Saturday, July 28, 2007

Maise on Vacation! / HP Discussion!

(Sorry Maise. I had to Potter-ize your picture. --Iris)

As soon as we get the laundry done and the house clean, it's time for a road trip, and I'll be officially off the grid until Thursday, folks. In the meantime, I think this would be an excellent place for a Harry Potter discussion. Feel free to post your questions, answers, opinions, complaints, grief, etc. in the comments section. SPOILERS WILL BE ALLOWED, so if you haven't finished the book, take care when reading the comments to this thread.

Also, people discussing the book? Note that in the "recent comments" section, the first 10-12 words of your post show up on the home page. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take care to keep spoilers out of your first sentence.

I figure by the time I get back, I'll be able to fully participate. And in case you're worried that this thread is off-topic, just pretend that it's about the Weird Sisters, Hogwarts' favorite band (featuring Jarvis Cocker on vocals, no less!).

Meanwhile, the weekend of August 3rd-5th, Iris, Ro, and I will all be at Lollapalooza, so expect lots of reporting and reviews! Unfortunately, Trent won't be there, but Interpol, Modest Mouse, Iggy and the Stooges, Pearl Jam, Amy Winehouse, TV on the Radio, LCD Soundsystem, Blonde Redhead, and many, many, many more will!

Have a great week, everyone!


Iris said...

Have fun on your vacation, Maise! Be sure to pack the sun block although I'm not sure dogs need it.

Now to jump right into the HP discussion...

The Book
Who else was/is confused about how Draco ended up being the Elder Wand's owner? Wouldn't it have been Snape since he was the one who actually let Dumbledore fall? I'm asking this as I'm going back to check Book 6's ending.

Also is anyone else disappointed about how la-di-dah the epilogue is? I'm kind of glad that Harry didn't necessarily have to die and I suppose it was inevitable that Ron and Hermione hook up since it's been being hinted at in the last few books that there was something more between them but what about what they're actually doing now? I supposed it's implied that if there's still a Hogwarts to send their kids off to that the school/the Ministry of Magic/etc was restored to normalcy but what about the characters? Did any of those who were interested pursue their careers as Aurors? Does George continue on with the prank store business without his brother? And why 19 years later? Why not 15 or 20 or something? This last bit of puzzlement is because I’m also a huge Stephen King The Dark Tower series fan and 19 is a significant number that keeps popping up.

more later...

maise said...

Okay, so we delayed our road trip for another night, as Mr. Maise is currently fast asleep on the couch and is more likely to start talking complete nonsense than to successfully drive us across state lines.

Okay, I think I rambled long enough to avoid revealing any spoilers on the home page. I'm going to be pretty brutal with them here, though, so be warned.


You know, this book wasn't *as good* as the others, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean that it's not an instant classic or that I wasn't turning pages feverishly.

The good:

--The wit was still there, and I still felt that feeling of intense love for Harry and his friends.

--The tension at times was absolutely unbearable, and I would not have been able to predict the way it all shaked out. Indeed, a lot of elements of this story were predicted by fans online (e.g., Snape being in love with Lilly, Harry himself being a Horcrux), but the way that she tied everything together still felt completely original and suspenseful.

--I absolutely loved that a good portion of this book was Harry coming to terms with less than flattering information about Dumbledore's past. It really added shades of gray to Dumbledore's character without feeling like a betrayal of that character.

--Thank God she redeemed Snape, and in fact, I wish we could have had more of a confrontation between Harry and Snape, or at least have Snape die a little more nobly. "That part didn't work out so well, did it?" Um, no.

--And THANK GOD, J.K. didn't kill off Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, Luna, or Hagrid. The rest of the book was a veritable bloodbath, though. The death of Hedwig was particularly upsetting to me! I was also very sad to see BOTH Lupin and Tonks die...and one of my Weasley twins?!

--OMG, that chapter where Harry went to the forest to die was so heartbreaking and filled me with a sickening dread. I kept thinking, "NO!!!" and that if Rowling was really going to kill off Harry for good, I'd throw the book across the room. It was *so sad* when he asked all his dead relatives to stay with him til the end. And when Harry whispered into the Snitch, "I am about to die." Jesus!

--I was happy to see all the kids at the end and was touched that young Albus' middle name was Severus, although the poor kid is kind of saddled with a mouthful. Albus Severus Potter? There feels like there could be stories written about the new generation. Or at least, I'm holding out hope.

The Not-so-Good

--The pacing of the book. OMG, Ron, Harry, and Hermione were bickering in the forest FOREVER.

--Re: Harry surviving + Voldemort dying, it's like Donnie Darko. I feel like I understand it in my head, but I wouldn't be able to explain it to anyone else. "Um, so, Harry is a Horcrux, so he has part of Voldemort's soul, but Voldemort has some of Harry's blood..." That, I think, is a flaw. The whole thing with Malfoy having the Elder Wand the whole time didn't ring true to me...probably because I don't remember Book Six, and she probably made a point of saying that Malfoy took Dumbledore's wand? I dunno. All these freaking wand rules.

--I would have liked to know a little more about Harry's future beyond the fact that he is a parent. Did he get to be an auror when he grew up? I always was hoping that he'd wind up Headmaster at Hogwarts or at least the best Defense of the Dark Arts teacher they ever had.

--Also, I wish that Harry would have fully adopted young Teddy Tonks. That would have nicely echoed the relationship that Harry had always wanted with Sirius.

What do the rest of you think?

emerald527 said...

Have fun at Lolla. Do me a favor and catch Daft Punk, if you can, and then tell me all about it. I've always wanted to see them.

I'm not much of a Potter fan, but if I was, I couldn't have picked a better time to go on vacation. I was in DC and away from the interwebs when the book came out, so I was spoiler-proof for a good week. I did see "Order of the Phoenix" while I was there, and while it was sadly lacking any hot Barty Crouch, Jr. action (mmmm, David Tennant), it was enjoyable and wonderfully dark.

Yeah, I'm a movies-only fan. What can I say? I'm working on two bachelor's degrees at once and trying to gain fluency in Japanese. I don't have much time for reading for pleasure, and when I do, my priorities lie with Chuck Palahniuk and Jacqueline Carey (she of the Kushiel's Legacy series). So what I'm saying is: Spoil away.

Iris said...

If we're going to be talking Harry Potter here I just had to change up your picture, Maise. As an avid scarf collector I'm sure you actually have a Gryffindor inspired scarf hanging in one of your closets. Don't lie.

Okay, so apparently Draco used the Expelliarmus spell to disarm Dumbledore at the end of Book 6 so that explains the wand thing.

Some things I liked about the book, since I seemed to be a little down on it earlier. I love that Neville Longbottom has finally grown out of his awkward stage and that he was leading the “resistance” at Hogwarts while Harry and the rest of the gang were gone. And not only that but stepping up to Voldermort and killing Nagini. I always felt bad for the kid that he could never get anything right but he came through nicely here.

I liked that I never did completely figure out the end while reading. I couldn’t figure out what might be in the Snitch or how to open it. I kept thinking that because Harry had nearly swallowed it the first time that he would have to put it in his mouth and close his mouth to open it. Then I thought that the sword of Gryffindor could be hidden inside even though it could have brained Harry this way if it had just popped out full size as it did with the Sorting Hat.

Hey Em, if you’re wanting to talk about the latest movie, well, I really liked it...kind of. As a big fan of Book 5 I was looking forward to this one. The book drew me in so much that I actually found myself getting angry about the crap Delores Umbridge was doing and one of my favorite parts was when Fred and George decided to pull their stunt before leaving school. I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t transfer to the big screen. I mean, yeah, in the book they left school with a *BANG* but it wasn’t all just fireworks. Where’s the huge swamp problem they left in the upper hall that Filch couldn’t get rid of? I understand for budget reasons they maybe didn’t want to shoot that part for the film but would it have killed them to at least mention it? They could have had a scene where as they zoom in on Harry you can hear some students talking about it in passing.

One other gripe is the kissing scene between Harry and Cho. In the book it was nice that while you know it happened there weren’t all the details. Just a nice setup and then cut to the conversation between Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. But the movie they have to make it all open mouth and extended scene. Maybe that makes me sound prudish but I liked thinking of it as an innocent first kiss rather than what the movie people made it into. It makes me concerned for when they get to making Book 7 into a movie and shoot Ron and Hermoine’s kiss. It ought to be near porn star by their measure of things. You don’t need to use the “sex sells” tactic for HP. It’ll sell tickets on it’s own without all that.

As far as casting goes for the new characters, they did a good job for Luna Lovegood and I’m stoked that Helena Bonham Carter is playing Bellatrix Lestrange. I love her as an actress with all the oddball roles she does. It made reading Book 7 with all Bellatriz’s appearances all the better to envision. I can’t wait to actually watch it onscreen.

And Maise, I’m completely with you on your other points RE: Dumbledore’s darker side, Snape’s redeeming side, the endless time in the forest.

Lavender said...

I have to agree with you completely. I love the casting of Luna Lovegood and Belatrix Lestrange in The Order of the Phoenix. I enjoyed the movie.

Now that I have eaten up a few sentences so I don't produce any spoilers...

The end of #7 was a bit confusing, I had to re-read it twice. I was thrilled that Snape was redeemed. I had a feeling, in book 6, that he would never betray Dumbledore. I was touched when he produced Lily's patronius. This explains why he was so enraged with Harry during the oculemency classes- Harry dove deep into his mind and learned of the humiliation that James put him through. He would never want Harry to discover his love for Lily and his desire to protect Harry.
I did not like the epilogue. I didn't hate it, but I found it to simple and convienient. Why does everyone have to be married and produce offspring to be truely happy? Don't you think the most famous wizards would have a far superior destiny? Ministry of Magic? Aurors? Head of Hogwarts? It was refreshing to learn that Neville ended up teaching the botany class though.
The arguments in the forests got to be exasperating. I was furious when Ron ran out on Hermione and Harry. Hermione's constant weeping became irritating- like that bitch constantly screaming in the Blair Witch Project. I was thrilled with the Kreacher, Dobby and brother of Dumbledore's role in the book. Hedwig and Freds' demise was upsetting, as was Tonks and Lupins. Teddy- a young Harry Potter all over again?

Iris said...

Welcome around Lavender. I'm going to have to slightly disagree with you on Teddy. I know it was only a suggestion but Voldemort wasn't out to kill Teddy and I think it's safe to assume that he grew up in the magical community. I kind of wondered what would have happened to him after his parents were killed but I imagine Tonks's parents raised him. Would have liked to find out a bit more about how his condition worked out regarding to his genetics. I mean does he change into a werewolf every full moon like his dad but can shape-shift himself into something less offensive like his mom? I mean if it was worth mentioning in the book that it was a concern for Remus it would be nice for a follow up. And really I think this could have also been solved in a sentence. Harry could have said something about it when James was reporting Teddy snogging with Victoire.

And I suppose if I’m feeling really cynical about the ending then I would say that it’s a message to kids that you can have all kinds of magical adventures and the lot as children but eventually you have to grow up, get married, and become breeders. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

(and it’s patronus, btw) ;)

Lavender said...

You nasty bitch. My eagerness to post about this fantastic book included my haste to press the spell check button. My apologies. Patronus.

Your gripes with the epilogue summarize the problem that I have with fairy tales in general. In addition to portraying women as trophies to be won or to be waiting for a savior to rescue, we have been fed this bullshit that we must marry and breed to become happy. I felt that Harry, Ron and Hermione were destined to become something greater than so-and-so's mummy and daddy.

Tell me the truth though; when you read of Tonks and Lupins' demise, did you not gasp- James and Lilly!????

Iris said...

Oh Lavender, spell check wouldn't have helped you with spelling patronus. In fact my spell check kind of goes nuts when I'm writing about Harry Potter. MSWord is just another everyday something telling me it's time to grow up and quit using nonsensical words.

I really didn’t hate the epilogue quite that much but it did conveniently wrap itself up that way. Just a little bit. But you can always ignore it or use it as a suggestion for who ended up with who and imagine on your own what the gang might be doing for a living. I suppose Gabriel would rip on me for not seeing something how it really is and that I’m carrying over my disillusioning tendencies from some other band we know but the HP books have really worked their way into my heart that I just don’t want to accept a “bad ending”. And it’s not altogether bad either, just not as detailed as I would have liked.

And truthfully when I read about Tonks and Lupin’s deaths I briefly wondered what might happen to Teddy but mainly I was thinking that JK’s killing spree was beginning to get a little excessive. She was killing off main characters left and right! And because of that pattern I was pretty certain when Hagrid was carried off by the spiders that he had met his end, too.

Lavender said...

I came to the same conclusion regarding Hagrid.
I was sure that he would meet his demise as well. I did think the killing spree was a bit excessive too. Why Fred? Why not Percy? It was nice that Percy came home and decided to fight along with the family, but killing off Fred? Why? The Weasley twins are an institution dammit. I was furious when Luna's father betrayed Harry. I don't care if Luna was taken hostage. She's a tough broad, she can handle it. Truthfully, when Hedwig bought the farm, a piece of me died as well.

Nicole said...

For those who have already finished the book, I bring you the following. For all those who wondered some more of what happened in the years to come.

Iris said...

Hiya Nicole! Thanks for the link although it looks like it got cut off. *Dang you for not having a comments editor option* So for those of you curious here's the link again. Now this is what I was looking for in the epilogue. And she even throws in a tidbit about Luna.

Now with regards to Luna's father, Lavender, I wasn't so pissed at him. He was only doing what a father had to do to try and get his daughter back. That's understandable. He'd already lost a wife and it's obvious that he and his daughter had a close relationship. As for Luna being a "tough broad"...well...I don't think she's as tough as she is ignorant of her surroundings and the danger there is or how people perceive her. And I don’t say that to be mean because I love her for being indifferent about it all. The gal playing Luna in the movies nailed her personality. I kept hoping in the book that at least one of the crazy animal/beasts that the Lovegoods researched would turn out to be real. You know, in kind of a *wink, wink* this guy knows more that he leads on instead of being Mr. Nut-Job to everyone. But I guess there was some validity to his story about the Deathly Hallows.

I’ll let Maise handle any other comments about the Weasley twins. I know those were her boys and Fred didn’t deserve to die. Although it would have seemed a little disingenuous to have Percy come back open arms to his family only to then die on the spot. Still though...poor Fred.

Lavender said...

Ok, I really loved that link. Thanks Nicole! So is anyone else wondering what happened to all the muggles? The Grangers and the Dursleys? I certainly am.
Iris, I certainly can fault Luna's father. If you are committed to running an illegal publication in support of a well known criminal, you should damn well know that the man is gonna come down hard on you and your family. Is Luna truly ignorant of her surroundings? Does she choose to see and experience what is necessary for her survival? It's tough growing up without a mom.

maise said...

Nicole, a million thanks for that link!!!! That's exactly the kind of information that Rowling needed to include in the epilogue. I mean, sure it's great that everyone has kids and that they're all going to Hogwarts, but we'd all like to know more about what eventually happened to the main characters! I'm also glad that Ron winds up helping out with the joke shop, although he doesn't seem as inspired a jokester as Fred.

The more I think about it, the crueler it seems that Fred gets killed off. How is George supposed to be his happy-go-lucky prankster self now? It wasn't enough that he was maimed?

Also, orphaning Teddy Tonks is pretty harsh, especially as Harry really goes off on Lupin for trying to leave his kid. Tonks really should have considered that if she joined up in the battle, it was highly likely that neither of them would return, and one of her own parents is dead. Is that really all that heroic? Meh.

Plus, I can just hear all the La Leche Leaguers crying out in one voice, "Now he can't breastfeed anymore!!!" The horror.

All I know is, whoever directs this last film adaptation has a HUGE challenge. This film runs the risk of being unevenly paced and a total downer.

And one last it just me or did you guys feel like the chemistry between Harry and Ginny was kind of...lacking? Their whole relationship has always felt kind of forced, but their first kiss in Book 6 was pretty inspired. Here, I'm just not believing it when they're restraining their unbridled lust for each other. Not that Rowling necessarily would want to get into that too heavily in a so-called children's book, but still. I think she did a better job racheting up romantic tension in books 4-6.

But again, this book and the series overall is just amazing. I can't remember the last time I flipped pages with such urgency. And sadder than any character's death is the knowledge that it's all over. :(