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

Monday, January 4, 2010

HP Monday – International Relations, The LEGO effect, & A New Year Resolution


The one resolution I will keep this year is to write on my blog more than once a month. Preferably every Monday for this book club blog – but I promise to write more than once a month. That being said, I say we take a little longer on book 4 here, because 1) I haven’t watched the movie again yet and 2) I haven’t started reading book 5 yet and 3) because there’s just so much more to say about book 4.

Apparently, book clubs work out for everyone who isn’t me. When do people find time in their busy schedules to get together and discuss a book on a regular basis anyway? As you can all tell, I’m having problems writing a post once a week – and that’s just me sitting down with myself talking about things I want to talk about and then letting you all take your time and comment (or not) at will.

So as we look at book 4 this week (Did that sound like I’m a book club leader at all? I was trying…except I’d probably hate anyone who took it upon themselves to be the “book club leader”, and then I’d stop going to the book club again – or get all angry at the book like it’s the book’s fault that I have to sit and listen to the neighborhood gossip get on her high horse and become preachy “book club leader” while she passes around homemade appetizers which she insists on calling hors d’oeuvres…Yeah OK, I’m done with that now).

So as we look at book 4 this week, you have to admire Rowling’s tenacity to tackle some tough issues in her children’s books without becoming awkward or preachy. Book 4 begins with the relations between Muggles and wizards and moves on to international relations of wizards with some sidetracks into magical creature relations, family relations and servant/employee relations. Each of these relationship topics braids into each other, magnifying, echoing and – whether she meant to or not – parodying (in the case of SPEW) the other relationships. Sorry, that was a bit of a tongue-twister (says evil “book club leader” lady. Hey, I’ve just made some puff pastry wheels and punch).

Yes, I’m a little scatterbrained today, but I’m going to keep typing until I get a post out there. This means, I’m essentially going to leave a list of things I’d like to talk about in book #4; if anything strikes your fancy feel free to comment on it below. If, while leaving my list, anything strikes my fancy I to will comment on it below – or further in the blog post itself.

• Family dynamics (not just the Weasleys, although they are the Waltons of the wizarding world).
• Walking a gray line (Hermione is my best example of this from previous books, but there are quite a few wizards and witches who tend to tread lightly/dabble in the dark arts/just blur the lines between good and bad. Where are the consequences?)
• Dark Lord rising. (Yep, he does that here. And that makes this book important.)
• Burying your head in the sand (we all do it and so do wizards apparently. Open your eyes people!)
• Teen/young love (Um, have I mentioned the Christmas Ball yet? It’s awesome. I want to go next year. As an adult though – dances scared the crap out of me when I was a teen myself. All those emotions and hormones set to music – yikes).
• Continuing friendships and how they change (i.e. – believing your friend, falling in love with your friend, choosing your friends (and by not choosing them, choosing your enemies.) Also finding new friends and keeping the old – one is silver and the other gold – yes, I did type that but then I threw up a little in my mouth. Psst – this means it was meant to be sarcastic. I know it’s hard to read that, so I thought I’d spell it out for you.)
• Chapter One – keeping and holding an audience.
• Page 600 and beyond – keeping and holding an audience.
• Why do fantasy and sci-fi books get to be so much longer than other YA and literary fiction books?
• Should all wizards be eco-friendly? Rah, rah save our dying planet and the dragons.
• Should all wizards be egotistical or solipsistic (Sorry Mara, like Jack or Jill rabbit, I just can’t let this one die!!!)
• Which dragon really is the scariest and why?
• Reoccurring maternal and fire imagery (Seriously people, I don’t think you realize how much fire imagery is placed next to mother imagery. What does this mean?!?!)
• Are these books changing readership (or genres – mid-grade to YA to adult) as they progress and how is that accomplished? Are there conscious target audience shifts by the author; and if so is this a gamble for Rowling or not?

See why I’m all over the place. There is just too much. Please comment. If you don’t comment, I’m moving on to the movie next week and we will wrap up book 4 the week after that. If you do comment, and you want to discuss all of these things more in depth, then we will stay with this book longer.

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