Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Harry Potter

Harry Potter's final installment has been out a few weeks, so I feel I can talk about it. If you haven't read the last book or seen the movie, feel free to skip this post.

Let's get this out of the way: JK Rowling is a genius. But she's not always the best writer. As a writer, I like to think about where she went wrong.

The stakes in this last installment should have been incredibly high. Nothing short of the future of all wizards. Harry, and everyone around him, was doomed if he didn't destroy Voldermort. Voldemort, who'd been messing with Harry since he was a tiny baby.

Since the title of the series is Harry Potter, and not Voldermort, I think we're all pretty sure Harry's going to make it through.

So the question becomes How? How does Harry save the day? Brave, steadfast Harry who we've seen go through so much. Who is not the boy he was at the start of the series. Who has grown into a wonderful young man.

How indeed. First--he gets rescued a lot, By girls. Hermione has always been his secret weapon and she was there at the end for him as well. Mrs. Weasley pulls through at a crucial moment. Minerva McGonagall faces down the evil for him. Harry does face Voldemart but then Nigel is the one who actually delivers the coup d'grace.

And he gets rescued by magic. I know this is a series about wizards but the magic felt like a cheat sometimes. Nothing Harry had done to earn his way out.

It never felt to me like Harry was in any real danger. I was never chewing my nails and even wondering how he was going to get out of peril.

I really only say this to remind myself as a writer. That Dewey must be in trouble, big trouble, and then even worst trouble. And she can't be rescued by Buster or anyone else. My readers want to see Dewey be resourceful, brave and cunning. Get herself out of the messes she gets into.

We ask a lot of our fictional heros. They must be better than any of us could ever hope to be.

Back to writing Dewey. She's in trouble, but I think it could be worse. And not a Hermione in sight.


Linda O. Johnston said...

I always think it's a good thing, Terri, to analyze stories to determine what we like and aren't crazy about--then use the analysis as a lesson for our own writing!

Terri Thayer said...

Being a writer makes you look at things more critically. A blessing and a curse.

Betty Hechtman said...

Once you start writing, it forever changes how you read.

Terri Thayer said...

It really does, Betty.

Monica Ferris said...

I don't know which is worse, reading a book by a bad writer (scorn, frustration) or one by a really good writer (envy).