web analytics

be sure to leave a saucer of milk

This little feller is from the town museum in Pevensey, the one we visited last week. I’m assuming they’re assuming this is was Rowling’s inspiration for Dobby the House Elf.

I confess, I didn’t finish Harry Potter — books or movies. I found them a little hard going, to be honest. Like most fantasy books, they borrow heavily from all the books that came before. Which is fine, except I’ve been reading the genre since I was a wee slip of a weasel, which gives newer entries a real aw, geez, not this shit again sort of ambiance.

Anyway, it’s the weekend. Um, open thread…?


Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: September 6, 2013, 11:16 pm

Now, see, you were thinking of the wrong genre; you should have read them as school stories, in which genre they were something a bit unusual.

I managed to wade through them all (my best friend is an embarrassingly ardent fan), although by about the third book I was having a serious problem suspending disbelief on the subject of the unawareness of Muggles. But once through the books was enough, and I did NOT make it to all the movies. And, yeah, they were pretty derivative …

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 6, 2013, 11:48 pm

I liked the books and the movies…dragged them out a bit though.

I’m waiting for them to finish up the Hobbit movies…made the mistake of seeing the first one figuring it was only going to be one movie but of course, they had to drag it out to three movies…it was well done though…looking forward to the rest.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: September 7, 2013, 12:20 am

I thought the first Harry Potter book (the only one I read) was the most overrated novel this side of Game of Thrones.

On an only peripherally Dobbs-related note, on my pet sitter’s insistence I recently buried a St. Joseph statue in the front yard of the Illinois house, which persists in not selling for going on two years now. Joe’s supposed to be the patron saint of home sales, or something, but only if you bury him upside down facing the house, which seems kind of disrespectful. I couldn’t bring myself to actually pray to a 4″ resin statue, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to be the deciding factor whether it works or not. Still, he doesn’t require regular feedings of milk.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 7, 2013, 12:37 am

Well, I agree on Game of Thrones…I only got through the first couple of books and had to chuck it…just too much pointless detail to them.

They’ve done a pretty good job of the GoT TV series…unfortunately they’ve followed his books and after the upcoming death of Joffrey, they don’t have anywhere much to go because it just has no point after that mass murder at Rob’s wedding, they’ve pretty much killed off everyone you care about…we’ll see how they sort it out.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 7, 2013, 1:14 am

I’m very picky with my fantasy, so I don’t read much. Most of it is just not very good, to be honest. Game of Thrones didn’t seem like fantasy at ALL to me, and did not keep my interest through the first book. The Sword of Truth series started out great and went downhill very rapidly. I liked the Harry Potter series, though. It was fun all the way through.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 7, 2013, 2:08 am

The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams that starts with The Dragonbone Chair is worthwhile: http://tinyurl.com/dragonbonechair

Comment from bds
Time: September 7, 2013, 4:10 am

I thought the Memory, Sorrow & Thorn series was very good, but I was a bit disappointed with the ending.

The first book or two of Game of Thrones was very good. I thought it was great that someone was writing fantasy that was semi-realistic in the sense of how bloody history tends to be. But the series got extremely tedious when I realized there was no point caring about any of the characters or what happened in the overarching story because anyone interesting was just going to be killed, maimed, or ignored.

I liked the Harry Potter books, but I agree with Can’t Hark that they are better as school stories than from a straight fantasy perspective.

My recommendation, if you’re looking for a good fantasy series, is the trilogy by Robin Hobb that starts with Assassin’s Apprentice. (Actually, the full story encompasses a trio of trilogies, The Farseer Trilogy, The Rainwild Chronicles, and the Tawny Man.)

Comment from ama
Time: September 7, 2013, 5:02 am

I’d encourage you to give them another try. The first three books are really back-story. Yes, there is a lot of derivative, classic mythology but I found the last four books to be worth the occasional re=read. Don’t expect them to be the awesome LOTR or Narnia level work but they are good lit for kids, fast reading for grumps.

Comment from Robert Mulroy
Time: September 7, 2013, 7:55 am

In Alt Deutschland, His species were called Roberts.

I like to think I keep up the tradition, but I hope I’m a bit more handsome.

Comment from Mike C.
Time: September 7, 2013, 8:58 am

My admiration for Rowling’s books rests not on any literary quality, but rather derives from the fact that she put out a series that had children (and not a few teens and adults) lined up at bookstores worldwide at midnight to buy an actual, dead tree book. This was something that a lot of us assumed had simply vanished from society. Rowling deserved every penney she made just for that one fact.

And no, never read them.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 7, 2013, 2:52 pm

I agree, and the only real market for books these days is young adult fantasy. Yeah you get weird outliers like 50 Shades of Gray but there’s not much money in any other genre.

Personally I like it because before Harry Potter, chick lit was all publishers wanted to see. It didn’t matter if it was any good, if it was written by a woman, it was a quick contract, especially with women dominating the publishing, agent, and editing fields. Now the market is a bit broader, even if the traditional publishing model is basically dead.

Comment from AliceH
Time: September 7, 2013, 5:37 pm

W00T – Amazon is going to start (in October) providing discounted (or free) ebook copies for physical books you’ve purchased – backdating to 1995!!!

As for ole Master Dobbs, reminded me of a fairly elaborate story I read long ago in my Brownies handbook. Couldn’t find the whole thing online, but the punchline, as it were, is “Twist me and turn me and show me an elf, I looked in the water and saw… Myself!”

I read one or two or maybe three HPs (they run together), and watched 2 and parts of a third film (they run together). I am fairly certain I would have loved them if I’d read them while still in grade school, but as an adult I found them both overly long AND pretty thin.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: September 7, 2013, 6:33 pm

How about a rousing chorus of “Waltzing Maltida” in honor of this?

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 7, 2013, 6:49 pm

Yeah good on the Aussies, they gave the greens and hard left Labor party the boot.

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: September 7, 2013, 6:55 pm

We’ve read and enjoyed all the HP’s along w/ the movies and her latest (Robert Galbraith – The Cuckoo’s Calling) was outstanding. The Casual Vacancy, I believe, would have more appeal to the Brits than the Colonists.
Just finished a rather entertaining and unique first novel by Helene Wecker – The Golem and the Jinni…

Comment from LesterIII
Time: September 7, 2013, 8:00 pm

I prefer to keep on re-reading non-Amber Zelazny works. I like to think Roger would be pissed off at GRRM for his obvious milking&whining in-book as well as excessively out-of-book. Wrote the bastard an actual handwritten letter asking for my $10.00 back for the drink I bought him when I met him way back when. Gave up any hope on Thrones/Ice&Fire.

If I read the phrases “on the morrow” or “in his cups” one more time, I might just build a belltower.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 7, 2013, 9:55 pm

The only sword & sworcery crap outside of Tolkein that I can stand is Jack Vance’s stuff.

Okay, Spenser was pretty good. & the Gawain poet had skillz.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: September 8, 2013, 12:53 am

I’ve largely given up on fantasy stuff also. That said, I’ve been reading Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos and related series since the late 80’s. He draws from Slavic folktales as part of his inspiration and it definitely shows. One of his other series set in the same world was written much in tone and voice as Dumas’ “Three Musketeers”. It was highly entertaining.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 8, 2013, 3:25 am

Candide, by that Voltaire fellow had some good moments.

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: September 8, 2013, 3:46 am

Barbara Hambly’s stuff is pretty good – she spreads herself out over a few series’ instead of pounding one world into hte ground…

Comment from mojo
Time: September 8, 2013, 4:27 am

Dragged on a bit?

Ya think?

Comment from Dan Patterson
Time: September 8, 2013, 12:28 pm

Ye shall be burned at the stake as a heretic!
Else we shall throw ye in yonder pond to see if thou floatest!

Comment from surly ermine
Time: September 8, 2013, 1:15 pm

I agree Mike C. We took our daughter to one of the midnight releases, don’t remember which book. I wanted the spectacle to encourage her with reading. That even now, books are still relevant. Show her that all the movies she likes start out as an idea from someones imagination put down on a piece of paper. All the nerds hyped enough to come out past bed-time, many in costume, because of a book… loved it. I told her she would probably never see the likes of this again.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 8, 2013, 4:20 pm

I’ve only read Those Who Hunt the Night by Hambly but I really liked it. Would make a terrific movie.

Comment from Tibby
Time: September 8, 2013, 11:59 pm

Read the Benjamin January series by Hambly, but it isn’t fantasy. The main character is a free black man in pre civil era New Orleans, Doesn’t go off the deep end, and very good reading!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: September 9, 2013, 12:59 pm

I enjoyed the HP novels, because they were beautifully designed to grab a segment of readership — junior high school kids — and yet grabbed so many more people. Plus each one had a solid mystery element woven in, and neat touches of humor. And Harry and his friends are heroes, loyal to each other and to an ideal. Compared to what I’ve read about young adult fiction these days, which seems to trend to the dark and unpleasant (incest as part of a main character’s backstory???), Rowling’s work is worthy of reading and being remembered.

I write the stuff myself. But most fantasy I pick up bores me. Every one of ’em seems to start off with someone in a castle, looking out a window, remembering The Good Old Days When King Arglebargle Ruled the Land, and I lose interest fast. There’s Larry Niven’s classic Magic Goes Away, Fred Saberhagen’s Empire of the East and the Books of Swords, and Poul Anderson’s Operation Chaos. Not too much else.

I tried GRRM’s Game of Thrones. Enjoyable, but they should put the cast of characters and their relationships at the front of the book. Until I watched the first episode of the TV series, I was kind of lost. Didn’t seem very fantasy-ish, either, but I understand dragons (the most overused nonhuman characters in fiction; egad, I’m tired of ’em) come into it later?

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: September 9, 2013, 3:41 pm

I fear I must confess that my favorites in the fantasy genre are the works of Terry Pratchett.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: September 9, 2013, 3:59 pm

Turtles, all the way down? Yeah, one of these days I’ll try those.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 9, 2013, 4:44 pm

Anyone have Earnest Borgnine? Sad to see him go but he was awful old. He still had it in RED, even at his age.

Comment from jc
Time: September 9, 2013, 8:10 pm

Elmore Leonard, he daid.

Comment from jc
Time: September 9, 2013, 8:11 pm

Evidently, almost two weeks ago.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 9, 2013, 9:36 pm

Borgnine died last Summer, Christopher.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 10, 2013, 3:01 pm

Oh that’s very different… never mind!
/emily litella

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny