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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I object to some of Rowlings inventions, 24 Oct 2010
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Book 1) (Paperback)
Although the Harry Potter stories are in many ways wonderful and something I agree with politically, there are a few cruel inventions that are rather important building blocks on which Rowling's stories are built.

I went to a private school, and whilst there were fearsome characters from my point of view, and different fearsome characters from the point of view of another, there was no house associated with evil. There was ferocious rivalry between houses, but ultimately a long term respect as well. I object to Rowling's creation of a house named 'Slytherin', which is very close to the word slithering, which is what a snake does. Also, a serpent is the house's symbol, which really is most unlikely in the real life model of a Christian private school which underpins Rowling's fantasy.

It really wasn't necessary for a house to be named Slytherin. There could have been a dark and fearsome housemaster without the house being named Slytherin. Naming it Slytherin and giving it the symbol of the serpent adds nothing to the story, its just overkill, and its totally unrealistic. Imagine little Tommy going home and telling his parents that he's been placed in Slytherin, and he'll need the symbol of the serpent on his games kit. That is just not going to happen. There is no evil group of kids in an evil house. Furthermore, the actual characters of Slytherin house are certainly not purely evil, so why would they ever accept a serpent, which is associated with evil from a human viewpoint, as their house symbol. It just wouldn't happen, not in a million years.

Please change the name and symbol of Slytherin to something much less obviously evil. If I could change something, that would be it. The story would immediately become more fascinating for me. She shouldn't have tried to tell everyone what to think by naming a house Slytherin AND giving it the symbol of a serpent. Either of those would have been a unnecessary mistake, Rowling did both.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Dec 2010 13:24:03 GMT
Alex Ryde says:
I think you're completely missing the point. This is a childrens story about good versus evil. So the author has begun to differentiate the major players in the story by labelling the house with an evil name and a serpent for a symbol, and giving the house a murky back story (the founder, Salazar Slytherin, was a bit of a racist and gave the house the symbol of a snake to symbolise cunning and guile - and every dark wizard or witch was once a member of this house). What's so wrong with that?

Sometimes, it is easier from a readers perspective, to have certain elements burned into their minds immediately, to aid in associating characters with good or evil, and raising the tension subconciously.

You say: "She shouldn't have tried to tell everyone what to think by naming a house Slytherin AND giving it the symbol of a serpent." I suppose you didn't like being told what to think about Voldemort given that he was so-named, whilst having him murder Harry's parents, drink unicorn blood, possess a human, and have characters scared to even say his name. Was that overkill too?

Imagine that!

I went to a public school, and there was certainly a case for thinking that all the most athletic students were placed in one house - the most artistic were in another - the smartest placed in a third - and the rest of us who had shown no real diversity at the time were all banded together. The last house was given over to the students that were most difficult to keep in line. Don't ask me why this was. I was just trying to keep myself alive long enough to learn about surviving college...

Posted on 9 Sep 2012 22:39:31 BDT
what is wrong with you? your reviews are so funny, but i can't believe you intentionally try to be funny. You've spent so much time basically saying the same thing over and over, and you've done that in your other reviews too. i think i actually feel sorry for you, but keep it up.
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