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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2008 :  13:35:33  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn
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.

Yes, as usual Theo and Siobhan say with much more eloquence what I was feeling. Jo could have killed even more people, if like Dobby, the emotional resonance of those deaths--with the audience and with the other characters--was dealt with. Many people die meaninglessly in war, but those who love them are impacted by this. We don't really feel the impact of these deaths other than from their sheer number in DH. It cheapens the characters that Jo created and cheapens the point of the story, IMHO.

Now that I have a more visceral feel for how Jo regards Snape, I know that she would never treat him with the respect *I* think he deserves, because she doesn't really believe he deserves respect. But I know she thinks Fred and Remus and Tonks deserve respect, yet we are given no chapter showing the impact of these deaths on the other characters. We skip straight to the epilogue, which also doesn't give you much of a feeling that all the death changed anything. Now that may be realistic, but I personally prefer my fiction to have more meaning than that.

quote:
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.
Excellent point, Siobhan, and your analysis of Harry's feelings toward Sirius are very insightful. And it was exactly characterizations like these that made the book SO compelling for adults. The characters weren't cardboard cutouts representing "good" or "evil."

So again, I have to come back to my personal sadness that Rowling at the end left her readers with no characters who weren't less than what we thought them--Dumbledore, Remus, Hermione, Ron, McGonagall, even Harry with his use of the unforgiveables. As you say, Hagrid is the only character who stays as we expect--and he is a particularly childlike adult, so he is someone to love but not someone to look up to really. Again, I would say that I think she more than made her point about the fallibleness of human beings and didn't need to take every single character in the book down a peg.

At the end of the discussion, though, I know that this reflects my personal preference in fiction. It will be interesting in years to come to see if HP retains fan loyalty and gains new readers with the same obsessive love that those of us had as we were waiting for the final installment. As I've said before on this thread, my daughter (who was not as fanactical as her mother) is not sure she will introduce her children to the HP books until they are much older because of all the deaths in the last book of beloved characters. But if parents decide that the end is too tough for young kids, how many older teens will actually read the first few books since they are definitely children's books?

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2008 :  01:21:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill
It will be interesting in years to come to see if HP retains fan loyalty and gains new readers with the same obsessive love that those of us had as we were waiting for the final installment. As I've said before on this thread, my daughter (who was not as fanactical as her mother) is not sure she will introduce her children to the HP books until they are much older because of all the deaths in the last book of beloved characters. But if parents decide that the end is too tough for young kids, how many older teens will actually read the first few books since they are definitely children's books?
This is an excellent question and I do foresee HP having difficulties because JKR killed off so many characters in the end and made the remaining ones morally ambivalent. DH isn't for the youngest readers. But this isn't the only problem. After all, HP has a huge adult following despite the earlier books being clearly for children. But for many readers of all ages, expectations simply weren't met.

DH is not only dark, it abandons Hogwarts for most of the story; suffers from an overly complicated plot and uneven writing; often drags; and is full of deus ex machina and plot holes. It is simply not a very good book and unfortunately the last book in a series tends to make or break it. Despite the wonderful earlier books, the readers who were disappointed by DH's weaknesses are likely not going to recommend HP to their friends and family of any age.

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