Apropos of my Friday post about audience gender in Speculative Fiction, I came across this today: an article about Joanne Rowling’s mega-successful “Hermione Granger” series.
Now, I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series, and I’m also a believer in egalitarian ideals. So I get where this article is going. Essentially, it is critiquing not Harry Potter but the society that makes it such that in order to meet the goal of “appealing to both genders” the series necessarily had to be about a boy. I’ll agree, Hermione was easily the most capable character in the book, and I seriously identified more with Hermione and, say, Neville Longbottom than I really did with Harry. I didn’t have a terrible upbringing like Harry. But I was seriously good in school, and I studied and worked hard throughout. And it would’ve been cool, I thought, if the hero could’ve been someone who was like me – who was good in school and liked studying and liked knowing things. Instead, that role went to a supporting cast member.
(Now, Hermione lost me when she went ga-ga-eyed for some dumb jock, i.e. Viktor Krum.)
I disagree with the criticism leveled directly at Harry’s character in that piece, but the general criticism of society is sadly valid. Continue reading