15 Dec 2013

Visions of Authority in Fantasy

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Peter Blair contends that popular fiction written for young people is prone to channel directly from the culture’s psyche. The replacement of the Harry Potter series in the bestseller list with Hunger Games books may indicate that the popular attitude toward authority has grown increasingly negative.

The Hunger Games and Harry Potter are among the two most successful and influential cross-media franchises in recent decades. The books were widely read, the movies widely watched, and the arrival of a new book or movie in the series was a big cultural moment. When pop culture objects become as wildly popular as these two series, they often take on a greater importance and resonance than those who occasioned them intended. We can only speculate, but in light of the enduring success of the latest Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, it’s possible to read the evolution between these two series as a sort of hardening of heart toward government that reflects the increasing anger Americans feel towards political authority.

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