Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thoughts On Harry Potter, Part 1

Well, this whole blogging every day had fizzled for a bit but I am still writing. Not exactly the pace I want, but I've been expending a lot of energy on summer school. I'm disappointed in myself, but here I go dipping my toe back into the blogging water.

I began my reread of Harry Potter yesterday obviously starting with Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. I forgot how genuinely genius these books were and Rowling's mastery. I had the book on my nightstand for a few weeks and I picked it up just to peruse the opening, then I looked up and it was 20 minutes later, so I had to force myself to put it aside, I had to bring my daughter to lacrosse practice. It's really amazing and draws you right in. You are transported to that alternate 1991. I'm about a third of the way through and love being fully immersed in the world for the first time in many, many years.

Rowling is a master worldbuilder and probably doesn't get the credit in the fantasy lit world for being so. Her magical world is just so well thought out. And she doles it out in nice bite sized portions for us to learn about without it being overbearing. The interesting part is that, as I remember them, the early books are very middle reader and as they go on they become very young adult then transfigures into something that borders on epic fantasy. And all along, she follows the rules she establishes early on with just the right amount of wiggle room where it doesn't matter.

Anyway, there's something I do want to address that was pointed out a few weeks back in a Twitter discussion I was having with Brianna Shrum. She had postulated that Dumbledore was a selfish dick for what he did. At first when she put this out on social media, I argued against it. But as I'm rereading it now, I kind of agree with her.

Dumbledore dropped Harry with his only blood relatives. Relatives that aren't wizards. I know that's what Campbell says is supposed to happen and it's handwaved away by Dumbledore with some excuse of him being raised an ego maniac or something to that effect. The only reason he would choose to do this was so that he could show up and be the big hero to Harry and therefore the world since Harry is literally a living weapon since he is the only thing that was able to stop Voldemort, a Voldemort that was banished (or something) but not gone. How Dumbledore, a schoolmaster, managed to smuggle away the only weapon they had against the Dark Lord for some ego trip is quite fascinating on some level.

Now the story teller in me instantly started assembling the story of the time period. The war is over thanks to an improbable victory that no one witnessed. They've figured out that Harry is the key, yet somehow Dumbledore talks the governing body to hide him with Muggles that have no hope of protecting him. There were other options. Lots of wizards and witches died in the war, there had to be lots of orphans, it would be easy to move him to another family as an orphan. who could abuse him not knowing who he is and you'd still be able to tell the story. (Already my brain is working out the story of a "working class wizard" or something like that.) Or a young, trusted, lesser branch of a powerful wizarding family could've spirited him away far from the wizarding world and raised him as a wizardHagrid. Yes, you'd lose some of the wonder of Harry discovering he's a wizard, but Rowling's talented enough that she could work around that. Or you could ship him off to America with an "uncle." There were options that Dumbledore ignored...cause he was kind of a dick.

A story I want to see/write myself: the post wizards war world. The wizarding world is in tatters. A generation of wizards and witches lost. Shattered families reunite Death Eaters with their Ministry siblings. The Ministry tries to reassemble the world that was destroyed while the specter of the Dark Lord skulks in the shadows of everyone's fragile minds, all while one of the most famous wizards in the world secretly spirits away the only reason the war is over: a living weapon swaddled in a baby's blanket.


Maria Mainero said...

I imagine perhaps it was still unclear as to who could and could not be trusted, in the wizarding world. Whereas the Dursleys could be trusted to vehemently supress any wizardly information from leaking due to their own bias and selfishness.

Nora said...

While I don't disagree that Dumbledore is in many ways a selfish dick, leaving him with the Dursleys was largely driven by the protection they offered due to being Lily's blood relatives.

John Zeleznik said...

Nora, I had someone else point that out to me. My memory is hazy of the latter books, so for now, I stand by my Dumbledore is a dick comment.

Maria, that makes a little more sense.