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Thoughts on issues going around - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Thoughts on issues going around
Yawn. I should be busily writing Neville, but I can't get motivated.

Anyway, things going around.

Star Wars 3 title, Revenge of the Sith. I'm not bothering to put it behind a spoiler cut because, dude, not a spoiler. Just a title. And a boring one. Yawn, yawn, yawn. And really, the acronym is RotS. LFL... think. On the other hand, boring is better than melodramatic and cheesy.

J.K. Rowling's good news: Congrats! And I love her for recognizing that the first thing fans would think was, "What's this going to do to book 6?" The woman knows her audience.

Underage smut reading.

Not that much longer. I read smut as a teenager. I read a little now, but it doesn't interest me nearly as much as it did then. No one is more obsessed with sex than adolescents. But what's the fun of it if it's right there, and you're not sneaking around and finding the hot scene hidden on page 735? I remember reading a smutty paperback in an airport bookstore once when I was sixteen or so--one of those brilliant ones that's basically a novelization of a porno movie--and it not being nearly as fun or titillating as finding the sex scenes in The Thorn Birds. Now, Zane is the hot thing, but it's right on the cover copy that it's all about sex. I can't help but think that people are missing a whole lot of fun when it's right out there all the time.

Basically, this issue to me is a big shrug. Teens are going to read smut, not despite being underage, but because of it. Raging hormones and all that. Keep the restrictions on the pages--that's enough for legality--and cover your ears when someone underage tells you that s/he's reading it. If you really don't want underage people reading it, the only surefire thing would be to write it in word, copy it at Kinko's, and hand it out at cons to people whose ages you can verify, though you can't be sure that they aren't getting it for underage fans.

Or, you know, write gen. That will get you a considerably older readership base. ;) :waves genfic flag:

As far as legal trouble, you're more likely to have it for writing about underage characters having sex than for having underage readers reading about it. Even that's not all that likely--I don't think Stephen King has gotten in any legal trouble for the underage sex scene in It (and that one's a doozy), though I'm sure it's been strongly censured in some quarters. Putting things online isn't the same thing as private sharing. Putting something online is publishing it--which is why you never put anything online that you think you can publish for money--and as a writer, you're no more responsible for who reads it than any other author. As the (self-) publisher, you just need to make the statements of intent of the publication, and that's pretty much a courtesy.

Potter family history. Okay, this one hasn't exactly been going around, but ladyguenivere had a poll on the subject. So, here are my thoughts on Lily, James, siblings, jobs, etc:

I think James was an only child, the last scion of his once large family, with a lot of expectations in this role. I think the Grindelwald wars took a real toll on the Potters. I gave him an aunt who was attacked and magically rendered barren because she'd married a Muggle, and several uncles who died in the war. I think he was probably doted on a spoiled to some extent, just based on his I-own-the-world behavior. And I think that he is more-or-less landed gentry. I don't picture him having a day to day job of any sort. Full time Order, and the stay-at-home parent, because he can, and really, isn't the whole point of a job to get the money to allow one to be at home with family? He might have been thinking Wizengamut later in life.

Lily--I see her parents as intellectual types in the flakier side of that particular tribe. ("So proud to have a witch in the family" suggests that they might have been involved in New Agey things, maybe trying to prove that psi powers existed or something.) I think they were bad with money and Petunia at an early age started taking charge of family finances and other "solid" things, while Lily was still doted on. Nevertheless, I think she had a more practical aspect than James, and was solidly middle-class in her values (as opposed to aristocratic James): in other words, having a job is important for itself, not just because of the income, so James's argument that they have money, for heaven's sake, wouldn't stop her from having a career. She's the one I peg for an Auror.

I think Godric's Hollow was the Potter estate, and when it was destroyed, a lot of Harry's past went with it--but I hope that he goes there someday and finds something surviving.

Not Potter, but asked.

I think that Sirius had a decent bank account despite being disowned, but probably did scramble to get some kind of work to get a steady income because he wouldn't have access to the kind of vast wealth he'd always known. I think he'd have been very careless with money (a world-class broom for a thirteen-year-old, anyone?). I don't think he would have been good at holding down regular jobs--way too bright for his own good--and ultimately spent most of his time with the Order. He obviously has a good stash of money in Gringotts.

Remus probably did a lot of odd jobs, from busing tables to tutoring to sweeping streets, and possibly some work in the Muggle world as well.

I feel a bit...: bored bored

17 comments or Leave a comment
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: July 25th, 2004 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
So that IS the official title, then... count me in for a "meh." Not even an initial "WTF?" like I did for TPM and AOTC, just... meh. Then again, like with all the theories that came to pass in OotP, fans have been speculating on this particular title for so long, of course they were pretty much bound to come up with the actual title at some point. But still... this was the one that pretty much everyone was guessing on, and it's not particularly interesting. Oh well. We're that much closer to release time, at least.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 25th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually really liked TPM on hearing it, and liked it even more after I saw the movie. Very layered and thematically significant, touched on by the imagery of the movie and kind of metatextual knowledge of what's coming.

AotC, I've never gotten past the "Meh" at best, and my first response was that it was a prank and they couldn't be serious. RotS... I just... don't care.
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: July 25th, 2004 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, "WTF?" was a little strong on my TPM reaction - I still wasn't crazy about it at first, though. But now it's up there as my favorite with RotJ, for the reasons you mentioned: there's so many possible layers and meanings under it. (Heck, back when I first heard it I was almost convinced it referred to Anakin, in regards to how we know he ends up. ;)) Really, you couldn't have come up with a much more appropriate title for the film, given its position in the saga.

Still don't much like AotC's - though I do get some of the thematic explanations I've heard behind why it's a fitting title, at the moment it's my least favorite. But partly because of how my opinion ended up with TPM, I'm going to hold off on completely condemning RotS (man, the bashers really are going to have fun with that) until I see it in the context of the film. For now, though... meh.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: July 25th, 2004 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's the movie that counts, not the title.
gentlespirit From: gentlespirit Date: July 25th, 2004 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed your thoughts on Potter family history. I've thought that way about James' history. I feel like there has to be something like that for it to make any sense for their to be noone left.
sreya From: sreya Date: July 25th, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not exactly emotionally affected one way or another over the new SW title, but I'm not at all surprised, either. I'm thinking it makes a lot of sense to use this as a title, and if you look at TPM, there's quite a bit of tie-in there. Particularly if you look at Maul's line about revenge.

I'm just kicking myself because my brother and sister were at the convention, and I'd very specifically told my sister not to spend money on anything for me when she offered to bring something back. Dummy me told her that she was only allowed to get freebies for me. *banging head on desk*
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 25th, 2004 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think your thoughts on the Potter family history were spot-on. It's an excellent insight that Lily came from a family that was at least somewhat unconventional - not only because they were proud to have a witch in the family but because Petunia is so obsessed with being "normal" and conventional. I can see the elder Evanses being totally into the "alternative" spirituality and astrology charts that first took hold in that time period. (What Petunia forgets is that nowadays, in the US at least, corporate executives meditate and do yoga and one can buy "aromatherapy" products at Wal-Mart.)

Sirius: I always wondered how much money he really had when he bought Harry that racing broom. I don't think that he was rolling in Galleons so much as he never learned to handle money - and even if he hadn't been born wealthy, he seems temperamentally unsuited for planning and budgeting. If he had lived and I had finished my WIP I was going to give Sirius a wife who was very, very good with money. :D
vytresna From: vytresna Date: July 27th, 2004 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
From an earlier comment you made, I have to ask: Did you write "Not the Cross but the Light"? If so, all is forgiven. You're probably being a bit unfair to Narcissa, but that's okay with me until it's concrete. Ends on just the note I like for Andromeda fics - though all the ones I think up are angst-suffused grimfests written in a style that resembles Tolkien's far more than Rowling's - as they are written in Andromeda's first person, that's just WEIRD.

Anyway, I was assuming Uncle Alphard had something to do with it.
alkari From: alkari Date: July 26th, 2004 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Agree about the landed gentry background to the Potters. I have them both James' parents coming from wealthy old families, Mrs Potter being a younger child but growing up in that sort of household. And Mr Potter was the eldest in his family, inheriting the estate and all its obligations. Which he accepted as a matter of course. Both are level-headed and practical, not given to making much of their social status or wealth - they just "are". Both would have been quite happy out there tramping the muddy fields in battered tweed cloaks, wellington boots, caps and with thick walking sticks. Mrs Potter would have a steady supply of country food for all the local visitors - cooked by herself or her devoted house elves - and Mr Potter would have been on all the various local wizarding councils and committees as a matter of course.

James was an only child, much loved and a little spoiled, but it was expected / acceptable that he would have his wilder youth before he settled down to marriage, and family /estate obligations. So his parents tolerated his wilder side, and cheerfully accepted Sirius into their home and family as his best friend. Just as they cheerfully accepted James' other friends and classmates -I have an upcoming 'Student' chapter where he and Sirius invite most of their classmates home for a Christmas party.

I think Lily is definitely middle class, but I am not sure about her parents being into New Age stuff. Lily would have been born in about 1960, and Petunia was a little older (say 1958 or so), so I am not sure just how New Age the Evanses would have been.

In terms of Muggle Britain, don't forget the very different economic situation in Britain and the USA post WW2. Britain was behind the USA in terms of the economic benefits and post-WW2 boom, and there was much more actual reconstruction required in the UK. So I think that there would have been a strong drive in the Evans family to get ahead, do well, and get the material things that they had had to do without during WW2. Assuming the Evanses were in their mid 20's when they had Petunia, that meant they were in their early teens during WW2 - and THAT coloured things a whole lot more in the UK than it did in the USA. I can see this being a very strong influence on Petunia, but that by the time Lily was ready to go to Hogwarts, things had improved economically for the Evanses so that they were in a position to "indulge" their younger daughter just a little more.

Sorry for long response - hope that makes sense!

As for Sirius, Remus and Peter, I'll post my thoughts on my LJ when I can gather them all into one item!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 26th, 2004 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah... I have Petunia as the younger sister, so Lily would have been the one with the brunt of any of the war-time economic issues. (Very close in age, though.) I figured Petunia left home as early as she could and probably married someone "solid" in her teens to get away from her flaky family. I mainly base my judgment on what she has to say about her parents, which is probably somewhat unreliable. "Proud to have a witch in the family!" may have meant, "They didn't agree with me that it wasn't likely to be a financially rewarding career choice."
liwy From: liwy Date: July 26th, 2004 09:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Revenge of the Sith? Yes, I'd have to agree with you. Boring. And too similar to "Empire Strikes Back", I think.
swatkat24 From: swatkat24 Date: July 26th, 2004 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Revenge of the Sith? A combination of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I think they're probably to maintain that old naming tradition, but doesn't work for me.

moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 26th, 2004 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Come on, RotS is not a bad name! It's appropriate and it's certainly no worse that RotJ. ;)

I still like my private theory that James was not a pureblood but I definitely see Petunia being the more practical member of the Evas family...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 26th, 2004 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, RotJ is a title I rather like, because it works on a lot of levels. Also, it doesn't abbreviate to ROTS. ;)

It doesn't bother me. It's just boring. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing--overly, er, interesting titles may not be the way to go in a besieged franchise.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 26th, 2004 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
overly, er, interesting titles

Well, that's one way of putting it! ::LOL::

RotS also works on a lot of levels, considering the fact that Episode 3 starts the beginning of the end of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Sith Empire.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 26th, 2004 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the only thing that's precisely bothering me is the unfortunate acronym. And yes, Revenge of the Sith, sight unseen, refers to any number of things:
  • The literal revenge of the Sith upon the Jedi and the Republic--meta-level, bringing down the whole structure
  • Anakin taking revenge against someone
  • The individual level revenge, in which the Jedi are humiliated by having one of their own--their Chosen One, no less--stolen by the Dark Side.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 26th, 2004 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Rots does sort of put a damper on the title... ::wink::
17 comments or Leave a comment