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Harry Potter - any question answered

Discussion in 'Book club' started by intheken, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. I saw some posts on a Harry Potter thread where a few were struggling
    with the concept of the importance of the Deathly Hallows. As a
    self-proclaimed expert on Harry Potter I'm happy to answer any questions
    people may have about the books. Connections they missed, things they
    didn't quite understand or put to the backs of their minds.
     
  2. I saw some posts on a Harry Potter thread where a few were struggling
    with the concept of the importance of the Deathly Hallows. As a
    self-proclaimed expert on Harry Potter I'm happy to answer any questions
    people may have about the books. Connections they missed, things they
    didn't quite understand or put to the backs of their minds.
     
  3. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    Just one quick question;
    How did such a derivative, poorly-written series of yarns capture the attention (and cash) of so many for so long?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Who cares? I love them and will read them again and again....
     
  5. Funnily enough it only became a cash cow when it became really popular because the first book was so great.
    It captured the imagination of millions of people, young and old around the globe. You possibly lack the imagination to read such a great series and appreciate it.

     
  6. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    No - it's the quality of the prose; Garner's writing is much more exciting to read than Rowling's. Simple as that.
    I read 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' for the first time about three years ago, having been to visit my mate who lived near Alderley Edge (and having been to The Edge itself; an interesting experience). 'The Dark is Rising', I taught at an all-boys' Grammar in the late 90s. No nostalgia involved, I'm afraid. I mentioned these two authors, as there are similarities in the topic material - kids drawn in to magical battles between good and evil, and all that, yes?
    Well, they displaced the action from the Thames Valley to the US, losing the 'Englishness' of it - a bit like the rather pointless version of 'Lord of the Flies' that re-set the kids from a US military academy, missing the point of the English class system. And they messed with the story - I watched the film and found it horrible - like a really badly-performed Am Dram production of one's favourite play. They tried to adapt something to the US market that couldn't be adapted without losing its soul...
    Besides, another franchise had gotten to celluloid first with an 11-year-old finding out on their birthday that they had magical powers - was in fact a deeply special figure in the battle between good and evil, being guided by a powerful older wizard - all that jazz...
     
  7. We'll have to disagree. I find Dan Brown's writing more exciting than Garner's albeit it in a different genre but I don't consider Dan Brown to be a good (or even) a bad writer enough to applaud or disregard his work.
    Similar yes, comparable no.
    Because the authors obviously did not value their work as much. JK sold the film rights to WB on the premise that the cast would be mainly British/Irish, filmed in the UK and the creative team to run changes past her. She refused to let her work be changed too drastically and that is why it worked.
    That is why you don't appreciate the work, you haven't understood it. HP didn't need to be a special figure, was in fact a reasonably average wizard with no real special talent, he also wasn't guided as much as you believe by the powerful older wizard. Unless you have read all of the books and can make the connections and can see the beautiful way in which all of the books are interlinked and littered with clues that seem to have no meaning when you first read them and in fact seem to just be someone 'fleshing' out their book then you aren't in a position to comment. Besides, millions of children and adults around the world love the series so you opinion on the prose is irrelevant.
     
  8. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Further to the previous answer, in the final 'denouement' when Harry and Voldemort are circling one another and Harry reveals all about the Elder Wand, it is explained that although Voldemort physically holds the Elder Wand, he is not its Master. Voldemort believed Snape to be the master of the Elder Wand on account of the fact that he had killed its previous owner, Dumbledore. However, Dumbledore was disarmed by Draco Malfoy before his death and thus Malfoy became the Master. In book 7, Harry disarms Draco, thus becoming the Elder Wand's Master. Moreover, Harry is the master of all three Deathly Hallows at this point and thus is the Master of Death - he cannot be killed, his protection is 3-fold: master of the wand Voldemort is attempting to kill him with, master of the Hallows, plus Harry himself is Horcrux.
    The fact that Voldemort cannot conceive of defeating someone without killing them is the reason that he does not truly understand the nature of the Elder Wand, nor does he realise that one didn't actually need to kill Dumbledore in order to become the wand's master. Harry becomes its master without killing, and he indeed defeats Voldemort without ever casting 'Avada Kedavra'.
    I know that some don't like the books and consider them to be silly, childish novels. They are entitled to their opinions. I personally love them for the frivolous escapism they offer. But I also think they are extremely layered and they explore a range of issues. What I've described above alone explores the theme of power and how one gains it and then uses it to rule.
     
  9. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I think a lot of the prose is absolutely beautiful. Everyone enjoys different types of writing, so your opinion is yours to have freely, I won't argue with you. But to say 'Simple as that' as if to say that your view is right and no-one can possibly disagree is immature.

     
  10. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    To be fair, she had the economic clout to dictate terms - there was a bit of a bidding war going on, and it was a seller's market; other writers don't always manage to dictate the terms to studios - I remember Richard Harris getting rather annoyed about what they did to Fatherland - studios have large legal teams full of weasels; it's not about whether or not the writer cares about their work - it's whether they are compromised out of the whole thing. The Tolkien family (Christopher in particular) had to relinquish control over the Lord of The Rings films, or else New Line would have backed out... Fair play to the Rowling, though.
    Ah. So I haven't understood a bunch of kids' books? As an English teacher with 15 years' experience, I'd hazard a guess that I did.
    What - 'The Boy That Lived'? Marked forever with a special scar, greeted by strangers like some kind of messiah the first time he walked through Diagon Alley, recognised by all. Not a special figure? He even 'rises from the dead' in the final reel, for crying out loud! Come on!
    I've read all 7, thanks. I wouldn't have passed judgement on something I hadn't read. That would be silly, and yes, I have seen how they are put together as a whole. I'd steer clear of beautiful, though.
    If you want a truly well constructed novel, look at stuff like A Confederacy of Dunces, or even Tom Jones. Now, they are beautiful. Truly.
    Either way - the question (much like The Da Vinci Code) is how something so desperately mediocre did so well at capturing the public's imagination. It's a zeitgeist thing, I suppose - just as HP has been kind of supplanted in the hearts of many (particularly girls) by the excrecable Twilight saga - which are really badly written.
    And McDonalds sells more 'meals' daily than every Michelin-starred restaurant on Earth put together; does that mean that anyone's opinion on food is irrelevant?
    I don't think the HP novels are written particularly well; you think otherwise - strangely, I don't hold my opinion because I'm unable to read them properly. It's an informed opinion from someone with qualifications in (and who teaches others) how to analyse prose. That you think differently is fine - I'm not trying to say that nobody is allowed to like it - just that I don't think it's that great. No need to get antsy at me!
     
  11. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    Better for you Eva?
     
  12. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Much. You'll notice that I did not request that you modify your opinion, simply that you modify how you express it so that it comes across in a way which acknowledges that others are entitled to their views also.
    ***
    I don't think it's worth arguing with people who dislike the Harry Potter books. In a way, I'm glad that people DO dislike them. Books SHOULD have the power to evoke strong reactions, opinion and debate. If they didn't, I doubt I'd value their power so much!
    What I personally find skilful about the books are the parameters that Rowling sets out from the first time Harry enters the magical world. It's made clear that life isn't perfect just because you've got a magic wand; if this was the case, there'd be no conflict or tension and without those things you've got no story. There are parallels between the Magical and Muggle worlds: politics, power, gender discrimination, racism (Mudbloods, House Elves etc), war, fear, human nature.
    I never get the feeling that Rowling just 'invents' another thing that wizards can do just for the sake of getting herself out of a corner, plot-wise (unlike, for instance, Twilight, which just magics up a new skill that vampires can do that gets the writer out of a tough spot). Rowling never bends the boundaries of the world she creates, nor does she have to because her writing is carefully planned. All of the ingredients necessary for the final showdown in book 7 have been set up in previous books. There is no magical epiphany that suddenly appears out of thin air to enable Harry to win against Voldemort; his ability to win comes from factors written in the very earliest chapters of the earliest books: Harry's wand; his mother's protection; Harry as the Horcrux (set up in Philosopher's Stone when he uses Parseltongue without realising); the Sword of Gryffyndor, used in COS to kill the Basilisk and thus able to destroy Horcruxes in the later books....
    The world Rowling creates is infinitely detailed; she has imagined a world with hundreds of years of history and tradition. I read somewhere that she has, in the Harry Potter series, over two hundred characters active in the novels - the control of this many characters alone shows immense skill.
    Yes, I'm a Harry Potter geek! Never mind...

    But each to their own, I'm not going to try and tell people they should love it if they don't. I just like talking about the series with other who love it too.
     
  13. I'm not really a fan of her writing style either, and because of this, haven't read books 5-7. I did watch Deathly Hallows Part 2 today with OH, and thought that the film was a string of special effects with little narrative content. It didn't really capture my interest, as I'm generally not a fantasy fan but it was strangely enjoyable.
    Anyway OP, could you tell me where Hagrid went to? - He seemed to disappear and only come back towards the end (but that maybe because I've missed reading the relvant bit.)
    Did think of a likely sequel...
    I think JK has done wonders with capturing readers' interest, and whilst I agree the latter books needed decent editing, she got a load of kids reading, who may not otherwise have picked up a book, so fair play to her.


     
  14. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    That's a pity because, in my opinin, they really are the best. The trouble with only seeing the films is that they've missed out a lot of what makes up the narrative of the novel and thus only manage to include the big battles.
    As for Hagrid, he doesn't play a massive role in book 7. In Half-Blood Prince he was missed out completely when the Death Eater return from the tower after killing Dumbledore; Bellatrix Lestrange sets his house on fire. He also picks up Dumbledore's body from the foot of the tower, and is present in the hospital wing after Bill Weasley is taken there following his attack by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback (not shown in the film).
    In book 7, Hagrid is mentioned via the illegal radio station that Ron, Harry and Hermione manage to find. He has been holding 'Support Harry Potter' parties and is now wanted by the Death Eaters and thus goes into hiding - in any case, being a half-breed makes him and target anyway.
    At the end of the novel, he returns to the castle for the Battle of Hogwarts, along with Grawp. He is later captured by the Death Eaters and the remainder of his role is as shown in the film.
     
  15. Incorrect. Being a master of death does not mean you cannot be killed, it just means that you have the power of 'Death' you can remain invisible to call, death himself included, you can 'recall' loved ones from the grave thus 'reversing' the power of Death and if the Elder wand recognises you as it's master it means that you cannot be killed by that wand and are almost impervious to other wands. Remember, Dumbledore defeated Grindlewald without having the Elder wand.
    Harry was no longer a Horcrux by the time he fought Voldemort for the last time and if Voldemort was using any wand other than the Elder wand then he would have died.
    Harry lived because his mother loved him, that isn't all that special. Voldemort marked him and this made him famous, the scar is his only recognisable feature, famous not special. Rising from the dead.... you really haven't understood it at all. Harry didn't die, Voldemort killed his own piece of soul which had attached itself to Harry's thus carrying it over but Harry had the choice to 'go back' therefore he did not die so could not have risen from the dead.
    Herein lies my issue with you and why I am getting antsy. It's not mediocre. It might not be your cup of tea but it's not mediocre.
    Well done on the worlds worst analogy. £4 a meal vs £200+ a meal. Compare McDonalds with a meal deal from Greggs and you'll be closer.
    Qualifications in prose = informed opinion..... no. It's still just opinion, you can analyse the prose and hold the opinion that it isn't as good as some other books (and you'd be right) but that doesn't mean it's informed because that would just make 100's of millions of people on Earth UNinformed.
     
  16. Narrative content agreed, SFX no way, they hardly used any.
     
  17. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I didn't actually say that Harry was a Horcrux during the final fight. But the fact that he WAS a Horcrux is the reason Voldemort couldn't kill him when he attempted to in the Dark Forest. The other reason Harry didn't die in the Dark Forest was because the Elder Wand wouldn't perform spells adequately for Voldemort - hence why the Cruiciatus Curse failed to hurt Harry, but also why none of Voldemort subsequent spells were working fully, against Harry or otherwise. It isn't necessarily true that Harry would have died if Voldemort was using any other wand;we cannot assume that Voldemort's Killing Curse would have defeated Harry if Harry had also cast the same spell.

     
  18. I have a question - In the final pages of the final novel, why do Harry and Ron have trouble parking their car at the station? They are wizards, aren't they? By the end there was no magic left and I was left with the image of them driving round and round the carpark ... in their people carrier!!
    In fact, for me, the magic ended after the first novel.
     
  19. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I think the point is that Ron (a pureblood wizard brought up exclusively in the wizarding world) has married Hermione, a Muddle-Born. Ron's father is famously fascinated by Muggles and their world. It's not too much of a stretch to consider that Ron may be enjoying doing things in the Muggle way, since he will now be spending quite a bit of time in a Muggle environment, owing to Hermione's parents being Muggles. Ron does state, however, that he Confunded the driving test examiner in order to pass his test and says that he can simply use a Supersensory Charm to check behind him instead of using the rearview mirror.
    The novel ends on Platform 9 and 3/4, a place that is entirely impentrable to non-magical people, the entrance to which involves running through a wall between two platforms. How can you possibly claim there's no magic left by the end?
     
  20. I can claim that there's no magic left because, as far as I am concerned, there isn't. The first novel is fab, the rest just go on and on and on and on repeating the same old ideas again and again and going nowhere oh, so very slowly. The early ones are entertaining (sometimes) but they are all badly written. The later ones are dire.
    I like JK Rowling, she seems like a lovely lady, but I do not think her novels are popular because she's a great writer because, quite simply, she isn't.
    In the first week of A'level I ask my Literature students to make a list of the books they consider to be 'great novels'. Some (but not as many as you'd expect, considering the HP bandwagon/mania that's been around for the whole of their lifetime) put HP in their list and I always tell them that by the end of the academic year they will have changed their mind ... and, absolutely without exception, once they come to understand what a 'great novel' really is they do change their minds.
    As an early poster said, a diet made up entirely of one thing is really not healthy; how can children differentiate between good and bad novels if they've only ever been fed the same thing? The problem with HP is that a whole generation of children have been fed nothing but HP so their palette is limited ...
    And, to earlier posters, by all means read HP, but don't dismiss far, far greater works by children's writers like Alan Garner.
     

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