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"All was Well"

I consider that, in years to come, this particular phrase will be discussed and dissected by people more educated than I, and will (if Potterfiction stays as popular) be considered to be one of the greatest literary lies ever. For me it ranks along with "All animals are created equal" and will – just as that phrase was shown to be a nonsense –lose any credibility it has.

For this discussion, I'm using the book only. Not chats or filler information about things that Jo knows.

There's so much wrong with the assertion that all is well I hardly know where to start. But start we must.

Wizard Society.

What has changed here? Anything? It sure doesn't look like it.

So I'm assuming that House Elves are still enslaved by wizards, Goblins are still uneasy about wizard ownership of Goblin-made treasures, the Centaurs are still being ignored and shoved into reservations. Werewolves are dangerous three days a month, there is a potion available to remove their threat, but instead they are still being treated as animals.  Look how relieved everyone is that Teddy isn't a werewolf. Giants have been fighting with Voldemort, so THEY aren't likely to be forgiven for that.

Wizards then, have learned nothing about treating the other sentient races with any more respect - or, yanno, as EQUALS. This is more wrong when you look at the fact that it's quite likely that most of these races are older than humans, so to the sentient races, Britain is no better than America or Australia when it comes to infiltration and assimilation. I'm not completely surprised about this, though - although I'm disgusted - because the Last Stand was so...insular. I wrote a drabble a few years back concerning the Last Battle, and I completely over-estimated its size and grandeur. I imagined that every wizard and witch who had ever loved Hogwarts would come rushing to aid - imagine one curse screamed by a thousand throats? But it was literally - what? twenty or so adults and perhaps a hundred kids. Yeah. Right. Oh - and some desks.

So, keeping the whole thing so very secret like this (I would imagine that no-one even knew about it outside Hogsmeade until it was all over) there was no reason to change anything. Why should they? There's nothing wrong with the society is there? Carry on as normal. Lets just ignore people like Umbridge who didn't have to be evil to start ethnic cleansing, or Runcorn who will probably only say he was "obeying orders." Somehow it seems more important to introduce Harry Potter: The Next Generation, than to reassure us that all is, actually, well.

There will still be the Wizengamot. There will still be the right of imprisonment without trial. There will still be the right of execution without trial. There will be no "right to remain silent" as it's so easy to force the "accused" to speak against their will.

The place is still a self-obsessed, blinkered "oligarchy" where cleverness might be the traits that they once sought in their leaders, but the leaders have been weaker and weaker until Fudge. Kingsley is a hopeful force, but I still think he's too tied to The Order of the Phoenix (and consequently DD's apron strings and portraits to be making any of his own decisions. What's the betting that there's a portrait of D in the Minister of Magic's office?

So no. No change there it seems.

Hogwarts

Surely there will be changes here? I looked towards the much advertised Epilogue with hopeful eyes. Lessons must have been learned, I thought. But … What do I see? The Sorting continues. It was inconceivable! I think this shocked me more than a lot of other things I read. The Sorting Hat CLEARLY says more than once, as we are told, that he considers the Sorting to be wrong, and for an artifact to advocate its own redundance means it really must have meant it. So why is no-one taking any notice?

I blame Minerva more a little in this instance. She was never a pro-active deputy head, never believed much of anything Harry said, didn't like to act without Dumbledore's presence or authorisation. I can see that she would never be the type of headmistress who would be brave enough to overturn 1000 years of tradition. But frankly it NEEDS it.

How can Slytherin ever regain their face? Not only were there many children (now all grown ups and presumably sending children of their own to the school) of Death Eaters in the House, but the misconception that they refused to fight against Voldemort will remain in the consciousness of the Wizarding World. When the lists of the dead and the fighters were named in the newspapers after fight - or when a memorial was raised at Hogwarts for the dead - there will be no Slytherins, and that will be a daily slap in the face for the House. Enough perhaps to lead to further dissent. Minerva did completely the wrong thing by throwing the entire House out without 1. Asking if anyone would like to stay (where's the redemption, Jo?) or 2) even checking with Slughorn - who did stay himself.

So, everything's still the same. There's pre-conceptions of house traits, there's bullying and there's "Gryffindor is best" still in the minds of our older and newer generation.

Not only is the Sorting still in place but the prejudice that goes hand in fist with the Sorting is still clear and present - even in so-called "liberal" families like the Weasleys. "If you're not in Gryffindor, we'll disinherit you, but no pressure" says Ron to his child. JKR shows clearly with this one sentence that she remembers nothing about being a child - or that she was never actually bullied at school. I tend to think this because of all the so-called "japes" of the Weasleys which are never described as bullying, but which clearly are. Apparently for JKR, bullying is only "bad" when done by the Slytherins. Whereas I (as a bullied child) recognise it very clearly in ALL of the other houses, particularly the ostricisation of Harry whenever they suspected him of foul play.

A New Dark Lord – or worse?

It's 19 years later and OMG are the conditions ripe for new trouble. Young Scorpius doesn't really stand a chance of being a good guy, does he? There'll be so much resentment in the Malfoy house. We never hear what happens to Lucius but I can't see how he stayed out of prison, money or no money. Draco probably had to take over the reins of his family too young, and his own sense of self-worth will be forever coloured by a boy who failed to do anything but offer himself as a sacrifice and then fail to die. I hardly see him telling Scorpius that it doesn't matter what House HE'S in, can you?

I found it interesting that Harry's kids didn't know the family history. Won't that be interesting for James or Albus or Lily to find out? You know what kids are like: WHY didn't he tell us? WHY does he like James/Albus more than me? WHY can't I go to Hogwarts when the BOYS can? What's all this about a wand, anyway?

But I see more trouble than a New Dark Lord. With their spectacular blinkered behaviour, failure to address any of the rottenness at the core of their own society, wizards are fated to continue to reap the rewards of their own idiocy, over and over again until someone with the balls to take charge, rips aside the faux-Victorian hypocrisy, and drives a fresh liberal wind through their world. Unless they do I can see major problems with the Sentient creatures, and I think that the next revolution that comes will drive from that direction, because there are - as far as I can see - far more creatures out there than there are wizards and I would imagine they are very very sick of being treated as third class citizens, kept down, CONTROLLED.

"All was well"  - Fairly obviously not.  But let's be honest, who is thinking this?  Yes, Harry.  Harry who has shown that empathy begins with an M and that nothing matters in the world, if it's not directly affecting him.  He has the nuclear family, and a recreation of everything that he's lost or thinks he's lost.  He can stay in the cocoon of his own making, and he doesn't have to think about the bigger issues.  Of course - All Is Well for one selfish little toad. It always will be.

So - what do you think? There's a great many more reasons why I think All Isn't Well, but I'd like to hear some of yours.

Comments

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serriadh
16th Feb, 2008 16:47 (UTC)
What was the point of Binns teaching hundreds and hundreds of schoolchildren about the goblin rebellions when NONE of them seem to have taken on board even the simple 'goblins are pissed off with us' (somehow I doubt the subleties of who was at fault will have concerned Binns). The Goblins are cross, have a history of rebelling and control ALL the money in wizarding Britain. I can see that working out brilliantly

And the great Harry Potter won't be able to use his charisma (HA) on them, because no doubt they'll remember the time he broke into Gringotts and stole a dragon.
erastes
16th Feb, 2008 16:54 (UTC)
Completely - the whole Goblin war thing is "laughed off" as an opportunity for Ron and Harry to cheat at school and to fall asleep in class - and for Ron to pass off some of the most bloody history with something like "oh they are all called Ig and Ug" (paraphrased)

I don't think the Goblins would be too pleased at what's being taught to kids.

I should have expounded on the facts about Hogwarts, how the kids aren't taught the basics such as maths, english, foriegn languages and Muggle Studies should be mandatory to NEWT.
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lonewolf_eburg
16th Feb, 2008 18:33 (UTC)
Re: "All was well" balooney:

The strange thing is, I heard that Jo recently gave an interview in which she claimed that Harry was lying to himself when he throught that "all was well" just because his scar doesn't hurt for 19 years.

Honestly, someone should tell her that you can't bring derpth to a shallow written work by saying something in the interview.

Re: Slytherins

In one of her previous after-DH interviews she said the following about Slyths:

"Well, they're not all bad. I know I've said this before, I think I said it to Emerson. Well, far from it, as we know, at the end, they may have a slightly more highly developed sense of self-preservation than other people. A part of the final battle that made me smile was Slughorn galloping back with the Slytherins, but they'd gone off to get reinforcements first. You know what I'm saying, so yes, they came back, they came back to fight. I'm sure many people would say, well that's common sense isn't it, isn't that smart, to get help, get more people and come back?"

What the tra-ta-ta. Now, does she really believe she wrote Slytherins coming back, (and never realised that she wrote the opposite 'cause she wanted to finish the book as quickly as possible and she never re-reads her own works anyway) or just wants to do a little damage control?

There seems to be a serious difference between what Jo wrote and what she thinks she wrote.
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mary_j_59
16th Feb, 2008 18:44 (UTC)
Yes, the only way that horrible sentence makes sense to me is as a statement of hubris, or of black irony. Honestly, what I got out of the series - and what I was hoping for at the end - is this: Magic is not natural to humans and they should not have it. Let the other magical brethren deal with their own world and their own lives in their own way! Human beings are not capable of handling that kind of power without becoming thoroughly corrupt, so they shouldn't have to deal with it. I was fully expecting Severus Snape to survive, but lose his magic due to his injuries (and this would *not* be a punishment, but a reward! Magic certainly did him no favors) and I thought the same might happen to Harry. Seriously, I would have been pleased if the series had ended with the end of magic for humans.

As it is, I'm convinced that nothing has changed. Another Dark Lord is surely on the rise, and Albus Severus will soon be plunged into another war, just like his father and both his namesakes. That's the only way this epilogue makes sense to me.

The sad thing is that, even if I am right, and Rowling writes of the rise of another Dark Lord, I can't see a second series ending any differently. Wizards and Witches seem to be incapable of learning from experience. And yes, the way history was treated in the series merely emphasizes that.

But I also think that Rowling meant this seriously; she really does think all is well, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Because Harry is more important than anyone else, and all is well as far as he's concerned. Nobody and nothing else seems to matter to her.
erastes
16th Feb, 2008 22:11 (UTC)
I hope to god that she doesn't delve in this world again, but I fear that there's very very little chance of that.

You put it very well - humans are incapable of managing the power they have been gifted with (Goblins and Elves seem to have it better, even if somehow along the line, Elves got enslaved)

And yes - wouldn't it be good if it had been black irony? Although I wouldn't put it past her for her to actually interpret her own writing as such.
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minkhollow
16th Feb, 2008 18:45 (UTC)
I think one of the biggest things that irks me about the Crapilogue is that, from all the interviews, JKR clearly had more interesting information in mind. She's spouted off a few times about how the Trio and everyone else who survived the Voldiewar have Changed Things For The Better.
And, according to gehayi, a nine-year-old girl called her out on the fact that she didn't write down any of the interesting information.
We got the Married With Children epilogue, not the 'we're gonna change the world, Marty' epilogue. And considering no one seems to have changed much after the Grindelwald business (which, admittedly, didn't affect Britain as much as the continent... but still), and no one took the initiative the first time they all thought Moldyshorts was dead, we needed to see how the survivors of the second war took the new information and made the world a better place with it. The Trio in particular has no excuse - Hermione's house-elf activism, their experiences with Sirius and Lupin having to deal with the Ministry's incompetence, Harry's run-ins with Ministry complacency in book 5... they should know better.
(I would also like to note there's a reason that when I write Umbridge, usually peripherally, she's in Hufflepuff. She's in the Ministry through at least three administrations, including the Death Eater; her first loyalty seems to be to the idea of the establishment.)
And I agree about the Sorting being a lingering problem. When even the talking that that does the job finds telling children the core of their personality before puberty, and thus creating self-fulfilling stereotypical prophecies, is a bad idea... continuing to use the Hat is DOING IT WRONG.

Edited at 2008-02-16 19:29 (UTC)
lovefromgirl
16th Feb, 2008 22:21 (UTC)
I wonder why the Hat hasn't gone on strike? Surely it's due some retirement benefits, at the very least. It really ought to start mis-sorting people just for kicks.
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smurasaki
16th Feb, 2008 19:13 (UTC)
Let's not forget the Muggles, who seem to rate somewhat lower than other magical creatures on the Wizarding World's importance scale. The question of normal humans' place is never even raised by our heroes (if we can call them that), and, in fact, one of them used magic to cheat on his driving test. If the wizards are hiding their existence because they're afraid of Muggles (which actually doesn't fit very well with the fact that they accept Muggleborn wizards into the wizarding world, necessitating telling some Muggles), then all they're doing is giving Muggles reason to fear, hate, and kill or enslave them as the wizards themselves been doing to other magical creatures.
I sometimes think JKR completely forgot that her readers are all Muggles. At some point, I see young fans re-reading the series and realizing exactly where non-magical humans fit into the Wizarding World. Yes, a lot of people accept (or have made up, since I don't see much canon evidence for it)the excuse that wizards are outnumbered and afraid of the Muggles, but they actually treat them more like animals than potential enemies. Of course, that's also exactly how they treat the other magical beings, even Werewolves who used to be wizards.
If you look at the series from the point of view of any non-wizard, it's like the tag line for Alien vs. Predator - whoever wins, we lose. But the really sad thing is that it didn't need to be like this. The war with Voldemort could have been the impetus for everyone to finally work together. Instead of dealing with old prejudices and working for a positive, more integrated future, we're left with a statement that is a horrible lie if you aren't part of the Wizarding World. (And even if you are, should you have the misfortune to have sorted into the wrong House.)
Given everything else, I don't even want to know what the fall out from the war actually was. How many people were thrown in Azkaban? What about the Dementors? Were the questions raised about them ever addressed? (I suspect not, since the person who raised them is dead.)
All Is Well? I may puke.
guardians_song
16th Feb, 2008 22:35 (UTC)
Personally, as far as fanfic ideas, I'm sort of interested in Muggle werewolves. They get shafted in every way possible. I'm also sort of interested in Fenrir Greyback, as far as - How did he get his ideas? Why does he still uphold them? Doesn't it mean something REALLY BAD about the WW that many werewolves would prefer to become monsters that condemn others to their miserable lives (which IS really what he advocates) than to try to muddle along as normally as possible?

The Dementors no longer work for Azkaban, in interview!canon. The PROBLEM is, JKR, this means that soul-sucking monsters are RUNNING FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND MOST WIZARDS CANNOT CREATE A CORPOREAL PATRONUS, SO THEY'LL BE SCREWED AGAINST DEMENTOR MOBS! *sigh*
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berseker
16th Feb, 2008 21:57 (UTC)
Ok, lemme think. Now it’s kinda hard to pin one single reason (or two, or three, of four...) why All is Not Well, especially after all the rec-ed fics I’ve been reading (Golden Ages, is amazing!), but I’ll try to pick the two things that annoyed me the most.

1. Lack of Ethics.: The trio had previously made us painfully aware that they’d take the easy choice instead of the right one any time of the day, but I guess I was still hopeful. I thought they would realize that, more important than the whole kill-my-parents thing, what made Voldemort really evil was the fact he had no respect whatsoever for anyone else. After all, if he wanted to live forever, that was his problem. He could try it. But he sacrificed people’s lives for it, because he thought his wishes and ideas were more important than anything else. I know there’s more to it, but I say that the fundament for his evilness was his inability to relate and respect other people.

Just like Dumbledore. Just like Harry. Just like Ron and Hermione. In the last book, we saw Hermione steal memories because she thought she knew best, Harry using Crucio because he was annoyed, and I’ll save Ron for the last because he’s the creepiest. Now, the Crucio was in a villain, and the memory thing was full of good intentions, but, let’s think about it, the Death Eaters also thought they were in the right side. It may be hard to relate to their motivation (pureness of blood, or whatever) but it doesn’t change the fact that, in their POV, the Order were the bad ones. Or, at least, the ones standing in the way (and if you pretend that the battle at the ministry was more than narrative fail, the fact that they used stupid charms against children show they were being more ethical than Harry in the last book, but I won’t even go there. I’m not ready for this kind suspension of disbelief yet).

Point is, the Death Eaters killed people. The heroes aren’t exactly there yet, but they got the rationalization for it down to the letter. And they already covered two of the Unforgivables. They also have the prejudices, even if directed at another group. They have the firm belief that everything they do will be automatically right. Gallant, even. And that’s why I think the driver’s license was the creepiest thing ever. Wizards have brooms, and flying stuff, and are know fro their ineptitude to understand the muggle’s devices. Driving a car is a serious business, it can be dangerous, and the least you can do if you really want to drive is learn how. Unless, it seams, you’re Ron, because then you just have to want it. And use the magic to cheat. You want it, you take it. Simple as that. And if you have to charm someone who can’t defend himself then all the better. After all, we all know how harmless these kind if charms are.

This is bullying in a larger scale. And it is Voldemort’s way in a slightly smaller scale. And I won’t quote Vimes because everybody else did it first. I’ll just say that Ron didn’t had a god reason in the first time.

(550 words! And I still have another point to make! I’ll break this thing in two parts)
seductivedark
16th Feb, 2008 23:53 (UTC)
...and the memory thing was full of good intentions...

An old saying has it that "The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions." People mean well, people think that they should be in control of others, people believe they need to Take Up the White Man's Burden (Kipling), that they need to parent the know-nothing children of the world, that they alone have the answers and so must rule For The Greater Good, but all this does is lead the people who believe this down their own road to Hell, and in the case of people who actually do get to rule over others, then dragging those innocents they rule, along.

Sometimes I wonder why old sayings aren't taught more. There are a lot of truths in them.
lovefromgirl
16th Feb, 2008 22:18 (UTC)
Part of me wonders whether JK Rowling actually wrote a scathing commentary on modern society. Then the rest of me gangs up and beats that part to a pulp.

Agreed all 'round.
guardians_song
16th Feb, 2008 22:37 (UTC)
Methinks she's quite good friends with modern society, particularly nowadays. In the old days, pre-... HBP, maybe?... she WAS writing a world where she intended change at the end. Then, the moolah rolled in, and... :P HAIL TO THE (WO)MAN! :D *gags*
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gehayi
16th Feb, 2008 23:05 (UTC)
You don't really need to recommend it here. It's already up on the rec list.
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guardians_song
16th Feb, 2008 23:05 (UTC)
"For all his flaws – and there are so many – that’s my biggest issue. When Harry fights Voldemort for the last time, you don’t feel that he earned the victory, that he really tried to better himself and prepare for this moment. He didn’t study new spells, look for weak points, or come up with a plan; it was all based on luck and a technicality that Rowling through in at the last moment – the issue of wand ownership and how she could make it fit her main character. Throughout the series, more so in the last four books, you can feel Rowling’s heavy twisting events to make him follow the plot and come out alive, to the point where in Deathly Hallows she makes Hermione into a walking plot device."

I swear by my theory that Harry's magic is as broken as TMR's and Ariana's, in its own way, and it fed off his soul and power to make him luckier. It only really kicked in during GoF, but the strain made him ANGSTY in OOTP (Voldemort? Hah!), and as for HBP and DH... it just fed off him until there was only a shell. A VERY LUCKY shell...
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berseker
16th Feb, 2008 23:26 (UTC)
More Stuff That I Hate:

The second point I was going to say is the fact that she obviously wrote that without caring. Remember the first book? How detailed everything was? Besides the main story, there were so many interesting things happening that we felt just like Harry entering the school. What’s the wizard maths? And how does the grades work? And who teaches p.ed? And oooh the chess pieces moves- you get the picture. In the last book there wasn’t anything. TO me it felt like she wasn’t enjoying her world anymore, because there wasn’t any of those sparkly little details.

Which brings me to another problem. The politics in the wizard word are the crappiest crap that ever crapped. Really. And it doesn’t fit. I think she should have avoided the reference to the ministry and kept things focusing on Harry, because that was what she wanted anyway, and because every time she tries to write about the ministers, and how they operate, and how the conspiracy will work, she makes a blunder of it. Same with the war. It wasn’t a war, it was a battle to take a boarding school, and the outcome if it wouldn’t change the ways of the wizards one bit (well, except for the muggle-borns. I still say the rest didn’t even realize that Voldemort was controlling the ministry). So why treating it like a menace to all wizard world? Like Erastes said, nobody but the students and a bunch of adults were there! Ever since OoTP I´m having this “my war is pastede on yay” feeling.

But I just realized that I’m doing it wrong. I was supposed to rant about the things the epilogue implied, not about everything I dislike in the books. Uops. But it is kind of related, because if we decide to believe her interviews info, then we have Hermione in the ministry. And, frankly, would you feel happy and safe knowing she was there taking care of things?

And besides, that’s another bit that bothered me in the epilogue. It was supposed to have that feeling of accomplishment, of laughing-with-your-friends-after-everything (have anyone here read Asteriz? You know how they always finish with a banquet? That was what I was expecting). After seven book, we are more than entitled to some celebration. What we get instead is a boring description of two boring families (she could at least have mentioned Luna. And bring Neville to the screen. You know, the people we care about, no some Rosie we just met). But, since the whole war was a fiasco, so was the celebration.
dracasadiablo
17th Feb, 2008 02:09 (UTC)
"It wasn’t a war, it was a battle to take a boarding school, and the outcome if it wouldn’t change the ways of the wizards one bit (well, except for the muggle-borns. I still say the rest didn’t even realize that Voldemort was controlling the ministry)."
My pet theory is that most wizards live on dark side of the moon. Because of this, they don't have slightest contact with reality. And no real clue what's going on. Only that can explain why "status quo" never changes.
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seductivedark
16th Feb, 2008 23:39 (UTC)
I'm amazed at the stupidity/blinkeredness of HP:TNG. I can perhaps see Harry and Co. hiding their part in the war from their children because of some snobbish idea of humility. But the moment the first child goes off on the train, all the other kids should know the story by the end of Christmas holiday. Apparently, James had been in school for a couple of years; he must have heard of the Amazing Harry Potter. Before him, Teddy Lupin went to Hogwarts, spent a lot of time with his godfather Harry's family. I can perhaps believe that Harry warned Teddy against telling the little ones, but James?

Sorting: James seems to be a bully to the younger kids. Someone has mentioned that maybe Albus would purposely get Sorted into Slytherin just to get away from James. Who wants to bet that Albus would be James's favorite target if they were stuck, bored, in the same common room? I'd love to be a fly reading the shortfic of Harry's honest reaction to Albus being Sorted into Slytherin.

New Dark Lord: Who's to say there isn't one already, one not quite matching the outward signs of a traditional Dark Lord? When someone who has been able to get away with Unforgivables and has enough power to bypass all the rules to become an Auror, and becomes head of the DMLE based more on his star rating than ability as we've been shown it, to me, this is a Dark Lord in sheep's clothing.

All was well: Based on the idea of Harry's scar not hurting in ninteen years. Incapable of thinking! The connection was broken when the soul-piece was destroyed in the forest. Of course his scar doesn't hurt, and wouldn't if Voldy was standing behind Harry breathing fire. Besides, the scar only warned about Voldemort, not any other Dark Wizard. It certainly didn't warn about bad political and social mores, or about bullies, or about blatant discrimination, etc., etc. So, Harry's oblivious, and that means all is well. *disgusted sigh*
dracasadiablo
17th Feb, 2008 02:25 (UTC)
"I'm amazed at the stupidity/blinkeredness of HP:TNG. I can perhaps see Harry and Co. hiding their part in the war from their children because of some snobbish idea of humility. But the moment the first child goes off on the train, all the other kids should know the story by the end of Christmas holiday."
There's absolutely no explanation for this. Well, maybe if Harry&Co went to live on the moon. On dark side of the moon. In deep crater. In isolated (space)house. With children living in cupboard. Hell, even that doesn't cover it.
(no subject) - guardians_song - 17th Feb, 2008 02:29 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dementedsiren - 17th Feb, 2008 23:54 (UTC) - Expand
pigeonsfromhell
17th Feb, 2008 01:37 (UTC)
None so blind as will not see
The institutionalized ignorance of the wizarding world means that what they don't know could kill them. They're unaware of population pressures (which make it more and more likely that they will be discovered), new diseases, random violence, and climate change. When the Thames crawls up over Diagon Alley some year, they'll be rather surprised. Of course, I'm not entirely convinced that Rowling's muggle world is ours--it's always seemed to me to be a sort of bizzaro-world in which no one notices anything and child abuse couldn't possibly be noticed or reported by neighbors or teachers. As to Hogwarts and its horrible pedagogy--I certainly wouldn't want a child of mine to go there, with the blatant favoritsm, distant, unhelpful teachers, and constant threat of bodily harm or death. Hogwarts must be hell for the less-talented or less-connected. Why would the parents of dead muggle students keep their mouths shut? (unless the ww makes a practice of shutting their mouths for them--more vileness and corruption).
guardians_song
17th Feb, 2008 02:27 (UTC)
Re: None so blind as will not see
"Why would the parents of dead muggle students keep their mouths shut? (unless the ww makes a practice of shutting their mouths for them--more vileness and corruption)."

My theory is that the Unforgivables - excuse me, I mean Unspeakables - are in charge of damage control. They take children who have been driven mad (into Ariana-like states), and either convince the parents/guardians that this is for the best, or modify their memories (and those of a few others) so that no one knows that child existed (since wizards and witches don't seem to be able to look past their own backyards). In the cases of dead Muggleborns... they just modify.

...Let me be VERY cynical and horrible. If they absolutely CANNOT manage to erase the children's existences or pass it off as an accident, they frame the parents. We know frame-ups can be done easily - Morfin proved that. All they have to do is implant false memories and use whatever trick TMR did in order to have the parents brag to the Aurors or Muggle police that they finally got around to killing their "unnatural" or "demon-possessed" children. Then, they suppress the cases in the Muggle media.

It would be quite in-character for the Wizarding World, wouldn't it? Of course, these are Unspeakables. No one knows about them, except for a few, and those few know all too well what Unspeakables can do, so they keep their mouths shut. Besides, it's For the Greater Good.
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Re: None so blind as will not see - door_nob - 28th Feb, 2008 15:29 (UTC) - Expand
Re: None so blind as will not see - erastes - 17th Feb, 2008 16:11 (UTC) - Expand
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jodel_from_aol
17th Feb, 2008 21:19 (UTC)
Oh it gets worse. Did you read the transcript of the interview where someone asked her about the locked room and she had the paucity of intellect to claim that what is in the love room is a fountain of Amortensia? That the people study "Love" by taking a *potion* and recordig the effects?

Even poor old Sluggy has a sounder grasp of the subject than that!
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montavilla
17th Feb, 2008 19:28 (UTC)
Okay, to me it isn't even that Harry's thinking that "all is well" when nothing's been done about the house-elves, or the goblins, or Slytherin or anything.

It's that the stupid scar doesn't tell him anything except what Voldemort is up to and Voldemort is dead!

If Scorpius is the next dark lord, Harry doesn't have any way to know that. He doesn't have any radar for evil. It's just for one specific person that he has this super-special connection.

Frankly, I think the next dark lord is a lady and she's standing right next to Ron Weasley.

Shall we compare her to an summer's evil overlord?

At thirteen, she was brewing polyjuice, stealing hairs from children, and using both to spy on her enemies.
At fifteen, she kidnapped and blackmailed a journalist.
At sixteen, she started an underground army of underage warriors, and facially scarred the "traitor" to the group. She also blackmailed the journalist again, strongarming the press to print her propaganda. On the fly, she came up with a plan to use centaurs to punish a hated rival to her rise to power.
At seventeen, she interrupted her plans for world domination to attack her true love with canaries.
At eighteen, she masterminded the overthrow of the current dark lord, and, along the way, she broke into the Ministry of Magic and Gringott's (unbreak-into-able) Bank. She also successfully rid herself of her inconvenient parents (and without bloodshed!)

She has been described as "the most brilliant witch of her generation." Others who have been described as "the most brilliant": Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald, Tom Riddle.

Tremble, Wizarding World! Tremble!
guardians_song
17th Feb, 2008 20:59 (UTC)
You know, I remember some people noting that Hermione and Umbridge might have been quite similar if not for her friendship with Harry and Ron.

After reading this community, I now say "What do you mean by "might have been" and "if NOT"?!" XD
(no subject) - erastes - 17th Feb, 2008 22:24 (UTC) - Expand
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erastes
17th Feb, 2008 22:50 (UTC)
And what I should have put in the main post and completely forgot is the fact that one of the main threats to the Wizards in the future will be the Muggles themselves.

If they find out how they've been manipulated, altered, lied to, killed by magic (and covered up) and put in dire risk because no-one thought it was worth while calling the army out, there's going to be a civil war and witches and wizards will really know what persecution MEANS.

I'm fully of the opinion that wizards are nothing better than parasites when it comes to Muggles - for when do we hear of farmer wizards? blue collar wizards? wizards who create things for wizards? We don't. So frankly the wizards don't produce anything for the Muggle population, don't even pay income tax, but take everything they can get.

There'll be trouble, mark my words.
dementedsiren
18th Feb, 2008 00:00 (UTC)
Something I never understood (from a functional, story-telling standpoint) was why we got that one intro that inluded the Muggle Minister. It alluded to so much, and was the single concrete interaction with the Muggle world not completely reliant on Harry (that I can recall, at least), and the nothing happened with it. Why spend an entire intro to a book bringing that up and the do NOTHING?

Granted, it's not like that's a terribly new thing in this series, but still.
(no subject) - jodel_from_aol - 18th Feb, 2008 00:51 (UTC) - Expand
gehayi
17th Feb, 2008 23:00 (UTC)
The Unchanging Wizarding World
Recently, mctabby had a locked discussion going about why JKR killed off Sirius. One person said that she wanted to signal the end of an era. This was my reply. In rhyme.

***

Maybe that was her way of signaling the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

Aside from the Epilogue which signaled that, aside from the death of Voldemort, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAD CHANGED.

Children are still being Sorted;
Hopes of Slytherins are thwarted.
(McG had the Slyths evicted,
Now as cowards they're depicted.)
Muggles? Still considered fools,
And why obey a Muggle's rules?
High school sweethearts always wed
And remain so till they're dead,
While it's in wizard genes inherent
That kids are clones of either parent.
The war has nothing disarranged;
No thought, idea, or bias changed.

And this is all ideal, you know:
All hail the mighty Status Quo!
Freeze wizards all in amber deep,
Place them in cryogenic sleep,
And dump them all in pickle brine
While each one swears that things are fine.

Hark to the steady, tolling knell--
A new Dark Lord says, "All is well."
marionros
18th Feb, 2008 13:20 (UTC)
What amazed me the most about all this was why 'every students that wasn't Slytherin' joined Potter and his Little Friends when Pansy shouted 'there is Potter, lets deliver him to the Dark Lord'.
I mean, what did Harry & co ever do for Ravenclaw except maiming the face of one of them when she mentioned the (rather alarmingly terrorist) Dumbledore's Army to her mother.
What did Harry ever do for Hufflepuff except bringing back a dead Cedric (and it's not as if the happenings in that maze were ever explained to anyone - it still looks awfully like Harry somehow caused Cedric to die) and violenty (but at least verbally) attack Zacharias when Zack *asked Harry what happened*.

Lets face it, none of the Trio are very sociable or likeable children. Harry is so self-centered that he hardly notices other children in his school. Children whom he shared a class with for years, and he still has to ask their effing names! Ron is a jealous hothead with a hot temper, loads of self-doubt and a vicious mouth on him. Hermione is a pedantic, bossy, overbearing and simply horrid girl. Seriously, these three are social *misfits*!
Who would *want* to be friends with these three? Try and be nice to Harry and he'll either a) take it for granted and forget who you are within a second, b) become all shouty and CAPSLOCKY when you dare to disagree with him (and who'd want to talk to somebody who only wants confirmation of his own views but isn't the slightest interested in your ideas) or c) be so dull and uninteresting you'd fall asleep even looking at him.
Be nice to Ron and he'll grouse that you'd probably like his brothers better (and then he'll lock onto an even more bitter jaw about his dreadful brother Percy and *yawn* *yawn*)
Be nice to Hermione... but why would anybody want to be nice to Hermione? She's an awful girl. Unsociable, ruthless, cruel (in fact, all JKR's 'heroes' are stupefyingly cruel - the woman scares me)...

So, to make a long story short, it is yet another example of Harry's luck that he hid away in his cosy tent for so long. The only reason that the Houses Minus Slytherin stood behind him must've been because the Carrows made themselves so unpopular for the whole year.
Amazing, how stupid Voldie is. If he had put Hogwarts in charge of some charismatic DE's (and they must exist. Don't tell me all DE's are moronic mouthbreathers. Oh, wait) and given the children what they wanted (interesting lessons for the Ravenclaws, a sense of 'togetherness in difficult times' for the 'Puffs, appreciation for the Slyths and more sports and competitions for the Gryffs) then the whole school would've thrown Harry over the wall giftwrapped.

I can't think of another reason why Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff should share themselves behind Harry Who Were You Again? Potter.
bee_in_a_garden
18th Feb, 2008 18:33 (UTC)
Hey, have you announced the completion of the sporking over at deleterius, marysues and other like-minded communities?
gehayi
18th Feb, 2008 20:30 (UTC)
No, and although I haven't spoken to my co-mod about this, I doubt if we're going to. It seems like that would merely invite wank. Much of the HP fandom has a peculiar perception of Rowling as God. You can say that Hemingway wrote something badly, or that Shakespeare did, or that Goethe did--in fact, quite a lot of literary criticism comes down to that.

But dare to say the same thing about Rowling, loudly and publicly, and the wank starts flying.

I really don't understand this. I've been in a lot of fandoms. Trekkies will give you chapter, number and verse about the various series, movies, cartoons and comic books that comprise their fandom--and they're more than happy to compare and contrast quality. I've seen plenty of Star Wars fans bitching about the prequels vs. the original trilogy, and complaining that Padme in Phantom Menace is not the same person as Padme in Revenge of the Sith. Highlander fans to this day talk about the Nonexistent Episode (where Richie Ryan died) and about Season Sux, noted for weak writing and tons of female guest stars who were essentially auditioning for Highlander: the Raven. Most Pratchett fans hate the early Discworld books, and tend to advice people just coming to the series to start with later books. Some George R. R. Martin fans (like me) like A Feast For Crows; others can't abide it, saying that it's sprawling, contains too many new characters, and is the weakest in the ASOIAF series. I have a friend who's a fan of Orson Scott Card's Enderverse, and she and I have a running feud about who's worse at timelines, Card or Rowling.

Disliking a series, or part of a series, for weak writing, new characters, a frail plot, poor characterization, OOC characterization and/or contradictory canon IS NOT UNUSUAL.

And yet there's an attitude that somehow, Rowling, out of all the authors in the world, should be exempt from criticism. I don't know why, but it's there, and because it is, it makes public criticism of her rather difficult...even unpleasant.

So...no. We probably won't.
(no subject) - bee_in_a_garden - 18th Feb, 2008 21:06 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - erastes - 18th Feb, 2008 21:32 (UTC) - Expand
alias_iii
18th Feb, 2008 21:41 (UTC)
I think that the reason that the ending of the book and the epilogue are so damned annoying is that they completely fly in the face of everything that so many of us *thought* we were reading. "It is our choices, Harry, that make us who we are" (paraphrased). Yeah, no, it wasn't. Choice implies thinking things through.

Which leads to the fact that Harry's ignorance becomes a major plot device, just as much as Hermione's brilliance. If the main character actually sat down and figured things out, or talked things through with someone who could really help him out (which is probably at least 1/2 of why JKR had to kill off Sirius, who would have told Harry everything given the chance), he would have figured things out waaay sooner, and then where would the plot be? If Harry ever saw the world widely enough to go beyond what he had to do at the last second, he would have seen all the crap that JKR had pulled.

But the really irritating thing to me was how she spent books and books talking about how problematic the Ministry is, all without LV's help, but then suddenly, once LV is defeated, all is well? So LV-Sauron-Satan, and thus all evil in the world was vanquished. Yeah, we all know that this is fantasy, but when you do so much to tie in the real problems of the real world, that kind of crap doesn't fly.

Which brings me to the werewolves. House Elves kind of came and went. The goblins never really came. Centaurs did their utmost to remain gone. But the werewolf issue really came to the fore in HBP. For one, Lupin joined up with Greyback's werewolves. For two, JKR intros Greyback and explains how he likes to lure little children out into the night for a late snack. For three, Bill gets mauled, and a big deal is made about whether or not he'll have any werewolfish qualities. For four, whether or not a werewolf should marry becomes an issue. OotP had already shown that it was almost impossible for a werewolf to get a job, and it also showed a man getting disowned by all of his friends and family because he got bit. Ok, so it really seemed to me that the werewolf issue was going to carry into DH as a sort of cover-all for all of the sentient races (which wouldn't really work for Elves, as they weren't really involved in the conflict, or clamoring for equality). Things were all set for Greyback's character to really become an important part of the story, for rights to be addressed, for years (centuries?) of oppression to come to a head, for the Ministry to see that it was doing everything possible to force werewolves into Greyback's welcoming embrace--but that apparently would have taken too much effort. Instead, it was more fun to very pointlessly kill off the character who had heretofore been a prime representative of the cast-aside.

Previous to the end of OotP, JKR was great at using her characters in multiple ways, of giving them several roles to fill. Look at Hagrid. He's the biggest plot device there is for five books running. Need to do something with a dangerous creature, the Forbidden Forest, or information that the Trio shouldn't know? Cue Hagrid. But then JKR kills off Sirius w/o giving him any further significance than relaying bits of backstory. She goes on to kill off Remus and Tonks, whose primary importance was making Ginny and Hermione laugh at dinner and then popping out a kid (because Lupin the paranoid werewolf and Tonks the Auror in the middle of a war are just the most likely couple in the world to accidently have a kid). She also introduces Greyback just so he can make disgusting comments in Malfoy Manor before he's never heard from again (when Ron "brings him down," is that killing or just knocking out?). So there's character after character, facet after facet of subplot that had previously made the books so fascinating, that just get left aside out of laziness.

(continued in next post 'cause of length constrictions)
alias_iii
18th Feb, 2008 21:42 (UTC)
The "all was well" never gets fulfilled simply because JKR couldn't be arsed to finish things off properly or wait until a point when she could (we waited for years of OotP, I would have waited for DH not to suck), so there's a brilliant message of "Well, yeah, things could be different. The problems I've been harping about for hundreds and thousands of pages could be addressed. But that'd take work. Thinking. Admitting that maybe I was wrong about a few things. It's a lot easier if we all just chant 'all is well' to ourselves over and over and see how much better we can pretend the real world will become."

Meanwhile, families that were completely torn apart, people who suffered irreparable damage under LV w/o being able to do a damn thing, children who lost parents and parents who lost children, and everyone else who has problems greater than being able to operate an effing car, are still voiceless and desperate.
erastes
18th Feb, 2008 21:46 (UTC)
That's exactly the feeling I get from this book. "Oh God, I need to get THIS FINISHED, I'm too rich for this shit."

I know the feeling of wanting to be done with a book. I've been there, and I've rushed an ending just "to be done" and that book is unsatisfactory to me. And I didn't create some massive world!
(no subject) - alias_iii - 20th Feb, 2008 18:49 (UTC) - Expand
va32h
19th Feb, 2008 13:38 (UTC)
I too thought JKR just wanted to get it over with; and yet since the book's been published, she can't seem to shut up or go away already.

Apparently she wanted to get the *work* over with and move on to the accolades.

Nothing said more to me about how she perceives herself (or how a large segment of fans perceive her) than the fact that she did her midnight reading (and all readings on her subsequent US tour) from a throne. A freaking throne.

alias_iii
20th Feb, 2008 18:36 (UTC)
A throne? Seriously? Wow. I've been out of the loop way too long.

Does she *ever* do anything like a UK tour?
popartyarn
8th Mar, 2008 20:12 (UTC)
medical ethics
I only heard about this community last week.
So I spent the whole week reading through everything and I wanted to drop in here and say thanks to everyone for doing such a spork-tastic job!
I've enjoyed every minute your reviews and comments!

I did want to bring up two things that really bugged me about the ending.

I can not believe that after all is said and done, nothing seems to have changed regarding the muggle/wizard relationship. Especially in the medical field.

How can their be a supposedly ethical society of people who have important knowledge of cures and healing that would benefit all mankind yet, for no really good reason at all, choose to withhold that info from the rest of the world??!

Wizards can regrow bones, or heal broken ones overnight with a simple potion of Skelegrow. Yet their healers just sit on thier thumbs and watch all the suffering in the Muggle world with a blind eye. I have thought about this since book 2 and it's bothered me so much.

Who knows how many more cures and medical breakthroughs the Wizards have, yet they have chosen to keep this knowledge a secret unto themselves. Just like wand knowledge is kept from the goblins.

I love your ideas of having the Wizard and Muggle worlds join. Sharing ideas and wisdom.
It's really the only ethical choice.
Imagine.

Oh, and the other thing I was so mad about was that Harry, Ron, and Hermy didn't take care of Dolohov back in the diner when they had the chance.

Lupin had just finished lecturing Harry about how the time for "expelliarmus" had passed and that now was the time for more drastic measures.

Yet, Lupin was to die at the hands of Dolohov.
A Death Eater who, if not murdered by the trio, should have at the very least had his memory erased. We know Hermione could do that.

I wonder if Teddy was ever told about this. If he ever found out that the man who murdered his dad could have been eliminated by the trio early on and that he might have at least had one parent left to raise him.

Do you think Harry, Ron, or Hermione would tell him the truth on that? Ever?

Sometimes inaction can make you just as guilty as if you flat-out murdered someone.

And I'm not listening to anyone who'll say that, if not Dolohov, some other D.E. would have killed him. That can never be known.

Anyway, thanks for all the laughs! You guys are awesome! :o)

popartyarn
13th Mar, 2008 00:04 (UTC)
D.H. will be 2 movies
Oh! I just heard this news from the Leaky Cauldron...

"Today the L.A. Times announced that Deathly Hallows will be two movies. David Yates, who directed Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, will return to direct both Deathly Hallows films, and Steve Kloves will continue on as screenwriter."
erastes
13th Mar, 2008 11:24 (UTC)
Re: D.H. will be 2 movies
ick.

So I'll be missing THREE films in the future, not two!
Re: D.H. will be 2 movies - skull_bearer - 24th Mar, 2008 00:59 (UTC) - Expand
Re: D.H. will be 2 movies - erastes - 24th Mar, 2008 09:19 (UTC) - Expand
mary_j_59
14th Mar, 2008 03:12 (UTC)
Ditto. And I cannot believe that they thought there was enough material for even one decent movie in DH.
shadow1905
16th Mar, 2008 20:31 (UTC)
Ah, where to begin? The main problems I saw (apologies if any of this is repeated from earlier posts)

1) The mythology was all messed up. Wand ownership, secret keepers, saying Voldemort's name, Unforgiveables, Parseltongue, Occlumency? All of it is wrenched around in DH. Many of the interesting statements from previous books are totally nullified: "The wand chooses the wizard", "Time and space matter in magic", "It is our choices that define us", etc.

2) Backstory. I got way too much of Dumbledore's backstory, which I just didn't care about (I didn't need his teen plots with Grindelwald to think he was a manipulative jerk), but the backstory I *did* care about was more or less ignored: especially Lily's Potions ability which is ignored altogether and Sirius' prank against Snape, which is dismissed in a sentence. And I would have liked an explanation of how James turned from the utter jerk we saw in the flashbacks to the sainted figure of the Order's memory... or at least some acknowledgement that JK Rowling realized there was a disconnect. I hated the way Snape's backstory was dumped into that clumsy Pensieve chapter... and then in the following chapter, Snape isn't even mentioned!

3) All the interesting stuff is offscreen! Neville and Co. fighting a trench war against DeathEaters in the castle? Offscreen. Harry and Ron supposedly fixing all the *entrenched* problems in the wizarding world, which as so many have noted are actually a bigger problem than Voldemort? Banished to interview canon. Snape? Kept offscreen for almost the whole book. Instead we get, as everyone has noted, endless DULL camping scenes.

4) Passive!Harry. I didn't even realize how little Harry actually *does* in DH until I read the sporks. It's really shocking for the central character of the series to be so inactive. Harry never even gains independence from Dumbledore, which ought to happen in any proper coming-of-age story; at the end of DH he is still checking everything with Dumbledore's portrait!

5) Tonks and Remus... as Lavender would say, urgh! That's a carryover complaint from "Half-Blood Prince", of course.

Although I found all the grammar comments in the sporks funny, I would readily forgive a lot of grammar mistakes for good characterization and plotting. Instead, we got a wet soggy mess.
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