His Dark Materials author didn't enjoy the Harry Potter books enough to keep reading

Author Philip Pullman gets frank about which children's authors he loves, and those who have written work he doesn't particular care for.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival / Massimiliano Donati/Awakening/GettyImages

Philip Pullman is one of the most celebrated authors of young adult fiction of the past few decades. The His Dark Materials series, about a young girl named Lyra who gets caught up in an interdimensional conspiracy to subjugate all of humanity, has sold tens of millions of copies and was made into a successful TV show for the BBC and HBO. At 77 years old, he continues to write today, and is apparently very free with his opinions.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Pullman revealed that some of his favorite children's authors are Tove Jansson, Leon Garfield and Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling. More dramatically, he said that Roald Dahl could be funny but "cruel and unpleasant" and that he couldn't stand The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Given that His Dark Materials has an anti-Christianity message while Lewis' book is a thinly veiled Christian allegory, that one makes sense.

Pullman also touched on the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. He once read the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, depending on where in the world you live) as part of his duties as a judge for a children's book prize. Did he like the book, The Telegraph asked. “Not enough to read any of the others.” There are seven Harry Potter books in all.

Pullman is entitled to his taste in books, of course, but it's always fun to see famous people throw shade at the work of another famous person, even when it's as mild as this. Also, talking about the Harry Potter series in any way these days tends to attract attention. The franchise is still profitable — last year, the video game Hogwarts Legacy was a huge success and there's a new TV show coming to Max — but author J.K. Rowling has made things complicated by continually sharing her increasingly transphobic views with the public; if this keeps going she may soon be better known as a bigot than as an author, which complicates future Harry Potter projects that have her name attached to them.

Pullman has had his run-ins with this issue before. According to the Independent, he defended Rowling when she shared harassing messages about her on Twitter, but later clarified that he wasn't defending her views. "My views on this issue are not mixed. I am anti-bullying, anti-abuse of any kind, and also anti-transphobia."

Pullman still has one book left to release in his Book of Dust trilogy, which is a sequel to His Dark Materials. The last book in the series, The Secret Commonwealth, came out in 2019.

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