From my trivia-hosting blog Eccentric Polymath Trivia:
Ten years ago, the An Tobar Pub Quiz featured five alternative Harry Potter questions during every second round. Now that it's 2014 instead of 2004, I decided to try something new. That's why I originally decided to try Hunger Games questions and Mad Men questions.
The Hunger Games trilogy (HG, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) are really good books. I have precious little time to read, yet I read all three in just a couple of months reading in just 15 minutes increments here and there. Besides being fast reads they have serious overlying implications such as sending children off to war, Posttraumatic stress disorder, a feminist heroine, and a tuned-out mother. The revolution part is also intriguing, but there is no hope for a revolution with positive aims or results in the U.S. Most who consider themselves revolutionaries today are merely right-wing reactionaries. And this is in keeping with the stupid aim of the last U.S. revolution of 1861-1865 which was fought to try to preserve African-American slavery.
Also, compared to the J.K. Rowling's world of Harry Potter, there is not nearly as much depth to Suzanne Collins' books. That is not to say they aren't great children's books with great themes--they are--but there is much more from which to draw trivia questions in the Harry Potter series.
The Mad Men series is awesome TV. It is not quite Breaking Bad good, but almost. And it is much deeper than Breaking Bad. Whereas much of great TV such as The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and Dexter sought to be as good as movies, Mad Men aspires to be literature. As such, it doesn't always move as fast some other great TV, but its payoffs are even greater. If you like soap operas or historical romances, you'll love Mad Men. Also, if you like 60s-era events or advertising, you love it too.
The problem for me with Mad Men is that as a trivia host with a relatively small crowd, my primary goal is not to sell people on a tremendous part of popular culture, but to tap into a tremendous part of popular culture that will increase my audience. Harry Potter fits that goal best.
I realize that a lot of people who have not read the Harry Potter books haven't done so because they were adults when the books came out. I was that way myself. But after years of mingling with teachers and editors I worked with who read the books I finally took the plunge.
I started reading the series after Order of the Phoenix came out in 2003. That meant I had to read the first four books first. If you haven't read these let me tell you that the first two are short and really children's books, but from the third book on they are much lengthier and deal with darker, more mature themes.
But as literature goes it has big payoffs. I have rarely been so surprised and sad as when a major character died at the end of the sixth book. And I have never been more sorry a book series was over as when I finished the seventh book.
Once I got up to speed after book five, I attended a party at Borders for The Half-Blood Prince. The book was available for sale at midnight, and I drew the 2 AM time to buy mine. It was great fun to be around Harry Potter fans of all ages, and by that time I would say most fans were at least late teens or early twenties.
I tried to go to the Borders' party for The Deathly Hallows' first day of sale in 2007, but I couldn't even find a parking space in the parking lot, much less get into the store. Keep in mind that now Borders isn't even in business. So THAT kind of drawing power is what I call a fan base.
So even though we are past all the original books and movies, I am still trusting that there is a fan base out there. If you are in the Orlando area I am calling on you to attend my monthly trivia at An Tobar. Beginning Sunday, August 10, at 6 PM I will feature five Harry Potter trivia questions that could help you win money. I trust most Harry Potter fans are pretty knowledgeable people who aren't slouches at general trivia either. I should know, I am happily married to a woman who fits this description and more who initially attended my trivia because of her Harry Potter knowledge back in 2004. One thing I can promise you for sure is that you won't have to wait seven hours before being able to partake in my event.
Here is my pilot Harry Potter trivia re-boot question from last month:
What team defeated Bulgaria in the Quidditch World Cup that took place during The Goblet of Fire?
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