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Rowling's follow-up

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  • Pauline J. Alama
    One of the (many) things I ve enjoyed about Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix is the way Rowling follows up on the hints, foreshadowings, and seeming
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 22, 2003
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      One of the (many) things I've enjoyed about Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix is the way Rowling follows up on the hints, foreshadowings, and seeming throwaway details of earlier books. My favorite example involves the centaur Firenze explaining the significance of Mars as harbinger of the great cataclysmic wars. When I read that bit, I thought I remembered something about Mars in Harry's first encounters with the centaurs, so I went back to the first book and looked it up.

      Sure enough, in the first book, Hagrid, in pursuit of a mysterious killer of unicorns in the Forbidden Forest, keeps asking the centaurs whether they've seen anything unusual in the forest, and is frustrated to repeatedly receive the reply, "Mars is bright tonight." Figuring this for typical centaurish dreaminess, he asks, irritably, for something "closer to home." It's an unexpectedly comic scene in the middle of a tense hunt in the dark for an unknown enemy: clearly (it seemed the first time I read it) the centaurs, for all their seeming profundity, have no grasp of the seriousness of the situation.

      But in light of Firenze's explanation, the centaurs were answering Hagrid's question in their own language. They were telling him, "War is coming." If he had known how to interpret them, he might have realized that Voldemort was rising again.

      It makes me wonder how many other seemingly meaningless details are going to pay off. I *love* this sort of writing.

      Pauline

      Pauline J. Alama
      http://www.geocities.com/paulinejalama/paulinealama.html
      THE EYE OF NIGHT
      (Bantam Spectra, July 2002)


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    • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
      This is part of what I love about Babylon 5. JMS does a lot of the same sort of stuff. Joe claims a more famous author (Chekov) stated If you are going to use
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 22, 2003
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        This is part of what I love about Babylon 5. JMS does a lot of the same
        sort of stuff. Joe claims a more famous author (Chekov) stated "If you
        are going to use a gun in the third act, you must show it on the wall in
        the first act. And if you show a gun in the first act, you should use it
        by the third." The idea being the this foreshadowing is very important
        and helps a good story be even better. As it is, in B5, throw away lines
        from the early seasons are turning points in later seasons. I can still
        watch episodes and catch something I missed the first dozen times.

        And, of yes, Tolkien does it too.

        What can I say, but it is the sign of a good writer who has actually
        thought out the world and the story, rather than just haphazardly made a
        series of books. I've heard Rowling has an outline of all seven books
        and detailed knowledge of all her characters and world, and so is only
        going through the fleshing out of the story when writing each book. And
        it shows.

        Mythically yours,
        Lisa
      • Pauline J. Alama
        Of course, for authors who aren t publishing serially (like Rowling) or writing for a TV series (like Straczynski), it is also possible to do the
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 23, 2003
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          Of course, for authors who aren't publishing serially (like Rowling)
          or writing for a TV series (like Straczynski), it is also possible to
          do the "foreshadowing" thing by going back and putting the gun on the
          wall in Act I after you've written it into Act III. :)

          Pauline

          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan <lisa@h...>
          wrote:
          > This is part of what I love about Babylon 5. JMS does a lot of the
          same
          > sort of stuff. Joe claims a more famous author (Chekov) stated "If
          you
          > are going to use a gun in the third act, you must show it on the
          wall in
          > the first act. And if you show a gun in the first act, you should
          use it
          > by the third." The idea being the this foreshadowing is very
          important
          > and helps a good story be even better. As it is, in B5, throw away
          lines
          > from the early seasons are turning points in later seasons. I can
          still
          > watch episodes and catch something I missed the first dozen times.
          >
          > And, of yes, Tolkien does it too.
          >
          > What can I say, but it is the sign of a good writer who has
          actually
          > thought out the world and the story, rather than just haphazardly
          made a
          > series of books. I've heard Rowling has an outline of all seven
          books
          > and detailed knowledge of all her characters and world, and so is
          only
          > going through the fleshing out of the story when writing each book.
          And
          > it shows.
          >
          > Mythically yours,
          > Lisa
        • David S. Bratman
          ... As Lisa wrote, Tolkien did that. If you read the LOTR drafts in The History of Middle-earth you can see him doing it. For instance, he first thought of
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 23, 2003
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            At 04:30 AM 7/23/2003 , Pauline wrote:
            >Of course, for authors who aren't publishing serially (like Rowling)
            >or writing for a TV series (like Straczynski), it is also possible to
            >do the "foreshadowing" thing by going back and putting the gun on the
            >wall in Act I after you've written it into Act III. :)

            As Lisa wrote, Tolkien did that. If you read the LOTR drafts in "The
            History of Middle-earth" you can see him doing it. For instance, he first
            thought of Arwen* at the time of writing the scene where Aragorn receives
            her banner in Rohan. (This was after he'd invented Eowyn, and his first
            thought was her own - that of course she'd marry Aragorn.) Arwen's
            appearances in Rivendell were added in a later draft. Of course, when he
            first wrote the LOTR Rivendell scenes, there was no Aragorn: just Trotter
            the hobbit instead. If that had gone onto film in a weekly TV series, it
            would have taken some fast footwork to come up with anything even remotely
            resembling the LOTR we have.

            *that wasn't his original choice for her name, either.

            - David Bratman
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