Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)

Creators

J. K. Rowling (writer).

Extent

Read cursively.

Commentary

Compare it to Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) (for which I have not read Norton’s 1943 original). The magic system is very similar; the main thing you need to work magic is a phrase for each spell. In the Potterverse you also need a wand, whereas in the Bedknobverse you need to believe: The Tinkerbell effect. Thankfully, Rowling replaced most of the other bullshit, including most of the anthropomorphism and the near-Wolfenstein level of violence (the movie has Angela Lansbury flying her broom through a hail of Leuchtspurmunition) with a semblance of fantasy worldbuilding. It’s strangely half-baked: Even in a world where mages are easily proven to be real and have some significant interplay with human society in general, ordinary people are disparaged as “muggles” and care nothing for magic. This is rather like the eyewitnesses in biblical stories who can’t be bothered to incorporate the miracles they see into their worldview, and it happens for the same reason: Narcissism. The kids reading Harry Potter want to believe that ordinary people are soulless fools, and so did the authors of The Bible (ca. 110 CE). I’m surprised that either book was such a hit.

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Adaptation:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) IMDb

Commentary

The book is not much better, but it has less ADHD.

References here: Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017).

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Sequel:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) IMDb

Sequel:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) IMDb

Sequel:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) IMDb

Sequel:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) IMDb

Commentary

By this point I’m struck by the impotence of magic in this setting. It’s still all pyrotechnics. For all the remote sensing, mind reading and literal prophecy available, nobody is availed. The organizations are blind and stupid, their conflicts crude and quaint.

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