Monday, July 09, 2007

'arry pottah

i am on tenterhooks for the newest harry potter book. i re-read books 5 and 6, just to prepare myself and boy did i overshoot. i am ITCHING to read the next book. I'm going to chicago this weekend to see friends i haven't seen in months, but I'm already excited about the weekend FOLLOWING that one, the day that harry potter comes out! (also the day that i'm moving.) seriously, seriously excited.

so i've been doing a lot of thinking about What Will Happen. I kind of feel like no matter what, it will work out the way it should, but i have this issue which is that in my head i rewrite/edit the harry potter books to make them better, more impactful as annoying people say, more subtle, and so on. i do think they are very good. they are funny and the characters are great and the little details (funny names, puns) are fantastic. but i keep thinking about all the great fantasy tropes and motifs that she IS using and all the ones she's NOT and how the books could almost be better if she borrowed even MORE from previous works and build them into these stories. like lately i've really been feeling like i want harry to get his quest on. it would be a complete departure from the earlier books and so i don't really want it to happen (it could, if hogwarts ends up closed in the beginning of the 7th book), because the school setting is part of what makes harry potter so unique and fun, but i would love to see an alternate universe where harry goes on a (i won't say frodo-ish, but) taran-wanderer like quest. you know, him and his buddies against the elements, all bleak and depressing and burning-of-harp (if you never read the lloyd alexander books, then pardon my references). i know it wouldn't fit, but still.

anyway so the point is i've been thinking a lot about harry potter, and how it should end, if you're thinking great themes of fantasy and hope and triumph over evil and such. should harry die, in other words? is snape evil (no!)? will draco go evil, or will he falter and turn good in the end (not sure. he's being set up for option 2, but if snape is good, which he IS, dammit, then it seems like they need another conflicted-is-he-or-isn't-he character to fill snape's shoes, and draco is right now the only candidate)? what the hell is going to happen? who is going to die? they (the critics) say hagrid. i can see that, because he's relatively "disposable" especially as of late, mostly whines about his creatures that are dying or forbidden. but it seems like a copout and i can't quite imagine j.k. pulling that move (really, the death of you-know in book 6 was the most predictable thing of all the books, but that kind of thing sort of has to happen to send the hero out on his own, like i said, taran-wanderer style, obi-wan kenobi eats it, and so does gandalf, temporarily). i will actually throw something if she kills hermione, ron, or ginny. or neville. or luna lovegood. will i if she kills harry? i don't know. i can't quite picture harry's death being sad... i mostly just imagine it being sudden and awful or, worse, pointless. what good will it do? unless he pulls a grand sacrifice, and has to die in order to kill voldemort ( i.e. if harry is the horcrux, god forbid), then what will harry's death do for these books?

well it's a good question. i'm all jumbled and indecisive and taking all of this far too seriously. i feel like j.k. could totally kill harry off. i'm about to contradict myself but... it's fitting. it's what should happen. i had the idea for a chapter called "the boy who died" long before this dude did (or at least before i read his idea). it would be... poetic and parallellllllllistic (or something like that). and it's what harry's purpose is now, whereas everyone else has a much quieter, simpler one: to live normal lives. harry's was never normal and never can be. so it would be in a way fitting if he died for a higher cause. anyway. i'll finish up here because most of what i have been thinking about can be summed up in this article by (surprisingly) one of the Lost writers that was in the new york times today. i hate it that people with "official" modes of expression, like new york times editorials, get to say things before i do. or maybe i hate that i don't say them before i read them. i've been thinking about this stuff for several days, i just was too busy getting sunburned in dolores park to write anything down. renewed focus is what i need! an avowal of dedication, abstinence (namely from food and drink), simplicity, joy, all that good stuff. perhaps once i have finished reading harry potter.

I read an article recently saying that 80 percent of American poll respondents said they thought Harry wouldn’t survive the final book. As is the case in many polls, there’s probably a degree of wish-fulfillment here. In other words, we want the little bugger to die.

O.K., it wasn’t an article. It was an inset in Us Weekly. This makes my point no less valid.

So why do we want Harry to go to the great Quidditch match in the sky?

The poor kid’s parents were brutally murdered, he spent his childhood in a closet, and every year one of his friends dies. Yet we do not offer him our sympathy. We offer him our bloodlust.

Do we feel sorry for Harry? No. We want him to take a dirt nap.

And that’s because we want to be surprised.

Because if there’s one thing we like more than explosions, it’s surprises. And even though 8 out of 10 of us want him to die, we know in our hearts that he won’t.

And that’s because Ms. Rowling wouldn’t dare.

She can’t whack Harry because there are rules that must be followed when it comes to how one ends a grand mythology. Good triumphs over evil. Hope overcomes despair. Paper covers rock. Harry wins. Voldemort loses. The Ewoks sing.

And this is precisely why Harry has to die.

Because it will be tragic. And emotional. And surprising.

(This wasn't a bad editorial either. Love the Beatles reference.)

1 comment:

Kim said...

I love that you made this post. We will have to have lunch and catch up post-my Israel trip and after we've both read it (I'm still planning to read on the plane on the way home).

See ya soon!