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 is 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 her 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 it was 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 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 not 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?