Skip to comments.Pratchett anger at Rowling's rise (at Harry Potter 's author)
Posted on 07/31/2005 1:32:27 PM PDT by kiriath_jearim
Sunday, 31 July 2005, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK Pratchett anger at Rowling's rise
Author Terry Pratchett has complained that the status of Harry Potter author JK Rowling is being elevated "at the expense of other writers".
Pratchett, one of the UK's most successful novelists with 40 million books sold, said the media ignores the achievements of other fantasy authors.
He also took a sideswipe at Rowling for saying she did not realise Harry Potter was fantasy until it was published.
His comments came on Rowling's 40th birthday, also Harry Potter's birthday.
In a recent interview with Time magazine, Rowling said she was "not a huge fan of fantasy" and was trying to "subvert" the genre.
The magazine also said Rowling reinvented fantasy fiction, which was previously stuck in "an idealised, romanticised, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to Greensleeves".
Pratchett, whose first fantasy novel was published 34 years ago, wrote to the Sunday Times saying the genre had always been "edgy and inventive".
"Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised the genre, writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and bent it to their times," he wrote.
"It has also contained come of the very best, most accessible writing for children, by writers who seldom get the acknowledgement they deserve."
He also expressed surprise at Rowling's comments that she only realised Harry Potter was fantasy after the first book was published.
"I'm not the world's greatest expert," he wrote.
"But I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?"
Rowling's latest book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sold almost nine million copies in the UK and US in its first 24 hours of release on 16 July.
Meanwhile, Rowling celebrated reaching 40 on Sunday, the same day she has given as her young creation's birthday.
The author's website displayed pictures of a birthday cake and birthday card with the words: "Happy birthday Harry Potter."
Fans have been trying to deduce how old he is, with one site saying the boy wizard has now turned 25.
Terry Pratchet is not only a great writer, he's mostly right. But he still needs to get over himself. I've always had doubts about how big the "rising tide" around Harry Potter was going to be.
Oh, please, Terry, don't sink to this level. She's writing kids books - she can't come close to your level of humor. Harry Potter will never match Rincewind, Sir Sam Vimes, or (and see my tag line) the Wee, Free Men.
I read the Potter books because my daughter does - but I've never gone back and read them again. Yours on the other hand, I'll read again and again - I catch something new each time, and always find myself laughing.
Now, hurry up and get Thud to the printers.
Isn't this where the distinction really lies?
I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books (saw the movies), but most fantasy from my adolescent years seemed aimed at a teen/young adult audiences. I recall that the Harry Potter books first made news because it revitalized younger children's interest in reading novels, and large ones at that.
Terry Pratchett ping
That said, this is sour grapes.
I have been marveling, having just finished the sixth Harry Potter book at the depth that Rowling's work has reached. Her target audience has aged, mostly at the same rate as Harry, and all the teen angst, all the first date jitters, all the zeitgeist of youth is counterpointed by the demands of manhood. I have watched her write him from a mostly innocent boy, beset by bad relatives, into a young man who is rapidly taking on the mantle of leadership, of standing up to both the outright evil of Voldemort and the sleazy, half-truth evil of the Clintonian Ministry of Magic. I see nuances and subtleties in her work that are not present in Pratchett.
I find it to be the choice of McDonalds vs. Burger King. Both fine products, but they are different and distinct. For him to whine about her making money is much akin to the small businessmen who complain about Walmart. (That is, "OK, now what are you going to do to change your business to compete?")
There's no accounting for the taste of some people.
You might enjoy this :)
Pratchett is acting pretty small. What his complaint essentially amounts to, it seems, is that Rowling is selling more books than he is, and that she's not well-versed in the technicalities of genre. This is nothing but nit-picking.
Exactly what I was thinking.
I love Terry Pratchett and have been trying to collect all his books, so I know his material, and it is definitely not serious fantasy. I would think that any writer being successful at fantasy would be good for the entire genre. I hope he finds his sanity soon.
Thanks; I take a look.
Depends upon your definition.
McDonalds has a market cap of about 40 billion dollars.
He's just mad because he's been a little off his stride since that magnificent "Night Watch". I don't like his kidie fantasies (leave it to Rowling, or her superior, Diana Wynne Jones, and give us more Vimes, dude) and "Monstrous Regiment" just wasn't funny.
But. The first Discworld novel I located was on a display the night HP4 came out. I had the whole evening to read it, and I was hooked. The world's big enough for both of you, Mr. Pratchett.
David and Leigh Eddings, Harry Turtledove, Christopher Rowley and Raymond E. Feist. I have read books of each of these authors as many as eight times each.
I like writers, grab your attention and hang on.
I don'r begrudge any good author their success they have earned it.
Exactly - his comments are chiefly sour grapes.
Pratchett's a good authoir but needs to stop following the same format every book becasue he never abandons the same structure which means that even the most amusing characters can quickly become jaded.His best stuff is when he was fresh or when he switches genre and tests himself like GOod Omens with Neil Gaiman or Strata.
Hmm, I agree - best of his recent books was "Night Watch" and that was... different, somehow. It had a lot more depth and meaning to it, instead of just poking fun at a new target. I think he needs to grow as a writer a bit more. But of course I read every new Discworld as it comes out.
Woo-hoo! Just checked Amazon; Pratchett's next book, "Thud!" comes out in October and it's a Watch book, which are always my favorites.
Hey, Terry-it's called the marketplace. The last time I checked, Dean Koontz wasn't complaining about the success of Stephen King.
Granny Weatherwax is my favorite Pratchett character. But I want to be Nanny when I grow up. :-)
I dunno about serious fantasy, but IMO there's a fair amount of meat to what he writes. I loved "Maskerade" for exactly that reason - Granny's stopping a sword cut with her hand, and the results thereof, are one of my favorite bits in all of fiction.
Nice comments. I have been intrigued by the same thing myself. Her style of writing has gradually become more adult as have the story lines. Her books are 'growing up' with her target audience.
It will be interesting to see where she takes it now. Probably in ten years time we'll start to hear comments like 'I remember back when Harry Potter was for kids'.
If those young actors that play Harry, Hermione and Ron are lucky and play their cards right they could have jobs in film for the rest of their lives. It makes me wonder though if we'll ever have to see love scenes in the future Potter films...
Isn't it about time for Rincewind and The Luggage to show up again?
Very tacky by Terry. Never read him, but less inclined to after the big whine.
Now I, on the other hand, have a right to whine, I can't even get a agent.
However, I choose not to, but to appreciate all the good writers... there are so many bad ones.
Her book being a best seller does not take away from you. In fact the kids that buy her book may one day buy yours.
One word: Xanth.
Sounds like jealousy.
In 1977, I'll bet People magazine was full of articles about how George Lucas had reinvented Science Fiction, reinvigorating a staid and stodgy genre, blah, blah, blah. And I'm sure that if Asimov ever said, "nu, that's not quite right," the blogosphere would have said, "Sour grapes! Say it ain't so, Ike!"
And what's the number one rule for the crossbow, Detritus?
When Mr. Safety Catch is not engaged, Mr. Crossbow is not our friend.
I'd give just about anything to make that rumor come true.
Nah. Until I read the article, I thought that I might agree.
Pratchett pokes a little gentle fun at Rowlings' silly statement the she had not thought of HP as fantasy while she was writing it. And at the Beebs' stupid claim that fantasy had been stuck in a rut, where "an idealised, romanticised, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to Greensleeves".
Pratchett's novels are some of my favorites. At his best, he is a satirist as skilled as Twain or Swift.
I've always thought that Rowling got her ideas about the school (moving stairways, self-guarding library books, magic wand characteristics, etc) from Pratchett's work. I can see why he'd be somewhat irritated. Pratchett's books I very enjoyable. I'm sorry that they don't get the attention that Rowling's have as well.
Wow, that displays quite a breathtaking ignorance of the state of the Fantasy genre pre-Rowling.
Envy is an ugly thing.
I would follow Carrot past the Gates of Hell and back again, and would report it all to Mr. Vimes. Pratchett writes his characters with great depth and beauty, and in his own way makes me feel their joys and pains no less than Rowling...but it's still the difference between Gilbert & Sullivan and Carmen.
Granny was very careful of asking questions in Ankh-Mapork. She knew that in a city like this, curiosity didn't mearly kill the cat. It killed it, tied rocks to it, and dumped it in the river."
"The Ardchancellor of the Unseen University had very powerful intellect, but it was powerful like a locomotive; forceful, unstoppable, and very hard to steer."
Xanth: One good book, followed by ten pretty good books just like it, followed by twenty bland ones just like it with the same exact formula, followed by.....ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Heh... I once saw a praise quote from Piers Anthony about Terry Pratchett that managed to be condescending and insulting at the same time. When good ol' Piers invents a second plot and a fourth character, tell me.
Meanwhile, Discworld's full of characters as memorable as those which inhabit Rowling's world, but in different ways. Am looking forward to a new Guards novel immensely.
Love Douglas Adams and will try the Pratchett books.
It's so much better if one doesn't know too much about authors personally. (that goes for movie stars and singers, too)
I once worked for an acclaimed poet. It sure ruined his poetry for me!
Soon all writers will be unionized so that we can all get a standard product to gather dust.
I'd have to agree with that. My one addition is that I'd definitelyt reverse my normal policy regarding books to films and hope that Pratchett had no involvement with the screenplay but that's beacause he doesn't really have the bitter edge you need for that now. Gilliam on the other hand is perfect for that subtle mix of farce and fear...I hope its true - it'd be the best news I'd had in a long time.
I miust confess I'd like to see him do a Discworld novel to a different format in terms of structure and length - ie not racing it along to same breakneck conclusion in the smale length as he always does but breaking it across two books or one much larger one. On his best day he's very good but duplicating his patterns brings out his worst attributes.
How sad I am...I just googled "good omens gilliam" and the most recent info I found was from 2002. Seems as if the project is DOA. Sad, sad, sad! He would have done a marvelous job with the book.