As you all know, I love JK Rowling. I think she’s lovely. But I loathe the billion dollar behemoth of Harry Potter. There are many other boy and girl wizards / other such properties that deserved a similar slot..
- Star Wars
Ok it did not do too badly and rakes in more dosh than Potter. But it remains the fact that both its prequel and sequel series possibly suffered the comparison with the Hogwarts lot? Both series use the Campbell hero journey and mythological tropes, reinvented. But Star Wars had the decency to at least rename its wizards ‘Jedi’ and invent stuff like light sabres. We now live in a world whereby Potter = the franchise stable for buying a magic wand as though JK actually invented the very concept. Wake up!
- Box of Delights
Set at Christmas. Trades off cozy teatime best of Britain imagery. Has a boy hero at its centre and twists on old myths. Kindly old mentor with big beard. Baddie dressed in black. Quasi religious and mythological motifs galore. Done on BBC in the 80s, pre Christmas fireside treat that it was. That is where Harry Potter belonged, rather than as some over inflated synonym for all things cinematic and British at once.
- The Worst Witch
A school. For wizards. And witches. Need I say more??
Made perfectly on BBC. Sadly totally ruined on film because they tried to be Harry Potter via Lord of the Rings. BBC Silver Chair features an actor called Camilla Power. She has ten times the range, charm and star quality of Emma Watson yet will never see half the dosh, alas.
- Where’s Wally?
Is it REALLY a coincidence that the initial drawings of Harry look ever so slightly like the first books many kids were looking at before graduating to the big boy and girl wizarding tales?
- James Bond
I am not a fan of young Bond fiction because the whole point of Bond is that his adventures are that of a man rather than boy. But I loathe the way Potter has displaced 007 as our primary point of cinematic patriotism. Leavesden studios was made by GoldenEye. NOT by Harrrrry Pottttter. Charlie Higson’s Young Bond novels are an ok read and at least inpire kids to go and enjoy the outdoors instead of telling them to be wizards and wallies.