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Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??

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  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
    What bothers me most about the Harry Potter books, morally speaking, is that Harry often seems protected from the consequences of his actions. When (say)
    Message 1 of 31 , Mar 1, 2003
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      What bothers me most about the Harry Potter books, morally speaking, is
      that Harry often seems protected from the consequences of his actions. When
      (say) Eustace and Jill stuff things up in _The Silver Chair_, they know it
      and have to live with it >>

      Well exactly. There is a good starting point. I am thinking of a sort of
      shift from assumed hierarchical authoritarian type values, to something
      with more unknowns. Harry doesn't know anything about his parents, and we
      the readers can only guess at things like Dumbledore's relation to Hagrid,
      and what's the story with Snape... Harry has to muddle through doing what
      seems right, rules to the contrary. Sometimes, and I have not read them
      recently nor often, I think Harry has some foreknowledge (inklings or
      information) of things unpleasant, and yet faces them, well, as best as any
      man could. Sorry for the sexism.

      There is a lot of fiction today that muddles through, trying to find the
      Truth and all, and I"m not saying it's all mythopoeic. I guess I am sort
      of of the Kristofferson/Cash school. I have to find the tape with a song I
      was trying to remember in the shower this morning. There are a lot of
      stories, in the older country songs, about finding your way through dark
      places, and falling down a lot. I don't really know anything about
      today's country-pop.

      We can't trust most of the old authorities... or rather we have to pick and
      choose when we can believe them and when we can't. We can't trust
      ourselves either, rationalization is a powerful thing. (I have my favorite
      well-loved vices to be sure.) At the end of The Last Battle, Aslan says
      something very profound about service... you can do the wrong thing and say
      you are serving him but really you are serving the Enemy... and you can do
      the right thing without seeming to know him and yet be serving him.

      I am not saying that Rowling is a great mythic writer necessarily, because
      I haven't really been that moved by Harry. But the question raised, about
      how to recognize things today, is one I like to chew on. And also we are
      reading this as grownups. It would be different to read it as youngsters.

      I was recently challenged to go back and try to reread some Burroughs, like
      the Mars or Venus books. After I struggle on a bit with the Lensman books,
      and a few other things, I will take up that challenge and see if I find
      them as entertaining and colorful as I did 20 years ago -- or if I can't
      swallow them atall.

      Lizzie Triano
      amor vincit omnia
    • Paul F. Labaki
      Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly. Peace, Paul Labaki From: David S Bratman Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Date: Sat, 01
      Message 31 of 31 , Mar 10, 2003
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        Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly.

        Paul Labaki

        From: David S Bratman <dbratman@...>
        Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 09:33:14 -0800
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??

        Lizzie, what do you mean? That writing in the spirit of the Inklings
        should be currently pertinent? Lewis wouldn't think so. He says somewhere
        that nothing goes out of date faster than that which tries hardest to stay
        up to date. (My own phrasing of this, conceived independently, is "Those
        who live by the cutting edge die by the cutting edge.") The Inklings were
        in search of what was eternally up to date, and that is why their 40 to 70
        year old novels are still meaningful and read today. LOTR in particular
        was considered by many to be ludicrously out of step with the current
        concerns of the 1950s, but the Inklings suspected it would wear better than
        many of the more typical cultural artifacts of the era, and they were
        right. Those who admired it when it was new thought it would be a
        masterpiece at any date.

        That spirit is part of what I'm looking for when I'm searching for new
        books in the spirit of the Inklings. I want books that would have been
        just as good if they were published 50 years ago as they are now, because
        those are the ones that will be just as good 50 years from now.

        - David Bratman

        At 07:23 AM 3/1/2003 -0500, Lizzie Triano wrote:

        >I think it is worth discussing. I don't know what my opinion is on the
        >specific Rowling question, but I have long been developing the opinion that
        >the Inkling Spirit today would be perhaps unrecognizable to the Inklings
        >Then. After all, the churches probably are, post-Vatican-II and ordaining
        >women priests, arguing the various sex and social justice issues, and all
        >sorts of such things. There is surrealism and spirituality in the
        >non-churched (which was of course true in the Victorian era), and there
        >needs must be practicality and stuff in the church (which I would imagine
        >there was among veteran Christians such as Tolkien, more than among today's
        >peace-raised peoples). We are not hungry enough, we are too content. What
        >would the Spirit tell stories about today?

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