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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weasley Ruminations

OK, I hope everyone doesn’t think I’m not on-board the Weasley Family fan train – I am the conductor of said train (shut up English teachers – the double negative totally works in this sentence). I can’t help that I just really want to hit Ron in book four – but I get it. I still love him; please continue to follow my blog. Pretty please with sugar on top! I also promise not to talk about any more elements – I’ll stick with fire (unless one of you comments about other elements and then I might respond in a book-club-type-banter sort of way).

Before we really get going, I have to apologize. Every year I think December won’t be a busy month and then things pile up and I don’t write as many posts as I want to. I will try harder, at least to get HP – Mondays done.

Alright so I’m picking the Weasleys as this weeks topic because Matt commented (!) and we haven’t talked about this wizarding family nearly enough yet. In book 4 we finally get to hang out with the older brothers – three cheers for Bill and Charlie – both of whom don’t appear in the movies and really haven’t been in the books all that much yet (can you believe it?). I think this just proves how much of the story still has yet to be told. Before I forget – for those of you who’ve only seen the movies, I really want to know your take on Bill and Charlie in these next four books because I can’t believe this is the first time you’re being introduced to them. Also, for everyone else – Do you think both older brothers will make an appearance - or wedding scene – in the last two movies?

Weasleys. Yeah, they really are the opposite – or at the other end of the spectrum? – from Harry in basics. He has money, they don’t. They have a huge family; Harry has none (The Dursleys don’t count here). The Weasleys are about as pure-blood (not in the Malfoy way) as you can get, Harry’s mom comes from a non-magic family. The magic world constantly surprises Harry while the muggle world constantly surprises the Weasleys. The amount of stamps on the invitation to the Quidditch World Cup in book 4 is about as funny as the screaming phone call to the Dursley household in book 2.

I agree on the plot braiding – or plot magnifying? – Matt mentioned in his comments; Rowling has a way of bringing up the Weasley money issues and then making that an important sub-plot that at times braids into the main plot. Ginny’s books, Ron’s broken wand, Weasley Christmas sweaters, even the flying car are all plot advancements that also flesh out the Weasley essence.

The use of hand-me-down or borrowed items furthers the plot and subtly reminds the reader that money is (or is not?) an issue:
- Percy’s rat Scabbers – or secret keeper breaker Wormtail
- Ron’s dress robes
- The invisibility cloak (Yes, I know this is not a Weasley item, but it’s a gift which could just be hero cycle stuff, but also works in the hand-me-down aspect).
- The Marauder’s Map (both “borrowed” from Filch’s office, and handed down to Harry – Wow, he’s really collecting those hero cycle gifts).
- Even the Weasley tents used at the Quidditch World Cup are borrowed, and the tickets in the top box were awarded to Arthur.

The money issues aren’t new in book 4 – but they grow the characters. Fred & George have been saving and scheming for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes – and here again the leprechaun gold and constant secret keeping by the twins in this book do so much more than just show money issues. Also Percy – his role in this book is more pivotal than I realized before. He’s starting to pull away from the rest of his family and I think this has at least something to do with the not caring attitude of his parents. They aren’t rich, they don’t have a lot of money yet the Burrow is always a happy, friendly home. Arthur & Molly are more concerned with their kids and friends than money; but that’s not what Percy sees at the office day in and day out. So who’s right and who’s wrong?

There is just so much more to talk about. You can argue this point if you want – I love that I try to get people to argue and no one ever does…you can though. I’m not 100% correct, in fact I doubt if I’m even 60% correct. So share your thoughts!

Anyway, we could talk about the Weasleys (a gaggle of red-heads totally fits into my fire imagery theme too) for about thirty more posts, so I’ll just leave this one with a final thought. A friend recently commented on the Twilight series – after seeing the second movie – she thought it was horrible for the ordinary, normal guys to have to compete for Bella’s affection with a vampire and werewolf. I think her exact words were, “Team Edward or Team Jacob? What about Team Mike Newton. Let’s hear it for the nice, normal, average guy. I’m on his team!” So my final Harry Potter thought for today’s late post – if Harry is the chosen one and extra special then isn’t it nice that Hermione always chooses Ron – the nice, ordinary friend lost in the shuffle of extraordinary best friend and numerous bright, talented siblings?

Please insert your thought, comments, and ruminations here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

HP Monday – More fire, this time in a cup!

For those of you keeping up – Yes, I did finish my NaNo novel – or at least made it to 50,399 words, officially. It’s still not done, but hopefully I’ll have a completed first draft by mid December!

Alright, back to Harry Potter. You've all been waiting long enough. I’ve almost officially gotten over my crush on book and movie 3 and feel that I can turn my attentions towards the next, thicker novel. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire weighs in at 2 lbs and 636 pages (UK version) – that is SO many more words than 50, 399!

Honestly I just keep thinking about all of the fire imagery in HP – and I don’t even know what it all means or why I’m so fixated on it. But here we are in book # 4 and fire is even in the title! There are fire breathing dragons and a goblet of fire, joyous fires, fires in the sky, and a ceremonial fire of pure evil. There’s also the fiery red hair of the Weasleys, Fawkes – a bird born of fire, the firebolt, Rita Skeeter’s scorching quill, and a lot more I’m not thinking of, I'm sure.

So what’s with all the fire? Anyone? I know, I know, I’ve already blogged about fire in book 2, but it just keeps coming back. It’s one of the elements – which would be important in any wizarding world; but I know there is so much more. Hmmm…Fire symbolizes chaos and war but it also cleanses and purifies. It banishes the darkness and stands for love and undying desire. It can also stand for determination and independence. It’s always a very strong image and one that is not used lightly. I’m going to have to ponder fire (and write the word in bold) a lot more during this re-read.

Feel free to pick another element here; I’m sure there’s plenty of elemental symbolism to go around – I also like the use of water in book #4 a good deal (and even more in book #6).

Anyone have any general thoughts on book 4? I have to say I REALLY enjoyed it on this re-read; there’s a lot of growing and discovering in this one. And poor Ron – he’s really confused about a lot of things in this one – albeit, most of the time I just wanted to punch him in the face. Yes, I said it. I wanted to punch a literary character – and one of the good guys – in the face. If you are shocked by that, just wait until book #5 when I seriously want to do great bodily damage to Harry – arghhh, teenage angst rears its ugly head big time and I just see red (fire even?).

But I digress. I think we also need to talk about budding romance and love – because this is the first time we really see it occurring at Hogwarts. I’m a girl who spent six years of her adult life writing about beauty trends, so I love the Christmas ball a lot - clothes, hair, accessories, twirling - there's not bad here. Plus – and here I go again – nothing beats dance imagery! From a writer’s perspective I think this book would be the most fun and entertaining to write – you know, until the end when we suddenly all get really serious, very quickly.

So, talk about all of this already! What are you all waiting for? And, I’d also like to know if this is anyone’s favorite book? If so, then why? Oh come on, you knew I was going to ask…