Re: O.W.L.'s in Harry Potter
- My .02:
Liked HP 1 a lot. Liked #2 a bit less. Loved #3 more than #1. Liked #4
least of the first 4, rather disliked #5. The latest seemed somewhat a
return to form, better than 4 or 5, not quite as good as the first 3.
The length was a problem with both 4 and 5. 6 was too long also, but the
first thing any sensible editor with blue pencil would trim would be the
first chapter in which (no spoilers here) the Minister of Magic visits
the "real" British Prime Minister to keep him abreast of the true causes
behind various troubling events in the world. This entire chapter had
nothing much to do with anything, except to set an atmosphere of growing
doom and terror -- something Rowling could have done much better by
allusions throughout the story (where they are entirely lacking, as
though she had forgotten all about this detail, alas). On the other
hand, that chapter is both charming and funny, a nice tonic to the lack
of humor generally seen at Hogwarts since Fred and George were expelled.
The final chapter would have been much more moving and powerful with a
few pages' worth trimmed.
I don't think Rowling overwrites as much as Stephen King though, and a
lot of what seems like junk here in #6 just might turn out to be
invaluable preparations for events in the concluding chapter. This is
one story, after all, and nobody has read it to the end yet. As such we
cannot judge it finally.
Some of what seems flabby in Rowling is her conversations and daily
scenes, which are long because she makes them perfectly natural, which
is why, I think, that in spite of being long, they read very quickly.
No doubt another factor in the length of the volumes is that we are all,
fans and publisher alike, only too eager to read the next. With much of
the publisher's profits deriving from this one book, few editors would
have the guts to send the MS back to Miss Rowling with instructions for
a re-write, which might take her another half year!
There is also the Titan that is Time/Warner, the media giant that
officially 'owns' Harry Potter, Hogwarts, Dumbledore, Ron and Hermione,
Hagrid, Snape and all the rest. Look at the ugliness right there on the
copyright page of "...the Half Blood Prince"
- ONe tidbit I didn't see mentioned in the various takes on the theory: at the end Harry rather considers "getting Snape" as a possible by-product, but isn't overly concerned with Snape or Malfoy. One could counter that he is focused on Voldemort, but I'm not sure I buy that as just putting Snape out of mind.
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