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Chapter Thirty-Six -- The Flaw in the Plan

Tonight's spork is by bee_in_a_garden.

***

Chapter Thirty-Six -- The Flaw In The Plan


A EULOGY BEFORE WE COMMENCE SPORKING THE FINAL CHAPTER. I think it deserves a eulogy not only because this is the end of the series’ major story arc, but because this is the part where I kill it. With fire.

So, I know we’ve seen a lot of chapters that were badly written, and I just have to say that this one lives up to the standard set by the rest of the book. The problem is not the grammar as much, although as usual there are paragraph-long sentences with too many commas; the problem is really the fact that this is the climax, THE final battle, The End of the series, the Big One, and she hasn’t built it up well at all. So when she gets to this point, she’s got all this infodumping that she needs to do to explain to us what’s going on. The end result is the momentum comes to a huge lull as the characters essentially stop action, face the audience, and rehash the plot and explain everything. The previous chapter in the Train Station of Hallmark Death™ was also a lull and a DD-explains-it-all scene, but that at least fit with what I think was intended to be a timeless and surreal atmosphere. This is supposed to be an action chapter! It’s horrible, the inevitable end product of what’s been a poorly written book that does not at all fulfill the promises or hints of the first few books. The epilogue makes it worse.

Okay, so by now the eulogy censors have figured out this is more of a roast of the soon-to-be-deceased than a eulogy, so I’ll make it quick.

I also take huge issue with the fact that the climax of the Harry Potter series, which has been so popular not so much for the plot and writing as it has been for the world creation (and understandably so, back when the books were well edited), is completely dependent on a fairly major magical principle that we didn’t learn about until this book. Um. Yeah. You’d think we’d have learned about the wand owner thing in Book Two during the Dueling Club when they were first taught Expelliarmus, at the very latest, if not in Book One. So this chapter, which is supposed to conclude the series, already doesn’t really fit the rest of the books. It’s not satisfying at all!

Amen. All right, end of eulogy. Let’s hit the buffet.

***

We start off with Harry coming back to the painful, hard, physical world from his trip to the glowy, soft-edged Train Station of Hallmark Death™ or The Matrix Train Station or the “All aboard the Exposition Express!” chapter. Blah blah blah. Oh, let me just point out that it would be unlikely that the “smell of the forest filled his nostrils” if his mouth was also “gaping” open like the limp haddock that he is. Harry would be breathing through his mouth, not his nose.

JKR then tries to convey suspense by describing the sounds and voices that Harry can hear in such a way that we sense worry and disconcertion among the DEs (because Voldie has collapsed). However, for some reason, she does so by describing Bellatrix speaking “as if to a lover.” Not as someone worried about her lover, mind you. So I was initially confused, because I thought they were just being in hushed awe and worshipful because Voldie FINALLY killed the famous Harry Potter. Then it turns out the descriptions were supposed to be hinting that this was a scene of alarm and that something was wrong! Whiplash!

Harry cracks a lid and guesses that Voldemort collapsed when he AK’d Harry and came back as Harry came back. Sure, Voldie didn’t pass out when any of his other soul fragments were destroyed – would have been a dead giveaway that he might need to check up on his horcruxes – but whatever. I’ve given up trying to figure out the rules. Although, I can’t help but wonder where Voldie went and what happened to him while he was out. Was he in Harry’s mental train station but in the body of the gross Voldie-baby? Or did he go to his own imaginary place? If so, what would he have seen and who would he have talked to? It’d have been funny if Dumbledore also appeared to him. I imagine the experience would have gone something like this:

Voldemort: *dazed* Hey, what’s going- …Oh, no. Not you.

Dumbledore: Yo, wassaaaaap. I am pompous and high-handed and believe my manipulative decisions are justified on behalf of the “Greater Good.”

Voldemort: And I thought once I had you killed that I’d finally be rid of you.

Dumbledore: I warned you, strike me down and I will become more powerful than…wait…uhhh, I mean, repent, Scrooge! Feel some remorse! Change your evil ways before it’s too late and you end up like me, Albus Percival Wulfric Jacob Marley!

*Slytherin pops up*

Slytherin: You know what? I think YOU should repent, Dumbles. You’re the one who had such a Frodo-Gollum complex that you gave Voldie here the benefit of the doubt when he was CLEARLY a power-hungry psychopath, just because you had to believe there was hope for him and thus for yourself.

Dumbledore: Shut up, before I throw this god-damned harp at you.

Slytherin: Bring it on, you creepy old man! I can’t believe they even let you on the grounds, much less become headmaster of Hogwarts!

Dumbledore: I’m the creepy old man??!! U dye naow plzkthnx!!1!!

*Dumbledore and Slytherin start beard-pulling*

Voldemort: *sighs* You see? This is why I kill people.

Anyway, although Voldemort has been trying and failing to knock off Harry for seventeen years, he sends Narcissa over to check Harry’s corpse instead of doing it himself. Narcissa. *headdesk*

“Hands, softer than he had been expecting, touched Harry’s face, pulled back an eyelid, crept beneath his shirt, down to his chest, and felt his heart.”

TEH COMMAS!!! And teh creepy.

Narcissa asks Harry if Draco’s alive and in the castle. He says yes, and she thanks him by stabbing him with her nails. Alas, it is not fatal. For this exchange, JKR has Narcissa’s mouth an inch from Harry’s ear. I think all the closely watching people might be suspicious – if not of collusion, at least of necrophilia.

Narcissa straightens and pronounces him dead, which I don’t understand. The reason given is that the only way she’d be able to get into Hogwarts and find her son is “as part of the conquering army.” Yeah, sooo…doesn’t that mean she should AK Harry on the spot so they win? Won’t a secretly alive Harry mean more fighting and possibly losing? The sense, it is not making!!

Voldie is thrilled and starts the Cruciatus mojo on what he thinks is Harry’s corpse, which I also don’t understand, because corpses can’t feel pain. Of course, it seems Harry doesn’t feel any pain either, as the Cruciatus Curse has no effect on him besides tossing him around. Why? I’d guess that he is actually dead. Either the rest of this book is a post-mortem hallucination, or he’s an Inferius that thinks he’s alive. Or maybe he’s just back in the Matrix and doesn’t realize it.

They make Hagrid carry Harry back. Hagrid basically washes/purifies/waters plant!Harry with his tears, which seems to have Biblical overtones to me…Narnia overtones at the very least. Someone keeps vigil, usually women, and they weep over the body. A little later, they look for the body and it won’t be there! And then voilà, the dead person is back to life! Harry is even referred to as their savior later. At least it’s Hagrid instead of a woman. Still, I’d like to bury Harry in a hole and see if he’s still there after three days.

“Branches caught at Harry’s hair and robes, but he lay quiescent, his mouth lolling open, his eyes shut, and in the darkness, while the Death Eaters crowed all around them, and while Hagrid sobbed blindly, nobody looked to see whether a pulse beat in the exposed neck of Harry Potter…”

What, not even Fenrir? Also, yet another run-on sentence of dooooom. Thirdly, quiescent is an adjective, quiescently is an adverb. It’s either he was quiescent or he lay quiescently. And if Harry’s mouth is lolling open, he hasn’t gone into rigor mortis yet. Let’s pose him!

After passing the centaurs (check their flanks – they all have bumper stickers that say “FORESHADOWING” in big block letters), Harry can tell they’ve reached the edge of the forest by “a freshening of the air.” I’ll grant you smells can be distinctive, but physical borders like where a forest and meadow meet =/= smell borders. Dementors patrol the “outer trees,” whatever that means.

Harry is not affected by the Dementors because “the fact of his own survival burned inside him, a talisman against them, as though his father’s stag kept guardian in his heart.”

Wait, so first the Cruciatus Curse doesn’t hurt him, and now Dementors don’t affect him? Just because he had a near-death experience? Okay. JKR told me that NDE’s give you immunity from the pain of bad memories, so that’s how I intend to process all future emotionally traumatic events. Remember, I owe everything to JKR!

Voldie stops and gives the castle grounds the surrender speech. Crickets can be heard chirping, and Voldemort swears to never do stand-up comedy again.

They move on. Voldemort is wearing Nagini like a boa (Haha!! Get it?? Just kidding, boas constrict, Nagini is poisonous). Now they’re out on the grounds in the “slowly lightening darkness,” which confuses me because earlier Harry could tell the forest was thinning because he could see it getting brighter behind his eyelids. Plus Harry’s been able to see quite a bit through his slightly cracked-open eyelids for it being so dark. Nice consistency.

“The Death Eaters came to a halt: Harry heard them spreading out in a line facing the open front doors of the school.”

Wow. Considering the last time you opened your eyes all you could see was the castle far off in the darkness, that’s some great hearing, Harry. You could tell the Death Eaters were in a line, and in front of the doors, and that the doors were open, all with your eyes closed. Truly, you are The One.

“Any moment, the people for whom he had tried to die would see him, lying apparently dead, in Hagrid’s arms.”

“For whom he had tried to die.” Haha, what a failure. Geez, Harry, you can’t do anything right, can you? Besides, lying around in other people’s arms is about the same level of action that you’ve had throughout this book.

People come out of the school to ogle Harry’s body. First scream of joy goes to a thrilled Moaning Myrtle McGonagall, who I’d just like to say rocked back when her characterization was intact. More screams from Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, and everyone starts verbally abusing the DEs. Voldemort casts a silence spell on them and has Harry put at his feet, all symbolic-like. Ron breaks the charm with the completely illogical statement “He beat you!” and everyone starts shouting again. This ability to break/doge/avoid Voldie’s spells and the DE’s curses is a recurring Plot Point throughout the rest of the chapter. Voldie recasts the charm.

Voldie says Harry was killed trying to save his own skin like a coward, which everyone knows is false because that would be the smart thing to do (Hey, when you’re the symbolic rallying point of “the good guys” and crucial to their morale, you gotta take care of yourself. Death would be highly irresponsible).

Neville breaks out of the crowd and gets disarmed by Voldemort. So doesn’t that mean that Neville’s wand is now Voldemort’s, and then since Voldemort is later killed by his own curse, it’s still Voldie’s even after he dies, or at best, Harry’s? Poor Neville may be able to use his wand, but it will always belong to someone else. Right? Have I mentioned how much I dislike the way JKR did this wand thing?

Bellatrix describes Neville as “the boy who has been giving the Carrows so much trouble! The son of the Aurors, remember?” He really does sound like he should have been the hero of this book. I mean, what’s Harry doing right now, huh? Flopped out like a fish, instead of using the element of surprise to AK Voldie’s bony butt. I mean, Harry still has his wand, nobody’s paying attention to him, and he’s right there!! And he does nothing, while Neville runs right up to Voldemort and gets disarmed and is still facing him down. Honestly.

Anyway, Voldemort offers Neville a chance to become a Death Eater just because he’s pureblood, and Neville tells You-Know-Who to stick his wand you-know-where. Voldemort conveniently summons the Sorting Hat under the pretense of talking about how there will be no more sorting and how the only house will be Slytherin (although it’s clearly just a deus ex machina way of giving Neville a weapon to kill Nagini), paralyzes Neville, puts the hat on Neville’s head, and sets it on fire.

“Screams split the dawn, and Neville was aflame, rooted to the spot, unable to move, and Harry could not bear it: He must act-

And then, many things happened at the same moment.”


See, Harry was ABOUT to act, but then some stuff happened. The centaurs and Grawp and some animals show up, which couldn’t have possibly been foreshadowed any more obviously, and the fighting begins again.

Neville breaks the body bind and pulls Gryffindor’s sword out of the hat – WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?? Griphook is going to very put out – and does a Julia Child imitation, but without the booze. Chop chop chop. The horcruxes are down, I repeat, the horcruxes are down. Yay, Neville!

Hagrid notices that Harry’s body disappeared, but nobody else really seems to care.

Harry himself wanders around under the invisibility cloak, casting Shield Charms like some kind of wacky guardian angel, and then, led by Kreacher, the house elves bust onto the scene with meat cleavers and knives. Rockin’. I love the few paragraphs describing this scene. Tiny malicious elves stabbing people in the legs - it’s great.

Family and friends of Hogwarts students and the Hogsmeade villagers also show up to reinforce the “good guys.” I like to imagine this party includes the Slytherins who McGonagall kicked out earlier for no reason other than prejudice, but I’m probably just deluding myself. The DEs are being swamped.

Harry runs off and finds Voldemort “smiting all within reach.” Hee hee, “smiting.” Harry can’t get a clear shot, so instead JKR uses him to list all the other dueling pairs or groups, which is basically a Harry Potter series main character roll call. It’s just JKR bringing up all the old characters for a final goodbye.

Molly Weasley duels with Bellatrix. It’s fab and all, but I never understood why from a literary standpoint Molly got paired up with Bella. I mean, Neville would have been the obvious choice to defeat Bellatrix, but I guess he got the snake in a big symbolic moment proving that even a pureblood can be a True Gryffindor™ if he chooses to be, as well as reinforcing that this should have been his book. Harry has Sirius’s death to avenge, but he gets Voldemort. Tonks would have been good too since Bellatrix is her aunt and Sirius was her cousin – it could have been the renegade Blacks against the nasty Blacks - but JKR randomly killed her off. I don’t know. But people like it, so I guess it all works out anyway.

Afterwards, Voldemort gets all mad when Bellatrix dies (I assume she dies; earlier it said “both women were fighting to kill,” but the description just says “she toppled.” After all, Molly couldn’t KILL anyone, what kind of message would that send? You can tell who bad guys are because they kill people, except the good guys do it too, except it’s okay when they do it because it’s for “the Greater Good”? Haha, no author would suggest that! OH WAIT). So, Harry casts a humongous Shield Charm to protect an unwitting Molly from Voldemort’s angry smiting, forcing the dramatic reveal.

HARRY POTTER’S ALIVE!!! THE SHOCK!

Anyway, since it wasn’t a shock to the readers, pretty much immediately JKR drops the shock and cheering thing as we segue into the ending of “Dune.” Only with a super-talky Paul Atreides. As Harry and Voldemort circle each other for what was about to be an exciting, tense finale, all momentum ceases as JKR takes this opportunity to fill in some plotholes, meaning we get to read Voldemort and Harry yak it up for a ridiculously long time. Way to kill the mood.

Anyway, JKR explains why people were able to break Voldemort’s silence charms and full body binds earlier in the chapter…it’s because when he got hit with the AK, even though he didn’t die, Harry totally sacrificed himself for them, just like his mother, so they’re all like totally protected from Voldie and the DEs. Or something. Then Harry goes on to pimp Dumbledore, and explains how because Voldie doesn’t understand love, he totally missed the whole Snape loves Lily thing, Snape was a double agent and you had noooo idea, lol.

Also? Deathstick.

Yeah.

Anyway, throughout the conversation there is much repetition from Voldemort along the lines of, “You may be right but I am still the best because I crushed those powerful people like bugs, love didn’t save them, love never saved anybody, love’s such an old fashioned word, why can’t we give love give love give love give love...”

Harry tells Voldemort to “be a man” – something about not wearing boas as accessories - and try for some remorse to fix the whole soul-splitting thingy, which Voldie naturally refuses. Then Harry goes on to explain to the readers – ahem, I mean to Voldemort - Dumbledore’s plans and practically diagrams the path the Elder Wand has taken. Seriously, I’m expecting PowerPoint slides any minute now. Does Rowling think her readers are retarded, or what? The infodumping is getting really tiresome and uninteresting.

After leading us around, Harry gets to the point, although I still have to cut out a lot of blah blah blah that should have been edited down as filler: “The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy.” And then, “I overpowered Draco weeks ago.” And then, the sole reason why I took this chapter:

“So it all comes down to this, doesn’t it?” whispered Harry. “Does the wand in your hand know its last master was disarmed? Because if it does…I am the true master of the Elder Wand.”



“I know what you're thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

I laughed so hard.

Yeah yeah, so golden flames, bang, the Elder Wand is flying towards Dirty Harry who catches it “with the unerring skill of the Seeker.” I hope you enjoyed that throwaway phrase, because that was the exciting culmination of all the Quidditch development throughout the series. Voldemort’s AK rebounds on himself, and, with all his horcruxes destroyed, Voldemort/Gollum is now is diminished to Tom Riddle/Smeagol, and is dead, dead, dead as a doornail, dead as Julius Caesar, really most sincerely dead.

Yay! It’s all over, and allegorical dawn breaks with its allegorical golden light. It’s alternately party time and crying time now. Harry is described as their leader, symbol, guide and savior. Don’t think about the rest of the book and whether Harry actually is any of those things, because it will hurt your brain. The “he must speak to the bereaved, clasp their hands, witness their tears, receive their thanks” line makes me nauseous. JKR tries to show how the Wizarding World has changed and isn’t discriminatory and all that anymore by showing how no one’s sitting according to house, or species, or anything, but don’t worry, outside this token scene things will be back to normal in no time.

Luna shows once again that she is one of the few sensitive and perceptive characters in this series when she helps tired Harry escape from his terrible duties and those darn needy people. Looking to spend time with those he’s closest to, he passes over the supposed love of his life and instead goes for Hermione and Ron. I’ll also mention that he also walked past Neville, with the sword of Gryffindor, “surrounded by a knot of fervent admirers.” It really does feel like that the actual Harry Potter story here was Neville’s which has been going on parallel to this, and mentioned in the same book, but not followed.

Ron has an actual funny line when he hears Peeves singing “We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter’s the one/And Voldy’s gone moldy, so now let’s have fun!” and deadpans, “Really gives a feeling for the scope and tragedy of the thing, doesn’t it?”

Oh, and suddenly “the pain of losing Fred and Lupin and Tonks pierced [Harry] like a physical wound every few steps. Most of all he felt the most stupendous relief, and a longing to sleep.” See? There was grief in there, right before relief and sleepiness.

They go up into the headmaster’s study to satisfy Harry’s fetishes, and as they enter there is an explosion of applause from all the portraits around the room. I can actually hear the swelling music and the clapping and the panning soar of the camera showing the portraits and Harry’s Oscar-worthy-I-promised-myself-I-wouldn’t-cry face, which means I’ve watched waaay too many movies.

Nigellus says to remember that “Slytherin House played its part! Let our contribution not be forgotten!” Yeah, nice try JKR, but Snape and Slughorn are the only ones I can think of on the good guys side…the majority of actual Slytherin House students were ordered out and not even given a chance, and the DEs are overwhelmingly Slytherin. Not to mention Voldemort. And I’m not even sure where Draco, Narcissa and Lucius fit at this point. But it’s true, what with JKR making “bad guys” = Slytherins, I’m sure Slytherin’s contribution to this war will not be forgotten.

Skip sappy description of portrait!Albus, go to where Harry becomes a Roman senator and self-importantly hushes the portraits by raising his hands. After they fall silent he says, “Friends, Romans, Countryman…” and asks DD if it’s a good idea to leave the Resurrection Stone lost in the forest. DD says it is, and that not going back for it is a “wise and courageous decision.” Once again, Harry is heroic through non-action.

Harry says he’ll keep the cloak, but that he doesn’t want the Elder Wand. He uses the Elder Wand to repair his old wand, and then declares he’ll put the Elder Wand “back where it came from.” Where would that be? Dumbledore’s grave (ew)? Godric’s Hollow? Anyway, Harry seems to think that if he dies a natural death, its power will be broken, because the previous master will never have been defeated.

I think that’s stupid. Better make sure you’re never, ever hit by a disarming spell for the rest of your life, Harry, or else the Deathstick has a new owner. Also better make sure you die a natural death. Which I’m sure you will, because it’s not like people who hear about how you defeated Voldie will come from all over the globe to try and defeat or kill you in order to the get the wand…yeah, that would never happen.

You could just, you know, break it.

Boromir Denethor Ron kind of has doubts about giving up the power of the One Ring Elder Wand, but Hermione thinks “Harry’s right.” Harry says he doesn’t want any more trouble, and the chapter finishes with Harry wondering if Kreacher will bring him a sandwich in bed. *Facepalm.* And thus ends the series on a poignant and profound note.



Grrr, why won’t these matches light??? Oh yeah, they’ve been saturated by my tears of pain.

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
minkhollow
13th Feb, 2008 06:02 (UTC)
I love Voldemort's train station. That's hilarious.
My alternate title for this chapter for a while now has been: "No, Mr. Riddle, I Expect You To DIE." Seriously, Harry, villains are supposed to do the monologuing! If you really felt that was necessary you could have told us after you killed him.
Also, the house elf rampage led by Kreacher leaves headvoice!Regulus stuck with another Out Of Cheese Error.
bee_in_a_garden
13th Feb, 2008 06:36 (UTC)
Your alternate title made me guffaw!

The final duel with them circling each other reminded me so much of the ending of "Dune," except in "Dune" the villain, Feyd-Ruatha, does all the talking, and the hero, Paul Atreides, notes that Feyd is a nervous talker and makes a note to keep silent. So when I was reading the duel section and making involuntary comparisons, all I could think was, "Harry - you're doing it WRONG."

The house elves breaking out of the kitchen with knives and pointy implements with Kreacher all but shouting "CHAAARGE!" is such a cartoon. Especially considering how house elves have their own brand of powerful magic.
minkhollow
13th Feb, 2008 18:11 (UTC)
Mostly it's the 'do it for Master Regulus!' thing, because... NO. ALSO NO. DID I MENTION NO. But yes, if they have such powerful magic perhaps they should be using it.
'course, everyone in these books seems to forget they have magic at their disposal on a regular basis. Why should the domestic help be any different?
jodel_from_aol
13th Feb, 2008 18:35 (UTC)
And when did Kreachur end up at Hogwarts anyway? Last we saw him he had been abandoned at #12. *Harry* certainly never told him to go to Hogwarts.

D'you think Harry giving him Reggie's locket freed him after all? Because otherwise I can't see any sense to it. And at that It doesn't explain him calling Harry "Master" all through chapter 11 and 12.
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 03:17 (UTC)
I think Kreachur's turn around doesn't really make any sense unless you see it as the ultimate fruition of Hermione's SPEW in the most watered down pathetic way possible (Yes, Kreachur is just so craving for love he'll get a personality transplant as soon as Harry pays attention to him at all!) and, disgustingly enough, the fact that somehow even remotely helping Harry, even by telling him a sob story and then cooking for him, you too can be redeemed.

As long as you aren't a Slytherin! I think it's really telling that even Kreachur, the house elf who literally could have made things really bad for Harry, gets better treatment than his classmates. Kreachur's given a chance.
dancesontrains
13th Feb, 2008 06:11 (UTC)
I now want to see art of Dumbles and Slytherin pulling each other's beards, as well as Harry's mid-battle Powerpoint presentation. *g*

&hearts
westernredcedar
13th Feb, 2008 06:38 (UTC)
Oh man, the house elves knifing shins when they supposedly have this amazing powerful, suppressed magic more powerful than adult wizards JUST ABOUT KILLED ME. Knifing shins! Shins!! With real knives, not magic!
I have no energy left for my disgust.
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dancesontrains
14th Feb, 2008 14:30 (UTC)
And I have icons fron it! (From last5, not me).
moonlightaffair
14th Feb, 2008 03:59 (UTC)
Is this it?
--
Hagrid, who's been taken prisoner, carries Harry back to Hogwarts. Harry has a tremendous itch on his left arm, but he can't scratch it. The more he tries to ignore it, the worse it gets.

Yaxley: IZ NOT PPL SUPPOZED TO B VOIDING BOWELS WHEN DEY IZ DYING?

Harry curses silently, but does what needs doing to satisfy Yaxley.

Yaxley: THAT IS BEING BETTER.
berseker
14th Feb, 2008 04:09 (UTC)
It's here. It's really hilarious. :)
smurasaki
13th Feb, 2008 08:28 (UTC)
Bwahahahaha! Hooray, the book is dead! Voldemort's train station scene and Dirty Harry!Harry and the mid-battle Power Point Presentation were awesome.

Won’t a secretly alive Harry mean more fighting and possibly losing? The sense, it is not making!!

The Wizarding World doesn't do sense. It's what they traded away to get magic.

I’d guess that he is actually dead. Either the rest of this book is a post-mortem hallucination, or he’s an Inferius that thinks he’s alive.

I like that theory. *evil grin*

Neville's scene against Voldemort and Nagini was the best scene in the book. It was actually heroic and powerful. If the book (series?) had followed him it would have been so much better.

Anyway, Harry seems to think that if he dies a natural death, its power will be broken, because the previous master will never have been defeated.
...
You could just, you know, break it.


But that would make sense. We can't have that. (Never mind that Ron is just waiting to lure Harry into a duel so he can have the Elder Wand.)
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octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 03:19 (UTC)
Perhaps wizards' hearts beat so violently that their ribs vibrate, and Narcissa was simply feeling Harry up to see if they were buzzing with life.
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bee_in_a_garden
13th Feb, 2008 19:19 (UTC)
Aww, that figures. Terry Pratchett always makes me laugh.
agent_tomato
14th Feb, 2008 01:34 (UTC)
Yay, Feegles! (Yes, you spelled it right.) Now I want to see a crossover where the Nac Mac Feegle face off against the House Elves. That would be awesome.
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 03:09 (UTC)
I think that's the only way she can think of to combat all the questions. CLEARLY YOU ARE JUST NOT GETTING MY BRILLIANCE PLEBES.

It screams Anne Rice Syndrome. If you're writing a "children's/YA" book and adults don't understand the concept, you're in trouble.

But then again, I agree with jodel_from_aol's essay on her site. While GOF, OotP and HBP were YA books, this last one regressed to childhood, even with all the graphic violence. In children's books, you don't have to play with logic so much - kids will generally just accept the illogical explanation as being part of the story and the fantasticalness of everything is kind of standard in children's lit, think of Pippi Longstocking and the like. The Elder Wand would fit a lot easier into Pippi's world than JKRs after she went YA.
puzzlement
14th Feb, 2008 06:21 (UTC)
I was more reminded of Reepicheep and the Talking mice doing battle in C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian. Maybe it's just that elves are more like the talking mice in personality than they are like the Nac Mac Feegle.
dracasadiablo
14th Feb, 2008 07:59 (UTC)
"Great, but totally stolen from someone else"

Have you seen the movie “The Mummy Returns”? There's a scene where people, good and bad, are attacked by mummified pygmies.
Bunch of little guys, running all over the place,brandishing knives.
Sounds familiar?
shyfoxling
13th Feb, 2008 23:40 (UTC)
You’d think we’d have learned about the wand owner thing in Book Two during the Dueling Club when they were first taught Expelliarmus

Which Snape did... so Snape would have known about this, certainly... and would probably have figured out what was going on with the Elder Wand business (if only Dumbles had bothered to MENTION ANYTHING TO ANYONE)... and maybe helped think of a better solution than consigning himself to certain death by wand-ownership-puzzle. But then, Severus wasn't the one Dumbles was grooming for acceptance of death; I suppose he knew that if he told Severus, there was a good chance Severus wouldn't take it lying down (so to speak). The strength of his loyalty carries him far, but I dunno about THAT far. We've never seen him willing to die except when distraught over Lily's death. I can just see the conversations:

Dumbles: Protect Lily's son. You loved her, didn't you? Didn't you??

Severus: ...Fine. Way to manipulate the emotions of a grieving, passionate young man, you jerk.

Dumbles: Go back to Voldemort and spy six ways from Sunday. I know I helped clear your name and kind of implied I would protect you, but, well, that thing on your arm means you're basically fucked. May as well use you to our advantage.

Severus: ...Fine. I knew I was over a barrel without you pointing it out to me, thanks.

Dumbles: I'm gonna die one way or another, so how about you kill me.

Severus: ...FINE. This whole situation is pretty much a screwed pooch anyway. I can't wait until you become a portrait and continue to boss me around from beyond the grave.

Dumbles: Oh, and by the way, while the big idea is to thus die an undefeated owner of this fancy wand here because you and I planned my death, Tommy-boy doesn't know that. He's going to think you're the owner and he's definitely going to kill you to get it. Cool? Cool.

Severus: ...LOLWHUT NOW BACK UP THAR, TWINKLE-FACE.
smurasaki
14th Feb, 2008 01:55 (UTC)
Yeah, good point about Snape teaching dueling. Never mind that dueling classes are not compatible with wand ownership by defeat. (Which is why that should have applied only to the Elder Wand and not to other wands.)

Hell, if we are going to go with the idiotic wand ownership by defeat, you'd think Snape could have arranged a little practice session with Draco and become the rightful owner of the Elder Wand. Then Snape could take the wand from Dumbledore's crypt-thing, leaving a lookalike for Voldie. And we get an entirely different story.
rainfletcher
14th Feb, 2008 00:00 (UTC)
And at the end of the seven-book saga of Harry Potter, the finale that readers have been awaiting for over a decade, Our Hero wins his final battle against the Ultimate Evil... on a technicality.

Seriously. He wins the final battle because he just happened to slug Draco several chapters ago in a completely unrelated incident. He defeats Voldemort by plot contrivance sheer luck. Power That The Dark One Knows Not? Pfft.

The fact that said technicality was only introduced in this book, and does not jibe at all with the past books (shouldn't everyone in the DA own one another's wands by now?), makes it impossible for me to believe anything other than that JKR wrote herself into a corner, and pulled this out of her bum at the eleventh hour.

If she claims that the wand allegiance thing had been in her head the whole time, I call BS. Either way, it's sloppy and messy.

I had this mental image of young Albus Severus beating his father at Checkers or Candy Land and suddenly finding himself Master of the Deathstick...

Yay Neville. Needed more Neville. And more Luna. Grrr.
professor_mum
14th Feb, 2008 00:46 (UTC)
Oh, bravo!

Dumbledore: Shut up, before I throw this god-damned harp at you

Best line, really.

Voldie is thrilled and starts the Cruciatus mojo on what he thinks is Harry’s corpse, which I also don’t understand, because corpses can’t feel pain

I didn't understand this particular business either. Maybe he was double checking to see if Potter was truly dead, but really, the Old Chap should have felt for a pulse himself as nothing the Black/Malfoy's have ever done for him over the course of 7 books have ever worked out in his favor. Dude!

Have I mentioned how much I dislike the way JKR did this wand thing?

My point all along --- if the most rabid canon hounds can't grasp her (wobbly) Wand Rules of Engagement, then it was a huge problem. She should have built this "relationship of wizard to wand" platform over several books and B4 was the perfect place to get serious. She stated very clearly back in B1 that the Wand Chooses the Wizard, but that premise was all shot to shit in B7.
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 02:58 (UTC)
One thing that really annoys me is Molly kills (at least it's implied) Bella.

I wouldn't have a problem with this even if I didn't hate Molly as a character, which I do, provided that it had an icicle's chance in hell of being remotely logical.

1. Bellatrix is described elsewhere as an impeccable duelist, often fighting off multiple skilled people (Aurors and probably fellow Death Eaters and etc) with ease.

2. I'm not trying to be misogynist, just logical. Molly has raised seven kids on a shoestring budget. Even if she was an incredible duelist before Bill was born (and I don't get the idea she was, otherwise she would have been out there with her brothers, most likely) that's like twenty odd years of having little time to devote to keeping yourself in shape and maintaining your reflexes until Ginny starts going to Hogwarts.

And I honestly don't think this is Molly. I never thought she was a weakling, but there's many ways to be a strong witch, and obviously dueling is a skill that you need to devote time to unless you're a Gryffindor, in which case brilliancy is apparently inborn.

3. Molly is apparently a gifted amateur and this display seems to scream JKR wanting to get across two things: ZOMG THE POWER OF MATERNAL LOVE GIVES PEOPLE UBERPOWERS AND THE ABILITY TO COMBAT EVIL! (Too bad no one let Lily Potter in on this secret) and Wow, look at Ginny's parentage, not only is she the seventh child and therefore magically speshul, not only does she have the innate magical power to do all of her awesome after exiting stage left, she has *~*uber women*~* in her magical heritage! Clearly when she gets older she will be even more magically spectacular!

Of course, I'm boggling at Harry only knowing one spell to defend himself (if you're going to use Crucio, why not use Snape's lovely cutting spell on real enemies, eh Harry?) and the fact that Tonks, trained Auror gets offed by Bella and Luna, Ginny and Hermione acting together (granted Hermione and Ginny are apparently uber witches, but hey, Luna should have died! Even with their *~*DA*~* training, which doesn't seem to have improved Harry any), three witches, two of whom ARE ONLY 6TH YEAR STUDENTS manage to hold Bella off until Molly can come in and save them with the power of boundless maternal lurve. Too bad she couldn't muster any of that for motherless, apparently friendless Luna who lived down the lane any time during the last 16 years.

I guess Molly only really cares if it's her family or Harry, her famous son-in-law to be. Nice attitude for our wizarding family ideal to have, eh? But Luna and her father don't really count anyway, they're just weirdos.

And hey, if she didn't want Neville to AK Bella (and that's one thing he's certainly entitled to do, unlike Harry's gallant Crucio) why not just let Bella get killed on a technicality too? Or, you know, use that remorse loophole.

Or, I dunno, make Bella not so formidable. Or do something to give her a handicap so that it's even remotely plausible. Harry could have blasted out one of her eyes or I dunno, sectumsempra'd her! It seems ridiculous given the example of Mad-Eye that people would be neatly AK'd to death in duels ALL THE FREAKING TIME. There are obviously spells that can sever limbs, ears, and leave other lasting damage. Even Molly killing her in THIS fashion would have made SOME sense.
guardians_song
14th Feb, 2008 06:51 (UTC)
I read it slightly differently - while she DID scream "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!", there are two things in the book which need to be taken into account.

1) Did Molly love Ginny more than her other children? Locket-Riddle wouldn't have made any cutting remarks that Ron didn't fear. Yes, Harmony was Not A Ship, but Ron seriously worried that his mother loved him least and that she'd always wanted a daughter... after seventeen years with his family, I trust him to know what's sane to fear and what's not. So, the answer is "Yes."

2) I had an interpretation of the scene that's apparently not shared by anyone in fandom, because they should have mentioned it. Fred seemed to have died very quickly, and no fatal wounds were mentioned. I thought, from the context of the Molly-Bellatrix duel, that Bellatrix had either been the one to fire off the blast at the wall, or that her curse had slipped in and hit George in the back, killing him instantly. Molly, when she learned of George's death, thought it due to wall; however, sometime between when Harry saw her pre-King's Cross and the time when we saw her charge Bellatrix, Molly heard from a student that Bellatrix had been the one to aim that curse.

Bellatrix KNEW, or suspected, this - hence why she knew "Freddie" was dead. This explains the taunt to Molly. Even if Fred wasn't Molly's favored child, she still loved him. And so, Molly wasn't just doing it out of LURVE - it was a revenge killing, all right. It was.

As for her increased dueling capability - I suspect the rage had something to do with it. Insanity, in various ways, seems to give power boosts - Ariana killed her own mother in a fit of rage, Bellatrix-the-absolutely-beautifully-insane is second only to Voldemort, Voldemort is... Voldemort. So, Molly, boosted by rage, might have become more powerful...

In summary:
Bellatrix killed Fred.
Molly learned this.
As Molly came charging towards Bellatrix (hey, she couldn't have just appeared in an instant! She had to be charging BEFORE the AK barely missed Ginny!), she saw Bellatrix nearly kill her favorite child.
Cue absolutely-psycho Molly.

...Why do I get the urge to shout "SUPER SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIYAN!!!!"? :P

Too bad she couldn't muster any of that for motherless, apparently friendless Luna who lived down the lane any time during the last 16 years.
Wizards are quite non-curious. After all, Harry never went to see Godric's Hollow 'til now...



In retrospect, I think JKR implied Bellatrix died of carelessness, like Sirius. She grew a bit too overconfident fighting Molly - it's quite possible and maybe IC for Bella to toy with her food and let Molly THINK she had a chance of winning before delivering the coup de grace - and when she let down her guard, Molly's curse made it through. :P I think. My mind automatically came up with the "Bellatrix-killed-Fred" explanation during the duel.
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 15:04 (UTC)
Yeah, but we don't see this rage-induced power with anyone who isn't apparently magically damaged, as Voldie and Ariana are, so I don't know that it isn't something else that kind of broke them, or whatever. Why not have it show up with anyone apparently angry before?

It sounds like Sacrifices canon to me ;) But your theory is definitely plausible, I just don't think JKR put that much effort into it. I think Bella would have said something about cursing Fred if she'd really offed him and knew it, and why wouldn't Molly say 'Not my daughter TOO?' if she knew Bella killed Fred?

I think unfortunately Fred is just ded of wall, like Sirius is ded of drapery. Bella just had the misfortune to go after the child Harry's in lurve with, and Molly went berserk! You can really tell I hate Molly, but oh well. That was one thing I definitely liked about the fic you recced - almost no Molly!

I know, it's incredible. They apparently don't care about anything unless it's something that's effecting them RIGHT now. Harry didn't care about Godric's Hollow until he thought maybe a horcrux was there/he found out Dumbles lived there. What a load of crock.
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 15:06 (UTC)
And I should clarify I mean, apparently the *~*uber*~* power, not the ability to do a little wandless magic - which I think is probably something that could be controlled provided the wizard puts enough study and time into controlling it.
shyfoxling
14th Feb, 2008 19:50 (UTC)
I think so. Don't we see Dumbledore do wandless magic at a few points? I always pictured it as something that takes both talent and long practice.

Although I suppose we have to define "wandless". Merely not being wielded in the hand, and having it upon your person is enough? Or not?
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 19:54 (UTC)
I'm not sure if that's from the books or the movies, though. Damn cross polination in my mind :(

And oh, I'm sure it would require talent, but I think it would probably work in the same way as wordless magic, just perhaps a bit harder to master.

I just can't imagine the average wizard/witch being able to explode with power just because they got angry (I mean, where's the history of this happening? Why hasn't this defeated voldie et all before?) I'm sure it provides a surge in power and perhaps the adrenaline kicks in and helps them physically but I just can't picture anything like Ariana and Voldie happening with someone who isn't extremely damaged.
marionros
14th Feb, 2008 09:03 (UTC)
"Too bad she couldn't muster any of that for motherless, apparently friendless Luna who lived down the lane any time during the last 16 years."


Ah, but Luna isn't Famous. She isn't The Girl That Lived. She doesn't have a humongous heritage.
Think about it, when Ron left for Hogwarts, Ginny was home alone with her mother (daddy worked all day, after all) for a whole schoolyear. And do we see in CoS? Ginny is 'in love' with Harry and stays obsessed with him for the next six years.

Wow.

Can we say 'golddigger', anyone? Sure we can!
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 14:54 (UTC)
I never really thought about it that way. That's incredibly creepy.
lonewolf_eburg
14th Feb, 2008 17:21 (UTC)
Actually, Bellatrix comes off as not really a skilled witch here. I doubt that was the autorial intention, but here it is.

"1. Bellatrix is described elsewhere as an impeccable duelist, often fighting off multiple skilled people (Aurors and probably fellow Death Eaters and etc) with ease."

Where?

"and the fact that Tonks, trained Auror gets offed by Bella"

Tonks was a woman recovering from pregnancy.
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 18:58 (UTC)
It's mentioned elsewhere in this book and iirc, OOTP that she's fighting multiple people at once with ease.

And I'm sure magical midwifery is so horrible that Tonks is a floppy piece of salmon ~six weeks after giving birth.

Sorry, still not buying it.
(Deleted comment)
octoberstorm
15th Feb, 2008 16:46 (UTC)
Yeah, I couldn't make myself look either. The sporking has exorcised my hate - I just want to remain ambivalent.

You're exactly right. JKR wanted to prove Molly was a powerful witch even though she spent most of her time in the kitchen, and Tonks had to die so that we could have orphaned!Teddy. She's too fond of symmetry for her own good.

And don't apologize! It's LJ, not a private forum! :)
smurasaki
14th Feb, 2008 07:23 (UTC)
Shit. I think you're right about rage/anger being a boost to magic - in canon. This is not a good thing, yet (and not surprisingly?) I don't recall it ever being addressed. A lot of the wandless magic we see kids (Harry, Severus, Tom...others?) doing is powered by anger (or possibly other "dark side" emotions) and there are several times, as you point out when anger appears to add extra power to magic.

Now, this is fine...if it's going to be addressed. But it wasn't, so it adds to the very strange morality of the series. How to win - just be pissed.

(Of course, another problem with all of this is that we really never get a good sense of the relative power of trained wizards to one another. We're told Voldie is extra powerful, but this would work better if we'd seen competent wizards face each other (even in practice) so that we understood what it meant. Is the difference in power really one of reflexes? Does the difference in power mean that a more powerful wizard could be hit with a less powerful wizard's spell and not suffer the full effect? What does it actually mean? We never find out.)
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 15:12 (UTC)
I think the whole final battle kind of indicates that everything that happens when good and evil meet is totally not reliant on the relative power. Everything relies on apparent dumb luck, which is why Harry is so good at dueling, I suppose. Technicalities off evil people, or they are stupid and fail, except for the few Gryffindors or Gryffindor love interests that died because if she kept her "gutsiness" at being able to kill her characters off in a "bloodbath" to Wormtail, Dobby, Mad-Eye and an owl, kids would not be able to experience vicariously how death is totally random!

Then they're never mentioned again, except to pierce Harry's heart and even that's not quite as penetrating as Dumbledore's twinkly stare.
smurasaki
14th Feb, 2008 19:08 (UTC)
Can I stab the book now? I'm getting some of that rage thing. Maybe I'll be able to do magic. -_-#
octoberstorm
14th Feb, 2008 19:11 (UTC)
Hahahaha, if only, my friend, if only!
dracasadiablo
14th Feb, 2008 19:40 (UTC)
Why would you want to do magic? It kills brain cells.
smurasaki
15th Feb, 2008 03:59 (UTC)
Good point. I like my brain cells.
shyfoxling
14th Feb, 2008 19:50 (UTC)
*hands you a basilisk fang*

So are we destroying one of JKR's Horcruxes then?
smurasaki
15th Feb, 2008 03:59 (UTC)
That would explain a lot. Too bad there are hundreds of thousands of the damned things.
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