DWJ's answers: Harry Potter

Rebecca Ganetzky rganetzk at oberlin.edu
Thu Aug 30 12:02:41 EDT 2001


On Cat and Harry (Btw, before we get into spoiler space, Hi everyone!  I'm
back!  I have a real e-mail address now and it should stay this way for the
next four years!)
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>HP's enemies hate him because he's good and they're not, and he's in their
>way. His friends love him because he's set up to be lovable. Teachers
>probably tend to like him... excepting maybe Snape, who is prob the most
>ambivilent character in there.

That's not quite true.  Dumbledore likes him, but even Sprout and the
divination teacher, and McGongall to some extent don't like him more than
anyone else.  There seems to be a lot of room for grey characters.  I'm
hoping Krum, from Durmstrang will develop into a Grey area, for instance.
But in general bad characters seem to be unfeeling and cowardly, whereas
good characters are courageous, but caring.  Which is common, but not
preferable in children's lit.

>With Harry, the reader doesn't really have to wonder if H is likable,
>deserving of admiration etc, therefore he appeals to a very broad bandwidth
>of readers. DWJ's heroes are flawed, and sometimes their flaws aren't even
>"lovable" or, to use a horribly overused word, "quirky". Sometimes they're
>mean, underhanded, silly, hasty, prattish... prasie be! Just like us! And
>maybe that's uncomfortable for some readers.

Harry does have flaws, and I'm hoping they'll be accented more.  He is
dependent on the memory of his parents, he cheats in the Triwizard
tournament and he stubbornly doesn't make up with people.  That is all very
cliche as far as character flaws go and DWJ does much more well-rounded
charcters, but it could be worse.

>I'm doing a world-shift fantasy at present which looks at a few things I
>don't seem to have seen in fantasy for kids. Specifically, my heroine has a
>nasty physical reaction to her new world - she's allergic to some things
>there which scarcely bother the locals. She can't get a handle on the social
>mores and instead of being a world-saviour, she needs salvation herself. Her
>sojourn there changes the life of the younger boy who helps her, but maybe
>not for the better... he discovers the sister he's always thought was dead
>is actually brain-damaged and has been "put away" in the interests of the
>Succession. It's interesting, but not sure how the editor will react! She
>might prefer her heroes - well - heroic!

Sounds very cool!
-RDG

Rebecca D. Ganetzky


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