a defense, of sorts, of HP

Ika blake at gaudaprime.co.uk
Sun Feb 22 17:14:50 EST 2004

Jackie wrote:

> Sally asked:  does this mean that plotting skill is totally unimportant
> to the majority of readers?
> A good question.  I don't think that it is that plot is totally
> unimportant to the readers I work with.  I think that plot is (as you
> point out) secondary to style and (for my readers) character.  They get
> caught up in the world and in the trials and tribulations of the
> characters and don't notice the plot holes.  And, as Gili pointed out,
> the plots are fast-paced and suspenseful, which can sort of make the
> reader dash over the holes without falling in.

Yes - but that means you're reading at the pace the author demands of you,
if you see what I mean. Now, I don't actually mind that when it comes to
plot holes - I just used them as a convenient example of the sort of thing
that makes me angry about the books - but I *do* mind when it comes to
holes in the emotional consequences of things.

Again, I *can* read/watch stories with thin characterization with great
enjoyment - I love action movies and have no problem believing that Lara
Croft doesn't suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after having terrible
physical injuries, or whatever. So, you know, I don't demand emotional
realism in a genre that doesn't need it.

But in the Potter books, JKR will occasionally bring the narrative to a
screeching halt and demand that we watch Harry grieve or rage or obsess
over something; on other occasions, she just breezes past terrible stuff
very casually and insouciantly, so you're left going "Um? Did no-one else
*notice* that Hermione has just spent the first night at her parents'
house in over a year, and then immediately left, refusing to go on holiday
with them at Christmas? Why did she do that? Why is Harry so much more
important than her parents? Is it not painful for a 16yo girl to be taken
out of the culture of her birth and have no relationship with her
parents?" Or "Um? Was it just me that saw that Snape was actually in the
*right* there?" Or "Um? Is Dumbledore really supposed to put his teachers
down in front of second-year pupils like that?"

DWJ is a genius in the way she manages to incorporate emotions as a
*reality* on the same level as other events and factors in the plot - she
doesn't use them as decoration and she doesn't disregard them. I don't
expect everyone to be as good at it as her: but I just can't read the
Potter books and make any *sense* of what's happening on an emotional
level. It just seems to me that the books are covering up the terrible
pain many of the characters *must*, by the books' own rules, be in - just
as much as the pace of the plots cover up the plot holes. And that's
something I just find really difficult to bear.

Love, Ika

"There are some bad people on the rise" - Moz
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