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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2008 :  22:36:28  Show Profile Send Siobhan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Diri (from the tea shop thread): I was really hoping JKR would take the moral high ground over Steve Vander Ark. You know, "Oh my, how could it have come to this! It's all so sad and depressing!" But no. She is clearly, very, very, very, pissed off about this. The gloves have come off.

http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/docs/rowlingfeb27.pdf

Ouch Jo. Ouch, Ouch, Ouch.


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SweetPea
Addled

Canada
184 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2008 :  00:59:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't feel bad for Steve Vander Ark, I just don't. She is going to come out with her own Encyclopedia, so there is no need for his. I feel he has really overstepped his boundaries due to an inflated ego thanks to all the praise Jo has given in the past.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2008 :  10:51:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If Vander Ark were doing this for charity, I'd be more in his favour, but as JKR has pointed out, he's trying to make money off from this. I don't grudge him his hard work, but there's a difference in working as a fan and working to capitalise financially on it, in which case he should have requested permission as the characters and events are not his work. I've got a couple of reference books on Middle Earth and I believe they had to have permission of the estate of JRRT to publish.
The essays and fan art would be fine with me to print if permitted by the individual writers and with proper credit given.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/01/2008 :  17:21:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A little more news to add.

The case now has a court date.

As a result of comments made by SVA, Leaky Cauldron has severed their ties to the Lexicon which leaves the Floo Network a bit thin. There is still a connection between the Leaky and the publication case, though. I don't think they stand to be harmed by the case, but they are definitely steering well clear of SVA and his publisher.

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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2008 :  19:54:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The trial is set to start tomorrow.

http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/news/ap/20080413/120811248000.html
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2008 :  13:07:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't get it... so SVA believed it would be copyright violation to publish the Lexicon until actually approached by a publisher and offered money? Now he's steadfastly determined that it is the opposite? Hmmm. Sounds like the money was very persuasive-- at least more so than honor given that all the information was already compiled and available for free on his site.

I bet he'd be a Slytherin.

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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2008 :  15:59:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Do you also think it's strange that he quit his job as a teacher in Michigan, and then moved to London to start a writing career?
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2008 :  21:59:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh no, not at all. That has to be pure coincidence.

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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2008 :  21:02:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Vander Ark wept on the stand today.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080415/ap_en_ot/harry_potter_lawsuit;_ylt=AhJOnBFpGzfAkazJRkXcsylxFb8C

Is it possible he may have some mental health issues?
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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 04/16/2008 :  02:24:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes. It's called "being a geek." I can empathase, as I suffer from the same disorder.

Anyway, humour mode off.

This is a hideous situation.

I don't envy the judge who has to rule on this. The consequences for either side's victory would be catastrophic.

If Jo wins, then academics the world over will become so terrified of being sued that they will not dare to write contemporary literary criticism without first vetting their ideas with the authors, destroying the concept of freedom of expression.

On the other hand, if Steve wins, then any hack will be able to take a successful book, chop it into bits, re-arrange it, swap a few words around, call it a commentary, and sell it, rendering the concept of copyright null.

I don't think either actor in this farce has acquitted him/herself well. Rowling's testimony on day one made her look like a vindictive harpy, while Steve's testimony yesterday made him look like a blubbering, cowardly idiot. However this turns out, no one will come away clean. Possibly irreparable damage has been done to the once cast-iron relationship between Rowling and her fans, while the cadre of trolls who spend their lives looking for reasons to hate her have been handed a bone with enough meat to sustain them for years.

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As to the avatar, well, if you girls can all have Alan Rickman...

"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory

Edited by - diricawl on 04/16/2008 02:37:02
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/16/2008 :  10:42:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
But is the Lexicon in publication form really a commentary or academic piece? It sounded to me (from his previous interviews) like he isn't publishing all the essays, but simply a guide to the places, people, and things of the HP world. And I do recall some contributors to the site having said they had not been asked permission for publication of their work, leading me to believe it was to be SVA's compilations. Did RDR have to provide a draft copy of the text for the trial?

How does the Lexicon compare to all the companion books that have been published about Tolkien's world? I've got a couple of those somewhere, but I can't remember if they were authorised by the estate, or if they even needed to be. That could serve as legal precedent. Then again there is a time issue too. The Middle Earth guides may have been published when certain rights had lapsed. Shortly before the Margaret Mitchell estate was going to lose the right to control sequels/use of characters to Gone With The Wind, they renewed their rights by authorising one (a horrible one by all accounts I've heard) over which they had some control. So legally perhaps SVA and RDR needed permission from JKR and her publishers.

It is interesting to see how our perceptions of JKR have changed since the publication of DH. I'm reminded of when WB got rights for the movies and put legal pressure on the fan sites-- only this time JKR is personally involved. I don't know what to think of SVA. He seems like a fan (perhaps that's because he started out as one), but then there's something that doesn't ring quite true for me. Why didn't he check with an independent lawyer about the legality of publication rather than take RDR's word for it? He seems to be trying to put on this air of innocence and victimisation for sympathy. And yet, he mentions that RDR agreed to pay all legal fees if the thing went to court, which tells me he thought that might at least be a possibility. Now, I know lawyers aren't cheap, but honestly, I'm finding it difficult to feel sorry for the guy.

JKR... hmmm... she seems to have put a lot more emotion into her testimony than she did into her written statement. I'm sure that is accounted for in the difference between writing and testifying, but still. She seems to be taking this very personally-- and not just against the publishers.

Another question, where does fanfiction fall in all of this? Is it OK until someone makes money off from it?

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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 04/16/2008 :  23:57:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My extremely under-informed and overly-opinionated two cents:

They're both in the wrong and chances are it's all about ego.

SVA was just another dull HP fan but the overwhelming popularity of his online HP Lexicon has led him to believe that he has added something really important to the world. Therefore when opportunity knocks and he is told he can make some money from his one great "accomplishment", he sees it as a chance for a new personal vista - and a continuation of the precious fame that is otherwise likely to slip from his grip. This IS personal for him, if he can't publish the Lexicon, it ruins his self-image as the owner of this amassed knowledge of HP.

JKR, on the other hand, thinks Harry is "all hers". And she's wrong about that - HP criticism does not belong to her, nor does anything she didn't specifically write about. But she's been the fighting off the public influence on HP for so long I think she sees herself as the victim of HP's popularity and she's developed a "my way or the highway" approach to all things HP. To Jo, Jo is always right and anyone who says she isn't is the enemy. Classic dictator style. I wonder how she stays married, I'd guess they never discuss HP.

If both of them were reasonable beings, this thing would never have gone to court. JKR would have permitted SVA to quote HP directly in his Lexicon (for a hefty fee) and she would have published her own Dictionary, which would probably wipe the floor with HPL. We'd all have two new large books and everyone (other than the lawyers) would make money.


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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2008 :  03:16:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This isn't just about criticism though; the Lexicon goes way beyond merely quoting Rowling's work.

Here are some examples, chosen completely at random (important note: the quotes are mine, not the Lexicon's):

Lexicon: "The Knight Bus is a triple-decker, violently purple bus ... "

HP: "Harry saw when he raised his head ... a triple-decker, violently purple bus.. "

Lexicon: "the Abraxan is a gigantic, extremely powerful Palomino"

HP: "Abraxans are immensely powerful giant Palominos"

Lexicon: "A gigantic black spider (legspan may reach up to 15 feet) ... While capable of human speech ... "

HP: "... a monstrous eight-eyed spider capable of human speech. ... Its distinctive features include ... its legspan, which may reach up to 15 feet"

Lexicon: "[His] wife didn't tell him that she was a witch until after they were married"

HP: "Mam didn't tell him she was a witch 'til after they were married."

Lexicon: "Great Uncle Algie ... pushed him off the end of Blackpool Pier once and nearly drowned him. Algie held Neville out of an upstairs window when he was eight and accidentally dropped him, only to see the boy bounce all the way down the garden and into the road."

HP: "My great-uncle Algie ... pushed me off the end of Blackpool Pier once. I nearly drowned... But nothing happened til I was eight. Great Uncle Algie ... was hanging me out of an upstairs window by the ankles ... [and] accidentally let go. But I bounced- all the way down the garden and into the road."

You see? A line here, a few words there, rearranged and presented as original writing. Fine in a not-for-profit website, but not so fine if you intend to sell it.

That's just what I was able to find in 20 minutes of searching.

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"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2008 :  10:40:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The only problem I have with that is the question of how else you would describe these things. We have only JKR's description to go on, so using her words is necessary, in at least some cases,for accuracy. Now he could have elaborated on what a Palomino is and should have used quotes and page references for all citations (if he didn't-- I haven't looked).

I agree with you this is more like a personal notebook to keep track of everything-- I think that's how the Lexicon started. The Lexicon is certainly not something we couldn't come up with on our own. Selling it would be wrong as far as I'm concerned unless permission from the author (for a fee?) was granted. Proper citation of sources should also be required.

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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2008 :  14:10:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Apparently, another word should be used for "violently" and "purple", like "Aggressively dark violet". Would the over use of synonyms make the HPL any less of a reference to JKR's work and any personally more SVA's? Would it make it more original? I would say no to both. You can't write a compendium of information on a series of literature without using words from the books.

I hope whatever the settlement is, it's less than a full victory for either side - I think they're both being ridiculous.


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n/a
deleted

1483 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2008 :  14:35:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ridiculous is right. And unnecessarily nasty, and personal, and beside the legal point. At this point, I won't be buying any encyclopedias from either of them. So they both lose. *sigh*
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2008 :  22:51:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just read two articles on the trial to date.

One article has this to say:
quote:
US copyright law allows teachers, academics, journalists and critics to use excerpts of an author's work, but on a limited basis.-- Guardian
This is the first really clear statement of law I've heard so far. The "limited basis" is of course the important bit. From what I've read on the Lexicon, it seems the sky's the limit. Now if I'd been taking notes for my own personal guide that is probably what I would have done too. But given the scope of what is on the website, I'd say the claim that the "writing" was merely copy and paste has merit.

The judge really wants this settled out of court (and I agree). The whole thing has been handled boorishly and no one is going to come out of it any better off (with the exception of the lawyers). SVA/RDR should have done a more to appease the original author of the world they are cataloging. Jo should stop trying to pull at our heart strings regarding her "creativity." I know I'm not all that keen on the side of her that has become so apparent since DH, and perhaps my disappointment with DH contributes to that, but really I just want to tell them all to "grow up."

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Starling
Confunded

United Kingdom
701 Posts

Posted - 04/18/2008 :  17:00:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My (quite informed ) opinion:

I know why Steve moved to London, but I don't know how far the rumours have travelled, so I won't go into that (but do tell if you know, I just don't know how secret this stuff is anymore). I've known since this summer and it p*sses me off greatly.

Anyhoo, I don't understand why he murdered the Lexicon. The website has so much more than "regurgitation". It's got proper research. Why did he cut all that extra good stuff out? Do you know his dream was to work with Jo on her own encyclopedia? What the heck possessed him?

Anyway, Jo has done herself a lot of harm. I know people who refuse to buy another one of her books. And all this noise means that there are lots of people who know about Steve's book who would have otherwise not known about it (I mean, it's the "most read" article on the Times website!). So Jo will sell fewer books, Steve will sell more (if it gets published, which it should, even though it isn't very good at all).

Maybe it's some weird publicity stunt. *snort*

I wuv multicoloured werewolf puppies.
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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 04/18/2008 :  17:58:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I haven't heard any rumors. Could you please PM me?
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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2008 :  02:15:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

I know I'm not all that keen on the side of her that has become so apparent since DH, and perhaps my disappointment with DH contributes to that, but really I just want to tell them all to "grow up."



You know Siobhan, you hit a chord - I realize I'm much less impressed or concerned about this lawsuit precisely because I'm less impressed and concerned about JKR than I was, say - last year. DH contributed pretty substantially that that detachment - you know, I didn't even re-read it? I read the book once and didn't read it again. Partly, I think, because I felt she let her long-planned resolution undermine the characters she built up. So rather than being awed by her ability to plot so complicated a story, I have felt kind of scornful that she couldn't finish what she started. Unfair, I know - she's still more talented than many writers but my own overwhelming respect for her talent fell substantially with DH.

I might buy her next book, if it gets good reviews (from you guys, not critics). But I might not. That's a far cry from my feelings several years ago when I was sure I'd be chomping at the bit to see what she produced after the HP series was complete.



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Starling
Confunded

United Kingdom
701 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2008 :  05:43:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, the cat's out of the bag. Steve's wife posted on Leaky.

He is leaving her for a 23-year old who (surprise surprise) lives in London. Like I said, I've known this for ages, and I just want to kick him really hard where it hurts.

I wuv multicoloured werewolf puppies.
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2008 :  20:36:37  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AMC
I felt she let her long-planned resolution undermine the characters she built up. So rather than being awed by her ability to plot so complicated a story, I have felt kind of scornful that she couldn't finish what she started.
AMC, you phrased this beautifully. It says in a couple of sentences what I have been trying to put in words for a year. I still love the fanfiction that comes out of this world and the characters she created, and I find many of these stories are able to come up with plots that don't turn her characters into caricatures. I hope that this lawsuit doesn't cause her to get all upset with fanfiction. If her desire for control continues to grow--as it appears to be doing--then there could be some major negatives result for fanfiction.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2008 :  14:24:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AMC
...So rather than being awed by her ability to plot so complicated a story, I have felt kind of scornful that she couldn't finish what she started. Unfair, I know - she's still more talented than many writers but my own overwhelming respect for her talent fell substantially with DH.
That is EXACTLY how I feel, AMC, and I don't believe it's unfair. How else should we judge an author than by their work. JKR's first six books were wonderful. They deserved to top the best-sellers list. DH didn't. It was genuinely sub-par and not just in the context of HP. I have never read any published work of fiction that was as poorly written. So I think scorn is perfectly appropriate, though I might mix in a bit of pity, too.

The woman spent nearly two decades working on HP and stumbled at the finish line. Sad. Though I must admit that all the ugliness going on in this lawsuit goes a long way to dampening my sympathy. As Siobhan said, she needs to grow up!

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n/a
deleted

1483 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2008 :  15:10:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yet JKR repeatedly tels us that DH is her favorite book of the series. (???) I don't think she fully understands how the characters she created grew and developed over the first six books, and how joltingly regressive it was to force them back into her original plot ideas at the end. It simply didn't fit.

Is this the same blindness that's caused her to be oblivious to her own diva-style behavior now? Or is she really such a diva as she seems? I guess it's her right, but I liked her and her work better before she was so wildly successful.

Edited by - n/a on 04/28/2008 15:13:24
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2008 :  15:58:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Pesky Pixie

Yet JKR repeatedly tels us that DH is her favorite book of the series. (???)

She has said this about every book, though, so it seems that her favorite book is simply the last one she wrote. This, I think, shows JKR's inability to judge her own work objectively. Maybe if she goes back and reads her books in 10 years, she'll have more perspective, but right now she doesn't.

quote:
Originally posted by Pesky Pixie

Is this the same blindness that's caused her to be oblivious to her own diva-style behavior now? Or is she really such a diva as she seems? I guess it's her right, but I liked her and her work better before she was so wildly successful.
I think she is a diva. How could she not be when the world has been fawning over her for years? All the fame definitely went to her head which hurt her work and has made her a less pleasant person where any criticism of HP is concerned.

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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2008 :  04:31:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, no author is truly capable of objectively reviewing his/her own work; that's what editors are for. Rowling's problem isn't that she's lost her ability to critique her own output, it's that her editors have no financial incentive to make her books better. Usually books are something of a losing proposition. No book sells spectacularly, and a lot of effort goes into crafting and shaping a manuscript to ensure that as many get sold as possible. Rowling's books don't work that way. People were going to buy them regardless of their quality. After PoA, the incentive shifted from making sure the books were good enough to sell to getting them out as quickly as possible.

Is she a diva? I dunno. She's always had this side to her character; she's always been touchy, always been opinionated, always had a fiery temper when she feels others are in the wrong, and always been, as she puts it, thin-skinned. It's just that now, in such a morally and legally ambiguous situation, it makes her seem worse than normal. I don't think money has changed this side of her. It's just made it more obvious because she's now in the public eye.

Order of the Bookmark

As to the avatar, well, if you girls can all have Alan Rickman...

"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory

Edited by - diricawl on 04/29/2008 04:34:47
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2008 :  13:20:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Diri, you make excellent points here. By DH, JKR could have copied out the London phone book and Bloomsbury/Scholastic would have happily shipped it off to their printers knowing that 20 million people would buy it. That's understandable. Publishers are in the business of making money, not great literature. But that's why it is ultimately the author's responsibility to ensure the quality of their own work.

It's true that a writer cannot be entirely objective about their work, but a wise author knows this and compensates. If you know that your editor is seeing nothing but profit when he looks at your manuscript then you give it to a trusted friend, or better yet, hire your own independent editor to give you an honest evaluation.

Of course this presupposes that you want to be told where your work needs improvement and given what you've said about JKR's thin skin, I suspect she didn't. She dashed off DH in 12 months - by far her fasting writing pace. Had she taken an extra six months to read her previous books and really think about DH, it might have been a better book. Writers aren't completely devoid of objectivity, after all. But she was either too confident or too anxious to be done with the book and unfortunately this shows in the finished product.

As to the whole diva business, you're right that the current legal mess probably just highlights personality traits that have always been there and which, alas, don't serve her well.

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s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"

Edited by - Theowyn on 04/29/2008 13:21:26
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Starling
Confunded

United Kingdom
701 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2008 :  15:54:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wouldn't it be nice if one day she had a brain wave and wrote DH the way it should have been written? Ya know, continuing storylines she'd started, fewer silly mistakes, getting rid of that stupid "Voldemort=Peter Pan" stuff, things like that.

I wuv multicoloured werewolf puppies.
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Edited by - Starling on 04/29/2008 15:56:18
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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2008 :  03:22:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn



As to the whole diva business, you're right that the current legal mess probably just highlights personality traits that have always been there and which, alas, don't serve her well.



Life is complex. This behaviour is just another manifestation of a side of her personality that many of often praised in the past. That same fiery temper, in another context, would be called passion. That same rigid sense of right and wrong also helps her campaign for abused children. Remember the controversy she caused with her anorexia rant? This is no different.

Order of the Bookmark

As to the avatar, well, if you girls can all have Alan Rickman...

"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory

Edited by - diricawl on 04/30/2008 03:23:32
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n/a
deleted

1483 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2008 :  08:54:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The difference this time is that her "passion" seems to be self-directed, rather than channeled toward helping others. I do think that her own recent behavior has hurt her far more than Steve VanderArk (sp?) ever could have. If she'd only foregone the nasty public statements and court testimony (which were completely unneccessary anyway), and taken the high road, she'd still be much better off. I've said it before -- the woman really should hire a good PR advisor.
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2008 :  14:42:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So what exactly is the status of the trial at this point? Is the case in the hands of the judge at this point or are they still hearing testimony?
I've seen that Leaky has three days worth of transcripts, but haven't time to read them at the moment.

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