?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Potter thoughts - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Potter thoughts
So, I've been listening to OotP.

First, I hate Jim Dale's Luna voice. Just wanted to say that. But his Umbridge is impeccable.

Okay, other stuff.
So, Harry's wand was taken by when the Inquisitorial Squad got him. From appearances, Ron took the wand by force from them. Which means, by Deathly Hallows wand rules, that Ron is the master of Harry's wand, and since Harry being the master of Draco's wand means that the elder wand was under his control, wouldn't that mean that Ron is the master of the Elder wand? ;p

I know some people didn't like Harry being his own worst enemy through most of this book, being very unpleasant and irritable, but I actually thought it came off well. He's in a bad position, he's fighting, and the character that reflects this attitude through the book is Sirius, who ultimately dies because of it, symbolically raising the stakes from Harry's hero complex to a real war. I thought it was nicely pulled off.

My ranking of the books in terms of my favorites:
  1. Goblet of Fire: Yes, Voldemort's plan is silly and can have a million holes poked into it, but I just love the way this book came off, with all of the clues placed very nicely, but not obtrusively. I think this was why I decided to try JK's detective stories. I liked the new characters and the widened world, and I liked the balanced mix of real tension and school silliness. And then there's the graveyard scene, and the moment we know that Voldemort is a real enemy: Kill the spare.
  2. Prisoner of Azkaban: Because MARAUDERS. Also, because it's the first time Harry can really trust adults. Instead of a trusted adult being revealed as a fraud or a threat, adults who seemed dangerous suddenly become friends and caretakers. And we get backstory here that was nice and started filling out Harry as a character.
  3. Order of the Phoenix: Like I said, I liked the way Harry's angsty year was handled. Umbridge is wonderfully hate-able. And JKR handled Harry's failure at the Ministry very delicately. Having your main character be tricked and drawn into a battle he can't win, which costs the franchise a beloved character, is risky, but the way it was handled kept Harry viable as a protagonist. Yes, he failed, and he failed because the villain exploited his personality, but in the course of that failed action, he showed his skills as a leader, his increasing power as a wizard, and his strong moral core. The villains weren't messing around, and the fact that JKR allowed Harry to fail until adult rescued him established the stakes and established the DEs as terrifying enemies rather than undermining Harry. What it did instead was establish the enormous odds against him. This wasn't a little schoolboy adventure. I do think the sudden change in Ginny's personality wasn't handled that well, which is why it's not higher.
  4. Chamber of Secrets. In the middle. There's a lot to like about this one (in fact, I like all of the books, this is just the order in which I liked them; I'd read the seventh of this list before many other books). CoS shows Harry a vision of what he wants in the future, as well as what he mourns having lost in the past. His relationship with the Weasley family really begins here, above and beyond his relationship with Ron. Their worry when Hermione is petrified and later when Ginny is taken really demonstrates the bravery that they're known for, because it is about their love for their friends/family. Again, the mystery is pretty well set up. How long had JK been thinking about doing a mystery?
  5. Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone. Obviously, it has a special place because without it, none of the rest would have happened, but a lot of this book is just messing around to look at the wizarding world. It's fun and it introduces great ideas, and it has some strong scenes (for some reason, of the whole thing, the moment when Harry is shocked to get Christmas presents is the one that stands out to me most), but the plot feels almost tacked on, like she was poking around saying, "Look at this cool thing, look at that bit of fun, look at... oh, just a sec, the book's about something... yeah..." Which I totally get, but it does drop the book a couple of spots for me.
  6. Half-Blood Prince. Again, it has super good moments. I like the Voldy backstory, and I thought the Sectumsempra scene was very good, with Harry realizing just how dark the spell was way too late. But on the whole, I felt almost like it was pulling back from the more interesting things that had gone on before.
  7. Deathly Hallows. And no, it's not just because Lupin and Tonks got fridged (though that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth). It's that, as the final book of a long series, it seemed weirdly dependent on new information. Like I mentioned in GoF and CoS, I like how well JKR places her clues. So when Sirius comes up in book 3, if you have a good memory, you have a good chance of realizing that Sirius Black is not a coincidental enemy. When Lockhart shows up in 5, you're getting a callback to 2. It's a fair way to get them into the closed ward, and when there, you see the devil's snare, which is again a callback, but not one that gets pointed out. Good clue placement. But the final book suddenly depended on Dumbledore's backstory -- not really hinted at until late in book 6 -- and on the Hallows, which weren't mentioned at all. It wasn't playing fair, because if you're reading along in real time, there would have been no way to guess it. So we have a writer we know knows how to load and aim Chekhov's gun opting to go up to the attic and pick up a few boulders that she forgot to mention and using them to solve the problem, while the loaded gun is still just lying around. That said, Neville's arc was great and I loved Potterwatch, and TEDDY, and... like I said, there's no bad here. Just a descending order of good.
5 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
shiiki From: shiiki Date: October 23rd, 2017 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
there's no bad here. Just a descending order of good.

*nods* I feel the same way, although my ordering is different.

Have you heard the Stephen Fry audiobooks before? I really love those!
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: October 23rd, 2017 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I think some of the stuff we got in DH could have been put in HBP. I also think a lot of DH's flaws (the infodump, Remus and Tonks's... everything) were because she didn't have everything planned. Which is totally normal, I think, but it's also telling. I think Lily and Snape's storyline could've been introduced in HBP, with the question being, did Snape simply become everything Lily was against, or did he ultimately love her and sacrifice all for her? A lot of people already guessed the latter. (Not me, I thought Snape was Evil All Along to boot, but.) Bill and Fleur got the background love story I thought Remus and Tonks could have had, without any weird angst and with Tonks being able to put her Metamorphmagus powers to good use. I like DH a lot, but...

So we have a writer we know knows how to load and aim Chekhov's gun opting to go up to the attic and pick up a few boulders that she forgot to mention and using them to solve the problem, while the loaded gun is still just lying around.

Pretty much this.

I know some people didn't like Harry being his own worst enemy through most of this book, being very unpleasant and irritable, but I actually thought it came off well.

And I actually LIKED, at the time, that Harry was finally calling people's shit out. Yes, sometimes he was unfair and unreasonable, but first the Ministry arrests Hagrid to make themselves look good in CoS, they deprive Sirius of freedom in PoA (by virtue of not believing the trio, or Remus because he's a werewolf), and then they start a smear campaign. Also, Dumbledore's the one person who usually listens to him, and he avoids Harry like the plague. Not to mention it's implied Harry has PTSD from Cedric being killed. :( Not to mention the eleven years of child abuse he endured. So I can totally get why he'd finally had enough, even if it is unpleasant to read.

And then there's the graveyard scene, and the moment we know that Voldemort is a real enemy: Kill the spare.

YES. *Chills*

Instead of a trusted adult being revealed as a fraud or a threat, adults who seemed dangerous suddenly become friends and caretakers.

As they'd say in the books, well spotted. :)

I agree with you about the others, more or less. I think PS/SS was also the most overtly juvenile. I mean, they were all children's books, albeit maturing significantly - I wouldn't call the last three books children's books, but certainly young adult. Now that I'm not a defensive teen/early twentysomething, I actually think that's okay. But PS/SS did come across as cuter than anything else, even though I saw value in the story. It was a good introduction to the universe, and I do think JKR writes preteens very well. (Honestly, that's one of her biggest strengths overall. She gets kids.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2017 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Agree!

I co
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2017 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Agree!

Not sure what i did above, but meant to continue. I completely agree except i put POA 1st. Also agree some of the DH plots could have been introduced in HBP and it would have helped with continuity and gave better clues. Also agree with above comment that the Fleur/Bill romance could have been replaced with Remus/Tonks romance. The reader falls in love with Remus in POA and is intrigued by Tonks and her metamorphism, but the relationship never developed and makes the reader want more. (hence why there is so much fan fiction on their relationship). Fleur and Bill are both fringe characters that don't have much depth like Remus does and the relationship isn't really necessary for the greater plot.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 28th, 2017 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, while Harry's furious fifteens was painful to watch, it had realistic basis and consequences. Overall, a great deal of dimension was added.
Personally, I found that his internal "beast"/libido in Half-blood Prince to be far more irritating.

PoA for the win.

--FFR
5 comments or Leave a comment