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Re: HP V opine (Target Audience?)

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  • Pauline J. Alama
    Please excuse my replying to very old messages, but I ve been avoiding anything with a Harry Potter subject line until I could finish the book. I agree with
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 23, 2003
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      Please excuse my replying to very old messages, but I've been
      avoiding anything with a Harry Potter subject line until I could
      finish the book.

      I agree with Ginger Hysell in saying I think this was the best HP
      book yet: the main action gets started quickly; intriguing new
      characters are introduced and unexpected revelations shed new light
      on old characters (Neville, Sirius, Aunt Petunia, even the babysitter
      Mrs. Figg); the battle against evil takes on a new level as Hogwarts
      itself ceases to be a safe haven. The climactic encounter was moving,
      and Harry's final discussion with Dumbledore (IMO) brought out some
      satisfying material about the underlying philosophy or morality of
      Rowling's magical world. My husband (a high school teacher) and I
      (daughter of an elementary school teacher) particularly chuckled at
      the jab at the too-prevalent educational trend of "teaching to the
      test" implied by the depiction of Umbridge. I suppose the
      standardized testing monomaniacs must be almost as rabid in England
      as here -- othewise I would have expected Umbridge to be American.

      I disagree with those who felt that Harry's behavior seemed below 15-
      year-old level. I have extremely vivid (i.e., painful and
      embarrassing) memories of that age, and I kept interrupting the story
      to laugh ruefully, "Oh, yeah, I remember being that age. Noooo one
      understaaaands meeeeee!" :)

      I am a little puzzled with the comment that the vocabulary is on a
      third- or fourth-grade level. Already in Book IV I was impressed with
      some of the high-level vocabulary Rowling uses -- "serried" stuck out
      in my mind, not exactly a word you meet coming and going. I'm not
      sure I picked it up before grad school! I don't remember the examples
      from the current book, but I've had the general impression that there
      was plenty to send even high school students (or adults) to their
      dictionaries.

      Twelve-year-olds may think the books are too young for them because
      they were reading Harry Potter in fourth grade, but that doesn't mean
      they won't pick them up again in a few years. When I was in 7th
      grade, my dad's derisive comments convinced me to stop reading "fairy
      tales" (i.e. fantasy) for a couple of years because it was kid stuff.
      I latched onto romances and rock star bios instead -- a real step up,
      yeah, right :-} In a couple of years, the need to prove they're not
      kids any more may wear off, enabling them to enjoy Harry Potter
      again. It doesn't necessarily say anything about the books
      themselves, just the desperate need of junior high kids to prove
      themselves.

      All in all, I felt that the extra time Rowling spent on this volume
      really paid off. While I'd love to be able to dive right into the
      next one, on a deeper level I hope that she'll spend exactly as long
      as she needs to get it right.



      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Ginger L. Hysell" <glzabel@u...>
      wrote:
      > I read HPV the night it came out. I stood in a line of 200 people
      at
      > midnight to get it, and truly enjoyed watching kids and families get
      > excited over reading a book together.
      > I want to see what opinions other have as they read it,
      however. I
      > disagree that it's "age appropriate." I teach 12 year olds, most
      of whom
      > think Harry Potter is below them. They come to my English class
      with the
      > notion that since their younger siblings are reading the Harry
      Potter books
      > it's kid's stuff. Does anyone know the age group Rowlings says
      she's
      > writing for? My husband things it's turning more to adult
      readers. While
      > 3rd and 4th graders are the ones reading Harry Potter like there is
      no
      > tomorrow, I have to agree with him when it comes to content and
      vocabulary.
      > There was a notable lack of teens at the Harry Potter opening
      bash. Most
      > people were either eight or nine, a parent, or an adult on their
      own to
      > pick it up at midnight. I'd like to ask Rowling what she gains in
      her book
      > by "effing" and the real social issues of kids cutting themselves
      that come
      > up.
      > Having said that, I think this is her best book yet. She ties
      up lots
      > of loose ends and develops some characters who were previously
      flat. It's
      > just not a "kids" story anymore.
      > I'd be curious what others think of the "age appropriateness"
      issue
      > though. I'll certainly encourage my students to read it if they
      have any
      > interest in the books at all, but I'm curious about who Rowlings is
      really
      > writing for.
      >
      > -Ginger
      >
      > --On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, 1:14 PM -0400 Edward Carmien
      > <ecarmien@r...> wrote:
      >
      > >> Message: 5
      > >> Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 10:49:57 EDT
      > >> From: Stolzi@a...
      > >> Subject: A Harry Potter Sunburn
      > >>
      > >> http://www.comics.com/comics/bignate/archive/bignate-
      20030625.html
      > >>
      > >> Finished HPV myself last night. Much too long, dull, at least
      one scene
      > >> apparently crafted while looking over one's shoulder to the
      movie (not
      > >> that I think the movies will get to Vol 5), and the character
      who dies
      > >> will be missed greatly - by me at least.
      > >>
      > >> Diamond Proudbrook gives it two thumbs down.
      > >
      > > Finished it myself just yesterday morning. 870 pages. Did have
      some slow
      > > parts (anyone else notice that the more a writer gets paid the
      less
      > > editing they receive?), but I thought it was a better novel than
      IV.
      > >
      > > I give it a B. Rowling continues to be spot on with age-
      appropriate
      > > character development; language and attitude are very 15 years
      old like
      > > (tweaked to the young side--I'm sure most 15 year olds feel
      themselves to
      > > be more mature than the central characters in HP, and many of
      them are
      > > probably right). Good homage to a Very British Boarding School
      theme,
      > > another wrinkle of which is presented here (can't say more without
      > > spoiling). I would hope for but do not expect to see Rowling
      break a
      > > significant element of the formula in a future novel.
      > >
      > > Many scenes struck me as having a film in mind, and since HP will
      be
      > > making money for decades to come, I'm sure there will eventually
      be a
      > > film (or some kind of screen adaptation--IV and V are so long I'd
      think a
      > > mini-series would work better than a film).
      > >
      > > As with much series fiction, many unsatisfying elements relate to
      the
      > > author "saving" key resolutions for later. So we get the set-up
      in V and
      > > have to wait for VI for the obvious resolution (OR, as per the
      general
      > > rule of series fiction, certain characters and character
      relationships
      > > must remain static, which means there will never be the "obvious
      > > resolution." See * below for spoiler type comment). I feel the
      same way
      > > about Matrix Reloaded--too much of the narrative was taken out of
      the
      > > film and put into alternate formats, such as the Animatrix
      (curious to
      > > know who that kid is that Neo meets in Zion? Its in the
      Animatrix), the
      > > computer game, and of course the coming-out-later-this-year end
      of the
      > > Matrix trilogy. Rowling seems to be keeping her younger audience
      in mind
      > > as well, which is another kind of strait jacket. Her concept
      spans two
      > > different age brackets (if not three), which means as ole' Harry
      gets
      > > older she's writing about more young-adult themes but must keep
      an eye on
      > > the children's market sensibility and expectations.
      > >
      > > Just my two cents
      > >
      > > ejc
      > > --
      > > Edward Carmien, Ph.D.
      > > Assistant Professor of English
      > > Westminster Choir College of Rider University
      > > 101 Walnut Lane
      > > Princeton, NJ 08540-3899
      > > V: 609-921-7100, ext. 8235
      > > F: 609-921-8829
      > > ecarmien@r...
      > > enigma.rider.edu/~ecarmien
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > * SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
      > > Take Harry's interaction with Snape in HPV for example. He learns
      why
      > > Snape hated James Potter. Harry learns his dear old Dad (at least
      in the
      > > context of Snape's recollection: who knows how accurate this
      memory is?)
      > > was an arrogant prick, at least before he "grew up" toward the
      end of his
      > > Hogwarts career. Everything Harry learns screams out for at least
      an
      > > attempt at reconciliation, but Harry doesn't even appear to
      consider such
      > > a thing and then reject it in a fit of teen angst. Why not? Snape
      has to
      > > remain an antagonistic figure to Harry, OR Rowling is saving the
      > > Snape/Potter reconciliation (or at least "mutual understanding")
      for a
      > > later story, in which it will play the part of hinge in some
      crucial or
      > > at least semi-crucial role in the plot.
      > >
      > > Oh, and in other news, can we get this kid a new eyeglasses
      prescription?
      > > Rowling's foreshadowing of the news Harry needs new glasses is so
      thick I
      > > thought she'd be naming HP VI "Harry Potter and his New
      Glasses." :)
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > _____________________________________
      > Ginger L.Hysell
      > Mill Creek Middle School
      > Dexter MI
      > 7th grade English, Newspaper, and Drama
      > Website: www.umich.edu/~glzabel
      >
      > "To be ignorant is not such a shame as to be unwilling to learn." -
      G. W.
      > Hoss
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