James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing

You probably know that a fellow named G. Norman Lippert has written a sequel to the Harry series and put it up on line.  (It’s here, and if you happen to want to read the “wizard” version – though I don’t know why you would since it’s exactly the same as the “muggle” version – the passwords are “genipolaris” and “corsica”).  It’s easy to find online statements like “ohwow best fanfic ever!!,” but I haven’t been able to find any actual reviews.  So I thought I’d offer a few words along those lines.  I do recommend it.  I know it’d be cooler for me to turn up my nose at it, and find fault with it in some complicated way, but the fact is I enjoyed it tremendously.  The first few chapters are kind of lame; it picks up around chapter 6.

Lippert is, by academic standards, cleverer than JK.  He’s a Ravenclaw to her Gryffindor.  You can see this in his fascination with technical questions.  He’s interested both in the way magic and muggle physics correlate and also in morphologizing certain loose ends JK left hanging, such as the moving portrait problem.  These matters he handles with a loving detail guaranteed to endear him to fanatical fans (sorry), of which he is clearly one himself.  But he’s not just a nerd.  His academic-style intelligence also emerges in social-political insight.  Having opened at exactly the moment JK closed her epilogue to Harry VII – James Potter on the Hogwarts train – he makes, almost immediately, three interesting moves.  The first is to give young James two close friends (his Ron and Hermione, as it were) who are sorted that evening into different houses.  The second is to bring an American delegation to Hogwarts, initiating a discussion of national character and making for some fairly funny jokes.  The third – by far the most interesting – is to introduce “the Progressive Element,” a group of students who seek to repeal the law of secrecy separating muggle and wizard worlds.  The machinations of the Progressive Element drive most of the novel’s plot, and allow Lippert to raise questions about propaganda and deceit that he handles beautifully.  There is a school debate on the issue in chapter 9: it is brilliantly done.

But of course Lippert is not JK.  Not only could he not have done this without her – obviously, as fanfic, it is parasitic on every level, from character to style – but he is not able to mimic her feats of whacky imagination.  JK was often criticized for the zany improbability of her plots, but for me it was this madcap quality that made her fun: or at any rate the silliness of her plotting was part and parcel of the lightness and freshness of the whole experience.  Lippert doesn’t have that quality, and he doesn’t have it precisely because of his strengths.  His plot all hangs together, no development appears like an afterthought, and the result, oddly enough, is that he’s less believable: one rolls one eyes and says “oh come now!” – something one would never have said to JK because one had the sense that the ridiculous, the loose thread, and the deus ex machina were the ground on which she stood.  His imitations of JK’s style are often superb – some passages could easily have been written by her – but sometimes they are less good.  And the humour is really inadequate. These are her jokes and when he makes them they seem stale.

The climax involves Merlin.  This is Lippert’s nod to C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength and Peter Dickinson’s HeartseaseElders’ Crossing isn’t nearly as good as either of those two novels, of course, but if one sees it as part of an ongoing discussion of Merlin and technology (which those two books also treat) it has some interesting things to say.  The effect is undercut, though, by what appears to be Lippert’s exhaustion at this stage.  Merlin’s speech is awful: he begins in incorrect pompous medievalese, then suddenly switches to incorrect contemporary vernacular.  Errors of diction start to crop up: “peaked” for “piqued,” “foresworn” for “sworn,” “oversight” for “overseeing.”  And finally there’s a sentimental bit towards the end that’s just dumb, and that JK would never have tolerated.  Taken all in all, however, it’s a remarkable achievement.  I was happy to be back in that world – and I really did feel like I was.  I will read his next.

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51 thoughts on “James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing

  1. I just wanted to offer my thanks for your very insightful and thoughtful review. You are correct that there have been very few literary reviews of the story, despite a surprisingly large readership. Your assessment is simultaneously encouraging and helpful. You can be certain that I will bear it in mind as I move into any new writing projects.

    • Mr. Lippert as an aspiring author my self i have barely just begun reading your book and ive found some alarming flaws that if fixed would make future installments all the better. I will say though that it is without a doubt that you have much promise and could very well further surprise us HP fans with your your interpretations of a world we all know and, not to mention are all to familiar with. I would like to share my thoughts with you and hope for a future responce not to mention a third sequel to what could be a fantastic series. I must say kill that terrible film adaptation before it ever sees the light of day, because with some good lawyer work i think this venture could be quite profitable.

    • I am just trying to ask if you could please send me an actual copy of all the series I will hapilly pay for them its just i am struggling to find a site on the internet that sells them. I know it would be a massive favour to ask and do.

      Many thanks and please get back to me.
      Your fan Unicore.

  2. Nice review, set up the story well and now i’m raring to read the fanfic. One point though, i’ve read the very begginning of the book and seems that it doesn’t pick up immediately from the end of jk’s serie’s, but from james potter’s first day, ie not albus’ . . . . . . . . ????????

  3. Am I the only one who found this story to be terrible? It’s got every cliche in the greater Harry Potter fandom: knockoff Marauders, Merlin involvement, American exchange student, American teachers, screwy wand cores (the yeti hair??), obscure names (Zane?), and a special pet (extra toes on the cat). Beyond that, there are several continuity errors with the normal books: McGonagall isn’t the permanent headmaster, the Defense Against the Dark Arts position is no longer cursed after Voldemort’s death, and electronic devices do not work at Hogwarts.

    • Just to point out to people who call themselves HP fans, cameras do work. Have you forgotten Colin Creevey being saved from death in The Chamber of Secrets by seeing the basilisk through his camera? Or how Rita Skeeter’s photographer could take pictures of the Triwizard champions in The Goblet of Fire?

      Kinda silly to be mad about something like that now, isn’t it?

      • Those were wizard cameras which captured moving pictures; not the camera you use to take a selfie..

    • I am only at 6% so far, but these were my complaints as well. I don’t find the story terrible, but the points you mention definitely lessened my enjoyment. An American student in Hogwarts makes NO sense at all, especially one who claims he’ll transfer when his parents move back to the US – Hogwarts is a boarding school!, and neither does the teacher.

      I do disagree about the devices, as some like cameras and radios do work, and Professor McGonagall. Why should she not be the new headmistress?

  4. Ok, i have to say this story is downright horrid. Im barely to the second chapter and its painful to read. I mean seriously American characters? What is the purpose of that? And Zane Walker? I mean come on! Where is the sense in this, so Harry’s son can laugh at the American accent….its utterly pointless. And i have to agree with the previous poster, the continuity errors are disturbing….

  5. To everyone who is criticizing this book.
    Look, you guys are obviously die-hard Harry Potter fans. Nothing would have been good enough for you. So do not come here and criticize the book. This section is for commenting on the review, which was done brilliantly.

  6. I have to say that I am reading this as an ebook on my PDA when I have the odd moment or two to spare, and while I am not far into it I have enjoyed it thus far. Sure it has it’s cringe worthy moments but so did JK’s. The introduction of the American element seems natural when you consider the writers origins, and not really a big issue. It’s simply nice to have a bit more of the Potter Worlds to read about. This review obviosly holds some spoilers which I have only just found out about but they have made me want to read more not less. I was hoping for the return of a Mr L Malfoy Esq. as a protagonist (I simply see him making a nasty comeback somehow) but never mind. The number of reviews for this “book” are in fact as stated few and far between, but this is the best of them, and seems very fair. I look forward to Mr Lipperts forthcoming works. This is one of the few “fan fictions” that seems to come close to crossing the border between online wishing and real life writings.

  7. The potential for this book seems to be there, but the main issue is that its very, very obvious that it wasn’t written by someone who is english, not that i have an issue with the origins of the autor, but more in how that reflects in the book. I also don’t have an issue with the american student (although having an American student and a teacher was overkill), but numerous phrases have an american tinge to them, e.g. students playing “scratch” 3 on 3, tabitha being captain of a “debate team”, Gennifer rather than Jennifer etc. etc. I picked up the fact that the autor was american very quickly despite knowing nothing about him. Its a shame really as it has some excellent parts to it, but the Harry Potter stories, and therefore the world they inhabit are so quintasentially British that these errors grated to some extent.

  8. Useful and intelligent. Thank you. If you check back, pls let me know what the English call “scratch.”

    I once attended a panel on HP (after Book IV) at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. One of the panelists made an extensive argument to the effect that JK’s model for Dumbledore was Abraham Lincoln. I went into a cringe and didn’t come out until he’d finished speaking. Do Americans think there are no statesmen in British history? Mortifying ignorance!

  9. i hear the second sequel will be coming out. i haven’t read the first one yet but i might give it a try. thanks for the informative review.
    and you haters should leave the author alone…one cannot be perfectly accurate all the time. first you get angry about him copying JK, then you say he did not copy her style and her world quite enough. Leave it alone and just enjoy it for what it is. Or simply don’t read it.

  10. I have read JPHEC and have just started the second book and too be honest I don’t care about the few errors in the book.

    The book was written for people who don’t want to see the end of Harry Potter not for people who go crazy about the smallest detail being changed.

    Its a great book and I enjoyed it. It is perfect for anyone who does not want to see the end of Harry Potter.

  11. I’ve been reading too much on line today, news and blogs, and especially comments on the same. It’s all got me feeling morbid. All that was going to get focussed in a ‘peer review’ comment, probably just as the mere vehicle for ranting about the batch of freshman and sophomore book reports I handed back this week (25/60 on Night by Elie Wiesel, ‘nough said, no?)

    But now I find myself here, reviewing all this internet cant, and the full demonstration of all of its cultural, um, glory. Including its adoption and acceptance of the just plain wrong. (All this text beamed into houses of every social station and spelling has become as variable as the 17th century, go figure.)

    Still, I believe that I’m becoming, more and more, a charitable interpreter and evaluator of unlettered prose.

    Did he or she mean some thing wholly vocative rather than primarily imperative? Like, “Merry me, George Norman Lippert,” as the expression of his or her enthusiasm for such fan fiction?

    That seems like a more positive way to begin the parse-correct-evaluate hermeneutics under which the likes of me are serving 20-to-life THAN any other.

    Still, in my experience, unruly expression far too often suggests an unruly character. I’m obliged here, as a pedagogue by vocation, to try to impose a corrective. No yelling, please.

    PS – OE, you don’t have to post this. If you’re amused a little, THEN that serves. And far be it from me to discourage anyone from reading, THEN writing down reflections after. Pedantry and the APOSTROPHE should never stand in the way of that, should they?

  12. Pingback: More James Potter « Hopeless but not serious

  13. I have not read very far into the Elder’s Crossing yet, but thus far it’s very good. So there are a few minor errors? I mean, it can’t be /perfect/ can it? He’s not JKR! I was happy to hear that they are making a Youtube episode series based on the book. I’m curious to see if it turns out alright and what reviews it gets. All the people I know haven’t really heard much of the series but again, thus far, they are liking what they read. I’m trying to convince them to actually go online and read the book.

    I’m very proud of George, he’s already accomplished two books in the series and is working on a third when Deathly Hallows only came out 3 years ago! I hope that he one day will be big like JKR. Well, that might actually not be a good thing because they might have a rival… but I love the book so far!

  14. I just finished reading this and thought it was quite well done. Indeed, there were many times when I could have sworn I was reading the writing of JKR. I’m not sure I completely liked all aspects of the story, but I don’t think I could say that about the HP series necessarily either. I read through this pretty quickly and couldn’t put it down. At first I didn’t like the Zane character, but by the end of the book I thought he was great. I might suggest that if this book had been edited by the same editor as the HP series, it could probably be improved and be more consistent with those books.

    My biggest problem as an American was the incorporation of Ben Franklin as a character (sorry for the spoiler). I like to think of the HP world as distinct from the real world, and don’t see the need to bring in a historical figure. The Franklin character could have been just the fictional headmaster of the American school and there really wouldn’t have been any effect on the story.

    Off to download the sequel!

  15. The book is bloody brilliant not better than hp though. For the guy who is hatin and bringing out some usless points McGonagal was supposed to be a temporal headmistress but it was made temporal and that is explained in the book. JKR did not mention that the DADA job was nolonger cursed and it is also possible that the former DADA teacher retired before professor jackson came in. Finally at the end of JPHEC it was said that because of the way technology had advanced the magic at hogwrts also had to b updtd

  16. I’ve recently downloaded the first and second book and i think that although the prolougue is iffy the rest is good so far. I think you should keep on righting sequels for everyone to read and who knows maybe you’ll get a scottish mansion and whatnot.

  17. I think the american character zane was pretty cool, and the yeti wond core a little awesome. But I do think that the Franklyn thing is a lot of over kill.

  18. Hi everyone:

    I started reading JK Rowling since the first HP book was published, and have kept the habit for all this years. After reading the final page of HP VII, I must say that I was still wondering for more of this fabulous world, and Mr. Lippet has come to fulfill part of that hole left in all fans over the world.

    I just finished reading his second book, and must say that it left a really good taste. Even there are a few points that I could criticize (Dumbledore asking to kill someone?… Snape being afraid of being discovered?… Bellatrix screaming “Noooo!”? ) the overall style, story, character development and environment feeling totally match with previous 7 books….

    These are 2 stories for us who feel as part of the Potter/Weasley families, and really care about how their lives are going on after the first saga ended. Don’t be so rude on the author, since he’s consent of the fact that this are copies of master pieces, not one for themselves…

    Read them, enjoy them, and pray for there being more sequels as these ones coming on…

    Thanks, Mr. Lippert.. keep the good job on!

  19. Mr. Lippert,

    I just started reading the first book and loved it. It’s true that there are several glaring errors that Potter fans would be able to tick off immediately, but nonetheless, your book is still a great read.

    Sometimes, I even get lost and don’t believe that it was a fan who actually wrote the book. Thanks for saving us from post-potter depression!’

    I’m already looking forward to the third installment to your series.

    Thanks!

  20. I find it ok but not nearly as good as JK Rowling! if I compared it to other FANFICTIONS then I would say its the best by far, but adding the modern twist (electronic devices, new characters and no classicness) makes it HORRIBLE! You are a good writer but it sucks BIG TIME comparing to the witty and talented Jo Rowling…Sorry but I was half way through the first chapter and it pained my eyes to continue…I feel like a idiot for even thinking it might be as good as the ledgen Jo Rowling…That’s all…(JKR for everrrrr)

    P.S IF ANYONE EVEN TRYS TO ADD MODERN TWISTS AND TECHNICAL STUFF IN HARRY POTTER THEN YOU MUST BE RELATED TO THE MAD HATTER(no offence Mr Mad-Hatter)

    • You have to keep in mind that this isn’t her writing, though. If you read this, having never read her books, you might have a different opinion. J.K. is a near impossible act to follow, but he did a nice job. You said yourself his is the best of the fanfiction. We’re only disappointed by the twists because we know they don’t belong in her world. However, this is his take on her world.

      Perhaps those things have changes in the 18 years since Harry was there. It’s his prerogative to make those decisions.

  21. That’s an excellent review you’ve made. I personally enjoyed the first part of the book thoroughly, right up to the point where Merlin returns. And then everything goes berserk. I didnt get why they couldnt just obliviate the muggles, how the guy managed to get there in the first place and why his camera and stuff were working in Hogwarts. The whole stand-off between the headmistress (wearing some weird clothes) and merlin was just silly.

    But overall, I did enjoy being back in the wizarding world.

  22. I’m not done reading it, but I’m really enjoying it so far. The one thing I have a problem with is Zane—he’s supposed to be American, but he says very non-American things all the time that makes it hard to believe it. Like calling his friends “mate” and a few other things that makes him sound English. That could be because he’s been around Brits for a while, or I’m just too picky, though…lol. But it’s good so far.

  23. I have enjoyed the first James Potter fanfiction novel. But the twists are dull. I have to admit. The guy is a good writer. well written, but just unoriginal.

    best fanfic on HP I have read, was called halfway to infinity

    it follows Dudley’s granddaughter, living in a muggle camp. the dark lord is in power, fifty years have past. she is a witch, and taken to a school which takes in muggle borns and trains them as soldiers in a war against the voldemort.

  24. A minor point – as an English speaker living in America, I find *everyone* here misspells “piqued” as “peaked”. As the Americans would say, go figure.

  25. It might be really good but it will never be as good as Harry Potter. I mean… nobody knows the characters like J.K. Rowling does and the book will be totally different.

    • But no one should go into reading this book like it’s J.K.’s work. Because it isn’t. I was skeptical that I’d want to read it because I’m stupidly defensive about her series. But the prologue is an excellent start.

  26. You know, at first I was a little disappointed that the book was slow for the first 6 chapters, but honestly, when I remember starting The Sorcerer’s Stone, I found it boring until I was a number of chapters in as well.

    I got all excited (and sad) when I reached the last sentence of the Prologue, so I can’t wait to continue reading it. I just wish I had a physical book or I could download it to my Kindle.

  27. I’m now halfway through this book and I can’t put it down! There are a number of times where I honestly forget this isn’t J.K. I’m very glad that he has avoided trying to use her characters too much, like making Hagrid another major character involved or Ron or Hermione. It would be so hard to enjoy this book while struggling through his best impersonation of their characters. He does a wonderful job making his own characters.

    Plus, I saw some people complain about electronic devices working in the school. If you had read any farther than the first 4 chapters, you’d know that he did it on purpose. EVERYONE is confused as to why they work when they shouldn’t. Harry and the Aurors are are wondering about what has happened to security. So don’t be dumb and judge a book by its first few chapters.

  28. I like the book and i think its very interesting but it has certain flaws.
    i dont know how to explain it but the only thing i can say is that its completely different to the type of writing jk rowling would have used. also since wen did harry refer 2 all the teachers by their names and how does electronical devices work at the school because i quiet clearly remember hermione saying that they wouldnt work. one other thing students sitting at other houses and going to other houses common rooms was certainly not allowed. n i guess its good but if jkr edited it or atleast helped in making the book it would have been better. also wen harry enters the room of requirment he doesnt say words he thinks about it. oh and also the library does not have other teachers patrolling it only one teacher cant remember her name she fancies filch. i dont know why but i thought that maybe they could have included more of dumboldore n snape even though they r dead after all they were important figures in the history ofmagic. since when did they have a lesson on science. i know i am being quiet critical but its just that i realy was upset wen harry potter finished n then i got excited about james potter but then i got dissapointed about it coz its completely idfferent to jkr types of writing. but i still think its interesting

  29. I also forgot to mention that ted should be a werewolf maybe not but i think he has no qualities of remus lupin or nymphadora tonks they were both quiet and thoughtfull and htey did have some fun in them but teddy is completely diferent also the books is a year earlier then the end of the eeathly hallows i know i should be gratefull someone decided to write it but it has no spark that jkr had it doesnt have that genius wrting its completely different none of it makes sense because even the storyline is stupid ( no offence) because since wen had the series had anything to do with science it was all mysterious and cleverly written i actually felt harry potter its something u cant experience frm another writer. hope u understand that no one can replace jk rowling but keep on writing if u wish

  30. Excellent review! I haven’t quite made it halfway through book #1 yet, but Googled the title because I wanted to hear what others were thinking. So far, I’ve been very annoyed with some of the glaring inconsistencies between Rowlings works and Lipperts. While I do understand it’s fanfiction, I do think that certain basic facts should remain the same (if you TRULY want to be considered fanfiction). There is no moving staircase in the books, and the house elves are never seen to name a few.

    Your explanation of the differences between Rowlings and Lipperts writing was great. I was bored with the long scientific explanation in the (2nd?) chapter, but it definitely is the “Ravenclaw” version!

  31. er, it starts one year BEFORE the epilogue with JAMES getting on the train for the first time (not Albus, which was the epilogue). Well worth reading.

  32. I would really liked to have been more amazed than I am, I was especially disappointed that he couldn’t come up with a witty Sorting Hat song. Also there were a lot of problems I saw, James was staying in a room with 3rd years, what happened to years stay together. And they did explain how muggle items work there, the boarders were messed up during the great battle and couldn’t be fixed all the way. They also changed the whole common rooms are secrets thing, and what was up with changing how to get to Slytherin common room, wouldn’t people notice that all the Slytherin’s suddenly have rings???? House elves are also more pronounced now, instead of them being a Hogwarts secret type thing in the first few chapters they were seen everywhere!!! And with Ralph getting the yeti chin hair wand from a peddler in Diagon Alley, wouldn’t there be law enforcement around to make sure that there are no people selling merchandise that doesn’t work correctly. And Ted Lupin should be having the same abilities Tonks did, it said when he was born his hair color kept changing, basically meaning he should be able to transform himself like she did. I am kind of disappointed in this book and after reading the three I think I will have to have a Harry Potter marathon on my Nook so I don’t have to worry about all the things that irked me in this series.

  33. One of things for which I love Harry Potter’s magical world is because it is completely hidden. The secret phone booth entry to ministry or unplottable Hogwarts on map, it somewhere creates a mystery that such a world could really exist. JK Rowling’s magical world seemed to be perfect, no loopholes in that. But JAmes Potters magical world has many flaws. Muggle getting into Hogwarts or muggle born put in Sytherin, it doesn’t go with the magical world. Hogwarts had its magical security even before Dumbledore was headmaster(for example during Voldermort’s school years). Basic protection against muggles has been since ages. How can that not be restored because Dumbledore died? There is always Dumbledore’s portrait for such help on security reasons. If there indeed was a magical school in USA, why there was no mention of it in JK Rowling’s books? Benjamin Franklyn is really old, Dumbledore being so powerful and influential there must be some connection between at some point of time. Plus people saying dark magic doesn’t exist , this is just horrible. Instead of continuing Harry Potter plot, the author Lippert could have created a whole new magical world with all this modern magic and policital issues. The readers would have got a fresh series to read and a new outlook to fiction books instead of adjusting to our favorite Harry Potter world. Because no one can ever fabricate the magical world as JK Rowling does. It just her writing skills which make me go gaga :D..

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