The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

HP Monday – Ginny, the Phoenix and Other Fiery Things

Sorry, I had technical difficulties with the blog this week…or my computer, probably both. Whatever, as long as it all works now!

I have a few comments about book 2 before we move onto three. I think of book two as a book of discovery. Some of those discoveries aren’t great – like the fact that giant spiders really exist AND they want to eat you – and some are kind of awesome: Friendship, loyalty and love really do exist AND it isn’t that hard to belong. Also, socks are really important – which only sucks if you loose yours to the washing machine or dryer gods as frequently as I do.

There are some really nice speeches in book 2 – which leads me to voice. At the end of the story, Dumbledore gives a grand speech on the choices we (or Harry, but he’s us, isn’t he?) make determining who we are. Good or Dark wizard, it all depends on each individual – not their family, race, or school house. Because the speech is coming from Dumbledore we are more likely to believe it. Much like Hermione’s writing (not words, since she’s been petrified) pipes makes the reader mark it as the truth. I hadn’t realized just how much Rowling chooses which characters say what until reading this book. Don’t get me wrong, I realize how important voice is to a book – or movie for that matter. If a character says something that doesn’t ring true to their identity, we as the reader or watcher tend to discredit the book or movie. If two characters seem to be saying the same sorts of things, a good writer might get rid of one and put all the words into one voice (although, speaking from experience, that is hard to do – it’s like killing part of you – but maybe that second character can be used in a different story further down the road). But Rowling uses her characters traits and voices to create emotions and moods inside the reader; it’s manipulative and amazing because it works! If Lockhart had given this speech, you’d think it was far-fetched or somehow egotistical, but not believable. Snape would have put a sarcastic twist on it, sounding more like Harry had made the wrong choice by wanting to be in Gryffindor, but the actual words could have been the same – or very similar.

I keep going back to the whole “Life isn’t fair” adage. I think I learned this at the age of twelve, or somewhere around there. Aragog – although a monster – can be wrongly accused, and Hagrid can go to Azkaban even though no one really thinks he belongs there. Mrytle can die because she was crying in a bathroom and the real Heir of Slytherin can earn honors because he accused someone else. Teachers can be idiots or biased and parents can be evil incarnate, people with good intentions can harm you and your son’s stupid choices can put your job on the line. Yep, life isn’t fair at all, valuable lesson to be learned so definitively at this age. So, back to choices: What are you going to do about it? Save the girl AND the school all while staying true to yourself and loyal to your friends. Yes Harry, it looks like you’ve made all the right choices…for now.

We will get right into book number 3 on Monday (Really! Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully my computer won’t blow up). One thing wrangling me a little about book 3 – where’s Ginny? For having so much face time in book 2, she’s all but disappeared in the next one.

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