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Harry Potter: Heroic Fantasy, Murder Mystery, or Videogame?

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A presentation from February 15, 2012 by Neil Randall.

A presentation from February 15, 2012 by Neil Randall.


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  • 1. Fantasy, Mystery,or Videogame?
  • 2. I’m a …Harry Potter fanfantasy fiction fanmystery fanvideogames fanpeanut butter, maple syrup, and Blue Jays fan
  • 3. What is the Harry Potter series?it’s a Young Adult series, obviouslyexcept that, by the end, it isn’t reallybut let’s just take Young Adult as a given
  • 4. So what is the Harry Potter series? heroic fantasy? mystery? videogame?
  • 5. All of which brings us to … GENRE
  • 6.  Adventure novel  Epic  Imaginary voyage GENRE  Womens Fiction  Romance novel  Chick lit  Lost World  Bride lit  Mens adventure  Memoir  Speculative fiction  Brit lit (also known as Singleton Lit)  Milesian tale  Autobiographical novel  Science fiction  Christian chick lit  Picaresque novel (picaresco)  Slave narrative  Hard science fiction  Ethnic Chick Lit  Robinsonade  Contemporary slave narrative  Soft science fiction  Asian chick lit  Sea story  Neo-slave narrative  Space opera  Black chick lit Childrens literature  Metafiction  Punk  Indian chick lit  Young-adult fiction  Nonfiction novel  Cyberpunk  Lad lit Comic novel  Biographical novel  Dieselpunk  Hen lit  Black comedy  Autobiographical novel  Atompunk  Mommy lit  Parody  Semi-autobiographical novel  Nanopunk  Mystery chick lit  Romantic comedy  Occupational fiction  Postcyberpunk  Teen Chick Lit  Satire  Hollywood novel  Steampunk  Workplace tell-all  Picaresque novel  Legal thriller  Clockpunk  Widow lit  Political satire  Medical fiction  Biopunk  Tragedy Education fiction  Medical romance  Alternative universe  Melodrama  Campus novel  Musical fiction  Scientific romance  Urban fiction  Campus murder mystery  Lab lit  Horror  Thriller  School story  Sports fiction  Gothic fiction  Conspiracy fiction  Varsity novel  Philosophical fiction  Paranormal  Legal thriller Experimental fiction  Existentialist fiction  Southern Gothic  Medical thriller  Antinovel  Novel of ideas  Splatterpunk  Political thriller  Ergodic literature  Philosophical horror  Fantasy  Spy fiction Erotic fiction  Platonic Dialogues  by Theme  Psychological thriller  Erotic romance  Political fiction  Dark fantasy  Techno-thriller  Picaresque novel (picaresco)  Political satire  Magic realism  General Cross Genre  Womens erotica  Pulp fiction  Mythic  Historical romance Historical fiction  Religious fiction  Paranormal Fantasy  Juvenile fantasy  Historical romance  Christian fiction  Superhero fantasy  LGBT Pulp Fiction  Metahistorical romance  Christian science fiction  Sword and sorcery  Gay male pulp fiction  Historical whodunnit  Contemporary Christian fiction  By setting  Lesbian pulp fiction  Holocaust novel  Luciferian literature  Epic Fantasy / High fantasy  Lesbian erotica fiction  Plantation tradition  Saga  Low fantasy  Paranormal romance  Prehistoric fiction  Family saga  Prehistoric fantasy  Romantic fantasy  Regency novel  Historical fantasy  Tragicomedy
  • 7. GENREa class or category of artistic endeavor having a particularform, content, technique, style, or audience. dictionary.com, with my modificationsa rhetorical construct "centered not on the substance or theform of discourse but on the action it is used to accomplish“ Caroline Miller, “Genre as Social Action”
  • 8. Uses of Genre
  • 9. Uses of Genre
  • 10. What do genres do?they guide audiences, help them select, given them knownsrather than unknowns, satisfy specific desiresthey guideauthors, publishers, composers, musicians, filmmakers, actors, game designers/developersthey constrain and limit … but they can test creativity
  • 11. The Heroic Fantasyherovillainquestopen settingsmagic and powerscombatoverwhelming odds againstsingle solutionunknown -> known – world learned through heroproblem -> solutionorder -> chaos -> order – world has changed
  • 12. The Mysterymurderervictimmethodreasonsolver and solver’s helpersconfined settingclues and false trailsdistractions and the eureka momentsingle solutionunknown -> known – world learned through solverproblem -> solutionchaos -> order OR order -> chaos -> order
  • 13. The Videogameplayer-characternon-player characterssupernatural powers and abilitiesconfined settings and/or expansive settingslevels and player-character developmentmultiple steps to single solution - small bosses to big bossunknown -> known - world learned through characterproblem -> solutionchaos -> order – post-story implied but not shown
  • 14. Potter ClipsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone journey to Voldemort confrontation with VoldemortHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire journey to Voldemort confrontation with Voldemort
  • 15. Potter ClipsHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone journey to Voldemort confrontation with VoldemortHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire journey to Voldemort confrontation with Voldemort
  • 16. Harry Potter and the Converging Genreshero, villain, quest, magic and powers, murderer, victim, method (modified),combat, overwhelming odds against, reason, solver and solver’s helpers,problem -> solution confined setting, clues and false trains,unknown -> known – world learned distractions and the eureka moment,through hero single solutionopen settings, single solution unknown -> known – world learnedorder -> chaos -> order – world has through solverchanged chaos -> order OR order -> chaos -> order player-character, non-player characters, supernatural powers and abilities, levels and player-character development, multiple steps to single solution - small bosses to big boss unknown -> known - world learned through character confined settings and/or expansive settings chaos -> order – post-story implied but not shown
  • 17. So what is Harry Potter?hero, villain, quest, solver and solver’s helpers,player-character, non-player charactersmurderer, victim, method (modified), reasonmagic and powers, combatlevels and player-character development,overwhelming odds againstconfined setting, clues and false trains,distractions and the eureka moment,multiple steps to single solution - small bosses to big bossunknown -> known – world learned through herochaos -> order – world has changedthe eucatastrophe – the joy of the happy ending
  • 18. Fantasy, Mystery,and Videogame?