Tin Man, Harry Potter, and One Argument in favor of Publishing the Whole Back Story

There are few times I wish I owned a teevee set. In fact, I cannot think of a single time I have regretted putting up the teevee expelling charms around my house soon after I was married. I do own a VHS and DVD player that won’t pick-up signals on which I enjoy watching videos with my family (Count of Monte Cristo last night, an amazing adaptation/abridgment) but the the thought of a teevee “on” in my house, addict-in-recovery that I am, makes me shudder.

This morning, though, Amazon.com sent me an email telling me I needed to check out a teevee show called Tin Man on the SciFi cable channel. I checked it out via the hyperlink they provided. I didn’t rush out to buy a working television, but I did say to myself, “I really hope they release this on DVD.” I’d certainly go to see this if it were in the movie theatres. I’ve read more Wizard of Oz books to my children than I want to admit and this Tin Man program looks like the kind of thoughtful adaptation for postmoderns I’d enjoy. [I was the one in the alley behind the theatre who lost his popcorn and lunch after seeing The Wiz.] The Cain figure alone played by Neal McDonough would be worth the price of admission.

And why do I bring this up on a Harry Potter weBlog? I’m glad you asked.

The discussion here at HogPro has come down pretty heavily against learning more back-story from Ms. Rowling than she decided to include between the covers of her seven stage epic. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Two: Prediction #6 — The House-Elves

Here we are, the “night before the night before.” I confess that I’m very tired and very excited about the day to come.

Before I begin this next-to-last of my seven predictions, which is largely taken from a previous post, I want to note a difference between what I am doing here and what everyone else is doing on their predictions lists on the Internet and in public spaces.

I’m just like everyone else in being overly attached to pet theories I’ve made up myself or just adopted. And you would have a hard time distinguishing my not-so-private hope of being acknowledged as brilliant or at least insightful if I hit a plot-point spot-on from every other Potter Pundit and faux-expert. Like Janet Batchler said about one of her excellent predictions, “If this one hits, I want a parade.”

The difference is that my predictions are all correct. None of them are wrong. Really. [Read more…]

Dumbledore’s Original Plan: Narrative Misdirection?

Lord Voldemort practices Ms. Rowling’s signature technique to perfection in Chamber when, as the Riddle-memory, he almost literally sucks Harry into his book, deceives him by restricting what he sees to exactly what he wants him to see, and leaves him convinced of something he would otherwise find hard to believe (I mean, Hagrid as Heir of Slytherin?). He does it again in Phoenix just by not showing himself. Nobody wants to believe he is back, so the *lack* of evidence that he has returned (with some active work by the Ministry and The Daily Prophet, makes the great majority of people come to doubt or lose faith with those they otherwise would never turn against, namely, Albus and Harry.

The bad guys, then, like to use narrative misdirection and they’re pretty good at it. I think, though, they may be two steps behind the good guys.

If the Red Hen is correct (and when she is wrong, even in those rare times, we learn a lot we would otherwise have missed), Albus and Severus have been working together against the Dark Lord since Severus left Hogwarts as a student. Given the shenanigans about *how* and *what* Voldemort learned about the Prophecy after Dumbledore first heard it from Trelawney AND the great likelihood that Snape and Dumbledore have been hunting Horcruxes since Tom Riddle, Jr., left his interview in the Headmaster’s office, how difficult is it to imagine the old guy writing a Rowling-like drama with the Prophecy to buy some time?

For your Comment and Correction:

PROPOSED: That Dumbledore (via Snape) released the Prophecy portion to the Dark Lord (a) to *distract* him from his “taking-over-the-world-thing” long enough for the good guys to gather and destroy his Horcruxes (and with the Potters and Longbottoms safely hidden, this could be almost an indefinite period…) and (b) to plant Severus in the inner ring of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Horcuxes found and destroyed, Severus positioned to kill the vulnerable Voldemort, problem solved.

Except for Black’s bungling, which traps Snape indefinitely in his role as double-agent, that is, until Voldemort returns, gets a body, and the last Horcrux can be safely destroyed (the one on Harry’s forehead…).

I look forward to reading your thoughts about this possible play of narrative misdirection on Dumbledore’s part.

Dumbledore Spotted: Stoppered Death the Solution?

As a rule, I am several weeks behind on Fandom news. I don’t visit the websites that update every half hour with new still pictures of the naked Daniel Radcliffe or the cover of the Goblet DVD just released in the Netherlands (“what does that hippogriff head mean?!”) so, unless a friend sends me a note or one of my cadets asks me a question, I’m clueless about the larger media world of Potter-mania.

I gave a talk last Thursday called “The Five Keys and Seven Predictions for Deathly Hallows” at LaSalle University in Philadelphia where at least one serious reader had heard that Ms. Rowling had just renounced Dumbledore’s real death. I tried to explain “Stoppered Death” to her quickly but made a mental note to check Travis Prinzi’s website, www.SwordofGryffindor.com, when I got home.

Sure enough, Travis had posted something on this a week or so ago. The original article is here with commentary here. The meat of the subject is this:

Harry Potter fans around the world cannot help but be excited over Dan Radcliffe’s latest interview. In an interview that appears in today’s edition of The Sunday Times, Dan Radcliffe talks about being Harry Potter and he also talks about his roll in Equus, but the real reason Harry Potter fans are excited is because this interview includes a small bit of a conversation that Dan Radcliff had with J.K. Rowling. Dan shared this information with The Sunday Times:

“Jo came down to the set at one point and I said, ‘Oh hello, why are you here today?’ And she said, ‘Oh I just needed a break from the book – Dumbledore’s giving me a lot of trouble.’ And I said, ‘But isn’t he dead?’ And she said, ‘Well, yeah, but it’s more complex…’ I was like, [briskly] ‘OK, I’m not gonna ask anything else!” [Read more…]

Harry Potter characters using Narrative Misdirection? (Scar-O-Scope 102)

Narrative misdirection is Joanne Rowling’s signature device as a writer. Using the narrative line to turn the reader from what is happening requires remarkable planning and care. This “trick” is so much a part of her way of thinking and writing that I suggested last week that the “big twist” in store for us in Deathly Hallows is learning how Dumbledore and Snape contrived to make Half-Blood Prince a case study in narrative misdirection. If you missed that post, take a minute to read it here and be sure to read the responses. Most are profoundly skeptical that the characters in Ms. Rowling’s novels are using her tricks to put one over on their opponents in VoldeWar II the way she does to us.

If she is doing this, it would not be the first time.

In Chapter 13 of Chamber, “The Very Secret Diary,” Ron and Harry find a diary in the girls’ bathroom where Moaning Myrtle “lives.” Ron tells Harry not to pick it up or read it because books can be dangerous. Harry laughs that warning off, picks up the diary, and is not satisfied until he learns how to “read” it. I wrote in Looking for God in Harry Potter that Chamber is largely a book about how to read books and how to discern what makes a book good and what makes a book dangerous. In Chapter 13 of Chamber we learn that books really can be dangerous, if not exactly for the reasons Ron gives. Trusting the narrative line, Harry shows us, can make us believe things we shouldn’t believe. [Read more…]