Re: Worst case scenario
- From: zoltan47 <zoltan47@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2005 17:20:57 -0500
On 2 Nov 2005 13:09:08 -0800, "Stacie" <staciey@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>How many parents,
>> teachers, or librarians will recommend a series where the main
>> character, who the child will identify with, dies? How many parents
>> will want their children to read a series where the main character has
>> a rather harsh life,saves everyone else, and in return for his
>> misfortunes gets to die? Catalog sales will plummet.
>Lots, I imagine. Even though the series already includes one death of a
>student, people don't seem to have a problem recommending it. There are
>plenty of librarians, teachers and parents who don't think that a
>happy, happy, joy, joy ending isn't required for a book series to be
>good or a good thing to recommend to a child.
>For example, I was required to read Bridge To Terabithia as a child. A
>book with such a sad ending that the same teacher who assigned it to us
>and did readings from it totally refused to read the ending aloud,
>because it always made her a blubbering mess. I identified strongly
>with Anne Frank when I read her diary. In Jacob Have I Loved, one of
>the twins has a rather harsh life. Pretty rough when you own
>grandmother taunts you. Where The Red Fern Grows. I can think of a lot
>of classic books that aren't all that happy that were either
>recommended to me or assigned to me before I was in junior high. I
>really think one teacher I had was on a mission to make all of us cry
>at least once while reading an assigned book. Which probably was a good
>thing. A book that makes you cry is usually one that makes you grow.
>The Little Prince is guaranteed to turn me into a blubbering mess at
>the end, but I still give it to children as a Christmas gift
>occasionally, and will attempt to read it to my theoretical future
>Besides, I figure the publisher protected themselves with a clause that
>allowed them an "out" if the first book did not sell in sufficient
>numbers regardless of what she said about the ending. I can't see any
>publisher with a decent legal department committing themselves to
>printing all seven books even if they don't sell. They would take a
>chance on an unproven writer for a lower price than a proven writer,
>and if they didn't sell, would cut their losses and move on.
I was referring to fiction and a lengthy series. "The Diary of Anne
Frank" is a work of non-fiction, and AFAIK the rest of the books you
mention are single books and not series. The dynamics are different.
As for Cedric's death, he was portrayed as being somewhat older,
almost of age, and he wasn't all that well developed outside of his
appearance in GoF. He definitely wasn't close to Harry. Outside of
him, all of the other deaths have been adults. However, his death
introduced the concept that a younger person CAN die
A series where the Hero is orphaned, has a terrible childhood, even
when he learns good news (e.g. he his a wizard) he is faced with ever
escalating death and both mental and physical attacks, and is ends
with his death goes beyond not having a "happy, happy, joy, joy
ending" into nihilism. This goes beyond a book that makes you cry.
I'm sure there will be more deaths, but I just don't see Harry or
anyone especially close to him being any of the ones to die.
Specifically I don't believe Ron, Hermione, Mrs. Weasley, or Ginny
will die. It has to do with the Hero's Journey.
A key element is when the Hero reaches his nadir, his low point. This
often occurs with the lose of the mentor. From there he has a symbolic
rebirth and has the tools he needs to complete his journey. An
emotional blow, such as the death of a character closer to the Hero
than the mentor, would require returning the Hero to this nadir, which
would also require the Hero going through the rebirth again. Because
she was working with seven books, JKR was able to use this duel cycle,
once for Sirius, and now for Dumbledore. In each case, Harry was given
at least a few chapters at the end of OotP and HBP to adequately
address these loses.
There are three basic types of love: familial, platonic, and romantic.
Familial can be further broken down in to paternal (and further into
matriarchal and patriarchal) and fraternal. (I tried searching for a
female equivalent to fraternal based on sorority, but I couldn't find
one.) Most of us receive familial love first, but because of the
Dursleys, Harry received platonic first from Ron and Hermione. As
Harry got closer to the Weasleys and Hermione, it can be argued that
later this morphed into a combination of familial and platonic love.
Molly, of course, fills the matriarchal role. Interestingly, it is not
Arthur how has filled the patriarchal role, but rather it was filled
by Sirius and Dumbledore, each of whom acted as his mentors.
Romantic love is the last we usually receive, but, especially in the
arts, it is often the strongest, almost as if the other forms prepare
us for romantic love. Familial is usually automatic and instinctive,
and platonic is shared amongst several people. Romantic love is
focused on one person, and is more selective and more of out choosing
than the other two. Ginny has filled this for Harry.
If Harry was as affected by losing Sirius and Dumbledore as he was,
his reactions to losing any of the four should be even greater.
However, there is so much to do that, if any of them should die, there
will be little time for Harry to do little more than "You killed
______! I'll get you for that!", which has a very South Park feel to
it. Also, it would be very redundant. He has vengeance coming in
spades; he need something to preserve.
BTW, another argument for Harry living also has to do with the Hero's
Journey. Often, such stories parallel that of a predecessor, e.g,,
Luke and Anakin. The current Hero succeeds where the predecessor
failed. Harry's story parallels that of his parents. They died,
therefore he should live.
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