Can you help point me to some interesting Harry Potter related reading?
November 30, 2010 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Can you help point me to some of the best and most interesting Harry Potter related reading?

Harry Potter is in the air, which puts me in the mood for some Potter-related reading. The trouble is there's a heck of a lot of stuff out there, and most of it is not particularly interesting.

But I have a feeling (esp from some of the comments on this recent FPP) that Mefites can help.

The kinds of things I might be interested in reading include thoughtful essays, insightful interviews, journalism about the social phenomenon that is Harry Potter, and possibly fanfic, if it is very good.

I enjoyed the books, but I've never been particularly involved in fandom, so there may well be writings that are well-known to hardcore Potter fans that I simply haven't heard about.

So, if you've read a lot on Harry Potter, what are your top recommendations?

Btw, you are very welcome to link to your own works if you think they fit what I'm looking for.
posted by philipy to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
One of the more interesting reads I found lately is Mark Reads Harry Potter, where a guy called Mark blogs, chapter by chapter, about his first reading of Harry Potter, including predictions. He finished that recently, and is now as well as doing a first read of the Hunger Games trilogy.
posted by jeather at 11:10 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are a few associated works by J.K. Rowling herself that you might enjoy:Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tales of Beadle the Bard, and a single chapter of an unfinished prequal.

Also, I stumbled on this page of Potter editorials just now so I can't speak to its quality.
posted by Manjusri at 11:12 AM on November 30, 2010

The Leaky Cauldron's Scribbulus project is seemingly no longer being updated, but the essays are still online - is is/was an online magazine, collecting essays (usually with a particular theme for each issue) from TLC readers/participants. Many of the essays are well-written and insightful, and all submissions needed to be approved and edited.
posted by purlgurly at 11:12 AM on November 30, 2010

Best answer: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
posted by tdismukes at 11:13 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also, Melissa Anelli (webmistress of TLC, journalist by training) is the author of "Harry, A History" which is a chronicle of the "Harry Potter pheonomenon", including an interview with (and foreward by) J.K.R., and lots of information about the "fandom".
posted by purlgurly at 11:15 AM on November 30, 2010

It was written before the last book came out, so a lot of the theory in the article is now just that -- discredited theory -- however One Last Memory is a terrific essay on the role of memory and viewpoint in the first six books.
posted by anastasiav at 11:27 AM on November 30, 2010

Best answer: and possibly fanfic, if it is very good

I almost never read fanfic—not merely Harry Potter fanfic, but any fanfic at all—and yet I couldn't put down Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness, which chronicles what's going on back at Hogwarts during the events of Deathly Hallows, with Neville as the main character.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:49 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

In the thread you linked to I talked about Harry Potter as just one of a list of books which have originated in Edinburgh. There are couple of old classics which might particularly appeal to Harry Potter fans:

1. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark: There is the obvious Maggie Smith connection but this is also a great study of school teachers and their power to do good and evil.

2. Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg. This book, about a man stalked by the devil, features a writing style which was way ahead of its time and has been an influence behind everything from 'Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde' to 'Angel Heart' and 'Fight Club'. Robert Pattinson - who played Cedric Diggory in the movies - is rumoured to be involved with a film adaptation.
posted by rongorongo at 11:50 AM on November 30, 2010

Best answer: One of my colleagues is the author of The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What Our Favorite Hero Teaches Us About Moral Choices.
posted by brozek at 12:00 PM on November 30, 2010

Best answer: These essays are well out of date since the last two books came out, but might still make for some interesting reading (the author puts more critical thought into the Harry Potter universe than J.K. Rowling ever did, for better or worse).

My friend Sam is a frighteningly prolific author who used to write a lot of really excellent Harry Potter fanfic.
posted by Zozo at 12:38 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

How Harry Cast His Spell: The Meaning Behind the Mania for J. K. Rowling's Bestselling Books looks like it might be up your (Diagon) alley.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:12 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you don't mind varying levels of gay wizard sex, I can rec you a metric fuckton of fanfic.

oh god what is my life that I even typed that sentence
posted by elizardbits at 1:15 PM on November 30, 2010 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Looks like some good suggestions there. Thanks everyone!

I haven't had time to fully read any of them yet, but I've taken a quick glance at most all of them, and overall it looks a very promising selection, with some nice surprises.

If anyone's got any more, please do keep adding to the list.
posted by philipy at 4:36 PM on November 30, 2010

I'm so glad someone's linked to Red Hen!
posted by westerly at 4:54 PM on November 30, 2010

Harry Potter & The Wastelands of Time
posted by auiricle at 6:13 PM on November 30, 2010

I don't especially like Harry Potter, and I almost never like fanfic - but I was absolutely blown away by Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, earlier cited by tdismukes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:38 AM on December 1, 2010

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