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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2007 :  03:39:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I must admit, I'm not a religious person and for me the ideas of sacrifice and forgiveness are of course central to christian faith but not the other way around. The end of DH was just too much religious symbolism for me, I would have liked it better if JKR had sticked to a story about human faults and achievements without removing the main character from the list of people in the book whose fate I could identify with.

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 it was even taken a step further in HBP where it is said that Harry hates Snape more than Voldemort. Again the neon sign. It is hard to stay focussed on what is right in the big picture, or to wait until you know both sides of a story, when you personally have been hurt. Voldemort, although he has caused so much damage, becomes a more abstract evil in contrast to Snape who is in some sense closer to Harry.
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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2007 :  04:22:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just found two comments on a livejournal that fit in our discussion.

http://pir8fancier.livejournal.com/267691.html

and

http://pir8fancier.livejournal.com/268048.html

The first one again deals with how different the first books are from the last. The second comment is about what character was mostly developed in DH. I thought there were a lot of interesting points in the posts. And isn't it nice to know that we are not the only ones still analyzing DH to death?
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2007 :  11:18:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting read, Krabat. Thanks for posting the links. She's right. DH was passive and it was Dumbledore's book.

One of the things I liked so much about the series/books was that yes, there was a Christian angle, but the books weren't slavish to it. They had great story and twists and lots of imagination. The characters showed such promise. DH threw all that aside, which is a shame.

I wonder if JK has been looking in to all the reaction outside the popular media. Must be a painful experience to find that some of her greatest admirers are unenthusiastic about the final book. Not to mention offering ways in which the book could have been improved as a way of pinpointing their disappointment.

As I said earlier, almost all the points she's had to clear up after publication should have been done in the book itself. I don't mean that she should have included the "middle names of Harry's grandparents". I mean important things like whether Snape is a hero and what was it that made him become a DE in the first place. Was James really such a pill? There are questions she has answered in the interviews and chats that should have been covered in the book. I hate to say she was getting sloppy or lazy, but how else do we explain it?

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2007 :  12:13:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Krabat

I must admit, I'm not a religious person and for me the ideas of sacrifice and forgiveness are of course central to christian faith but not the other way around. The end of DH was just too much religious symbolism for me, I would have liked it better if JKR had sticked to a story about human faults and achievements without removing the main character from the list of people in the book whose fate I could identify with.


quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

One of the things I liked so much about the series/books was that yes, there was a Christian angle, but the books weren't slavish to it. They had great story and twists and lots of imagination. The characters showed such promise. DH threw all that aside, which is a shame.

Exactly. Forgiveness and redemption are Christian ideas, but they aren't EXCLUSIVELY Christian ideas. They are universal concepts that everyone can relate to. Christians will view these ideas in a religious context, but the ideas lose nothing when taken out of that context.

You're right, Siobhan, the Passion play would have been okay if JKR hadn't abandoned the human struggle inherent in the battle between love and hate; forgiveness and vengeance. Had JKR kept these as the centerpiece of her message then Harry's death and return wouldn't have felt so heavy-handed.

I enjoyed both LJ articles. Passive is a good description of Harry in the later books, but I think I still prefer impotent as a description for him. He tries to be active, it just doesn't work out. Hmm... Hamlet, anyone?

quote:
I wonder if JK has been looking in to all the reaction outside the popular media. Must be a painful experience to find that some of her greatest admirers are unenthusiastic about the final book. Not to mention offering ways in which the book could have been improved as a way of pinpointing their disappointment.

As I said earlier, almost all the points she's had to clear up after publication should have been done in the book itself. I don't mean that she should have included the "middle names of Harry's grandparents". I mean important things like whether Snape is a hero and what was it that made him become a DE in the first place. Was James really such a pill? There are questions she has answered in the interviews and chats that should have been covered in the book. I hate to say she was getting sloppy or lazy, but how else do we explain it?
I wouldn't call it laziness. I just don't think she cared anymore. As a writer, if you don't care about your story, it's going to show. I also think that she created more than she realized or knew how to deal with. One of the comments in the LJ articles said they thought JKR never planned to have to deal with all the backstory and I agree. For all of JKRs vaunted notebooks, I don't think she ever thought through the whole backstory and all of its ramifications.

That's why there are inconsistencies in the apparent motivations of characters between the first books and the last. JKR probably never really considered whether or not Snape ACTUALLY felt that he owed a life debt to James and what the consequences of that might be. She just had DD tell Harry about it and then dropped it like so many other plot threads.




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Edited by - Theowyn on 09/28/2007 11:27:55
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2007 :  15:41:32  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

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.

I think this gets to the heart of what bothers me, too, Siobhan. Rowling created what, as a Christian, I generally refuse to read--Christian fiction. The plots are usually overly moralistic, with no true struggles on the part of the "heroes" to overcome sin in their lives or to deal with the situations in life they are handed.

As you three note, Harry is passive, he doesn't grow, he doesn't confront his own weaknesses. He doesn't learn to control his anger--he even casts an Unforgiveable for really poor reasons. We still see the germ of the Harry we love. We see his ability to love and sacrifice. But it is stripped down to rote formula.

quote:
DH was passive and it was Dumbledore's book.
Great point, Siobhan, which made me snort. Snape-lovers kept hearing "But it's not Severus Snape and the Deathly Hallows" when we voiced our frustration, but as I think about it, it wasn't really "Harry Potter and..." either. It could have easily been "Hermione Granger and Her Magical Purse," and it was definitely "Albus Dumbledore and the Deathly Hallows." Harry becomes almost non-recognizable except I think in the chapter where the Trio breaks out of Gringotts and rescues the dragon.

It makes sense that Rowling may have been working above her competence at this point--and that's not a total knock against her. She could create wonderful individual books, but it takes an incredible talent to tie together plot points from six books! I come back to the idea that she had plotted PS/SS and knew almost completely what she wanted to have happen in DH. But she set her formula in stone and had to do seven years, so there had to be plot in between. Unfortunately, it was plot, as you point out, Theo, that she just didn't really care about. It filled up space and made exciting stories, but they weren't ideas that she planned to DO anything with. So the plot points hang in space, or she wonders why people love characters she hates, or she just forgets that there are important themes she doesn't do anything with. But we do get to know everyone's middle names. Yippee!


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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2007 :  10:38:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
JKR may not be the most experienced writer in the publishing world, but I think if she had taken more time with this last book, she could have done a better job of it. The elements were all there. Anyone who has notebooks filled with information on every Hogwarts student ought to be able to convincingly fill in backstory. Perhaps the change in focus early on when JKR's mother died is the monkey wrench. She said in the Dateline interview that Lily and James' deaths were more incidental when she began the series. Her own mother's death changed all that. Lily's death suddenly became sacrificial. So, what I'm wondering is, was this not taken into account in her original ending of the story? It was to a certain extent, the ending being what it was (a mirror of Lily's choice), but the backstory of the love triangle seems to have evolved as the series progressed. It certainly wasn't JKR's focus, but it gave so much depth to the story. Not to have completed this aspect as fully as it had developed (planned or not) leaves the story unbalanced.

I was thinking (on the five hour drive to NC) about Snape-- big surprise, eh? How hard it must have been for him to face Harry every day! Not just from the guilt standpoint. Harry was more than just a living reminder of all Snape's mistakes; he was a constant reminder of Lily. Occlumency must have been pure hell for the man. Reliving her death through Harry's memory-- pure torture (let's not forget who put them up to this, either. So much for kindly old Dumbledore.) For all that, Snape did learn something about Harry. Snape used his patronus to lure Harry to the sword, knowing full well that it would recognized and trusted. That shows that he knew the power of the image for anyone who had been touched by Lily. How interesting that the Silver Doe would convey the same connection to more than one individual-- and what a waste to have used it only the once.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2007 :  14:17:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

Rowling created what, as a Christian, I generally refuse to read--Christian fiction.
Good observation. I'm also no fan of this type of overly-moralistic fiction.

quote:
It makes sense that Rowling may have been working above her competence at this point--and that's not a total knock against her. She could create wonderful individual books, but it takes an incredible talent to tie together plot points from six books! It filled up space and made exciting stories, but they weren't ideas that she planned to DO anything with. So the plot points hang in space, or she wonders why people love characters she hates, or she just forgets that there are important themes she doesn't do anything with.

See, this is the part that I just don't get. I could never write a story, whether one book or a dozen, and leave this kind of stuff hanging. I literally couldn't do it. It would drive me mad.

Siobhan, I agree that there were tremendous changes in JKR's life over the course of the series, her mum's death being just one. But that doesn't explain why, in the end, she didn't take the previous six books along with all of her experiences and pull it all together properly. I don't think it takes tremendous talent to do this, but it does take attention to detail and the ability to keep track of all of the various plot threads and their implications and to pull them together.

Alas, attention to detail is not JKR's forte. I suppose we should have seen this coming when the woman couldn't work out how many students were at Hogwarts and inexplicably placed September 1st on a Monday six years in a row. Such a person doesn't have the - I won't call it talent, but rather skill - to keep track of six books worth of plot and pull it together. What JKR really needed was one of us as a live-in personal assistant to point out all the plot holes and ommisons as she was writing.

quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

I was thinking (on the five hour drive to NC) about Snape-- big surprise, eh? How hard it must have been for him to face Harry every day! Not just from the guilt standpoint. Harry was more than just a living reminder of all Snape's mistakes; he was a constant reminder of Lily. Occlumency must have been pure hell for the man. Reliving her death through Harry's memory-- pure torture (let's not forget who put them up to this, either. So much for kindly old Dumbledore.)
Absolute torture. But, I can't find it in me to blame DD, because it is really all JKR's fault. This is one of the points at which her abysmal lack of skill in keeping track of her plot seriously detracts from her talent as a creative writer. Because JKR never intended DD to be as cruel as he actually is. DD has to have understood how painful Occlumency would be for Snape. And yet, JKR didn't understand this, so she inadvertently had DD push Snape into the lessons without realizing what this would say about DD's character.

quote:
For all that, Snape did learn something about Harry. Snape used his patronus to lure Harry to the sword, knowing full well that it would recognized and trusted. That shows that he knew the power of the image for anyone who had been touched by Lily. How interesting that the Silver Doe would convey the same connection to more than one individual-- and what a waste to have used it only the once.
A huge waste! This was a beautiful symbolic connection. Lily joins Severus and Harry together. Through her they find trust and understanding for each other. This was brilliant and could have been used to great effect in all sorts of ways. Yet there is no followthrough. We never even see Harry's epiphany, "OMG, that was Snape!" I don't even know if he actually had one.

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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2007 :  03:33:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm actually not sure if I am happy with the doe patronus. JKR explained that a person's patronus is influenced by the person's loved ones. So basically the doe patronus represents Lily, but not the real one, but Lily as perceived by Snape. So did Snape foremost perceive Lily as James Potter's wife? Even if he did, his Patronus should represent the things that made Lily so important for him, the positive and happy memories, or at least the things that defined Lily in Snape's eyes.
One could argue that the doe should be viewed seperately from Potter's stag. But a doe does not represent Snape's Lily at all. A doe is shy, gentle and vulnerable, not the first adjectives that come to mind for canon Lily.
Lastly, it is possible that the doe was also Lily's Patronus, which more or less fits, at least for Lily after falling in love with James Potter. And perhaps Snape saw Lily's Patronus once and he identified the doe with Lily ever since.
So, it is definitely possible to explain why Snape's Patronus was a doe, but in the end it was mainly convenient, I think. Snape's Patronus had to be recognized as Lily's for the plot to work. By the way, I loved the doe Patronus while reading the book. My misgivings came a lot later when thinking about how a Patronus chooses its form. It is somewhat sad that not even Snape's most private representation of Lily is truly his own.
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2007 :  11:39:20  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Krabat
One could argue that the doe should be viewed seperately from Potter's stag. But a doe does not represent Snape's Lily at all. A doe is shy, gentle and vulnerable, not the first adjectives that come to mind for canon Lily.
Lastly, it is possible that the doe was also Lily's Patronus, which more or less fits, at least for Lily after falling in love with James Potter. And perhaps Snape saw Lily's Patronus once and he identified the doe with Lily ever since.
So, it is definitely possible to explain why Snape's Patronus was a doe, but in the end it was mainly convenient, I think. Snape's Patronus had to be recognized as Lily's for the plot to work. By the way, I loved the doe Patronus while reading the book. My misgivings came a lot later when thinking about how a Patronus chooses its form. It is somewhat sad that not even Snape's most private representation of Lily is truly his own.

I know for sure that Snape would not want his remembrance of Lily to be as James's wife. By taking this form, it would seem to show that this was definitely how Lily defined herself--by her love for James. This fits in with what Siobhan was talking about. Harry would be just another living example there every day to remind Snape that the most important thing to Lily was James. Absolute torture.

The patronus also had to be a doe for plot reasons, as we all know. Harry had to recognize it as being representative of his mother, and recognize it as being kind, gentle, GOOD. And I agree that it was grossly underused. So many possibilities wasted.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2007 :  17:27:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So this isn't about fan fiction,!

Theowyn has written an essay entitled "The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore" for the Leaky forums. It can be found in the Scribbulus section or through this link:http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue21/LifeandLiesAlbusDumbledore

I just found this yesterday, so I've not had a chance to read it yet. Just wanted to give everyone who didn't know the heads up since Theowyn isn't here very often.

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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2007 :  20:42:21  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Oh, thanks for sharing, Siobhan. I look forward to seeing how she pulled together and polished her thoughts about some of the issues we beat into the ground discussed here after DH's release.

Well, I read the essay yesterday and it was great, as was expected. But it made me relive why you renamed this threat, Siobhan. I so hate that there is really no character left in HP that I can unequivocally love and respect. I really hate post-modernism. I can only get over the feeling of loss by having little to do with canon anymore and immersing myself in fanfiction. And I used to be such a canon purist.

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Edited by - sunsethill on 12/17/2007 13:56:42
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2007 :  17:00:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been thinking about the Deathly Hallows this afternoon, and have a question for you guys. Were there any clues along the way that could have tipped us off to their existence? All through the series we had little titbits of information that were tucked in. They showed in hindsight that everything had been planned from the very beginning. The DH's, though, seem to me like they came out of nowhere, and I think that's partly where the problem (for those of us who have a problem with those pesky articles) starts.

Sorry if this is confusing. I'm rushing to type this before getting ready to go to karate and tai chi. I'll check it over later.

OK. Here's an example of what I was getting at. From very early on we learn that Ron's rat has been passed down to him from his brother. It's not until later that someone points out what a long life this one rat has had-- it's one of those smack-your-forehead-why-didn't-I-pick-up-on-that moments. Same thing with the "awful boy" comment Petunia made. Lots of people simply assumed she was talking about James, which made sense. It's not until much later in the series that we are enlightened.

JKR has said she had this book planned from the beginning. What I want to know is do we have any evidence that the Deathly Hallows plot line was fully fleshed out early on? What did we know about the invisibility cloak? It was James's. He left it in Dumbledore's hands before the attack at Godrick's Hollow. Dumbledore passed it on to Harry at Christmas in Harry's first year at Hogwarts. Was there ever any intimation that there might be something unusual about this particular cloak?

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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
40 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  07:20:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't think there was much foreshadowing concerning the DHs. I haven't checked the books, but I'm pretty sure Ron is saying something about invisibility cloaks being very rare when Harry gets his. But not a word about them normally being inferior to Harry's cloak. Then there is the stone, and we get at least the name Peverell in HBP. But nothing at all on the Elder Wand, as far as I recall. So not much information for us to figure out they might be important. And I still don't understand why Voldemort wouldn't be very much interested in them since his greatest ambition was to conquer death. Did JKR say anything on that topic in one of her million interviews following DHs?

Now I'm off to read Theo's essay. Thanks for the link!
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  11:19:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's as far back as I could get, too. HBP seems a bit late in the series to claim that the DHs were planned early on. Why not mention something in passing about Harry's cloak having unusual properties even for such a rare item? Or have the bedtime story come up at one of Harry's earlier visits to the Burrow-- even just in passing to show that the track was there? I'm not saying I want the clues to be obvious enough to guess at their ultimate importance or conclusion, just to show that the intent was there.

Glad the link has been useful. I still haven't read the essay (), but am trying to find time.

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sunsethill
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USA
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Posted - 12/18/2007 :  19:56:36  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Your question, Siobhan, is exactly the reason that I don't think the Hallows were planned all along--and I can't figure out for the life of me why she wanted them. The cloak is the only Hallows we see from the beginning--but it's not the cloak of the Hallows. DD can see through it, and he shouldn't be able to do that, and as both you and Krabat point out, there is no mention of it being an unusual invisibility cloak.

We get no mention of the Peverells early on, which could easily have been thrown in as a wizarding name, and the whole wand thing actually makes no sense given that wizards disarm each other all the time. Snape's wand should have stopped working well for him after being disarmed by the Trio, Snape should have owned Lockhart's wand, etc. If she had that planned out previously, there should have been more indication that wands were acting funny all along. It would have also made sense to insert little things about wizarding fairy tales "like the tale about the Three Brothers" etc. that would have been foreshadowing.

I hope in her mega-long interview on Pottercast we get some insight into this question, but as we already said in another thread...she shouldn't have to explain what she meant to have happen. It should be obvious from reading the book. But I can't figure out what she accomplished by cluttering up DH with the Hallows.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 12/19/2007 :  08:01:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"cluttering up Deathly Hallows with the Deathly Hallows"

That made me giggle. I'm a little giddy this morning.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 12/19/2007 :  14:23:05  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

"cluttering up Deathly Hallows with the Deathly Hallows"

That made me giggle. I'm a little giddy this morning.


You know, I didn't notice I was making a funny until you pointed it out, Siobhan, but that really is the way I feel. Up through Book 3, the title item/person was really crucial to the whole thrust of the book. The Goblet of Fire wasn't crucial, but was a reasonable stand-in for the Triwizard Tournament and I guess they felt it sounded more mysterious. With OotP, we get a title that doesn't really fit. The Order was introduced and was present for the whole book, but it would have made more sense to name it something related to the Department of Mysteries. With HBP, we are sort of on track as Snape was so crucial to the book, but all the information we actually learned about the "half-blood Prince" was ultimately totally non-essential to the major themes of the series, since Snape's role in the last book was so silly. And then those Hallows! Please, I really do want to know why she thought they were important enough to name a book after--and to clutter up the plot of the last book. Again, I know that she really wanted to write a book that explored Death, but what did the Hallows tell us that hadn't already been introduced in some other way? Argh! It's so frustrating.

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Krabat
Giddy

Germany
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Posted - 12/21/2007 :  03:39:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Did you listen to JKR's podcast interview? Now it is all clear. Harry wasn't really a Horcrux, but somehow he was. Furthermore, homosexuality is not an issue in the wizarding world, nevermind they had a war on concerning bloodlines. Furthermore, we can rest assured, Harry is after all perfect. His Slytherin (equals evil) aspects are all due to the part of Voldemort's soul in him, phew. And by the way, all aurors are good people without fail.

I should stop following the interviews. I only get more and more disenchanted.

On a different note, I wanted to wish all of you a merry christmas and a happy new year. In Harry Potter terms this year was very enjoyable thanks to Theo's HPCS and the many discussions about it.
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 12/25/2007 :  03:16:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Merry Christmas, everyone! It's been a busy few weeks what with the holidays approaching and scrambling to finsih my DD essay which Siobhan so kindly posted the link for.

I liked to say a few words about the essay. Because this was the Dumbledore issue of Scribbulus, I decided to explore the dark side of DD for the sake of balance and our discussions here were the foundation for much of what I wrote. But the essay tricky to write because it's hard to say where DD's true Machiavellian character leaves off and JKR's poor plotting picks up. DD lying to Harry about in PS is a classic example of this. He tells Harry that Snape protected him of his debt to James when this is clearly not true and DD knows it. I put this down to rather uncharitable motives in the essay, but I truly believe it was a mistake on JKR's part. I didn't mention that in the essay, because dragging JKR into it would have made the essay utterly unwieldy.

As to the question at hand about DH foreshadowing - there was none. This is one of the biggest problems with DH. It feels quite disjointed precisely because it lacks the careful foreshadowing that was present in the prior books. The DH's feel as though JKR pulled them out of her hat at the last minute. And I agree that they add little to the story and do more to muddy the water. I don't know why JKR used them.

Also Krabat, I gave up listening to JKR's interviews right after she claimed that Snape portrait hadn't appeared in the headmaster's office because he abandoned his post. At this point, if it's not in the books, I don't want to know about it.

Have lovely holiday and everyone have a safe and happy new year.

Love, Theo

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sunsethill
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Posted - 12/25/2007 :  15:07:53  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's been a busy few weeks what with the holidays approaching and scrambling to finsih my DD essay which Siobhan so kindly posted the link for.
Have lovely holiday and everyone have a safe and happy new year.

Love, Theo

Merry Christmas to you too, Theowyn. It's nice to know that you disappeared for a "good" reason. I decided to spread the cooking out today and have Christmas dinner actually at dinner time, so I have a few minutes to have fun on-line.

quote:
it's hard to say where DD's true Machiavellian character leaves off and JKR's poor plotting picks up. DD lying to Harry about in PS is a classic example of this. He tells Harry that Snape protected him of his debt to James when this is clearly not true and DD knows it. I put this down to rather uncharitable motives in the essay, but I truly believe it was a mistake on JKR's part. I didn't mention that in the essay, because dragging JKR into it would have made the essay utterly unwieldy.

In effect, you decided to "play the game" as the Sherlockians call it, and assume that HP is "real." Unfortunately, I think the PS thing was a mistake, but it fits in with what she did to DD's character in DH. Sigh.

quote:
Also Krabat, I gave up listening to JKR's interviews right after she claimed that Snape portrait hadn't appeared in the headmaster's office because he abandoned his post. At this point, if it's not in the books, I don't want to know about it.

I didn't listen because I figured it would upset me, but I suppose I will read the transcript at some point. But the information released on the website just makes me realize that the waters just keep getting muddier and muddier the more she speaks. We now learn that Harry didn't die. I don't think I've run into a single reader who didn't think he died based on the reading of the text.

And I thought of a wonderful answer to the "Snape portrait" point the other day. In OotP, Dumbledore "abandoned his post" at Hogwarts because his freedom was necessary to carry out his plans to save the wizarding world. Yet, Hogwarts sealed the office and protected DD's position as true headmaster even though DD was gone. Hogwarts knew all along that Snape was protecting the students and the school and would most certainly have seen that his portrait hung in the Headmaster's office. The fact that it's not there just means he survived. SO THERE!

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Theowyn
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Posted - 12/26/2007 :  23:21:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill
quote:
it's hard to say where DD's true Machiavellian character leaves off and JKR's poor plotting picks up. DD lying to Harry about in PS is a classic example of this. He tells Harry that Snape protected him of his debt to James when this is clearly not true and DD knows it. I put this down to rather uncharitable motives in the essay, but I truly believe it was a mistake on JKR's part. I didn't mention that in the essay, because dragging JKR into it would have made the essay utterly unwieldy.

In effect, you decided to "play the game" as the Sherlockians call it, and assume that HP is "real." Unfortunately, I think the PS thing was a mistake, but it fits in with what she did to DD's character in DH. Sigh.
Yes, I decided to play the game and assume that there were no plot holes whatsoever concerning DD's behavior. Doing so makes his character much darker than I'm sure JKR intended, but it does actually work with the DD we see in DH... which is rather sad, actually.

quote:
And I thought of a wonderful answer to the "Snape portrait" point the other day. In OotP, Dumbledore "abandoned his post" at Hogwarts because his freedom was necessary to carry out his plans to save the wizarding world. Yet, Hogwarts sealed the office and protected DD's position as true headmaster even though DD was gone. Hogwarts knew all along that Snape was protecting the students and the school and would most certainly have seen that his portrait hung in the Headmaster's office. The fact that it's not there just means he survived. SO THERE!
That's brilliant! More fuel for all the Snape-lives fanfic.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 12/27/2007 :  15:19:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, I didn't want Snape to die, but I didn't really have a problem with him doing so. It was more the way it was done. The transition between the scene with Voldemort to oh-so-resentful-Harry calmly accepting the memories from a dying Snape was not as smooth as I would have liked. That section felt like I was being dragged along behind someone going down a steep and bumpy hill, rather than walking with the characters down an incline to the egress.

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sunsethill
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Posted - 12/27/2007 :  21:39:08  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Well, I didn't want Snape to die, but I didn't really have a problem with him doing so. It was more the way it was done. The transition between the scene with Voldemort to oh-so-resentful-Harry calmly accepting the memories from a dying Snape was not as smooth as I would have liked. That section felt like I was being dragged along behind someone going down a steep and bumpy hill, rather than walking with the characters down an incline to the egress.

I agree that I didn't want Snape to die, but ultimately expected him to. Just as you say, it was the method and ultimate meaninglessness of the DEATH that bothered me. He didn't have to die to accomplish what Jo gave him to do.

And if she wants to give me great loopholes to keep Snape alive that even make pretty good sense in Canon--hey, I'll take them.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 12/28/2007 :  11:43:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Shall we consider them the ultimate HP Christmas present?

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sunsethill
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Posted - 12/28/2007 :  14:18:50  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Shall we consider them the ultimate HP Christmas present?

Oh, yes! Prezzies from Jo. She worked so hard to kill other character fandoms that I don't think she did it on purpose, but I won't complain. Now those who love Remus or Sirius have to work MUCH harder to keep their flames alive.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 01/03/2008 :  12:03:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill
[brI agree that I didn't want Snape to die, but ultimately expected him to. Just as you say, it was the method and ultimate meaninglessness of the DEATH that bothered me. He didn't have to die to accomplish what Jo gave him to do.
SH, this point of yours that I've bolded is the most succinct explanation of the problem with Snape's death that I've ever seen. It also explains the general disgruntlement over most of the other characters' deaths. None of these people needed to die. Neither for the sake of the plot (as DD and Sirius did), nor for the sake of JKR's message (as Cedric did).

In fact, Snape's death is the most meaningful of the bunch. At least it gave us the fairly fresh point that LV would murder even his most loyal follower for his own gain. Though we knew that, we hadn't actually seen it before. But the rest of the deaths lacked even this virtue. A single brutal death to highlight the horror of war would have been appropriate. Half a dozen were simply gratuitous.

We should start a list of the "Rules Writers Should Follow".

1) Make character deaths count.

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quote:
It ... explains the general disgruntlement over most of the other characters' deaths. None of these people needed to die. Neither for the sake of the plot (as DD and Sirius did), nor for the sake of JKR's message (as Cedric did).


Yes, it would have been nice if every death Jo wrote was necessary and had a particular meaning. But unfortunately war isn't nice.

In a real war situation, does every single death count? No. Does it have purpose and meaning to the overall objective? No. Just because someone is beloved or has an unfulfilled destiny, does it mean they will be spared? No. Is a single brutal death enough for evil to call it quits, because more than that is gratuitious? No. HECK NO.

Therefore, in a story about a war situation, does the author need to make every single death have a particular purpose or meaning? No. In fact, it would be ridiculous if that were the case. Jo was indeed writing about WAR, so plenty of people (characters and readers alike) were going to be hurt and go unfulfilled. That some of the deaths seemed meaningless (Colin Creevey, for example) is simply a part of a war story, even a children's war story. I didn't like it any more than anyone else, but I understand what she was doing. I don't require every single death to have an individual purpose further than to reflect the true chaos and unfairness of war.

The fact that so many fans are still vehemently mourning the "meaningless" deaths of their favorite characters means that Jo has done her job: she has effectively conveyed one of the true realities of war. In a real war, even more people mourn the unfulfilled destinies and meaningless deaths of their loved ones. I'm not sure why her writing should be any different. Yes, there was wasted potential. Yes, there was unnecessary tragedy. Yes, there were purposeless deaths of wonderful characters. And it made us mad as hell. But it reflects the true reality of war far better than "making every death count." Therefore, on that count, I do not condemn Jo's writing as poor.
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sunsethill
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Posted - 01/03/2008 :  16:23:13  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Pesky Pixie
The fact that so many fans are still vehemently mourning the "meaningless" deaths of their favorite characters means that Jo has done her job: she has effectively conveyed one of the true realities of war. In a real war, even more people mourn the unfulfilled destinies and meaningless deaths of their loved ones. I'm not sure why her writing should be any different. Yes, there was wasted potential. Yes, there was unnecessary tragedy. Yes, there were purposeless deaths of wonderful characters. And it made us mad as hell. But it reflects the true reality of war far better than "making every death count." Therefore, on that count, I do not condemn Jo's writing as poor.

I can understand this viewpoint, Pesky, and I think you have clearly expressed the rebuttle that Jo would offer to my views. And I suppose that I would answer that I didn't think that Jo was writing a book to illustrate for her readers the meaning of "war." I thought all along that she had other purposes for her story--a work of fiction. Fiction is never as realistic as real life or we wouldn't read it.

I still maintain that she had pretty much accomplished her desire to show that in war people die meaningless deaths. We had Cedric and Sirius already. I agree that Snape's death did show Voldie's utter ruthlessness, but I don't think that was really necessary either. I would argue that you use your minor characters--like Cedric and Colin Creevey--to show the realities of war, but if you kill your major characters, their death should have some meaning if your book is about love and sacrifice and standing against evil--not just about how horrible war is.

I suppose I would also argue that the deaths in DH broke a bit of an unwritten contract that Jo had made with her fans that this was a "children's" book. Too many deaths of beloved characters and too many beloved characters besmirched in some way in the end. But obviously Jo doesn't agree with me.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 01/03/2008 :  22:50:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All of those "meaningless" deaths aren't truly meaningless, though. They do end up conveying that war isn't glorious and fair and that is a purpose. They also point out that there are some things worth dying for (a point which I think Remus,Tonks, and Mad-Eye especially, would agree with). My problem with the deaths wasn't about meaning or depth, just how they were written. The trasitions and the offhanded mention of who had died didn't cut it for me. Colin's death was handled beautifully. The image was done well. The scenario for Snape's death was also done OK (I think it could have been done better). Harry's reaction and the memory bit was like shifing gears without the clutch.
The major characters should have been used to underline the main point of the story. By the deaths in DH the main point of the whole story would seem to be "in war people die and it is unfair." Those deaths when taken together should reinforce sacrifice, love, and acceptance above and beyond the story of the individual book. That's not to say the characters couldn't have died in battle, but the handling of each death could have been better.

I'm of two minds about the "besmirched" aspect. All through the series Harry is dealing with growing up. This includes the realisation that the world is less black and white and more greyscale. The people we look up to as perfect when we are children, often turn out to be no more than flawed human beings by the time we are 17. The books are told from Harry's point of view from day one. That they would become darker, the characters become less perfect, the line between good and bad be less clear, is all part of Harry's experience of growing up-- learning to see things for what they are rather than what they (or we) would like them to be. For example, quite a few people have said that Sirius, though a great Godfather, was not father substitute. At first we loved that Harry had someone to look to for that fatherly figure, but we soon realised that Sirius was not that person-- too impulsive, too daring, too (in a way) immature. Harry also saw this and felt guilty for thinking this of Sirius after his death, but it was an honest unveiling. I guess I'm not looking at the series as one to be devoured in 7 days by an 11 year old (even though it often is) but to be grown up with and grown into understanding. To have characters turn out a bit tarnished in the end isn't unreasonable. On the other hand, I hated being disillusioned about JKR's "epitome of goodness."

Out of all the characters Hagrid remained constant. Grawp may have been a more extreme case, but really Hagrid stayed the same all the way through-- I can say that Hagrid had the potential to do what he did and act as he did from the very beginning. Perhaps that's why I loved him so much from the start.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 01/04/2008 :  00:54:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill

quote:
Originally posted by Pesky Pixie
The fact that so many fans are still vehemently mourning the "meaningless" deaths of their favorite characters means that Jo has done her job: she has effectively conveyed one of the true realities of war. In a real war, even more people mourn the unfulfilled destinies and meaningless deaths of their loved ones. I'm not sure why her writing should be any different. Yes, there was wasted potential. Yes, there was unnecessary tragedy. Yes, there were purposeless deaths of wonderful characters. And it made us mad as hell. But it reflects the true reality of war far better than "making every death count." Therefore, on that count, I do not condemn Jo's writing as poor.

...I still maintain that she had pretty much accomplished her desire to show that in war people die meaningless deaths. We had Cedric and Sirius already. I agree that Snape's death did show Voldie's utter ruthlessness, but I don't think that was really necessary either. I would argue that you use your minor characters--like Cedric and Colin Creevey--to show the realities of war, but if you kill your major characters, their death should have some meaning if your book is about love and sacrifice and standing against evil--not just about how horrible war is...
I mostly agree with SH here, but Pixie, I want to specifically point out what I mean about making a death count.

Cedric is a perfect example of a "meaningless" death. He wasn't fighting a war. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn't get more purposeless than that. And yet Cedric's death counted. He is still the only character, whose death I sobbed over and I did so precisely because it was utterly pointless and we were given the chance to mourn it as such.

With Cedric, we got to see Harry's shock and horror, Mr. Diggory's grief, Cho's grief, the stunned disbelif of the students, etc. We had the time to really feel the consequences of Cedric's death. For the most part, that didn't happen in DH. Dobby's death was handled brilliantly, but the rest were mostly filler. Well, Moody's dead... Oops, there goes Fred... Is that Remus and Tonks lying over there? And that's all there is to it. We never get any closure. We never see the aftermath of these deaths or have the chance to grieve their senselessness and that is where JKR failed.

It's one thing to see Colin Creevy lying dead and to simply walk away, shaking our heads at the senseless loss of life. We don't know his family and it isn't our place to truly mourn him. But we know Fred and Remus and Tonks and even old Moody. We know the people who loved them. We loved them too. And to not be given the chance to mourn with their friends and family is supremely fake. In real life, people grieve. The problem here isn't that the deaths were "meaningless", but that they didn't count for much because there was essentially no emotion attached to them.

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