Pratchett comments on Rowling

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Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 12:03:19 PM7/31/05
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http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/MTarchives/week_2005_07_31.php#007394

He writes in The Times....

----
WHY IS it felt that the continued elevation of J K Rowling can only be
achieved at the expense of other writers (Mistress of magic, News
Review, last week)? Now we learn that prior to Harry Potter the world of
fantasy was plagued with "knights and ladies morris-dancing to
Greensleeves."

In fact the best of it has always been edgy and inventive, with "the
dark heart of the real world" being exactly what, underneath the top
dressing, it is all about. Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised
the genre, writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and
bent it to the times. It has also contained some of the very best, most
accessible writing for children, by writers who seldom get the
acknowledgement they deserve.

Rowling says that she didn't realise that the first Potter book was
fantasy until after it was published. I'm not the world's greatest
expert, but I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls,
unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food,
ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?

Terry Pratchett
Salisbury, Wiltshire
----

I have to say I'm disappointed. Fine, take issue with writers who
elevate Rowling above other writers, but exactly what was to be gained
by the shot at JKR?

Here is the quote from Time Magazine, which apparently Pratchett either
didn't read, or didn't understand:

----
The most popular living fantasy writer in the world doesn't even
especially like fantasy novels. It wasn't until after Sorcerer's Stone
was published that it even occurred to her that she had written one.
"That's the honest truth," she says. "You know, the unicorns were in
there. There was the castle, God knows. But I really had not thought
that that's what I was doing. And I think maybe the reason that it
didn't occur to me is that I'm not a huge fan of fantasy." Rowling has
never finished The Lord of the Rings. She hasn't even read all of C.S.
Lewis' Narnia novels, which her books get compared to a lot. There's
something about Lewis' sentimentality about children that gets on her
nerves. "There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is
lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become
irreligious basically because she found sex," Rowling says. "I have a
big problem with that."
----

So what is the controversy here that Pratchett feels the need to make
such a snide comment? JKR wrote a fantasy novel, but wasn't thinking
about *writing fantasy* until afterward. So what?

And that's assuming she even meant that; it was the writer of the Time
Article that said she didn't realize it until after the book was
published. I would think Pratchett had been around the block enough to
know that people get quoted out of context all the time, and that it's
not always the best policy to comment based on a magazine puff piece
that's bound to be taking liberties.

The main thrust of his beef seems to be JKR getting elevated above other
fantasy writers, specifically himself. There is a simple reason for it,
Mr. Pratchett. She is mainstream, and you are not. She has transcended
the "fantasy genre". That's why she gets more attention.

Very disappointing. Pratchett always seemed like one of the
down-to-earth types who was above pettiness like this. Hopefully it was
just a momentary lapse.


Neener

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Jul 31, 2005, 12:15:28 PM7/31/05
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It appears that Pratchett is wrestling with green-eyed issues of his
own:-)

leaky_caldron

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Jul 31, 2005, 12:55:53 PM7/31/05
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Is he having a go at JKR or those that do the "elevating" as he
describes it, or both?

I don't think that JKR needs to do any elevating herself, so presumably
he's having a go at the media fo being too HP-centric. That can hardy
be blamed on JKR - she only writes the books, which are self-promoting
because they have mass appeal.

So who and what exactly is TP complaining about?

Anke

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Jul 31, 2005, 1:34:28 PM7/31/05
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Language question: "a shot at someone" means "a compliment to someone"?
The expression does not sound like it to me, but saying that Tolkien's
books revitalised the genre certainly is a compliment.
Why is that bad?

~Anke

noesy_parker

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Jul 31, 2005, 1:13:49 PM7/31/05
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"leaky_caldron" <sdh...@aol.com> wrote in
news:1122828953.5...@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> Is he having a go at JKR or those that do the "elevating" as he
> describes it, or both?

Both of course. He took a potshot at JKR for saying that she hadn't
realised that she wrote a "fantasy" novel (she must be stupid he
probably implied). He appeared to ignore what JKR said - that she
herself found it amusing that she hadn't realised exactly that
initially, what with the unicorns and castles. She, of course, was
primarily interested in telling a story, not writing something that
fits into a "genre", that's her point.

Jealousy is a terrible thing, he will of course insist that he is not
jealous, but we all can see it for what it is.

Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 1:54:23 PM7/31/05
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"Anke" <anke....@gmail.com> wrote in message

Er, where did I talk about Tolkien?

"A shot at someone" means "to direct an insult at", as you're no doubt
aware. His last paragraph is snide and insulting (e.g., "would have
given her a clue"). What I don't understand is exactly his issue with
JKR herself. If he's going to direct an insult at the most popular
author in the world, he better make his issue perfectly clear, otherwise
he ends up looking petty and jealous, despite his own success.

That's what I really don't understand. He's smarter than this. Not only
did he insult her, but it was a *petty* insult! And it wasn't a quote in
the heat of an interview, it was a letter, written by a professional
writer, published in a newspaper. What could he possibly have hoped to
gain by it?


Peter Ellis

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:02:13 PM7/31/05
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t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com wrote:
>http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/MTarchives/week_2005_07_31.php#007394
>
>He writes in The Times....
>
>----
>WHY IS it felt that the continued elevation of J K Rowling can only be
>achieved at the expense of other writers (Mistress of magic, News
>Review, last week)? Now we learn that prior to Harry Potter the world of
>fantasy was plagued with "knights and ladies morris-dancing to
>Greensleeves."

[...]

>
>Here is the quote from Time Magazine, which apparently Pratchett either
>didn't read, or didn't understand:

Possibly because he wasn't referring to that? Read the quote you
yourself put up - he's referring to a piece entitled "Mistress of
magic", appearing in the Times News Review some time last week.

And none of that letter reads to me like a shot at JKR, only at the
journalists who can only praise her by putting down all pre-JKR fantasy
as knights and ladies morris-dancing to... etc.

Peter

Peter Ellis

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:13:15 PM7/31/05
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t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com wrote:
>
>That's what I really don't understand. He's smarter than this. Not only
>did he insult her, but it was a *petty* insult! And it wasn't a quote in
>the heat of an interview, it was a letter, written by a professional
>writer, published in a newspaper. What could he possibly have hoped to
>gain by it?

Amusement? It's a joke. Laugh. You know, that sound you make with
your mouth.

There's a tendency among journalists, critics etc. to denigrate fantasy
in general - so anything *popular* like JKR, Philip Pullman etc can't
possibly be fantasy. And anything by a "respected" author like
Margaret Atwood can't possibly be science fiction... etc.

So, when he seen JKR apparently buying into the same line of "Oh, but
*my* books are different - I've never thought of them as *fantasy*,
because we all know Fantasy Is Shite", he's quite within his rights to
point and laugh. As do I.

<point>

Hahahaha.

Peter

noesy_parker

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:13:45 PM7/31/05
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Peter Ellis <pj...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in
news:MPG.1d57227c3...@news.individual.net:

>
>>
>>Here is the quote from Time Magazine, which apparently Pratchett
>>either didn't read, or didn't understand:
>
> Possibly because he wasn't referring to that? Read the quote
> you yourself put up - he's referring to a piece entitled
> "Mistress of magic", appearing in the Times News Review some
> time last week.
>

The article in Times is the same as the one in the Time Magazine. I
followed a link to the Time Magazine and then realised it is the same
one that I read before in Times News Review.

The Stainless Steel Cat

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:17:40 PM7/31/05
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In article <hh8He.29752$bp.7046@fed1read03>,
"Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:

>[...] If he's going to direct an insult at the most popular
>author in the world,

That'll be Nora Roberts then?

http://www.santafelibrary.org/authors2004.html

Cat. ;o)
--
Jazz-Loving Soul Mate and Tolerable Frog to CCA
La Rustimuna ^Stalkato

Freezer

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:27:19 PM7/31/05
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If I don't reply to this The Stainless Steel Cat post, the terrorists
win.

> In article <hh8He.29752$bp.7046@fed1read03>,
> "Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:
>
>>[...] If he's going to direct an insult at the most popular
>>author in the world,
>
> That'll be Nora Roberts then?
>
> http://www.santafelibrary.org/authors2004.html
>
> Cat. ;o)

I would've guessed Danielle Steele or Tom Clancy.

--
My name is:
____ _
/ ___| | |
| |__ _ __ ___ ___ ____ ___ _ __ | |
| __|| '__/ _ \/ _ \/_ // _ \| '__|| |
| | | | __/ __/ / /| __/| | |_|
|_| |_| \___|\___||___|\___||_| (_)

And my anti-drug is porn.
http://www.geocities.com/mysterysciencefreezer

Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:34:58 PM7/31/05
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"The Stainless Steel Cat" <stee...@atuin.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:BF12D4549...@atuin.demon.co.uk...

> In article <hh8He.29752$bp.7046@fed1read03>,
> "Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:
>
>>[...] If he's going to direct an insult at the most popular
>>author in the world,
>
> That'll be Nora Roberts then?
>
> http://www.santafelibrary.org/authors2004.html

That is misleading; that's because she has (hundreds?) of different
books in print. When you have that many, *someone* is going to have one
of them checked out every day. In terms of sales figures and readership
(i.e., sheer number of people in the world who have read the author,
including translations), JKR blows everyone away.


Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 2:47:35 PM7/31/05
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"Peter Ellis" <pj...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:MPG.1d5725111...@news.individual.net...

> t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com wrote:
>>
>>That's what I really don't understand. He's smarter than this. Not
>>only
>>did he insult her, but it was a *petty* insult! And it wasn't a quote
>>in
>>the heat of an interview, it was a letter, written by a professional
>>writer, published in a newspaper. What could he possibly have hoped to
>>gain by it?
>
> Amusement? It's a joke. Laugh. You know, that sound you make with
> your mouth.

I love it. An insult is not an insult, all you have to do is just say
"Hey, he was joking! If you don't find it funny, there must be something
wrong with YOU."

> There's a tendency among journalists, critics etc. to denigrate
> fantasy
> in general - so anything *popular* like JKR, Philip Pullman etc can't
> possibly be fantasy. And anything by a "respected" author like
> Margaret Atwood can't possibly be science fiction... etc.
>
> So, when he seen JKR apparently buying into the same line of "Oh, but
> *my* books are different - I've never thought of them as *fantasy*,
> because we all know Fantasy Is Shite", he's quite within his rights to
> point and laugh. As do I.

Except that she didn't say. Huh, imagine that.

Is this some sort of fantasy genre land mine? If a fantasy author dares
to say that he or she doesn't care for fantasy in general, then the
fantasy masses march with flaming torches to burn the heretic? Perhaps
that explains Pratchett's bizarre reaction.


Message has been deleted

Fish Eye no Miko

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Jul 31, 2005, 3:45:41 PM7/31/05
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Peter Ellis wrote:

> t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com wrote:
>>
>> That's what I really don't understand. He's smarter than this. Not
>> only did he insult her, but it was a *petty* insult! And it wasn't
>> a quote in the heat of an interview, it was a letter, written by a
>> professional writer, published in a newspaper. What could he
>> possibly have hoped to gain by it?
>
> Amusement? It's a joke. Laugh. You know, that sound you make with
> your mouth.

I hate when people pull this crap. Insult someone, then say, "No, I was
just kidding" and suddenly the person you insulted is supposed to be the
bad guy; a humorless jerk who can't take 'a joke'.
Sorry, no, it doesn't work like that. If you insult someone, at least have
the guts to stick to your guns.

Catherine Johnson.
--
fenm at cox dot net
Right now you are reading my .sig quote.


Michael J. Schülke

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Jul 31, 2005, 3:48:28 PM7/31/05
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Tim Behrendsen wrote:
> Is this some sort of fantasy genre land mine? If a fantasy author dares
> to say that he or she doesn't care for fantasy in general, then the
> fantasy masses march with flaming torches to burn the heretic?

Not quite.

It's when an author who obviously writes fantasy (cue the "wizards,

witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl

mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells") says that it never
occurred to her that that's what she was doing *until after the
publication of her first book*.

Imagine that -- writing over 300 paperback pages of the stuff and
*never* even thinking it might be fantasy. That's either incredibly
naive or incredibly arrogant, with an unsaid "because we all know,
fantasy is for geeks, and I'm not writing for geeks" lingering behind
it.

It's also when either said author, or the journalist conducting the
interview (the excerpt in the OP is too short to tell) states that there
was no innovation in fantasy before her work, that it was all "knights

and ladies morris-dancing to Greensleeves."

Again, that's either incredibly naive (because, really, both the author
and the journalist should know better, the former because it's the field
she is working in, the latter because its his job to do some research
before he starts writing), or incredibly arrogant.

I'm inclined to give JKR the benefit of doubt an vote for naivety, but I
can understand what prompted TP to write his letter.

Michael

Alec Cawley

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Jul 31, 2005, 3:52:49 PM7/31/05
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In article <gl9qe1ha6142m975u...@4ax.com>,
Ori...@earthlink.net says...

> On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 09:03:19 -0700, "Tim Behrendsen"
> <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:
>
> >ery disappointing. Pratchett always seemed like one of the
> >down-to-earth types who was above pettiness like this. Hopefully it was
> >just a momentary lapse.
>
> In his book "The Wee Free Men" he was scathing about the idea of
> learning witchcraft in a school (even though he has the Unseen
> University) and made several other thinly veiled snide remarks about
> her. He just doesn't like the idea of Harry Potter at all.

In the Pratchett universe, witchcraft is very different from wizardry.
Wizardry can be learned in universities, witchcraft cannot. This was
established in Equal Rites, which precedes any of the HP books. I cannot
see how preserving the thaumics of his own universe can be seen as
criticising someone else's, later, universe.

He has expressed minor irritation at a single statement by JKR which he
regards as foolish (and I agree with him). The statement is by JKR
personally, and not within the HP universe. To inflate this into any
general opinion about Harry Potter is simply ridiculous. What other
snide remarks has he made?


--
@lec ©awley
http://www.livejournal.com/~randombler

Michael J. Schülke

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Jul 31, 2005, 3:54:50 PM7/31/05
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Tim Behrendsen wrote:
> In terms of sales figures and readership
> (i.e., sheer number of people in the world who have read the author,
> including translations), JKR blows everyone away.

Are you guessing, or can you cite a source?

Michael

SPT

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Jul 31, 2005, 4:08:12 PM7/31/05
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>Imagine that -- writing over 300 paperback pages of the stuff and
>*never* even thinking it might be fantasy. That's either incredibly
>naive or incredibly arrogant, with an un

I think it is permissable to believe that Rowling thought that she was
writing a children's story rather than fantasy novel. While most
children's stories of this type are, indeed, fantasy, they are
frequently not thought of as such. They are thought of simply as
children's books.

Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 4:06:12 PM7/31/05
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"Michael J. Schülke" <news...@mjschuelke.de> wrote in message
news:MPG.1d574933f...@news.t-online.de...

> Tim Behrendsen wrote:
>> Is this some sort of fantasy genre land mine? If a fantasy author
>> dares
>> to say that he or she doesn't care for fantasy in general, then the
>> fantasy masses march with flaming torches to burn the heretic?
>
> Not quite.
>
> It's when an author who obviously writes fantasy (cue the "wizards,
> witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl
> mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells") says that it never
> occurred to her that that's what she was doing *until after the
> publication of her first book*.
>
> Imagine that -- writing over 300 paperback pages of the stuff and
> *never* even thinking it might be fantasy. That's either incredibly
> naive or incredibly arrogant, with an unsaid "because we all know,
> fantasy is for geeks, and I'm not writing for geeks" lingering behind
> it.

Yeah, imagine that. Imagine someone considering themselves an *author*,
writing a story that they happen to like, and not worrying about what
genre they were writing in. What a bizarre concept to not pigeonhole
oneself!

What you call incredibly naive or incredibly arrogant, I call incredibly
refreshing. Good for Rowling for not worrying about which audience she
should be writing for.

> It's also when either said author, or the journalist conducting the
> interview (the excerpt in the OP is too short to tell) states that
> there
> was no innovation in fantasy before her work, that it was all "knights
> and ladies morris-dancing to Greensleeves."

No, it's quite clear that Rowling said no such thing, which makes it all
the more bizarre that Pratchett decided to attack her personally.

> Again, that's either incredibly naive (because, really, both the
> author
> and the journalist should know better, the former because it's the
> field
> she is working in, the latter because its his job to do some research
> before he starts writing), or incredibly arrogant.

Not to presume to speak for Rowling, but she has consistently said that
she's writing the books for herself. Her "field" is writing books, not
writing fantasy books. Perhaps that's Pratchett's problem. She's an
author first, and a fantasy author second.

It's also worth pointing that she recently said that she'll never write
another fantasy book, that she's done everything she would want to do
with this type of story. I suppose you think that's also arrogant and
worth criticising.

Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 4:21:52 PM7/31/05
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"Michael J. Schülke" <news...@mjschuelke.de> wrote in message
news:MPG.1d574af4...@news.t-online.de...

Actually, I should have said second to the bible, but that doesn't
really have an author. I remember reading it somewhere, but to be fair,
I could be wrong. In a casual search, I couldn't find the reference,
except that she has 250,000,000 books in print.


The Stainless Steel Cat

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Jul 31, 2005, 4:36:24 PM7/31/05
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In article <kT8He.29764$bp.19545@fed1read03>,
"Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:

>"The Stainless Steel Cat" <stee...@atuin.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
>news:BF12D4549...@atuin.demon.co.uk...
>> In article <hh8He.29752$bp.7046@fed1read03>,
>> "Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:
>>
>>>[...] If he's going to direct an insult at the most popular
>>>author in the world,
>>
>> That'll be Nora Roberts then?
>>
>> http://www.santafelibrary.org/authors2004.html
>
>That is misleading; that's because she has (hundreds?) of different
>books in print. When you have that many, *someone* is going to have one
>of them checked out every day. In terms of sales figures and readership
>(i.e., sheer number of people in the world who have read the author,
>including translations), JKR blows everyone away.

Everyone? Shakespeare? Dickens? Christie? Doyle? Asimov? *Really*?

Unless you can provide figures to back that up, I suspect your fondness for
Joanne's books is leading you into hyperbole.

Cat.

The Stainless Steel Cat

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Jul 31, 2005, 4:49:35 PM7/31/05
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In article <xraHe.29784$bp.800@fed1read03>,
"Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:

Well that's a bit weedy.

Have a look at this;

"Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer and all-time best
selling author of any genre other than William Shakespeare. Her books have
sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in
over 45 foreign languages (as of 2003)."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie)

Going back to the media hype and blinkered reporting that started all this,
you would think from an awful lot of the "news" stories about HP that
Joanne *was* the most read author in the history of print, so I don't blame
you for your views above. I wish more journalists would look at her sales
compared to dear Agatha's - or many other authors - and get a sense of
perspective.

Cat.

Thalia

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Jul 31, 2005, 5:03:20 PM7/31/05
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I read the HP books more as a "Naughtiest Girl in the School", or even "Tom
Brown" fashion - they may be set against a fantasy backdrop, but the
'action' in the books is more along the lines of a "boarding school,
midnight feasts and tuck boxes" scenario, hence Rowling not thinking her
books as being 'fantasy' per se.


"SPT" <cha...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1122840492.0...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

Tim Behrendsen

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Jul 31, 2005, 5:12:27 PM7/31/05
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"The Stainless Steel Cat" <stee...@atuin.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:BF12F4D89...@atuin.demon.co.uk...

You're probably right. I read something at one time, but I think I
probably misinterpreted it. As usual, it depends on how you measure
these things. I did find a few interesting figures after my last post:

Rowling: 250M books, six books, 8 years.
Dr. Seuss: 400M books, dozens of books, 50 years
Guiness Book of World Records: 100M, 40 years?
Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book: 900M (presumably not necessarily demand
driven. :D)

There are no figures for the Koran or the Bible; the bible is presumed
to be the best selling book of all time.

I highly doubt that the classics have that many published, mostly
because they were written in lower production times, and I would guess
most classic books aren't read these days nearly as much as popular
books (although, they certainly have the name recognition). Certainly
not Asimov, who is too genre specific (even though he wrote other than
science fiction), and has hundreds of books.


Anke

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Jul 31, 2005, 5:23:07 PM7/31/05
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Tim Behrendsen wrote:
> "Michael J. Schülke" <news...@mjschuelke.de> wrote in message
> news:MPG.1d574933f...@news.t-online.de...
>
> > It's also when either said author, or the journalist conducting the
> > interview (the excerpt in the OP is too short to tell) states that
> > there
> > was no innovation in fantasy before her work, that it was all "knights
> > and ladies morris-dancing to Greensleeves."
>
> No, it's quite clear that Rowling said no such thing, which makes it all
> the more bizarre that Pratchett decided to attack her personally.
>
> > Again, that's either incredibly naive (because, really, both the
> > author and the journalist should know better, the former because
> > it's the field she is working in, the latter because its his job
> > to do some research before he starts writing), or incredibly
> > arrogant.
>
> Not to presume to speak for Rowling, but she has consistently said that
> she's writing the books for herself. Her "field" is writing books, not
> writing fantasy books. Perhaps that's Pratchett's problem. She's an
> author first, and a fantasy author second.

So is Terry Pratchett.

What I'd really like would be Rowling and Pratchett teaming up against
journalists who do shoddy research and/or misquote them and/or make an
attack out of a harmless remark.
After the example Neil Gaiman provided in his blog, I think I'd rather
hear from the authors themselves what they said.
(link's here:
http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2005/07/storms-and-teacups.asp
Worst bit of the article: Pterry is "attacking" HP because he said
"Fantasy is more than wizards".)
I also think it's a bit over the top for fans to be upset in place of
the author. For all we know JK Rowling thought it was funny.

~Anke

Anke

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Jul 31, 2005, 5:33:16 PM7/31/05
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OrionCA wrote:
> On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 09:03:19 -0700, "Tim Behrendsen"
> <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:
>
> >ery disappointing. Pratchett always seemed like one of the
> >down-to-earth types who was above pettiness like this. Hopefully
> >it was just a momentary lapse.
>
> In his book "The Wee Free Men" he was scathing about the idea of
> learning witchcraft in a school (even though he has the Unseen
> University) and made several other thinly veiled snide remarks about
> her. He just doesn't like the idea of Harry Potter at all.

I've got RPG manuals describing attitudes of elves, which include
"magic cannot be taught from books". Those were published in 1993,
before Harry Potter. I think some people might see references that
are pure coincidences.

~Anke

elfin

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Jul 31, 2005, 5:41:09 PM7/31/05
to
seems like as good a place as any to join in the fray.

Welcome to all alt.fan.harry-potter readers, pull up a chair and make
yourself comfortable.

> "Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:

[snip]

Neil Gaiman seems to have summed things up quite nicely on his blog.
The article/letter that Terry wrote was, at least to me, aimed at
journalists, not Ms Rowling. In typical journalistic form his words
were then 'twisted', as has happened before.

OrionCA wrote:
> In his book "The Wee Free Men" he was scathing about the idea of
> learning witchcraft in a school (even though he has the Unseen
> University) and made several other thinly veiled snide remarks about
> her. He just doesn't like the idea of Harry Potter at all.

At this point I'd like to point out to you the relevant dates
regarding witches appearing in Discworld Novels, not just Wee Free
Men, but I can't be too sure of what appears in which witch book. Safe
to say that this was already laid out *before* Ms Rowling had
published her first potter book.

elfin

Sleepy

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 5:54:01 PM7/31/05
to

"Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote in message
news:9F6He.29743$bp.14236@fed1read03...

> http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/MTarchives/week_2005_07_31.php#007394
>
> He writes in The Times....
>
> ----
> WHY IS it felt that the continued elevation of J K Rowling can only be
> achieved at the expense of other writers (Mistress of magic, News Review,
> last week)? Now we learn that prior to Harry Potter the world of fantasy
> was plagued with "knights and ladies morris-dancing to Greensleeves."

>
> In fact the best of it has always been edgy and inventive, with "the dark
> heart of the real world" being exactly what, underneath the top dressing,
> it is all about. Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised the genre,
> writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and bent it to
> the times. It has also contained some of the very best, most accessible
> writing for children, by writers who seldom get the acknowledgement they
> deserve.
>
> Rowling says that she didn't realise that the first Potter book was
> fantasy until after it was published. I'm not the world's greatest expert,
> but I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns,
> hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts,
> broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?
>
> Terry Pratchett
> Salisbury, Wiltshire
> ----
>
> I have to say I'm disappointed. Fine, take issue with writers who elevate
> Rowling above other writers, but exactly what was to be gained by the shot
> at JKR?
>
> Here is the quote from Time Magazine, which apparently Pratchett either
> didn't read, or didn't understand:
>
> ----
> The most popular living fantasy writer in the world doesn't even
> especially like fantasy novels. It wasn't until after Sorcerer's Stone was
> published that it even occurred to her that she had written one. "That's
> the honest truth," she says. "You know, the unicorns were in there. There
> was the castle, God knows. But I really had not thought that that's what I
> was doing. And I think maybe the reason that it didn't occur to me is that
> I'm not a huge fan of fantasy." Rowling has never finished The Lord of the
> Rings. She hasn't even read all of C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels, which her
> books get compared to a lot. There's something about Lewis' sentimentality
> about children that gets on her nerves. "There comes a point where Susan,
> who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested
> in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex,"
> Rowling says. "I have a big problem with that."

Actually that last comment is Rowling taking a swipe at C S Lewis
so whats so wrong about Pratchett doing the same to her? Are you defending
her cause he's wrong or because she's currently your favourite author?

> So what is the controversy here that Pratchett feels the need to make such
> a snide comment? JKR wrote a fantasy novel, but wasn't thinking about
> *writing fantasy* until afterward. So what?
>
> And that's assuming she even meant that; it was the writer of the Time
> Article that said she didn't realize it until after the book was
> published. I would think Pratchett had been around the block enough to
> know that people get quoted out of context all the time, and that it's not
> always the best policy to comment based on a magazine puff piece that's
> bound to be taking liberties.
>
> The main thrust of his beef seems to be JKR getting elevated above other
> fantasy writers, specifically himself. There is a simple reason for it,
> Mr. Pratchett. She is mainstream, and you are not. She has transcended the
> "fantasy genre". That's why she gets more attention.
>
> Very disappointing. Pratchett always seemed like one of the down-to-earth

> types who was above pettiness like this. Hopefully it was just a momentary
> lapse.

I enjoy Rowlings books but I dont think she a great writer because she is so
popular anymore than I thought the Spice Girls were great musicians simply
because they were hugely, internationally popular. Why is it heresy or
jealousy
if you read her books and see illogical mistakes or just plain bad writing?
That said even Pratchett has had off days - Small Gods was crap.


Stacie Hanes

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 7:04:48 PM7/31/05
to
Tim Behrendsen wrote:

> What you call incredibly naive or incredibly arrogant, I call
> incredibly refreshing. Good for Rowling for not worrying about which
> audience she should be writing for.

I like Rowling and I like the HP books, but I have to say that not realizing
wizards were part of the fantasy genre shows an incredible detachment from
the world around you.

Not labelling onesefl is *entirely* different from not being aware that such
labels exist.

Yeah, I like Pratchett quite a lot, but I don't feel like I have to be
against Rowling, so I'm not. Point is, if you want to level a charge of bias
at me, you can forget about it. And I *still* think it was a naive
statement, at the least. Had *anyone* said that to me, I'd have done a
doubletake, and asked some variant of, "No way, are you serious? For real,
that's what you think? Damn."

--
Stacie, fourth swordswoman of the afpocalypse.
AFPMinister of Flexible Weapons & Bondage-happy predator
AFPMistress to peachy ashie passion & AFPDeliciousSnack to 8'FED
"If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible
warning." Catherine Aird, _His Burial Too_
http://esmeraldus.blogspot.com/


Stacie Hanes

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 7:08:08 PM7/31/05
to

Seriously? Homer, Shakespeare? Gosh.

Stacie Hanes

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 7:15:45 PM7/31/05
to

I love 'em to death, but the wizard/mage bildungsroman isn't breaking news
any more than the quest novel is. They're engaging, and I like the whimsy
and style, but new they are not.

She's managed to put established ingredients together with her own seasoning
in a way that appeals to a lot of people. I don't see why that's not enough.
She's good, yay, but I don't see a need to inflate it beyond that, either.

Stacie Hanes

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 7:19:20 PM7/31/05
to
Sleepy wrote:
> That said even Pratchett has had off days - Small Gods was
> crap.

:-)

One which some people regard as one of his best, just to remind people that
opinions do vary.

Message has been deleted

Freezer

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 9:11:47 PM7/31/05
to
If I don't reply to this OrionCA post, the terrorists win.

> WFM was published in 2003. You really need to re-read WFM and
> what he wrote about "learning witchcraft in a school" before you
> declare it's just a coincidence.

"Equal Rites" (The book in which PTerry first makes the distinction
between Witch magic and Wizard magic) was published in 1987. "Lords
and Ladies" (In which it's stated that a girl can teach herself
witchcraft) was published in 1994 - three years before SS was
published.

You really need to know the particulars before latching on to one
counterpoint.

Weird Beard

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 9:12:55 PM7/31/05
to
On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 00:58:50 GMT, OrionCA <Ori...@earthlink.net> wrote the
following onin alt.fan.harry-potter:

> WFM was published in 2003. You really need to re-read WFM and what he
> wrote about "learning witchcraft in a school" before you declare it's
> just a coincidence.

It's the same thing he said about how witchcraft worked in his universe,
back in 1987 but with a different plot and for a different audience.

noesy_parker

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 9:48:04 PM7/31/05
to
"Stacie Hanes" <house_d...@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:kOcHe.7722$Uk3....@newsread1.news.pas.earthlink.net:

> Tim Behrendsen wrote:
>
>> What you call incredibly naive or incredibly arrogant, I call
>> incredibly refreshing. Good for Rowling for not worrying about which
>> audience she should be writing for.
>
> I like Rowling and I like the HP books, but I have to say that not
> realizing wizards were part of the fantasy genre shows an incredible
> detachment from the world around you.
>
> Not labelling onesefl is *entirely* different from not being aware
> that such labels exist.


I was beginning to wonder if Pratchett and his acolytes are being
deliberately obtuse, but now I understand. So please understand - yes
dear, JKR, I assume like most normal people, knows what a fantasy genre
is, and no dear, JKR, like most normal people, don't go around
obsessively labelling what they do. We don't tell ourselves that when
we watch Lord of the Rings that we are watching a "fantasy genre" film,
we don't even think about it, we are just watching a good story well-
told. I assume JKR, like the normal person she is, thought that she was
simply writing a good yarn for children to read.

It must be hard for such a self-consciously "fantasy-genre" writer like
Pratchett to see someone like JKR or the general public don't really
care for the art of fantasy-writing of people like him, it must be even
more galling for him, the talented fantasy-genre writer, that his
interview for Sunday Times got stuck in the back pages of the News
Reviews section, while such over-rated hack writer like JKR got front
page treatment. Life can be so unfair.

Stacie Hanes

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 10:03:59 PM7/31/05
to

It's nice to know that you have such respect for people who like both
writers.

What a condescending load of tripe. I like them both, said so, and you give
me a steaming load of partisan, holier-than-thou, excretory explication of
"normality." Well, piss off, I haven't got time for you.

noesy_parker

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 10:21:48 PM7/31/05
to
"Stacie Hanes" <house_d...@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:jqfHe.6849$0C....@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net:

>
> It's nice to know that you have such respect for people who like both
> writers.
>
> What a condescending load of tripe. I like them both, said so, and you
> give me a steaming load of partisan, holier-than-thou, excretory
> explication of "normality." Well, piss off, I haven't got time for
> you.
>

Whoever said I am partisan? JKR is an entertaining writer, that's all, and
I'm sure Pratchett is one as well, if I can be bothered to read what he
writes. I just don't like people who talk rubbish, which is what Pratchett
did (and it was condescending tripe about JKR that he wrote, if you had
bothered to read the letter and thought it through).

And there is no reason to assume why I or anyone else should respect
someone for simply liking JKR and/or Pratchett. Silly.

Stacie Hanes

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 11:04:16 PM7/31/05
to
noesy_parker wrote:
> "Stacie Hanes" <house_d...@yahoo.com> wrote in
> news:jqfHe.6849$0C....@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net:
>
>>
>> It's nice to know that you have such respect for people who like both
>> writers.
>>
>> What a condescending load of tripe. I like them both, said so, and
>> you give me a steaming load of partisan, holier-than-thou, excretory
>> explication of "normality." Well, piss off, I haven't got time for
>> you.
>>
>
> Whoever said I am partisan?

I could have sworn *I* did. Let's scroll up and see. Yes, there it is, right
after "steaming load of."

> JKR is an entertaining writer, that's
> all, and I'm sure Pratchett is one as well, if I can be bothered to
> read what he writes.

That looks like you read Rowling and don't read Pratchett. Ergo the charge
of partisanship. Of course, if that's not what you meant, you could improve
your communication skills until you're actually clear.

> I just don't like people who talk rubbish,

Your self-image must really be something.

> which is what Pratchett did (and it was condescending tripe about JKR
> that he wrote, if you had bothered to read the letter and thought it
> through).

I read it; you've got no basis other than the fact I'm not loudly censuring
Pratchett for assuming I didn't, which is a wonderful example of "if you
only paid attention, you'd definitely agree with me!" thinking. Good job,
that'll get you far.

> And there is no reason to assume why I or anyone else should respect
> someone for simply liking JKR and/or Pratchett. Silly.

On the other hand, I am forced to appreciate your astonishing ability to
miss a point. Respect is a part of reasonable discourse. I made a fairly
neutral comment, and you responded with snide references to hero-worship and
addressed me mockingly as "dear." It's not exactly meaningful, coming from
an intellectual giant like you, but you caught me with enough free time to
respond just once more.

It's the objectivity that is due respect, if anything. As your tastes so
clearly demonstrate, cretins are capable of enjoying Rowling's work almost
as much as sentient beings can. Tell me, did the cover taste good? I'm sure
you're a *voracious* reader.

Excuse me, the stench of troll is overwhelming, and I have allergies.

(Sorry, afh-p and afp regulars, I'll play with it outside.)

Weird Beard

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 11:06:07 PM7/31/05
to
On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 02:21:48 GMT, "noesy_parker"
<noesy_...@clara.co.uk> wrote the following onin
alt.fan.harry-potter:


> Whoever said I am partisan? JKR is an entertaining writer, that's
> all, and I'm sure Pratchett is one as well, if I can be bothered to
> read what he writes. I just don't like people who talk rubbish, which
> is what Pratchett did (and it was condescending tripe about JKR that
> he wrote, if you had bothered to read the letter and thought it
> through).
>

If it was condescending tripe, then it was condescending tripe about
condescending tripe (the article itself, not Ms. Rowling's quotes). The
author, who I can't remember off-hand, dismisses the fantasy genre as
cliched garbage, seemingly without it ever crossing his or her mind that a
large portion of the Harry Potter fanbase crossed over *from* the fantasy
genre.

Also, Douglas Adams has gone on record as saying that he doesn't like many
sci-fi novels. Said that he wouldn't pay Assimov to write junk mail. But he
never tried to have it both ways by saying that his books aren't *really*
sci-fi. (He did say that he never intended to be a novelist, but that does
seem more plausible given both his start as a comedy writer, and his
legendary deadline-missing abilities).

Alex Clark

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 11:39:40 PM7/31/05
to
Tim Behrendsen wrote:
> http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/MTarchives/week_2005_07_31.php#007394
>
> He writes in The Times....

He seems to be quoting and paraphrasing the same article that was
published in _Time_, for which a link was recently posted to AFHP. I
wish that the person who posted this to The Leaky Cauldron had included
more information about the context; it is not clearly stated that it is
this article to which he is responding, regardless of what publication
it might have appeared in.

> ----
> WHY IS it felt that the continued elevation of J K Rowling can only be
> achieved at the expense of other writers (Mistress of magic, News
> Review, last week)? Now we learn that prior to Harry Potter the world of
> fantasy was plagued with "knights and ladies morris-dancing to
> Greensleeves."

He didn't make it entirely clear (though it should be apparent to
someone who has read both the article he quoted and his response
thereto) that this description of fantasy was perpetrated by a
journalist who wrote an article about JKR, and not by JKR herself. His
point seems to be that it is wrong to praise JKR by demeaning the
fantasy genre. I agree.

What I don't like about this paragraph is the anonymous passive voice.
"Why is it felt" by *whom*?

> In fact the best of it has always been edgy and inventive, with "the
> dark heart of the real world" being exactly what, underneath the top
> dressing, it is all about. Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised
> the genre, writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and
> bent it to the times. It has also contained some of the very best, most
> accessible writing for children, by writers who seldom get the
> acknowledgement they deserve.
>
> Rowling says that she didn't realise that the first Potter book was
> fantasy until after it was published. I'm not the world's greatest
> expert, but I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls,
> unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food,
> ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?
>
> Terry Pratchett
> Salisbury, Wiltshire
> ----

Tim answered the more obvious problems with this last paragraph well
enough: Pterry seems to have assumed that the article did justice to
what JKR said although a part thereof was only paraphrased, and he
might have been assuming mistakenly that what JKR didn't realize was
something more than that her story could be pigeonholed in the
publishing genre called "fantasy".

There are two other points that I would like to address. First of all,
the "fantasy" genre is associated mainly with invented worlds (which
Pterry is especially famous for), while JKR is only adding fictional
bits to our real world. The latter kind of fiction with magical
elements, set (at least ostensibly) in the real world, has been around
many times longer than the "fantasy" genre.

But what really worries me is the reference to "jumping chocolate
frogs". That is in the first Harry Potter movie, not in the books. Of
course, it is these frogs that put the movie over the line between
modern fairy-tale and genre fantasy. :-)

> The main thrust of his beef seems to be JKR getting elevated above other
> fantasy writers, specifically himself. There is a simple reason for it,
> Mr. Pratchett. She is mainstream, and you are not. She has transcended
> the "fantasy genre". That's why she gets more attention.

This "simple reason" is only simple because it begs the question. It
also assumes a somewhat arbitrary and questionable definition of
"mainstream". Pratchett, like Rowling, is about as mainstream as a
fantasy author can get (depending on one's definitions, of course).

--
Alex Clark

Dim dolt or ma lover (an anagram rejected by Tom Riddle)

"I am Tom Marvolo Widdle, Dark Lord of the educated rodents.
You know my goal -- to conquer the Death of Rats."

The Magic Engineer

unread,
Jul 31, 2005, 11:55:56 PM7/31/05
to

"Weird Beard" <weird...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:Xns96A4E090C5BE5we...@204.127.36.1...

> On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 02:21:48 GMT, "noesy_parker"
> <noesy_...@clara.co.uk> wrote the following onin
> alt.fan.harry-potter:

> If it was condescending tripe, then it was condescending tripe about


> condescending tripe (the article itself, not Ms. Rowling's quotes). The
> author, who I can't remember off-hand, dismisses the fantasy genre as
> cliched garbage, seemingly without it ever crossing his or her mind that
> a
> large portion of the Harry Potter fanbase crossed over *from* the fantasy
> genre.
>
> Also, Douglas Adams has gone on record as saying that he doesn't like
> many
> sci-fi novels. Said that he wouldn't pay Assimov to write junk mail. But
> he
> never tried to have it both ways by saying that his books aren't *really*
> sci-fi. (He did say that he never intended to be a novelist, but that
> does
> seem more plausible given both his start as a comedy writer, and his
> legendary deadline-missing abilities).

Anne/Todd McCaffrey write their Dragonriders of Pern series,
which has all the feel and flavor of fantasy, in a s-f setting, and
all the books are classified as s-f. So I'm sure there's a lot of
'cross pollination' going on with what's classified as what, and
what each author thinks they're writing and what the world at
large feels they're writing.

Since Terry Pratchett is obviously a fantasy writer who uses
sarcasm and humor as his vehicle (and I do enjoy all of his books,
before someone turns a flame tank on me), chances are he
was trying to be funny when he made the comment. It's sounded
like from all accounts, JK Rowling sat down one afternoon and
started writing and writing and writing, came up with the first
book, someone liked it a lot and published it, then they all realized
'Hey, this is fantasy!' and in her mind, she equated fantasy with
Tolkien, and said, "No way, I'm not that verbose, and my
characters do a lot more than walk for the first book!"
*hypothetical sarcasm*

So there's a possibility as to her comments on fantasy and her
books, and Terry Pratchett's comments on her comments.

Just a thought.

The Magic Engineer


Stacie Hanes

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 12:11:39 AM8/1/05
to
Alex Clark wrote:

> There are two other points that I would like to address. First of all,
> the "fantasy" genre is associated mainly with invented worlds

By whom?

This association of fantasy "mainly with invented worlds" is not an
assumption I see very often. Is it your own view, or are you basing it on
some source like an academic community, a particular forum, or writing from
a fan community? Those are just the few possibilities that spring to mind.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but that's a broad generalization, and I would
like to know where you're drawing it from.

> (which
> Pterry is especially famous for), while JKR is only adding fictional
> bits to our real world. The latter kind of fiction with magical
> elements, set (at least ostensibly) in the real world, has been around
> many times longer than the "fantasy" genre.

If you mean that fiction has included fantastic elements for longer than the
term "fantasy" has been used as the name for a kind of fiction, then yes, I
suppose it has. Fables, myths, allegories, you name it. Those have been
around forever, practically. But the modern view of genres is pretty much a
20th century development.

I guess I can see the distinction being of value if you're making some sort
of critical point about how a Harry Potter novel operates v. how a Discworld
(or other "otherworld" novel) operates in readers' minds, but not as a
shelving category. Both kind have to have reality in there somewhere, or
readers can't place themselves in the text deeply enough for it to make much
sense.

I think for Rowling *and* Pratchett, the reality (what there is of it, and
see me not favoring either of them) is of the interior kind. That is, much
of the realism is related to the inner lives of the characters. Rowling may
be placing the wizard world adjacent to the real world, but we spend hardly
any time in her "real world." When we *are* there, it's almost a parody. The
Dursleys aren't realistic, they're caricatures. I find her England hardly
more likely than Lancre.

I don't disagree with the letter of what you've said, but I think it's only
important when applied to a thesis of some kind, not as a disconnected fact.

Alex Clark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 12:31:06 AM8/1/05
to
Stacie Hanes wrote:
> I like Rowling and I like the HP books, but I have to say that not realizing
> wizards were part of the fantasy genre shows an incredible detachment from
> the world around you.

On the contrary, it shows a refreshing awareness of the place of
fantasy in the history of literature. The genre known as "fantasy" is
modern.[1] Practically nothing that is generally recognized as
belonging to the genre (as such) is much more than a century old. If
you will consult a good dictionary, you will find that the word
"wizard" (let alone the concept) is much older than that. Wizards are
present in the fantasy genre, but they most certainly do not belong to
the genre, as you seem to imply.

BTW, Tolkien (whom Pratchett referred to in apparently favorable terms)
also did not mean to write in the genre. His intention was to write
modern medieval romances or sagas, not fantasy genre stories. (BTW,
Poul Anderson's early approach to fantasy writing, dating from before
the publication of LotR, was more than a little bit similar to
Tolkien's in this way.)

[1] Before the "fantasy" genre was brought into being by such writers
as Morris, Dunsany, Burroughs, and Cabell (and their publishers and
imitators), stories could be more properly classified on a spectrum,
ranging from stories based on phenomena experienced empirically with
the senses to stories incorporating a great deal of mystical,
religious, or traditional kinds of supernatural phenomena. This
spectrum does not have anything like a dividing line between "fantasy"
and "not fantasy".

mark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 12:49:13 AM8/1/05
to
While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification, The
Stainless Steel Cat (stee...@atuin.demon.co.uk) was heard to remark...

> In article <hh8He.29752$bp.7046@fed1read03>,
> "Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:
>
> >[...] If he's going to direct an insult at the most popular
> >author in the world,
>
> That'll be Nora Roberts then?
>
> http://www.santafelibrary.org/authors2004.html

Had no idea who she was, did some Googling. Crikey.

"Nora Roberts, here writing as J Dobbs" (or whateveritwas). Her book
covers look like dozens I've seen in airports; is she really that
popular that her old books should be re-released with her name as the
tagline?


(f'ups set)

--
"An unattended cart! What a bit of luck for an unattended cart thief!"
- /Asterix in Britain/

mark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 1:02:15 AM8/1/05
to
While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
Freezer (freezer8...@hotmail.com) was heard to remark...

> "Equal Rites" (The book in which PTerry first makes the distinction
> between Witch magic and Wizard magic) was published in 1987. "Lords
> and Ladies" (In which it's stated that a girl can teach herself
> witchcraft) was published in 1994 - three years before SS was
> published.

SS? I don't recall Rowling writing any books with the initials /SS/
...


--
"The [New York] Times is not a bad little newspaper in some ways. But
when it comes to things like egg balancing, it is out of its depth."
- Cecil Adams, /More of the Straight Dope/

The Stainless Steel Cat

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 2:00:13 AM8/1/05
to
In article <ZabHe.29792$bp.29635@fed1read03>,
"Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:

>[...] As usual, it depends on how you measure

>these things. I did find a few interesting figures after my last post:
>
>Rowling: 250M books, six books, 8 years.

Fair point, I wonder if it's sustainable?

>Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book: 900M (presumably not necessarily demand
>driven. :D)

Hah! I like the fact that Agatha Christie's outsold Mao...

"Glorious Chairman Inspector Mao! Why have you gathered us all here?"
"Because comrades, one person in this room is an Imperialist Running Dog!"
"Gasp!"

>I highly doubt that the classics have that many published, mostly
>because they were written in lower production times, and I would guess
>most classic books aren't read these days nearly as much as popular
>books (although, they certainly have the name recognition). Certainly
>not Asimov, who is too genre specific (even though he wrote other than
>science fiction), and has hundreds of books.

No, I just put him in because of the sheer volume of his writings, rather
than a serious expectation of astronomical sales figures.

Carol Hague

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 3:04:40 AM8/1/05
to
mark <m.gal...@student.canberra.edu.au> wrote:

> While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
> Freezer (freezer8...@hotmail.com) was heard to remark...
> > "Equal Rites" (The book in which PTerry first makes the distinction
> > between Witch magic and Wizard magic) was published in 1987. "Lords
> > and Ladies" (In which it's stated that a girl can teach herself
> > witchcraft) was published in 1994 - three years before SS was
> > published.
>
> SS? I don't recall Rowling writing any books with the initials /SS/


I think Freezer is posting from the US, where the title of the first HP
book was _Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone_


--
Carol
"Anybody remotely interesting is mad, in some way or another."
-The Doctor, Doctor Who

Alex Clark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 3:09:15 AM8/1/05
to
Stacie Hanes wrote:
> Alex Clark wrote:
>
> > There are two other points that I would like to address. First of all,
> > the "fantasy" genre is associated mainly with invented worlds
>
> By whom?
>
> This association of fantasy "mainly with invented worlds" is not an
> assumption I see very often. Is it your own view, or are you basing it on
> some source like an academic community, a particular forum, or writing from
> a fan community? Those are just the few possibilities that spring to mind.

I did not just say "fantasy", as you did in your paraphrase. I made a
point of saying "the 'fantasy' genre". One of the most distinctive
differences between the genre and the older traditions (fairy tales,
etc.) from which it is descended is that stories in the genre are often
set in invented worlds that are not really supposed to be plausibly
identified with the real world, while stories with magic from outside
the genre typically locate their settings in the known world, or
sometimes in unknown regions supposed to be on our planet but beyond
the edges of the known world. (BTW, I am using "invented world" to mean
only that the idea of a complete non-existent world is implied, not
that such a world has been imagined in full detail. Obviously even the
most dedicated world-builders can't create complete worlds to serve as
the settings of their stories.) This difference between stories inside
and outside the genre not an absolute rule, but it is such a strong
tendency that without it the "fantasy" genre (if it existed) would be
almost unrecognizable to most current fans of the genre.

It is true that stories set in the real world (more or less) are
shelved and advertised in the genre, but those stories by themselves
would not amount to much of a genre. This is where the boundaries
between fantasy, other genres, and stories not categorized in any
genre, are more blurred. Just for one example, the Miss Seeton stories
include some magic-like phenomena, but are categorized as detective
stories. Without the stories set in invented worlds, the rest of the
stories in the genre would be much less likely to be categorized
together in a genre at all. The genre is centered around invented
worlds where there is magic, and some (but not all) other stories with
magic are appended to this genre. The latter stories are in the genre
not because they needed to be put into a genre, but because the stories
set in invented worlds are a popular enough and distinctive enough
category to make the genre (as a whole) viable as a separate genre.

So you want me to prove this? It can't be done. You would have to find
the alternate present-day Earth where (at least in English) there are
no fantasy stories set in invented worlds, and then see if the
remainder of the genre is still categorized in approximately the same
way. I know that in that case there would effectively be no fantasy
genre, but that is intuitive knowledge based on experience, not
objective knowledge based on proof.

> > (which
> > Pterry is especially famous for), while JKR is only adding fictional
> > bits to our real world. The latter kind of fiction with magical
> > elements, set (at least ostensibly) in the real world, has been around
> > many times longer than the "fantasy" genre.
>
> If you mean that fiction has included fantastic elements for longer than the
> term "fantasy" has been used as the name for a kind of fiction, then yes, I
> suppose it has. Fables, myths, allegories, you name it. Those have been
> around forever, practically. But the modern view of genres is pretty much a
> 20th century development.
>
> I guess I can see the distinction being of value if you're making some sort
> of critical point about how a Harry Potter novel operates v. how a Discworld

> (or other "otherworld" novel) operates in readers' minds, . . .

I don't see what this (and the subsequent stuff that I snipped) has to
do with the question at hand. We had been talking about whether Rowling
should have recognized the Harry Potter series as belonging in the
fantasy genre. How this specific point relates to that question is that
the combination of features (magic and an invented world) that
practically seems to ensure a story's inclusion in the genre is not
present in her story. This is about how a story is categorized by
genre, not how it "operates in readers' minds".

--
Alex Clark

Marmot Dildo Lover (an anagram rejected by Tom Riddle)

John Wilkins

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 3:12:50 AM8/1/05
to
Carol Hague wrote:
> mark <m.gal...@student.canberra.edu.au> wrote:
>
>
>>While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
>>Freezer (freezer8...@hotmail.com) was heard to remark...
>>
>>>"Equal Rites" (The book in which PTerry first makes the distinction
>>>between Witch magic and Wizard magic) was published in 1987. "Lords
>>>and Ladies" (In which it's stated that a girl can teach herself
>>>witchcraft) was published in 1994 - three years before SS was
>>>published.
>>
>>SS? I don't recall Rowling writing any books with the initials /SS/
>
>
>
> I think Freezer is posting from the US, where the title of the first HP
> book was _Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone_
>
>
Because Americans wouldn't know what a philosopher was...

--
John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biohumanities Project
University of Queensland - Blog: evolvethought.blogspot.com
"Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other
hypothesis in natural science." Tractatus 4.1122

ma...@alien8n.net

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 3:10:48 AM8/1/05
to
Pratchett and Rowling are BOTH mainstream, in their own way. The
difference seems to be that because JKR has a more visible appeal
(thanks to films) she gets more news coverage. Not to knock the films,
I actually quite like them, I just can't read her books. As for the
caricaturisation of the Dursleys, you could have ripped that family
straight out of a Roald Dahl book :)

Let's face it, if the Dursley's existed in England today then the book
would have been "Harry Potter and the Social Services Agency"

Anyone else feel that PTerry never expected the Spanish Inquisition?

Alien X Xenomorph

mark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 3:34:40 AM8/1/05
to
While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
Carol Hague (ca...@wrhpv.com) was heard to remark...

> mark <m.gal...@student.canberra.edu.au> wrote:
> > While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
> > Freezer (freezer8...@hotmail.com) was heard to remark...
> > > "Equal Rites" (The book in which PTerry first makes the distinction
> > > between Witch magic and Wizard magic) was published in 1987. "Lords
> > > and Ladies" (In which it's stated that a girl can teach herself
> > > witchcraft) was published in 1994 - three years before SS was
> > > published.
> >
> > SS? I don't recall Rowling writing any books with the initials /SS/
>
> I think Freezer is posting from the US, where the title of the first HP
> book was _Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone_

ITYM, where /PS/ was published under the idiotic title /SS/, *not* "the
title was /SS/" ;-)

Alex Clark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 3:37:43 AM8/1/05
to
ma...@alien8n.net wrote:
> Anyone else feel that PTerry never expected the Spanish Inquisition?

Nobody expects the Rotfang Conspir . . . Oh bloody hell. Please forgive
the intrusion; I seem to have put the same foot through both legs of my
Trousers of Time.

--
Alex Clark

Lard lover do it mom (an anagram rejected by Tom Riddle)

Message has been deleted

Carol Hague

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 4:49:41 AM8/1/05
to
mark <m.gal...@student.canberra.edu.au> wrote:

> While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
> Carol Hague (ca...@wrhpv.com) was heard to remark...

> > I think Freezer is posting from the US, where the title of the first HP


> > book was _Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone_
>
> ITYM, where /PS/ was published under the idiotic title /SS/, *not* "the
> title was /SS/" ;-)

I was trying to be diplomatic about it. After all, it's not the fault of
the US readers if the pulishers have stupid ideas.

PeterH

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 5:01:54 AM8/1/05
to
On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 21:31:06 -0700, Alex Clark wrote:

> Stacie Hanes wrote:
>> I like Rowling and I like the HP books, but I have to say that not realizing
>> wizards were part of the fantasy genre shows an incredible detachment from
>> the world around you.
>
> On the contrary, it shows a refreshing awareness of the place of
> fantasy in the history of literature. The genre known as "fantasy" is
> modern.[1] Practically nothing that is generally recognized as
> belonging to the genre (as such) is much more than a century old. If
> you will consult a good dictionary, you will find that the word
> "wizard" (let alone the concept) is much older than that. Wizards are
> present in the fantasy genre, but they most certainly do not belong to
> the genre, as you seem to imply.

Or whatever. I don't class the HP books as fantasy, because for me the
fantasy genre is a lot of jumped-up, boring little people writing about
characters like Herrena the Henna-Haired Haridan to fulfill their own
boring little fantasies about leather. (Please see the relevant passage in
The Light Fantastic for Pratchett's similar view on the subject.)

Another relevant point is raised in The Science of Discworld, regarding
science-fiction novels. The authors say, quite rightly, that the presence
of laser guns no more makes a story science fiction than the absence
of them proves a story *not* to be science fiction.

There aren't really any wizards or witches in JKR's books. They are just
everyday people with the ability to make life easier for themselves using
magic. So there's a couple of unicorns here and there - so what?

At school we were taught about a genre of stories known as Bildungsromane.
If you feel the need to pigeonhole Harry Potter, I think that's probably
the best place to put it.

Discworld can then go into the Satire genre, and bookshops all over the
world can happily start relabeling their bookshelves.


..PeterH

mark

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 5:02:54 AM8/1/05
to
While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
Carol Hague (ca...@wrhpv.com) was heard to remark...
> mark <m.gal...@student.canberra.edu.au> wrote:
>
> > While recovering from a recent, uncomfortable transmembrification,
> > Carol Hague (ca...@wrhpv.com) was heard to remark...
>
> > > I think Freezer is posting from the US, where the title of the first HP
> > > book was _Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone_
> >
> > ITYM, where /PS/ was published under the idiotic title /SS/, *not* "the
> > title was /SS/" ;-)
>
> I was trying to be diplomatic about it. After all, it's not the fault of
> the US readers if the pulishers have stupid ideas.

True 'nuff. Just look at the US editions of Pratchett ...


(Aaaargh! My keyboard is playing up! ve gone throgh 3 setsof
erieslrea!)

PeterH

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 5:19:37 AM8/1/05
to
On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 20:52:49 +0100, Alec Cawley wrote:

> [Pratchett] has expressed minor irritation at a single statement by JKR
> which he regards as foolish (and I agree with him). The statement is by
> JKR personally, and not within the HP universe. To inflate this into any
> general opinion about Harry Potter is simply ridiculous. What other
> snide remarks has he made?

I don't think JKR's statement about "not realising" she was writing a
fantasy was foolish at all. However, I do think it was exceptionally
foolish of Pterry to have a go at her in the way he did.

So now instead of people wondering if perhaps they haven't given the
fantasy genre the credit it deserves, they're sitting back with the
popcorn watching a Potter vs Discworld fight.


..PeterH

Ian and Mandy

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 6:05:31 AM8/1/05
to
"Stacie Hanes" <house_d...@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:QigHe.6865$0C....@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net:

> lots of things that I have snipped...


Very eloquently put, I have lots to say on this whole thread but couldn't
follow that post for style or content

Bravo!

Mandy

Sanity

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 5:53:16 AM8/1/05
to
"Tim Behrendsen" <t...@zapthisbehrendsen.com> wrote:

> I have to say I'm disappointed. Fine, take issue with writers who
> elevate Rowling above other writers, but exactly what was to be gained
> by the shot at JKR?

Well, writing fantasy and then saying "I didn't realise it was fantasy"
*is* a bit silly, isn't it? Apart from that, I don't see anything negative
about Rowling - he doesn't mention the quality of the books, for example.
All he does is make a statement against the way the fantasy genre is being
treated.

--
TTFN, | AFPChess, Planet AFP, L-Files & more:
| http://www.affordable-prawns.co.uk/
| *Submit your blog to Planet AFP!*
Michel AKA Sanity | Jabber IM: michel @ jabber.xs4all.nl

Sanity

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Aug 1, 2005, 6:00:19 AM8/1/05
to
"The Magic Engineer" <pe...@comcast.net> wrote:

Warning, spoilers for Half-Blood Prince below.

1


2


3

4


5


6


> Since Terry Pratchett is obviously a fantasy writer who uses
> sarcasm and humor as his vehicle (and I do enjoy all of his books,
> before someone turns a flame tank on me), chances are he
> was trying to be funny when he made the comment. It's sounded
> like from all accounts, JK Rowling sat down one afternoon and
> started writing and writing and writing, came up with the first
> book, someone liked it a lot and published it, then they all realized
> 'Hey, this is fantasy!' and in her mind, she equated fantasy with
> Tolkien, and said, "No way, I'm not that verbose, and my
> characters do a lot more than walk for the first book!"
> *hypothetical sarcasm*

How will we laugh when Dumbledore comes back as Dumbledore the White in
book 7, and Snape will have scoured Little Whinging.

Ian and Mandy

unread,
Aug 1, 2005, 6:24:29 AM8/1/05