Harry Potter Wins Hugo
I think it's a big marketing thing. There are lots of better childrens' stories. The only difference is that Harry Potter somehow got a spark early on and picked up a strange momentum, which the marketers wisely jumped on and milked for all it was worth. Maybe the magic stuff does have a kind of allure, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the author could have done a much, much better job with the stories themselves.
I've read all of the Potter books released to date, mostly as light reading for the bus ride when heavier material can't hold my attention. These books just zip by - it's like a cartoon series in novel form. I read them because I kept hearing so much about them - and because once the Christians started being horrified by "the Occult" descriptions, and I saw this Onion article, I couldn't not read them.
But a literary award? The only reason I'd do that would be to piss off the Christians (and it'd almost be worth it...)
They are very cartoony. The four books released so far have an Episode One feel to them, like when the kid yells "now THIS is pod racing!" Harry's arch-enemy is this brat named Draco Malfoy from a family of evil wizards, but he never seems to be a threat. Like Biff in Back to the Future, every scrape ends in Malfoy under the proverbial shitpile moaning "I hate manure". It's like, can't something bad happen to the hero? Shouldn't he have to face some challenge and get a victory he truely earns, rather than simply lucking out because he was born "the One"? Maybe the next three books will get a little darker as he gets older, I dunno.