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Friday, 14 July, 2000, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Harry Potter: Are you spellbound?

Harry Potter has cast his spell on the nation's muggles for the fourth time. But are you bewitched by this unassuming hero?

Thousands of copies have already been snapped up by children, adults and wizards alike. Many stayed up to grab their copy before bedtime on Friday and are already engrossed in matters at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Does it live up to your expectations? Did you fail to find a prized copy? Or do you think we are being sucked into the hype surrounding the young wizard's adventures?

HAVE YOUR SAY Wizards, spells and black magic are not suitable subjects for children to be reading about. These wicked books encourage belief in the occult.
Neil Pearce, UK

The miracle of the Harry Potter series is that the books not only teach children how to dream, but also remind adults to hold onto their dreams. The story of J.K. Rowling's success captivates us as much as Harry's adventures do. We all profit. Bravo Joanne!
Mark McIntyre, USA


I have found that the German translated Harry Potter books and audiocassettes are a fantastic way of learning the language

Matt, Germany (but English)
I currently live in Germany but I am not fluent in German. I have found that the German translated Harry Potter books and audiocassettes are a fantastic way of learning the language.
Matt, Germany (but English)

Anything that gives my husband and I (28) something to discuss with my nephew (9) has got to be a good thing! As for the hype? Well, at least all that secrecy meant that no one gave away the ending before it went on sale!
Jo Smith, UK

Anything that generates this much interest in a book instead of a video game can only be looked on as a good thing.
Gillian White, Scotland


I don't care about the hype if it gets him and his school mates off the playstation and away from the cartoons

Marie Stevens, UK
Harry Potter has got my 8-year-old son interested in fiction. I don't care about the hype if it gets him and his school mates off the playstation and away from the cartoons. Having persuaded him to read the first 3 weeks ago he hasn't stopped since and cant wait for me to finish number 4. This is the best so far if a little darker than the others. But it is the sign of a good book, I think he will come back to it again and again as he gets older. As for the hype...I can't wait for next years.
Marie Stevens, UK

I have a confession to make. Until last week I had never heard of Harry Potter. But I've now made amends and am eagerly awaiting a parcel from the bookshop!
Paul R, UK

As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. I find it incredibly annoying to hear people carrying on about how awful all the things they've never tried are. I've read all four books and I think that they're among the best books I've ever read, a list which includes Oliver Twist, Peter Pan and all of L.M. Montgomery's works. I'm so happy to see my younger sister and her friends (who used to avoid reading like the plague) getting excited about reading. And the message at the end of the book is one of hope, co-operation, unity and friendship. Not to mention the characters are so believable and the magical world so intriguing. And they're funny! If you're looking for a good adventure, you must read these wonderful books.
Heather, 14, Canada


The books in themselves are terrific. Sure, they are not Beowulf or Shakespeare, but there are well written and they are getting children to read

Gary Pollard, Hong Kong
It's interesting to note that almost all of those who claim the Harry Potter books are just hype are people who have never read one. I am in my forties, and I have read the Harry Potter books. No doubt there IS hype in selling them, but the publishers have ridden a wave, not created it. The books in themselves are terrific. Sure, they are not Beowulf or Shakespeare, but there are well written and they are getting children to read. Why people, and particularly those interested in literature, would resent that is a mystery to me. Must be Muggles.
Gary Pollard, Hong Kong

Bought it Saturday am, finished it Sunday am, now waiting impatiently for the next one! My son had to wait for me to read it before he even got his hands on it.
Belinda, UK

I say to John B. and Joules, give Harry a chance. It is true that our society is pummelled all the time by ridiculous hype, but you shouldn't let the hype keep you from something good. JK Rowling has done something good in creating these stories.
Neal Clayton, North Carolina, USA

OK, OK... I'm 27. And very tired. I unfortunately got the copy of the new book yesterday afternoon, and made the mistake of going to bed after having just peeked under the dust-jacket. I finally finished the book at 5am! Great writing and evolution of the characters. I'll recommend it to my 10-year-old cousins and my 55-year-old father in the same breath!
Oliver, 27, US, USA

I would like to ask John B why is it so over hyped when he hasn't even read it? I think somebody needs a holiday.
Mike, England

This book surpasses the hype. Although a little slow in one place I will definitely read it again. The last third of the book was so enthralling I skipped supper. When is number 5 coming out?
Violet, Canada


I don't know whether the Harry Potter books are fine literature or pap fiction.

Chris Hollett, UK
I don't know whether the Harry Potter books are fine literature or pap fiction, having never read them. But my 12-year-old daughter, having shunned all my wife's attempts to turn her onto the joys of reading, has now read the first three Harry Potter books and is constantly nagging for the fourth. To fill in time she has started reading everything remotely similar that she can get her hands on. That is the real magic of J K Rowling, and I will be forever grateful to her for it.
Chris Hollett, UK

Harry Potter Books are the best books in the world. They're not just an old fantasy, good beats evil story. It's amazing. The Harry Potter books are DEFINITELY NOT " over hyped or whatever. They're not boring, and they're not silly. Just try them. OK, so the first chapter is boring. They're absolutely terrific books, and everyone will love them. J. K. Rowling has created a miracle. I know, I finished the fourth book on Saturday!!! Harry Potter RULES!
Jaclyn Cohen, USA

I have read the first three books of Harry Potter; but I think that book IV is the best of them all!
J. McDaniel, 21, USA

I never read a Potter book nor do I ever hope to read one. With all this hype, it must be tripe. But like a fast food restaurant, tripe they'll be there when you need some.
Joules, USA

I'll try anything to get my granddaughter away from Pokemon. Of course, she gets them AFTER I finish reading them.
Philip Grebner, USA


It is fantastic that it has got kids reading something meaty again.

Paul, UK
I haven't read the books (nor have I even read Tolkein, which I presume is an influence), but it is fantastic that it has got kids reading something meaty again. But it is a little sad seeing all those 20 and 30 something's reading it on the train - grow up, you lot! Actually, it's not surprising: at this sort of age, people need a bit of childhood nostalgia, hence the renewed interest in shows like "Bagpuss", "Mr Benn" and "Rainbow", which moulded the minds of many a present-day lawyer, banker and day-trader!
Paul, UK

Yes, Harry Potter is about the magic of getting people to read and read and read. Seems as if this is the goal of educators through out the world. I say bring on more Harry Potter!
Vickie Reeves, USA


It is fantastic to see children this excited about something without so much as a computer game or pokemon card in sight.

Linzi, England
I am a Harry Potter fan despite being 28 years old. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. Although I have yet to read 4th, I thought the others were excellent. The characters are well defined, the plots are definitely 'can't put down' ones and there are numerous twists along the way. As for the hype - well all I can say is that it is fantastic to see children this excited about something without so much as a computer game or pokemon card in sight.
Linzi, England

J K Rowling does it again! I narrowly beat my 7-year-old daughter down the stairs on Saturday morning when the post arrived. Much to my family's disgust, I then spent the whole of Saturday reading it. I finished around midnight. My daughter has even managed to persuade her father to read her two chapters a night instead of the usual one. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Keep it up Miss Rowling and roll on the next one.
Liz Marjot, UK

I haven't read it nor am I going to. I think this book is over-hyped, just like almost everything else in this so-called society of ours.
John B, UK

JK Rowling's book has started my son, who is 12, reading for the first time. I am also hooked and we are fighting over who will read her new novel.
P. Cameron, Scotland

It's fantastic. I finished it on Sunday afternoon, and have started again already. The Harry Potter books are the best thing in children's literature ever. I am 24, no children, and no shame in reading these on the train to work!
Kate, UK


I thought that this book was the best yet

Philomena Gavin, England
I thought that this book was the best yet. I was so eager to see what happened that I finished it the day after it came out
Philomena Gavin, England

The pap in what goes for "children's books" had made it impossible for me to choose anything for my bright grandchildren. Now my 10-year-old granddaughter laps it all up (she has read the first three several times) while my 8-year-old grandson prefers Asterix and Obelix. I will continue buying H.P. stories for them.
Arsak Palabiyikyan, Switzerland

Harry Potter is a phenomenon. I never saw people waiting in crowds outside a bookstore at midnight to buy any book before. This is magical stuff, no question about it. Now, I have got to buy a copy. What a success story about a story!
Dave Adams, USA


I can't wait to get my hands on my copy - er, I mean my daughter's copy!

Jane Berry, British (temp. in the US)

I can't wait to get my hands on my copy - er, I mean my daughter's copy! Since the last one came out we have moved to the USA and, because the US covers are very different, I have ordered mine from Waterstones online. Of course if I'd known when I ordered it that my hubby would be flying to London tonight and returning on Wednesday.....
Jane Berry, British (temp. in the US)

My 10-year-old daughter made it first to the post so she is well started. Her 12-year-old brother is applying a little fraternal pressure for her to finish it. Not that it is necessary, she has hardly put the book down since it arrived.
Ian Jones, UK

I think this one is just as magical as its predecessors. My grandson has had to wait two days for me to finish it first.
Michael Porter, 70, UK

I think the new Harry Potter book is just as brilliant and magical as the first three. I think JK Rowling was really clever to start the book with a dream. I can't wait to finish reading the rest of it!
Joe Eason, 8, UK


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08 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Readers go potty for Potter


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