Thursday, February 22, 2007

Boskone Trip Report (part 4 of 6)

Episode 4, Saturday morning: Sarah speaks with unearned authority about HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (which, for those not familiar, is a book by some British chick which comes out a month after INTO THE WILD)

at Boskone was AWESOME.

I woke early because I was ridiculously excited, donned my name badge with the Ribbon of Happiness, and attended Jane Yolen's readi
ng, in which she read some fabulous fairy-tale poems and one-and-a-half short stories. I then fluttered around like a deranged butterfly until it was time for--


The topic: "Should Harry Die? Speculations on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: what will happen? What should happen?"

Book by some British Chick

Fellow panelists were Daniel Kimmel and Priscilla Olson. Dan moderated, and he was a fantastic moderator, asking good questions and calling on the audience for input. I particularly liked the boy who proposed th
at Volemort die due to lactose intolerance because that would be unexpected.

I think I did well. I'd re-read the sixth book on the train ride up (after the ferry fiasco) and had a few pet theories. In case you're curious, here's what I said:

Harry could die in book 7 for the following reasons:

[Warning: spoilers, plus completely unsubstantiated guesswork]

1) JK Rowling has very clearly stated that Harry has no future. Career-wise, he sort of wanted to be an Auror, but he failed to make the appropriate grades. Relationship-wise, he broke up with Ginny, and it looks like Ron and Hermione might end up together. So there's no clear something or someone that's waiting for him after he defeats Voldemort.

2) The prophecy in book 5 is phrased very oddly. Instead of saying like in Highlander "there can be only one" (
or whatever), it says "neither can live while the other survives." This wording leaves open the possibility that neither Harry nor Voldemort will survive.

3) The theme of self-sacrifice is very strong in the Harry Potter books. In Rowling's universe, the highest expression of love is self-sacrifice (as shown when Harry's mother sacrifices herself to try to protect Harry from Voldemort), and Dumbledore has repeatedly said that Harry's greatest strength is his ability to love. So it would be thematically consistent for Harry to sacrifice himself for his friends.

The main reason that I think Harry should NOT die in book 7 (even though he could for the above reasons) is that I think if he died, it would send the message that good and evil are equal. I hope that Rowling instead chooses to say that good is stronger than evil. She implies this in the prophecy saying that Harry has a power that Voldemort knows not, plus Dumbledore also talks about the power of love (both to Harry and to Tom Riddle/Voldemort himself). Harry doesn't believe he's stronger than Voldemort in any way, so Rowling could be planning to have him learn that love conquers all. Or something.

I'm also fond of the theory that Snape will sacrifice himself to save Harry, thus redeeming himself, and that Neville will kick Bellatrix's, um, tushy, thus making his grandma proud.

Neville and Snape (as Simpsons)

But others disagreed, including one guy who passed me in the hall afterwards and said under his breath, "Harry should die." So I invited him to my kaffeeklatsch! More on this later...

Coming next, episode 5, in which I successfully avoid clucking like a chicken...



At 12:57 PM, Blogger Faith said...

Okay, Sarah-bear, so I have to ask. What's your take on Severus Snape, the ex-Potions master, ex-DADA, slayer of Albus Dumbledore, alleged (possible real) ex-Death Eater we all love to hate?

Rowling has written his character so brilliantly that I argue for his being on the side of good. I can back up my argument with points from the texts of all 6 books that have been published thus far. I can then, using the identical points, argue for his being on the side of evil.

I've been listening to Goblet of Fire in my car over the last few weeks, and as I listened to Dumbledore's speech about Diggory and Harry Potter in the Great Hall, I wept last night. And I listened to Dumbledore ask Severus if he was prepared to do what he must do. And I listened to the description of Dumbledore watching Severus sweep out with a look of apprehension on his face. And I wondered.

And I still wonder.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

FAITH: I think Snape is the most interesting character in the whole Potter universe, and I think you're absolutely right that the evidence for whether he's good or evil is pretty evenly split. Whether he's a friend or foe is definitely going to be the key to book 7 -- all those "friend" or "foe" signs in bookstores support that.

Personally, I am hoping that he turns out to be a friend because I think it would be really good for Harry's growth to have to admit that he was wrong about Snape. But I don't think Snape can be 100% good, given what he did to Dumbledore.

So that's why I'm in the Snape-will-sacrifice-himself-for-Harry camp. (Is there such a camp?) Or here's another possibility: Harry could have to choose to save Snape. That could be interesting...

On a loosely related note, how perfect is Alan Rickman as Snape? His voice in particular -- isn't that just exactly what Snape should sound like?

- Sarah-bear

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Faith said...

I'm definitely with you on the yes, there is a "Snape-will-sacrifice-himself-for-Harry" camp. I'm in that camp myself, and my sister is as well. I agree with you that it would be good for Harry to have to admit he's been wrong about Snape.

And I'm actually not so sure that Snape did a bad thing in what he did to Dumbledore. Remember that Snape is a very skilled Legilimens as well as a skilled Occlumens. There's no telling what communications passed between Snape and Dumbledore that Harry has no idea of. Perhaps the look of revulsion on his face has to do with what he was forced to do.

Alan Rickman's voice is perfect for Snape. But he's too good-looking. I never had a thing for Snape until I saw Alan Rickman.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

FAITH: Good point. I'm sure there was more to what happened than what Harry saw, and I'm sure there's a reason that Dumbledore trusted Snape beyond what Harry knows.

When you read the books, do you find yourself picturing the characters exactly like the actors? Now that I've seen the movies, I can't picture the characters as looking any different... with the possible exception of Sirius. I still picture him differently. Not sure why.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Faith said...

I think the movies were so brilliantly cast that I do tend to see the characters as the actors. But I didn't create the characters. I know someone asked J.K. Rowling the same question, and she said that she does not; she still pictures the characters the way she created them. I do see Dudley Dursley differently--she's described him as having thick wavy blond hair, and I do see him that way. He's such a little rotter, and I am quite curious to learn what he experienced when the dementors were near.

And I was rather disappointed with the initial announcement of the guy they cast as Remus Lupin, until I saw the movie. And now I can't see anyone else in that role. He did a brilliant job.

Out of curiosity, who do you see as Sirius? I thought Gary Oldman did a marvelous job. He seems to have the right mixture of world-weariness and eager missed-youth (okay, young adulthood).

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Erin said...

"I particularly liked the boy who proposed that Volemort die due to lactose intolerance because that would be unexpected."


And I did not read your theories, simply because I am trying not to read any HP theories until after the book comes out. So I'll return to this post once I know what happens... ;)

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

ERIN: Glad that made you ROTFLOL. What exactly is ROTFLOL? Does that involve milk coming out the nose? I'm probably not going to want to come back to this post after HP7 is out; I'm probably totally wrong about everything. :)

FAITH: I picture Sirius as looking more like Liam Neeson. Or maybe that guy who played Aragorn.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Erin said...

"ROTFLOL" is an abbreviation for rolling on the floor laughing out loud. ;) OK, maybe I wasn't doing the rolling on the floor part, but that was pretty hilarious!


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