A recent discussion on a Christian Fantasy Reader/Writer group I participate in had a question posed. Can you be too old for Harry Potter. Thought I\’d post my answer here as well.
I guess the question becomes, are you ever too old for a good story?
I\’m a forty year old mom. I have friends who never read any fiction, no time, they have grown up things to do. Does that make them more mature and grown up? I also have some fellow moms that called me first thing in morning after finishing HP6, so we could have \”adult conversation\” about the end of the book. Our town had at least 9 HP events, mostly because I live in University town. The students were well represented at the late night bookstore parties.
I guess where I\’m going with this is that it comes down to the nature of great children\’s writing. What should separate children\’s writing from writing aimed at adults is not skill or quality, but topic. There are topics that kids aren\’t interested in. But when writers write \”down\” for children, the books aren\’t beloved by anyone. Rowling succeeds because she wrote a book (series) that she would love to
read. Marketing aside, she wrote for herself. She wrote from her intelligence and assumed her readers had some degree of intelligence themselves. There\’s an excellent discussion of this in a book called \”Walking on Water\”, a book on Christianity and the craft of writing by Madeleine L\’Engle, the woman who wrote \”A Wrinkle in Time.\”
I think we all can relate to being orphans waiting for our \”real\” family to take us to our real home. I can\’t count the number of fantasy daydreams I had about being secretly adopted and my real parents would come fetch me any day. Of course, my husband, who had a happier childhood, didn\’t have those daydreams. But the core of all this is the inner desire to be special, to set apart for great deeds, and to be loved by a sacrificial love. The heart of the gospel. Harry Potter had these yearnings and Rowling communicates them all. And then for him they came true. And that\’s what we all wish.