Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A comment about the Potterverse and fantasy


A critical note about the Harry Potter series. An unused fragment of my creative writing dissertation, which is not wholly fair, or reasoned, but represents my disquiet with this otherwise admirable series:
In the world of Harry Potter, magic has become procedural, teachable and formulaic (though we rarely, if ever, glimpse the history of those formulae). Hence, magic becomes a mechanical task, a technology, and is represented as heavily bureaucratised. The only character who defies the bureaucracy, who acts as if magic has personal, transformative power, is the antagonist Voldemort, the leader of a cabal of racists in a fascist coup. Rowling’s work is so committed to the coherency of her world and magic that she discounts or smothers magic’s transgressiveness, its dangerous potential.