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

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HP Monday…Er, Wednesday: What’s in a Name?

Everyone’s comments made me think so much this week; I needed extra days to gather my thoughts. Wow, thanks for your responses and I’m glad everyone seems to be enjoying this blog book club forum. I promise to go back to Monday next week…really!

Harry Potter as compared to Moby Dick – or Rowling vs. Melville, that’s not something I’d thought of before, but the argument is well thought out and has merit. I need to think through that one more (you can’t make me go back and re-read Melville – Moby Dick or Bartleby) but yes, I see what you’re saying about a farce-like allegory. I agree with you whole-heartedly on archetypes – Ginevra too – it’s the Italian form of Guinevere so Rowling’s found a way to tie her too her name even more.

Names too, I love Rowling’s names. She obviously is well-read and uses names to signify meaning – or really as a tool to suggest foreshadowing and character traits (i.e. Professor Sprout, Lupin (Remus for that matter), Sirius & Regulus, Malfoy). I’ve thought about Tom Marvolo Riddle too – my husband laughs every time at the “I am” part of Voldermort’s name, but what better way to clue young readers into an anagram than by calling out ‘riddle’. It’s brilliant in its simplicity.

Who’s enjoying Gilderoy Lockhart on this read? I’m raising my hand (you just can’t tell). I’m wondering if Rowling has strong opinions about Sue Grafton? Working your way through the alphabet of murders must be like working your way through the alphabet of defense against the dark arts…I’d like to peruse Magical Me if only I could get my hands on a copy. He’s narcissistic to such an extreme – kind of the opposite of Harry, who’s still trying to be discreet about his fame.

Memory seems to be a strong theme in this book. Lockhart is really on good at the memory charm and when it backfires on him, he’s lost his complete memory. The memory of Tom Riddle is essentially the bad guy in this book. Harry is plagued with memories of his sorting and thinks he may belong in Slytherin, Moaning Mrytle’s memories hold the key to the book’s solution and conclusion. In fact most of the resolution comes from memory – Aragog’s, Hagrid’s, Mrytle’s, Hermione’s on a piece of paper…and so on – great foreshadowing for the pensieve in upcoming books!

Finally, to touch a little on the feminism issue in last week’s comments – I get what you are saying, Hermione does get left out in the ‘action’; but the boys would never get anywhere without her. I mean really, can you imagine Ron and Harry without Hermione? It’s just not possible. And as for Bellatrix being the strongest witch…craziest yes, but strongest? I just don’t know. I think you’d have to say the strongest magic in the world; the most powerful, live saving magic is still Lily’s love for Harry. And I think you could argue that Harry’s good choices (and choice is SO a theme in this book as well as the series…I think you can make an argument that it is the only thing separating Harry and Voldermort) really boils down to all of the female persuasion in his life (and Dumbledore, yes I didn’t forget) but Hermione, Ginny, Molly, Tonks (he wants to be an Auror after meeting her), Luna, McGonagall and his mother (through memories again) all have a say in his decision making.

On Monday I will post on the movie as well, so we can talk about both before moving onto book 3. Thanks again for your comments and discussions!

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