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September 2019
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Aerden [userpic]
J. K. Rowling Interview (08/15/04) and DLM

Interesting. Well, I've read J. K. Rowling's interview that she gave at the Edinburgh Book Festival on the 15th. Most of it was pretty normal mundane stuff. Mainly, I read it because there was a bit of a commentary in sistermagpie's journal about it, so I wanted to check it out and see if I agreed with the objections.

I'm a bit aghast. The woman does not understand why Professor Snape is so attractive as a character? She doesn't understand why we love Snape? She thinks it's all just 'bad-boy' syndrome? She doesn't understand why teenage girls like Draco Malfoy, either.

Okay, I admit; I think canon Draco is a twit. I prefer some of the varieties of fannish Draco I have seen; they are far more complex and interesting than the Draco in the books, who is quite dull and inconsequential.

I'm also disappointed that there is no depth to Dudley; he is exactly as she paints him. And I am really, really disappointed that she says Voldemort has never loved or cared for anyone, that he couldn't be what he is, if he had.

If this is true, then Voldemort must be a complete sociopath, for whom right and wrong have no significance.

Frankly, to me, it's utter lack of imagination. One might even argue laziness--though I'm a fine one to accuse anyone else of that. I don't know. She desperately needs to get herself a copy of Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and follow it to the letter--not just for Harry, but for all of her major characters, Voldemort included. How in the world can she get away with creating a bunch of characters who are exactly what they appear to be?

I think the lady is very disconnected from her fanbase--completely doesn't understand them--at least, not the ones who write fan fiction. Granted, some of the fan fiction can get bizarre, and I suspect much of what JKR sees on the Internet shocks her. But it really makes me wonder what kind of girl she was, growing up, that she can't grasp a simple concept such as why we like Snape.

I like him because he is her most interesting, complicated, angsty-but-sarcastic-with-it character--who has the capacity to surprise me.

And what gets me is, I love her books, despite all this!

Dead Like Me

Dead Like Me was excellent, Sunday evening, quite one of its best episodes yet. My favorite vignette featured a young transgender man who was angry at God. Went into a church with Daisy, one of the show's regular Grim Reapers, and raged at God. "If you love me so much, why did you make me a freak?" It was brilliant. He wanted God to apologize to him, and he was staring at the stained-glass window behind the altar, and the Light came. Just magnificent, and my description here has not done justice to the power of the scene.

If you have never seen Dead Like Me, I really recommend that you watch it. The show is marvelous--filled with humor, irony, and pathos, as well as some truth and beauty. I think it's on Showtime--channel 474 here in Houston.

Passing commentary regarding crossjordanfic--Why is it that fan fiction nowadays seems obsessed with 'pairings?' I went to that community looking for some good, meaty forensics fiction, and I see that the most recent story posted is labeled as having a pairing of Woody and Jordan. *roll of eyes* The quality of the story may very well be perfectly fine, but to me, it's pitiful when the 'need' for a story to be about a pairing of characterx seems so pandemic that a special heading must be set aside for it.

From Shusu: Kill Harry - Not a crossover I ever expected to see! :D

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

To quote Flanders & Swann:

...Though her private life is a public mess,
And she's written a book called "I Confess",
Still, she looks quite sweet in her topless dress
And underneath she's shy, she's really terribly shy!

There is a temptation, when faced with an unlikeable character, to fill in all sorts of unmentioned "good" traits because we can't imagine anyone being bed through and through. In that sense, it is after all a case of "bad boy syndrome": we see these awful people and we think they can be redeemed. We try to justify their behaviour, but, in doing so, we forget that no amount of outside justification can erase the fact that they have, after all, behaved badly.

However, whereas the unlikeable characteristics do have a basis in canon, the likeable characteristics do not -- Rowling, who wrote the characters, naturally sees that the characters as written are what she meant them to be, and thus sees no need to fill in the spaces; and written as they are, Draco and Snape are unlikeable. We, on the other hand, are looking at them from the other side of the book, and we are the ones filling in the gaps with things that were never intended. We like them simply because we can fill in these good traits.

In other words, a lot of the reason we like Draco and Snape is based on the fanfiction. We look at these and say, "oh, that's an intriguing possibility!" and warm to characters that were never meant to be liked. We like them for these possibilities, but these are only possibilities, not established canon.

But the fact is, no matter how many redeeming qualities they might actually have -- even if Draco were secretly funding a series of soup kitchens in famine-stricken third world countries, even if Snape were secretly working on a cure for AIDS -- we'd hate them if we knew them in real life. Think about all the people who've been nasty to you (and I for one can think of at least one person who has behaved to me pretty much as Draco behaves towards Ron or Harry) and ask yourself if you can really say that you like that person. Have we ever tried to justify these people's behaviours, as we do with Draco and Snape? Do we write fiction about the kinder, gentler side of the schoolyard bully who made our early school life a living hell? We like Draco and Snape intellectually, as created objects; I doubt we would like them as personal acquaintances.

Personally, I have no problem with the idea that Voldemort has never loved or cared for anyone. There are many other feelings and emotions and relationship types out there, of which love is but one, and it could be that such a thing has simply never entered into his life.

Actually i found her comments refreshing. I think far too often too many people ascribe too many depths to her characters that they just don't have. People forget that these were actually Books For Children!!! Thats how she can 'get away with' creating exactly what you see! She had no reason to give them depths, still doesn't even. Her sales speak for themselves. Its no use making adult fiction complaints against junior fiction material. Sure her audience has been shifting to the older reader since she began, but that doesn't change what they originally were, simple 2D fiction, lots of mouth, not a lot of trousers.

And on a side note no, i don't really find Snape a likeable character. I think the reason why many do is because, in the fan-fic world he always seems to become more likeable than his quite basic 'Git' persona in the books. So, in my opinion, when people talk of 'liking Snape' they aren't really talking 100% about the character as she has written him, but as how lots of people have written him, which is not the same thing.

That though is, of course, just my opinion.