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Jumping into Harry Potter Meta - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
May 30th, 2006
02:02 pm


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Jumping into Harry Potter Meta

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Date:June 1st, 2006 04:25 am (UTC)

From CC

Whoa, very interesting topic. I am someone who read the first three books and decided to stop reading them until the last one come out (figured out reading the Wheel of Time series that I really really hate having to go back to multiple books to check on something I vaguely remembered and can't quite figure out where it came from). I didn't really get into the fan fic for a long time, then didn't read much of it anyway because so much of it [but not all of it I know, don't shoot me] is written by teenagers and I was really annoyed with some of the really immature characterizations, and stories. Don't let me get started, 'cuz there's a whole other topic there. Anywhoo, because of this I have gotten a alot of what went on in the books from the fanfic as well as seeing fan characterizations without the filter of having read the OSM. So from this perspective I think that 1) The depiction of Ginny as a 'slut' whenever the particular conversation that you are speaking of originated, is , I think, a combination of extrapolation from the text and fannish notions. I will often stop reading stories when they get to a point where they no longer require a suspension of disbelief and I am saying "Oh, for the love of God, give me a break!" every other scene or so. And I'm not a particular Ginny fan and I have still stopped reading some fan fic because of this with her. Some of it comes from rabid slashers who are convinced that she is the roadblock between Harry and Draco/Ron/Severus and some I think is also from the 'noone is too good for our boy' school.
But you know, children can be cruel, so can teenagers, and [as all Soap Opera watchers can attest] so can adults when they want to be. When we don't approve of someone's behavior, we rarely couch it in neutral terms. Especially if it is someone we don't know, and don't feel we will ever be held accountable for our actions or words. Look at how people react to Barry Bonds who has not been proven guilty of anything. This is true even moreso for fictional characters. And hell, look hard enough, you'll find someone who thinks Juliet was a hussy. But I will definitely agree that terms like the 'town bicycle' and 'whore' are just nasty and unnecessary.

I don't think that not mentioning sex in the books denotes a negative view of it, you yourself spoke of the convention of not describing sex in books meant for children. In addition, If I am not wrong, HP started out as stories for her children. Even my Mom who gave me 'the talk' when I was eleven probably wouldn't have written stories for me with sex in them. [I do agree with you about the violence and raise you the death of not only Harry's parents but also the two parental figures - Sirius and Albus - that he had gained.] I think no matter how many million copies she sells, what started for her children will always be for her children...and incidentally everybody else's. As for depictions of homosexuality, who's to say she ever thought about it? I'd say over 90% of the stories I read and the shows I see don't have gay characters in them. I count myself lucky if they have Black characters, let alone any other ethnic minority.

I have often thought that the age of the Wizarding World is closest to Victorian/pre WW I with some modern attitudes brought in mostly by those who come from the outside. It is a world that is insular and without any influence from the greater wizarding community (which one must assumes exists) or the dreaded 'muggle' influence, stagnant. But again, I think people often makes assumptions about the socio-political world of the book based on things that Rowling may never have thought of. Based on her interviews, she doesn't like fantasy or sword and sorcery books; she says she's never read Tolkein or Lewis, and after Harry Potter is over she never intends to write another book that has anything to do with magic. I wonder if she's done all the intricate world building exercises that some fantasy writers do where she works out complex 'bios' for such things as politics, religion, and sociopolitical realities. I never really got the idea that she did.

Damn, this is long! Sorry.
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Date:June 1st, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)

Re: From CC

Don't be sorry. I thought about your comment all the way to work.

I agree that JKR seems not to have done a lot of "World Building." I think that is both the strength and the weakness of the books. Their charm - and a lot of the humor - comes in large part from how much like our own society the world she portrays is. It's the tweaking of modern society and the feeling that this really could be a hidden world coexisting with ours that I find most appealing. The downside is that by basing it in large part on real world and in medium part on the world as seen through other books there are a lot of inconsistencies. They probably would not be issues if there were only one book...

Getting back to sex :-) - I don't know what I want. You're right - I don't expect sex in books for children. I certainly wouldn't want her to be writing sex scenes. I guess I just don't like the kind of pretense that it doesn't exist. I do see that as a sex-negative view. But I'm not sure what would constitute not pretending sex doesn't exist but not writing sex scenes, either. Anyway, as a mother who reads the books to my kids, I am mostly happy with how she deals (or doesn't) with sex in the books, but I wouldn't want my kids to only be reading literature that doesn't acknowledge sexual relationships.

Okay, I'm just babbling. I'll stop now...
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