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My two bits on HPV

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  • Kevin Bowring
    Well, I just finish HPV. I am afraid I didn t enjoy it as much as the others, and I agree that it was too long. During this book I kept re-imagining scenes
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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      Well, I just finish HPV. I am afraid I didn't enjoy it as much as the others,
      and I agree that it was too long. During this book I kept re-imagining scenes in
      forms that I would have liked better. Coleridge made a distinction between
      fantasy and imagination: Rowling seems to operate from the former more than the
      latter--she doesn't really seem to reach the "mythic" very often, and I keep
      wanting to sense something deeper going on beneath the story surface. I felt
      this from the beginning, but the earlier book were enjoyable for their shear
      inventiveness. Now what was often fresh in the beginning feels repetitive, and
      this book doesn't advance much by revealing deeper layers. Also, I want Harry to
      grow as a character, but he seems much the same at the end of HPV as he does at
      the beginning, despite everything that has happened.
      Alas....
      Still, I can't make a final judgment until two more books arrive.
      Kevin
    • alexeik@aol.com
      In a message dated 6/30/3 5:12:37 PM, Kevin wrote: He called them fancy and imagination,
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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        In a message dated 6/30/3 5:12:37 PM, Kevin wrote:

        <<Coleridge made a distinction between
        fantasy and imagination:>>

        He called them fancy and imagination, however.
        Alexei
      • Kevin Bowring
        You re right of course. (An embarassing slip up that I ll conveniently blame on too little sleep over the last few days.) I would still tend to see Rowling
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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          You're right of course. (An embarassing slip up that I'll conveniently blame on
          too little sleep over the last few days.) I would still tend to see Rowling
          operating at the level of fancy--though I still hope for more.
          Kevin

          alexeik@... wrote:

          > In a message dated 6/30/3 5:12:37 PM, Kevin wrote:
          >
          > <<Coleridge made a distinction between
          > fantasy and imagination:>>
          >
          > He called them fancy and imagination, however.
          > Alexei
          >
          >
          > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
          He called them fancy and imagination, however. OK gentlemen. And how did he define them?
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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            <<Coleridge made a distinction between
            fantasy and imagination:>>

            He called them fancy and imagination, however. >>

            OK gentlemen. And how did he define them? And in which category did the
            Xanadu fragment fall?

            and thank you Alexei for the dictionary info... I was hoping you would jump
            in there. :-)

            Lizzie Triano
            lizziewriter@...
            amor vincit omnia
          • Kevin Bowring
            My goodness, I knew I should keep my mouth shut!!! Here I am, sitting in my office trying to work on my dissertation and now I have created a huge distraction
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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              My goodness, I knew I should keep my mouth shut!!! Here I am, sitting in my
              office trying to work on my dissertation and now I have created a huge
              distraction for myself. I will really have to reply to this later, because the
              answer is quite involved. But a brief, first approximation might be something
              like this:

              Coleridge, following a long philosophic tradition, distinguished between insights
              into the deep structure and meaning of existence which are a reflection of divine
              origin of things (Coleridge calls this Reason, or sometimes the platonic NOUS
              [Latin, Intellectus]), and more superficial insights have to do with means and
              ends or simple causes and effects (this he calls Understanding, or the platonic
              DIANOIA [Latin, Ratio]). Imagination is connected to the deeper form of insight,
              fancy to the more superficial and is characterized by a kind of rearrangement and
              cobbling together of things well known. Fancy, I would say, may be creative,
              inventive, and entertaining (it may also manifest itself as the worst forms of
              kitsch), but Imagination touches some deeper mystery--the mythic, the (Ugh,
              forgive me!) metaphysical. Tolkien's "subcreation" is closely related to
              Coleridge's Imagination.

              These matters are highly controversial in literary circles, of course. I just
              have to say that I am on the side of Owen Barfield's interpretation of all this;
              I would highly recommend his What Coleridge Thought for the details (chapters VII
              and VIII), as well as his Poetic Diction which approaches the same subject matter
              from a rather different direction.

              No doubt, others of you out there know a lot more about this than I do and will
              have some corrections, qualifications, and outright objections. That's one of
              the reasons why I joined this list. If someone better than myself (please God)
              doesn't clear all this up, I will try to put something together when I am at home
              and have to right books at my fingertips.

              Cheers,
              Kevin

              Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:

              > <<Coleridge made a distinction between
              > fantasy and imagination:>>
              >
              > He called them fancy and imagination, however. >>
              >
              > OK gentlemen. And how did he define them? And in which category did the
              > Xanadu fragment fall?
              >
              > and thank you Alexei for the dictionary info... I was hoping you would jump
              > in there. :-)
              >
              > Lizzie Triano
              > lizziewriter@...
              > amor vincit omnia
              >
              >
              > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            • Berni Phillips
              From: Kevin Bowring ... others, ... I just finished it as well. Yes, it had a hefty page count, but it never bored me and I zipped through
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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                From: "Kevin Bowring" <bowring@...>


                > Well, I just finish HPV. I am afraid I didn't enjoy it as much as the
                others,
                > and I agree that it was too long.

                I just finished it as well. Yes, it had a hefty page count, but it never
                bored me and I zipped through it in two days, so I would say it didn't feel
                too long to me.

                From here on, I'm going to go into spoiler territory, so

                SPOILER SPACE

                S

                P

                O

                I

                L

                E

                R


                S

                P

                A

                C

                E



                >During this book I kept re-imagining scenes in
                > forms that I would have liked better. Coleridge made a distinction
                between
                > fantasy and imagination: Rowling seems to operate from the former more
                than the
                > latter--she doesn't really seem to reach the "mythic" very often, and I
                keep
                > wanting to sense something deeper going on beneath the story surface.

                I felt this was a transitional book. Harry is so moody, he is much less
                likeable. It was kind of a shock to find out that his father tormented
                Snape when they were students. James Potter and Sirius were likened to Fred
                and George, but their bullying behavior was more like Malfoy and his
                cronies. It was inexcusable at any age. So maybe James wasn't the shining
                hero we've been led to believe. And Aunt Petunia is shown in a slightly
                more favorable light.

                I see the whole series as light fantasy -- not much of the mythic except in
                the creation of a hidden world of magic and her use of mythological
                creatures -- including the original ones which Hagrid brings into class.

                >I felt
                > this from the beginning, but the earlier book were enjoyable for their
                shear
                > inventiveness.

                I agree, this is one of the series' strongest charms. There was not much
                new except for Fred's and George's joke-shop inventions, which weren't
                terribly amusing to the reader.

                >Also, I want Harry to
                > grow as a character, but he seems much the same at the end of HPV as he
                does at
                > the beginning, despite everything that has happened.

                No, he doesn't really grow. He's stuck in an adolescent state of hormones
                and rebelliousness that isn't terribly attractive.

                Ginny Weasley, though -- keep your eye on that girl! Note how smoothly
                she's going through puberty, socially-speaking. She's picking and choosing
                which guys she wants to date, she's good at Quidditch, and she's showing
                strong skills as a wizard already.

                Another one who grew in this book was Neville. I was afraid that he was to
                be the one killed off, which would have been a pity as he is just now
                blossoming. Wouldn't it be a hoot if he were the one who kills Voldemort in
                the end after all?

                I found the death of Sirius didn't really touch me that much. He, too, was
                much less appealing in this book. We saw him as a teen, egging on James to
                torment Snape. He tries to live vicariously through Harry, egging him on to
                what he shouldn't. His death was nowhere near as touching as the torment
                Mrs. Weasley went through with the boggart showing her all her loved ones
                dead.

                It was good to get a good reason why Harry has to return to Privet Drive
                each summer and also that the Sorting Hat had wanted to put Hermione in
                Ravenclaw, where she so clearly belongs.

                Berni
              • Kevin Bowring
                ... I agree--I thought they were positively tedious, despite their usefulness against Umbridge. ... This was part of the problem with the book: over the course
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 30, 2003
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                  Berni Phillips wrote:

                  > There was not much new except for Fred's and George's joke-shop inventions,
                  > which weren't terribly amusing to the reader.

                  I agree--I thought they were positively tedious, despite their usefulness against
                  Umbridge.

                  > No, he doesn't really grow. He's stuck in an adolescent state of hormones
                  > and rebelliousness that isn't terribly attractive.

                  This was part of the problem with the book: over the course of some 870 pages, a
                  little growth would be good, even if as you rightly say this is a "transitional
                  book".

                  Also, I entirely agree with you about Ginny and Neville, although Ron and
                  Hermione seemed a little flatter as characters.

                  > I found the death of Sirius didn't really touch me that much. He, too, was
                  > much less appealing in this book. We saw him as a teen, egging on James to
                  > torment Snape. He tries to live vicariously through Harry, egging him on to
                  > what he shouldn't. His death was nowhere near as touching as the torment
                  > Mrs. Weasley went through with the boggart showing her all her loved ones
                  > dead.

                  This is exactly the kind of thing that was problematic to me. And because you
                  don't feel strongly about the death of Sirius--a character I had really liked in
                  the previous books--Harry's anger at Dumbledore seems forced and too peevish.
                  Also, the confrontation between Harry and Dumbledore opened up enormous
                  imaginative possibilities that, it seemed to me, never came to fruition. I hate
                  it when I am imagining something better than what is in the book! I also found
                  myself circling clunky phraseology. (Maybe I was just getting cranky from doing
                  so much writing of my own.)

                  > It was good to get a good reason why Harry has to return to Privet Drive
                  > each summer and also that the Sorting Hat had wanted to put Hermione in
                  > Ravenclaw, where she so clearly belongs.

                  Again, couldn't agree more--but more could have been, should have been, done with
                  it.

                  Berni, I appreciated all your comments

                  Kevin
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