Rowling part of modern decay

Fill in the blank from this quote, in a J.K. Rowling Harry Potter novel: “Words are our most inexhaustible source of m_____.”

Fill in the blank from this quote, in a J.K. Rowling Harry Potter novel: “Words are our most inexhaustible source of m_____.”

The word is magic. But if you thought money, you could be excused. Rowling got wealthy as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series and all its spin-off products and profits. She is the mistress of writing to get rich by expanding some pretty thin ideas into very thick books.

I’ve just seen the last (thankfully) of the Potter films. I do not think highly of Rowling’s books; I much admire J.R.R.Tolkien however. The differences between them grew out of their mental universes and cultural roots. Rowling is doomed to be shallow by her own lack of mental furnishings, whereas Tolkien had enormous depths of mind from his profound knowledge of history, philology, and the deep traditions of his catholic christian faith. I do not wish to dump on Potter fans’ enthusiasm or maturity, but let’s have some literary perspective.

Tolkien fought in WWI trenches, where many of his friends died, and served the British war effort against Hitler, experiences of depth such that Rowling would not approach in her easier life.

Pottermania is a children’s phenomenon; Rowling wrote for young people. Tolkien’s Ring books are for adults. Mind you, sociologists and psychologists these days recognize that adulthood is delayed, in particular for males in rich nations’ societies; thus males up to 30 years old profess to Pottermania.

English readers, polled for their opinion of the greatest English work of fiction in the 20th century, have chosen Tolkien. Rowling cannot make that kind of impact, nor does she deserve to. It’s nice that ‘tweens, teens and unmatured adults like tales of English boarding school and eccentric magicians, but they will get nothing of profundity from Rowling. Tolkien, and his friend C. S. Lewis, will give readers that. Maybe Rowling is perfect for our age of hockey riots, the wars of civilization Canada wages in Libya and Afghanistan, and the daily murder of species by human causes, that we call the modern era.

I’ll end up sounding like a curmudgeon here, but the fact is our age of electronic over-stimulation and hyper-affluence is not productive of a culture that makes us think too hard. Books are hard, screens are easy and fun, and Rowling has garnered praise just for the fact that her books make kids like reading. To provoke deep thought or insights into the human condition asks too much from Potter.

Charles Jeanes

Nelson

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: L.V. Rogers sends off its grad class

Check out our pictures of the festivities

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

Nelson archers host meet

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club hosted 78 archers

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read