More on HP vs DWJ

Neil Ward neilward at dircon.co.uk
Sun Oct 14 22:56:49 EDT 2001


[Spoilers for Harry Potter]

Christian said, on Harry Potter:-

> i don't know... he doesn't fit in with either world because of
circumstance,
> not innate eccentricity, strangeness, foreign-ness, etc. then again, i can
> hardly percieve anything that happens with the dursleys as normal and
harry
> not, if you follow.

Yes, I do follow.  What I meant was that in the context of the story, Harry
is regarded as odd or extraordinary, because those around him are not (from
their point of view).  Admittedly, the Dursleys are extreme caricatures of
normal suburban life, but they react to Harry's magical ability very much as
a "nasty, foreign strangeness".  Of course, outside all that and his magical
talents he is ordinary, if slightly withdrawn.  In the Wizarding world, the
reaction to him is one of awe: he is the boy who survived where others died
and has the scar to show for it, and he appears to hold some sort of
superpower. There is an innate 'something' that sets him aside from the
rest, in spite of his popularity.  He has to deal with that type of
abnormality .... and the celebrity.

> that doesn't really reflect on him, in the sense that it doesn't make
> his core personality (what snippets we can get of it, even) any less
normal.
> he's just overexposed.

He has a relatively normal personality, yes.  I think the point is that a
boy who is 'normal', if under the rule of cartoon-like evil relatives until
age 11, is suddenly pitched into a situation where everyone regards him -
his persona, if you like - as strange.  He is a misfit.  However, rather
than have us witness his development, as with, say, Moril in Cart & Cwidder,
he seems to remain largely the same, while the reactions to him change.  He
does begin to come out of that in Goblet of Fire...

>  i also have trouble buying into the goofiness of the wizard world, too.
like
> the idea that they don't adopt any 'muggle' technologies because they have
> magic! i think the world in LoCC is a much smoother application of that
> idea, and more sensible because it wasn't actually the same world. a
sudden
> wild magic or deep secret are better portrayals of magic users working
> within the normal world as well.

I can't disagree with you there, because I do prefer DWJ as a writer.  It
does seem daft that, in JKR's world, witches and wizards can mend broken
bones and transfigure themselves into animals, but seem in awe of 50 pence
pieces or household plugs.  She has created huge inconsistencies and magic
can't paper over all the cracks, but it gives us Harry Potter fans plenty of
fodder for nitpicking and 'flint' spotting (that's what we call continuity
errors in the books).  :-)

Your mention of "A Sudden Wild Magic" and "Deep Secret" reminds me that I
still have a few interesting DWJ books on my 'unread' list.   I'm saving
them, so I can savour them.

Neil


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