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Theowyn
Looney

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Posted - 07/17/2007 :  13:56:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill
I am rereading HPCS and I'm in chapter 3 right now. In chapter two, I never remembered that the mirror was placed on the dresser with Phineas' portrait. That was such wonderful misdirection, I didn't figure it out until the reread.
Thanks for this, SH! I think the best measure of a story is how it holds up on multiple readings. I had great fun putting Kreacher and Phineas together on Harry's bureau. It was like the end of chapter 10 in HPEW when Crookshanks is prowling back and forth in front of the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room. You can't spot the importance of this sort of detail until you read it a second time, knowing the end of the story.

quote:
And knowing the end makes Snape's belief that it is impossible for Harry to truly forgive him make more sense. On first reading, I didn't really see why Snape should be so pessimistic, but now that we know he was still hiding what he felt was an even bigger secret from Harry makes it understandable. And as Krabat said, Snape's belief at the end that he was still unworthy to have loved Lily was SO incredibly sad.
It is sad, but Snape still has a lot of healing to do and it will not be an easy road. But at least he's at the point now where he CAN heal. He couldn't before.

I really put Snape through an emotional wringer in this story, but it was necessary. If JKR's Snape is Sydney Carton, mine is Ebenezer Scrooge. Like Scrooge, Snape is forced to face his past because of his dealings with Harry. Harry's forgiveness and particularly the Legilimency sessions start to break down the bitter, hateful wall he has built around himself. But like Scrooge, he needs a final, horrific slap in the face to push him to change.

For Scrooge this moment comes when kneeling at his own forgotten grave. For Snape it is gazing into the pit of hell that does it. At the moment when they are in extremis, both men recognize that it is the lack of human affection that is the curse of their lives. Snape will never become as gregarious as Scrooge, but he has learned to feel compassion for others and to cherish his friends. The rest will come with time.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/17/2007 17:35:12
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sunsethill
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Posted - 07/20/2007 :  12:52:50  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm basically avoiding the web until after I finish DH, but I wanted to say I'm up to chapter 6 now in HPCS and I noticed the foreshadowing of Harry realizing how little he knew Severus and wondering if anyone knows him. After his forays into his mind, he will become the person who probably knows him best.

And then we have Snape tell Harry that no matter how many times he will be forced to kill, Harry will never be a murderer because Snape knows Harry's mind. And by the end of the story, Harry has to accept that he must kill all the death eaters before he can kill Voldemort.

And I still love the hot cocoa scene! (As well as the muggle clothes Snape! I'm coming up on undressing Snape soon--whoo hoo!)

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/20/2007 :  13:03:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, SH! I especially appreciate having my mind taken off of DH right now. There is a lot of build up in the first chapters of CS which is why that part of the story tends to move slowly as opposed to the end where everything comes together at a frantic pace. I think chapter 8 is one of my favorites, not just because we get to see Snape undress but because I love him with Lucius. Maybe I should go and read CS myself. I've never read it start to finish.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/20/2007 13:05:59
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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/20/2007 :  15:23:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As tempting as it is to read the undressing, I know if I read CS right now I'll lose track of canon and thanon.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2007 :  16:54:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

As tempting as it is to read the undressing, I know if I read CS right now I'll lose track of canon and thanon.

Fortunately, there will be plenty of time for that later.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/20/2007 16:55:12
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Eeyore
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Posted - 07/23/2007 :  09:45:31  Show Profile  Send Eeyore a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Just have to say, Theo, I kept noticing little things throughout DH that show how insightful you have been with your characterizations, if not in the actual way things played out. So I'm making notes of canon foreshadowing and Thanon foreshadowing in DH--LOL.

Eeyore

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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/23/2007 :  10:16:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Snape sounded like a wounded animal after Lily's death (the scenes in Dumbledore's office) in both canon and thanon! I noticed that right off.
The part where Harry started to come to in Kings Cross sounded like Theo's ending in the Ministry, too.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/23/2007 :  14:49:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is so sweet guys! Thanks!

The one that really struck me was when Harry is digging through his trunk and cuts his finger on the broken mirror.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 07/24/2007 :  20:07:47  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm up to Chapter 19 on the reread now. I needed something soothing to read after DH. I figure it will take me another few weeks to work out how I feel about Snape's role in DH.

In HPCS, I have really been enjoying seeing all the set ups throughout the chapters. I'm especially noticing all the little hints you have thrown in about how depleted the aurors are and how poorly trained.

Now back to your regularly schedules DH discussion.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 07/29/2007 :  12:07:09  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Theo, you might be interested in this post by Aspen in the Sunlight recommending HPCS to her myriad readers.

http://aspenlight.livejournal.com/

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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/29/2007 :  13:05:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow! That's really nice! I'm glad we've got both versions-- they both work for me. I really am not all that disappointed with canon, other than it seems to lack depth-- but hey, who said the story was deep.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/30/2007 :  01:07:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, Aspen in the Sunlight emailed me. I'm quite flattered because she is so widely read and respected among fanfic authors and readers.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 07/30/2007 :  12:39:17  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn

Yes, Aspen in the Sunlight emailed me. I'm quite flattered because she is so widely read and respected among fanfic authors and readers.


Anything she has ever recommended has been excellent.

With the news from Rowling that Harry and Ron become Aurors and Harry totally revamps the Auror department, I have found myself mentally thinking "Theo did it first--and better!"

So, do you have any itch to write an AU story that rescues Snape and lets him work out his redemption for a few more years working with Harry to improve Auror training?

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Theowyn
Looney

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Posted - 07/30/2007 :  15:00:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn

Yes, Aspen in the Sunlight emailed me. I'm quite flattered because she is so widely read and respected among fanfic authors and readers.


Anything she has ever recommended has been excellent.

With the news from Rowling that Harry and Ron become Aurors and Harry totally revamps the Auror department, I have found myself mentally thinking "Theo did it first--and better!"
Lol! That's so sweet!

quote:
So, do you have any itch to write an AU story that rescues Snape and lets him work out his redemption for a few more years working with Harry to improve Auror training?
I have a huge itch to write my own version of DH, but not to rescue Snape. Given HBP, his tragic death was the appropriate end to his story arc. It's the rest of the story that so utterly failed to live up to its potential. A few of the highlights we missed:

1) Snape's mechanations at Hogwarts.

2) LV's cunning and intelligent plans

3) Harry's desperate race against time to put together all the missing pieces of his own history (including Snape and LV) in order to discover for himself the means of defeating LV.

4) A clever and believable means of defeating LV.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 07/31/2007 :  12:50:58  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
quote:
So, do you have any itch to write an AU story that rescues Snape and lets him work out his redemption for a few more years working with Harry to improve Auror training?
I have a huge itch to write my own version of DH, but not to rescue Snape. Given HBP, his tragic death was the appropriate end to his story arc. It's the rest of the story that so utterly failed to live up to its potential. A few of the highlights we missed:

1) Snape's mechanations at Hogwarts.

2) LV's cunning and intelligent plans

3) Harry's desperate race against time to put together all the missing pieces of his own history (including Snape and LV) in order to discover for himself the means of defeating LV.

4) A clever and believable means of defeating LV.


I would have loved to see more of what Snape had to deal with at Hogwarts and actually expect there to be some well-done treatments of that over the next little bit. The last point didn't bother me. In fact, I think you were one of the first that I heard, Theo, saying that Harry wouldn't kill Voldemort but that somehow Rowling would have Voldie do himself in. I also didn't mind the parallels in the final scene to earlier books.

It has been a while since I read Tale of Two Cities, but I notice many of the SINUS-type crowd saying that Snape is Rowling's Sidney Carlton. I think that was the original plan, but Snape got away from her--because I don't remember Carlton having that much plot importance in ToTC except to give his life as a substitue for Lucy. So I maintain again, as you are suggesting, that there were many previous plot-driven reasons for Snape and Harry's story to be more fleshed out--although I'm becoming more accepting of the fact that Rowling THOUGHT she did right by Snape.

I've just finished Chapter 24 of HPCS again, Theo, and it just proves again how well you read Canon in constructing the story, because Snape's motivations--his love for Lily and guilt over causing her death--are so clealy portrayed. And I know you are upset with DH Dumbledore, but I don't think he's so different from what you have written. Your Dumbledore knows that Snape--not Harry--will have to die and keeps that from Harry and Snape because he is desperately trying to find some way to save Snape. Did this bother you less because Snape was an adult? But you showed clearly how much thinking HE would have to kill Snape tore Harry up. That's almost worse than finding out you need to let Voldemort kill you. I think maybe it bothered both of us that DH Dumbledore didn't seem to like or appreciate Severus much. But I think a good case can be made that his sternness early on is an attempt to get Snape to more toward redemption by moving past his fixation only on Lily.

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Theowyn
Looney

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Posted - 07/31/2007 :  14:52:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill
I've just finished Chapter 24 of HPCS again, Theo, and it just proves again how well you read Canon in constructing the story, because Snape's motivations--his love for Lily and guilt over causing her death--are so clealy portrayed. And I know you are upset with DH Dumbledore, but I don't think he's so different from what you have written. Your Dumbledore knows that Snape--not Harry--will have to die and keeps that from Harry and Snape because he is desperately trying to find some way to save Snape. Did this bother you less because Snape was an adult?
The age doesn't really matter to me. I don't fault canon!DD for keeping his secrets anymore than I fault my own DD for doing so. They had their reasons. Rather it is the difference in attitude when the truth does come out that disturbs me. My DD kept the truth from Harry because he didn't want to break Harry's heart until it was necessary. He didn't want to burden the young man. He also takes responsibility for breaking the news to Snape and tries to push Snape to do what he must to face death. In all this DD acknowledges the horror of what must happen and does his best to help both Harry and Snape through it.

Canon!DD by contrast is far colder. Like my Harry, canon!Snape is appalled to discover the truth, but canon!DD offers no understanding of Snape's shock at this terrible situation. He has used the man thoughtlessly and dismisses Snape's horror. DD's attitude is "what's the big deal?" - "How many people have you seen die?"

Talk about a slap in the face. "Oh come on, Severus! Surely you've seen too many attocities to actually care about an innocent life being destroyed?" Snape's simple, "Lately, none that I could save," in his own defense is heartbreaking both in its sincerity and because he should never have had to speak those words to DD. After 17 years how could DD think so poorly of his most trusted servant? And the final indignity is that he leaves it to Snape to break the news to Harry - an almost impossible task in itself.

quote:
I think maybe it bothered both of us that DH Dumbledore didn't seem to like or appreciate Severus much. But I think a good case can be made that his sternness early on is an attempt to get Snape to more toward redemption by moving past his fixation only on Lily.
I hope so. I really do. Because the way DD treats Snape is terrible.

quote:
But you showed clearly how much thinking HE would have to kill Snape tore Harry up. That's almost worse than finding out you need to let Voldemort kill you.
I think it is worse, certainly for Harry. He is a noble, heroic character and would definitely rather die than sacrifice others.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/31/2007 15:04:14
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
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Posted - 07/31/2007 :  17:08:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I take it your fanfic is fairly well-known to the HP community.
Do you think JKR might read it?

If she did, I think she might be surprised.

Let us know if you hear from her.

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Theowyn
Looney

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Posted - 07/31/2007 :  22:54:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

I take it your fanfic is fairly well-known to the HP community.
Do you think JKR might read it?

If she did, I think she might be surprised.

Let us know if you hear from her.

Lol! I think she's too busy being innundated by outraged letters from Snape fans.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 08/02/2007 :  16:36:46  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Canon!DD by contrast is far colder. Like my Harry, canon!Snape is appalled to discover the truth, but canon!DD offers no understanding of Snape's shock at this terrible situation. He has used the man thoughtlessly and dismisses Snape's horror. DD's attitude is "what's the big deal?" - "How many people have you seen die?"


Yes, I'm beginning to wonder if JKR got irritated with all the Snape-love. She obviously doesn't understand it or like it. Early on in the books, Snape and Dumbledore always seemed like such a team--almost more so than DD and McGonagall. Yet, DH Dumbledore is very cold and stern with Severus. I guess JKR really believes that the only person who ever loved Severus was Lily for a few years. Thinking that Dumbledore never came to like or care about Snape other than his redemption is almost worse than Snape dying, in my book.

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Theowyn
Looney

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Posted - 08/03/2007 :  02:54:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Canon!DD by contrast is far colder. Like my Harry, canon!Snape is appalled to discover the truth, but canon!DD offers no understanding of Snape's shock at this terrible situation. He has used the man thoughtlessly and dismisses Snape's horror. DD's attitude is "what's the big deal?" - "How many people have you seen die?"


Yes, I'm beginning to wonder if JKR got irritated with all the Snape-love. She obviously doesn't understand it or like it. Early on in the books, Snape and Dumbledore always seemed like such a team--almost more so than DD and McGonagall. Yet, DH Dumbledore is very cold and stern with Severus. I guess JKR really believes that the only person who ever loved Severus was Lily for a few years. Thinking that Dumbledore never came to like or care about Snape other than his redemption is almost worse than Snape dying, in my book.
JKR definitely doesn't like Snape, but loyalty to the man is now at a fever pitch so I think it may be dawning on her finally that it might not be the best idea to say so. I'm sure she was taken aback to discover that we think badly of DD for ill-using the man, but when Dan Radcliff (bless him!) goes on record saying so, even JKR can't pretend it's only the bad-boy syndrome talking.

Having said that though, I don't think DD's treatment of Snape was designed to belittle our ex-Potions Master. Oddly enough, I think Snape and DD WERE a team. I fully believe that DD trusted Snape implicitly and was closer to him than anyone else except Harry. In his own way, I think he loved Severus.

But DD made "emotional mistakes" as JKR called them. Look at how he treated Sirius in OotP or Hagrid when the poor fellow was agonizing over Buckbeak and being sacked in PoA. DD ignored their plights entirely and he did the same thing to Harry and Snape more times than we can count.

This wasn't about Snape; it was endemic to DD's personality. He always had a grand plan and bigger things to worry about than the people who had pledged their loyalty and lives to him. And yet he commanded phenomenal loyalty because while he wasn't particularly considerate of others, he understood them.

DD could look straight into a person's mind, heart and soul. This gave him absolute knowledge of the person - and therefore absolute power over them. He knew precisely whom to ignore (Fudge), whom to placate with a bone of trust in place of information (the teachers and OotP) and whom his most valuable chess pieces were: Snape and Harry.

Those two never stood a chance against the master gamesman. He manipulated them both effortlessly and so completely that even when his mechanations were revealed they still obeyed. That's because he used their own natures to ensnare them. He deceived them in the particulars, but he led them where they were willing to go. He laid out an enticing road - the only one in sight - and beckoned them to follow him down it. They couldn't see the end. He kept that hidden until they had gone far enough that he knew they wouldn't turn back. Then he stepped aside and pointed the way to the cliff he expected them to jump off.

One might call this ruthless faith in both Snape and Harry's better natures. It is horrifying and compeling at the same time. Because he was right. There was no other path to take. But I can't help wondering if he couldn't have spared a little more of the love he holds in such great esteem for the two people of whom he asked the ultimate sacrifice.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 08/03/2007 03:01:00
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sunsethill
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Posted - 08/08/2007 :  16:37:43  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
But DD made "emotional mistakes" as JKR called them. Look at how he treated Sirius in OotP or Hagrid when the poor fellow was agonizing over Buckbeak and being sacked in PoA. DD ignored their plights entirely and he did the same thing to Harry and Snape more times than we can count.

This wasn't about Snape; it was endemic to DD's personality. He always had a grand plan and bigger things to worry about than the people who had pledged their loyalty and lives to him. And yet he commanded phenomenal loyalty because while he wasn't particularly considerate of others, he understood them.

One might call this ruthless faith in both Snape and Harry's better natures. It is horrifying and compeling at the same time. Because he was right. There was no other path to take. But I can't help wondering if he couldn't have spared a little more of the love he holds in such great esteem for the two people of whom he asked the ultimate sacrifice.



I didn't remember JKR's comment about "emotional" mistakes. I wonder if she changed her mind about this characterization of Dumbledore. Early on, he seems very emotionally understanding of people, but the emotional distance fits with the picture of DD that she draws in DH--the intellectual giant who has grand plans for the world. And it does fit with his making grand plans for the defeat of Voldemort and needing to fit his chess pieces in place to accomplish this. But this was certainly not the way I perceived DD prior to DH--as a general, yes, a cold chessmaster, no. I really couldn't understand how people could come up with evil!Dumbledore plots. After DH, I don't think it's such a great leap.

A lot of the problem in this, I think, is that for some reason Rowling wanted Harry to decide to follow DD out of almost blind faith, and while it fits in with the other spiritual themes, it causes DD to be ambiguous. It also fits with the sometimes used definitions of "agape" or "perfect" love as being about choices and decisions rather than emotion.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 08/09/2007 :  12:51:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Again and again in HP discussions the comment comes up, "I wonder if JKR changed her mind about..." DD is a prime example of this and so is Snape. Back in PS, DD tells Harry that the reason Snape saved his life and protected him all year was because he owed a life debt to James. Now, I don't for a moment believe that Severus ever thought he owed James such a debt. More importantly, this clearly was NOT the reason he was protecting Harry! This was a bald-faced lie!

Or was it? Could it be that JKR originally intended this to be the reason Snape protected Harry? Was SS/LE added later? If not, why would DD tell such a damaging lie? Granted, he can't tell Harry the whole truth, but why not simply say, "Professor Snape is a teacher at this school and would do all in his power to protect every child at Hogwarts regardless of his personal feelings."

This is likely true and more importantly if doesn't prejudice Harry the way "James saved his life" does. Harry spends the next year convinced that his dad is some great hero and that Snape should be grateful to him and this only helps to spur on the animosity between Snape and Harry. DD ill uses both these people in this and gains nothing as far as I can tell.

He lies to Harry, giving the boy a false understanding of the whole werewolf incident. And how unfair was this to Snape? How could DD do something as shabby as to reveal such a painful incident in Snape's past and to misrepresent it so badly that it makes James out to be a shining hero and Snape an ungrateful git? Does he hate Severus that much?

We see this same behavior in DD at the end of PoA. If Snape's apoplectic reaction to Sirius's escape had been due only to some "schoolboy grudge", then DD's amused response would make sense. In fact it would be indulgent and kind. "Tut, tut. Poor Severus, he really does need to get over that youthful rivalry."

But that's not what this is about. Here is the man whom Snape believes betrayed his beloved Lily to LV and destroyed his life. Of course he hates Sirius! Of course he wants to turn him over to the Dementors! Who wouldn't?! That he isn't willing to listen to three 13 year old kids is a laughable indictment under the circumstances - especially when Harry parrots the same ignorant remarks about Snape hating the Marauders in school. Harry has no clue.

All in all, Snape's behavior is perfectly understandable and for the most part justified. His pain has to be almost unbearable. And yet all DD can do is smirk about his "severe disappointment". Talk about cold-hearted!

I don't know if JKR intended DD to be this horrible or if she hadn't worked out Snape's role in the story or what? But looking back, DD really does seem unnecessarily cruel to Snape and I don't understand why JKR would do this if it really was planned.

If Harry is going to trust blindly, it ought to at least be someone who practices the love they preach. Given the way the story turned out, DD didn't.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 08/16/2007 :  12:09:46  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn

Again and again in HP discussions the comment comes up, "I wonder if JKR changed her mind about..." DD is a prime example of this and so is Snape.
...
Was SS/LE added later? If not, why would DD tell such a damaging lie? Granted, he can't tell Harry the whole truth, but why not simply say, "Professor Snape is a teacher at this school and would do all in his power to protect every child at Hogwarts regardless of his personal feelings."
...
I don't know if JKR intended DD to be this horrible or if she hadn't worked out Snape's role in the story or what? But looking back, DD really does seem unnecessarily cruel to Snape and I don't understand why JKR would do this if it really was planned.

If Harry is going to trust blindly, it ought to at least be someone who practices the love they preach. Given the way the story turned out, DD didn't.


Theo, I had internet trouble which is why it's taken me so long to interact with this great post. I'm so glad we have this board for us to worry this particular toothache. I'm still trying to figure out what happened in DH re: Snape and Dumbledore and I can tell you are too.

I think you may be right that she changed her mind some on where she was going with various motivations. It may be a case of the creation getting away from the creator--as I've heard many authors discuss. I hate to say Rowling didn't understand Snape since she created him--and it sounds like the kind of thing that H/H shippers said earlier. But I do think that because of her prejudice against Snape, she didn't realize exactly what she was writing. I mentioned this in the "James" thread. Rowling "knows" that Snape is slimy, so she is really shocked when people get so apoplectic at the actions of James and Sirius. I think the scene where Lily finally rejects Severus in DH does not reflect well on Lily, but Rowling "knows" that Snape is awful because he's prejudiced, so she doesn't realize what she has written.

A little of this shows up in her interviews. First Snape isn't a hero. Then the outcry makes her say "Well, he's an anti-hero," but we know her heart really isn't in that. Early on she says it would be horrible for some girl if Snape was in love with her, and then she says that Lily would have loved Snape if he hadn't been prejudiced and seduced by the Dark Arts. Those two things don't track.

I have come to the conclusion that not only has she changed her mind on some motivations and that Snape got away from her and became more real, but I think DH was flawed because she got too carried away with her message and symbolism. We get the horrible redundancies--virtually EVERYONE is redeemed. Ron, Snape, Grindlewald (for goodness sake), Kreacher, the Malfoys kind of, Percy, and Dumbledore. There was no need for Dumbledore's story arc to be a redemptive one--and I think it messes up his characterization as you point out. There was no need for this to be the case, especially when she asks Harry to trust DD and make decisions on Blind Faith. That makes sense if Dumbledore truly is the epitome of good, but not once he is as flawed as we see in DH.

She also falls down in the plotting by having to reiterate the "death doesn't always have to have a reason" theme when she kills Fred. That's what all the people Harry has seen Voldie kill are for, that's what Colin Creevy and Lavender are for. That's what Cedric was for. Fred is a major enough character that his death should have been used for something more important. It would have made more dramatic sense for Percy to die right after reconciling with Fred, which would show the cost of redemption.

And then we have the "symbolic" deaths--which also left me saying "Meh???" Hedwig symbolising the loss of Harry's youth--wasn't that the whole point of DD's death? And Remus and Tonks echoing the loss of Harry's own parents. There was no need for that. We've seen the devastation and the resiliance in Harry. And again, Remus and Tonks deserved for us to at least see them fighting together in their death. It would have only taken a paragraph. The redundancies and the desire to be all symbolic really lessens the impact of what has happened in the story pre-DH.

Based on the first six books, I would have never expected Rowling to feel it was so important to HAMMER her themes home like a morality play. We all knew she had points to make, but she made them subtly. I also was amazed at how rich her adults were in the first six books, which is unusual for a "children's book" and one of the reasons she got so many adult fans. But in DH, she shows that she really only cares about the kids--the Trio mainly, with the secondary Trio next. She basically weakens, IMHO, her characterizations of most of her main adult characters--Dumbledore, Remus, Tonks, and even Molly Weasley (Molly should never have been revealed to have had all those boys just trying for a girl).

I'm still wrestling with this whole issue, and I'm not sure I've totally figured out how to say what I'm thinking so I hope this makes sense. I hate that I'm still so unsettled by what happened to the story, especially since as a Christian, I should be thrilled with what she was trying to do. I also think that most children will be just fine with the book, and those who never got intrigued by Snape's character will be fine with it, but that still leaves a problem, as you have pointed out so clearly, with Dumbledore's characterization and that of other adult characters--and that I think will leave some major hesitations for many adult readers.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 08/16/2007 :  16:26:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was wondering about the reviews of your readers after DH came out-- how many liked what you did better-- so I went looking. The number of post DH reviews was small (I went to sugar quill and fanfiction.net), but overall I'd say they were all positive. Honestly, I wish I could combine the two. JKR presented us with a great character in Snape, then instead of showing that he could truly grow beyond his prejudices and hurts, she left him where he had been for the last 17 years. The little bit of promise was not to be of any help for him. I'm still having trouble with the way things were handled. The characters deserved better. But then there's the fact that they are her characters to do with as she would.

I agree Snape got out of hand. In creating her red-herring with the Marauders and SWM (causing us to think that Worst referred to the treatment he received instead of his losing Lily) she mislead us-- not intentionally, but substantially. And you know I'm not quite certain I agree it was simply a red herring now that I think more about it. Harry's reaction was much the same as the readers'. She shouldn't have been surprised by that. Oh Hell's Bells!!!! I had decided to take it all as author's priviledge, now I can't do that completely and be happy about it. And now I have to take Daughter to karate.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 08/16/2007 :  18:40:58  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan
I agree Snape got out of hand. In creating her red-herring with the Marauders and SWM (causing us to think that Worst referred to the treatment he received instead of his losing Lily) she mislead us-- not intentionally, but substantially. And you know I'm not quite certain I agree it was simply a red herring now that I think more about it. Harry's reaction was much the same as the readers'. She shouldn't have been surprised by that. Oh Hell's Bells!!!! I had decided to take it all as author's priviledge, now I can't do that completely and be happy about it. And now I have to take Daughter to karate.


I have always been in the camp that trys to respect what the author wants to do with a character--given I was a R/H shipper even though I didn't really care that much about Ron and Hermione. I just knew Jo cared. That's why I have been having such a hard time with this one and wrestling as you say, Siobhan. I don't think I'm fussing just because she didn't do what I wanted. I think she had way too many important character points that didn't pay off. I am coming to the conclusion that DH is a step back for Jo in her literary abilities. And maybe that is because she had it all planned out when she wrote SS/PS, so DH is a throw-back. She locked herself into concrete and didn't know how to handle these characters who had been acting and growing for the intervening 5 books. If she had left Snape and Dumbledore, etc., as two-dimensional characters, DH would have been fine. But we expected more, and when she went back to her plots and plans and just the Trio, it was unsatisfying to me--because as an adult, I had really come to care more about Snape and Dumbledore and Harry.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 08/17/2007 :  19:27:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Siobhan and SH, you both make several great points here that I will be coming back to in a subsequent post, but first I'd like to say a word about author's priviledge because this is something I can actually speak to as a writer. Yes, an author obviously does get to call the shots. Will it be H/Hr or H/G? Either ship could have worked in the context of HP and it was JKR's choice to develop the story in the direction of H/G.

Author's priviledge cannot be arbitrary, however. The overwhelming majority of readers must buy into the author's choices and vision. If they don't then the author has failed to adequately convey her vision. And once the vision is established and accepted by the readers, it must continue to be executed convincingly and consistently. Also, author's priviledge is only one side of the coin. The other is an author's obligation to her characters, her story and her readers in that order. This is a big obligation - or it should be - and I think my biggest problem with DH is that JKR doesn't seem to understand that.

Even leaving Snape and DD out of the discussion, DH is full of inconsistencies and things that simply strain belief. Hedwig is one example. Harry is on the run and travelling light, yet he's going to drag a birdcage with him?! That's ludicrous. Harry would have sent Hedwig ahead of him to the Burrow and left the cage behind. Why did JKR have Harry do something so unreasonable? Because she wanted to kill Hedwig. Okay. Killing Hedwig is her priviledge. But making Harry do something utterly senseless isn't. That's lazy writing.

There were plenty of better ways to kill Hedwig. Why not just have her turn up dead in the front yard. That would have been horrible and ominous. It would have racheted up Harry's sense of his enemies closing in on him and it wouldn't have required readers to suspend their common sense. And that's just one of many ways that Hedwig could have been handled more sensibly.

Then there's the fiasco of the Fidelus Charm. What was the point of setting up hexes to keep Snape out of 12GP when we know that he got in anyway? And since Snape is now a Secret Keeper, why ward against him when he could have told LV and all the DEs about 12GP and the whole lot of them could have come waltzing through the front door at any time?

This goes beyond just being a plot hole. JKR wasn't thinking at all and the crazy thing is that the whole SK stupidity was entirely unnecessary because it doesn't advance the plot one inch! She could have stuck with her original concept whereby only those already in on the secret would ever be able to enter 12GP. Warding against Snape would have made sense then and she could have come up with some other reason for the trio to abandon the house and go camping. She didn't even try.

What this points to, I think, is a failure of interest on JKR's part and a rush to be done. She wrote DH in a year whereas it took her nearly twice as long to write HBP which is essentially the same length. The lack of time shows. She didn't have her plot fully worked out and worse, she didn't care. DH feels like a first draft that she dashed off without going back to ensure continuity of character or events.

This same lack of engagement comes through in her treatment of the characters, also. She punts on too many moments which should have had more emotional impact. Dobby's death was beautifully done which only serves to highlight what short shrift virtually everyone else got. We complain about Snape, but he's hardly alone. Blink and you'll miss the fact that Remus and Tonks died. And how could anyone conceive of killing Fred and not show George's reaction? She sidestepped so many of the emotional punches that would have made the story great and my sense is that she just didn't have the energy to step up and give it her all.

But hey, it's her story so she can do whatever she wants, right? Not really. It comes back to the flip side of that coin - obligation. It's true that most readers aren't sticklers for details. They'll accept the characters and story and shrug off the weaknesses. But that doesn't make mediocrity acceptable. An author has a duty to give their very best. They owe it to the craft; they owe it to their readers; and they owe it to the characters and story they have been gifted to be stewards of. They don't have the right to turn out shoddy work just because it's theirs and most people won't care. Where would our culture be if every author, artist and composer took that approach?

I believe that if you have a gift, you have a duty to use it. And when that gift is going to touch the lives of tens of millions of people around the world possibly for generations to come, you'd better damn well make sure you give it your best. JKR didn't and that's what I can't forgive her for.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 08/17/2007 19:28:21
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sunsethill
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Posted - 08/21/2007 :  20:26:14  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
What this points to, I think, is a failure of interest on JKR's part and a rush to be done. She wrote DH in a year whereas it took her nearly twice as long to write HBP which is essentially the same length. The lack of time shows. She didn't have her plot fully worked out and worse, she didn't care. DH feels like a first draft that she dashed off without going back to ensure continuity of character or events.

This same lack of engagement comes through in her treatment of the characters, also. She punts on too many moments which should have had more emotional impact. Dobby's death was beautifully done which only serves to highlight what short shrift virtually everyone else got. We complain about Snape, but he's hardly alone. Blink and you'll miss the fact that Remus and Tonks died. And how could anyone conceive of killing Fred and not show George's reaction? She sidestepped so many of the emotional punches that would have made the story great and my sense is that she just didn't have the energy to step up and give it her all.

An author has a duty to give their very best. They owe it to the craft; they owe it to their readers; and they owe it to the characters and story they have been gifted to be stewards of. They don't have the right to turn out shoddy work just because it's theirs and most people won't care. Where would our culture be if every author, artist and composer took that approach?

I believe that if you have a gift, you have a duty to use it. And when that gift is going to touch the lives of tens of millions of people around the world possibly for generations to come, you'd better damn well make sure you give it your best. JKR didn't and that's what I can't forgive her for.


I hadn't really wanted to think that JKR just got tired and dashed this last book off, Theo, but I think you're right. She might have excused it by saying that she had it planned out for years, but the final product shows she had lost her steam. And it really is sad because it cheapens the labors of years.

I ranted in my LJ about the adult deaths other than Snape, and agree completely with you. It was criminal to kill Remus and Tonks off stage, not even tell us how they died (except in a chat), and not let them die defending each other. It would have taken a couple of paragraphs to do them justice. And Fred's death was thrown away also, as you point out.

I also find my head still buzzing about the whole wand thing. Not only was the SK messed up (didn't she change it even after she explained it on her website?), but the wands weren't set up well enough. I have heard people finding ways to explain what was going on, but with that major of a plot point, it should have been fleshed out LONG before now. If a fanfiction writer like you had made these kinds of mistakes, their reviewers would have burned them to the ground with flames. Maybe we could get JKR to rewrite this in a few years and publish the update on FFNet.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 08/22/2007 :  12:26:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Those are the same points that bother me, sh. She did firmly tell us about secret keeping on her website. It was one of the poll questions-- which she brushed aside with a "well it wasn't the question I would have chosen," preferring the one about "what is Dumbledore's wand made of" (as though that would have given anything away!).

She gave us a set of really great characters, then didn't bother to see them through to the end. I can accept her Snape, though it seems wrong to me. I can accept her Dumbledore, though, once again it seems wrong to me. She redeemed Percy. She made Kreacher into a great hero (she treated him better than Snape). She took us back to Gringots to save the rumoured dragon. She even finished Colin-blithering-Creevey's storyline! But she didn't give us closure with the rest of them?!?!

I finished DH feeling like I was at fault for feeling a little let down. At least I know I'm not the only one. It is a bit hard to live up to expectations, I know. And we've had years of speculation and theorising on these stories and where they were going. The Hallows were rather exciting because they were the one element we didn't foresee. I liked that Voldemort was defeated through his own lack of understanding and that Harry didn't have to be horrid or vindictive to do it. There was lots of humor that I loved. But the treatment of the characters and the details were lacking. I agree it seems she went back to her notes from seventeen years ago and wrote from there disregarding how her characters had grown since then. It would have been more fulfilling for me (especially when the epilogue is considered) if Snape had been completed (if we go back to the Scrooge parallel, Snape only got the first two ghosts-- he never made it to Christmas yet to come). I wish the image of Dumbledore as a kindly, wise, mentor had been tempered with a little more toughness throughout the series so that the ending didn't seem so out of character.

I'm that much more impressed with Theowyn's achievements with the ending of the storyline, now that we've had JKR's version. To me Thanon is so much more complete, even though the focus is narrower. No one important died pointlessly (or offstage). No one used the Unforgiveables (that bothered me a bit too). The loose ends were tied up and everyone that lived had a life afterwards.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 08/22/2007 :  13:47:32  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan
She gave us a set of really great characters, then didn't bother to see them through to the end. I can accept her Snape, though it seems wrong to me. I can accept her Dumbledore, though, once again it seems wrong to me. She redeemed Percy. She made Kreacher into a great hero (she treated him better than Snape). She took us back to Gringots to save the rumoured dragon. She even finished Colin-blithering-Creevey's storyline! But she didn't give us closure with the rest of them?!?!

I finished DH feeling like I was at fault for feeling a little let down. At least I know I'm not the only one. It is a bit hard to live up to expectations, I know. And we've had years of speculation and theorising on these stories and where they were going. The Hallows were rather exciting because they were the one element we didn't foresee. I liked that Voldemort was defeated through his own lack of understanding and that Harry didn't have to be horrid or vindictive to do it. There was lots of humor that I loved. But the treatment of the characters and the details were lacking. I agree it seems she went back to her notes from seventeen years ago and wrote from there disregarding how her characters had grown since then. It would have been more fulfilling for me (especially when the epilogue is considered) if Snape had been completed (if we go back to the Scrooge parallel, Snape only got the first two ghosts-- he never made it to Christmas yet to come). I wish the image of Dumbledore as a kindly, wise, mentor had been tempered with a little more toughness throughout the series so that the ending didn't seem so out of character.


Maybe we should form a club, Siobhan and Theo? Sometimes I almost feel like I need therapy, because I really enjoyed DH until the very end--and even then, as you say, Siobhan, I liked how she handled Harry defeating Voldemort. She did right by Harry--just not her adult characters. She did do better by Kreacher than Snape! She changed DD's characterization--to the point that I feel silly for having sneered at evil!Dumbledore writers. At first I was most upset about Snape, but the more I think about it, the angrier I get for Remus and Tonks, and Fred and George, and even Molly. Rowling should have never had all those boys born just so that Molly could have a daughter. It totally changes her role as uber!Mother who takes in Harry as her own.

As Theo says, it was not right of her to rush this book when it was so important to so many people. I wonder if she got scared that something would happen--a car wreck, an illness--and she wouldn't be able to finish the story. Oh, well. Off to read fanfiction. And Siobhan is right, Theo. What you accomplished in much less time--and being faithful to Canon as we knew it--was an amazing accomplishment.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 08/22/2007 :  15:39:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill
I hadn't really wanted to think that JKR just got tired and dashed this last book off, Theo, but I think you're right. She might have excused it by saying that she had it planned out for years, but the final product shows she had lost her steam. And it really is sad because it cheapens the labors of years.
Yes and this breaks my heart because the story and the characters deserved better. I understand why this happened. Seventeen years is a long time to be working on a single story and JKR's life has changed just about as dramatically as anyone's could in that time. Honestly, I think it was the fame that did her in and this started back before DH.

I know that many people loved OotP and the basic plot was great. But as written, it is a bloated and flawed book with obvious plot holes and clunky plot devices. (I hate Sirius's mirror in canon. Clunky and pointless.) JKR can deny it all she likes, but she absolutely had writer's block with that book - or maybe "writer's inattention" would be a better way to phrase it. The problems that fatally weaken DH first appeared in OotP and I can point to precisely the moment when we first see this. At 12GP when Remus dispels the Boggart, he uses the Riddikulus spell. However, he doesn't cast the spell the same way he did in PoA.

The difference was noticable, so much so that it brought me up short when I was reading. "Wait, that's not how that spell works." Admittedly, I'm a stickler for details or maybe I just have a really good memory, but this offended me at the time. All I could think about was that JKR was making hundreds of millions of dollars on this book and yet couldn't take two minutes to pull PoA off a shelf and look up how to cast the stupid spell.

She didn't care.

And really, who could blame her? During those same three years that she was writing OotP, JKR went from being a single mom and successful writer to being an international celebrity appearing on tv and at packed convention halls. She signed her deal with WB to start making the movies, she got married, had another baby, got stalked, got sued, moved into a fabulous mansion. Who could concentrate on writing with all that going on, much less care about the details of a silly story?

The problem, of course, is that the fans still cared and we expected her to care. That IS the author's job, after all. But JKR had already begun to move on from HP. She stayed focused for HBP, but by the time DH came along, she simply couldn't manage it anymore.

quote:
I also find my head still buzzing about the whole wand thing. Not only was the SK messed up (didn't she change it even after she explained it on her website?)
Yes, completely, which shows how tenuous her plot for DH was even as she began writing it.

quote:
...but the wands weren't set up well enough. I have heard people finding ways to explain what was going on, but with that major of a plot point, it should have been fleshed out LONG before now.
Absolutely! The whole wand business was quite amaturish. It was a deus ex machina plot device that came out of nowhere to solve Harry's problem of how to kill LV.

quote:
If a fanfiction writer like you had made these kinds of mistakes, their reviewers would have burned them to the ground with flames.
And if DH had been JKR's first book, it never would have been published. This is exactly why we should never canonize our authors while they're alive and it's why JKR's phenomenal success was so deadly. It brings out the worst in people. We're all human and when you KNOW that you can write ANYTHING and be guaranteed to sell 20 million copies... well that's not much incentive to do your best.

quote:
Maybe we could get JKR to rewrite this in a few years and publish the update on FFNet.
Well, as a practical matter I'm quite sure we'll be seeing better versions of DH out on the net soon. There are some very talented writers out there who are every bit as upset as we are.

Going back to some previous points...

quote:
I think you may be right that she changed her mind some on where she was going with various motivations. It may be a case of the creation getting away from the creator--as I've heard many authors discuss. I hate to say Rowling didn't understand Snape since she created him--and it sounds like the kind of thing that H/H shippers said earlier. But I do think that because of her prejudice against Snape, she didn't realize exactly what she was writing. I mentioned this in the "James" thread. Rowling "knows" that Snape is slimy, so she is really shocked when people get so apoplectic at the actions of James and Sirius. I think the scene where Lily finally rejects Severus in DH does not reflect well on Lily, but Rowling "knows" that Snape is awful because he's prejudiced, so she doesn't realize what she has written.

A little of this shows up in her interviews. First Snape isn't a hero. Then the outcry makes her say "Well, he's an anti-hero," but we know her heart really isn't in that. Early on she says it would be horrible for some girl if Snape was in love with her, and then she says that Lily would have loved Snape if he hadn't been prejudiced and seduced by the Dark Arts. Those two things don't track.
I have come to the conclusion that JKR's interviews cannot be trusted at all. The bit about Snape being in love though really does make me wonder if Snape/Lily wasn't originally planned.

quote:
I think DH was flawed because she got too carried away with her message and symbolism... She also falls down in the plotting by having to reiterate the "death doesn't always have to have a reason" theme... And then we have the "symbolic" deaths--which also left me saying "Meh???" Hedwig symbolising the loss of Harry's youth--wasn't that the whole point of DD's death? And Remus and Tonks echoing the loss of Harry's own parents. There was no need for that. We've seen the devastation and the resiliance in Harry. And again, Remus and Tonks deserved for us to at least see them fighting together in their death. It would have only taken a paragraph. The redundancies and the desire to be all symbolic really lessens the impact of what has happened in the story pre-DH... Based on the first six books, I would have never expected Rowling to feel it was so important to HAMMER her themes home like a morality play. We all knew she had points to make, but she made them subtly.
I think this was less an artistic choice than a path of least resistence. Symbolic deaths and intentionally "meaningless" deaths are really easy to write and these "messages" give a veneer of "depth" to deaths that are really quite trite and unaffecting. Sort of like splattering paint on a canvass and calling it Modern Art.

quote:
There was no need for Dumbledore's story arc to be a redemptive one--and I think it messes up his characterization as you point out. There was no need for this to be the case, especially when she asks Harry to trust DD and make decisions on Blind Faith. That makes sense if Dumbledore truly is the epitome of good, but not once he is as flawed as we see in DH.
This was not a great choice. Snape should have filled this role - he'd been set up to do so for six books and would have been an utterly brilliant learning experience for Harry! That's not to say that DD couldn't have had a few skeletons in his closet. He certainly had to be revealed as the Grand Manipulator he was. There was no way around the fact that DD knew Harry was a horcrux and had failed to tell him. But this would have been okay if, instead of dumping the task on Snape, DD had left Harry some of his own memories.

This would have been simple to do. When Harry arrived in Hogsmeade and met up with Aberforth, the old barkeep could have had the Pensieve and a beaker of memories waiting. "Albus said you'd be turn up. He told me to give you this."

It would have made a lot more sense for Harry to take time to view DD's memories before heading into battle than for him to stop in the middle of that battle to view Snape's. Virtually every crucial piece of information Harry learns from Snape he could have learned from DD, starting with Snape's desperate plea for DD to save Lily's life. Of course, DD would have left two special memories for Harry. An introduction along the lines of... "Harry, if you are seeing these memories then I am dead and Severus has killed me, but you must understand that things are not what they seem..." and a final memory along the lines of what we got in King's Cross... "Forgive me, Harry, for not having told you all of this sooner..."

quote:
I hate that I'm still so unsettled by what happened to the story, especially since as a Christian, I should be thrilled with what she was trying to do.
Yes, but "trying" is the operative word here. I think she fell short of the mark, which is the whole problem.

quote:
I also was amazed at how rich her adults were in the first six books, which is unusual for a "children's book" and one of the reasons she got so many adult fans. But in DH, she shows that she really only cares about the kids--the Trio mainly, with the secondary Trio next. She basically weakens, IMHO, her characterizations of most of her main adult characters...

...I am coming to the conclusion that DH is a step back for Jo in her literary abilities. And maybe that is because she had it all planned out when she wrote SS/PS, so DH is a throw-back. She locked herself into concrete and didn't know how to handle these characters who had been acting and growing for the intervening 5 books. If she had left Snape and Dumbledore, etc., as two-dimensional characters, DH would have been fine. But we expected more, and when she went back to her plots and plans and just the Trio, it was unsatisfying to me--because as an adult, I had really come to care more about Snape and Dumbledore and Harry.
DH is a throwback, but being a step back in her literary abilities wouldn't be fatal to DH if it weren't for the second point you make here - it is unsatisfying to adults. One of the unique things about HP is that it follows Harry from childhood to adulthood and in doing so grows (or should grow) from a children's series into an adult one. JKR has even said as much, commenting that the latter books aren't really for children. And yet, DH is in most ways nothing more than a children's book, gratuitous deaths and sexual innuendo not withstanding.

The adults make cameo appearances, but they don't really interact with the kids. The only exception is when Remus wants to go off with Harry and Harry rebukes him for trying to leave Tonks, but all this really does is reinforce the separation between Harry and the adults. The book is weaker for this, IMO, because the great opportunity in writing a coming-of-age story is to show a child coming to understand and relate to the adults around him as equals. I suppose Harry vs. Remus was supposed to be a nod to that idea, but it wasn't well done.

And the newest posts...
quote:
I liked that Voldemort was defeated through his own lack of understanding and that Harry didn't have to be horrid or vindictive to do it.
Me too, though I was disappointed that "LOVE" didn't play a role there. After the huge buildup - "the power the Dark Lord knows not" - Love played no role at all in Harry's final victory. It all came down to the lucky stroke of having disarmed Draco several weeks earlier. I'm sorry, but I just don't find that particularly inspiring and it was sort of a weird let down after the forest.

quote:
She gave us a set of really great characters, then didn't bother to see them through to the end. I can accept her Snape, though it seems wrong to me. I can accept her Dumbledore, though, once again it seems wrong to me. She redeemed Percy. She made Kreacher into a great hero (she treated him better than Snape). She took us back to Gringots to save the rumoured dragon. She even finished Colin-blithering-Creevey's storyline! But she didn't give us closure with the rest of them?!?!
Yeah, we were all just dying to find out what happened to Colin! But George's reaction to Fred's death... I guess that'll have to wait the encyclopedia.

quote:
Maybe we should form a club, Siobhan and Theo? Sometimes I almost feel like I need therapy... At first I was most upset about Snape, but the more I think about it, the angrier I get for Remus and Tonks, and Fred and George, and even Molly.
A club sounds great! And you make a good point here. This isn't about Snape. It's about dissatisfaction with what is essentially an unfinished story.

quote:
I'm that much more impressed with Theowyn's achievements with the ending of the storyline, now that we've had JKR's version. To me Thanon is so much more complete, even though the focus is narrower. No one important died pointlessly (or offstage). No one used the Unforgiveables (that bothered me a bit too). The loose ends were tied up and everyone that lived had a life afterwards.

quote:
And Siobhan is right, Theo. What you accomplished in much less time--and being faithful to Canon as we knew it--was an amazing accomplishment.
Thank you both! That is a wonderful compliment, Though it actually took me longer to write HPCS. I started in January, 2006, the same as JKR, but she finished this last January, whereas I wrote through June. I wish she'd taken the extra six months, too.

I am very happy with both HPEW and HPCS - I especially like my epilogue in light of DH. I just wish that JKR had cared as much about her story as I did mine. As you say, Siobhan, I could accept her view of any of the characters if it had just been set up better and given proper closure. It just isn't that hard to do if you put a little effort into it.

Sorry for the marathon post.

Order of the Bookmark

s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"

Edited by - Theowyn on 08/22/2007 15:54:06
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