From: James Fishwick <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 01:53:49 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Opposing Viewpoints- Quidditch Through the Ages
One of the key ideas behind good fantasy or sci-fi is creating a believable world. Yes, the worlds by their nature have to be fantastical but they also have to be internally consistant and have a real sense of history. Look at some of the most popular sci-fi/fantasy worlds around:
-Tolkein's Middle Earth. A good set of stories, but the real clincher that turns a fairly good yarn to true genius is the sense of mythology underpinning the tale. Not only do we believe there is a history behind the events- but also we see there is a future ahead. Ideas like the piece about the evolution of the different hobbit tribes really provide the strong base for the adventures of the characters.
-The original Star Wars Trilogy. Where would Star Wars be without the history? The fact Darth Vader was not always bad, or how the Rebellion are striving to re-create a society only recently torn apart by the political manipulations of the Emperor?
-Pratchett's Diskworld. The maps and history presented in diaries and similar really make the diskworld complete. It is these that take it beyond being a spoof of fantasy novels, and in to a unique set of stories in their own right.
I could go, but I think you see the point. Developing small parts of the fantasy world, and providing a history that explains the situation makes the stories far more believable. Otherwise we would be wondering "How come the wizards haven't been mentioned in muggle writings over the past couple of centuries?" or "how on earth would such an idiosycratic game as quidditch evolve?" or "if dragons exist, how come I've never seen one?"
In my opinion the Quidditch and Mythological Creatures books really develop the world in exciting ways. The story books are good, well-written light reads but it is these two books that are by far the most inventive and imaginative. It is in these the true genius of Rowling's work (her wonderfully created, utterly believable world that co-exists with our own) really emerges.
And I personally say Quidditch is one of the best books I've read in ages. Small, yet well-detailed and a real thought provoker. Not bad for something I picked up for a couple of quid just because it was for Comic Relief :)
Of course, it could just be I'm a madman who loves reading history books for even real world events a bit too much...
St Catherine's College,
I agree with you, this book absolutely does not compare with any of the Harry Potter Books, but I also believe that this wasn't the point of it. I think what makes the Harry Potter Books so special, at least for me anyway, is that at the end of the book, you just want more, you feel the magic so badly sometimes you forget your not really at Hogwarts. Not only do you want to find out what happenes with Harry, but you also want to learn more about the whole culture and society of his world. This is what Quidditch Through the Ages was for, and although 3.99 on amazon is a bit expensive, It enhances your vision of the world.
From: Patrick Magee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Er... excuse me? I think you may have missed the point
of Quidditch through the Ages. It wasn't created to be
a brilliant masterpiece for us Potter fans, it was
written to help starving children throughout the
world. Encouraging people not to buy it seems totally
against the spirit of Harry Potter.
Interesting point -- let me take you through the economics of the publishing industry.
The margin at the bookstore is typically 50% (meaning your corner bookstore makes $2.00 off a $4.00 book). If you think $4.00 per book is going to starving children throughout the world allow me to sell you a bridge and introduce you to someone who flies through the air on Christmas Eve. If you want to help poor folks, send them money directly. I notice Scholastic did not publish an address for additional donations to this outfit. Why is that, do you suppose?