The Discussing Hufflepuff #3: Rereading Childhood Favourites

Last month I decided to reread the first book in one of my favourite childhood series: De Macht van het Zwaard (The Power of the Sword). I had wanted to reread this series for a while now, as it meant a lot to me back when I was a kid. I reread it over and over again, introduced me to high fantasy, the characters were my friends and I wanted to live in their world and go on adventures with them. I couldn’t understand why this series is not more popular and I’ve been shouting (mentally) from rooftops that it should be translated.

I’m not so sure about that anymore. In fact, I’m not sure at all.

The writing is meh. It’s not bad, but not mind-blowing either. The descriptions aren’t as vivid and beautiful as I once thought. Two of my favourite characters from my childhood turn out to be sexist, which I didn’t see back then because I was a kid. The romance I once admired is creepy and I don’t ship it at all. You see, when the protagonist met the love interest, she was ten, almost eleven. He was 18. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a kid having an innocent crush on an older guy, but it isΒ wrong when said man shares those feelings. THIS IS NOT OKAY AT ALL GUYS. It’s creepy and disturbing and it kind of ruins my childhood, since I shipped them so hard when I was a kid (though I didn’t know what shipping was, of course). Nothing happens between them when she’s still a kid, but he still fell in love with herΒ when she was a kid. Surely I’m not the only one who’s a bit freaked out about this?

I did enjoy rereading it, though. I was transported back into a world I once practically lived in. The other characters are still loveable (though not very three-dimensional, but it’s only the first book) and their relationships are fun to read. So are their adventures and the places they go. Rereading it warmed my heart and itΒ wasΒ fun, just not good as I remembered.

If this had been the first time I read this, I would’ve given it three stars, but I gave it four for nostalgia. I will always consider this series one of my favourites, because it meant so much Β to me for so long, but I will not praise it like I used to.

Of course I had different tastes and expectations as a kid. I hadn’t read as much and didn’t have a lot to compare it with, but I’m still disappointed it’s not as magical, exciting, mind-blowing, funny and well-written as I thought it was.

It made me wonder, how many other of my childhood favourites are actually notΒ that good? And why? Is it because they’re aimed at kids? (because I’m not so sure about De Macht van het Zwaard. The protagonist is 16 and there’s quite the violence and death). Is it because we have low expectations and not much to compare it with when we’re young? Is it because we don’t really understand three-dimensional characters and character development? Or is it because we don’t notice how creepy and disturbing and sexist books can be, because we have no knowledge of these things?

So therefore I ask YOU. Why do you think some childhood favourites turn out to be not as good as you remembered?Β 

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13 thoughts on “The Discussing Hufflepuff #3: Rereading Childhood Favourites

  1. I read some of my childhood books by Comtesse de Segur and I realized that they were less… cute than in my memories. I think that’s because my tastes have changed while growing up so what I couldn’t see or notice as a child, I now do. That’s a shame though. I feel like I’ve lost some of my childhood’s innocence :(

  2. I’m sorry you were disappointed. :/ Aside from being a different (more aware, mature, discerning) person than you were as a kid, I think we tend to remember the feelings we associated with books more than the books themselves. As a kid, for example, you might not have realized how problematic the romance was, but you remember how positively you felt about it. I tend to remember the roles books played in my life more than the books themselves.

    I’ve also definitely gone back to books I used to love and realized they were actually mediocre–and I don’t think it’s just because they were aimed at kids. Because I went back and re-read the whole A Wrinkle in Time series last year, and it’s still as wonderful as I remember. *shrugs* But maybe that’s the exception. Great discussion post! :)

    • Hmm that could be it! I always remembered how fun it was to read about their adventures, instead of really how good it actually was (or in this case wasn’t). Interesting point! :)
      Yeah the first Harry Potter books are technically aimed at kids, and they’re still as wonderful as well, so either it depends on the book or it’s also an exception haha.
      Thank you! :)

  3. This is such a true thing! There are so many books that people love as a child and then when you reread, you discover so many things that you first did not see when you were younger.
    I think this is because when we were younger, there was so much we didn’t know about the world and we were less conscious of the actually details of the story, so we skipped over it and just ended up loving the surface of the story. I think because now, we are more critical and more aware! Great topic. xoxo

  4. As a writer (and therefore still a reader) of children’s books this subject really interests me. Obviously our tastes and personality change a lot as we get older. Also some children’s books seem very definitely designed to appeal only to children (e.g. many kids love the Horrid Henry books but I can’t imagine too many still doing so in adulthood). Others date quite badly, e.g. Enid Blyton books which are very 1940s/50s with attendant attitudes to gender, class and sometimes race which often seem jarring now.

    Whereas other children’s books are so rich, multi-layered and generally well-written that their appeal never really ends. A good book is a good book and can be appreciated at any age.

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