BEDM: Popular Culture References in Books

Popular culture references are something that cannot be avoided. They’re everywhere and we make them in day to day life more than we’d imagine. They are popping up in songs, movies and even more commonly, books.

The last few books I’ve read have had some very heavy popular culture references included in them. I’m talking about Harry Pottein particular. I love Harry Potter as much as the next person, and I really do love involving other popular culture aspects in the newly written books or movies. However, I really hope this trend of including J.K’s famous series in books will stop.

A few years ago Rainbow Rowell released Fangirl. I’m sure you’ve all read it or at least know about it; everyone does. Included in this was FanFiction about Simon Snow which seemed very similar to Harry Potter in many aspects. Personally, this was the only part of the book I did not enjoy. Later came the release of Carry On, a full length novel of the Simon Snow FanFiction that was discussed. Thus making it acceptable to reference Harry Potter in pretty much everything out there.

This has only recently come to my attention when the last two books I’ve read both have had very large amounts of Harry Potter references within them. To spells, the trio or whatever else they can come up with, Harry Potter is mentioned in force.

For me, that really puts me off a book. Yes the seven book series has become an integral part of our generations lives. We literally thrive for a story about a famous wizard. However, it’s being mentioned in these books far more than is talked about in real life. It’s very rare in a novel, YA or adult, things are mentioned that coincide with real life. For example movies that have been released. If these are mentioned it’s in passing comment. But characters in stories now have inside jobs about Harry Potter, or the author is making reference to it within the writing. It’s not something that constantly needs to be referenced.

Harry Potter is very much a fictional world, and I struggle to be comfortable with references to that fictional world within other YA fictional worlds I am reading. Does that make any kind of sense? I hope it does. I have a very strong feeling about leaving Harry Potter to it’s own devices. If we start to involve it in too many things it may become quite frustrating to have it constantly pop up. It definitely does for me anyway.

I’m sure there are a lot of opinions on this, and I’d really like to hear yours in the comments or send me a tweet. Personally I hope this dies down. I enjoy Harry Potter, but as it’s original form with the stories written by Queen Rowling. I find myself sighing when I see a joke about it brought up in a YA novel made by some teenagers.

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