I also want to take a moment to make clear what I mean by the word "hate." Hitler hated Jews. I hate Harry Potter (the series and the character, but at the moment, I'm only talking about the series).
REASON 1 WHY I HATE HARRY POTTER: ALLEGORY
Harry Potter is completely, 100%, allegorical. Those of you who don't know what I mean by that should get either a dictionary or a thesaurus. There can be no denying that every single character in Harry Potter is allegorical. Good characters are good and evil characters are evil. Any other time I use the words "good" and "evil" I put them in quotes because I don't believe in fixed ideals like "good" and "evil". I would say, for example, that the Animorphs are "good" and the Yeerks are "evil"; and you all know how relative those terms are in the (beautifully non-allegorical) universe of the Animorphs.
In Harry Potter, such quotes are not needed because Rowling's ideas of good and evil are fixed and do not change. No good character ever does anything even remotely evil. Sure, a few of them (i.e. Fred and George) engage in some harmless mischief from time to time; the operative phrase being "harmless mischief". That is certainly not evil by any stretch of the imagination. The worst thing any good character in Harry Potter does is skip a few classes and get busted by a teacher who always happens to be a villain; the good teachers let the good characters off the hook.
Let us look at some of the evil deeds of the Animorphs (I do not mean to turn this into a comparison of the two series, but Animorphs is an example everyone here can understand and it is, as I said, beautifully non-allegorical). They killed countless innocents (like when they
This is, of course, to illustrate the differences between an allegorical work and one that is not allegorical. Would anyone in Harry Potter's universe resort to, say chemical warfare or assassination? Of course; but only Voldemort or those who served him. None of the good characters would have; not even close.
One may be tempted to point out Draco Malfoy, who apparently went to the good side at the end. Let me just say that such a thing was a clear example of Deus ex Machina, a device a writer uses when he or she writes him/herself into a corner or wants to force an event to occurr, as Rowling did with Malfoy. However, there is absolutely nothing in the background of that character (nothing organic at least) to show that he would ever even consider such a thing. His actions were supported only by artificial juxtapositions by Rowling because (again) she wanted to force the event to occur.
If the above does not enrage you nearly as much as it does me, it can only be that you do not see why allegory is a bad thing. That is, of course, why I am here. Allegory, to put it simply, is the laziest and lowest form of writing. In an allegorical work, one does not have to think about the actions of a character. There are no moral quandaries, no real dilemmae. It is always clear, at least to the writer, what a character will do in any situation. This removes the entire thinking process from the writing. If Rowling does not want to put any thought into her books, that is, of course, entirely up to her. I, however, find it insulting that she thinks that she can write such refuse and have me buy it. It take that as an affront to my dignity and a metaphorical slap in the face.
But worse, by far, than the insult is the sickening (and I do mean that this makes physically ill) fact that the masses flock to read this trash. They can't get enough of it! Every turn of the page is a deeply personal insult, a mockery of your intelligence. And they eat it out of her hand! This drives me to an almost murderous rage.
And I believe, furthermore, that Rowling is perfectly aware of this. She has shown (with her shrewd manipulation of the market, which is another rant entirely and will be posted in due course) herself to be an intelligent woman. As such, she could not possibly actually believe this black and white world view she purports in her books.
She has consciously chosen to put no effort (or, should I say, thought) into these books. Why bother? She could (and did) churn out complete and total trash for years and made millions off of it. I could respect her for that if she was not single-handedly lowering the bar set by the authors of old (which, once again, is a different rant).
This hatred of allegory is not mine and mine alone. All of the truly great authors agree with me on this. The lesser known geniuses like Jordan and Herbert (who, as those of you who have read my booklist know, I admire greatly and consider to be among the best who ever lived) fought against this for their entire lives. K. A. Applegate certainly disagreed with any even semi-allegorical view of the world, as we all know so very well. And if she does not share my hatred in this aspect, it is only because it is beneath her notice.
But aside from them, there is the opinion of the man who inspired millions; indeed, the one who inspired both K. A. Applegate and J. K. Rowling: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (A.K.A. J.R.R.Tolkien, the father of fantasy and creator of Middle-Earth). His influence was so great that Applagate and Rowling both have chosen his pattern as the way of authoring their books (i.e. with initials and surname). Tolkien, of course, did not begin this trend (as we can see from the writings of his good friend C.S. Lewis) but he was certainly a massive influence on Rowling (and on anyone who writes in that genre) and Applegate (again, see my booklist).
Tolkien himself says (in a foreword to the Fellowship of the Ring, a foreword that at this very moment sits in my lap), "...I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true of reigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides int he freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." Aside from this example, Tolkien's hatred of allegory was well know to all and, as common knowledge, does not need to be cited.
All this has been to show, summarily, that the Harry Potter series is indeed purely allegorical and that allegory is, it is believed by any with true skill, a terrible thing. Tolkien believed, and who are we to argue with such a man, that it served in the purposed domination of the author. This cannot be contested. In using allegory, Rowling is attempting to force her world view on us. And most, like the sheep before the slaughter (or, to use an example with which I am certain you are all familiar, the cattle in book #38) walk ignorantly to this end.
Applegate certainly despised allegory. Her "good" characters ran the gamut from the pacifist (Cassie) to the almost insane warrior (Rachel) to the cold tactician (Marco) to the ruthless leader (Jake) to the arrogant, dutiful soldier (Ax) to perhaps the only character who believes that a course of action is morally reprehensible but does it anyway (Tobias). Even Applegate's usual enemies (the Yeerks) are not all "evil", and her heroes (the Andalites) are certainly far form "good." Even her archetypes of "good" and "evil" (Ellimist and Crayak, respectively) far from fill allegorical positions. The Ellimist was a shameless, ruthless puppet master who tore families apart (for example, Elfangor, Loren, and Tobias), not some benevolent creature concerned with life and happiness. And Crayak was a cold perfectionist. Inhumane, certainly, but far from evil as it is presented in an allegory.
To neatly summarize for those of you who have had the courtesy and intellect to read this entire speech, I have established (if not irrefutably than at least credibly) that Harry Potter is an allegory; indeed, it fills a dictionary definition of the role. And I have also established that anyone whose opinion on the subject is worth noting despises allegory, even (perhaps especially) our beloved K. A. Applegate. For these reasons, allegory is the greatest reason I hate Harry Potter.