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  1. #1

    Harry Potter: The most widely influential book of all-time?

    What other book has had so much money pumped into keeping the books safe? Another forum I go to is banning anyone that even tries to speculate about the story in the last book.

    Also, I would assume J.K. Rowling is one of the richest, if not the most, author to ever live.

  2. #2
    A servant of Lord Arioch FitzChivalry's Avatar
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    I think that's the bible...

  3. #3
    It never entered my mind algernoninc's Avatar
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    no way - maybe the most overrated and over-marketed.
    the bible, followed by the beatles and the lord of the rings - that's the top three of influence over my generation

  4. #4
    Majority of the world's population are children, who are attracted to it, which leads to their parents being interested in it too.

    The average person prefers Harry Potter simply because it is easier to understand than Lord of the Rings. Take away the main characters of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and compare them. Lord of the Rings has a richer background, which the average person wouldn't care about. They want drama.

  5. #5
    A servant of Lord Arioch FitzChivalry's Avatar
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    That's not how you determine influence, a book has influence if people actually change the way they act or think after they read it.
    I don't know anyone who did after reading Harry Potter.

  6. #6
    Ya, Potter has not exactly influenced the behaviour or attitudes of people, aside from them wanting more Potter related stuff. Hell, it can't even be said to turn people onto more reading or fantasy reading- obviously my evidence is not conclusive, but the vast majority (think 95%) of people I know who read Harry Potter (which might be something like 75-80% of the people I know) don't read any other fantasy and look upon the genre with disdain (classic example: A huge Harry Potter fan, upon hearing me and a fellow fantasy friend discussing Cnaiur's character development and Bakker's themes concerning belief in The Prince of Nothing, exclaimed with complete surprise: "Fantasy books have character development and themes?" This coming from a very intelligent person). The 5% who do read fantasy and Potter began reading other fantasy first- most noticably The Lord of the Rings, which can be said to be influential in this respect. As for Potter's influence on reading in general, about 50% of the people I know who read Potter read regularly- however, once again, these people were mainly, bar one or two exceptions, reading regularly before Potter. Therefore I don't see Harry Potter influencing ideas, attitudes, behaviour or even reading choice.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Brahm_K View Post
    The 5% who do read fantasy and Potter began reading other fantasy first- most noticably The Lord of the Rings, which can be said to be influential in this respect.
    Interesting how this gets inserted in there. LotR is influential but considering the logic your argument rests on and the assumption you make of Harry Potter, it's pretty dubious. The first fantasy most people are exposed to I would think is fantasy in children's literature e.g. Curious George, Berenstein Bears, Babar, Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm, Roald Dahl, Chronicles of Narnia, Aesop's fables, etc. Why Lord of the Rings should be said to be more influential than any of these on the basis of being read first escapes me. I guess in 30 years one could reasonably say that Harry Potter will be more influential in this respect because many of the fantasy readers then would likely have read it first.
    Therefore I don't see Harry Potter influencing ideas, attitudes, behaviour or even reading choice.
    Makes me wonder what manifestations you need to see to determine an influence on ideas, attitude, behavior, or reading choice.
    Last edited by Bond; July 18th, 2007 at 10:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bond View Post
    Interesting how this gets inserted in there. LotR is influential but considering the logic your argument rests on and the assumption you make of Harry Potter, it's pretty dubious. The first fantasy most people are exposed to I would think is fantasy in children's literature e.g. Curious George, Berenstein Bears, Babar, Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm, Roald Dahl, Chronicles of Narnia, Aesop's fables, etc. Why Lord of the Rings should be said to be more influential than any of these on the basis of being read first escapes me. I guess in 30 years one could reasonably say that Harry Potter will be more influential in this respect because many of the fantasy readers then would likely have read it first.

    Makes me wonder what manifestations you need to see to determine an influence on ideas, attitude, behavior, or reading choice.
    The poin is that people, regardless of age (ie: I've known people that have read it when they're 10 and when they're 30), seem to read Lord of the Rings, and from there, develop an interest in the fantasy genre- wheres from Harry Potter they do not. I know Roald Dahl and Narnia generally gets kids to read more young adult fantasy- I am completely unaware if the same is true of Potter.

    As for what manifestations I need to see- generally, any external manifestation at all will do. Harry Potter certainly influences kids and people to read more Harry Potter, and to see Harry Potter movies and buy Harry Potter toys- as far as I can tell, it does little else. Nor have I seen any authors who have claimed to be influenced by Rowling (though, of course, if you have examples of those who have, please bring them to light). Nor have I seen people change their attitudes or beliefs as a result of reading them, or even think about said attitudes or beliefs- compare that to say, Gandalf's anti-killing of Gollum speech in FOTR, from which I know many who say that that speech set them against the death penalty. In this way, Harry Potter does not seem to be influential.

    Popularity (and quality, for that matter) does not equal influence.
    Last edited by Brahm_K; July 18th, 2007 at 11:32 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Brahm_K View Post
    Popularity (and quality, for that matter) does not equal influence.
    My sub-conscious and brain can't agree with each other.

  10. #10

    Smile Harry Potter is definetely influential

    I am not much into fantasy stuff, but Harry Potter had me glued to my television screen. I didn't get around to reading any of the books yet, but my friends testify that they are even better. I am 23 and I am certainly not a kid, yet I've watched and waited for for all of the Harry Potter's series. I know there are millions like me who have anxiously waited to know the end and can we overlook the amount of money spent in keeping the books safe? If that is not influential, I wonder what is!
    I do not think that influence is necessarily determined by a change in behaviour or thought process, and I wonder how many people have 'really' changed after reading The Lord of The Rings.
    If Harry Potter succeeded in having you glued to your books/ television sets; if it made you walk to the movie hall to watch it; if it created curiosity about it's ending, it was influential enough.
    As for the character development and themes, well, if character development is the ESP of The Lord of the Rings, then the ESP of Harry Potter is probably not having one. I agree that Harry Potter is much simple to understand, yet it enjoys an audience from myriad age groups. However I feel its not the complexity of character development, but the reason that Harry Potter doesn't have one is there is not much scope or need for that in here. The focus here is more on the vivid description of the magic land, creating a whole new world and a whole new terminology for the same and the entry of new characters in each series. however we find traces of marvellous craftmanship in the characterization of some characters like Snape. I n the first few series, we try judging him, and we fail.The character has shades of grey, and mystery surrounds him, but the way his character develops and helps Harry Potter towards the end, is amazing.
    The story, no matter how many characters come and leave, essentially revolves around Harry Potter and Lord Voldermolt; so it definetely has a theme.
    To conclude, I think Harry Potter rocks, and it definetely is influential.
    Last edited by Quest4Zest; July 18th, 2008 at 07:24 AM.

  11. #11
    I would say that harry potter may be the most influentical book in a long time. Reading is a dying pasttime, and harry potter has got kids to reading again. I know harry potter was my outlet to fantasy, so there is some truth there.

  12. #12
    Registered User Chr0n's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go with Harry Potter doesn't influence anyone.
    In some ways it's even more influential thatn LotR, maybe not to fantasy addicts and maybe not to adults in general, but it brings kids back to books - which I would consider a huge influence in times of TV and PCs.

    Nobody will change their view of the world just because the read Harry Potter, but if it helps to get people to reading that's something - wouldn't you say?

    I must agree, however, that Harry Potter doesn't turn a TV-lover into an fantasy addict, but I've still seen quite a few of my friends running around with books other than Harry Potter while waiting for the next novel to come out - and that's something at least.

  13. #13
    The Writer of Fantasy Fred Gallney's Avatar
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    I really don't know how Harry Potter became such a world wide hit in the first place. My humble guess was because of the villain - Voldemort. I know that I would give a dang about the series if Voldemort wasn't such a prominent character, and an intriguing one at that.

    For one thing, the magic in the series doesn't have much depth. Indeed, the characters can basically do anything by just saying "Abracadabra". Also, in some parts the magic contradicts itself, in terms of the rules set in place; which further dims the reality of the series.

    But the fact that Potter became such a success is akin to a very off joke in my opinion.

  14. #14
    As far as most influential of all time, I'm not so sure, but maybe someday. Think of how Sherlocke Holmes basically invented the detective genre or Bram Stoker singlehandedly brought vampires to the mainstream. There was of course fantasy before Rowling, but think of how much she's influenced since the first book:

    The Black Jewels Trilogy
    Kushiel's Legacy
    Malazan Book of the Fallen
    Keeper Martin's Tales
    new Dark Tower installments
    The Rhapsody Trilogy
    The Alchemyst Series

    Like I said, maybe someday, if these titles continue to grow in the wake of a Potter-less world, just not yet.

  15. #15
    Speaks fluent Bawehrf zachariah's Avatar
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    By the powers of necromancy, I command this thread to rise again! LIIIIVE!

    The OP has a very weird way of using the word 'influential'. In the context of literature, an 'influential' book is one that inspires numerous copies, one whose themes and ideas crop up in other, often unrelated works.

    In that sense, the Potter series has zero influence. In fact, being highly derivative, it could well be a contender for the most influenced book of all time.

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