Wednesday, January 3, 2018

J.K.Rowling reminds us

That she is not J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.

During the heyday of Pottermania, it was a  common parlor game for people to draw parallels between Rowling and her works, and the aforesaid Brit authors.  There was no real comparison of course.  As my boys said, Rowling was a decent author and a brilliant marketer.  She understood the fanboy culture, and played to it perfectly.  Tolkien and Lewis, on the other hand, were brilliant scholars forged in the terrors of war, and who applied all of their keen intellects to bathing in the ideals and values that were woven into their works.

The sum total of her Potter series, on the other hand, always struck me as the result of a person who had access to a Latin primer, a Bullfinch's Mythology, and a D&D Monster Manual.  A smattering of fantasy literature from the 20th century was also likely.  Let's not forget, a lawsuit against Rowling over plagiarism was dismissed because the plaintiff fudged some of the evidence, not because there was no valid case to be made.

Nonetheless, as happens, Rowling caught that magical moment in time, and that made all the difference.  It was the beginning of the Internet Age and the opening of the global markets.  With literally billions of potential consumers, her books sold almost as many copies before they were released as after.  They were what publishers had been looking for ever since the Goosebumps series - a children's series that could transfer into other mediums, like movies, television, games, PC adventures, and on and on.  Like lightning in a bottle, it wouldn't happen again. But it happened for Rowling.

And as such, she feels compelled to comment on things in a way that reminds you that when it comes to a deep thinker, she makes a decent children's book author.  My own appraisal - and I'm slow to critique since I'm not a big fan of fantasy in the first place - is that she did far better in the early books, when she drew upon her own personal life experiences.  As she branched out and attempted to make her series into an epic of the ages, it seemed to be somehow -  lacking.  My boys put it best: She ended up creating a fictional universe that she lacked the talent to fill.

When she comments on modern topics, I can't help but notice a trend that suggests her limited grasp of lofty topics is likely just her, not some limit on her writing abilities.  She seems to say, on one hand, vacant things that are mostly snark and conceit, or she ends up with a size 8 high heel dangling out of her mouth, as in this case.

Apparently Trump met some people, and it looked as if he didn't shake the hands of a young child who is disabled.  Rowling, being a child of the not-too-kindly-left, immediately jumped on it and declared Trump the most wretched narcissist for refusing to touch an unclean disabled child.  Except that's not what happened.  Turns out the child's mother corrected Rowling, explaining that the camera and the shots were misleading.  Which prompted Rowling to correct her initial tweet.  She did not apologize to Trump.  A person with class would choke on it and admit she was wrong and apologize, even to someone like Trump.  It's called taking the high road.

But again, modern Leftist.  Just as her book series taught children that as long as you do it for love to beat the bad guys, there are no rules, just right, so she appears to live the same lesson.  Which is why I tell my boys that compared to many books out there, HP is fine reading.  But compared to the best of literature, including not a few works of the last century (see the aforesaid Brit authors), it is hell and gone from an unpacking of the Paschal Mystery.

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