Sunday, April 16, 2006

Harry Potter and the Insane Obsession

You might already know about some of my thoughts on Harry Potter. But it has been on my mind more and more recently.

Reasons for this:

  • the most recent movie came out on DVD a month or so ago. I didn't think that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was nearly as good a film as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Mike Newell was the director of Goblet and while there is nothing wrong with the movie it just hasn't captivated me as successfully as did Azkaban. Maybe I was just so refreshed by Alfonso Cuaron's new style and new energy that he injected into the movies. Newell didn't go into a new area, but he had the luxury of not having to escape the Chris Columbus vibe.
  • Obviously, there is the delay while J.K. Rowling writes the next book. I know VG and Raisinette have put off and put off reading some HP books in order to shrink this wait time between books. The problem is I couldn't own the book and not read it, nor can I be entirely patient while the gears of creativity slowly grind.
All of this time has led me to obsess more than I should and has forced me to find new ways to think about HP. Luckily, there are even more people out there that are doing a lot of this thinking for me. I just have to find out how to access their thoughts.

And in this world of media coverage and instant composition, that isn't very hard to do.

Recently, I have been checking out The Leaky Cauldron, which is the preeminent HP website out there. I believe that the webmasters running TLC created the site while they endured the multi-year delay between GoF and OotP. They have branched out their site and their content into a great many directions, cultivated contact with the HP book-makers, the movie cast, and the massive and inventive fan base that are the real attraction. The fans are always searching for clues, new information, anything to feed the obsession. Much like LOST, HP encourages people to read between the lines, look for symbolism, uncover the messages underneath the messages. And these fans WANT to know.

I have also been listening to the Leaky Cauldron podcast (PotterCast). All of this is only scratching the surface of the very deep rabbit hole that one could easily get lost in.

As I have thought more about the books, I have delved deeper into HBP (allowing me to see striking parallels and connections between HBP and CoS. But trust me that what I have quickly put down is very simplistic compared to some of the work done by some Potter fans. As just one place where you can find examples, visit Scribbilus, the TLC subsite that hosts a bunch of HP-based essayists.

Why are these connections between books 2 and 6 important? They are probably not important at all, nor does it have any relevance to understanding anything in the Rowling world. It's probably a natural outgrowth of story telling in a contained universe of characters, setting, and overall plot unity.

But in a world where the simplest gesture from a LOST castaway might mean something, I find patterns and make note of them.

And since I have a blog, I can make note of them and ask you to read about it.

To wit:
  1. A great deal of time is spent in HBP trying to learn about Voldemort's past, a past that was introduced to us initially in CoS. This past was introduced via Tom Riddle's diary (which is significant in a completely different way that I'll get to shortly) which was used by Ginny (who is newly important thanks to HBP. Ginny's character was originally introduced in CoS.)
  2. In CoS the school was threatened with closure, due to the Heir of Slytherin's attacks. Likewise, due to the death that occurred at the end of HBP, there is talk that the school will not open after the summer break has ended.
  3. The deeper history of Hogwarts' four founding magicians is first introduced in CoS, which is reinforced in the memories that Dumbledore and Harry witness to learn of Tom Riddle's search for significant artifacts (to be used as horcruxes).
  4. Likewise, the important concept of Mudbloods is first broached in CoS (as a target of Slytherin's heir's wrath) and is reinforced many times in HBP. The name of the book, in fact, points to this important concept. As does Tom Riddle's own Mudblood parentage and the important stock that Riddle put on emphasizing the half connection he had to the House of Gaunt and their desperate attempts to remain "pureblood."
  5. The vanishing cabinet in Borgin & Burke's is first introduced in the first chapters of CoS and is vitally important to the plot climax of HBP.
It turns out, according to my friend Perk, there is a literary theory known as chiasm (as in intersecting, or cross-shaped) that utilizes a structure in which item 1 refers to item 5, item 2 to item 4, and item 3 is the pivot around which everything turns.

Following the chiasm theory then, Sorcerers Stone (Yr. 1) relates to unnamed book #7 (beginnings and endings), Chamber of Secrets (Yr. 2) relates to Half Blood Prince (Yr. 6)--as I have somewhat related above), Prisoner of Azkaban (Yr. 3) relates to Order of the Phoenix (Yr. 5)--for one, Sirius Black figures prominently in both. And Goblet of Fire (Yr. 4) is the central pivot--Voldemort returns in bodily form.

Anyway, I'll occupy my time waiting for book 7 by searching the internet for more clues and essays, listening to the TLC Pottercast and rereading the books I've already read at least twice. As bad as that sounds to some of you, I'm not even scratching the surface of some of the obsessions that exist out there among some of the fans.


Blogger Messed Up said...

To tell you the truth The books were so much better then the movies, the movies are good for seting the stage for the books.

8:48 AM  

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