The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry the milk-man

6.9 million sales in 24 hours. $100 million in opening sales. 1.5 million pre-orders. Hordes of fans queuing for hours outside. Children commando rolling under security gates as they were inched open at midnight.

Sounds like a movie premier but of course in this week I can only be talking about Harry Potter.

Even I joined the mania, though at the more leisurely pace of picking it up for my girlfriend the next day while buying toilet-rolls and some milk.

I am glad a book is generating such sales. I am glad millions of children and adults alike are pouring over printed rather than Jolie-pouted words. I am glad a publishing house, an author, many bookstores and everyone else in the book industry is getting fat on Potter cream. No doubt more than a few Potter readers have branched out to other books they may never have read but for Rowling's literary train. No doubt a few have discovered the joy of reading.

But to be fair it is a mania. This is social pressure at work. I will wager my book collection that a good percentage of Potter readers do so because their friends do so. Who does die in The Half Blood Prince? If you are 10 and you don't know that then you can kiss your peer standing goodbye. What do you mean your kid doesn't have a student-wizard hat? Poor sod, he is going to have a lonely lunch break from now on.

Still, there are worse books to be riding a mania. That Dan Brown crap for one. At least Harry has a good, basic message to it. But there are better books. The Narnia series for instance, or one that might make a come-back thanks to the Depp movie; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I doubt it though. J.K. Rowling and her entourage have become expert milk-maids, the farm of young minds is lining up at the milk-shed begging to be fondled.

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