Book Chat: Can a true fan be critical?

I have been asking myself that question lately, and wanted to discuss it with you. If you rate a book only four instead of five stars on Goodreads, can you truly say you love it? If you don’t like the author of your favourite book, can you truly appreciate their work?

My answer is yes. I’m aware that I am a critical person. And me being a feminist and a member of the LGBT community and caring about equality and basic human rights have something to do with that. I care about these topics, so it will obviously bother me more than those who don’t care about it, when things aren’t portrayed well.

Since my childhood, I have been a huge fan of everything that’s even remotely related to Harry Potter. Lately, however, I have been more and more critical of the author who created my favourite universe in the world: J.K Rowling. I’m not very vocal about my critiques, since so many people think she can do no wrong. And that’s not right. I shouldn’t be afraid to express my opinion, as long as I don’t insult or hurt anyone else.

Example 1: Is Dumbledore really gay?

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I don’t think J.K. Rowling deserves any praise about that, no. Just because she says so, doesn’t make it true. It’s not in the books. Of course, if you really, really pay attention to it, you might say “Oh yeah, I see it now”, but she didn’t dare to give us actual represenation of an LGBT character. She played it safe. And I don’t appreciate that. It’s queer baiting. Her excuse is that it didn’t matter to Harry’s story. I call bullshit. We do find out about other, of course heterosexual, pairings.

Obviously I’m not denying that Dumbledore is gay, but I’m angry that J.K. Rowling didn’t include it in her series. It’s easy to say it afterwards, when it won’t affect the sales of your books.

Example 2: Is Hermione a POC?

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So, if we look at the books, Hermione’s skin colour is never specified. In the films, her skin is white. In the play, however, Hermione is portrayed by a black woman. I think it’s great they finally added some diversity to the Harry Potter series. I don’t agree with those who dislike the idea of Hermione being a POC, let’s make that very clear. I, however, dislike the fact that, once again, J.K. Rowling didn’t add the diversity in the series herself. Yes, if she didn’t specify Hermione’s skin colour, everyone could have related to her. But how much more meaningful would it have been if one of the main characters in this series was canonly a POC?


Now, you might think I don’t have any problems with my favourite books, but only with the author. While that is partially true, I will never say the Harry Potter series is 100% perfect. While my sister was reading the books, she told me how sexist they could be; like the way Harry treated Cho or how only the girls treated Fleur badly. Still, it’s my favourite series in the entire world and each time I read it, it feels like coming home.


Another series I love and adore is The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I especially love the characters. When The Raven King was released in April, I immediately read it. It was very emotional; I cried about a hundred times. Still, I felt disappointed afterwards. Even though I got what I wanted, I had still expected something more.

So, can I truly say I love this series, while whenever I think about the final instalment, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth? Are you only a ‘real’ fan if you gave every book five stars and can’t say anything badly about it?


Let me know in the comments what you think! I’m very interested to hear your thoughts! I think the answer is yes; being a fan doesn’t mean you have to approve everything.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Book Chat: Can a true fan be critical?

  1. Ashleigh says:

    I completely agree with you! I’m the same about Harry Potter – like you say, it’s very easy for JK Rowling to say these things now. To say things like “well I never specified”…well yes, exactly. It just doesn’t seem as truthful. But still, I adore the series with everything I have. (I felt the same about The Raven King by the way. Wayyyyy too much build up.)
    There’s plenty of books I’m a fan of that aren’t rated 5 stars, but either 4 or 4.5! I’d still freak out if I had it signed or met the author or something though, it doesn’t effect that 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • romweasley says:

      Hi Ashleigh! I agree with everything you’ve said 🙂
      I haven’t Cursed Child myself (no post on Sundays…) but I’ve read some spoilers and it seems awful. I think a lot of people will feel obligated to give it five stars, or else they’re not considered ‘true fans’. That’s why I made this post. If CC is as bad as some say, I will be honest about it, but I will still love Harry Potter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ashleigh says:

        I’m currently reading it and I’m really enjoying it, so I’m quite sad to hear that some people aren’t enjoying it that much! I suppose it IS really different reading a script than a normal novel though!

        Like

  2. julzbooks says:

    First of all, it’s really difficult to decide what “true fan” means, I guess. Some people think that they’re true fans, because the love a book. Some people – because they read, for example, The Raven Boys when it first came out, and had to wait for yeeears for the final book, some of them think that reading books later than them makes you not a “true” fan. It’s pretty ridiculous, though. Anyway, for me a fan (I can’t refer to it as a “true” one; it’s pretty subjective 😉 is a person that simply loves a book, maybe, he/she is more obsessed with it than a usual reader.
    I completely agree that fans can be critical. Moreover, I think that true fans may be even MORE critical than usual “passer-by” readers. Why? Because most likely they read the book for a couple of times, so they can notice more details and, therefore, inconsistencies and flaws.
    I loved The Raven Cycle too, as you know, but I’m still unsatisfied with the ending and I see a lot of flaws there, but it doesn’t diminish my love for the book that made me cry and smile and gave me a lot of amazing emotions.
    I also have a couple of books that got 2-3-4 stars from me, but I still think they were worth reading, ’cause they held an interesting concept/were educational at some parts/gave me feelings. Like I loved Max Barry’s Lexicon, but the ending was really bad written for my taste, so even though I intended to give it 5 stars, I gave it 3 stars after finishing it. But I still recommend it to everyone and I still love its idea, although I don’t agree with the author about the ending.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chelsea ⚡️romweasley says:

      Hi! Well, with ‘true’ fan I actually meant people who aren’t just casual fans. I really consider myself a die-hard HP fan, but I’m not going to pretend J.K. Rowling is ‘queen’ and the books are flawless. And that’s the point I was trying to get across. Like you said, I also think ‘true’ fans may be even more critical. But the series is so popular, I think people might be afraid to say something negative. I haven’t read Cursed Child yet, but I’m 99% sure I won’t like it. And I won’t give it 5 stars just because it’s set in my favourite universe. If I don’t like it, I will be honest about it.

      I’m still bitter about The Raven King 😦 But I still love TRC so much! I was watching some Vines yesterday on Twitter where someone said ‘this is Ronan’ or ‘this is Blue and Noah’ and they were so true. Moments like that, I realise how much I miss these characters. When I first finished TRK, I thought I had to either love it or hate it and that’s why I gave it five stars. But now I realise that’s not true. I can still say I love this series without loving EVERYTHING Stiefvater wrote.

      Like

      • julzbooks says:

        It’s a shame nowadays a lot of people don’t get what “an opinion” means. Lately I’ve been coming across a lot of comments saying “your opinion is wrong”/”you can’t say that about Rowling/Martin/anybody”… well, I can, you can, everyone can! Opinions are always subjective, but they still have right to exist.
        I’m pretty sure a lot of people won’t post their negative reviews (I’m not saying no one will, though) on the Cursed Child, ’cause the pressure in the community, alas, may be too harsh, And it’s sad! When I’m planning to read something, sometimes I form my decision (whether to spend money or not) based on the reviews or ratings, so negative reviews DO mean a lot. From time to time I read negative reviews even of the books I’m a fan of, and even though with some parts I don’t agree, I can see the flaws reviewers mention and IT’S OKAY. I don’t know why some people like to start fights, if someone didn’t like their favorite book. And otherwise as well: if you don’t like the book, what’s the point with starting an argument telling people that did like the book that they’re wroong? So childish.

        As for Stiefvater, I guess now I love her series IN GENERAL: some books less (BLLB except for some parts, TRK), some more (TDT is indeed one of the best books I’ve ever read), but my general opinion about the series is that it’s absolutely brilliant. Not flawless, but it doesn’t really matter. Only a Sith deals in absolutes 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chelsea ⚡️romweasley says:

          You are absolutely right! I have been seeing a lot of hate towards people recently, especially on Goodreads. I used to ignore it, but the hate won’t stop, so I confront them. Even if it’s not on my own review. Like I wrote a review on why I didn’t want to read ACOMAF and I got so much hate. I get why I probably shouldn’t judge the book before reading it myself, but I know I’m going to heard it, I’ve read plenty of spoilers. Yet people tell me I’m wrong, I don’t have the right to say that because I didn’t read it… but in the rudest way possible. If they think that’s going to change my mind, they’re wrong.

          A couple of weeks ago, a girl was being rude on someone’s review on Goodreads. So I told her she shouldn’t create an account just to attack people who didn’t enjoy her favourite book. one of the things I said was : “I have to say you come across as incredibly rude. It’s not going to get you very far. By posting these nasty comments, you won’t convince anyone to love the book […]” and she literally replied: “I doubt that but thanks. Rude people and assholes generally turn out to be the people who end up rich in life. SO THANK YOU FOR THE COMPLIMENT 🙂 ”

          I couldn’t believe what I had read. I decided to ignore her, because there is no way to make those people understand that their comments won’t make any difference.

          Anyway, I completely agree with what you’ve said. It’s not doing anyone any favours if you pretend to like everything, besides the author and the fans who can’t accept different opinions. They’re only fooling other people into buying something they might not enjoy. That’s why reviews should be honest. Seriously, people on Goodreads need to chill. I’d never comment on someone’s review that “they’re wrong” or “don’t appreciate good writing”. If I really, really disagree with them or their opinion is just sexist, homophobic… whatever, I unfollow them. No need to start drama!

          Like

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