[DWJ] Re: JK Rowling & Harry Potter
jodel at aol.com
jodel at aol.com
Tue May 15 13:31:00 EDT 2007
The following is exerpted from one of the essays over on Red Hen. The
one called 'Loose Canon.' That particular essay is the one where I more
or less list a number of my creebs over Rowling's handling of her
"I’ve belatedly come to the realization that reading the Harry Potter
series is rather like watching Moulin Rouge. It is obviously cobbled
together of largely recycled elements. Rather trite elements at that.
Intersperced with deliberate silliness.
A musical with songs that were never designed to relate to one another,
dance numbers that never quite actually materialize, and the whole tied
to a transparently thin and basically ludicrous storyline, with huge
set pieces that are just sort of *there* without any really convincing
logic to them at all.
Moulin Rouge is a deal more recognizably mean-spirited and cynical in
its presentation, but both are highly entertaining. And both are such
awkward bundles of *stuff* that it is laughably easy to find a hook
somewhere in there to hang “meaning” to.
Rowing has a fine talent for assembling existing elements into an
entertaining product. Her writing unfortunately, is fairly rudimentary,
which is frustrating. I wish that I could see what someone with really
good writing skills could have done with the same elelments. But that
is something that none of us will ever see. Or not where we can
recognize it, probably.
I’m beginning to wonder whether the fact that Rowling was such a newbie
may not be the reason she has managed to keep the balls spinning in the
air so long. Her experience at writing isn’t varied enough to realize
that it usually doesn’t work that way.
But, then, I’m also noting that there have been any number of other
writiers in the past 25 years or so who break into the field and then
settle down to writing series fiction, and it takes several books
before it gradually dawns on you that they are just writing the same
story over and over. In Rowling’s case, she is still writing the same
story, and it really *is* the same story. The acid test will be when
she tries to write something else, and we then see whether that turns
out to be the same story too.
But the thing is that the story *does* heavily resemble the teen soap
that some of the fans have disparaged it as, after working their way
through HBP. She delineates her characters very nicely, and they are
very human characters, but then she jerks them around like puppets in a
manner that makes little sense except that it is in the script. Her
world is missing large chunks of the nessesary foundation, and various
major elements have never been explained — until you have to wonder
whether they are real elements or just set-dressing deployed to serve
as a vague looming threat in the background. Even such an apparantly
fundamental question as “what is Dark magic?” has never been clarified.
At this point, while the series is still open, we can still hope that
there is a payoff due regarding the inconsistencies. And there may well
be for at least some of them. But there won’t be for all. There are
just too many of them by now.
And the fact that the series is so close to its recycled components is
why so many fans read it, are entranced by the character (stereo)types’
intereactions, and decide; “Hey, I can do that!”. And in a remarkably
high percentage of the time, they can. There is a reason that the
Potterverse has spawned so much fanfiction."
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