Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘Deathly Hallows’ Question: “Why Doesn’t Harry Turn Into Somebody Else?”

How about a Harry Potter Discussion Point for a change? Something about Deathly Hallows —

Here’s a question posed by Daniel Radcliffe from the set of the last movie being filmed. The Empire magazine reporter is talking about the great opening scene shot where there are seven Harry Potters, all of whom, of course, are played by Daniel Radcliffe; through the magic of 21st century movie cameras, the escape from Privet Drive’s Polyjuice moment only took 95 takes to get right.

Dan’s Question is something like “Why did the Order of the Phoenix bother with this involved charade?”

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The Trailer Madness Begins!

Check out the brand new Deathly Hallows teaser trailer above! After the MTV tease was yanked, maybe this one will stick around until the next, more tempting morsel.

Thoughts? Criticism? Shrieks of horror or delight? What do you think of seeing bits from both halves, including the big finale? The dragon is white — hurrah! Personally, I’ll be scouring the stores to get a smart suit like Hermione appears to be sporting this time around. You?

Great Plotting Blunders #1: Regulus Black

One complaint I have heard about Hogwarts Professor is that I don’t post many items that are critical of Ms. Rowling’s writing. I think that’s fair criticism. My job for the last seven years has been to explain to folks who believe the writing is trash and the books “slop” how the books succeed, which is to say, how Ms. Rowling’s artistry and meaning are responsible for Potter Mania.

I find conversations like this one at The Hog’s Head about the lack of grieving time for Harry, in which readers discuss how this isn’t that much of a problem, more interesting than ones where folks look down their noses at “obvious failings” in plot and characterization.

But there are some problems worth discussing. And we should talk about them here. Because I’m not very good at this, though, I will hand the blog reins today to two Potter Experts from the Debt Coast, Wendy and the Red Hen. Their subject: the critical and failed plot points of Regulus Black’s sacrificial death and the Locket Horcrux. [Read more…]

The Aeschylus Epigraph in ‘Deathly Hallows’

After last week’s epic post (‘epic’ in length rather than in value of subject matter, I have to think, because few readers were moved to respond!) on the William Penn epigraph, I promised myself I would tackle the Aeschylus piece from The Libation Bearers that precedes it. This will be relatively brief (!) but, I hope, thought provoking. Greek drama is a little more along my lines of thought and study than late seventeenth century aphorism and epigram collections, if not by much. [Read more…]

Question About Fidelius Charm

I received a list of questions this morning from a reader in Germany, Bernhard Nowak. Herr Nowak was disappointed in what he felt was the inconsistency of Deathly Hallows with the previous books of the series and Ms. Rowling’s comments on her web site. He wrote a polite letter to Christopher Little, Ms. Rowling’s literary agent, and to Bloomsbury, in which letter he detailed ten specific points that he thought didn’t line up, points that the Continuity Editor, if not Ms. Rowling herself, should have caught.

He has not received a response. Having just finished reading my The Deathly Hallows Lectures in which I discuss the questions I would ask Ms. Rowling in an interview, he sent his questions to me on the unlikely chance Ms. Rowling and I ever have tea.

I post the best of Herr Nowak’s ten questions here, one about the Fidelius Charm, with his permission. Is this a continuity gaffe? Can it be explained logically within canon? Or do we need an ex machina explanation? What, for example, does the inability of Death Eaters to enter 12 Grimmauld Place in Deathly Hallows tell us about the continuing effect of the Fidelius Charm? Are they only there because Harry and friends continuously break the Name Taboo?

Herr Nowak’s question for your consideration: [Read more…]