Thursday, May 31, 2007

Harry Potter THEME PARK!

Before you start leaving your really happy comments, note:

I am not a Harry Potter fan.

I believe that J.K. Rowling stole and used quite a lot of material from other works of fiction and fantasy without proper attribution. (It's not provable in court, but the woman is, on the ideological level, a plagiarist. Yes, there are many of them, and yes, it's next-to-impossible, but not impossible to come up with an original idea. More importantly, she stole specifics rather than ideas. If I use a princess in a story and you use a princess in a story, that's fine. If I make my princess super-specific and you steal her and she's not really obviously recognizable, in which case it's an allusion rather than stealing, and if she's not credited, as in you don't thank other authors and say you've based your work off of them, then you're a thief. Yes. We can get into this debate later, though, before I'm attacked. Maybe I'll post on it.)

So yes, I have read all the books and I can analyze them and offer theories and interpretations with the best of them, and yes, I do think they're a good thing because they're what started my brothers on reading (though now they have graduated to the better authors, huzzah for them) and yes, I am annoyed that J.K. Rowling receives so much publicity when comparable authors with far more complex fantasy/ fiction works fall by the wayside.


There's going to be a Harry Potter theme park.

Imagine that.

Knockturn Alley, Beuxbatons, Durmstrang, Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Hagrid's Hut, the Lake, Thestrals, Flobberworms...everything you can possibly imagine from the books.

For real.

And brought to life.


(Now, truth is that I'd prefer a Lord of the Rings theme park. I mean, imagine, climb to Mordor, hang out at Rivendell, check out Lothlorien, defend Gondor, etc. BUT Harry Potter is going to rock as a theme park and I am so there.)

Everybody, are you paying attention?

This is my birthday present!

Okay, now I'm done.


Chaya said...

Thank you for making my day!

Holy Hyrax said...

>Now, truth is that I'd prefer a Lord of the Rings..

HA! I always knew you were a woman of good taste

Anonymous said...

If I'll get the funding, I'll design a LotR theme park for you...

But you'd need to first read The Book of Lost Tales... deal? ;-)


Anonymous said...

I could not refrain from writing a comment here because here we are dealing with love and respect for Halacha:

Rabbi Bassous has written a great article which may be downloaded/printed/emailed; it is about "Superstition and Magic" in Halacha which can be found here:

As far as I can tell, Harry Potter novels proliferate themes of superstition and magic. In Halacha Jews are supposed to "Park" this curiousity and these temptations as they contain hidden snares for our souls.

Chana said...

Dear Anonymous,

You can read my take on this matter here.

Magic is just fine. :D And yes, I'm a halakhic Jew, even if I read fantasy and fiction and would like to go to a Harry Potter theme park.

Erachet said...

1. I heard it's not going to be an actual theme park but rather just a park within Disney World. But I'm not sure.

2. "but the woman is, on the ideological level, a plagiarist." Okay, I have heard this argument before but what I want to know is, what did she steal? I mean, authors take things from other authors all the time. Look at how many fantasy series are based on Lord of the Rings? When I read Harry Potter, it was something fresh. Yes, there were some similarities between that and Diana Wynne Jones stuff, or The Worst Witch (if you've ever read/seen it) but nothing that makes me wonder if she's stealing or just using universal ideas. At least, nothing that I've noticed on my own. People keep saying J.K. stole from places, but they never give specific examples of things she stole. So I'm not necessarily saying, "no, she didn't steal." I'm just saying, show me that she did. Because I haven't been bothered by it on my own reading.

Erachet said...

"I am annoyed that J.K. Rowling receives so much publicity when comparable authors with far more complex fantasy/ fiction works fall by the wayside."

Oh, and this I definitely agree with. Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, they were around way before Harry Potter! And so many others! Why do they not have the same publicity? What makes Harry Potter SO much better than the fantasy books of those and other authors? I happen to enjoy those authors better than J.K. Rowling anyway (even though I do love Harry Potter). But it seems something about Harry Potter hit the spot of the world at the right time. I don't know. I do agree with you on this point, though.

Chana said...


Feel free to follow the whole discussion between tenorsax and me, starting with this post.

Of course, since the publication of the 5th and 6th books, there's loads more (and more specifics, which is what bothers me most), but you can start here.

Anonymous said...

Harry Potter = The crafty serpent in Genesis 3.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

This post answers my question about your imaginative writing style. The influences were Harry and the Lord (but not HaShem.)

the only way i know said...

happens to be - i was skimming the papers just a couple of days ago, and i noticed something about a Harry Potter's theme park, though I was in a hurry and didnt read it properly. I thougght it was something they were doing only in England.. (to begin with..) - but am I wrong?

the only way i know said...

also - i've got a few things to say on the 'plagarism' thing...
but not for now..
gotta go put up a kugel for shabbos!

Chana said...

Anonymous 9:02,

My conscience is clear.

But you cut me to the quick. My writing style, influenced by J.K. Rowling? Egad. I didn't realize I wrote so poorly.

I shall go nurse my wounded ego now.

the only way i know said...


Living as I do in England for.. well.. a long time now..I've come to appreciate many subtleties about their ways of life, mentality, and little miscellaneous things..
One of them being their sense of humor - which is so different to that of Americans, that it's hard to believe we share the same language.
You'd think that those who share a common language would use humor in a similar way -
but this is far from the truth. Just watch any TV sitcom of theirs and ours, to see the difference.

Anyway, when I picked up the first Harry Potter book some years ago - it had been a heck of a long while since I'd read a fairy tale or anything 'wizardry' or sci-fi..
even though as a child and young adult I enjoyed stories like it with enthusiasm and great pleasure.

I thought I'd probably put down the book not long after I'd begun it, rolling my eyes at the nonsense -

I couldn't have been more mistaken.

I took to her writing like a fish to water and adored the plot, descriptions and suspense.

But, on a deeper, more gleeful level - I adored the many subtleties JK Rowling used, in a comical, sarcastic and very clever, humorous way to portray the English way of life and way of thinking.

I would compare an American reading HP and an English person reading HP , like watching a kids cartoon as an adult, who can appreciate many humorous references that a child can't possibly have picked up on, when watching the same cartoon.

Besides for the fact that I just enjoy Harry Potter books for entertainment purposes, I got a real kick from JK Rowling's writing style.

Although it's true I haven't read the Lord of the Rings, and many of the things you yourself have read that you say Ms Rowling was 'inspired' by or copied almost identically -
I can't imagine that the writing styles the previous authors used, were similar to hers.
In fact, I believe - (from the few times I've picked up the Lord of the Rings at the local library- to have a quick skim through), that books like the Lord of the Rings are written with far more sophistication than JK Rowling's writing ,
and with far greater and more eloquent descriptive detail.

Her own books are written on a more basic and contemporary, reader-friendly writing style (shame I know - but I do believe kids these days are more pre-disposed to reading long books with a lighter writing style, than long books with a heavier - although better - story.)

I'm not sure as to the exact details you say she copied, and I guess I would read that on the 'link' to 'this post' on one of your comment responses
but, I still think that her writing, in its own way, is quite individual.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chana,

I wanted to wish you and your readers Shabbat Shalom! Let us remember this prayer:
לכה דודי לקראת כלה פני שבת נקבלה׃

This is a very special prayer, so for those who are only reading it literally I will clarify it as it also has relevance to today's discussion. Yanki Tauber writes in his article What is the soul for Chabad:

Two Souls
The Chassidic masters speak of two distinct souls that vitalize the human being: an "Animal Soul" and a "G-dly Soul." The Animal Soul is driven by the quest for self-preservation and self-enhancement; in this, it resembles the soul and self of all other creations. But we also possess a G-dly Soul"--a soul driven by the desire to reconnect with its Source. Our lives are the story of the contest and interplay between these two souls, as we struggle to balance and reconcile our physical needs and desires with our spiritual aspirations, our self-focused drives with our altruistic yearnings. These two souls, however, do not reside "side-by-side" within the body; rather, the G-dly Soul is enclothed within the Animal Soul--just as the Animal Soul is enclothed within the body. This means that the Animal Soul, too, is vitalized by the "part of G-d above" at its core. Ostensibly, the two souls are in conflict with each other, but in essence they are compatible.4

If you grasp what Yanki Tauber wrote above, you will also understand the true meaning and significance of this prayer which is recited for Kabbalat Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom!

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