Although I’m no Potter fan and I find her books very shallow, they’re also incredibly readable: I ploughed through the first two in two days and thought they were a damn sight better than anything else I had to hand at the time. And, without hauling those cliches back into the light about them getting kids reading books, they get kids reading books. Besides, Julian Barnes said precisely the same thing, so it can’t be a cliché. Right?
Harold Bloom, on the other hand—ailing, meticulous, geriatric, prolific Bloom—will have no truck with that bloody Rowling woman, and indeed has savaged the Harry Potter books. Now, while the weaker equivalent of some of his criticisms (they’re vapid, their morality is so basic as to be its own logical extreme of simplicity, they’re hopelessly escapist) are true, there’s no justification for the sheer strength of Bloom’s lambasting outside of some kind of old-mannish disgust. Clue: he equates her sneeringly with Stephen King, a man who can write a gorgeous, thrilling, technicolour short story with rich, interwoven plots and pencil-fine character detail.
Honestly, Bloom. Do us all an intellectual favour: call her crap, castigate her ropey prose and vilify her penchant for enslaving all to the plot, the plot, the plot. But don’t start questioning the morality of the reading or the writing of Harry Potter, because we’ve been there before with bloody Leavis and he all of a sudden stopped being invited to the right sort of parties.