More on HP vs DWJ

christian nutt ferricide at
Mon Oct 15 00:45:08 EDT 2001

(lots of spoilers for harry potter)

>From: "Neil Ward" talents he is ordinary, if slightly withdrawn.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's true. at the point to which i've read it's suggested that he survived 
not because of any of his innate talents but because of the strength of his 
mother's love, which banalizes him even further (at least to the reader.) 
another nitpick along that line -- in _the chamber of secrets_, there seemed 
to be elements of harry's personality that were a little dark, something 
that pointed to depth; stuff like the fact that he showed the same talents 
as voldemort and that the sorting hat had considered placing him in 
slytherin. but it turns out that (whoops!) depth was accidentally rubbed off 
on harry from voldermort when V tried to lay the smack down on young mr. 
potter. that sort of turned me off, too. dumbledore is like "don't worry, 
harry! it's not like you actually have any complexity!" .. that's how i read 
his comments, anyway. =)

i guess the two perspectives here are harry's innate talent/strangeness vs. 
his percieved specialness. meaning, the wizard world percieves harry as 
special (and the dursleys percieve him as deviant.) but my point is: he is 
not actually really a special character who i feel for. largely because he's 
unemotional and partially because he's actually kind of average. the fact 
that he's a celebrity and not an underdog probably works against him for me, 
as well.

>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...

my roommate just got done with HP4. he said that there is actual change in 
the narrative. i can't wait. =) my expectation is that as the books wear on, 
they will probably get more complex and mature, considering harry's growing 
up (as well as her audience.)

>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.

ASWM is not unanimously liked among the readers of this forum. it came up in 
discussion a couple of months ago, anyway, and there were a number of pro 
and con ML members (if we're going binary, here, i'm pro.) as for DS, i 
think it's much better liked by the forum in general. i like it rather a 
lot. both present magical happenings and characters squirreled away into the 
nonmagic world. this is something i like, in general, as a theme.

beyond even the fact that the wizards in HP don't (to any meaningful extent) 
integrate with the muggles (even ron weasley's dad, who's paid to do 
something along that line, is ignorant and inept .. the fact that he quizzes 
harry about telephones seems rather preposterous to me for what i imagine 
are obvious reasons) i find it difficult to believe that they could hide 
their castle, their train, etc... i mean, a TRAIN? on tracks? come on! =) i 
would find it more interesting if there was overlap and they had to be 
clever to hide, not this "well, they use magic to hide it all!" glossed-over 
stuff. i think there are a number of plot elements of the HP books that just 
don't hold up to  inspection. of course, i'm still reading them, so they're 
doing something right. =)

[ christian nutt - ferricide at ]

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