There would be few people who had not heard of J.K. Rowling’s bestselling fantasy series about the young wizard Harry Potter.
- So what is so good about Harry Potter?
- Do the books live up all the hype?
- At what age are they suitable for children to read?
We will deal with these questions one by one.
What is so good about Harry Potter?
Essentially the novels are about growing up. Over the course of the Harry Potter series we see Harry develop his own moral code and develop strong values, resilience and supportive friendships.
A theme throughout the novels is the orphan Harry’s attempts to find a sense of belonging and family. A different stages in the books Harry finds “father figures” such as Dumbledore, Harry’s school Headmaster and his godfather.
Sense of humour and plays on words
J.K. Rowling’s writing makes clever use of language with double meanings and hidden jokes. For example, if we brake down the name of Harry’s arch-enemy, Lord Voldemort, we see that “vole” means rodent. “Mort” means death in French and in English means the note sounded on a hunting horn at the death of a deer.
There are scenes, particularly in the first book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” (later called “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) which are reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s writing and humour. Namely these are some of the storylines which centre around the Dursley family, who Harry lives with at the beginning of the story. Another example, is when Harry’s nagging aunt is inflated like a helium balloon in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.
Magical descriptions and ideas
The books involve fantastic descriptions. Many children will particularly enjoy the descriptions of the magical feasts at Harry’s school, Hogwarts. There are also many magical characters, descriptions, histories and mysteries to enjoy in the Harry Potter world.
Problems in real life
The books are set in a magical world. However, many children will be able to identify with the problems that Harry and his friends encounter. They include dealing with difficult teachers, making friends, performing on the school sports team and completing school work.
Do the books live up all the hype?
If the popularity of the films and books are anything to go by then the Harry Potter series is truly a set of books that have lived up to their good publicity. They are one of the great series that both adults and children can delight in. The characters are enjoyable and most people can identify with the many character “types” in the books.
One of the reasons readers have remained so involved in the seven set series is that Harry Potter books features plot twists galore. J.K. Rowling manages to consistently surprise her readers. However, readers can also enjoy picking up clues in the language and word plays used throughout the books.
Each book builds on the storyline. So these books are best read in entirety to truly appreciate the series.
At what age are they suitable for children to read?
Depending on their maturity, Harry Potter, especially the first book, could be read by children around ten years of age. However, if the child is on the young side, an adult might choose to read the books with them.
You would not expect a younger child to understand some of the word plays. Likewise, some of the themes in the books are rather dark, particularly as the series develop.
There is of course a series of Harry Potter films. It is recommended that the books are read first before watching the films. That way children can imagine the storyline the way they want it to be without having preconceived ides. Also, the films can be scary for younger children.
The Harry Potter series are also the types of books you can come back to. There are enough details to gain further insights and enjoyment when you revisit the stories.
The Harry Potter seven book set makes a great gift.
The Harry Potter eight DVD set is a great option to compliment the books.