3.15.2010

Monday Book

Yes, it's "Monday Book" instead of "45 Books" this week.
Honestly? It's because the only book I read last week was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which, mind you, I specifically stated didn't count  toward my resolution. I know, I've done some major slacking; however, I'm starting with a fresh, new book today (which is always an exciting feeling) and I'll actually be able to start it at lunch because Cashman is a daycare today (which means I don't have to drive home to let him out--which is also an exciting feeling)!


So, Harry Potter...
I wrote a paper during my last semester of college on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the role of Harry as the "Hero." A lot of those ideas still resonate with me after giving the book another read. The concept of the Hero as it is known through Greek Mythology is half-human and half-God and therefore bestowed with admirable skills and natural ability or aptitude. The Hero never grows, changes, or learns but rather unfolds (is revealed to us) as a character. Harry's stepping into the role of the "Hero" ultimately makes him boring and uninteresting as we never see any character development but discover the things that make him special. The other characters and objects are merely devices to prop up Harry's character into the role of "Hero" to show off his natural abilities and skills that will eventually save Hogwarts (and, ultimately the entire wizard community and possibly even humanity). We always only discover things Harry already knows and is already good at. (E.g. Harry never learns to fly, but once he is given a broomstick we discover he is a naturally good flier. The fact that Harry has never encountered a magical broomstick before seems to be the only thing that has been holding him back all this time.)
I think the characters of Ron and Hermione are much more interesting than Harry. Even a character as minor as Neville Longbottom seems to grow more throughout the novel than Harry when he learns to stand up for himself against both Malfoy and the H, R, H trio. 

and so on, and so on ...

+++++

What do you think? Am I completely off base here? This isn't saying that I don't think the stories can be fun and smart and intriguing--especially for a young audience (magic and BFF's and unicorns and the ultimate battle of good vs evil??!! whoot!). I had a great time with the books. Not to mention the uncanny way it got people young, old, world-wide reading again with hunger and frenzy and investment. I think that Miss Rowling deserves total kudos for her work! I'm also saying that if everyone is going to rave about something lets look at it critically, intelligently, and see what it has to offer, and also what its flaws may be. (I'm in no way trying to engage in the strange "it-teaches-your-children-witchcraft-and-should-be-banned" critiques).



Are you a big Potter fan? Why?


Unfortunately, today is Monday and it's Daylight Savings... these two factors have definitely thrown me off of my jive these last two days.

4 comments:

ck said...

I heart Ron. I agree. Rowling got me through 4 books successfully in my time, but i got the jist? Is this unfair? Or ADD kicking in? I'm not sure. But I feel like I could read Didion everyday.... I'm a bit anti formula writing I guess. But, indeed, it has its place. Damn that Stephanie Meyer.

Emily said...

Didion gets bonus points from me for writing a book called Slouching Towards Bethlehem which is part of one of my favorite lines of poetry (seriously) from Yeats's "The Second Coming." No one else understands why I think that is so neat... Why don't you move out here birdy? I could use your wisdom and your company..

Samuel said...

Feels like you might be conflating two ideas: 1) Harry is a Hero in the Greek sense and thus undergoes no growth; 2) Character growth is essential in making a good novel, in the critical sense of the word. You spend time on the first point, but none on the second. The inference is that character growth "beats" character unfolding, but you never say why. Why, sissy, why?

Emily said...

the so on and so on is the rest of the argument! didn't you see that?? ;)
Unfortunately, I am not the best about proofreading my posts. For this I am sorry, I know you are a total perfectionist when it comes to writing and, probably, posting online. The pieces of my argument are, therefore, incomplete which is completely my fault and is due to my own carelessness.

1) In the aforementioned paper (the one I started to write about but left out most supporting details) I carried the Greek Hero idea further... The "Hero" as a literary construction, as a vacancy within this specific text to be filled (in the case of Potter the Hero happens to be the protagonist). The importance of "natural abilities" of Greek and other Hero's ( Sports hero's- are admired for their natural aptitude for their particular game). Harry undergoes no real growth--not necessarily Hero's in general.
2) I wouldn't necessarily say that character growth constitutes a good novel or is essential in a good novel. But I find it to be the case for Harry Potter (at least in the first book) specifically because Harry is just so damn boring. I think that character unfolding is wonderful, WONDERFUL Samuel--it's just not done very well, or interestingly enough for my taste in this particular novel.
When Tyler and I have talked about it, we both agree that Rowling's writing improved significantly by the time book 3 rolled around. It's been long enough since I have read that far into the series that I don't know if my argument applies solely to Book 1 or if I would say the same is true throughout the series.
You always ask me good questions.I feel that if I were to adequately answer I'd need at least a week... I'm going to try to keep up on it and thinking about it. Keep keeping me in check, please?