On Tuesday J.K. Rowling won her first prize as an adult author, for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Unfathomable as the appeal is to me personally, I’m sure there must be a reason my sister and other people I respect read and enjoy these things. I just find it’s better not to debate Harry Potter on holidays, when everybody’s had a little too much wine.
Last year A.S. Byatt enraged Rowling fans by suggesting:
Ms Rowling’s magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip.
For Salon, Charles Taylor called Byatt’s review a “Goblet of Bile“:
Loath as I am to resurrect the old canard accusing writers or critics who dislike a popular work of art of being jealous, in Byatt’s case, it might be true.