Harry Potter criticism
It seems that any criticism of the Harry Potter books at all meets with a violent response from some, as though sacred cows were at risk. Most of the criticism seems to be from "Harry Potter is Satanic witchcraft" Christians or from people who disapprove of fantasy generally. But here are some links to serious critical articles.
- Ursula Le Guin (brief comment - Guardian, February 2004)
- "good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited"
- Philip Hensher (the Spectator, 2003, no longer online)
- "Rowling is not a subtle writer, and one of the tiresome things about this book is how routinely it resorts to turning up the volume, rather than describing anything vividly."
- Kieran Healy (Crooked Timber, August 2003)
- finds the plot of The Order of the Phoenix implausible.
- A.S. Byatt (New York Times/IHT, July, 2003)
- attempts to explain why Harry Potter has been so popular with adults. (Warning: includes some psychoanalysis.)
- Jennie Bristow (Spiked, June 2003)
- "It's not a form of inappropriate social commentary - it is not social commentary at all."
- Richard Adams (Guardian, June 2003)
- "The values that triumph in the Harry Potter books are those of a nostalgic, conservative Little Britain"
- John Mark Eberhart (the Age, June 2003)
- "The plot is cumbersome. Most characters haven't bloomed; they've only aged. Settings are befogged by vague writing."
- Christine Schoefer (Salon, 2001)
- a feminist critique
- Harold Bloom (Wall Street Journal, 2000)
- in full flight
- John Dolan (2000)
- thinks Diana Wynne Jones is better.
- Danny Yee (1997)
- my own review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
For less critical responses, as of January 2004 Amazon had 4700 reviews of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and 4800 reviews of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
Pointers to other articles are most welcome - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Books on the Harry Potter books
There are a few serious works on the Harry Potter books among all the ones for fans (links are to Amazon):