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Responses to individual things - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Responses to individual things
Now that I've had a nice nap for several hours (yumminess), I'll get back to the commentating, and go to individual things. I'm not going to give extensive spoiler warnings for each cut, so suffice it to say THIS ENTIRE POST IS VERY SPOILED. I'm only going to give the warning 'til, say, Tuesday. Then I'm going to re-do my layout with a few favorite things. ;)

Snape. I'm no one's version of a Snapefan, and I don't make much of a secret of it. I found him loathsome before this, and said a long time ago that he's the only one of the canon characters I could buy an ESE!Character theory about.

That said, I am not 100% convinced that Snape's actually the Big Bad. I'm not convinced that he's not, either, but I think there's a lot going on there that we don't know about. Yes, it could be exactly what we saw. That's supported by the attitude he takes with Harry afterward, in which he basically says, "I'm finally getting my own back after years of hiding!" On the other hand, Dumbledore plays a very deep game, and it's more than conceivable that he positioned himself to die at Snape's hand to achieve some purpose in the war. Dumbledore seems to know what's going on, and Snape plays everything so damned close to the vest. I'm just a complete agnostic about the meaning of Snape's action in killing Dumbledore. I could believe any number of theories, though my dislike of Snape makes me tend toward, "Yup--the point of that was that Dumbledore can be really, really wrong about a a person."

As for the ships, I've commented on them briefly in the other posts, but here's a breakdown of how I thought they were handled:

Ron/Hermione: I could have done without the dating-Lavender-to-make-Hermione-jealous thing, but the "I love you" really redeemed it, and, even moreso, when he spoke up from unconsciousness and said her name. For her part, I loved the canaries. I'd have done the same at that point. ;P I liked Harry's thought process when he realized Hermione was asking Ron to Slughorn's party--a mild amount of panic about what would happen if they broke up, but mostly as expected: it's a possibility he's known about and considered for awhile now, and there's no jealousy involved in it, just a kind of, "Well, this could prove awkward," based on his own less-than-stellar romantic history. I like that Ron and Hermione seem content to just kind of be together.

Harry/Ginny: A lot of people seem to think it was very sudden or something. I thought it seemed fairly normal and natural. I might have liked more conversation about it and work-up to it, but the truth is, once Harry realized he had feelings for Ginny, everything else was in place from previous books, so there wasn't much else to do. Most of the obstacles that would have been thrown in the path would have been pretty artificial--it's not like Ron was going to actually object to this after already giving his tacit approval! Though I was very annoyed at all the public displays of snogging, let alone Ginny's silly, bitchy defense of same. I strongly dislike PDAs in RL (dude on bus: if can't see your fingers because your hand is so far up your girlfriend's shirt, you need to be alone) and didn't like being told off on it for no good reason. But other than that bit of annoyance and a wish for more drama, I liked this a lot. And in a way, the lack of drama in it worked well--Harry doesn't like conflict in his relationships, and since the point of this ship seems not to be a story in itself, but to be the backdrop of a story, then giving him the romance as an interlude that gave him pure happiness is the best way to do it. I think it was done the way it was done because the ship is going to be used in Book 7, rather than developed there as a ship. Harry can't be angsting over whether or not he loves Ginny while he's in the final stages of his fight with Voldemort; that has to be already present and accounted for.

Bill/Fleur: I must express Fleur-love. Yes, she's an annoying twit and quite full of herself, but she's also a champion, as Harry reminded Hermione at the beginning--good for you, Harry, btw!--and she came through as a true champ in the end, when she was absolutely offended and outraged that anyone thought she was going to leave Bill over something as superficial as scars. Yes, she was initially attracted to him because he was cute--hello, we're all visual creatures!--but they've been together for a year and are engaged. She has presumably discovered something more. "I'm good looking enough for the both of us!" Snerk. Love Fleur so much in that scene. Welcome to the family, mademoiselle.

Remus/Tonks: How much do I need to comment? I never in a million years thought that JKR would make it canon, because if I were her, I wouldn't have the guts to risk a fan war over Lupin's love life--when I heard the original rumor, that he responded by saying he could never love her, I believed it, because my assumption was that Remus was going to end the series in a virtual monastic state, just as JKR's way of washing her hands of Remus shipping. (I was very depressed at this rumor.) Given how little Harry sees of them, I thought the ship was well developed in a peripheral vision way. It's all there; it's just that neither Harry nor anyone he discusses Tonks with has a clue about what's going on. I was a little disappointed with how mopey she was, but then I realized that both of them have been dealing not only with their personal issues and the loss of Sirius, but also with being on the front lines of fighting the Dark Arts while Dementors are on the loose and breeding. It would be surprising if there weren't a lot of depressive symptoms among Aurors and undercover agents. And the fact that they've been talking about marriage apparently all year (discussing the subject "hundreds of times," no less!) definitely suggests that this isn't a new ship for them at all. And no, it didn't come out of the blue. There's a reason why R/T was the non-shippers' ship of choice after OotP; quite a lot of people looked at what was on the page and said, "Hmm. That's pretty shippy." The parallel intros, the time together, the affectionate banter in the kitchen... it was more or less up front, if subtle. It's not like we all just got together one day and said, "Hey, let's make up a ship out of whole cloth!" Most R/Ters were kind of surprised by it.

The Death. Guessed this before the first spoilers came out on it, so it wasn't actually a surprise. Dumbledore's number has been up for awhile. I think that this year's development of the relationship between Harry and the soon-to-be-deceased mentor figure was done better than last year's, but that's largely a function of the setting. Sirius had to be shoehorned in, while Dumbledore is a constant presence and Harry has good reason to be with him more. As I said when talking about Snape, I'm not sure what to make of his death. I'm not of the "He's not really dead" school, because there's no good reason to pretend he's dead, but the whys and wherefores of the thing, as far as Dumbledore's own motives? It could be anything, and I'm looking forward to finding out what the fallout is from it in book 7.

Random other stuff. While Harry's talking about dropping out of school to hunt Voldemort, I think we need to keep in mind that Voldemort is very, very interested in Hogwarts. Harry will undoubtedly end up back there. (It would be more than a little odd for the central setting to disappear in the last book, after all.)

The information that the DADA job is cursed because of being denied to Voldemort is actually kind of a support of the idea that Harry might end up with the job, if he survives. JKR said he wouldn't be headmaster, but all of this stuff tied up with curses and the school and so on? It seems too tied in to be coincidence. I know, she said something about Harry not being academic, but she also said we wouldn't hear much from Regulus, him being dead, and after the final chapter, with the R.A.B. locket note, I, erm, find it unlikely that we've heard the last of the younger Mr. Black.

Luna Lovegood didn't have much to do, but I enjoyed her presence. I found her Quidditch commentary amusing, and would love to see more of her interaction with McGonagall, who must be driven absolutely to distraction by her. And huge love for her the moment she referred to the D.A. as being "like having friends"! :hugs Luna:

Neville's Gran needs to be hit over the head with a blunt object. I have a feeling McGonagall is willing to volunteer for the duty.

The Horcruxes are an interesting notion, though I'm not entirely sold on them yet.

I wonder what the elder Snapes were arguing about in Severus's memory, now that we know the situation.

The Gaunts were hillbillies, and generally spoke in Parseltongue to strangers. Interesting. And I blame Riddle less for leaving his wife than I used to, though nothing excuses leaving his son. Love potion or not, the kiddo's still your responsibility; suck it up.

Okay. It wasn't a Pensieve on the cover. Mea culpa; those who said it wasn't were right. I was wrong. It's a birdbath of doom filled with green potion. Nasty idea.

All of the random side deaths... it would have been very easy to get melodramatic and show huge emotional fallout, but just the steady mentions of them as they piled up, the effects on various relative strangers... it actually worked better this way, giving an idea that the war is serious business and has consequences without bogging the story down in melodrama.


42 comments or Leave a comment
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dangermousie From: dangermousie Date: July 17th, 2005 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Re: PDA. I don't think JKR was telling people off (I have no problems with PDAs though). Ginny and Dean were somewhere there weren't any people about, until Ron and Harry showed up. And since Ron as well as accused her of being a slut, and in front of Harry, whom she still liked, she retaliated. Basically, typical sibling rivalry.

Re: Snape. There has to be something more to it, otherwise it's too cliche: "no one can be a rotten human being and still on the side of good" is not a proposition I like.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: July 17th, 2005 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Birdbath of doom. *gigglefits* I thought it was a Pensieve too; as a matter of fact, I considered the possibility that the one on the front cover of the US edition was the Pensieve and only the one on the back of the UK kids' edition was the birdbath of doom.

...Aaaaaaaaaaactually, given the freaky psychological effects of that potion... granted it was green instead of silver (waitaminute) and seems more substantially liquid, but maybe being possible to mistake for a Pensieve isn't totally coincidental.

Are we sure Riddle actually knew Merope was pregnant? I honestly have never been totally clear on this. (Considering what we've been told about his personality -- and the glimpse of him and some random girl laughing at Ogden, though Ogden may indeed have been hard to know what to do about BUT laugh -- I certainly don't feel I could say "He wouldn't have left if he knew," but unless I'm forgetting something, it sounds equally possible that he was clueless. And possibly completely irrational, given Ron's reaction to a much smaller, briefer, and less consequential dose.)

I completely agree that they will end up back at Hogwarts. Not, apparently, in the normal way -- which I just realized means we probably don't get a last Sorting Song *grumpgrump* -- even if Hogwarts opens as usual... but if they're looking for stuff that belonged to the Founders, and after that little segment about how Voldemort and Harry both felt Hogwarts was their first home and the place they were happiest? Yeah.
odyssea From: odyssea Date: July 17th, 2005 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to agree that I've never liked Snape. I always thought he was awfully cruel to Harry, even as an eleven-year-old. Is he really completely evil? I suppose we won't know until Book Seven, but I find the fact that he is a half-blood very telling, especially as it relates to Tom Riddle/Voldemort. He could be playing a very deep, high-risks game, but his cruelty to Harry makes me pause.

As for shipping...sigh. I'm not very pleased with that aspect of the book, which is why I'm trying to abstain from online fandom until all the gloating dies down.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 17th, 2005 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Anyone checked out the name Merope yet? She was one of the Pleiades - married a mortal and as a result ended up as the faintest star in the constellation. I love JKR.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 17th, 2005 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
JKR has a genius for names, she does. I'd heard of Merope, vaguely remembered that she was supposed to have hid her face in shame for having loved a mortal. And I pitied the Merope in HBP. I did not approve of what she did but I still pitied her.
sep12 From: sep12 Date: July 17th, 2005 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
My one big thought is about the Horcrux that is "missing". My original reaction was that HARRY was himself a Horcrux, due to the attack from Voldie as a child. I'm looking for input on this if anyone has any, and I will have to reread of course. But for right now, just, wow. Un. Be. Lieve. Able.

The Remus/Tonks was a lovely surprise for everyone who read Shifts, I think. And Fleur, "I am good looking enough for the both of us I theenk." LOVED her at that moment.
murgatroyd314 From: murgatroyd314 Date: July 17th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm thinking maybe not Harry himself, but his scar.
murgatroyd314 From: murgatroyd314 Date: July 17th, 2005 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
The Horcruxes are an interesting notion, though I'm not entirely sold on them yet.
I'd actually suspected something of the sort well before the book was published. I wasn't sure what form JKR would have it take, but I figured that Voldemort's survival was almost certainly based on something functionally equivalent to the old fairy tales about a villain who stored his heart somewhere other than his body.
galfridian From: galfridian Date: July 17th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Hello. I left a comment on spoil_me_hbp looking for people who weren't appalled by the Remus/Tonks in Half-Blood Prince. cheshyre pointed me here, recommending your R/T stories.

I loved your paragraph on them in HBP. Would you mind if I added you?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2005 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Be my guest.
straussmonster From: straussmonster Date: July 17th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
We've gone into fantasy quest mode, and get ready for some metaphysical ideas all coming together. Voldemort using murders to shear off and hide parts of his soul, ghosts being trapped because of their unwillingness to go on, the two-way mirror she told us would be important but didn't show up at all, the Veil, the sword/goblet/etc tarot symbols...

I, too was very surprised to end up sympathetic for Tom Riddle Sr. Think about it from a Muggle POV: she basically raped him.

Would a witch take any crap from her Muggle husband? Oh, the possibilities there...

Snape could be ESE or could no. I too wibble, but I like the more straightforward 'yep' argument at present.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: July 17th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I always wondered if perhaps Voldemort's perspective on his parents was a little... ah, slanted. On the one hand, I feel sorry for his mother -- she had a miserable life -- and am a little uncertain about interpreting HBP to mean that a large portion of the female population of Hogwarts is actively trying to rape Harry; on the other hand, the love potions do seem quite strong enough to qualify, and if you extrapolate Ron's reaction after a small, short-term dose during which he never actually found the girl and imagine Voldemort's father coming off it after around three months of marriage... well.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 17th, 2005 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I never thought that R/T would become actual canon and am pleasantly surprised and squeeful that it has!
silverhill From: silverhill Date: July 17th, 2005 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
As usual, I love your commentary and analysis. :)
nomadicwriter From: nomadicwriter Date: July 17th, 2005 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)


I'll admit off the bat that I'm one of the people who finds Snape's character pretty fascinating, but I don't believe the killing of Dumbledore was a true revelation of his loyalties, because apart from anything else it makes very little sense structurally.

I could buy, I guess, that he was evil all along if it happened in book seven. (Wouldn't like it, though, since it invalidates the most interesting thing about his character, namely the point that you can be on the side of light and still be an absolute bastard.) But I don't think it makes any narrative sense for him to be revealed as evil here. The fact that there's a whole other book to go before the climax screams secondary twist to me. So the theory I gravitate to is that the killing was actually part of Dumbledore's grand plan. The "Severus... please..." pretty much cinches it for me. Dumbledore wouldn't beg for his life from anybody, he never has done. But he might beg somebody to do a very difficult thing that he'd asked of them.

That idea puts the overheard argument in chapter nineteen in an interesting light; Hagrid reports that Snape "Didn't want to do it any more" and Dumbledore told him he'd agreed to do it and that was that. I'm thinking that probably way back when Dumbledore first gave Snape sanctuary after leaving the Death Eaters, he made Snape vow - perhaps even magically - to do what Dumbledore asked of him when the time came. (Snape may not have known that Dumbledore would ask for his own death, or he may have known from the beginning and not cared at the time.) So, yeah, I think Dumbledore asked Snape to kill him, and Snape was very, very pissed about that - certainly because it screws over his chances of any sort of public redemption or recognition and pretty much signs his own death warrant, maybe also for emotional/moral reasons if you ascribe him any.

So that's my prediction for book seven. I think Snape is going to be revealed as Dumbledore's (reluctant) man all along, and get himself killed in the service of Voldemort's final defeat. And his last words will probably be telling Harry to stop gawping and get on with it before he ruins everything.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: July 17th, 2005 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Snape.

he made Snape vow - perhaps even magically - to do what Dumbledore asked of him when the time came

Absolutely - it's fairly likely that Snape made at least one Unbreakeable Vow prior to that he made with Narcissa...
From: gunderpants Date: July 17th, 2005 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I was ditto-ly shocked about the R/T plotline, but delighted nonetheless. I just can't believe she did it. It was awesome. I'm glad us R/Ters don't feel like we have to justify why we like the pairing to anyone now: like it makes me feel less crazy for seeing something in OotP.

Can I frennnnnd you madam?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Be my guest. I like friends. :)
dalf From: dalf Date: July 17th, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi again :) I like your views on HBP (and your fics). As far as the views in this post:

Snape: I am in teh same boat as you here. I really dislike Snape but think he is a good character. On the other had I am leaning teards him not being evil. I disagree that his actions twards Harry at the end support him being evil I thought the opposit. All he does is defensive magic and so effectivly that its clear that if he wanted to Harry woudl be less than nothing to him to defeat him toatlly. Its only Harry calling him a coward that makes him stop come back and scream back at him in a "You have no idea the sacrifice I have just made for you" kinda way. That said I am not 100% behind either good or bad.

R/H: I think the R-L interlude was ... well ... not needed but JKR seems to be intent that no one will end up with right person on the first try. Harry had Cho. Hermione had Victor. Ginny had Michale and Dean. It makes it somewhat less saccrine and fairy-tale like. I agree about the other stuff. I though Hermione acting so childish about being out done in potions was shocking. I has sort of thought that she had outgrown that.

H/G: Ginny's silly, bitchy defense of same -- Note that Ginny never really was snogging in public. She was in a little known secret passage. She was not defending Snogging in general she was striking back at her brother for being a prat. Ron on the other had was not (even if it looked like it) attacking PDAs he was attacking the idea of Ginny kissing anyone. I agree 100% about book 7, the power the dark lord knows not is love (in all its forms). JKR said that Remus would play a major role in book 7. Harry has all the kinds of love: of a friend (Hermione), of a brother (Ron), Romanric love (Ginny), of a mentor/parent (Remus/Aurthor/Molly), well I suppose there is unconditional love too (a big one) but he sort of has that for everyone. I bet the H/G-ness gets all patched up when Bill and Fluer get hitched.

Bill/Fluer: YES! that "pretty enough for both of us" line was just ..... perfect! Plus after that Molly was much more supportave of Remus and Tonks!

R/T: Me too! Its funny I thought the "survivors guilt"/blaming her self for Sirius' death explination was weak when I read it but was like "ok its a side plot so it is allowed to be weak. Totally did not see it comming (I did not see teh same spoliers as you).

Also I hated (read: HATED) Luna in OotP. Now I kinda like her, the tendency to say embarsinly honest things was not established in OotP making her the most poorly written character in all of fan fiction (worse than Hagrid because people at least had the fear of including Hagrid and avoid doing so). Now that we have some direction on what she is really like .....
From: hotfirewhiskey Date: July 18th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
"That said, I am not 100% convinced that Snape's actually the Big Bad. I'm not convinced that he's not, either, but I think there's a lot going on there that we don't know about."

I agree. I don't remember if JKR said he'll have a big part in book 7, but I expect there'll be more. Also, yes, I also think that DD's dead but that there's more to a simple Snape killing him; I don't want to believe that he'd plead for his life, but I'm also not sure if he's pleading for Snape to end his life.

I really enjoyed reading your reactions to the book, and according to the comments to this post, you write fics too? So I'm going to friend you if you don't mind and keep up with your lj! Thanks! :)
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: July 18th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
The parallel intros, the time together, the affectionate banter in the kitchen... it was more or less up front, if subtle. It's not like we all just got together one day and said, "Hey, let's make up a ship out of whole cloth!" Most R/Ters were kind of surprised by it.

Whil I can deal with R/T, though it honestly quite bores, me, I have to disagree with you. It was out of left field. They have no affectionate banter in the kitchen. Remus introduces her, she makes one snappy comment, he finishes. They're only paired up twice. They have no other dialogue in OotP. I've looked. If I'm missing something, please, by all means, give me a page number. Because I went nuts -- there was no hint of R/T. It just popped up and while I don't mind it being there, I do resent there was no lead-up and done far too hastily for my own liking. Obviously this is all subjective, but I did not care for the excessive shipping. Not everyone needs to pair off, imho.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
violet_quill did it six months ago.

The banter about her name is pretty affectionate, and even when they're not paired on assignments, they're generally seen sitting together and talking together. For something only spotted through Harry's peripheral vision, that's pretty prominent.
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