Mapping the World of the Sorcerer's Apprentice: An Unauthorized Exploration of the Harry Potter Series Paperback – Dec 11 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a collection of 14 essays written by sci-fi and fantasy authors. Editor Mercedes Lackey contributes one of the essays herself, "Harry Potter and the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Counsellor," an amusing and only somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at why Harry could benefit from PTSD counselling.
Other essays in the book are equally as compelling: "The Dursleys as Social Commentary," a look at how Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and cousin Dudley embody the worst of human nature; "Hermione Granger and the Charge of Sexism," an examination of the way males and females are portrayed in the Harry Potter series; and one of my personal favourites, "The Proper Wizard's Guide to Good Manners," in which a Muggle examines a famous wizard book about how wizards should conduct themselves while in the Muggle world, and finds it wanting.
This book is a great addition to the thinking man's (and woman's!) Harry Potter library.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As with any compilation of work by several different authors, the quality of the essays is uneven at best. The contributors stretch to come up with original ways to look at the series and, inevitably, they sometimes fail. The ones that fell the flattest, in my view, were "The Proper Wizard's Guide to Good Manners" (Roxanne Longstreet Conrad) and "Harry Potter and the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Counselor" (Mercedes Lackey).
At least, however, those two essays were near the end of the book. Throughout my reading, I never changed my view that the first essay, "Harry Potter and the Young Man's Mistake" (Daniel P. Moloney), was the one with the profoundest insight and most thoughtful probing of the pitfalls that Harry faces in his final struggle against Voldemort. Honorable mention also goes to "Harry Potter and the End of Religion" (Marguerite Krause) and "It's All About God" (Elisabeth DeVos), which should be mutually exclusive but, surprisingly, don't seem to be; "Hermione Granger and the Charge of Sexism" (Sarah Zettel), which should (but won't) dispose of that one once and for all; and "Why Killing Harry is the Worst Outcome for Voldemort" (Richard Garfinkle). All in all, a very enjoyable and satisfying read.
Mapping the World of Harry Potter, however, is quickly becoming one of my favorite books. The essays are smart, funny, and well-written and have prompted me to look at my Harry Potter books in a new light. The essay on fanfiction Snape alone is worth the price of the book! (Though I wouldn't recommend reading it while drinking anything, particularly if you aren't familiar with fanfic!Snape. I may never recover from that.)
I highly encourage any "grown up" HP fans to read this book.
Complete through book six, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," this collection of essays takes a look at why and how the Harry Potter series appeals or angers people. There are essays on religion, education, politics, feminism, and more.
"Mapping the World of Harry Potter" mostly added to my enjoyment of J. K. Rowling's series; some of the essays gave me a lot to think about for the next time I reread the series.
Here is a list of the essays:
-Harry Potter and the Young Man's Mistake, by Daniel P. Moloney
-The Dursleys as Social Commentary, by Roberta Gellis
-To Sir, With Love, by Joyce Millman
-Harry Potter and the End of Religion, by Marguerite Krause
-It's All About God, by Elisabeth DeVos
-Hermione Granger and the Charge of Sexism, by Sarah Zettel
-Neville Longbottom: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Martha Wells
-Why Dumbledore Had to Die, by Lawrence Watt-Evans
-From Azkaban to Abu Ghraib, by Adam-Troy Castro
-Ich Bin Ein Hufflepuff, by Susan R. Matthews
-Harry Potter as Schooldays Novel, by James Gunn
-Harry Potter and the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Counselor, by Mercedes Lackey
-The Proper Wizard's Guide to Good Manners, by Roxanne Longstreet Conrad
-Why Killing Harry Is the Worst Outcome for Voldemort, by Richard Garfinkle
While "Mapping Harry Potter" was written before the publication of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the essays are still worthwhile reading. All are authored by writers of science fiction and fantasy novels, and I plan to check out the work of several of the contributors.
I think my favorite was "To Sir, With Love," an essay on fanfiction and Professor Snape. I appreciated Joyce Millman's wit and humor, and I think I'll look up a few of the stories mentioned. I also enjoyed "Harry Potter as Schooldays Novel," which gave history on the tradition of British schooldays novels. I had heard Harry Potter referred to as that, but had no clue what it meant. Now I do, and it's a subgenre I plan to learn more about. I found "Why Killing Harry is the Worst Outcome for Voldemort" particularly clever, and something only the mind of a science fiction writer could create.
"The Proper Wizard's Guide to Good Manners" was my least favorite; I don't really see it as an essay but more fiction, and was a bit baffled while reading it.
I would recommend this for adult readers looking to expand their knowledge or thoughts on Harry, as some of the subject matter and language levels are above young fans.
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