling ever read classic literature?


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Showing 1-25 of 128 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Feb 2008 23:29:30 GMT
A. Townsend says:
What I mean by that is;
Have you ever read Dickens, Poe, Shelley, Stoker, Austen, or Everett, and still thought of Rowling as a skillful writer?
In our modern time I can see people want something new, for example Rowling, but why is everyone so demented about her? I am sure if you have ever read any author listed above you too will see that Mrs. Rowling does not deserve to be famous for her writing at all.
She uses words such as put-outer, and all the creatures in her book are from mythology (dragons, griffins, phoenixes etc)
I suggest you read something such as Pride and Prejudice, or Dracula before saying that Rowling is the best author to have lived.
Besides Rowling we have many better authors for children in the 21st century.
For people under my age of fourteen, you have Lemony Snicket, Terry Pratchet etc.
I am sure most of the words I have used above would both frighten and confuse Rowling due to the fact that it takes an intelligent mind to use such words as `skillful' or `demented', and that is precisely what J.K Rowling is missing.
I have read Harry Potter, and am more than vexed by its simplicity, stupidity, and lack of imagination.
For all those who know nothing but Rowling in literature, I pity you, and laugh at you. You can go one thinking nobody is comparable to this author, but I would say comparing Dr Seuss to her would count as an honour to this woman who does not deserve her money any more than the readers deserve to read Harry Potter instead of a book that helps gain intellect as well as entertainment.
Do you not think that without the movies, without peer pressure and `going with the flow', and with more intellectuals, Rowling would still be sitting in cafes writing on napkins?
And can you not see where all her ideas come from?
Hogwarts was Hoggle's nickname in the movie `The Labyrinth'
Argos Filtch: Argos is a store name in England, and Filch is a reference to filth.
And so on, yet so as not to bore you I will not make my list go farther.
But back to the question to all Rowling fans;
Have you ever read classic literature, and afterwards still enjoyed Rowling's pathetic writing?
I am quite vexed by this so called `writer' at the moment.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Feb 2008 00:13:33 GMT
S. Dougherty says:
Im 18, I've been reading J.K Rowling from the age of 8. This was before "the movies... peer pressure and 'going with the flow'". I have, of course, read the classics. I love "Pride and Prejudice", its one of those beautiful books and "Sense and Sensibility" is a good read too... and many others besides.

Of course she writes about mythology- the plot of her book derives from a fantasy world. It also teaches those who read it about legends, but she makes up some of her own too.

Perhaps her writing isn't as "intellectual" as you would like. However, it has an ability to take the reader to that magical world she writes so passionately about. If you read her work you will see that she really does love her characters. I think she is a great writer and feel that her writing does have intellect in it. When i was younger I didnt understand some of the words she had written but loved it all the same. And im sure she's familiar with the words 'skilful' and 'demented'... afterall she does speak of 'dementors' in her books.

My favourite author growing up was JRR Tolkein and "The Hobbit" is fantastic. I wonder, do you find him pathetic for using mythical creatures in his books? Im sure thinking of elves, dwarves, dragons and wizards wasnt imaginative. He was a great writer all the same.

Anyway, I believe his name was Argus, not Argos. And the store, for your information, is not just in England but throughout the UK. Plus, thats a pretty big leap from Hoggle's to Hogwarts. You do realise there is such a thing as a hog and it probably derives from this. Dicken's at times allowed his character's names to have meanings according to their character. If you research it, Im sure you'll find that Rowling did also. So before you insult her intellect I would advise you do some research before making up such random connections.

Did you just say you're only 14?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Feb 2008 10:54:37 GMT
A. Townsend says:
Thank you, I can see what you mean and your opinion. But do you really think that Rowling should have been voted best author over Terry Pratchet in the contests for best living British writer?
Yes, I am 14, why?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2008 14:43:59 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 25 Feb 2008 11:45:27 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2008 17:14:22 GMT
I have read Dickens, the Bronte Sisters, Terry Prachett and Tolkin and I count Jane Austin as my favourite author and I really enjoy the Harry Potter series, because Joanne Rowling makes you believe that the world she creates really exists and this, I believe, is her true talent. My 12 year old niece never read more than a cereal packet until last summer when I gave her a set of the HP books, now she has read all of them and some of the Tolkin books too, she has joined the library and discovered reading as an alternative to the nintendo! So I think the reason Joanne Rowling deserves the acclaim she gets is because she has gotten some children who never read into books and that is a real achievement.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2008 17:47:03 GMT
A. Burgess says:
If you think that a books worth is determined by the length of its words I have the perfect read for you. It's called the Dictionary. Whilst reading it you may wish to look up the words Argus and Filch and find out what The Hogwarts caretaker is actually named for. Books are about the magic they create in your head, the amazing places you travel to from the comfort of your bedroom and your empathy with the characters as you experience their highs and lows. My favourite books include Austen, the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare, Jerome K Jerome, Agatha Christie, Pratchett and Blyton. Personally I am not a fan of Tolkien but I would not dare to criticise him as a writer simply because I can not identify with his work. How dare you laugh at people for enjoying something you do not consider to be intellectual enough. Who are you to judge anyway!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2008 09:57:08 GMT
I am an English teacher in a secondary school. I teach my pupils 'classic' novels as well as novels that are classed as 'modern'. I have an English Literature degree from the University of Birmingham. I have A Levels in both English Language and English Literature. I read at least a book a week. I love J.K.Rowling. I also love the classics. Just because you enjoy one does not mean you can not enjoy the other. Stop being a snob.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2008 09:59:53 GMT
W. Gilbert says:
Well said, Anthony.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2008 22:41:42 GMT
Hintofsilver says:
OK, so maybe she might not be the most amazing but she HAS imagination - that's what makes people like her, the fact she tells a story from another world. And if you look at her, like watching the documentary, she has her own views on it - she says she wants the end to be how she has it because that was the very reason she wrote it.
Yeah, there are some great classics but she deserves merit for writing a series of books that children and adults alike adore. Isn't that what she wanted?
And by the way, the words 'skillful' and 'demented' most definitely do not require a high intellect and if you think that you have one by using them I suggest you go and write books better than her. I'd like to see you try.
Many great novels use mythical creatures - are you going to start complaining for using people because they're not imaginative or something? Get a grip. She's used new stuff too like the Thestrals and the ones we may have encountered before she gives other qualities.
In my view you should not go on moaning to everyone (in a very snobbish - well said I agree a.Palmer-Jones - manner) over something which has accomplished a lot and encouraged people to read.
So do us all a favour and stop moaning. And please don't give me a similar answer to others. Go, try to write decent prose - see how it is. then look at her from another angle and you will see she has written these books with skill.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2008 22:48:13 GMT
G. Mullin says:
I also am a teacher, but at primary level, the age at which the initial book was aimed. I can truthfully say that I've introduced more children (especially boys) to the joys of reading through Harry Potter than any other book, in my 30 years of teaching. Whatever the finer literary arguments might be, it's a thumping good read and its very simplicity makes it instantly accessible to a broad audience.
Well done JK (and we'd love some more....)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2008 00:42:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Feb 2008 00:59:43 GMT
Briar_Rose says:
I don't think any of us could say Rowling is the best author to have lived and I don't think she is at all regarded as the writer of the moment; but I do think that she has succeeded and earned her praises in telling a truly wonderful story and in creating characters that we can all find at least one common ground with. Her massive success isn't unfounded!
It was 99/2000 when Rowling really started creating media attention - with three of the seven books behind her and it is a blessing as much as it is a curse that she has achieved such praise and attention for Harry - and as a result exposes herself to far more censure than any other author faces, IMO. And as far as the movies, the peer pressure and 'goign with the flow' goes - Rowling had already achieved remarkably high sales figures and attention prior to the movies even being brought to the publics attention. She was acheiving such acolade and attention long before Dan, Rupert and Emma.

And I would pick your words more carefully in the future - you are coming across as very patronising to anyone who reads and enjoys Harry Potter.

Not that is really is any of your business but I study English + Scottish Literature are University and I count Austen and Kerouac as my favourite authors of all time because in their novels they are able to capture their time period in such a wonderful way that it is easily understood and appreacited twenty, fifty or even two hundred years later. Sure, Rowling doesn't do that, but why should she?
Why should she adopt your definition of an intellectual style of writing? What is so wrong with writing in a way that is natural to the story? And how can you possibly condemn her when you are only focussing on one body of work, one story?

Tolkien used elves and gobblins, wizards, dwarves, dragons - was his creativity ever questioned?

Rowling is the first truly popular author in this new age of media and as a result her media attention and praise is entirley unheard of in the industry. But think, isn't this just the kind of attention Austen would have recieved? Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice were massive novels in 1817-1819. Once media and televison had developed enough Pride and Prejudice was adapted as one of the very first mini series the BBC ever created in 1955. And if you actually STUDY Austen, as I have devoted the last year of my education to, you'll find that her writing style was not complex or even very clever. It was basic, to the bone, witty and effective - which is why she stood out. Austen had gained attention and acolade in her time and it only grew after her death. She is regarded as one of the true greats within British Literature and only time will tell for Rowling.

buuut. In answer to your original question (within the title). Yes I have read Classic Literature and I've read it all my life. Jane Eyre was the first I ever read at the age of 10, before I picked up Harry Potter (alas, it was in the weeks that followed!). My love of the Bronte's led me to Dickens, Austen, Tolstoy (Anna Karenina before WaP), Hemingway and Hardy. Hemingway led me to Kerouac and so on. I only ever really enjoyed Harry Potter as far as "fantasy" goes until I borrowed Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) from my friend when I was about 12/13 and followed that series to it's completion. I had tried to read the Hobbit at the age of 12 and didn't go back to it, and subsequently LoTR until the first movie came out; and then I battered through the series. School led me to Orwell and god knows who and what else. But I always come back to Harry; because on a personnal level, Harry Potter is my childhood, my tweens, teens and now my life as a young adult. It's seen me through deaths and new schools, exams and university etc etc

You said you're 14? yes? Which means when Harry first appeared on the scene you were only 3 or 4? I was 10 years old and I remember, as a ten year old, loving this story and loving Harry and waiting on my 11th birthday for a letter from Hogwarts...! When I was your age I was waiting on Order of the Pheonix. I've spent more than half my life waiting on Harry, growing up with Harry (cliche, yes...but true!) and thats exactly where the magic lies for me. It's for that reason and that reason alone I love the series and I will defend it because it's been such a constant thing in my life.
I think anyone who is getting into Harry Potter now has missed out on so much; they've missed out on the journey, the constant questions, the speculation, the guesses, the shock and devastation in finding out Sirius and Dumbledore dies, or that Snape was good all along...or even whether or not Harry survives in the end. And I think that, now, anyone who gets into Harry Potter will have a completley different experience with it than I, or many other people here, have had - so different in fact that there will be people like you who don't see in it what I did...and thats ok; because at least we agree that Austen was wonderful! and still is!

...sorry guys, I've kind of went off on one there! that's my 2 cents - albeit not every eloquently put!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2008 01:15:12 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Feb 2008 01:38:31 GMT
S. lee says:
I think it's irrelevant how well she writes and where she gets her ideas from, we shouldn't compare her to Dickens, Poe, Shelly etc, they're in a different league. There are certain kinds of books that will be remembered for being skillfully written, Harry Potter isnt one of them, it's popular for a different reason, for the unique world she created and the simplicity of the story that has captured so many minds. I love reading harry potter because it is simple, it's not a chore to get through, you never have to re-read something you dont quite understand the meaning of because there is no complex meanings, its all there as it is for your own mind to decide how to interpret it, these make the best kind of stories in my opinion. The classics require a certain amount of concentration to get through, Harry Potter doesn't. You must realise that this isn't such a bad thing

Im 19, and have all the names you listed, and also Homer's Illiad

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2008 01:24:53 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 20 Feb 2008 12:39:15 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2008 20:08:13 GMT
Fozzie Green says:
I take your point, and although I am 41, not 14, I must say that at least the JKR books have encouraged folk to read again, so perhaps by engaging human beings with a BOOK, and not just a computer or television screen, she does deserve credit for that. (I only read the first two books before the hysteria broke out and was then bored with the it.)In terms of originality, clearly, there appear to be certain characters, themes etc which may be considered almost a collage, but many people seemed to enjoy using their imaginations once more. Of course the cultural peer pressures contribute to the purchase of the books, but surely better that than the more usual stream of violent and unpleasant books and films which do not serve to further happiness ?
You have raised a number of valid points, however, I would suggest that perhaps you dont take it tooooo seriously, it is a big world with enough room for some frivolity, surely ? You have a good vocabulary for a 14 year old person, why not write something better - you would be adding to the world of literature,and might do rather well out of it - wouldn't that be fabulous!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2008 22:54:29 GMT
Lucy Allen says:
I agree that Rowling isn't stylistically brilliant, and some of her writing habits (capitals TO EXPRESS ANGER, for example), annoy me. However, her plotting is truly stylish - far better, in my opinion, than that of Dickens or even of our own dear Shakespeare. When I was 14, I enjoyed showing off too, but I'm sure I was aware even then that Argus was a thousand-eyed giant (suiting the caretaker's watchfulness), and that to 'filch' something is to take it covertly (implying that he's a bit underhand). I quite like the playful names, but even if you don't, you should learn what Rowling's getting at before slating her. She's a bit more educated than you think! If at 14 you think Pratchett (note the spelling) and Lemony Snicket are appropriate or challenging reading, fine. But if you wish to set up as a critic, try to broaden out - flip through the booker shortlists from previous years, don't just cite famous names. Then, perhaps you will catch up with other 14 year olds and learn to enjoy some light-hearted writing! For goodness' sake, she didn't set out on a mission to replace James Joyce, so cut her some slack.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Feb 2008 13:50:48 GMT
Some of my favourite novels are by the authors you mention especially Austen and Dickens. I also realy admire the novels of Wilkie Collins, Alexandre Dumas and more. I agree that literature from those times is of a completely different calibre but that doesn't mean you can enjoy children's novels like Harry Potter. Her first few novels were not that great to be honest but her later books are better written and the plots are well thought out. I mean she created a whole new entirely imagined world so you have to give her credit for that! Don't bother getting annoyed with her if you don't like her, why stress yourself if others enjoy the books? And I think Argos originally is a mythical Greek person/God but I may be wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Feb 2008 19:26:36 GMT
Eloisa says:
When you grow up and have read as wide a range of literature as I have at 34, you will appreciate how pompous you sound in this post. I recommend that you read "100 years of solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez as that is how you will end up if you carry on with this attitude, alone in the world. Different styles of literature suit different occasions, to read Tolkien or Dickens - ever read Chaucer? - normally requires more concentration than something lighter like Harry Potter. Lemony Snicket books are all very well but much in the same vein I find. Besides which, the fact is that thanks to Rowling, lots of people are picking up a book that probably haven't done so since before you were born and foreigners desperate to read the next book are improving their English, so not matter how simple you think these books are, they have greatly enhanced the world of literature for many....

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Feb 2008 22:37:16 GMT
The Mooster says:
Most of those classic authors you mentioned are fantastic writers (although I can't really include Stoker in this - the story is excellent, the writing rather poor). But Rowling is a modern author writing for modern times so her style is going to be different. I think it's rather good actually, she paints a very vivid picture of the magical world. She's alot better than some and far less clunky. There are plenty of other modern writers out there who are also good or even better - try Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Sarah Waters, Jonathan Coe...to name but a few. All I'm saying is it's not only those who lived before this century that can write.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2008 01:59:06 GMT
Che Guevara says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2008 11:41:26 GMT
E. Hamlet says:
Harry Potter was really big before the films. I was a fan of the books and they had won awards, they were read in schools, people queued up for them before they were realeased. It was all any one could talk about. The films are not worth much to true harry potter fans. About the classics: I have read some classics, but what you do not seem to grasp is that rowling is a childrens author and most of the 'classics' you have mentioned are aimed at adults. She is hardly going to write with very complex and out dated language for children as young as 8 or 9 is she? She wouldn't be very successful. My favourite things about the books is that she plays on mythology and legends because I recognise them as I read and it makes it seem like it all could have actually happened, and all authors take experience and myths to create a new one. It is not a crime.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2008 11:46:35 GMT
E. Hamlet says:
A.Townsend should read: David Colbert's MAGICAL WORLDS OF HARRY POTTER. It explains where Rowling got all of her ideas from. Argus Filch has a totally different meaning. It comes from a character in greek mythology which has thousands of eyes. Thats a private joke from Rowling there, becuase Filch is always watching the students of Hogwarts.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2008 11:48:23 GMT
Ariston says:
I have read all of J.K. Rowling's books but I have also read plenty of classical literature. Im my opinion whatever type of book that encourages a child or adult to read can only be a good thing. It encourages imagination and opens people's minds. The books are grammatically correct so I see little harm in reading them. Time moves on and classical literature is not as relevant to the current generation.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2008 14:07:11 GMT
Have you heard of the word 'Humility'?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2008 13:40:20 GMT
P. G. george says:
How youth is wasted on the young.
Being a few years your senior I have experienced a little more of the depths of life and can honestly say you can keep your Shakespere, Shelley and Dickens, give me a good book that I can escape from the drudgery be it Rowling, Pratchett or Tolkien. Enjoy a book for what it is, a damn good read.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2008 10:57:40 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 26 Feb 2008 11:38:47 GMT]
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Participants:  115
Total posts:  128
Initial post:  12 Feb 2008
Latest post:  13 Aug 2010