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Hogwarts, 90210 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Hogwarts, 90210
Okay, so Kloves says that he thinks Remus was a little bit in love with Lily. Other people think Snape was in love with Lily and this is what makes him turn back from the dark side. Others think that the clues hidden in PoA that Rowling talked about were shipping clues. Ron might become a Death Eater because he's jealous of Viktor Krum's relationship with Hermione. No, Snape's in love with Hermione, and Ginny's in love with Draco. In the former case, Hermione will bring out Snape's sweet puppy dog side, and Ginny will bring about Draco's redemption. Or maybe it's all about Remus/Tonks, to slam my own ship as long as I'm firing.

Here's the thing: romance in fanfic is one thing. I'm not much of a romance writer, but it can be fun. But I very, very sincerely doubt that when Dumbledore says that "love" is the key to Harry's power, he's suggested a Gryffindor gang bang, with the Slytherins invited for good measure. I don't think he's talking about finding a One True Pairing of any sort. When Dumbledore is talking about love, he's not talking about something that's coming in Harry's future, but something which is the root of Harry's life, and which exists already and permeates Harry's story from beginning to end. I'm not talking about "Let's go shag in the broom cupboard" love, but what is encapsulated in Dumbledore's statement from OotP (pg 824, U.S. edition):
"You do care," said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. "You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death from the pain of it."


This, I think, is the crux of the power behind that locked door in the Department of Mysteries--not romantic love, but love of the world, of the people in the world, and of the people to whom one is connected. Does this include romantic love? Certainly. But it's a deeper, more encompassing idea, the idea of many people coming together freely, with the interest of helping one another and making one another happier and safer. Harry's story is one of progressively reaching out, of taking more people under his wing, and allowing himself to be taken under more wings. The first time this jumped out at me was in GoF, when he learned what happened to Neville, and he has the moment of perfect empathy and pity. At this point, Harry understands the world for someone else, and loves Neville fiercely, wanting to avenge the wrong done to him.

Voldemort represents the opposite of this--his life is spent pulling inward, from some point in his youth when he was at least able to put up a facade of teamwork (he was head boy) to focusing on his own power growth to a point where he was barely recognizably human, to finally making other people into nothing but extensions of himself, rather than extending himself to understand other people. He's totally focused on wrongs done to him (mainly by his father) and on serving his own needs. I think this is where Snape became troublesome to me in OotP--not as a child, but as an adult. He's focusing on wrongs done to him years ago, nursing his wounds and curling in on himself, much as Tom Riddle did.

Harry begins his story in total isolation--loathed by his relatives and alone on the Hogwarts Express, eavesdropping on the Weasleys because they seem so alien to him. Ron comes into his life and offers him the greatest gift he's ever had--someone to share with. That's an incredibly striking observation, tossed aside casually in PS/SS: Harry has never been able to share anything, because he's never had anyone to share with, and when someone comes along, sharing is the thing he wants most in the world to do. Any time Harry starts to get isolated--or to isolate himself--it's time, in these books, to worry.

His wound, at the beginning of the story, is the loss of his loving family; the healing of that wound is to become a part of a loving family again. It's shown no less than three times in Order of the Phoenix that, while the Weasleys think of him as one of them (they are the embodiment of this ideal), Harry himself has not accepted this love--this power--within himself. When Ron tells him that he's going to the Burrow for Christmas, it doesn't occur to Harry that he's been included in the invitation. When the Weasleys are waiting for word on Arthur, Harry and Sirius wander around feeling like complete outsiders. And when permission is granted for Arthur to have family visitors, Harry has to be cajoled to come in, as he assumed it would exclude him. So his acceptance of the Weasley family's acceptance of him (if that phrase make sense) is a symbolic moment of healing.

But there are other examples of this agape love--Remus's gentle teaching of Harry, the way the three children back one another up, Harry's caretaking of Luna at the end of OotP, Neville's collection of bubblegum wrappers from his mother, Ginny's insistence that Neville not belittle himself, Sirius's fanatic protection of Harry, Remus's gentle handling of Molly after her boggart, etc. I would also count "lesser" moments, such as the delight Ron takes in watching McGonagall show up Umbridge, the enthusiasm of the Creevey brothers, Harry's wonderful concern about Hedwig after she's been injured... All of these little connections build a very strong web.

Which brings us to Hogwarts, 90210, and why I don't like it.

Construing this love in the limited sense of "romance"--which is an important subset, but not the universe--ends up focusing inward, on merely a pairing. I think the sense of agape is more important and richer, and stripping down something like the redemption of Snape (if he was redeemed) to nothing more than an individual love does a disservice to the story. Now, an individual love might start something, but, especially given that we're talking about someone who is totally unattainable, it's going to have to go a lot deeper. Snape is going to have to learn to see the world through other people's eyes. This could be done through romance, but only if the romance is the main story, or is at least happening to a central character. If J.K. Rowling were telling the story of how Severus Snape came to leave the Death Eaters and an unrequited love for Lily Evans-Potter was involved in his initial transformation, she might be able to make it work. (Though I admit, it wouldn't appeal much to me.) But she's not--she's telling the story of Harry Potter. He might have a romance that teaches him to open himself up or to symbolically accept love, but that would be the context of it. Randomly making everyone's lives revolve around romance is... well, Hogwarts, 90210.

The same is true for Lupin/Snape, or Ginny/Draco, or Lucius/Hermione, or any other pairing of that nature.

So why don't I think that it's a good idea for Draco to be redeemed?

First, I'm not saying it's a horrible and impossible idea, only that it's not one to which I'm strongly attracted. It could work, with a lesson to Harry about "putting up with" people he can't stand.

The problem I see in this is that the lessons he learns don't seem to be about "putting up," at least not the lessons that matter. The lessons he needs to learn are about giving and accepting love. In order for any plotline involving Draco and love to work, Rowling would have to spend a lot of time developing Draco's character, and honestly, for the last two-sevenths of the series, I think it would be far too much of a shift in focus. Draco's not important enough to devote so much time.

Also, while I'm delighted that the series focuses on the good guys and makes them the more interesting and well-rounded characters, they do need a foil, a Shadow, something that represents what they fight against. Voldemort and his forces are anti-love (not just hate, but anti-love), and they need to have representatives in the storyline. Draco looks to me like he's set on a revenge arc rather than a redemptive one, and revenge for oneself is ultimately very self-centered. I think this will be contrasted with Harry's earlier drive toward revenge, which, it should be noted, has never led him anywhere good, nor has it been a primary factor in any of the victories he's managed. First year, it was his need to protect the stone and keep it from Voldemort. Second year, it was protecting Ginny. Third year, when he went after Sirius, his vengeance motive almost made him commit murder, only to find out he was wrong--and he held back when the real traitor appeared. Fourth year, he was concerned with escaping and returning Cedric's body with dignity. Even fifth year, when he failed, he went to protect Sirius... and when he did go on a revenge kick, he attempted an Unforgiveable. I think that Malfoy will be set up as a foil for him, and that as Harry grows up and Malfoy remains stuck in vengeance mode, the two will provide a contrast to one another.

Hmmm. I don't seem to have a conclusion. I just thought I'd ramble for awhile.

I feel a bit...: contemplative contemplative

34 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
myf From: myf Date: June 7th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm sorry! You read my ranting comment on my LJ, didn't you!

Sorry. I know I should just get over it, but that really was one scene I didn't want spoiled.

Thanks for being so thoughtful.

Oh, and you should get a few more visitors to your HB site - I was just describing Shifts to some friends, and they all agreed it sounds great and they're going to come and have a look. Hurrah.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 7th, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, actually I hadn't read it yet. I hadn't realized that it wasn't released in Australia yet! Sheesh. Unfair.
myf From: myf Date: June 7th, 2004 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tell me about it. And it's surrounded by controversy because it was rated M15 (which means not recommended for those under 15, but not enforced). They're having an appeal today, to bring it down to PG, but it's a bit late - the film came out last week in Tasmania.

Silliness. I call for simultaneous film openings, like with the release of the books.

Anyway. Two sleeps to go!
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: June 8th, 2004 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes...we're hanging out for Thursday. *sobs*

And the film studios wonder why folks have the audacity to pirate DVDs. *rolls eyes*

We STILL haven't had Hell Boy down here. That isn't slated to get here till September! (Not that I'm in any hurry to see that particular film myself; fanboy hubby is though. I was using it as an example of the typical delay.)
readerravenclaw From: readerravenclaw Date: June 7th, 2004 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
By all means, ramble. :) I for one often find your ramblings interesting.

I very much agree that the love that is so important in the series is a far broader and more encompassing love than romantic love. Love is a central theme in Harry Potter, but it's the love of friendship, and of people caring about Harry and worrying about him and loving him - as though he's a son, brother, friend. I do think that Ron and Hermione are certain to end up together sometime before the series ends, and I think it likely that Ginny will end up with Harry at least in the epilogue, if not sooner, but I think it very unlikely that a romantic relationship will be key to Voldemort's defeat - that just wouldn't fit in with the general tone of the books and the broad sweeping theme of platonic love.
ashtur From: ashtur Date: June 7th, 2004 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
One point I come back to in my work is that oftentimes "Love" is the most meaningless word in the English language. It's meaningless precisely because it has too many meanings. The same word is used to describe everything from a fondness for chocolate cake through the profound depths of a relationship between spouses, or parents and children.

For whatever reason, much of the time people tend to focus on one very narrow, and limited definition of that love, the romantic aspect. Yet, the profound moments of love that we've seen have been anything but romantic. For those that say that Harry is unable to love, or to show love, I'll point them to the Chamber, and to the Ministry of Magic. Harry may not be able to show his love in certain ways, but he shows it very strongly in others. Likewise, though he has not yet fully seen it for what it is, he has found love, Molly in the hospital wing being my favorite example of it. Not romantic, but deep and profound and vital all the same.

The way Harry is, it's going to be very difficult to imagine him saying "I love you" at any point in the next 2 years, romantically or otherwise. That being said, I have no doubt he will show it in no uncertain terms. I'm not one that feels that Harry will get shipped by JKR (I think it's more likely than not.. but unshipped Harry is a very realistic possibility IMNVHO), but his love, and his learning to be loved are the heart and crux of the story.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 8th, 2004 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
But it's all about how the boa from the zoo is going to seduce Nagini, removing (or greatly distracting) one of Voldemort's allies, perhaps even persuading her that the funny little mammal Parselmouth is just as good, and driving him to distraction because his favorite serpent is making the same mistake his mother did by getting involved with a non-magical snake. Didn't you know?

I think you're right, about love and about revenge in general. I think Snape is still caught up in the past, probably dangerously so, but I also think that he is genuinely concerned with the well-being of others -- including others whom he really, really doesn't like. I also think he's tied into some other progressions which would be rather damaged by his turning out to be not-really-redeemed.

I think JKR can establish a character's... potential (? I should be waiting to write this when I'm not too tired to think of proper wording) fairly quickly. Voldemort was both more sympathetic (for the sake of what he'd been through and perhaps what he could have been) and scarier (precisely because he was more human and shown to be evil in human ways) after CoS. On the other hand, that was earlier, not just in the series but perhaps more pertinently in his own character/introductory arc. Draco wouldn't just have to develop quickly, he'd have to develop suddenly, and without the kind of clues that were laid ahead of time for Ginny.
gehayi From: gehayi Date: June 8th, 2004 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
It's probably a fault in me, but I honestly don't see how giving and accepting love is going to help Harry defeat Voldemort. They're necessary life lessons; I just don't see how being able to give and accept love will help Harry win a war.

I remember reading that scene in OotP where Dumbledore tells Harry that Harry has a power that Voldemort knows nothing of, and that power is love. My immediate reaction was, "So what's Harry supposed to do to Voldemort, hug him to death?"

It just doesn't make any sense to me.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I expect it will have something to do with Voldemort's blind spot--it was Lily's love for Harry that defeated him last time. I doubt it will be love for Voldemort that does the trick, but the love of one another that the Order and the DA have.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: June 8th, 2004 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
"No greater love has any man but this: to lay down his life for his friends."

I think that the self-sacrifice of Lily (and James, but Lily's death is always recognized as the significant one) is key. We've gotten lots of hints that Harry's going to "die" - I'm still at the denial-of-true-death-it's-all-a-Weasley-trick place, but I do expect Harry to appear dead at some point.

Harry's victory over Voldemort may include that same sort of self-sacrifice to protect others out of love.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe not Harry--I have a feeling it will be Neville. But I do think that a self-sacrifice from someone will be involved.

The reason I think it will be Neville is that Harry seems to have a bigger problem accepting love than giving it, and also because Neville has been repeated compared to Pettigrew... the one who was told that he should have died rather than betray his friends. And Neville, in a lot of ways, is the anti-Pettigrew, and to someone like Voldemort, an action in which he dies, leaving Harry open to do whatever it is he will do, would be completely incomprehensible. It would also be a reasonto introduce him as being related to the prophecy.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: June 8th, 2004 08:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, an opportunist like Voldemort wouldn't give an equal an equal footing in a duel. I don't think either Harry or Neville is considered an equal just yet.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Although, on the way to work, it occurred to me that we may hear Harry say something like that as he ponders this infodump of Dumbledore's. "What am I meant to do? Er... hug him to death?" :p
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 10th, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry the Constrictor!

*still wants the boa back*
lync From: lync Date: June 8th, 2004 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
What a well written and articulated entry. I don't really have anything other than that to say... But I did enjoy reading it. :)
likeafox From: likeafox Date: June 8th, 2004 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Very well said, Fernwithy. Kloves has just lost any semblance of respect, in my book at least, with that comment. It's not enough that he plays fast and loose with canon, it's not enough that completely degrades Ron while turning Hermione into an uber-heroine. No, he has to take what is clearly a petty personal shipping preference and insert it into the movie. That just irks me to no end.

I definitely agree that what defeats Voldemort in the end will not be Romantic love, although that may play a part. The idea of Neville dying never really crossed my mind. (Well, it did, but not in an important to the defeat of Voldemort kind of way.) It makes a lot of sense though, and is making me really scared for poor Neville. :(

As for Harry dying, I believe that he will have to "die" at some point, but that it will be a more symbolic death and then "rebirth."

Meh, I've rambled long enough.

~Ella
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
As for Harry dying, I believe that he will have to "die" at some point, but that it will be a more symbolic death and then "rebirth."

Yes, that makes sense, and fits with most stories of this sort.

I don't know that it's impossible for Remus to have been a little bit in love with Lily (I have a weird and contrary-to-my-nature liking of the ship in concept, at least during Hogwarts days), but I do think that making it any kind of key factor in any of this would only cheapen the story and cheapen the bond between the four friends, which is much more interesting. And even with my weird and distasteful liking of the ship, I like it only when it's unspoken and never acted on. It was utterly shocking to hear anything about it in words on the screen. (I'd literally just written a drabble in which Remus explicitly rejected the possibility of a relationship with Lily because of his loyalty to and love for James.) And I'm terrified of the fanfic implications.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
And, p.s., yes--the fact that he inserted a personal shipping preference into the script bugged me, and would bug me even if he did it with, say, R/T in OotP. It's one thing to highlight things in the books that might suggest a ship and downplay other things--I don't like it, but it's at least in the realm of "interpretation." It's something else entirely to just toss something new in to support the ship.

That said, I didn't hate the fact that we got at least some mention of Lily, and that it seems to go contrary to the notion that Lily was the one instrumental in shutting Lupin out of the group when she found out he was a werewolf. Just on the level of the addition, I didn't mind it and actually rather liked it. But hearing that Kloves does have this particular belief and it's not just fanfic writers imputing something not meant to be there puts a different light on it in terms of adding it to the script.
katieowrites From: katieowrites Date: June 8th, 2004 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I read your whole entry and thought very much of it, but it's not in me right now to write much of a response of it as a whole - know that, as always, you're articulate and well-thought-out.

I did want to weigh in on the 'Remus was a little bit in love with Lily' issue, though.

My internet's all wonky and I can't double check, so all of this is working on the assumption that that was Kloves' wording, mind you.

I don't think it was really stating a shipping preference. Steve Kloves, though I don't think anyone is completely satisfied with what he's done with the books we love, isn't stupid. And Rowling would have shut down any petty preference stuff that he tried to throw in (unless it was true, but that's a whole new can of worms.)

There have been countless people, in my short life, that I've been 'a little bit in love with'. I didn't even have a crush on most of these people. 'A little bit in love with' implies, to me, that you've given a small piece of your heart away - but this doesn't have to imply romance. (This actually does tie in with your point - there's much more to love than romantic love.) Anyone that stood by you, stuck up for you, made you feel better - anyone you've ever looked at and felt a surge of warmth and love for, for what they've done for you, for the way they make you feel - is what I think of when I think about 'a little bit in love with'.

I had a crush on a boy when I was in second grade. As time went on, the crush faded away, as they do, and the boy and I became friends - good friends. When we were 17 and at a high school dance - each with a date, but part of the same group - I, for whatever reason, had a terrible time, and started crying about an hour before the dance was over. My friend apologized to his date, walked me out of the dance, and acted silly until I started to smile. Then he gave me his jacket and drove me down to our lake, where he let me talk and cry. When the dance ended and I was cheered up, he called all of our friends to join us and that night now lives in my mind as one of the best I've ever had. I will be a little bit in love with my friend for the rest of my life.

My point: I don't think Remus' statement - or Kloves' - was meant to imply anything but fleeting adolescent thoughts of romance, if that. (Further, if Harry thought it did, wouldn't he have said something?) I don't think Kloves' statement was well-articulated, but I think, most of all, that it is just fueling a fire of HP fans angry at him over what they perceive as 'butchering' - of Ron's character, of Hermione's character, of a scene or backstory or - you name it. If everyone loved what Kloves was doing, no one would care about this statement - except for a few writers who'd toss out a (probably bad) R/L fic. It's a non-issue people are turning into an issue, and it's unnecessary - if it's important, we'll find out exactly what it all implies when the remaining books come out; if it's not important -- who cares, anyways? People can take it as they will.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: June 8th, 2004 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, one of my biggest fears is that the comment will lead to a stream of fanfics gone wild, Remus/Lily style. I've always liked the idea of a deep friendship between Lily and Remus, and I did like the addition of Remus expressing his affection for Lily, but when I saw the movie it struck me as a little much, along the lines of unrequited love rather than mutual friendship. Seeing Kloves's remark about it cemented my opinion that he went too far with the implications of a relationship.
bookshop From: bookshop Date: June 8th, 2004 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello!

I agree wholeheartedly with a lot of this. You've articulated very explicitly why I hate the fact that so many people want to slash everything in the books. I said yesterday that I don't view the canon implications of Remus/Sirius as slash; that's partially because I don't want to, partially because I don't think it's necessary, and also, in part, because I think to take a relationship that is already beautiful *just as it is* in canon, and to insist upon taking it somewhere slashy, is to devalue it. I prefer to read R/S subtext in the books as a gay lit theme, contextualised differently than the way I read Harry/Draco subtext or other pairing subtext.

I dislike romantic emphasis in the books the same way that I dislike gratuitously smutty plotlines in fanfic, regardless of pairing: unless the developing pairing, or all the smutty sex someone is having, contributes directly to a character's growth or to the story's plotine, it is gratuitous. The reason I don't ship Harry/Ginny is because as I read the books, Harry's growth and development comes from being able to accept his place as a part of their family. It has nothing to do with Ginny Weasley, per se; there would be nothing gained in terms of his growth and level of development, in the context of the story that JKR is trying to tell, by their falling in love. I also feel this way about all ships except *my* ship (isn't that how everyone is?) and possibly any ships involving Snape in the past--obviously Snape/Lily *would* have a direct effect on the story's development, and perhaps already has had.

The main theme of my life, the theme that I think is also the goal of Harry in the books, is to maintain connections with other human beings. He is so eager to share himself, so eager to be loved and nurtured and accepted; to me that indicates that he has not only a desire to achieve really intimate, deep and lasting friendships, but that he also has a strong potential to reach out to others, to forge those connections and also teach others how to establish connections when they are, for whatever reason, stuck and unable to do so. I think you can see where he has done this several times--I see him doing it in subtle ways with Hermione over and over again in books one and two, and with Neville, in the little constant encouragements he gives him--and also even with Hagrid and with the Creeveys.

All of the reasons that I ship Harry/Draco, and that I am in favor of Draco's redemption, relate directly to the factors I mentioned above: Harry's interaction with Draco would directly affect not only the plot, but the growth and development of both boys. Interacting with Malfoy (on a different level than the schoolboy grudge plateau they have reached) would be a major test of Harry's ability to willingly reach out, to really forge a connection to someone from whom he has every reason to withhold it. And it would be an opportunity for him to take that ability even further and *teach* someone very unlikely how to receive and accept that kind of gift, even as he is learning and growing from it himself.

(cont'd)
bookshop From: bookshop Date: June 8th, 2004 07:10 am (UTC) (Link)


Draco Malfoy, for me, is a kind of wild card in canon. With respect to creating fanfic, we know so little about him that beyond his constant desire to provoke a response from Harry, and his idealization of his father, it is easy to take his character and take it any one of a million directions depending on your preference. With respect specifically to canon, I only really want to know that he has been developed enough, given enough character growth somewhere in the last two books, god help us, that whatever path he ultimately chooses, it seems *real* to us; insofar as we've seen, Draco's never really had a strong clear choice, he's only parroted his father without ever really showing a full understanding of what it *means* that he's parroting his father. To me, the ultimate successful end for Draco in canon is not that he is redeemed, but that he is developed enough so that we can see him not as a one-dimensional copy of his father, but as an individual who has made a choice. The issue is whether he *has* a choice in canon.

I think that Malfoy will be set up as a foil for him, and that as Harry grows up and Malfoy remains stuck in vengeance mode, the two will provide a contrast to one another.

I tend to agree with you; however I think that Draco's need for vengeance is entirely self-created, and in part hinges around Harry's overall reaction to him. Harry has never taken Draco seriously, and I think it's been obvious throughout the books that this is all Draco has ever wanted from Harry; acknowledgment and recognition. Now there is more to fuel the fire--but if Harry were to actually consider Draco someone whose terms were worth meeting, he might evoke surprisingly different results from Draco, who is really doomed to failure if he goes ahead with a plan for long-term revenge; and who, on some level, *must* know that. I think of canon! Draco in some ways as the perfect Existentialist hero: the goal of getting to Harry Potter is his Sisyphean rock, and he just keeps rolling it up the hill even though it's getting him nowhere.

As for Harry's drive towards redemption, I honestly don't know that at the end of book 5 he is; as you said, whenever he starts alienating himself purposely, you've got trouble, and I don't think he is ever more isolated or bent on thoughts of revenge than he is when you see him at the end of OotP. I don't, also, necessarily know that the redemption arcs and the revenge arcs are completely contrasted; one look at Snape, for example, exemplifies how it is possible for both to exist at once. And if Draco, after he's gotten through his latest futile round of rolling the boulder up the hill, reaches a place where he is pure exhaustion, redemption might conceivably come easier for him after the revenge arc has failed again and again.

Ultimately, the issue of H/D interaction to me always comes back directly to the issue of connection and the issue of choice, which are two strong themes throughout the book. Their relationship in canon is one of only three or four relationships that would arguably *directly* affect the plot of the books if it were to change, the others being Harry-Ron, Harry-Neville, and Harry-Snape. But all of those characters at least for now exist on the side of the "redeemed" in some form or fashion. Harry changing how he interacts with someone at the other end of the spectrum would shake things up significantly. And no one provides that opportunity more thoroughly than Draco because of where he sits throughout the books in relationship to Harry. (He is, after all, currently Harry's Shadow.)

There is so much potential between Harry and Draco to affect the plot *and* each other's growth and movement in the books that to me, the question of Draco's ultimate place in the books isn't a secondary one. At least, in my ideal world of canon, it shouldn't be.
matril From: matril Date: June 8th, 2004 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Very, very true. The love that is so important in Harry Potter is not just romantic love. In my opinion, it's largely familial love, which includes romantic love between mother and father, but also includes love between parent and child, brothers and sisters (whether actually related by blood or not, such as JKR's description of how Lupin hugged Sirius like a brother). Harry being accepted like a familiy member is a way of him finding love that he never experienced before, and it's so unfamiliar to him that he has trouble accepting it. But he certainly values it. He values his relationship with Sirius like a son or brother, and it is his love for him that drives off Voldemort at the end of OotP.

Interestingly, many of the Death Eaters have a sort of mockery of this - they, too, value familial bonds, but rather than a matter of love, it's a matter of superiority and purity, and they are quick to disown anybody who doesn't fit their ideals. On the other hand, see how quick the Weasleys are to adopt someone into their circle. *sniff* That just made me think of how wrenching it was when Percy left that circle. :(

And I'm intrigued by the ideas about Neville, one of my favorite characters. He does seem to be the anti-Pettigrew - he would die for his friends rather than betray them. *sniffle*
From: roseblue Date: June 8th, 2004 09:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you. I do think that love is important and that is one thing I like about the series. I wish we could use the old Greek terms for love. Agape love is pretty close to what the books are about. As for how love can do something, in PS, Lily's love prevents Voldemort from being able to touch Harry. It physicaly hurts him. We have seen that anger can do things like a spell, Aunt Marge is a good example. The closest example to how it might affect Voldermort I can think of is a story I read in high school.

There's this girl who whas made out of poison. When given the anti-dote she dies. Poisen had been her life, so the anti-dote was her death. This might apply to Voldemort. He is a pyschopath who knows nothing of love. This has been stated in the books. He has a bad reaction to love every time. In a way, hate is his life. That love would counter-act this and then destroy him could be possible ending. Pluse it has magic in it. And it has been something we've seen before. Not impossible. Although I wonder is Snape isn't going to want to go the old AK route. Like that worked out so well before, not. It has to be
something like love because normal means like AK wont work. Volermort got his old body back with same abilities. He survived, kind of, an AK backlashed from him. If Harry uses an AK, we would be right back at the begining.

All right, I'll talk about Harry/Draco form a pyschology perspective. It won't work. Sorry to be so rude about it. They have complete opposite values. Shared values is a very important part of relationships. It is practically impossible to maintain a long-term relationship with opposing values. Unless it's about sleeping with each other but that's lust not love. Draco does believe in blood superoity. Teenagers do agree with their parents on big topics like this. Not only that, but Draco has shown no signs that he is even interested in changing. Prejuice is very hard to get rid of. The basis for it occuring comes from childhood. He would have been told that "mudbloods are disgusting, foul creatures." That results in an instant ugh reaction when enountering one. Can he learn to overide this reaction intelectuaaly? Yes, but the emotional reaction would still occur. And I can't see Harry involved in a person like that. Sorry for going on about this. I just don't think he'l be redemmed. He is still a one-dimensional , flat character. There would have to been more growth in previous books. There wasn't and I believe that JKR made a comment in an interview that people are too fond of him. Not a good sign.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Not only that, but Draco has shown no signs that he is even interested in changing.

I think that's probably the biggest and most insurmountable problem with the notion of Draco being redeemed at any point. (That, and the fact that the author doesn't appear to like him much.) Dudley has shown more clues of redemption than Draco has, and that's saying some. I did an essay on my site, Vader's Mask, about what signs there are that Vader is a character capable of radical change, so it's a subject I've thought about a lot (funny thing, in a Vader fan). Draco is showing nothing that suggests he's likely to change. He's not out of sync with his parental value system, he's not unhappy with himself, he never expresses views which are concurrent with the heroes' views, etc. At no point does Draco show a sign of being a character capable of great change. There are people like that. When they're good and resist change in the face of evil, we call them saints. When they're not... there's not much chance of changing them.
musesfool From: musesfool Date: June 8th, 2004 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, fanfic is for romance, for me, and the movie is just a big, expensive fanfic in which Kloves' R/Hr tendencies battle with Cuaron's OT3 tendencies and you can read Remus's speech as Remus/Lily (or Remus->Lily) or just friendship - that she stuck by him when the others didn't (which I take to mean post-Trick, after his closest friend proved to think of him as a weapon not a person, not the spy business) and she was okay with him being different (gay, to me, but a werewolf in the text).

I doubt the romances in and of themselves will be important in the ultimate defeat of Voldemort, but I wouldn't be surprised if they provided some impetus for certain characters' behaviors in the upcoming books (e.g., H/R/Hr triangle - if it goes H/Hr, could Ron's jealousy be exploited by the bad guys? etc.).

That's just a theory, of course, but betrayals in love have set off many, many stories that aren't particularly about romance (The Iliad, King Arthur, etc.).

And I do like your theory about how Harry loves but feels incapable of being loved and how that works with Neville, especially, and will probably mean the two of them together are instrumental in Voldemort's defeat, not just Harry alone.
sistermagpie From: sistermagpie Date: June 8th, 2004 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't stand the Remus/Lily thing implied by Kloves. It seems like more of his annoying idealization of females than anything else. Remus loves Lily as a symbol of all those feminine virtues. Meanwhile he jettisons the far more interesting friendship story of canon, where it is Remus' friends who accept him for who he is, even freakin' turning themselves into animals with him, and not because of some schmaltzy idea of "seeing the beauty within" but just liking Remus for who he is. They didn't have to make Remus feel special they just made him one of their own.

Now, concerning Harry and accepting love and Draco, I still think that without doing something with Draco Harry will never reach his full development at all. There's nothing particularly moral about learning to love those who love you and accept love from those who offer it to you. It's important and a good thing, but evil people do it too. Neville and Luna have both been good friends to Harry, why shouldn't he care about their tragedies? The only way to stop the cycles of the past, imo, is to learn to have compassion for all people, especially your worse enemy, and that is something that's barely been suggested ever in the text that I can see. The closest we get is the sort of "I will not sully my hands by sinking to your level for I am a chilvalrous knight" idea, imo. The idea of having compassion-real compassion-for a rotten person seems like a totally foreign idea to this series sometimes, which just sort of amazes me because to me it seems so obviously logical and necessary.

Look even at this idea that Draco is in a bad way because he is focused on vengeance while Harry focuses on love--doesn't Draco love his father just as Harry does? And isn't hate connected to love anyway? Why do we just assume that if Draco's doing something it must have some petty, bad reason as opposed to our hero whose reasons are better? The kinds of emotions Snape and Draco represent are just as much a part of human nature as the higher emotions Harry and his friends show--and it's hardly surprising they continue to feel those petty, angry emotions given that the story they're in continually fuels those feelings. They'd be better people if they could rise above it without help but many people don't. Would Harry be more deserving of his horrible childhood if he were more like Dudley?

Despite Snape's unpleasant manner, he's made a pretty important choice about right and wrong, it seems, and not with his gut or out of love, it doesn't seem. Focusing on personal wrongs done to him may make him miserable, but he's still made the conscious decision to reject Voldemort, a decision far more difficult for him than it is for all the other characters (except perhaps Draco). It's this self-congratulatory love that makes the books difficult for me sometimes--we love the people who deserve it and they deserve it because we love them. It's not about putting up (even if I did use that term) with Draco it's about stopping the cycle of judgment and condemnation of "the other" which seems to go fairly unchallenged when it comes to people like him. If that's the way things stand I think I will find the ethics of this series incredibly shallow. I do not believe that the world is made up of bullies, victims and protectors (protectors of course being bullies who pick the right victims), and it seems to be an obsession in the books sometimes.
ourmutualfiend From: ourmutualfiend Date: June 8th, 2004 10:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't stand the Remus/Lily thing implied by Kloves. It seems like more of his annoying idealization of females than anything else. Remus loves Lily as a symbol of all those feminine virtues. Meanwhile he jettisons the far more interesting friendship story of canon, where it is Remus' friends who accept him for who he is, even freakin' turning themselves into animals with him, and not because of some schmaltzy idea of "seeing the beauty within" but just liking Remus for who he is. They didn't have to make Remus feel special they just made him one of their own.

Ex-act-ly. You've just summed up my biggest problem with the flick- that the core threads of story were given less dramatic weight in order to insert these tangent ideas. Where was the emphasis, hell- even the mention that Sirius, James, Peter and Remus were all a core four? Where was the sense of friendship between this older generation, the effects of this terrible betrayer Black, and- most importantly- how these things affect Harry and his story? Wasn't even attempted.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 8th, 2004 10:56 am (UTC) (Link)
YES!

That's why I disagreed with apocalypsos (I think) who said that the issue could be "figured out" by context--the point is that it shouldn't have been left to be, because it trivializes this incredibly huge thing that the boys did, and why Remus loves them all so much.

As to Draco, I'm sorry, but I just don't think he's that important to the narrative. Harry has Snape to help him deal with people who don't like him much (hate him, in fact); Draco is just a foil.
sistermagpie From: sistermagpie Date: June 8th, 2004 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
True, but Snape has already saved Harry's life, is already on his side and is really his father's problem. Draco, for all that I agree is mainly a foil and not so far a character on the scale of Snape, at least hates Harry for himself. More importantly, they represent the same generation, they are the Houses of Now.

I have no ideas or thoughts on what should happen on this score, btw, or any storylines I can even imagine happening with Draco. (There are some vague ideas about him that I think are set up in canon but that's about it.) I do agree, though, that the idea of Draco literally changing is a bit much and requires too much character work on him, most of which would have to happen without Harry seeing (so we wouldnt' see it).
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 8th, 2004 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
What does it all matter? The series will end with Harry hugging Voldie and jumping through the Veil with him. Voldie will have no chance at becoming whatever it was he became the first time he...went into retreat and Harry will prove he is all Heroic and Self-Sacrificial. Happy ending for all. -including Heroics of Harry's Friends and the use of a nice set up (come on the Veil MUST be important other than a dog killer) -excluding people who like Harry and Voldie and would prefer them to stick around.

-sie
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 8th, 2004 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here through QQ, don't have a livejournal but lurk often...

I don't think that Harry will have a romantic relationship with any of the other characters in 6 and 7. I do think that a Ron/Hermione relationship is very possible, for a couple of reasons. First, there is the obvious, their constant bickering. Then in OoTP, Hermione is often compared to Molly Weasley by Ron, and Sirius. They could end up with a Molly/Arthur type relationship. Also in OoTP Harry seems to have grown away from his two friends in some ways - he doesn't tell them everything immediately as he did before, and just is not quite as close with them.

To lead into the next part, I think that although James (and Sirius) was very impulsive and sometimes cruel to Snape in school, that James eventually grew up, realized what he was doing was wrong, and moved on with his life. But Snape never got over his hate for James and Sirius, and Sirius was in Azkaban and never got over his hate for Snape. James was killed before he could have a chance to help them grow up. Neither of them was able to get on with life as adults.

In the same way, I think that although Harry seems considerably more mature than his father was at his age, he is learning that fighting with Draco is a waste of time. It also seems that Draco is not going to be really evil, just petty and distracting. I think Draco will keep annoying Harry until he gets so angry that he really tells him off. Then he will either vanish or attempt to do something serious to Harry and fail.

Just my opinion. Would love to hear what you all think.
rj_anderson From: rj_anderson Date: June 8th, 2004 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
In spite of the fact that I habitually write romances, and HP romances to boot (*waits for giant boot to arrive from offstage*), I completely agree with what you've said here. JKR is not writing a soap opera, or anything like it.

The few mentions of romance we've had in the series have been brief, and largely for comic effect (such as Ron and Hermione's squabbling over the Yule Ball, or Harry's cluelessness over how to relate to Cho). The adult characters are either married already, or have way too many other things to worry about (with the exception of Bill and Fleur, who are mentioned as a sidenote -- and there, again, it's for comic purposes) Voldemort is completely disinterested in romantic love or even just plain sex, as far as I can tell -- and in spite of fandom's strange fondness for Death Eater Orgy stories, the other Death Eaters seem to be motivated by ambition, bigotry and violence, not lust.

Much as I enjoy a good romance, I have to say that the most convincing fics I've read -- in terms of characterization, plot, and tone -- have been genfics. And the worst offenders -- stories that, while perfectly readable in terms of grammar and style, nonetheless made me wrinkle up my nose and wonder if these people have even read JKR's books, have been burgeoning with the author's idea of romance.

Anyway, this is not the first lucid and interesting thing I've read from you, so why on earth are you not on my friends list? Well, you are now. *adds*
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: June 8th, 2004 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
BRAVO! BRAVO! ::gives standing ovation::

I think you're absolutely right. The love that everyone in the HP-verse keeps going on about is not lust nor even romantic love, but that sacrifical giving of oneself for another's benefit and the strong bonds that form between those that give their time, energy, and love.

When the Apostle Paul said that "the greatest of these is love," romance only a small part of what he meant, and I do agree that Rowling is talking about family love, brother love, friend love, and parent/child love. Perhaps it's not as dramatic, but it is far more enduring.

Your analysis, quite frankly, rocks.
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