Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Belated Blogiversary

My actual blogiversary was the 22nd, but who could be pulled away from the Potter madness to blog about blogging? In a year, I've written over 400 posts and welcomed over 12,000 visitors to Kudzu Jungle in addition to reminding myself why it is I like to write in the first place - to talk about Harry Potter for 40 some-odd posts, of course. I also like to write letters to celebrities and others in need, offering my sage advice. Or to complain about important matters such as national security and dog poop on the sidewalk. The idiosyncrasies of the 9-to-5 life were prevalent on the blog until I decided to render myself unemployed. Over the year, the blog cataloged the big move and the baby boom and the dream I had about showing Justin Timberlake my boobs. And a good time was had by all. Thanks for reading. More to come.

Dear Sweet Blog,

I have been as neglectful of you in the past couple of weeks as Britney on a bender in Vegas is of the poor Federspawn. What, with the pre-release Pottermania and the post-Potter come-down, I've hardly had a Potterless post this month. Then I left town, and, well, I'm back, but not for long. See, on Thursday, I've got a meeting with important people who might be willing to pay me to do work for them (but let's not call it what it is lest we jinx it), and then on Friday, I have to get my hair did - and blonde to boot. You know how I love to tend to my tresses. Saturday looks like it's going to be the family celebration for Anna's birthday. And Sunday...well, Sunday is going to be its own religious experience at the John Mayer concert.

I know, I know. You're tired of my excuses. It's really not about you, you know. It's me. I'm suddenly busy. Like, I almost have a life. But don't you worry. I'll be back soon. And we'll plan for some real quality time. Promise.


A Word to the Unwise

Dear LiLo and Brit Brit:




A Matter of Life & Rest

Dear Martha,
A few years ago, I bought the Puffball Bed Pillow from your Martha Stewart Everday collection at the illustrious KMart. It may have been that time I was with Kim and Hoang-Anh and I dropped and smashed the Earl Gray candle from your line. Sorry about that. Anyway, that pillow is my absolute favorite and it's starting to get ratty.

Trips to three different KMarts have proven fruitless in finding a replacement. As have KMart's online store and customer service department. What gives, Martha? Somewhere between the broken candle and the ankle bracelet, you stopped making my pillow? I find that unacceptable. Insider trading I can handle, but I really, really need a new Puffball Pillow.

If you could crack the whip (without, of course, disturbing your immaculate hairstyle), and produce a Puffball Pillow for me, it would be a good thing. And I know that I really should be submitting my request in ink made from crushed cranberries and written on handmade stationery scented with lavender from my garden, but without the pillow, it's hard to get enough sleep to have the energy for those things. So this will have to do.


JKR Spills the Beans

As posted below, JKR conducted her first post-Deathly Hallows television interview with Meredith Vierra. And if you're wondering how NBC got the scoop, its parent company is Universal, who just happens to be behind the forthcoming Harry Potter theme park. Yeah.

So, anyway, if you missed the interview, it was really interesting. You can read the transcript here and watch at least some of the video. It's amazing to know how much she had planned - for example, one of the Weasley twins was always slated to die, and somewhere in the middle, she knew it would be Fred. Arthur got a reprieve from the snake attack in OOTP, because she wanted to preserve the one good father figure. And because she admitted she could not bear to kill him.

And some of her long-planned decisions show in her reaction to fans' ardor for certain characters. She seems almost puzzled by the dedication of some to Sirius Black, whose death was planned from the beginning, but confesses experiencing a sort of sheepish guilt prior to OOTP when fans begged her not to kill him.

Tonks and Lupin were the unplanned deaths, and, as predicted, were killed to create an echo of the orphaned Harry from the beginning of the story.

Rowling also conducted a web chat today in which she discusses even further the lives of the living, revealing that Ginny went on to a Quidditch career with the Holyhead Harpies before becoming the Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet. And Luna married Rolf, a distant descendant of Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The transcript is here, and be advised you should read from the bottom up - I was very confused at first.

The two interviews contain conflicting information about Ron's future - one indicating he becomes an Auror alongside Harry and the other suggesting that he joined George at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. I'm sure that will be clarified at some point.

And for the many of you who have questioned who did magic late in life, it was a storyline dropped from the final edit, and must have introduced a new character because she didn't indicate that it was anyone we knew.

She also describes the Hufflepuff common room, which made me relieved, because I realized the other day it is the only common room we never saw and felt woefully incomplete about it.

I might have more to say on these interviews soon, but it's late now, and I can't really think that hard.


Jennifer said...

It's so great that we still get to find out what happens to everyone even though we don't get all the details in the book. It's rare that you get "the continued story" or that readers get to ask so many questions. I'm so glad that JKR was willing to do this and not leave us hanging!

Megs said...

Yes, I think JKR is amazing for answering all these questions. She's been terrific all along to her fans and all their inquiries.

Now that we know so much, though, I'm like--save it for the encyclopedia! I need the encyclopedia!!

Having heart palpitations about the theme park. The idea that I may one day stand inside Hogwarts....

Megan said...

Everything I had heard previously about a theme park had it in Europe, but recently I heard that the plan was for Orlando!! That is definitely doable (all under the pretense of taking Ella to Disney World)!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Me & Cherie Go Up & Down

For those of you who live (or have lived) in N.C., you know Cherie Berry. She's the first occupant on every elevator in the state, the Commissioner of Labor, smiling down at you and letting you know that the elevator has been inspected for your safety. I've missed her since I moved to Georgia, who so far as I can tell, has no such Patron Saint of Elevators.

I felt a little twinge over the weekend while in a hotel in Raleigh when I saw Cherie sitting serenely above the button panel when I got in to take the luggage cart back to the lobby. Maybe that's why I mistook the "6" button for a "G" and exited the elevator two floors above our fourth floor room. By the time I saw that the numbers were in the 600s, the elevator had closed and descended. I called another one, selected the proper "G" button, and rode down the requisite six floors. When the doors slid open, I pushed the cart out, only to find myself on the parking deck level, at which point I began to laugh, and, therefore, missed my chance to get back on the elevator. I finally reached the Mezzanine level (oh, you're so fancy, Hampton Inn, with your mezzanine level) and returned the cart.

I started to take the stairs back up, but I didn't want to give up just a bit more time with Cherie. For old time's sake.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Graveyard Shift

While I claim W-ville as my home town, the truth is that I was born in Tennessee, just over the border. For the first few years of my life, I lived in a little town just east of Lookout Mountain in the midst of the Appalachian foothills.

Mom and I went up that way yesterday for her to close out the probate on my step grandmother's will. I thought we'd have lunch, drive around a bit, stop by the courthouse, and so I wore my new four-inch black suede open-toed wedges. Because I didn't know that Mom was going to decide to do the tour de graveyards during our trip. After the first stop, I begged her to stop at Wal-Mart and buy me a pair of $1.94 flip flops.

We traipsed through three different graveyards, and Mom pointed out to me the graves of her parents and their parents - generations of Martins and Williams. We traced along the rows of stones the siblings and children of the same names, coming across one stone with a lamb atop it with the inscription "Budded on earth and bloomed in heaven." The last of the three graveyards was on a hill that overlooked a valley backed on the other side by the steep upsweep of a ridge. I stood, squinting across the way and thinking that it was a peaceful spot to be laid eternally. Here were the stones I'd most anticipated, the legendary great, great uncles named by their mother Willie Lowry with outrageous names like Vandell (whose first initials were W.F., though I know not for what they stand) and Montezuma Elmo, whose wife Rosa Nell was laid to rest at his side. Story goes that Rosa Nell was a bit unhinged and yelled at the children who rode bikes past her house while waving a butcher knife from the porch. Unfortunately for me, their brother Prudential Leffell and sister Zenta are buried elsewhere.

I'm not that informed about the generations proceeding me on either side of the family, other than knowing that for at least of few generations back, the general northwest corner of Georgia bleeding into Tennessee was home. And maybe that's why I could never settle down in the flat coastal plain. Something in my blood needed the rise and fall of the land, to be caught in a valley with a thin ribbon of sky overhead and nowhere to go but in between. Mom and I talked yesterday about how it's not really home anymore in the literal sense, but if you're talking about everafter, we wouldn't mind calling it that.


A week from Sunday, John. I'm coming to get you.
Also, loved your post on the arrest at your concert last week.

Johnny's new Gap ad, photographed by Annie Lebovitz


I liked that Dumbledore got another dimension in this book, but at times, I felt a little too much like Rowling kept this information an ace in her sleeve a little too long. I'm not so presumptuous as to suggest how to fix it, but I wish that we had been given even the merest hint that there was another side to Dumbledore. And while some may argue that his off-putting of telling the story of the blackened hand to Harry is an indication that it had a more sinister bent, I think we all assumed that the story had something to do with the horcrux search and it simply hadn't become relevant. Dumbledore's benign wisdom throughout all the books is a bit undermined by the slew of information we get in the seventh installment.

I loved how the revelation of Dumbledore's past subtly showed why he's a stickler for second chances - Hagrid, Snape. And I can see how his early life shaped so many of his words and actions throughout the books, which I think will be a delight when I go back and reread. But I wish we'd had a trace of Dumbledore's other side prior to the hallows. Perhaps that would've made it easier to conclude, like Dumbledore, that Harry had the makings of a better, stronger leader than the only one he ever feared.


Kim said...

Harry does tend to see things a lot more black and white than Dumbledore-- like his steadfast belief, from the very beginning, that Snape (my poor Snape!) was evil-- so maybe Dumbledore thought revealing any of his dark past would have turned Harry off from following his wisdom?

mendacious said...

it just seemed so soapopera-ish. i mean it's so easy- him resenting the sister. none of them discussing how effed up to not get her help just bcs they didn't want her to get psychiatric care. and her just losing it in the end- i felt like i'd walked into a biography of tennesse williams! and aberforth just seemed like this one dimensional cantankerous hick. i wanted him to have a backstory, yes, but... also since the wands had memory it wouldve been easy to check to see who had done it right? also i think i wouldve preferred for albus to be more evil than this greater than good thing... we go 6 books with him as this benign powerful character and she sort of cuts him off at the knees. like there is a god, but there is no god. see? he's fallible. and we already have harry for that one. and then he gets to talk to him in the end just so we don't have any confused feelings about him... i was not satisfied with the deathly hollows thread. : D like you left the ring in the dirt? yah. no one knows where it is? no. (yah okay that'll work. what?!)

Megs said...

I was unfazed by how late in the story the information about Dumbledore came, though looking back, I can see how some foreshadowing, particularly in OotP, would have been nice, during the time that everyone was doubting Voldemort's return. Everyone was keen to dismiss Dumbledore then, and some nice juicy dirt would have been just the thing.

I guess we just didn't learn anything that I consider to be too shocking. Who doesn't fall under the spell of acclaim, or sometimes resent the burdens of their families? The friendship with Grindelwald--he was what, 17?

I don't know. I like seeing him as human and flawed--the seeking of the Hallows, I like it, but I'm not freaked out by what we learned.

Jason said...

Yeah, I was a little thrown off by the explosion of Dumbledore backstory as well. You get so much and so little of it fleshed out. But I suppose it is in keeping with JK's attempt to increase the complexity of each book commensurate with the emotional maturity of the children who have been following it since the beginning and are Harry's age. Kids @ 11 want infallible father figures and Kids @ 17 often want redeemable ones.

Least Favorite Parts

Kim said...

The eight. hundred. years. they spent camping in the forest. Camping! In the forest! This is the sort of thing I fake sick to avoid having to do.

Jennifer said...

The first thing that comes to mind is how completely annoyed I was when Hagrid was trying to protect the spiders. I mean, I know he tries to see the best in all creatures, and I know Hagrid isn't exactly the brain of the books, but that was just a little TOO thick-headed. At some point, I grew weary of Hagrid's love for all things dangerous, and that moment was just too over the top. Come on already. Even Hagrid's not that dumb.

mendacious said...

the fake camping did totally blow and for that long. good god. hermoine crying all the frickin' time. agh! come on. harry's scar-vision going off every page- and when you actually have to say it aloud the redundancy of it all starts screaming at you just as much. harry waking up naked- was that necessary? all the slytherins being evil ; ) them falling into traps 2 or 3x- have they never heard of reconnaisance?! geesh.

well anyway : D

Megs said...

yeah, the camping even wore on my nerves.

The Gringotts segment. Come on. Escaping on a dragon? It was too "high adventure" for my taste.

The epilogue, for reasons I have already stated.

And I know that everyone will hate me for this, but I did not love the whole snitch-"I am about to die" thing.

Megs said...

Oh, and I forgot the whole Ministry infiltration--maybe I'm just bored of polyjuice?

Andria said...

wholeheartedly agree about the forever time spent "camping" in the woods! Halfway through the book I was sort of annoyed that nothing much had happened yet. Things were so different - no Hogwarts, no information on the outside world, no other characters really to interact with, just Harry's mind, Hermoine's tears and readings of things to fill in the gaps/explain things from before.

The lack of anymore on the Dursley's.

I agree I was exasperated by the overuse of Polyjuice potion, too!

Ron's leaving. That really annoyed me. And just being able to walk back in, too. (Although, I know he actually dove back in, saved Harry's life and with some hesitation and turmoil, managed to finally kill the horcrux (that had caused him to leave in the first place, ironically!)

The suspended reality it took to believe they'd continually narrowly espace and not be found for a year.

The lack of depth and omissions in the epilogue, although as a whole I was glad for it.

Somebody's Mom said...

Did not like that they would freeze their butts off and be hungry when camping; Heromine has a magic bag and is a great witch. And what was with Mad Eye Moody's eye being buried and not being usefull later. bleah.

I Cried When...

Kim said...

Sorry, I'm commenting up a storm here. My short(ened) list:

1. When Hedwig died (sniffles)
2. When Dobby died (confused sniffles)
3. When Percy came through the portrait hole (choked back sobs)
4. When Fred died (more choked back sobs)
5. When Snape died (open, ugly howling)
6. When Harry realized he was going to die (back to choking)
7. When his family came out of the ressurection stone (open sobbing)

Curiously, I stopped crying there. Didn't cry at Harry's death-- but I think because I sort of knew he wasn't dead?

Jennifer said...

I also didn't cry at Harry's death, but I think I also knew that he wasn't really dead (or just wasn't willing to accept that he might actually be dead).

I cried the most at Dobby's death. I am just the kind of person who needs to process and I had enough space with that one.

The most tear-inducing moment of all, though, was when Harry's family came out, and particularly when he asked his mom to stay close to him. That was such a beautiful scene. I'm going to cry just thinking about it.

mendacious said...

snape dying.

sure it's probably bcs when i took that sorting hat test i came up slytherin but still. it was specific and clear and not a cliche... and it was nicely done.

Megs said...

Oh god. I cried through the whole thing.

1. The dedication ("and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.")
2. The epigraph ("Bless the children, and give them triumph now.")

Yes, that is where I began crying.

3. Cried for Hedwig, natch.
4. Cried at Harry's parents' graves.
5. Cried when Ron left; cried when Ron came back.
6. Cried a lot about Luna's bedroom ceiling.
7. Cried when Dobby died (somewhat hysterical at that time).
8. Cried when Percy came back, even though I thought it was a little cheap.
9. Wept while McGongagall arranged the battle of Hogwarts. Just.so.damn.in.awe.of.her.
10. Cried over Snape's memories.
11. Cried in the King's Cross station over Dumbledore's final words.
12. Cried through most of the final battle...

I was pretty much already crying when we learned of Fred's, Remus's and Tonks's deaths. I'm not excluding them from the tears.

Andria said...

I agree, I was really touched by the dedication!

*Hedwig's death was violent, brutal, sudden, unexpected, senseless and made me mad and cry at the same time!

*Dobby's death was also a complete shock and I was glad we had the time to process it as well.

*I was really touched by Luna's ceiling as well!

*Definitely sobbed as Harry was watching the Snape memories and realizing he had to die. That was the most affecting and emotional for me. I was accepting, but so deeply saddened. And his walk alone back to the forest and being struck down. I didn't doubt that he had actually died and was still crying at point.

I actually didn't cry when Fred died. And I wasn't that affected by it for some reason. I was more sad to loose both Lupin and Tonks, actually. very weird. I would have been an emotional wreck if it had been Mr. or Mrs. Weasley, though.

The Quick & the Dead: An Examination of the Body Count

Rowling clarified that, while Deathly Hallows was not "a blood bath", there were more than two deaths, as mistaken by many fans after she said two characters died that she didn't intend. (Which, to my knowledge, hasn't been revealed yet, but I'm putting my thoughts below.) Here's the body count of the good guys. For those of you who wish to discuss in great depth, there is a Snape thread posted below.

* Hedwig - The book's first jet of green light struck Harry's faithful fowl in a moment so surprising that I thought (hoped) that it wasn't what I thought it was. I shed a tear, but the action was so intense, that I was distracted by getting all the OOTP members safely to the Burrow. I wonder if Hedwig might have been an unplanned death (as Susan and I discussed) because Rowling realized the cumbersome logistics of what to do with her while Harry roamed through the book.

* Alastor Mad-Eye Moody - Mom and I had guessed that Moody might be one of the deaths. In a way, it made sense to clear out the members of the OOTP from the first generation. In fact, thinking on it, the Hogwarts professors are some of the only originals to survive. Mad-Eye was shot down in a blaze of glory, and that's how he would've wanted to go. Harry's burial of his eye later in the book gave me a moment to tear up on the Auror's behalf.

* Dobby - Didn't. See. It. Coming. And therefore it hit me like a ton of bricks. Dobby was the least likely character to die, according to Mugglenet, who put his odds at 100/1. The death was so unexpected, but I accepted it, knowing that Dobby would've been happier to die saving Harry Potter than any other way he might go. And the subsequent grave-digging scene with the characters' contributions of clothing and Harry's manual labor and mental toil made it the most well-processed death in the book. Plus, Luna's funeral speech was so...appropriate and simple that it made me bawl all over again.

* Fred (sniff...sniff...sob) Weasley - When Mike and I were talking prior to the book's release, he suggested that Rowling would take one of the twins - a kind of grief that was different than any other death she could create. I scoffed. Not the twins, I said! My favorite living characters outside of the trio. The appearance of Percy just prior to Fred's death already had me in a fit of weeping, but the death, Fred's face with "the ghost of his last laugh" and Percy's obvious anguish was so wrenching. The scene that followed with the Weasley family was a flash-portrait of despair that we hadn't seen in the books thus far. Mike, you called it.

* Severus Snape - Snape had the most gruesome death in all of Potterdom. The moment Nagini's cage sunk down over his head, I shuddered at the macabre scene. I liked that Harry drew blood biting his knuckle in horror - I think that was almost a meta-moment in which the character does the same as the reader. I wished Snape had gotten a more heroic death, but, as Kim pointed out, it was unlikely that Harry would've believed his goodness without the memories or that Snape would've allowed Harry to see them while he was standing there. It was absolutely grotesque, but after what we see in the pensieve, I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about his soul.

* Remus Lupin - I anticipated that Lupin would be among the death count. It seemed fitting that all of the Marauders would be laid to rest before the book's end. I was a bit disappointed that Remus died offstage and that we weren't given much room to absorb his death. Even the moment his resurrected spirit has with Harry in the forest is overshadowed by the appearance of James, Sirius, and especially Lily, and the overall emotion of Harry's decision to die. I wished we'd been able to have more of a moment with Lupin's death than to add a tally mark to the body count.

* Nymphadora Tonks - This is my bid for the other unexpected death. Tonks, like Lupin, dies offstage, and I think that Rowling might have conceived late in the book that it would be a nice homage to the first generation to have an orphan left to his godfather in the second generation. Similar complaints here about having no emotional room for this one.

* Colin Creevey - Some are calling it a throw-away death, but Creevey, like Hedwig and Dobby, was one of the characters most wholly and unabashedly devoted to Harry. And though we don't see his death, this is his moment, albeit brief, to prove he's a true Gryffindor, unafraid to face death. He might have been a side character (at best), but it was a touching little moment to see Oliver Wood carrying his body into the castle.

Your turn.


Megan said...

I lost it over Dobby. When they put all those clothes on him, I was a goner.

I think I read the line about the dead bodies lined up, and thus telling us that Lupin and Tonks had died, three times before it registered. Although, Lupin asking Harry to be the godfather was a little foreshadowing of the fact that Teddy would be an orphan.

daisy said...

Um, I started reading your list... And when you mentioned dobby, I got teary... and then you mentioned Fred... and since I am at work, I've decided I must not read any farther. After all, no one likes a weeping-work-daisy.

(The mention of Fred's expression... genius and traumatic.)

mendacious said...

i think dobby's death and snape's were the best and most impactful. bcs i think the scenes were flushed out well. and since i'm practically heartless, to say i almost teared up over snapes death is saying something. and we def should've been given more for lupin and tonks after all that. i was surprised that hagrid lived after the spiders. colin and hedwig seemed unnecessary casualties. i wish there was more emotional set up for fred's death- in terms of the loss and how little of a part he played in this last novel. but dying with a smile was a good touch.

can we talk about why the slytherins were all patently evil? i mean i don't get it- i think this is sort of weird oversight in the book- since JK is so into blurring the lines into shades of grey- for the house to all turn to the darkside seemed just a little odd. though it was funny when that pansy girl was like, he's right there get him- and they all turned on her.

Kim said...

I agree with Mendacious about Lupin and Tonks-- I wanted a little more out of it, more fleshed out, as she said. As a crucial player in the whole tale, Lupin in particular needed to be seen going out guns blazing, ripping out the throat of Fenrir Greyback.

What happened to him, anyway? Did I skim that part too quickly?

Jennifer said...

I totally lost it when Dobby died. We had plenty of opportunity to really process that one, and his neverending devotion to Harry was so touching.

As soon as Lupin asked Harry to be the godfather of his son, I had a pretty good feeling that neither Lupin or Tonks was going to make it.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised that there wasn't a more significant death. Granted, they were upsetting, but after losing Dumbledore, I thought for sure either Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Ginny wasn't going to make it. Considering all the danger the trio put themselves in, it's a little hard to believe that they all lived, though I guess Harry's death was avoided on a technicality of sorts.

For me, I think that it might take the visual of the movie, with all fifty bodies lined up in the Great Hall, to really grasp the real sense of loss in the battle. The toll was heavy, but not as heavy as I anticipated, especially considering that we didn't lose any major characters.

Andria said...


Pereztel Hearts STGD

Congrats to STGD for being featured on the Gossip Gangster's site!!! STGD sent a fun photoshopped image to Perez about a month ago and received a thanks email (which we thought was pretty awesome). Today it popped up on the Perezzer's Thank You post about reaching an all-time traffic high. I am just one degree separated from Perez. Awesome.

Promises, Promises

A few things that were promised in various interviews with JKR did not surface in the book. Among them...

* the flying Ford Anglia

* the marital status of the professors and its importance

* someone who does magic late in life under desperate circumstances - several of you have asked me about this since it was pretty widely reported. I think this is something JKR said recently, so I was surprised that it was absent from the book. Mom suggested that maybe it referred to Molly Weasley, who we've seen do household magic but never dueling magic.

* what Dudley saw when attacked by the dementors. This topic was skirted but not addressed, and it was an insight into that character that I was really looking forward to.

* I still don't understand why Sirius had to die, although she's promised that we would know by now.

* who else was in Godric's Hollow. This topic has been bandied about a great deal in the fandom. JKR directly refuted that Snape was in GH under the invisibility cloak, but suggested there was someone else. Are we supposed to think it was Bathilda Bagshot??


mendacious said...

yah it was totally good to see molly finally put the fight on- though i think her yelling BITCH! was a little too siguordey weaver in aliens... but whatever.

also i was oddly touched that bellatrix loved voldermort so much-is that weird? did we ever get to hear her story? bcs i was like huh. really. hmm.

also i find it odd that though harry knows it's "war" he and ron and hermoine do everything they can not to kill their opponents- and i think rather untrue to life this fails to bite them in the ass as it should have. because they're still chosing to let people who do evil live- like reform malfoy or not. people don't usually stay ambivilant for life. and if you don't deal with people who have some serious issues the consequences are usually that someone gets burned?

mendacious said...

oh sorry also- is there a reason hermoine had to be hysterical and crying thru the ENTIRE novel!?! it was ridiculous. the girl has some fight in her and i agree, sure, shed some tears but come on. everytime!?

oh! and i like that ron started to come into his own as a man but saw no real change in hermoine or harry- like how could she not believe in godric's hollow still- after all that- which in retrospect i thought would be more spectacular... and okay why was harry naked on the table in his mind? that was just odd.

sorry i jUST finished reading it and i'm a little hyper.

Megan said...

I apparently should have read this before I posted comments below. Sorry!

I was thinking that maybe it was Neville who did magic? I know that he has been magical all along but never really good at it and now he is?


In an interview with Meredith Viera, JK Rowling announces that she probably will write a comprehensive encyclopedia of characters that outlines the futures of those who live through the Deathly Hallows. This includes a new headmaster for Hogwarts (not McGonagall) and a permanent Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher. And, because JKR is so awesome, proceeds of the book will go to charity.

Also revealed in the interview is that the character reprieved from death was Arthur Weasley. She just couldn't do it.

And, fyi, the chapter that made her howl was Harry's death. Duh. ;)


mendacious said...

weird i know- but all the hype over 'who dies' left me going- really that's it- i think she fails to capture fred in such a way where i was moved by his death- i think my own imagination conjures up why it would be moving and horrible but in reality she didn't flush out his character more than to kill someone who possesses indominatable? joy and humor. but that's it- it doesn't seem that he was more than a prop which served to distract us from harry- but harry really had no true interaction with him like he did with ron? i'm jus'sayin'

Megs said...

Hooray! Awesome news.

Kim said...

OH MY GOD. This is the greatest news ever! In its stead, though, I was wondering-- what do you guys think is going to happen to the characters? Particularly Luna-- don't know why, but I've got to know.

Thusly, I call for such a thread! So it shall be written, so it shall be done!

Megan said...

Oh, wow! One more thing to look forward to and anticipate!

That will be great, to know the who's and what's about everyone!

(Could this have been the plan all along? Yet another money maker?)

Megan said...

Oh, and if Arthur Weasley had died I would have been SO UPSET. Miss Molly doesn't deserve that!

ashley said...

She had said a few times that she might do this in response to demands for another book. As in, the only thing she would do as an eighth installment would be this book. Can you imagine how rabid fans will be for it when it finally comes out???

Jessica said...

Luna + Neville, sittin' in a tree, s-n-o-g-g-'n-g...

first comes love, then comes radishes, then comes Luna with some goddess sashes!

(it's not good, but hey, it's in the right spirit.)

Jennifer said...

I had heard rumors of this but didn't know she had discussed it as a real possibility. . . WOOHOO!

The James that Wasn't

One of the biggest plot holes left behind in the wake of Deathly Hallows was, for me, James Potter. In the first book, we're told that James and Lily were great wizards and wonderful people. As the series continues, we get precious few clues about Harry's parents until the Three Broomsticks scene in Prisoner of Azkaban. Here we find out about the friendship of those we will come to know as the Marauders, and the betrayal of one of them. By the end of the book, we know James was an animagus, a bit reckless, a bit mischevious, but a loyal friend. We also know that he saved Snape's neck, which at the time is why we think Snape hates his guts. And then we don't advance our knowledge about James and Lily much again (despite their appearance during Priori Incantatum) until Snape's Worst Memory in Order of the Phoenix. And this tidbit of James is disconcerting - a bullying, conceited showoff willing to humiliate for sport.

Unfortunately for us, that's right where Rowling leaves him. We never see the James that shifts toward a softer, kinder person. We never see a moment of nobility from him. And after we see Snape's memories in the pensieve, we realize that we never see a moment that proves that he deserved Lily. Lily is by far the most flawless of Rowling's characters, and it sits unwell to think that she was married to a preening git. Plus, I think the series has alluded to an enormous importance for James and Lily, and while Lily's significance pans out, James recedes into a 15-year-old's memory as a guy we would've hoped to avoid in high school. I'm a bit sad that James was never more than he seemed, that his bloodline leading to Ignotus Peverell is the best thing he contributes to the end of the story.


mendacious said...

yah james was a let down completely- also i find it difficult that according to her math james and lily were only what? like 21 when they died? how was that a mark of great wizardry and all the rest? in my head they shouldve died much older.

Megs said...

I agree that we never got to see the best of James. It is too bad. But I know that Lily wouldn't have married the "arrogant toerag" we did see, so I believe in the change.

(what is a toerag? Or does that belong in the mysteries thread?)

Megan said...

James definitely doesn't seem to deserve Lily.

Maybe he was like Harry in that he could be seen as an arrogant ass if you only looked at brief snippets but was a nice guy on the whole?

Jessica said...

I didn't feel too disappointed by James. I mean, he was so young - so young. They both were. And just as Harry is the "arrogant" brother (as in the fable of the brave brother, the arrogant brother and the smart brother), so was his father. And for that matter, so was Dumbledore. I think there's a strong theme running through about arrogance, or perhaps a better term would be egoism. Harry has to learn that there's a difference between being self-reliant and self-absorbed, and in many ways he's tempted by self-absorption in his quest, as he has been in the past. He doesn't listen to authority well, and he certainly doesn't listen to R & H well. Harry wants what Harry wants. I was so pleased with him after Dobby's death, when he got out of his "clueless Frodo/hero with smarter friends wandering about aimlessly feeling sorry for himself" spell and started leading....and following D's advice re: horcruxes rather than hallows. So good! Overall, I think this was a great book but a bit ambitious for her. It's so internal, I mean Rawlings wants this one to be about internal struggles more than external, whereas in the other books i thought it was more of a 70/30 split in favor of external struggles. And those scenes that rely less on plot and more on emotions are hard for her. She resorts to ellipses alot, as in "Harry thought about his mother and father dying and leaving him.......Just as Dumbledore and Sirius had left him.....Cold and alone and in the forest...." (paraphrased, obviously!). I think she really struggles with that. The moments that I get emotional when reading JKR are at excellent plot points, her specialty, but not at those internal moments. Anyway, I thought that despite a slow middle, it finished so wonderfully well!

geez, I suppose I needed to ramble on. Thanks for listening!

Jennifer said...

I also would have liked to see the other side of James, but I agree with Megs that the fact that Lily somehow came around to him was enough to convince me that he turned out to be worthy of her in the end. Still, it would have been nice to have seen more of his finer moments and just to know more about Harry's dad in general.

Questions Unanswered: The Land of Confusion

What did you want to know that we weren't told? Like where is Florean Fortescue?

And what were we told that still has you scratching your head?


ashley said...

What was it that had Voldemort so focused on James and Lily? And how did they "thrice defy" him? It seemed that their occupations were going to give us a clue to this, but then we were never told what they did. I still want to know what made Voldemort think Harry, not Neville, would be the boy mentioned in the prophecy.

Megan said...

Who did magic late in life?

I thought Rowling alluded to a Hogwart's teacher being married, who?

Megan said...

What is the significance of Ron and Hermione's kids' names? Hugo and Rose?

Megs said...

When Snape made the unbreakable vow with Narcissa, was it before or after he and Dumbledore planned Dumbledore's death? All we have for a time reference is that they discussed D's demise while Snape was trapping the curse in his arm.

I'm confused by the moment in which Dumbledore asks if the plan is for Snape to kill him if Malfoy fails and Snape pauses...has he already taken the unbreakable vow? And if so....

Jessica said...

Yeah, exactly -- what was up with Neville? He sort of fades away in this one. I wasn't sure where the sword came from, for one thing, though I guess it was out of the hat -- it flies to the side of any true Griffyndor and all that -- (forgive me if I spelled it wrong)-- but what about the way Newille's folks died?

Megs said...

Oh yeah. My other confusion. So we're led to believe in HBP that Voldemort (I can't stop thinking of him as Voldy since Peeves's little song) wanted to make 7 horcruxes, being that 7 is such a powerfully magical number and all.

So, if Harry was an accident and he didn't know he was making that horcrux, why weren't there 7 others?

The reasons I never believed that Harry was one of the 7 horcruxes were:
1. Why would Voldemort want his enemy to house a piece of his soul?
2. Voldemort wanted to KILL Harry.
3. Voldemort surely had enough horcruxes already.

So, I'm ok with the idea that it happened by accident, and fine with how that made Harry a parselmouth (maybe my favorite word in the series--oooh! can we do a favorite words thread?) and able to see into Voldemort's mind and all, but I still don't see why there wouldn't have been 7 other horcruxes. I'm not ok with it being: the diary, the locket, the ring, the snake, the cup, Voldemort himself...and Harry Potter. If you see what I mean.

Also, can anyone explain to my dense head what the significance of Voldemort using Harry's blood and therefore inheriting some of Lily's protection is? I just don't get it.

ashley said...

The horcruxes are the diary, the ring, the locket, the diadem, the cup and Nagini with the seventh piece of Voldemort's soul residing in his own body. Harry was an accidental eighth horcrux.

Okay...here's what I think about the blood. The blood doubly bound Voldemort and Harry. Harry housed Voldemort's soul, but Voldemort housed the blood that protected Harry. So even when Harry died to kill the part of Voldemort's soul, he couldn't die because Voldemort still had his blood. Also, Pen said it better like this on Kudzu Jungle...

i had to think long and hard about why harry was still alive after killing voldemort for good, and i THINK it is because when v directed the first killing curse at harry, that severed the horcrux from harry--hence the nasty little scaly baby in the corner at king's cross. dumbledore said that harry's soul was now completely his own. so he was then free to kill v? when he returned to life, he left the baby (v's soul) at the station, literally and figuratively... right?

their blood was still connected at that point because v used h's blood to recreate himself in goblet of fire... but the connection foiled only voldemort, because it meant that he couldn't kill harry; they both must live. except THEN, on top of that, harry was the true master of the elder wand, the most powerful, undefeated wand, so he won the battle in the end--and didn't have to die.

omg, is that right? that took a lot of brain power, and i'm not sure it should have...and i'm still not sure i'm right! anyone?

Megs said...

Thanks, Ashley!

Somebody's Mom said...

Why didn't we learn what happened to Hermione's parents? Did her spell work? Were they thrilled or appalled to learn they had a daughter who was a witch? How could Hermione not have felt competent doing a memory erasing charm at the muggle cafe when she had so recently talked of the memory replacement spell she had done on her parents? And all those other questions... Would love to have watched Percy turn from the dark side. This saying a name and having it lead the dark side to them was a new "technology", given Herione's great skill and knowledge, how wouldn't that have been something she would know about? ok. I'm ranting.... I'll be quiet and center myself now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Severus Snape

The good or evil question answered at last. I find Snape one of the most pitiable characters in the book. His unrequited love for Lily, beginning with his eager awkwardness when they're just kids. I found the most heartbreaking thing that his patronus was a doe.

I thought he was good before I started the book, but I faltered after the first chapter and the sectumsempra on George. But when Harry heard that Snape gave Ginny detention with Hagrid, I knew he was good.

I was already crying by the time Snape died, which was only increased by him telling Harry to look at him. And then to find that the password to the headmaster's office was "Dumbledore." When Harry plunges into the mish-mash of Snape's memories we see, as Dumbledore suggests, the best of Snape, kept hidden for this final moment.

His love for Lily is so true and steadfast...I hope that she greeted him kindly on the other side.


Andria said...

Ah, dear Snape. Your recap really helped me pick up on things I missed or glossed over, without fully getting the importance or meaning, so thanks.

I still believed that he was good, even if in a twisted way at the end of book 6 and just knew there had to be a deeper understanding or meaning behind Dumbledore's murder. Although, I admit, I had my doubts, too, in the beginning of book 7 with all the evil he seemed to be involved with. And I really liked the whole chapter with all of the memories to fill in the gaps, BUT I'm still a little confused on the exact moment he really had a change of heart or showed real remorse for choosing the wrong side. It just felt more like a debt he was paying to Dumbledore rather than a real sense of good spirit. Does that make sense? I definitely don't think he was transformed into a favorite or anything for me, but I have more understanding of him overall and appreciate the skills he had to possess to convince Voldemort he was truly his servant and keep up that facade through it all.

I posed this question in a comment earlier, but now that we have an official Snape post, I'll ask again for explainations on how Snape knew the day the OOTP was to move Harry from Privet Drive. Was the portrait Dumbledore still privy to this information and he was leaking it to Snape? Also, it seems the knowledge of who was in OOTP as well as the Death Eaters was fairly common, so it's weird he could be on both lists publically - or avoid one or the other.

mendacious said...

I love snape! when he died i was like, really that's it? he's evil? thank god for the longass backflash- and i was so glad to have been right! though finding out dumbledore was so cold!! was quite a contrast. i think snape was one of her best drawn and consistent characters.

it does seem like a plot hole however about the day of harry's departure unless one of the headmaster portraits told him? it was odd.

Megs said...

I totally believe that Dumbledore's portrait told him. I thought we were supposed to understand that from his memory: that there was no double agent; no one was selling Harry out.

Megs said...

What you said last about Lily greeting him on the other side...that is my greatest sadness for Snape, that his goodness had to be it's own and only reward. I am sure he was well recieved. But he could never have the love he has so surely earned by now.

Snape was not a very nice man; if he had been my teacher, I would have hated him. But nice and good are not the same, and there was goodness in Snape I could not have imagined. When Lily asks Snape if it matter that she is muggle-born.
Oh god. I'm going to cry before I leave for work.

The patronus was so gut-wrenching to me. I'm glad that we had established through Tonks that patronuses can change and that Snape's never had. And thinking about the patronus, I so admire Rowling. For she used Snape's, not just to make a great piece of plot as it led Harry to the lake, but to conjure Lily. Who here didn't think of his mother and wonder if she could help from the other side? And then you find out that it's Snape's and this enormous backstory, the pieces for which have been laid since we knew what a patronus was.

There's this sort of inevitibility to the series--so difficult in regular fiction, so damn near impossible in fantasy--that she makes look easy.

Megan said...

OMG, I'm tearing up just reading all of the comments!

I just fell in love with Snape's character after reading the Prince's Tale chapter. Good all along and SO brave, just as Harry says later.

Definitely, the most painful part was "Look... at... me...". Aaagh! He disliked Harry so much for being like his father yet his love for Lily surpassed that. He wanted to look into her eyes as he died... I need a tissue.

Lily calling him 'Sev' was so telling of how good of friends they were.

So Snape's patronus changed to a doe once Lily died, and stayed a doe as a symbol of his grief and pain.

Imagine the inner turmoil of wanting to love Lily's son for being her son and yet he was also the son of someone he despised. I can understand how he could let himself be mean to Harry.

Throughout the book and especially in Snape's memories Lily is presented as such a wonderfuly nice character. James just comes off as a real ass.

Love. Snape.

Megan said...

I have been doing a little spot rereading and just saw in the epilogue that Albus Severus was the only one of Harry's kids that has his Lily's eyes. How fitting and sweet!

Jennifer said...

Snape is such a fantastic character. The fact that his patronus was a doe was so heart-wrenching. While he is such a noble character in the end, I can't help thinking what a miserable life he led. I know it was all for love and for the greater good, but to be so despised, to be thought of as a traitor, to be a victim of unrequited love. . . . If I ever thought I've had a bad day, I take it back.