Harry Potter and Dorothy Sayers

Út 07 dubna 2020

(my comments on the thread “Overused tropes” by u/Aa11yah)

OK, I will suggest a very weird book for reading. The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers (yes, the author of detective stories with Lord Peter Wimsey) is one of the best books on the art of writing stories I have ever read. Yes, it is on its face a theological pamphlet on the Trinity, and given that, it will be probably unpalatable for some, but underneath the theological is also an absolute gem of the literary theory by somebody who actually knows a thing or two about writing. Highly recommended.

The fundamental problem of HP/fantasy crossovers is that HP is actually not a fantasy, or at least not in the conventional meaning of ninety percent of all fantasy stories. Coming from the Sayers’ book, I would suggest that there is some kind of spirit or atmosphere of HP universe, and book or story violating this spirit will feel wrong. For example, I am firmly persuaded that any crossover between HP books, which are in my opinion what I call elsewhere “a magicians’ realism”, rather pedestrian, egalitarian, realist, modernist and quite rationalist, and semi-mystical/super-natural universe (e.g., Marvel-type superheroes, or vampires) is by its substance doomed to fail, because these two universes have too different spirits to mesh together. Similarly, the very idea of the feudal (or even earlier) highly unequal society in the twentieth century HP universe is in my opinion doomed to fail. The same goes for Harry Potter being ultra-rich (meaning, owning ridiculously large part of the Great Britain).

There are very few exceptions (e.g., I liked Operation Wandless by EllianaDunla or Muggle Interface Team by Northumbrian, which has just a whiff of the crossover with Being Human), but they can easily fit in those mentioned ten percent.

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