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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2007 :  17:56:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
I wasn't disappointed in not seeing him experience any happiness though. There was none for him in life beyond the chance to look into Harry's eyes as he died. As for the afterlife, I'm content that JKR left that to our imaginations. I know that death was a welcome relief to Severus and that he found peace and love on the other side of the veil as surely as his reputation was redeemed on this side. There's also plenty of excellent fanfiction versions of this. I can live with that.
As I think I've said before, after my initial irritation with how Snape's story was handled, I have come to the conclusion that we got the best we could hope for given Jo's attitude toward her creation. Thus, I too am glad that so much of Snape's story can be left to our imaginations. I think it weakens the book itself, but it sure does make for rich fanfiction.
DH's loss is fanfiction's gain, definitely.

quote:
But part of my problem with envisioning that as Snape's "only" reward is that I'm a little ticked at Lily for abandoning him. In fact, Snape's loyalty to Lily after she showed him so little makes me think she wasn't really worthy of the loyalty.
You aren't the only one to feel this way, SH. I've seen folks at LL make the same complaint. I think there are two main reasons why her attitude towards Snape leaves a bitter taste: Inconsistencies in the themes/morals in the book confuse the situation and Severus just isn't bad enough.

If the Dark Arts were truly horrific, it'd be easy to understand Lily's stance. But when Harry's tossing around Unforgiveable Curses with a smirk and even McGonagall is using them then the Dark Arts lose their taboo and Lily shunning Severus feels like an overreaction.

On top of this, we never see Snape actually DO anything to warrant Lily's rejection. 'Mudblood' alone is not enough and that's all we're given. Yeah, Severus was hanging with a bad crowd who apparantly used some unspecified dark magic against a student we've never heard of. But since we have no information about how serious this incident was, it's hard to be incensed by it. Furthermore, Snape himself wasn't involved.

If Lily had to berate Severus for what his friends were doing, then by definition, HE wasn't doing such things himself. We KNOW that he didn't attack other people with dark spells or bully his classmates because Lily would have mentioned it if he had. The worst Lily can say about Severus is that he has lousy taste in friends, spies on the Marauders and is 'fascinated' by the Dark Arts.

That's not enough to turn your back on someone you really care about and that's why Lily comes across as harsh.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/13/2007 17:57:35
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2007 :  21:38:01  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
You aren't the only one to feel this way, SH. I've seen folks at LL make the same complaint. I think there are two main reasons why her attitude towards Snape leaves a bitter taste: Inconsistencies in the themes/morals in the book confuse the situation and Severus just isn't bad enough.

If the Dark Arts were truly horrific, it'd be easy to understand Lily's stance. But when Harry's tossing around Unforgiveable Curses with a smirk and even McGonagall is using them then the Dark Arts lose their taboo and Lily shunning Severus feels like an overreaction.

On top of this, we never see Snape actually DO anything to warrant Lily's rejection. 'Mudblood' alone is not enough and that's all we're given. Yeah, Severus was hanging with a bad crowd who apparantly used some unspecified dark magic against a student we've never heard of. But since we have no information about how serious this incident was, it's hard to be incensed by it. Furthermore, Snape himself wasn't involved.

If Lily had to berate Severus for what his friends were doing, then by definition, HE wasn't doing such things himself. We KNOW that he didn't attack other people with dark spells or bully his classmates because Lily would have mentioned it if he had. The worst Lily can say about Severus is that he has lousy taste in friends, spies on the Marauders and is 'fascinated' by the Dark Arts.

That's not enough to turn your back on someone you really care about and that's why Lily comes across as harsh.

Right. Not only do we not SEE Severus do any bad stuff and Lily can't name anything specific he has done (except show prejudice), but we do see the folks she's hanging with do some pretty heavy bullying and find out that Sirius attempted murder.

Before seeing Harry and McGonagall tossing around Unforgiveables, as you say, it might have been easier to believe in the absolute immorality of the Dark Arts. So as you say, Rowling has really blurred the lines in her moral system within the books. Just as we are just supposed to believe James is wonderful because he was Harry's father and a Gryffindor and an Order member--even though we see him do some pretty rough stuff, we are supposed to believe that Lily is wonderful because she is Harry's mother and a Gryffindor and an Order member--even though she throws over a friend who desperately needs her. Jo's personal beliefs about the characters haven't been translated well into what we actually see in the text.

Which just makes it possible for me to still love Snape--even if she doesn't. Nah nah na boo boo! Now I feel really grown up! But then again, I'm obsessed with a children's book.

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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2007 :  03:03:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think, the problem with the relationship between Lily and Severus is that Lily has been an exceedingly two dimensional character in the books. At least for me, she never truly came to life. We know that everybody thought she was this kind, brave, and of course beautiful woman, and I was actually rather bored with her. The few scenes of her that picture her as a real person and not just a monument to all goodness were, of course, not enough to give her substance. So, everything that happens between Severus and Lily is something I have to accept at face value, and believe in the interpretation the author gives me, because I simply do not know enough about what has been going on. This comes back to the quote I gave in my earlier post. I am told what to feel, but I am not drawn in and feel on my own. Disappointing.

I would love to read some good fanfiction written after DH. So, if you come across something you like, please share!
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2007 :  12:21:23  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Krabat

I think, the problem with the relationship between Lily and Severus is that Lily has been an exceedingly two dimensional character in the books. At least for me, she never truly came to life. We know that everybody thought she was this kind, brave, and of course beautiful woman, and I was actually rather bored with her. The few scenes of her that picture her as a real person and not just a monument to all goodness were, of course, not enough to give her substance. So, everything that happens between Severus and Lily is something I have to accept at face value, and believe in the interpretation the author gives me, because I simply do not know enough about what has been going on. This comes back to the quote I gave in my earlier post. I am told what to feel, but I am not drawn in and feel on my own. Disappointing.

I would love to read some good fanfiction written after DH. So, if you come across something you like, please share!

Exactly, we are supposed to just believe it because Jo believes it. But, as with James, what she chooses to show doesn't totally match what we're being told.

The same thing happened, in my opinion, with Ginny. Now here I don't feel that the words and actions didn't match so much as that Ginny stayed two-dimensional as you say. I loved the whole idea of Harry and Ginny for the longest. H/G was my OTP. I read almost exclusively H/G stories--up until HBP. And by the end of DH, I didn't care anymore. Ginny just never really emerged in the book, and her characterization felt really forced to me. Surely we could have had a few minutes of showing us Ginny doing something to make us really believe she's the right girl for Harry rather than all the Hermione-love, but we are just to believe it when Jo tells us she's the one. After DH, I can see why there are all those H/H shippers out there still.

I wish I could find the story on LJ that I read right after DH that took Snape and Fred and Tonks through King's Cross on their way to the next great adventure. It had some really great insights and lots of great tear-jerking moments. I remember there was a creepy and mysterious station attendant. But I didn't bookmark it and I don't remember the title or author or anything. Phooey. Maybe Theo knows.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2007 :  18:32:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

I wish I could find the story on LJ that I read right after DH that took Snape and Fred and Tonks through King's Cross on their way to the next great adventure. It had some really great insights and lots of great tear-jerking moments. I remember there was a creepy and mysterious station attendant. But I didn't bookmark it and I don't remember the title or author or anything. Phooey. Maybe Theo knows.
I know exactly the one you mean. It's taken me five hours of searching on fanfiction.net, but here's the link. Enjoy!

Title: End of the Line
Author: shewhoguards

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3673824/1/End_Of_the_Line

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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2007 :  14:13:33  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn

quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

I wish I could find the story on LJ that I read right after DH that took Snape and Fred and Tonks through King's Cross on their way to the next great adventure. It had some really great insights and lots of great tear-jerking moments. I remember there was a creepy and mysterious station attendant. But I didn't bookmark it and I don't remember the title or author or anything. Phooey. Maybe Theo knows.
I know exactly the one you mean. It's taken me five hours of searching on fanfiction.net, but here's the link. Enjoy!

Title: End of the Line
Author: shewhoguards

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3673824/1/End_Of_the_Line

Bless you! But now I feel terrible that you spent five hours looking for it. I better save the link, eh? I definitely don't recognize the author name, and when I read it, it was still on LJ. Glad it's on FFnet now. I know lots of people hate FFnet, but it makes it so easy for me to find things and save them.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2007 :  22:31:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn

quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

I wish I could find the story on LJ that I read right after DH that took Snape and Fred and Tonks through King's Cross on their way to the next great adventure. It had some really great insights and lots of great tear-jerking moments. I remember there was a creepy and mysterious station attendant. But I didn't bookmark it and I don't remember the title or author or anything. Phooey. Maybe Theo knows.
I know exactly the one you mean. It's taken me five hours of searching on fanfiction.net, but here's the link. Enjoy!

Title: End of the Line
Author: shewhoguards

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3673824/1/End_Of_the_Line

Bless you! But now I feel terrible that you spent five hours looking for it.
No problem. I was thinking about this one the other day and just needed extra incentive to go looking for it. There's a new chapter I hadn't read the first time around, too, so I'm glad I found it again.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/15/2007 22:36:05
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2007 :  15:56:06  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
No problem. I was thinking about this one the other day and just needed extra incentive to go looking for it. There's a new chapter I hadn't read the first time around, too, so I'm glad I found it again.

I hadn't read the last chapter either. She really upped the ante with the last two chapters, didn't she? The first two were just nice stories with fairly obvious, but tear-jerker, aspects. But her portrayal of Tonks and then Bellatrix and Peter Pettigrew were really thought-provoking.

I also really like this one-shot:

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3690782/1/The_Portrait

It allows Harry to say many of the things, Theo, that we missed in the book. The characterizations are pretty good, too, I think.

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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2007 :  03:28:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the link. I really liked the story. In return here one link to a story that would have made a better epilogue than the one we got in DH:

http://casirafics.livejournal.com/440900.html
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2007 :  10:24:48  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Krabat

Thanks for the link. I really liked the story. In return here one link to a story that would have made a better epilogue than the one we got in DH:

http://casirafics.livejournal.com/440900.html


Yes, Krabat. Quite nice. I especially loved seeing George getting back into life because of the shop that he and Fred loved. But I still prefer the "Snape miraculously lived and is out there finally having a life" stories. HPCS is canon! HPCS is canon!

Why don't you come on over to some of the other threads and put your two-cents in! You have some great insights.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  12:09:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
- Samuel Johnson
Ouch. Just thought this was somewhat topical given that we seem to agree that though the ideas were present and good in DH, the execution was lacking.

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  12:18:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Originally posted by Krabat

Thanks for the link. I really liked the story. In return here one link to a story that would have made a better epilogue than the one we got in DH:

http://casirafics.livejournal.com/440900.html


Yes, Krabat. Quite nice. I especially loved seeing George getting back into life because of the shop that he and Fred loved. But I still prefer the "Snape miraculously lived and is out there finally having a life" stories. HPCS is canon! HPCS is canon!

Why don't you come on over to some of the other threads and put your two-cents in! You have some great insights.

I enjoyed both of these. Thanks!

I'm glad HPCS is still holding up so well in your estimation, SH. I also like the Snape-survived fics, though I'm not sure I'd have Severus survive if I were writing my own version of DH. Given the events of HBP, I think it might be kinder to let him go to his eternal rest, but I'd give him more resolution beforehand.

JKR gave Snape a death like Sirius's: pointless and a too-soon ending to an unlived life. While this kind of death has merit in a story, it is brutal on readers and characters alike. For Sirius, it was necessary; Harry needed to feel all that unresolved guilt and loss. But Snape didn't need to die this way. If he had made peace with himself and Harry before the end, his death wouldn't hurt so much.

Krabat, do please come and join in the other threads. I love your comments.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

quote:
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
- Samuel Johnson
Ouch. Just thought this was somewhat topical given that we seem to agree that though the ideas were present and good in DH, the execution was lacking.


Zing! Very topical indeed! It really is all in the execution.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/18/2007 18:04:53
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2007 :  12:26:57  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
I also like the Snape-survived fics, though I'm not sure I'd have Severus survive if I were writing my own version of DH. Given the events of HBP, I think it might be kinder to let him go to his eternal rest, but I'd give him more resolution beforehand.

JKR gave Snape a death like Sirius's: pointless and a too-soon ending to an unlived life. While this kind of death has merit in a story, it is brutal on readers and characters alike. For Sirius, it was necessary; Harry needed to feel all that unresolved guilt and loss. But Snape didn't need to die this way. If he had made peace with himself and Harry before the end, his death wouldn't hurt so much.

I fully expected Snape to die in DH--just not the way he did. I knew I would need to rely on fanfiction to continue to get my Snape fix. I just didn't think it would be so easy to actually make the stories somewhat canonical. Again--no body, no resurrection stone spirit, no portrait.

And I agree completely that Snape's death was pointless like Sirius'. And, as you say, it hurt with Sirius, but made sense. Sirius was only introduced for three books. He had little contact with Harry and little that he could really do to help Harry on his quest. His death illustrated many of the themes Rowling wanted to touch on--Voldie and the DE's evil, the often meaninglessness of death, death coming to the "good" as well as the bad, etc.

But with Snape, I fully expected more resolution, and more meaning to his death. I also expected his final year to mean more--again, not because I loved Snape but because of the importance that Rowling herself had given him through six previous books. To pull a Sirius with him was just unnecessary and, as Siobhan's quote points out, lazy plotting.

So how is the author's story you are betaing coming, Theo? Let us know when she/he starts posting. Any plot bunnies bit you yet?

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2007 :  17:28:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

I fully expected Snape to die in DH--just not the way he did. I knew I would need to rely on fanfiction to continue to get my Snape fix. I just didn't think it would be so easy to actually make the stories somewhat canonical. Again--no body, no resurrection stone spirit, no portrait.
Maybe JKR decided that since we all love Snape so much, she'd just let us have him.

quote:
And I agree completely that Snape's death was pointless like Sirius'. And, as you say, it hurt with Sirius, but made sense. Sirius was only introduced for three books. He had little contact with Harry and little that he could really do to help Harry on his quest. His death illustrated many of the themes Rowling wanted to touch on--Voldie and the DE's evil, the often meaninglessness of death, death coming to the "good" as well as the bad, etc.
I wish JKR didn't feel the need to reiterate this theme so often.

quote:
But with Snape, I fully expected more resolution, and more meaning to his death. I also expected his final year to mean more--again, not because I loved Snape but because of the importance that Rowling herself had given him through six previous books. To pull a Sirius with him was just unnecessary and, as Siobhan's quote points out, lazy plotting.
It's so very sad. Such a waste.

quote:
So how is the author's story you are betaing coming, Theo? Let us know when she/he starts posting. Any plot bunnies bit you yet?
The story I'm beta'ing is coming along well. I just finished editing chapter 19, which was quite good. The author wrote the first 18 chapters very fast, mostly because much of that section was a rework of the early chapters of DH and followed JKR very closely, incorporating large chunks of DH. She has slowed down now that she is getting into more original material, but the writing is better for it.

I like what she has done with the story, so far. She has fixed the egregious clunkers from DH and skipped Umbridge entirely - Yay! We have just started in on the camping, which is also being handled more logically, so far.

The biggest departure in plot is that she won't be using the Elder Wand, etc at all, but instead will be using the Founders' relics as the Deathly Hallows which should be far more elegant and in keeping with previous canon. If you guys would like to read what she's written so far, I'll be happy to ask if she wouldn't mind my sharing it with you.

As to plot bunnies, I have a couple hopping around after me, but I haven't quite decided what to do with them, yet. One of them I had in mind before DH came out, but DH somewhat spoiled it because it involves naming Harry and Ginny's second son... I'll probably give it a go anyway, but I'll likely address the other bunny first. I've never written a short story though, so it may take me a bit to work it out.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/20/2007 17:29:24
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2007 :  12:07:42  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
The biggest departure in plot is that she won't be using the Elder Wand, etc at all, but instead will be using the Founders' relics as the Deathly Hallows which should be far more elegant and in keeping with previous canon. If you guys would like to read what she's written so far, I'll be happy to ask if she wouldn't mind my sharing it with you.

As to plot bunnies, I have a couple hopping around after me, but I haven't quite decided what to do with them, yet. One of them I had in mind before DH came out, but DH somewhat spoiled it because it involves naming Harry and Ginny's second son... I'll probably give it a go anyway, but I'll likely address the other bunny first. I've never written a short story though, so it may take me a bit to work it out.

The changes your friend is making do sound like they would add a lot to the story. The founder's relics just got shunted to the side, didn't they?

And bunnies! We've got bunnies! That is very good news.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2007 :  13:40:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I love bunnies!

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
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Posted - 09/22/2007 :  23:21:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We had a family get together this afternoon. One of my sisters-in-law asked me how I liked the final HP book. I had to answer her honestly, that I was disappointed in the execution. She said she has asked a couple of her friends (who are also HP fans) the same question and got the same response. I find that a little reassuring-- perhaps because I don't really discuss HP with anyone outside these boards and don't visit other sites regularly enough to have a wide range of reactions. The more I hear, though, the more of us disappointed fans there seem to be.

You know there's something wrong with the end of a book, if the author has to answer lots and lots of burning questions about stuff left out at the conclusion.

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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2007 :  08:22:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just came back von a conference in Edinburgh (Edinburgh castle could very well be Hogwarts as far as I am concerned, although it lacks a number of turrets), so I had some catching up to do on your posting.

quote:
Why don't you come on over to some of the other threads and put your two-cents in! You have some great insights.


quote:
Krabat, do please come and join in the other threads. I love your comments.


Thank you very much for the nice invitation. I never posted to a forum before starting HPCS. What I really enjoy about this particular thread is the feeling of a real conversation. Since we are not so many people here, it is possible to take in everything that is said and then contribute a comment and get a reaction. In the aftermath of reading DH I posted once or twice to some other threads but it felt like everyone was just trying to get their opinion across, and not really like a discussion. Of course, that isn't too surprising a day after the book release. I probably would try again if I found the time to read the threads, so I wouldn't repeat what has been said before. But between work, reading lots and lots of fan fiction and some other terribly time consuming pastimes, chances are that I won't manage in the near future.

quote:
I had to answer her honestly, that I was disappointed in the execution. She said she has asked a couple of her friends (who are also HP fans) the same question and got the same response. I find that a little reassuring-- perhaps because I don't really discuss HP with anyone outside these boards and don't visit other sites regularly enough to have a wide range of reactions. The more I hear, though, the more of us disappointed fans there seem to be


I discussed the book with a couple of my friends and everyone's immediate answer was that they liked the book very much. Then I mostly started to list all the points why I wasn't happy with the book and interestingly enough they mostly agreed with me on second thought. So basically they didn't realize all its weaknesses while reading and just liked the resolution of the story. I was wondering whether that might be the case because they all read the book in English (rather than in German) and thus perhaps weren't focussed on nuances. On the other hand, the plot holes are hardly nuances. And my brother who also liked the book is an English teacher, so he shouldn't have had any problems. So perhaps it is more the fact they all seemed to have read the book in a great rush to find out how the story ends. So rather than the journey to that end it was important to know the facts, such as who survived and who didn't. This would match with the fact, that some of them told me that they wanted to reread the book but got bored in the middle and stopped. I must admit I haven't finished my reread yet either.
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2007 :  10:51:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've had trouble with re-reads since OotP. Well, honestly, just with that one and DH (HBP I liked and have no trouble with). The idea of skipping OotP was sorely tempting in my pre-DH reread, but I felt I would miss out on some of the finer points if I skipped it-- just goes to show how wrong I was. Still haven't felt the need to pick up DH again.

I have to admit to having peeked at the ending sentence before starting DH. I wanted to see where "scar" fit in. That of course told me that Harry lived 19 years in the future, so I didn't have the worry on that score that I had with OotP (that one gave me head and stomach aches from nerves with all the near deaths even though I initally thought Sirius was toaster pastry). Perhaps having that resolution made it easier to read critically from the start?

Krabat, you are correct that we were all airing our opinions shortly after DH was released. I think there was a period consensus gathering and not wanting to ruin the effect for others. I'm truly happy for those who liked DH. It would be much more satisfying for me if I had liked it. I just expected this to be a more complete book in the sense of completing all the thematic elements. There are a few new discussions going on now, though. Because the boards have slowed down the topics are easier to keep up with. So do feel free and welcome to join in when you can. I expect more movie and DVD news soon, so things will putter along till then.


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Theowyn
Looney

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Posted - 09/24/2007 :  14:50:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting points about how different goals/expectations affect the reading of the books. Many people don't read very closely for a variety of reasons. They might be anxious to find out who dies and skip over all the details. They might not care about plot holes.

I have a friend who writes reviews for children's books. She told me once that she read a book and half way through, the heroine, who had started off with brown hair, was suddenly described as being blond. She called up the editor to mention this and he said, "It doesn't matter. No one will notice."

The lesson being that most readers don't read closely AT ALL!

Siobhan, I've had the same experience with re-reading OotP as you. I really haven't been able to slog through it again and I know that I won't re-read DH, either. This may be the best determiner of the quality of any book: does it inspire and hold up under multiple readings?

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sunsethill
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Posted - 09/24/2007 :  14:53:24  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Krabat
So perhaps it is more the fact they all seemed to have read the book in a great rush to find out how the story ends. So rather than the journey to that end it was important to know the facts, such as who survived and who didn't. This would match with the fact, that some of them told me that they wanted to reread the book but got bored in the middle and stopped. I must admit I haven't finished my reread yet either.

I think this is very true, Krabat. I read the book moderately quickly and I was mainly reading to see how things came out. I thought there were problems even as I read, but they were fairly picky points--like thinking "Sheesh, Ron already got over his jealousy of Harry in Book 4 already!" Then I got to Snape's death, and I was quite angry that even though he had a whole chapter explaining his motivation, in actual fact he really accomplished next to nothing for Harry's quest. Then Fred and Lupin and Tonks' deaths bothered me, but I did like the resolution fairly well--except for wondering which wand was on first.

But I too have almost no desire to reread DH. And I agree, Siobhan, I haven't wanted to reread any books more than once after OotP, not even HBP. I figure in some ways, though, that is because I read so much fanfiction that the story elements stay pretty fresh in my mind.

And, yes, Krabat, discussion has slowed WAY down so if you pick a few of the more recent threads there may only be five or six replies to the topic--no need to reread several pages of comments.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 09/24/2007 :  14:59:57  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
I have a friend who writes reviews for children's books. She told me once that she read a book and half way through, the heroine, who had started off with brown hair, was suddenly described as being blond. She called up the editor to mention this and he said, "It doesn't matter. No one will notice."

The lesson being that most readers don't read closely AT ALL!

Now that is just amazing! And what bothers me is that no one wants to fix it. I know when I was more involved with Laurie R. King's fandom that she would ask readers for help finding typos when the books got ready to go to paperback--but to not even care that the heroine's hair had changed color. The author sure had a strong view of his/her character, eh?

And regarding the rereading (we posted almost simultaneously, Theo), I think children will reread because the magical elements are still there for the whole series. They can forget the problems with the end in the magic of the previous books. I realized yesterday that I had a similar reaction to C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle. I have read the first six books in the Narnia series more times than I can count, but the last book only twice. And when each child starts reading, I tell them they can't read the last book until they are in their teens. But each Narnia book is more self-contained than the HP stories. So that approach really won't work HP.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 09/25/2007 :  11:05:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good point about the Narnia books. HP is so much a series it could almost be one huge book. If we look at it as a single volume (the way Lord of the Ring was intended to be) the story arc makes a little more sense, ie the slower books fit in better pace-wise. I've got another series I've been reading over the years and the same is true of it. The pacing of a book gets spread out over a series, so some books will be slower/have less action than others. Narnia is easy to read one book, then not pick up another one. There isn't the lead in to the next story and they don't flow together with the same intent as a series does. HP we know Harry has at least 7 years of school so that sets up the next story by making us wonder what will happen over the summer and in the next year.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 09/25/2007 :  12:56:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
I have a friend who writes reviews for children's books. She told me once that she read a book and half way through, the heroine, who had started off with brown hair, was suddenly described as being blond. She called up the editor to mention this and he said, "It doesn't matter. No one will notice."

The lesson being that most readers don't read closely AT ALL!

Now that is just amazing! And what bothers me is that no one wants to fix it. I know when I was more involved with Laurie R. King's fandom that she would ask readers for help finding typos when the books got ready to go to paperback--but to not even care that the heroine's hair had changed color. The author sure had a strong view of his/her character, eh?
*Snort* I'll say. At the same time, while this is an egregious example, I can see this sort of thing happening. In HPCS when we first meet Knight, Neville explains that her husband and brother were killed by DEs. Fifteen chapters later when Moody is lamenting her being the DE Vigilante, I originally had DD comment that she had lost both her husband and father to DEs. I posted the chapter online with the mistake and only two people caught it. Now, this was not an important detail to the story, but it shows how inconsistencies can creep into a story and go unnoticed.

quote:
And regarding the rereading (we posted almost simultaneously, Theo), I think children will reread because the magical elements are still there for the whole series. They can forget the problems with the end in the magic of the previous books. I realized yesterday that I had a similar reaction to C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle. I have read the first six books in the Narnia series more times than I can count, but the last book only twice. And when each child starts reading, I tell them they can't read the last book until they are in their teens. But each Narnia book is more self-contained than the HP stories. So that approach really won't work HP.
The re-reading of HP is something that would be fun to track by age group over the next 10 years. I'm not sure that kids - or anyone, actually - would be inclined to re-read beyond GoF. The first four books have the same premise to them: Harry and his two best friends face down challenges at school and bad-guys lurking in the shadows to win the day.

There is no real sexual tension in these books beyond Harry's juvenile and unrequitted crush on Cho. The secondary trio hasn't made an appearance. Harry hasn't become angsty. In short, these books have very clean plots and are focused on the action. This works brilliantly.

In the last three books, however, JKR abandons this formula. She expands the trio to include Neville, Ginny and Luna. She introduces the OotP. She increases the influence of the ministry. This expands Harry's world, but dilutes the core trio of friends which had been the focus of the previous books. Hermione and Ron's roles are dramatically reduced in OotP and HBP.

There is no concrete challenge facing Harry in books five and six. In the first four books, the challenges were clear: Prevent someone from stealing the stone, find the monster attacking students, avoid being killed by a maniac, and survive the TriWizard Tournament. These goals were evident almost from the beginning of each book. Harry's (and our) understanding of each goal improved as each book progressed and we always got a surprise twist at the end, but the goal was there to be strived for throughout.

In OotP, Harry has no clear goal which is why that book flounders so badly. The OotP has a goal, but Harry doesn't know what that is and neither do we. Harry is given a goal - learn Occlumency to block his visions - but he doesn't buy into that for a moment. All he really has is impotent anger over not knowing what's going on.

In HBP it may seem as though Harry has a goal, but in fact he is just as frustrated as he was in OotP. Here again he is given a goal by DD - learn about Tom Riddle. Unlike Occlumency, Harry's willing to do this, but he's being led by the hand. He is not taking the initiative. Harry's own true goal in HBP is to discover what Malfoy is up to and to stop him. In this, Harry fails utterly. He is once again frustrated and impotent. Even Ron and Hermione won't listen to him.

The denouements of OotP and HBP are also markedly different from those of the first four books. In those previous books Harry: goes after the stone, goes to save Ginny, confronts Sirius in the Shrieking Shack, faces LV in the graveyard. In every case, the denouements are the culmination of that year's quest and Harry is unequivocally victorious. He defeats Quirrelmort, slays a Basilisk, saves two innocent lives, and bests LV to escape and return Cedric's body to his parents.

The denouements of OotP and HBP are bitter by comparison. In the first, Harry is tricked into endangering all of his friends for nothing and gets Sirius killed. In the second, he simply follows DD on his quest for the locket, obeying orders dutifully. DD must save him from the Inferi and they don't even retrieve the real horcrux. After that, Harry watches helplessly as DD is killed and is likewise impotent to stop Snape from fleeing. Aside from functioning as DD's page in the cave, he is completely ineffectual.

This is why these books feel different from the first four. It's not that they're darker because of Umbridge or LV or people dying. It's because our hero has lost his touch. The clever, determined child who found a way past every obstacle to win the day has vanished and been replaced by a frustrated teen who has to be saved by others. Who wants to read that multiple times?

DH, for all that Harry defeats LV, suffers from these same problems. Harry is slave to his fate, here. He goes after the horcruxes because DD told him to. He goes to face his death because he has no practical choice in the matter. He is following a path that has been laid out for him.

When Harry does take the initiative, things often go badly. Godrics Hollow and visiting Luna's dad stand out here. Heck, he can't even manage to pluck a stupid sword out of a pond without nearly getting himself killed and having to be rescued by Ron.

Not that Harry doesn't have some heroic moments too, saving Malfoy for instance, but it's definitely a mixed bag which isn't helped by all the frustrated hiding out and agonizing over what to do next.

Then there's the fact that Harry's confrontation with LV wasn't nearly as heart-stopping as the denouements of the previous books. He goes into the Great Hall knowing he can't lose and beats LV with a basic spell he learned in 2nd year. Ho hum. Harry gets to be a sacrificial lamb and a confident savior, but he never gets to be the bravely determined young man who has to use his wits and courage to beat his nemesis. This is crucial. For while we believe that Harry might die in the forest, there is never a moment at which we believe that he might fail.

In the denouements of the previous books, failure was a real possibility. But from the moment that Harry takes Snape's memories, there is no real chance for him to fail. This undermines the climax of the story. Perhaps JKR should have been less concerned with religious symbolism at this point and more concerned with telling a good story, because all of her previous denouements were excellent in terms of Harry fighting life and death battles. It's a shame that we missed out on what should have been the greatest battle of them all.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/26/2007 11:17:21
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Krabat
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Posted - 09/26/2007 :  05:08:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting points about why the first four books feel different then the last three, Theo. For me, there was another aspect that changed after GoF. Voldemort himself. In the first book we heard rumours about him and in the end we came face to face with him in a way I at least would never have anticipated. In the second, we met him again, and again it was an astounding twist that a memory could become solid and a real threat. In the third, we were confronted with one of his most dangerous servants, or so we thought. Although Voldemort himself never made an appearance in the book, I never lost the feeling he was hovering just at the edge. And then we basically hit the climax in GoF. Voldemort's resurrection is perhaps the most gripping, terrifying and fascinating scene for me in the Harry Potter books. What I am trying to say is that Voldemort was a truly unpredictable enemy in the first books, stretching the boundaries of what is possible and what is not. The moment he got a body he lost this fascinating aspect of the unknown. Yes, he was a truly terrifying wizard who had power and knowledge no other had, but he still acted as a wizard, despite JKR trying to make him inhuman with all the snake similarities. His appearances on the stage lost all its mystery and the fight between him and Harry became somehow more mundane.
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Siobhan
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Posted - 09/26/2007 :  11:03:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Add to that that by the end of GoF there was a great "huh?" over his convoluted planning. He became a James Bond type villan-- big and unnecessarily complex plans, a monologue, and a defeat at the hands of a much weaker opponent. Voldemort remained dangerous, but the greater threat was his DE's, Bellatrix in particular. There was no surprise for me that Harry was able to fend off Voldemort when leaving Privet Drive-- and not just because it was within the first few chapters of the book. Voldemort's defeat felt like a foregone conclusion in some respects.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 09/26/2007 :  11:28:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, LV as James Bond villian was a definite let down in the later books. He was such a wonderful and mysterious menace early on, as Krabat says. Once he regained his body, he became bogged down in ridiculous plans and the fussy details of world domination - which he managed to make seem a tedious business. In the end, he was just a tinpot dictator with delusions of grandeur. There was nothing magical about him at all.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/26/2007 11:30:32
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Siobhan
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Posted - 09/26/2007 :  11:35:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yup.

Another thought. JKR seems to have felt she accomplished what she wanted to accomplish with this book. Obviously, she thinks it's fine. I think she's even said it is her favourite (as with all the others). So, was the Christian symbolism all she was getting at? That seems to be about the only aspect that feels complete.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 09/26/2007 :  15:12:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think it must have been. You're right that this is the one element that is very complete. I was frankly a bit disappointed that DH turned out to be a Passion play, however. No, make that extremely disappointed. Like so much else in DH, this just didn't live up to the potential that the previous books seemed to promise.

I'm a religious person, but the Passion story has been done to death in fiction and truthfully, it's a cop-out. It's easy to see why authors get sucked into telling this tale. Everyone already knows it, for one thing, so the readers are primed to repond to it. It's a no-brainer for reviewers, too. They can spout off about the religious symbolism without having to think or analyse anything. And for the author what could be better than being able to yank heartstrings by killing off the hero and still pull off a happy ending by having him come back to life? It's a win-win-win situation.

Except that it's ultimately empty. As with the Emperor's New Clothes, no one wants to admit that there's less to this story than we tell ourselves there is.

For Christians, the historical event of Jesus's death and resurrction is a miracle that speaks volumes about Jesus and God which, in turn, affects believers lives profoundly. But as fiction, this loses a lot. What do we learn from Harry? That sacrifice is noble. But surely all the people who sacrifice and stay dead make this point at least as well. Lily made this point far more poignantly than Harry.

More to the point, what does this story tell us about us? How does it speak to our everyday lives and the real consequences of the choices we have to make? We get to admire the sheer selfless goodness of our hero and yet we haven't learned a thing about how to deal with our difficult boss, or our guilt over not visiting our elderly parents, or the hundred other challenges and temptations life hands us.

Dying to save the world and rising from the dead isn't on my agenda, but I'd love some insight into how to forgive and be forgiven. There's no more important lesson to be learned in this life and up until DH, I thought this was the lesson that all of JKR's religious allusions were leading up to. It was all there: The terrible pain and tragedy that resulted from the old grudge between Snape and the Marauders... lives destroyed by hate... Harry succumbing to that same hate and suffering for it. At the end of OotP when Harry declares irrationally, venomously that he will "never forgive Snape. Never", it was practically a neon sign, flashing that Harry would indeed have to let go of his hate and forgive.

This is the true moral lesson, the religious teaching that actually impacts our everyday lives. Rather than a replay of Christ's Passion - which is hardly something we're likely to emulate - this is a lesson in the message Christ so desperately tried to convey. Love each other. Love your neighbor and your enemy. Go and make peace with all those who have wronged you and whom you have wronged. Forgive. Likewise, repent and accept forgiveness.

This is the instruction that is at the heart of Jesus's teaching and it is as important (and hard to follow) today as it was 2000 years ago. It is the religious moral that we can genuinely benefit from reading about in our stories. But it's a harder story to tell. Real people don't forgive or accept forgiveness easily. It's painful and messy. But to see that portrayed convincingly... that would be a memory we could all reach for on our darkest days when we're holding onto anger at our spouse or ourselves over some harsh word or hurt.

Alas, DH didn't give us that. As with everything else, it gave us the easy moral story with lots of angst, but no soul-searching required. A pity.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/26/2007 15:19:50
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Siobhan
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Posted - 09/26/2007 :  21:28:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What is really disappointing is that all of that could have been there along with the Passion Play.
quote:
At the end of OotP when Harry declares irrationally, venomously that he will "never forgive Snape. Never", it was practically a neon sign, flashing that Harry would indeed have to let go of his hate and forgive
And yet, she never resolved this for Harry. No time was given to it at all. In my opinion Harry should have had to grow beyond his hate before his sacrifice. The way it was done leaves us an unchanged hero with a few words of vindication for Snape. It would have been much more satisfying had we experienced Harry having an epiphany.

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