Sunday, August 4, 2013

What If: Harriet Potter instead Of Harry Potter

What if Harry Potter had been written in the POV of a girl?

No, Siriusly. What if? 
Harry and Draco even look good enough as girls. (source)
I was pretty much thinking about it when the Bechdel test was popping up around the blogosphere. You can even read more about it on Wikipedia, but if you're being totally lazy, a book could pass the test if it has at least two women talking to each other about anything else except guys. There's more to the test than just that, though.

But if you test HP with that simple requirement, it fails. I can't remember Hermoine talking at all to other girls, or my memory's just being faulty. I can remember a few instances, though, but I don't think it counts. 

In the end, I was thinking would Harry Potter have had the same success it had if it was written in the POV of a girl? The answer I came up with was "no." I blame it all on prejudice.

Classmate: Can you recommend a book to me?
Me: (insert book title here)
Classmate: Does it have romance?
Me: Well, yeah, a little . . .
Classmate: Oh.

One of the facts that HP was so successful was that anyone and everyone had read the book. But if it had been written in a different point of view, then maybe the book's audience would have been smaller. There are a lot of snobs out there who might look at a book and think, "Female author, heroine, female-ish cover. No thanks."

And covers! Would HP even have the same covers if that was the case? And the answer's a "no" too, because not only would Harry have to be replaced by a girl, but then who knows what cover designers might do? Instead of these covers (the link has comparisons of the new and old HP covers, and DID YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU LINE THE NEW VERSIONS' SPINE TOGETHER BECAUSE I DIDN'T), it might have been more feminine. Maybe there wouldn't even be that font for the title.

And then maybe it would have never been noticed by the world, and no one would have heard of it, and our childhood would have been some of the worst years of our lives, along with the years that we hit puberty.

Now, cheer up. Here's a funny GIF.

And keep laughing. (source)


  1. Hmm.... I'm not exactly sure what would happen if this were the case, but it's pretty hard to imagine Harry as anything, or anyone else other than Harry (his name is so sacred now, isn't it? Haha!). I kind of agree that if he were a she, then maybe his adventures wouldn't be so bad-ass anymore, partly because no one would believe it. I dunno, but the action scenes in the book were made for a boy, and his funny boyish thoughts made the book a helluva lot more interesting to me, though I'm female :) But we'll never really know unless it happens, and it never will. Oh well :( Great thoughts though! :D And those GIFs. HAHAHA

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :D

    2. Well, for me, that's the point. Why would some girls not think or act the way he does, without being very obviously tomboyish? So very few people write girls in such scenes, it should happen more so that it *becomes* believable! I honestly don't see why it shouldn't be, except for prejudice.

  2. Ha! I love this :D But I have to admit that if Harry Potter had been, in fact, a girl, I wouldn't have read this book. J.K. Rowling did the right thing when she wrote about a boy - it's not that I don't enjoy books from girls' points of view, but the book would have probably had more romance. I mean, let's face it, in reality, girls are more inclined than boys to think about a romance. I'm not being mean, there are girls who would rather do anything else but deal with romance, too.

    Anyway... am I making sense? I don't think so. I'm just glad Harry was a guy, the world noticed the books, the movies were made and gave my childhood so many happy memories <3

  3. Hmm interesting! I like to thnk the top 3 most successful franchises are Twilight, HP, and THG. Only one of them my guy friends have read/watched. I mean the hunger games some of my guy friends have watched and like, but it doesn't have the variety HP has. I think I wouldn't have been interested in HP had it been Harriet (that's a horrible thing to say, I know). a) because I feel the publishers would want to really bring out the girlishness of it, and make love more in the background, which would turn me off. I just wish I could read a book from a girl's POV that can appeal to both genders!

    1. I know. But usually, there's always this one tiny flaw that ruins the whole thing. But hey, at least THG has some influence.

  4. You definitely have a good point. J.K. Rowling used that name instead of Joanne Rowling so that the book would appeal to boys. Girls can read "boy books" while boys sneer at "girl books." Because apparently, girls' stories don't matter as much because they're all silly and feminine. (That was sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell.) It's ridiculous and sexist.

    And a lot of it may have to do with marketing. (That reminds me of Maureen Johnson's cover flip, actually.) Books that feature female protagonists are often promoted as romance because god forbid a girl be doing anything else with her time but look for a guy. And romance is fine in moderation, but it's not ALL girls are interested in.

    Of course, there is romance in HP, too. Marketing aside, is this acceptable because he's a boy? And teenage male heroes are supposed to get the girl? Are female MCs not allowed to have romantic feelings, lest they be called girlish and weak?

    This has basically turned into a much longer comment than I intended to leave, but it's an interesting subject!

    Sara at The Page Sage

    1. You've said it perfectly. I really wish Rowling would write something with a female protagonist, because now that she is so well known, she could really change the way boys and even girls see stories with a female main character in it. She's also one of the few people I trust would do it right.

  5. This is a scary thought and a sad one too. It's sad because you're right, Harry Potter definitely would not have been the world phenomon that it is today if Harry was a girl. Thank goodness we won't ever have to find out! :) (AND NO I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LINE ALL THE SPINES TOGETHER, THAT IS AWESOME)!!!

    1. It is, trust me, it looks so cool. I'm hating my set because the spines are so boring.

  6. Well, it would be very funny if Harry Potter were a girl ! A great idea! Haha. To be honest, I am a loyal fan of Harry Potter. I read all books about Harry Potter, and I always see Harry Potter movies with my best friends. Above all, I would like to buy my favourite cosplay costumes on the to perform on the stage as a Harry Potter cosplayer. I enjoy it very much! Now, I am curious about which role you will play in the cosplay show?

  7. To be honest, I think that I would have enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books if Harry was a girl.

    1. At the risk of sounding self-serving... I've actually rewritten the first two books, and 3/4 of the third book so far from that perspective... even doubled the length of the second book, haha. if you're still curious about a "might have been" lol.

  8. I suspect that if J.K. Rowling had instead written a "Harriet Potter" series, the female lead character would then by implication be defined as a witch and not a "sorcerer".

    Since historically and traditionally throughout literature a witch has been described in negative overtones, Rowling perhaps feared a public backlash, choosing a boy as a "safer" option for public consumption. Imagine for a moment "Harriet Potter" or even Hermione as the lead waving her wand all over the place, aggressively casting spells, etc.

    Indeed, some critics inevitably lambasted the boy sorcerer image as being too dark for children.

    Regarding the Harry Potter films, I personally was never impressed by those scenes of children sitting around that huge table acting secretive and furtive. From their presumably exclusive "school" what exactly were they supposed to "graduate to" afterwards, anyway--to potentially become adopted as their home town's "local sorcerer"? And to then to do WHAT exactly, set up a "consulting service" for the townsfolk?

    In the films, the kids rarely laughed or smiled and seemed to spend most of their time sneaking around the school at night and being caught by their "teachers" who themselves were at odds with each other.

    Some school! I'd have dropped out quite early on and have kept the knowledge of my "powers" to myself, thank you very much!

    J.K. Rowling got lucky that her character caught on, that's all. But then, who can really understand the psychology of the mass public taste, anyway?

    "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"? Come on! Who would have believed that could ever succeed either?


I'm always interested to hear people's thoughts! Feel free to include links to your blog, because it's nice meeting new book bloggers.