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Granny Weatherwax could so totally own Harry Potter.

Terry Pratchett's mad as hell and won't take it anymore, according to the BBC's website:

[Time] magazine also said Rowling reinvented fantasy fiction, which was previously stuck in "an idealised, romanticised, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to Greensleeves".

Pratchett, whose first fantasy novel was published 34 years ago, wrote to the Sunday Times saying the genre had always been "edgy and inventive".

"Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised the genre, writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and bent it to their times," he wrote.

"It has also contained come of the very best, most accessible writing for children, by writers who seldom get the acknowledgement they deserve."

He also expressed surprise at Rowling's comments that she only realised Harry Potter was fantasy after the first book was published.

"I'm not the world's greatest expert," he wrote.
"But I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?"

Much as I'd like to see Pratchett and Rowling get in the ring to settle the matter, I can sort of see how Rowling could have failed to decide from those clues that she was writing fantasy. If she believed that fantasy literature was indeed, as she put it, "an idealised, romanticised, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to Greensleeves", which is not beyond the bounds of possibility, because to many, fantasy literature still has that reputation1), then I can't actually blame her for not wanting to read that stuff, or indeed for not classifying her own works as fantasy.
But she's had a few years to get caught up. There have been accusations of plagiarism from Neil Gaiman's work and other fantasy oeuvres. I don't think these accusations are justified but they should have piqued her curiosity somewhat.

By the way, in case anyone was interested, I quite liked The Half-Blood Prince although it's not my favorite of the series. Pratchet's last four or so novels have all disappointed me. Both authors need a kick in the arse, if you ask me. So fight! Fight!

Update/Addendum: Quoth Neil Gaiman:

Er, dunno. I read the Time article and thought it was astonishingly badly written and worse researched. The bit that puzzled me the most was that I remembered interviews with Ms. Rowling where she loved the Narnia books (it was a few seconds of Googling to find a 1998 Telegraph interview where, "Even now, if I was in a room with one of the Narnia books I would pick it up like a shot and re-read it."
as opposed to the Time version of Rowling has never finished The Lord of the Rings. She hasn't even read all of C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels, which her books get compared to a lot. There's something about Lewis' sentimentality about children that gets on her nerves.

The version of the history of "fantasy" that the article's writer paints is utter bollocks, and I assume Terry decided that needed to be said. I didn't see it as a swipe at Ms Rowling, though, but as a swipe against lazy journalists -- but "Pratchett Anger At Shoddy Journalism" is a much less exciting headline than the one the BBC came up with.

(I remember when Terry said some very sensible and good-natured things about the power of fantasy at the Carnegie Medals (in this speech, read it first), the headlines were all along the lines of "Pratchett takes swipe at Rowling, Tolkien"....)

Mostly what it makes me think of is the poem in Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest's NEW MAPS OF HELL, which went, from memory,

"SF's no good!" they bellow till we're deaf.
"But this is good." "Well, then it's not SF."

And it's an odd double-standard that applies to all genre work as much as to SF. It's always been easier for journalists to go for the black and white simplicities of beginning with the assumption that the entire body of SF (or Fantasy, or Comics, or Horror, or whatever the area is under discussion) is and always has been fundamentally without merit -- which means that if you like someone's work, whether it's J.G. Ballard or Bill Gibson or Peter Straub or Alan Moore or Susanna Clarke or J.K. Rowling -- or Terry Pratchett -- it's easier simply to depict them as not being part of that subset. I'm not sure that writing letters to the Times will ever fix that, though.

1)Indeed, from reading Limyaael's attempts at beating some sense into the thick heads of many fantasy writers (ranging from fanfic authors to big name bestseller writers), there's still far too much of that stuff about.


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