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The peeviest art peeve - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The peeviest art peeve
I ranted on this a bit at SQ, but I thought a full-blown rant here would be good.

I don't mind working in imagery from the movies from time to time. The ties aren't an unreasonable addition. Heck, you could make an argument that there's a choir, and, if you're being charitable, you could give them toads. Why not? There's no indication that there is such a thing, but no particular reason for there not to be. Harry missed a good chunk of the early feast in PoA; maybe he missed the show. I don't like Lupin's moustache, but guys try facial hair sometimes, and we can just shave it off in fics and art.

But what gets to me, largely because it's appearing in more and more of the Remus art I see, is the BIG HONKING CLAW SCARS ON HIS FACE.

These just aren't things that wouldn't have been mentioned. Harry studies Lupin's face pretty closely for us while he's sleeping on the train. When Harry sees Moody, he notes all the facial scars. Are we seriously to believe that he wouldn't have mentioned big ol' claw marks across his favorite teacher's face?

Even more to the point, facial scars are very obvious, and schools are gossipy places. Lupin has a lot of suspicious behaviors in PoA--disappearing around the full moons and so on--and if he had the Claw Marks of Doom, speculation about animals would certainly have come up, and Hermione would not have been the only one to say, "Hmm. I wonder..."

So the facial scars neither exist in canon nor make sense as an addition to canon.

So why are they freaking everywhere? It's not like David Thewlis's face has replaced the many fan art versions (thank heaven; good actor, but he just never claimed the role in such a way that I could see no other face), so it's not a case of the movie overwhelming visual imagination. Why pick up this nonsensical tic?
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Comments
fiatincantatum From: fiatincantatum Date: February 14th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wild guess: scars are sexy and/or the whole hurt-comfort thing makes fangirl hearts quiver?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 14th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Doesn't Remus have enough emotional scars to facilitate h/c without adding illogical physical ones? ;)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: February 14th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I kind of liked the big facial scars in the movie... or at any rate, I saw them and I thought "oooo, nice touch". However, you're absolutely right that if JKR intended Remus Lupin to have very large, very obvious scars across his face, then she would probably have mentioned them somewhere in the books. Interesting thing about the third movie is the fact that, while it's arguably the strongest of the three in a cinematic sense, it's also the one that makes me really notice how much better the books are than the films. It's very pretty but not quite how I picture things; it's a good story but not quite how it's supposed to be told, etc. I think that Lupin's scars (and moustache) sort of fall in the same "not-quite-right" category... well, for me.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: February 14th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll go with the possibility that Harry's not mentioning the facial hair on the grounds that JKR evidently pictured and drew Snape with a goatee that never made it into Harry's descriptions either. ;) But it does seem he would've mentioned the scars.

But... I've seen a bunch of icons and so on of movie-Lupin, and I've completely missed the scars. Somehow. I'd seen reference to Lupin's being scarred, but completely missed that it was a movie thing. I am starting to be alarmed by my lack of observation skills.
moonlitwoods From: moonlitwoods Date: February 14th, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
...
I agree with everything you said regarding the scars not making sense in canon.

But unfortunately, as with any film adapted from a book, certain changes are made -- including visual cues -- that make up for the lack of time for proper backstory and characterization. The claw marks on Lupin's face were a short cut to clue viewers in on his Big Secret. That's all.

Why those facial scars persist beyond the film in art and fan fiction of book-reading fans, though, is beyond me. I totally believe that Lupin would have numerous physical scars from his experiences -- they are simply not on his face or Harry would have mentioned them.

The one comment you made that I don't really agree with, however, is your assessment of Thewlis. I agree that there were several glaring issues with the way the character of Remus Lupin was portrayed in the film but in my opinion, those should be owned by the director, not the actor. Cuarón put scars all over Lupin's characterization and Thewlis only played the material he was given.
...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 14th, 2005 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
The claw marks on Lupin's face were a short cut to clue viewers in on his Big Secret. That's all.

But the clue bat was swung so heavily in so many other ways, it was still totally unnecessary. I mean, his boggart!moon had bleeding clouds around it.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: February 14th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll agree that Harry probably would have mentioned scars if they were obvious... I'm not sure it would have been THAT suspicious, though. If nothing occurred to anybody about the full-moon illnesses, I'm not sure whether claw marks on somebody whose curriculum involves dangerous magical creatures would necessarily evoke suspicion. It would certainly be one more thing on the pile, though....

...Though I confess to liking, for sheer entertainment value, After the Rain's explanation that the students were all (except, presumably, Hermione) referring to Gilderoy Lockhart's alarmingly glamourized descriptions of the distinguishing characteristics of the human werewolf.
donnaimmaculata From: donnaimmaculata Date: February 14th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely and entirely agree with everything you said and am glad to see that there are still some people around who think those scars are simply wrong. The scars are one reason why I listed "basing the characters on the actors" as one of my art peeves in that fandom meme a few weeks ago.

Harry studies Lupin's face pretty closely for us while he's sleeping on the train.

Harry actually describes the "lines on Lupin's young face" a couple of times, in PoA and OotP. No mention of scars, ever.

I posted my opinion on the scars a few weeks ago, especially with regard to them being used as angst and h/c generator: While I can definitely see how scars can be used to good effect in fanfic (or fiction in general, for that matter), I prefer to have Remus scar-free because it increases the angst potential. I feel as though being left without scars, after slicing his skin open month after month, year after year, would make the whole experience even worse than if he had scars left. Scars are important to remind one of what they've been through. Being hurt time and again without any visible traces is like having all bad memories erased from one's mind. I have my Remus secretly crave for lasting wounds and scars, because while they heal, he destroys himself anew each and every month. It's an experience of almost Prometheusian dimensions, and thus good breeding ground for angst and drama.

Plus, Thewlis has absolutely nothing in common with my Lupin, neither look, nor voice nor mannerism. My Remus looks very much like in seviet's art. I wouldn't have minded Thewlis so much if he stayed in the movie, because I don't superimpose the actors' faces over my mental image of the characters. What irritates me, however, is the fact that he has become omnipresent in Lupin icons, wallpapers etc. But that was to be expected, I guess.
hughroe From: hughroe Date: February 14th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know they were a 'clue', but in dealing with wolves I have never seen one claw itself, so where did they come from?
fiatincantatum From: fiatincantatum Date: February 14th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
From the werewolf that bit him in the first place, I would assume
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: February 14th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thewlis didn't fit my Remus at first either, but certain features have grown on me. I see him as Thewlis with less floppy hair (though a few streaks of gray, because it's canon and I think it adds to who he is), no facial scars, and less "d'oh" facial expressions. Oh, and no Lily infatuation.

But Oldman definitely fit Sirius, in my opinion; now, he's exactly who I imagine. (Before, I just imagined the illustrations from the book). Oddly enough, though, some actresses portrayed characters exactly how I'd pictured them, like Hagrid (I was so freaked out when I saw him in the trailers!) and Snape (though not as much as Hagrid). Then there are actresses like Emma Watson who will never fit my image, though she was okay in PS/SS, just needed slightly darker hair, not to mention curly.



fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 14th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Oldman and Rickman are both far too old for their parts (though I can justify it in Oldman's case because Azkaban aged Sirius), but are so close to the way I saw them in my head that it didn't faze me at all. Heck, I think I was picturing Rickman in Prince of Thieves as Snape when I first read the books anyway. So I'm willing to put up with the obvious dye job on his hair and pretend that he can pass for thirty-eight. And Sirius, I can fob off on Azkaban. I can fob off Thewlis's age on Remus's lycanthropy, I guess, but I admit to being extraordinarily peeved, as a thirty-something, that thirty-something actors were not used. Apparently, we don't look like the series' designated grownups. Feh.

The real problem for me with Thewlis is that his face doesn't even resemble the face in my head when I read. It's a lot rounder in its absolute shape, not thin enough, and just... not a passing resemblance, especially not in costume (oddly, he looks more like Remus in publicity stills I've seen of him, but still, kind of like a second cousin, once removed).
zoepaleologa From: zoepaleologa Date: February 14th, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I sympathise. Seeing the term "The Golden Trio" is my personal fury. And that does not even have movie seal of approval, it's just one of those big dumb fanon things.

I don't mind the "trio" so much, but why Golden? I wouldn't mind someone even using it as in "They had come to be seen by many as a Golden Trio". But the casual assumption of these terms irritates me (probably far more than it should).

And I agree, if Harry notices so much about say, Snape, as he canonically does, he would have noticed if Remus was deeply scarred, especially as he noticed he was tired, shabby and ill-looking.
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: February 14th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh. So agree. Why Golden Trio? Why capitalized? Fanon makes me cry sometimes.
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: February 14th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
While you make a good point, as always, I don't think it's all that bad. They were very delicate, barely noticeable scars to me. I agree it doesn't make sense and I don't see it in canon, it doesn't really bother me all that much. It is, however, something I point out when I beta.

As for movie!Remus, I really do have a secret fondness for swing-loving!Remus. ^_^;
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: February 14th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you! Do you know how many pictures I've seen with these horrendous BIG scar slashs across his face? If they were that big then Draco would have said something about it or heck someone would have said something.
cmere From: cmere Date: February 15th, 2005 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Here from one of those newsletters...

I agree that the scars have only gotten popular because of the movie, but there is a bit of canonical evidence he would have something:

"'I was separated from humans to bite, so I bit and scratched myself instead.'" (PoA, 353)

That's probably why the moviemakers got the idea to give him great big scars, and it makes sense to me. I rather like the scars, don't really know why.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I believe he has scars. I just don't think they'd be on his face, for reasons of internal logic.
spacedye_vest From: spacedye_vest Date: February 15th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm a bit more accepting when it's fanart, though sometimes it's too much.

But reading fics mentioning again and again Remus's facial scars.I just can't take it. I've stopped reading fics because they were movie-based fanfic, not book.

Those scars collide horribly with canon.

here via D_S, I guess I just wanted to thank you for this rant :)
lyricalnights From: lyricalnights Date: February 15th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that bothers me so much. Especially when I see it on teenaged fan-art Lupin.

Because nothing says "bet you can't guess what MY secret is" like major facial disfiguration. I know teenagers can be dense and self-absorped, but really...
From: waiyza Date: February 15th, 2005 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus with facial scars has never really bothered me that much, but I guess that's because I don't really read a lot of fanfics involving Remus. In fact I didn't know this was such a common thing until I read your rant. The only fic I ever read that had a Facial-scars!Remus was in the shoebox_project, but I don't think he got them when he was transformed.

Perhaps physical scars on his face or supposed to be symbolic of his emotional scars?
From: waiyza Date: February 15th, 2005 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Drats thats supposed to say "are supposed to be" not or.
seelechen From: seelechen Date: February 15th, 2005 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that it is fairly inevitable that the movie-verse presentations of the characters influence a lot of the fandom ones. I'm guessing that for a lot of adults, as it was for myself, the movies were the initial introduction to the books. So people tend to absorb that particular version of the character quite easily. Just look at Lucius and his cane.

I don't like the way the scars are now appearing in fanfic, either, but it doesn't surprise me.
lady1raven From: lady1raven Date: February 15th, 2005 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Here via the Snitch

A thought popped into my head as I was reading your entry- I've only skimmed through the replies, so sorry if it's already been brought up.

Maybe fan artists are drawn to the facial scars because they can be (though they shouldn't be) Lupin's trademark. Like Snape's nose and Harry's scar and glasses, they're something unique that makes the character very definetly Lupin, not just Someone Who Has Lupin's Hair And Eye Color.

Personally, I don't particularly dislike the scars, I just think it makes more sense for him not to have him. And I like the idea of someone who has such a painful and dangerous secret looking completely normal.
xlupinxloverx From: xlupinxloverx Date: February 15th, 2005 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree. And then I love when you point it out and say "Wouldn't someone have noticed?"
"JK Rowling just isn't detailed enough!" Yeah, it's her fault that no one noticed these make believe scars.
I get if there's a light line across his cheek or arm, nothing noticable, but if someone just randomly notices scars, and a lot of them, he'd be in trouble.
wolfsbaine From: wolfsbaine Date: February 15th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

RE:

I couldn't agree more with the view on the scars. I find it really annoying that this has become almost canon among certain fans and feel the need to comment on it when ever I see it.

As to Remus's scars a couple of thoughts while trying not to hog your LJ.

I have been reminded of the quote that Remus says he bit at himself. This is a difficult thing to reconcile with the ability to do such a thing. He could only chew at his paws and forelegs and he could only scratch down the side of his nose, his paws don't turn in.

If you think of this from a wolf's side then he has no reason to bite himself, he is not physically restrained while in the shrieking shack, yes he wants out, but he is not held down. So the need to chew at himself is not as strong. Thus we will have to accept that the desire to kill out ways even this.

Remus's hands could well show signs of his clawing and his nose even, from chewing but all these would clear up and not have left any lasting marks from the time before he started taking wolfsbane, once that came along he would not be doing any clawing or biting, so no outward signs.

So it is more likely that Remus has as few scars as any other person. There will be the one he got to become a werewolf which could well be out of general view. Thinking about how Remus was bitten then it must have been in an attempt to kill him and if you follow the logic of a wolf trying to catch and kill its pray, then you would look at the animal catching it pray about the neck or shoulder to bring it down, usually they catch them by the neck and shake their pray to break its neck.

There is one mark that I think Remus may carry that is the one that gives him away and that stems from the mention of The Werewolf Registry, evidently it would not be a massive leap of faith to see this as something Remus would have to be entered on, so they could keep track of him. Thus they might well need some form of identification. I personally think Remus may be tattooed with a number akin to those used to identify Jews during the war or he may have to carry some sort of papers that he has to show when applying for work.

But of course this is just my theory on the matter.

And the scars on his face are still not called for in the least, his condition is meant to be a secret and a well kept one. So why would something so obvious be right on his face where you can't miss it, but no one wonder what is up with him.
From: longsunday Date: February 16th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE YOU

omfG, i have been ranting about this for AGES. but obviously, i have been too quiet.

and this trend comes from the Shoebox Project, i believe, which is a fun piece of fiction... if not for the SCARS OF POINTLESS ANGST therein.
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