Friday, July 16, 2010

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Meh




This week I started listening to the first Harry Potter novel on audio book.

When all the Harry Potter hupla was going on a few years ago, I really didn’t pay it any attention. From what I could gather, it seemed like a little kid’s book to me.

Then, book after book, they just got more and more popular. Grown men and women routinely would come up to me saying “You have GOT to try to read these! They’re not just for kids… they are fantastic!”

So, a few years ago when the first movie came about, I figured I’d at least invest 2 hours of my time and watch it. I thought it was completely juvenile and boring, and as I sat there watching it I lamented over the 2 hours of my life that I would never get back.

When I’ve told people about how I felt about the film, everyone inevitably says the same thing: “Oh, but you have GOT to read the books first! There is so much they leave out in the film and after you read them the movies will seem much better!”

Blah blah blah.

So, mainly because I just want to shut these nosy-bodies up once and for all, this week I finally started listening to book 1 on audio.

Admittedly, I’m not very far into it yet, but so far it’s left me with a big feeling of “This is pretty much exactly the shit I THOUGHT it was going to be.”

I mean, when Dumpledorf, or whatever the fuck his name is, shows up on Harry’s street and uses a lighter to put out the streetlights, and he calls it his “Put-Out-er”, I wanted to vomit all over my IPod. That is EXACTLY the kind of childish Gablygook that I feared this book was going to be about.

But I have never put down a book and not read it to its completion once I have started it, and as I said, I am still near the beginning, so I will be a good little Muggle and keep pressing on.

But I have to say, unless this book does SOMETHING to impress me soon, I can safely say that this will be the last adventure of young Mr. Potter’s that I read.

Are there at least any orgies in this book? Cause that might do it for me…..

26 comments:

B.E. Earl said...

Like I said on my post earlier today (copycat much?), the first couple of books and movies are pretty juvenile. But as the kids grow up, the books and the movies get darker and much better.

sybil law said...

Haven't read the books at all, but I do enjoy the general story (it's a can't lose! Orphan boy gets to escape his miserable life and go to a magical place where he's a hero!) and I love how the movies look.
Also, it's not frigging Twilight.

Slyde said...

earl: yeah, but thats a problem.. i dont know if i can sit thru a few juvenille books to get to something decent..

sybil: no, definitely not twilight.

Dr Zibbs said...

You wear a wizard's hat while reading it don't you?

Don't lie now.

Susan Higgins said...

The books build... Earl is right. I cried at the end of the series... really a great story.

Nej said...

They DO get darker and darker. Bad things happen, the good guys don't always win, etc, etc.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

I read them to my kids & enjoyed them. But I started early in the game, 11 years ago, when my daughter was four and way before there was so much hooplah. Plus, I had never enjoyed science fiction/fantasy/magic type literature before, so my expectations were really very low. I can't even remember why I started reading it to her, but I did end up liking it a lot.

I've never really been able to watch many of the movies though. I have a hard enough time sitting through an entire grown up movie. And the HP ones just seem to move kind of slowly I guess because of the attempt to stick so closely to the book. Plus, I already know what's going to happen. *shrug shrug*

Slyde said...

zibbs: yup.. and NOTHING else...

susan: i hope so...

nej: we'll see...

jill: see, i have the same problem. Whether is be comic books or movies or novels or whatever, i really dont like reading about "magic"... it always just seems like a copout in terms of plot.

"how is the wizard going to escape the monster? oh ok, he pulls a carpet out of his hat and flies away."

it always just seems to me that magic is used as a scapegoat to write a plausible outcome to something...

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Also, I feel like some of the "hooplah" was well deserved, not because it was such great literature or whatever, but because it got so many children interested in becoming better readers so that they could read them. Kids who had very little interest in reading were suddenly wanting to read this big, long book. Maybe that's diminished some now, since they can now watch the movies, but I was teaching first grade when things began to get big for ole' Harry, and the motivation it provided the kids was very real.

Cocaine Princess said...

I've a HUGE fan of the books and I've read every single one and seen all the movies to date. The latest one: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" I thought was so far the best one.

The Invisible Seductress said...

Can I get a picture of you in your Wizards hat NOT enjoying the book?

Please

Slyde said...

jill: true true.. i have to give the books credit for that.

cocaine: you arent alone... i know TONS of people who love em...

invis: I'll send one if you do :)

Nat said...

Never been a great fan of the HP....gave up on the first book and only watched the films on DVD as they were in the house!
Each to their own, though....

Faiqa said...

It's about how the power of selfless love is the greatest protection that any person can have against the darkness within them and outside of them.

I think every grown up should read these books because sometimes it seems that this lesson has escaped the majority.

Also? Listening to a book is not the same as reading one!! ;-)

Brown said...

I wonder what is more juvenile really...Harry Potter, or listening to someone READ Harry Potter to you. Lol...I'm only teasing. I caught these movies when they aired on t.v. I do agree that they get better as they get older. Personally, I feel the process took too long.

My sisters swear by the books. I've had the 1st one on my "to read" shelf for a year. I'm not overly inspired to read about a bunch of bumbling pre-pubescent wizards. I have to agree with you on this one buddy....Meh.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

That's funny - I must have re-commented in between right while you were answering. That makes sense though. Sort of like I hate it when you're seeing a really scary movie or reading a really scary book and then the culprit turns out to have been aliens all along. Again. I hate that.

On the fantasy/sci fi/magic thing though, I think when I was younger I always thought of that category of books as "belonging" to my brother. I got blue for a favorite color and he got green. That's just kind of how it was. I got historical fiction and Little House on the Prairie, he got fantasy/sci-fi/magic.

But he had more imagination and was a better reader than I was, which I think is helpful in that type of book - it's one thing to imagine a story happening. It takes a lot more mental effort to imagine an entirely different world for the story to happen in too.

Kat said...

"This week I started listening to the first Harry Potter novel on audio book."

K. um. right there is your problem....try reading! Have i missed something all these years? Are you blind?

Kat said...

Oh and I forgot to mention that I do agree with you. The series sucks.

Chris H said...

I agree... the movies sucked.
BUT I LOVED the books, they do eventaully drag you into the story. Keep reading. Or don't! Totally up to you. AND NO.. there is no sex... perhaps you better just throw the book away now.

badgerdaddy said...

I have to agree with Jill about how it has motivated a whole generation of kids - and adults, actually - to read and push themselves with big-arse books.

However, while it's very rare for me to put down a book unfinished, I made it about 30 pages into the first book before I took it directly to a charity shop. She is a fucking awful writer.

AlleyCat said...

Mate!

I loved the first movie - seeing how they translated the Quidditch (& many other things) from book to movie blew me away. The novelty wore off & I didn't much like the 2nd or 3rd films, but they've been getting better.

The books. Read the first one in 1 sitting (about 4 hours). Went back & bought books 2 - 4 & read them consecutively! Could not put them down!!!

I've never "listened" to a book - maybe that's the problem??? You can't connect with the characters properly?? Like Earl said, they definately build & the last book has a much darker themes. CANT WAIT FOR THE MOVIES!!!

Why don't you wait until Mini me is ready for it then share the journey? I'm sure you'll get a lot more out of it then :0)

Just sayin'....

Kaylen said...

I was the same way - I wanted nothing to do with them, but my son read one and begged me to read one...so I did the right thing as a good little mommy and let him think I would read it. But then I really did start reading it and was TOTALLY hooked. I really enjoyed them!!

I don't think I would have enjoyed them as much if I just listened to them on tape. I tried listening to a book on tape while driving home from Seattle the other day (a 4 hr drive in traffic) and it almost put me to sleep. It was tiring listening to this guy drone on and on even though the story sounds interesting and I really wanted to enjoy it. I found myself drifting off.

I think you have failed yourself - first when you watched the movie before reading it (big mistake) and then second when you started the book on tape. Fail all around, my friend...

mikeb302000 said...

I tried reading the first book a few years ago and couldn't get into it. I've seen some of two or three of the movies with my kids. Nothing made me want to invest any more time. But, I'm gonna check your blog and I swear to god if you decide it's worth it, I'm in.

I say that because this past weekend I watched the entire 1st season of Lost. You motivated me to do that and I thank you. I forget what you said exactly, but I made a mental note to watch the series first chance. I think it's got me more hooked, and in a nicer way, than any of my other favorites did.

meleah rebeccah said...

Oh My God! Slyde! Hooray. There is FINALLY someone else who feels the same way I do about the whole Harry Potter series!!!

2abes said...

I hope you don't spend to long contemplating how to get back the 30 hours you invest in listening to this book. It should be titles "and the chamber of ehh" It was written for tween age girls....the wizard girl in the picture is cute...Do you know her?

Bruce said...

We all read at different speeds, but even the fastest readers amoung us can't read every 'good' work in creation, so we have to be selective with the reading time we have.

That said, Harry Potter is not even on my list and never will be. It is pop culture reading, and I don't have time for that.

On my Sony e-reader, I have the following:

Whirlwind: The Strategic Bombing of Japan 1943-1945 (currently reading)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (currently reading)

Tales of the Jazz Age (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Nostromo (Joseph Conrad)

Burning Tower (Larry Niven)

Thus Spake Zarathustra (Neitzche)

Waldon (Thorrow)

Nigger of the Narcissus (Conrad)

Dorothy In Oz (Baum)

That should keep me busy until sometime next summer.