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Re: [mythsoc] phoenix rising

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  • Berni Phillips
    From: Jeremy Robinson ... Let s put in some spoiler space, shall we? H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S ... Tiresome, maybe,
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 20, 2003
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      From: "Jeremy Robinson" <jrobinson@...>


      > First thoughts on 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'.

      Let's put in some spoiler space, shall we?

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      > The book seemed to slow down too much in the Grimmauld Place chapters. Mrs
      > Weasley got incredibly tiresome with her continual shouting and screaming.

      Tiresome, maybe, but I think it highlighted just how stressed out and on
      edge she was. At the beginning, she seems to be the only one who truly
      knows how painful another wizards' war will be. And it foreshadowed the
      attack on her husband.

      And
      > Harry's restless anger was became tedious. Rowling seemed to be trying for
      a
      > 'darker', more 'rebellious' Harry, a misunderstood, hormonal teenager, but
      the
      > repetitive outbursts of rage didn't build up to something greater.

      It's like Harry has really become a teenager with all the worst excesses of
      moodiness. I call this a transitional book largely because of this.
      Harry's not a cute, precocious kid any more. He's an adolescent going
      through hard times. Some of the hardest for him in this book is seeing his
      father slip off his white horse. Harry's view of many of the adults around
      him is changing. His father not only wasn't perfect, a gracious hero, but
      he was the arrogant show-off Snape said he was. Sirius, instead of
      providing a good example as a responsible adult, is trying to relive his
      youth through Harry and his friends.

      > Neville's insane parents in the hospital were, in a way, the most
      disturbing
      > image in the book (the narrator underlines this: 'Neville looked around at
      the
      > others, his expression defiant, as though daring them to laugh, but Harry
      did
      > not think he'd ever found anything less funny in his life').

      > The idea of Harry teaching a Dark Arts club was genius.

      Yes, especially in the difference it made in his fellow students. Neville
      is going to impress his grandmother one of these days. He made enormous
      strides in competance and self-confidence in this book. I predict he will
      have a major role in the last book.

      > But a close second to Umbridge as a loathsome villain is
      > the psychopathic witch Bellatrix.

      She was too much of a cartoon for me, but again, she tortured Neville (as
      she did his parents) and the two of them may well have a major role in the
      future.

      > Rowling didn't seem to know exactly what to do with Sirius (or Lupin).

      I was sorry not to see more of Lupin. I like his character a lot, and he
      was definitely the best Defense of the Dark Arts instructors the kids had.

      > Black could've been more than just a link
      > with Harry's past, and his father. Somehow, one thought that Black would
      be
      > more than another distant father figure for Harry.

      I can't help but wonder -- can Harry still go to Hogsmeade now that his
      godfather, who had given him permission, is dead?

      > Trelawney playing such a prominent role in the central plot (with her
      prophecy
      > about Harry and Voldemort) was a surprise - especially after Rowling had
      so
      > ruthlessly satirized Trelawney, astrology and divination in earlier books.

      Yes, and Rowling says that Dumbledore didn't really want to keep the
      divination classes going anyway. I think he likes to keep people like
      Trelawney close at hand both for kindness/charity's sake and on the
      off-chance that they might be useful in the future (another true prediction
      in Trelawney's case).

      > The cute Cho and Harry scenes (the first kiss, the Valentine's Day date)
      were
      > great. Just as amusing were the debriefings afterwards, with Hermione
      coolly
      > pointing out everything Harry did wrong.

      I was surprised at how well Hermione was able to steer Harry on this.
      Usually girls as wrapped up in their schoolwork as Hermione aren't as
      socially ept and are as clueless as harry.

      > Hagrid's story of meeting the giants.

      I thought the giant business, both the meeting and Grawp, was too drawn out.
      I would have cut this, but perhaps the giants play a part in the final
      battle.

      > Ron at the quidditch match.
      >
      > Ron's outbursts over Ginny's boyfriends.

      Hey, Ginny herself, both at quidditch and in general. She's one cool little
      cookie. The twins make a comment, early in the book, that she packs a lot
      of power. She has the makings to be another McGonagall, I think.

      > The twins' triumphant broomstick exit from Hogwarts ('I think we've
      outgrown
      > full-time education'). That scene's a powerful wish-fulfilment fantasy for
      > kids who want to escape the deadening authoritarian regime of school.

      I thought this was well done and the twins opening their joke shop also gave
      you an idea that there was some other way for wizards to make money. You
      get the impression that everyone works for the Ministry of Magic, the bank,
      or at Hogwarts (and now, the hospital has been added, too).

      > The new characters, particularly Tonks, Umbridge and Lovegood.

      I loved Tonks. Luna is good -- I could see her as a potential girlfriend
      for Harry. She's not impressed by his reputation and she makes up her own
      mind about things while being very loyal to her friends and family.

      > The confrontation between Harry and Snape during the Occulumency lessons
      was
      > wonderful, some of Rowling's best dialogue (Rowling always writes great
      scenes
      > when they feature Snape). And Snape still remained a darkly ambiguous
      figure,
      > with all sorts of hints at his role in the final books.

      Yes. I kept wishing that Harry would swallow his pride, apologize to Snape
      after snooping in the pensieve, and have a long talk with him about Harry's
      father. I also wish Snape would get over his obvious favoritism of the
      Slytherins and dislike of the Gryffindors. He obviously is a first-class
      wizard and would be a fabulous potions teacher if he were not so blinded by
      his own emotions.


      > The introduction of Neville as a major character was marvellous, including
      his
      > tragic past and parents which mirror Harry's experience. And taking
      Neville
      > right to the end of the climax at the Ministry of Magic, beyond the points
      > where Hermione and Ron were involved, was another welcome surprise.
      Neville's
      > the new hero of the 'Harry Potter' books, especially in the final scenes.
      > Since the first book, though (where Neville played a larger part than in
      the
      > film), Neville's been a significant character: in Harry's very first
      try-out
      > on a broomstick, in 'Philosopher's Stone', he saves Neville's remembrall
      from
      > Malfoy - a seemingly trivial act which embodies many of the confrontations
      of
      > the 'Harry Potter' series (good vs. evil, Gryffindor vs. Syltherin, a
      battle
      > over a magical object, Harry vs. the son of a Death-eater and follower of
      > Voldemort). Four books later, Harry and Neville are pitted against another
      > Malfoy - Lucius - who, at the end of 'The Order of the Phoenix', leads an
      > attack of Death-eaters on the group.
      > Neville also ties in with Dumbledore's pronouncement to Voldemort, a few
      > minutes after that chase and attack: the Dark Lord's convinced there's
      > 'nothing worse than death', but Dumbledore replies there is. In Rowling's
      > universe, one thing worse than death would be living without love (love
      being
      > the one thing Voldemort keeps under-estimating). But another thing worse
      than
      > death would be having both your parents turned insane, which happens to
      > Neville's folks. In a way, the living death Neville's parents endure is
      even
      > worse a fate than that of Harry's parents. At least the Potters died
      > instantly, but Neville's parents are faced with forty years of mental
      illness.

      Yes. Neville is definitely a character to keep your eye on. I could see
      him playing a pivotal role in the final battle, maybe losing his life saving
      Harry (who then vanquishes Voldemort).

      Neville's grandmother said that he's talked a lot about Harry. I imagine
      that he sees Harry as a sort of personal savior. Not in a magical (or
      mystical) sense as much as in a social one. Neville is the kind of kid who
      unless someone makes a conscious effort to draw him out, will spend all his
      time in the background without any friends or doing more than marginal work
      in school. He's become a real person to Harry (despite Harry's reluctance
      at times) and hence a real person to himself. He's just going to keep on
      growing.

      > There're lots of cool bits in every 'Harry Potter' book that haven't made
      it
      > to the screen yet.

      <snort> We borrowed my sister's copy of the second movie. They spent so
      much time on stuff with the flying car, what with getting to school and the
      whomping willow and all that, that things much more vital to the plot --
      like the diary and Ginny's involvement -- were really treated as peripheral.
      They did do a good job with Moaning Myrtle and the girls's bathroom being
      the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.

      Berni
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