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RE: [mythsoc] HP6-a different view

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  • Croft, Janet B.
    Yes, I have to agree with both of you. It s character that does it for me, and there is that Dickensian way with both the eccentric and sympathetic
    Message 1 of 30 , Jul 26, 2005
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      Yes, I have to agree with both of you. It's character that does it for
      me, and there is that Dickensian way with both the eccentric and
      sympathetic characters, and even (or perhaps especially) the villains.
      And there's the background, the elaboate twists and cliff-hangers, the
      sense of a whole elaborate and crowded world. Thank goodness she's gone
      light on the death-of-Tiny-Tim sort of pathos that ruind Dickens for
      many people. I know David doesn't like Dickens much, and maybe that's
      the difference -- Dickens people and those who aren't Dickens people may
      have different reactions to Rowling.

      I didn't like Harry much in Book 5 either, but now I find him more
      sympathetic...











      SPOILER ALERT







      Though I am getting REALLY TIRED of heroes telling their girlfriends
      that it's too dangerous to be with them. Let the girl make up her own
      mind how much danger she's willing to face, fer heaven's sake! Though I
      can't see Harry's girl sitting meekly at home and staying out of
      things... She'll find a way to fight by his side.


      Janet Brennan Croft

      -----Original Message-----
      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of Walkermonk@...
      Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:27 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] HP6-a different view


      In a message dated 7/25/2005 10:46:27 PM Central Standard Time,
      saraciborski@... writes:

      Well, I will venture an opinion contrary to David's scathing one (and
      to the negative views expressed in a couple of other posts). I love all
      the Harry Potter books and I think the 6th, though not the best of the
      lot, is a great read. They are not literary masterpieces and the themes
      are at times muddled. But they are wonderfully engaging portrayals of
      some delightful characters, both children and adults.
      What draws me into Rowling's world and holds me there through
      occasional lapses in the writing is Harry himself: what counts in the
      story, what decides the outcome is not the magic tricks he does but his
      mix of courage, determination, longing (for his parents), ingenuity,
      loyalty, recklessness, fun-lovingness and other qualities that develop
      as he grows up. I would have missed getting to know him, had Rowling
      stopped with the bright, fresh and bouncy first book.

      Sara Ciborski



      -------------

      Sara, I agree with many of your points. In contrast to David B.'s
      experience, I found the first one to be enjoyable like candy is
      enjoyable -- sweet, quick, and gone. The second one didn't do much more
      for me, I enjoyed the third and fourth, and hated much of the fifth. In
      fact, I was actually angry about the fifth one. It had a couple of
      really good scenes, but the overall structure and the ending
      conversation between Dumbledore and Harry especially grated on me. And
      then somehow I find myself loving "Half-Blood Prince." I really feel
      strongly about it.

      Thanks for your post!
      Grace Monk



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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    • Debra Murphy
      I think Janet s is an astute observation. Rowlings has always reminded me of Dickens more than anyone, and it s a wild-and-woolly type of imagination,
      Message 2 of 30 , Jul 26, 2005
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        I think Janet's is an astute observation. Rowlings has always
        reminded me of Dickens more than anyone, and it's a wild-and-woolly
        type of imagination, especially with characters, that I find
        enormously attractive.

        My kids (aged 7 to 24) and I all love HP, and some of us are going to
        be re-reading the entire series in the next year in order to put
        together our own scenarios of how we think JKR will finish it all up.

        I, too, was somewhat annoyed with Harry in book 5, but felt it was not
        only important for the boy's character arc as an adolescent, but may
        also have plot significance which will only be illumined in no. 7.
        Loved number 6--Harry's maturity, the tightness of the plot, and the
        maddening cliffhanger about a certain character-who-will-not-be-named.

        Debra Murphy



        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Croft, Janet B.
        > S
        >
        > Yes, I have to agree with both of you. It's character that
        > does it for me, and there is that Dickensian way with both
        > the eccentric and sympathetic characters, and even (or
        > perhaps especially) the villains.
        > And there's the background, the elaboate twists and
        > cliff-hangers, the sense of a whole elaborate and crowded
        > world. Thank goodness she's gone light on the
        > death-of-Tiny-Tim sort of pathos that ruind Dickens for many
        > people. I know David doesn't like Dickens much, and maybe
        > that's the difference -- Dickens people and those who aren't
        > Dickens people may have different reactions to Rowling.
        >
        > I didn't like Harry much in Book 5 either, but now I find him
        > more sympathetic...



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      • David Bratman
        ... I m curious as to what generated that remark, for two reasons. First, the Rowling backlash, which I d define as an illogical burning resentment against
        Message 3 of 30 , Jul 29, 2005
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          At 08:22 AM 7/26/2005 -0700, Cai Cherie wrote:

          > The Rowling backlash has begun.

          I'm curious as to what generated that remark, for two reasons.

          First, the "Rowling backlash," which I'd define as an illogical burning
          resentment against the books for having the temerity to be popular, has
          been around since the first book. It sounds like you hadn't noticed this;
          if not, where have you been?

          Second, I don't recall anything on this list that could fairly be described
          as part of a "Rowling backlash." Certainly not from me: I went out of my
          way to say that I liked the first book and still do, and my post was merely
          a report that I found book 6 to be turgid and overweight.


          I find it interesting that the defenses of the book 6 that have come in
          since my post are not really disagreements with the problems I cited with
          it. I'm not sure if I should infer an acknowledgment that these problems
          are there, but the emphasis has been on why people who've enjoyed it have
          done so anyway, and what I might be lacking that I did not do so.

          The consensus seems to be that I'm just not that much into the characters.

          Well, it's true that the qualities I most admire in fiction are captivating
          prose and a compelling plot, not the personally-appealing qualities of the
          characters. But on the other hand I do expect the characterization to be
          moving: this is the reason I can't get into Thursday Next - the prose is
          great, but I can't figure out who these characters are or why I should care
          about them.

          And more relevantly there's this: it appears that among most Harry Potter
          fans the least-liked book is number 4. But that one was my favorite after
          number 1. Why? Because unlike numbers 2-3, where everything in the book
          was at the direct service of the plot, in number 4 there was room for the
          characterization to live and breathe and go off in directions of its own.
          I felt that this time I really got to know Harry and his friends as people.

          So I respectfully deny any implication that I have trouble dealing with
          books whose greatest virtue is the characterization. I wouldn't have
          thought, from what I read of it, that in-depth characterization was HP6's
          particular virtue anyway.

          I do, however, freely admit that when I read a good story, my first thought
          on finishing is NOT "I want to find out what happens to them next." What
          happens to them next should be what happens after the end of every good
          story: they live happily ever after, or at the very least ride off into the
          sunset. Tolkien understood this: when beginning LOTR he went to great
          efforts to figure out how to write a sequel to _The Hobbit_ that didn't
          undercut the earlier book's ending, that Bilbo "remained very happy to the
          end of his days." And the ending of LOTR was a beautifully modulated mix
          of the "happily ever after" and "ride off into the sunset" kinds of
          endings. Narnia works because the books are different kinds of stories
          about different characters. But if you keep writing story after story
          about the same characters, the tendency is to just keep throwing more and
          bigger problems at them. I don't find the position of "Well, Harry's an
          interesting character; how's he gonna handle THIS doozy?" to be sufficient
          to keep me reading. There's no closure, no satisfaction, the created world
          tends to collapse in on itself and the improbability level starts climbing,
          and a terrible sense of ennui rises up.

          The end of a singleton Harry Potter book would have given off an air of
          Harry settling down at Hogwarts after learning his way around, and yeah
          that brush with Voldemort was dicey, wasn't it? Maybe, since Rowling is
          trying to turn towards more adult stories, she could have written one
          sequel set in year 7 or after graduation in which Harry and Voldemort have
          a second and final showdown, and whose beginning would allude to the
          successes and minor adventures of the intervening years.

          David Bratman
        • Debra Murphy
          This is interesting to me that you have this reaction, Dave, to the end of LotR, because I have a completely different reaction to it. In my view, it is one
          Message 4 of 30 , Jul 30, 2005
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            This is interesting to me that you have this reaction, Dave, to the end of LotR, because I have a completely different reaction to it. In my view, it is one of the most heartbreaking endings in literature. Not overtly tragic, like Tess of the d-Urbervilles, sure; Bilbo is happy, Sam, Merry & Pippin all seem to end up fine, in spite of the Scouring of the Shire (the very thought of which kills me), but it seems to me that happiness is almost hard-wired into those characters' nature.

            Frodo, however, about whom we most care, has wounds that will never heal, and he is so broken he has to leave his beloved Shire for a measure of peace and healing--for me, his sailing into the West, though it may literally be a kind of "riding off into the sunset", has nothing of the happy-ever-after feel, or at least a sense of clusure, that I normally associate with that ending--say, the ending of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. On top of that, add the passing of the Elves, the preview (from the appendices) of what's to shake down in the lives of Aragorn and Arwen...yikes, I find it so painful in a way, that the older I get the harder time I have re-reading it.

            Debra Murphy

            ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
            From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>

            >I do, however, freely admit that when I read a good story, my first thought
            >on finishing is NOT "I want to find out what happens to them next." What
            >happens to them next should be what happens after the end of every good
            >story: they live happily ever after, or at the very least ride off into the
            >sunset. Tolkien understood this: when beginning LOTR he went to great
            >efforts to figure out how to write a sequel to _The Hobbit_ that didn't
            >undercut the earlier book's ending, that Bilbo "remained very happy to the
            >end of his days." And the ending of LOTR was a beautifully modulated mix
            >of the "happily ever after" and "ride off into the sunset" kinds of
            >endings.


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          • David Bratman
            Maybe Dave , whoever he is, thinks that LOTR has a purely cheerful ending, but David, the person you re replying to, said specifically that the book has a
            Message 5 of 30 , Jul 30, 2005
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              Maybe "Dave", whoever he is, thinks that LOTR has a purely cheerful ending,
              but David, the person you're replying to, said specifically that the book
              has a very mixed ending. The point of distinguishing "happily ever after"
              and "riding off into the sunset" is that they're different. An ending
              could be both at the same time, but "riding off into the sunset" is not a
              subset of "happy ever after."

              Even the happiest endings for Tolkien's characters have a bittersweet tinge
              (Sam will always miss Frodo, and Tolkien goes out of his way to remind us
              that Aragorn is mortal; other authors writing adventure stories have their
              characters miss the excitement and comradeship of their adventuring days
              but know they can never return).

              I haven't seen the Indiana Jones film you mention (the first one was boring
              and tedious enough, full of sound and fury signifying nothing), and I
              vaguely recall they're not in chronological order which confuses things,
              but it's already a series of sequels, and aren't they always threatening to
              make yet another one? That doesn't sound like a story with real closure to me.

              The point, though, is that the kinds of endings I'm referring to do have
              closure. More things may happen to these characters (see the "riding off
              into the sunset" ending of _The Princess Bride_), but we're not going to be
              told of them. The story is over, no sequels. No worthwhile novel could be
              made of the further adventures of Merry and Pippin, and what happens next
              to Frodo is literally unimaginable by fallible mortal.

              If a story does have real closure, an author wishing to write another one
              has two choices: 1) get around the closure by writing a different story; 2)
              undercut the closure. The first choice can work; the second almost always
              retroactively destroys the effectiveness of the original. The third choice
              is to avoid giving closure in the first place. Rowling knew she'd be
              writing more HP books, so she avoided making closure noises at the end of
              book 1 that she'd later have to undo, but the result is that the story
              doesn't end.

              David Bratman




              At 07:02 AM 7/30/2005 -0700, Debra Murphy wrote:
              >This is interesting to me that you have this reaction, Dave, to the end of
              >LotR, because I have a completely different reaction to it. In my view, it
              >is one of the most heartbreaking endings in literature. Not overtly tragic,
              >like Tess of the d-Urbervilles, sure; Bilbo is happy, Sam, Merry & Pippin
              >all seem to end up fine, in spite of the Scouring of the Shire (the very
              >thought of which kills me), but it seems to me that happiness is almost
              >hard-wired into those characters' nature.
              >
              >Frodo, however, about whom we most care, has wounds that will never heal,
              >and he is so broken he has to leave his beloved Shire for a measure of peace
              >and healing--for me, his sailing into the West, though it may literally be a
              >kind of "riding off into the sunset", has nothing of the happy-ever-after
              >feel, or at least a sense of clusure, that I normally associate with that
              >ending--say, the ending of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. On top of
              >that, add the passing of the Elves, the preview (from the appendices) of
              >what's to shake down in the lives of Aragorn and Arwen...yikes, I find it so
              >painful in a way, that the older I get the harder time I have re-reading it.
              >
              >Debra Murphy
              >
              >---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
              >From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
              >
              >>I do, however, freely admit that when I read a good story, my first thought
              >>on finishing is NOT "I want to find out what happens to them next." What
              >>happens to them next should be what happens after the end of every good
              >>story: they live happily ever after, or at the very least ride off into the
              >>sunset. Tolkien understood this: when beginning LOTR he went to great
              >>efforts to figure out how to write a sequel to _The Hobbit_ that didn't
              >>undercut the earlier book's ending, that Bilbo "remained very happy to the
              >>end of his days." And the ending of LOTR was a beautifully modulated mix
              >>of the "happily ever after" and "ride off into the sunset" kinds of
              >>endings.
              >
              >
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              >
              >
              >
              >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              >Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Mike Foster
              As the tomcat said when he kissed the skunk, Though it s been grand I ve enjoyed about all of this that I can stand . No offense & I ll come back later, but
              Message 6 of 30 , Aug 6, 2005
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                "As the tomcat said when he kissed the skunk, 'Though it's been grand
                I've enjoyed about all of this that I can stand'."

                No offense & I'll come back later, but after an eight-armed twelve-hour
                day of tweaking & polishing & printing out two papers for Brum, getting
                23 days of England>Geneva>Burgundy region>Alps packed into one carrion
                bag, and getting my Gilbert magazine piece on Brideshead Rev. by E.
                Waugh from nada to down from 756 to 706 words with 106 still to be cut
                by Sunday night, I am as toasted as a crumpet.

                John Updike was in Peoria speaking right after Rabbit At Rest was
                published in '99? and I asked him if we had seen the last of Rabbit.

                JU: 'Well, he wasn't looking very good the last time I saw him'

                Balderdoodahdash; there was
                a prequel in the New Yorker within months.

                But carry on & carrion. I'll be back. I go to watch Scorpio rising
                over the corn crib at Foster's Farm with a wee glass of plonk.

                Take good care of that kitten, Berni.

                Cheers,
                Mike




                Walkermonk@... wrote:

                >
                >In a message dated 7/25/2005 10:46:27 PM Central Standard Time,
                >saraciborski@... writes:
                >
                >Well, I will venture an opinion contrary to David's scathing one (and
                >to the negative views expressed in a couple of other posts). I love
                >all the Harry Potter books and I think the 6th, though not the best
                >of the lot, is a great read. They are not literary masterpieces and
                >the themes are at times muddled. But they are wonderfully engaging
                >portrayals of some delightful characters, both children and adults.
                >What draws me into Rowling's world and holds me there through
                >occasional lapses in the writing is Harry himself: what counts in the
                >story, what decides the outcome is not the magic tricks he does but
                >his mix of courage, determination, longing (for his parents),
                >ingenuity, loyalty, recklessness, fun-lovingness and other qualities
                >that develop as he grows up. I would have missed getting to know him,
                >had Rowling stopped with the bright, fresh and bouncy first book.
                >
                >Sara Ciborski
                >
                >
                >
                >-------------
                >
                >Sara, I agree with many of your points. In contrast to David B.'s
                >experience, I found the first one to be enjoyable like candy is enjoyable -- sweet,
                >quick, and gone. The second one didn't do much more for me, I enjoyed the third
                >and fourth, and hated much of the fifth. In fact, I was actually angry about
                >the fifth one. It had a couple of really good scenes, but the overall
                >structure and the ending conversation between Dumbledore and Harry especially grated
                >on me. And then somehow I find myself loving "Half-Blood Prince." I really
                >feel strongly about it.
                >
                >Thanks for your post!
                >Grace Monk
                >
                >
                >
                >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Mike Foster
                I second Ms. Monk s motion. Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis and perhaps is second only to Tolkien. Rank rash dismissal of her
                Message 7 of 30 , Oct 3, 2005
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                  I second Ms. Monk's motion.

                  Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis' and
                  perhaps is second only to Tolkien.

                  Rank rash dismissal of her reminds me of remark made to me by a retired
                  ICC earth science prof at an ol' bleeps' breakfast last week:
                  "When you started teaching that Tolkien class [in 1978], there were a
                  lot of people who were skeptical."

                  Yeah, well, coprolites to you, chum. Tolkien is literature of the
                  finest. Rowling may be nowhere near that level, but she should not be
                  sneered away to the toy department, Wendell.

                  As Pogo the possum used to say:
                  "Rowrbazzle!"

                  Cheers,
                  Mike

                  Walkermonk@... wrote:

                  >In a message dated 7/22/2005 9:48:29 AM Central Daylight Time,
                  >WendellWag@... writes:
                  >The Harry Potter
                  >books are still a teenage-angst series with magic names slapped on
                  >everything.
                  >This is incorrect. The stories are about the struggle between good and evil,
                  >and how difficult it is to sometimes recognize good and the sacrifices
                  >required for doing what is right. The ratio of magic names is quite low compared to
                  >just regular names. And teenage angst? When did angst become the sole province
                  >of teenagers and why is there contempt for teenage feelings? The situations
                  >being confronted by the teenagers in the HP books aren't for the faint of heart
                  >or the immature of character. Do the teenagers handle the situations
                  >differently than the adults portrayed? Yes. The teens aren't always correct either. But
                  >they matter, and I don't see anything wrong in that. The HP books aren't my
                  >favorite and I think they have some flaws. But Wendell's contemptuous one-line
                  >dismissal is far below what the books deserve.
                  >
                  >
                  >Incidentally, I read a news story about Rowling recently in which she said
                  >that she never read (or, more precisely, she never finished) either _The Lord
                  >of the Rings_ or _The Chronicles of Narnia_.
                  >Well, according to this particular article (which immediately loses points
                  >with me by mentioning Rowling's haircolor), Rowling must have at least read "The
                  >Last Battle." So if she hasn't finished Narnia, then I wonder which one(s)
                  >she left out. This is at odds, btw, with many other interviews and other
                  >statements about Lewis.
                  >
                  >Grace Monk
                  >
                  >
                  >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • WendellWag@aol.com
                  In a message dated 10/3/2005 11:47:03 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, mafoster@direcway.com writes: Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds
                  Message 8 of 30 , Oct 3, 2005
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                    In a message dated 10/3/2005 11:47:03 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                    mafoster@... writes:

                    Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis' and
                    perhaps is second only to Tolkien.


                    Oh, I think that Rowling's names are superb. If only the other aspects of
                    her books were as good.

                    Wendell Wagner


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Lezlie
                    Hi all- (a bit of a ramble...) I like Rowling OK-- don t get me wrong. I just wish she d stop saying dumb things about *Witches* . As a teacher & parent, the
                    Message 9 of 30 , Oct 6, 2005
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                      Hi all- (a bit of a ramble...)
                      I like Rowling OK-- don't get me wrong. I just wish she'd stop saying
                      dumb things about *Witches* . As a teacher & parent, the endless
                      conversations about "pretend witches" gets a bit wearing after a
                      while... it isn't as if there isn't piles of readily available
                      information these days. In 2005, there is little excuse to "not know"
                      any longer. Yeah-- the truth is very boring and fiction is ever so
                      much more *fun* ...<sniff>... and all of *that*. (I am a *fantasy* fan
                      after all.)
                      Some of her folklore is a bit off, too...especially involving elfish
                      critters. Of course, her knowledge of the occult in general is compete
                      claptrap, but it's fine for fiction, I suppose. Her world-building
                      skill is improving, however. Well, I could say all of that about a
                      *lot* of writers about a *lot* of things.
                      Rowling tells a good tale. Mostly. But, I haven't gone out and read
                      the last. I've been reading other people I like a lot better. Personal
                      taste, you know...

                      Not really impressed with the name-thing... not really... a bit too
                      Dickensonian, IMHO. A little *obvious* in this post modernist era (for
                      a novel set in modern times with magical twists and turns that is).

                      Now, Charles de Lint, in comparison, has his folklore right spot on,
                      spins magical yarns – if a bit awkward at times – . He shows that he
                      has done his research – no question—.
                      On the other hand, Rowling is incredibly successful; I have to hand
                      her that. And, the kids love her. Mostly harmless (as the cliche has
                      become) I guess. Lezlie



                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@d...> wrote:
                      > I second Ms. Monk's motion.
                      >
                      > Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis' and
                      > perhaps is second only to Tolkien.
                      >
                      > Rank rash dismissal of her reminds me of remark made to me by a retired
                      > ICC earth science prof at an ol' bleeps' breakfast last week:
                      > "When you started teaching that Tolkien class [in 1978], there were a
                      > lot of people who were skeptical."
                      >
                      > Yeah, well, coprolites to you, chum. Tolkien is literature of the
                      > finest. Rowling may be nowhere near that level, but she should not be
                      > sneered away to the toy department, Wendell.
                      >
                      > As Pogo the possum used to say:
                      > "Rowrbazzle!"
                      >
                      > Cheers,
                      > Mike
                      >
                      > Walkermonk@a... wrote:
                      >
                      > >In a message dated 7/22/2005 9:48:29 AM Central Daylight Time,
                      > >WendellWag@a... writes:
                      > >The Harry Potter
                      > >books are still a teenage-angst series with magic names slapped on
                      > >everything.
                      > >This is incorrect. The stories are about the struggle between good
                      and evil,
                      > >and how difficult it is to sometimes recognize good and the sacrifices
                      > >required for doing what is right. The ratio of magic names is quite
                      low compared to
                      > >just regular names. And teenage angst? When did angst become the
                      sole province
                      > >of teenagers and why is there contempt for teenage feelings? The
                      situations
                      > >being confronted by the teenagers in the HP books aren't for the
                      faint of heart
                      > >or the immature of character. Do the teenagers handle the situations
                      > >differently than the adults portrayed? Yes. The teens aren't always
                      correct either. But
                      > >they matter, and I don't see anything wrong in that. The HP books
                      aren't my
                      > >favorite and I think they have some flaws. But Wendell's
                      contemptuous one-line
                      > >dismissal is far below what the books deserve.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >Incidentally, I read a news story about Rowling recently in which
                      she said
                      > >that she never read (or, more precisely, she never finished) either
                      _The Lord
                      > >of the Rings_ or _The Chronicles of Narnia_.
                      > >Well, according to this particular article (which immediately loses
                      points
                      > >with me by mentioning Rowling's haircolor), Rowling must have at
                      least read "The
                      > >Last Battle." So if she hasn't finished Narnia, then I wonder which
                      one(s)
                      > >she left out. This is at odds, btw, with many other interviews and
                      other
                      > >statements about Lewis.
                      > >
                      > >Grace Monk
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                      > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                    • Pauline J. Alama
                      I think one of the reasons that stories about teenagers are popular - - whether the teenagers are named Harry Potter, Buffy Summers, Wart/Arthur, Theseus, or
                      Message 10 of 30 , Oct 13, 2005
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                        I think one of the reasons that stories about teenagers are popular -
                        - whether the teenagers are named Harry Potter, Buffy Summers,
                        Wart/Arthur, Theseus, or Perceval le Galois -- is that
                        adolescence/coming of age/whateveryouwwannacallit is an important
                        time in most people's lives, a time when we became the people we
                        are, and made some of the choices that have formed the rest of our
                        lives. Rather than dismissing HP because it's "teen lit" one might
                        more fairly say that part of its compelling appeal for many,
                        including many adults, is because of its honesty in portraying the
                        struggles and follies of adolescence. I know that in reading HP 5 I
                        kept saying, with a rueful groan, "Oh, yes--I remember being 15." A
                        couple of friends who are teachers found that book a bit of a
                        busman's holiday, becuase Harry seemed too much like their students.
                        Why make a weakness out of one of the series' strenghts? I admire
                        the candor and perceptiveness with which Rowling captures the
                        nuances of adolescents' mood swings, foibles, and triumphs. And she
                        never cheats. She never gives Harry insights inconsistent with his
                        level of maturity. She never steps out of POV in the Harry-POV
                        chapters to deliver Authorial Wisdom (except indirectly through a
                        more mature character's dialog). I think point of view is very
                        important in fiction, and Rowling's skill at this technique is not
                        often enough praised.

                        Pauline J. Alama
                        THE EYE OF NIGHT

                        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@d...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I second Ms. Monk's motion.
                        >
                        > Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis'
                        and
                        > perhaps is second only to Tolkien.
                        >
                        > Rank rash dismissal of her reminds me of remark made to me by a
                        retired
                        > ICC earth science prof at an ol' bleeps' breakfast last week:
                        > "When you started teaching that Tolkien class [in 1978], there
                        were a
                        > lot of people who were skeptical."
                        >
                        > Yeah, well, coprolites to you, chum. Tolkien is literature of the
                        > finest. Rowling may be nowhere near that level, but she should
                        not be
                        > sneered away to the toy department, Wendell.
                        >
                        > As Pogo the possum used to say:
                        > "Rowrbazzle!"
                        >
                        > Cheers,
                        > Mike
                        >
                        > Walkermonk@a... wrote:
                        >
                        > >In a message dated 7/22/2005 9:48:29 AM Central Daylight Time,
                        > >WendellWag@a... writes:
                        > >The Harry Potter
                        > >books are still a teenage-angst series with magic names slapped
                        on
                        > >everything.
                        > >This is incorrect. The stories are about the struggle between
                        good and evil,
                        > >and how difficult it is to sometimes recognize good and the
                        sacrifices
                        > >required for doing what is right. The ratio of magic names is
                        quite low compared to
                        > >just regular names. And teenage angst? When did angst become the
                        sole province
                        > >of teenagers and why is there contempt for teenage feelings? The
                        situations
                        > >being confronted by the teenagers in the HP books aren't for the
                        faint of heart
                        > >or the immature of character. Do the teenagers handle the
                        situations
                        > >differently than the adults portrayed? Yes. The teens aren't
                        always correct either. But
                        > >they matter, and I don't see anything wrong in that. The HP books
                        aren't my
                        > >favorite and I think they have some flaws. But Wendell's
                        contemptuous one-line
                        > >dismissal is far below what the books deserve.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >Incidentally, I read a news story about Rowling recently in which
                        she said
                        > >that she never read (or, more precisely, she never finished)
                        either _The Lord
                        > >of the Rings_ or _The Chronicles of Narnia_.
                        > >Well, according to this particular article (which immediately
                        loses points
                        > >with me by mentioning Rowling's haircolor), Rowling must have at
                        least read "The
                        > >Last Battle." So if she hasn't finished Narnia, then I wonder
                        which one(s)
                        > >she left out. This is at odds, btw, with many other interviews
                        and other
                        > >statements about Lewis.
                        > >
                        > >Grace Monk
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • Pauline J. Alama
                        I wouldn t say Rowling s folklore was off (by which I suppose you mean inaccurate ), but that she has decided to do different things with the folklore. As
                        Message 11 of 30 , Oct 13, 2005
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                          I wouldn't say Rowling's folklore was "off" (by which I suppose you
                          mean "inaccurate"), but that she has decided to do different things
                          with the folklore.

                          As Pete Seeger said of folk music, that's what makes it folk --
                          everyone sings it in their own way.

                          Pauline J. Alama
                          THE EYE OF NIGHT

                          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Lezlie" <lezlie1@z...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi all- (a bit of a ramble...)
                          > I like Rowling OK-- don't get me wrong. I just wish she'd stop
                          saying
                          > dumb things about *Witches* . As a teacher & parent, the endless
                          > conversations about "pretend witches" gets a bit wearing after a
                          > while... it isn't as if there isn't piles of readily available
                          > information these days. In 2005, there is little excuse to "not
                          know"
                          > any longer. Yeah-- the truth is very boring and fiction is ever so
                          > much more *fun* ...<sniff>... and all of *that*. (I am a *fantasy*
                          fan
                          > after all.)
                          > Some of her folklore is a bit off, too...especially involving
                          elfish
                          > critters. Of course, her knowledge of the occult in general is
                          compete
                          > claptrap, but it's fine for fiction, I suppose. Her world-building
                          > skill is improving, however. Well, I could say all of that about a
                          > *lot* of writers about a *lot* of things.
                          > Rowling tells a good tale. Mostly. But, I haven't gone out and read
                          > the last. I've been reading other people I like a lot better.
                          Personal
                          > taste, you know...
                          >
                          > Not really impressed with the name-thing... not really... a bit too
                          > Dickensonian, IMHO. A little *obvious* in this post modernist era
                          (for
                          > a novel set in modern times with magical twists and turns that
                          is).
                          >
                          > Now, Charles de Lint, in comparison, has his folklore right spot
                          on,
                          > spins magical yarns – if a bit awkward at times – . He shows that
                          he
                          > has done his research – no question—.
                          > On the other hand, Rowling is incredibly successful; I have to hand
                          > her that. And, the kids love her. Mostly harmless (as the cliche
                          has
                          > become) I guess. Lezlie
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@d...> wrote:
                          > > I second Ms. Monk's motion.
                          > >
                          > > Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis'
                          and
                          > > perhaps is second only to Tolkien.
                          > >
                          > > Rank rash dismissal of her reminds me of remark made to me by a
                          retired
                          > > ICC earth science prof at an ol' bleeps' breakfast last week:
                          > > "When you started teaching that Tolkien class [in 1978], there
                          were a
                          > > lot of people who were skeptical."
                          > >
                          > > Yeah, well, coprolites to you, chum. Tolkien is literature of
                          the
                          > > finest. Rowling may be nowhere near that level, but she should
                          not be
                          > > sneered away to the toy department, Wendell.
                          > >
                          > > As Pogo the possum used to say:
                          > > "Rowrbazzle!"
                          > >
                          > > Cheers,
                          > > Mike
                          > >
                          > > Walkermonk@a... wrote:
                          > >
                          > > >In a message dated 7/22/2005 9:48:29 AM Central Daylight Time,
                          > > >WendellWag@a... writes:
                          > > >The Harry Potter
                          > > >books are still a teenage-angst series with magic names
                          slapped on
                          > > >everything.
                          > > >This is incorrect. The stories are about the struggle between
                          good
                          > and evil,
                          > > >and how difficult it is to sometimes recognize good and the
                          sacrifices
                          > > >required for doing what is right. The ratio of magic names is
                          quite
                          > low compared to
                          > > >just regular names. And teenage angst? When did angst become the
                          > sole province
                          > > >of teenagers and why is there contempt for teenage feelings? The
                          > situations
                          > > >being confronted by the teenagers in the HP books aren't for the
                          > faint of heart
                          > > >or the immature of character. Do the teenagers handle the
                          situations
                          > > >differently than the adults portrayed? Yes. The teens aren't
                          always
                          > correct either. But
                          > > >they matter, and I don't see anything wrong in that. The HP
                          books
                          > aren't my
                          > > >favorite and I think they have some flaws. But Wendell's
                          > contemptuous one-line
                          > > >dismissal is far below what the books deserve.
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >Incidentally, I read a news story about Rowling recently in
                          which
                          > she said
                          > > >that she never read (or, more precisely, she never finished)
                          either
                          > _The Lord
                          > > >of the Rings_ or _The Chronicles of Narnia_.
                          > > >Well, according to this particular article (which immediately
                          loses
                          > points
                          > > >with me by mentioning Rowling's haircolor), Rowling must have at
                          > least read "The
                          > > >Last Battle." So if she hasn't finished Narnia, then I wonder
                          which
                          > one(s)
                          > > >she left out. This is at odds, btw, with many other interviews
                          and
                          > other
                          > > >statements about Lewis.
                          > > >
                          > > >Grace Monk
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                          > > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          >
                        • Lezlie
                          All I can say is this: I don t like Pete Seeger s expurgated renditions of old folk songs, either. His orgiinals are fine, very sing-alongable -- So, there
                          Message 12 of 30 , Oct 13, 2005
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                            All I can say is this: I don't like Pete Seeger's expurgated
                            renditions of old folk songs, either. His orgiinals are fine, very
                            sing-alongable -- So, there you have it. Matter of personal taste, I
                            *suppose*.

                            There are Other authors I like better, even for youth, but Rowling
                            serves a very important purpose in the literacy battle. And, that
                            battle, we cannot afford to loose. More HP, I say! Bring them on!

                            Lezlie

                            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Pauline J. Alama" <PJAlama@e...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I wouldn't say Rowling's folklore was "off" (by which I suppose you
                            > mean "inaccurate"), but that she has decided to do different things
                            > with the folklore.
                            >
                            > As Pete Seeger said of folk music, that's what makes it folk --
                            > everyone sings it in their own way.
                            >
                            > Pauline J. Alama
                            > THE EYE OF NIGHT
                            >
                            > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Lezlie" <lezlie1@z...> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hi all- (a bit of a ramble...)
                            > > I like Rowling OK-- don't get me wrong. I just wish she'd stop
                            > saying
                            > > dumb things about *Witches* . As a teacher & parent, the endless
                            > > conversations about "pretend witches" gets a bit wearing after a
                            > > while... it isn't as if there isn't piles of readily available
                            > > information these days. In 2005, there is little excuse to "not
                            > know"
                            > > any longer. Yeah-- the truth is very boring and fiction is ever so
                            > > much more *fun* ...<sniff>... and all of *that*. (I am a *fantasy*
                            > fan
                            > > after all.)
                            > > Some of her folklore is a bit off, too...especially involving
                            > elfish
                            > > critters. Of course, her knowledge of the occult in general is
                            > compete
                            > > claptrap, but it's fine for fiction, I suppose. Her world-building
                            > > skill is improving, however. Well, I could say all of that about a
                            > > *lot* of writers about a *lot* of things.
                            > > Rowling tells a good tale. Mostly. But, I haven't gone out and read
                            > > the last. I've been reading other people I like a lot better.
                            > Personal
                            > > taste, you know...
                            > >
                            > > Not really impressed with the name-thing... not really... a bit too
                            > > Dickensonian, IMHO. A little *obvious* in this post modernist era
                            > (for
                            > > a novel set in modern times with magical twists and turns that
                            > is).
                            > >
                            > > Now, Charles de Lint, in comparison, has his folklore right spot
                            > on,
                            > > spins magical yarns – if a bit awkward at times – . He shows that
                            > he
                            > > has done his research – no question—.
                            > > On the other hand, Rowling is incredibly successful; I have to hand
                            > > her that. And, the kids love her. Mostly harmless (as the cliche
                            > has
                            > > become) I guess. Lezlie
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@d...> wrote:
                            > > > I second Ms. Monk's motion.
                            > > >
                            > > > Rowling has a nominative (name-giving) gift that exceeds Lewis'
                            > and
                            > > > perhaps is second only to Tolkien.
                            > > >
                            > > > Rank rash dismissal of her reminds me of remark made to me by a
                            > retired
                            > > > ICC earth science prof at an ol' bleeps' breakfast last week:
                            > > > "When you started teaching that Tolkien class [in 1978], there
                            > were a
                            > > > lot of people who were skeptical."
                            > > >
                            > > > Yeah, well, coprolites to you, chum. Tolkien is literature of
                            > the
                            > > > finest. Rowling may be nowhere near that level, but she should
                            > not be
                            > > > sneered away to the toy department, Wendell.
                            > > >
                            > > > As Pogo the possum used to say:
                            > > > "Rowrbazzle!"
                            > > >
                            > > > Cheers,
                            > > > Mike
                            > > >
                            > > > Walkermonk@a... wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > >In a message dated 7/22/2005 9:48:29 AM Central Daylight Time,
                            > > > >WendellWag@a... writes:
                            > > > >The Harry Potter
                            > > > >books are still a teenage-angst series with magic names
                            > slapped on
                            > > > >everything.
                            > > > >This is incorrect. The stories are about the struggle between
                            > good
                            > > and evil,
                            > > > >and how difficult it is to sometimes recognize good and the
                            > sacrifices
                            > > > >required for doing what is right. The ratio of magic names is
                            > quite
                            > > low compared to
                            > > > >just regular names. And teenage angst? When did angst become the
                            > > sole province
                            > > > >of teenagers and why is there contempt for teenage feelings? The
                            > > situations
                            > > > >being confronted by the teenagers in the HP books aren't for the
                            > > faint of heart
                            > > > >or the immature of character. Do the teenagers handle the
                            > situations
                            > > > >differently than the adults portrayed? Yes. The teens aren't
                            > always
                            > > correct either. But
                            > > > >they matter, and I don't see anything wrong in that. The HP
                            > books
                            > > aren't my
                            > > > >favorite and I think they have some flaws. But Wendell's
                            > > contemptuous one-line
                            > > > >dismissal is far below what the books deserve.
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >Incidentally, I read a news story about Rowling recently in
                            > which
                            > > she said
                            > > > >that she never read (or, more precisely, she never finished)
                            > either
                            > > _The Lord
                            > > > >of the Rings_ or _The Chronicles of Narnia_.
                            > > > >Well, according to this particular article (which immediately
                            > loses
                            > > points
                            > > > >with me by mentioning Rowling's haircolor), Rowling must have at
                            > > least read "The
                            > > > >Last Battle." So if she hasn't finished Narnia, then I wonder
                            > which
                            > > one(s)
                            > > > >she left out. This is at odds, btw, with many other interviews
                            > and
                            > > other
                            > > > >statements about Lewis.
                            > > > >
                            > > > >Grace Monk
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                            > > > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > >
                            >
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