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NOT Harry Potter - Stop the Insanity

Updated on September 20, 2013

NOT Harry Potter

Every so often a book or movie comes out about a bunch of kids doing something and the reviewers immediately draw comparisons to Harry Potter.

Every story does not relate to Harry Potter.

I just read four reviews for the new movie, “Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters” and they all try to draw comparisons to Harry Potter. Enough already. There will always be similar concepts in stories involving kids but to refer to Camp Half-Blood as a “Hogwarts-esque” place for the campers is just plain ridiculous. I’ve seen this a lot lately and it’s disrespectful on too many levels. Harry Potter is the biggest grossing film series of all time. It isn’t fair to any series to be compared to Harry Potter for any reason. I’m sure Rick Riordan, the writer of the Percy Jackson series, would love for the movies based on his books to do as much business as the Harry Potter movies. In fact, I’m sure EVERY author with a series based on kids would love to recapture that magic but it’s just not practical to compare every kid-related story to the Harry Potter books.

Percy Jackson Movies

Similar? Well kinda, Sorta, Maybe

I'm sure J.K. Rowling gets a kick out of that too. It's just not a fair comparison to put up any kid-related story to Harry Potter. Rowling achieved great success with the books and the movies that will likely never be duplicated. Is it fair to hold up Percy Jackson, or the Spiderwick Chronicles, or anything else, to the same standard. Do we consider the Percy Jackson movies failures for not making the same money as the Potter movies? Where do the ridiculous comparisons end?

I, myself am in the middle of writing a story based on a kid in a medieval fantasy setting. Yes he has several friends who he works with (his little band of thieves). Yes, he eventually has an old mentor (like a Dumbledore) and a relatively safe place to stay (like a Hogwarts). Does this mean my story will ultimately be compared to Harry Potter (should I choose to make it available)?

My character thinks he’s an orphan and he knows he’s powerful (not magic, psionics which is more related to brain power) but he leads a small pack of thieves in a large city. Many psionicists can feel his power and are drawing closer to him, most are not friendly. He is lured into a robbery and carried off by a friendly psionicist into the surrounding forest to keep him safe. He is actually a displaced noble, the youngest child of a murdered Duke. Though he doesn’t know it, there are three older sisters who will eventually come looking for him (from different directions and with their own teams) and they will attempt to put their family back together.

Does that sound like a Harry Potter-like story? This story actually takes place before the three novels I have already written (never published) and gives readers a look into the younger life of Lord Kolius, the protagonist in my three novels who is in his fifties. Sure, I'm not a professional writer, but Rick Riordan is. How should he react to the foolishness that is comparing Harry Potter to Percy Jackson?

My point is this: Please stop comparing every kid-themed story to Harry Potter.

Harry Potter - A Different Scale

Comparing Movies Is Even Worse!

Making matters worse is that people are comparing these movies as if they should be on equal ground. They aren't. They never have been. The last Potter movie made more money in it's first week than the Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movie is likely to make in it's entire release. They are on a completely different scale with different audience bases. Don't think so? How many adults do you know who know anything about Harry Potter. I bet it's quite a few.

Now compare that to the number of adults you know who can talk about the Percy Jackson series. I bet the number isn't close - and that's not saying ANYTHING bad about the Percy Jackson series. Harry Potter is just on a completely different level. Even among kids, the difference is huge. My daughter loves the Harry Potter series but has no interest in the Percy Jackson series. When the announcement this past week came out that J.K. Rowling is working on a Potter-world related screenplay for a new movie, my daughter text me immediately. She was thrilled - and the movie has nothing to do with Harry, Hermione and Ron - and she is still thrilled to go back to Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. Not so for Camp Half-blood.

Again, it's nothing against any other series - but it's just not a fair comparison and it really takes away from these other books/movies when it really shouldn't. Read/View these titles on their own merit and throw the comparisons to Harry Potter out the window.


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