Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry in review, part III

Folks, before you go on - read part one and then part two. Then we can roll forward! Cry, "For Harry, God, and St. George!"

19. Rallying the students: likewise a letdown. This is where Draco could have stared down that simpering Pansy Parkinson and stood with Hogwarts. (Grade – P.) Here, let me:
... “Help Potter?” said Pansy Parkinson in shock.
... “You can clear out, but I’ve had enough,” Malfoy said roughly.

... “But Draco…” Pansy said. “This is for us!”
... “Really?” he replied. “How is this working out for us so far, Parkinson?” She recoiled when hearing her last name, as if Malfoy had dashed a cup of pumpkin juice in her face. “All he does is take for himself. He says it will help purebloods, but when?” Unconsciously, his voice had begun to rise. “I’ve lost my wand, my home, my friend, and my freedom. What's next? Do I lose my family, get killed? Why? This is MY school! I will not give it up just so Voldemort can kill a worthless git like Harry Potter!”
... The hall was about to cheer, but at the word “Voldemort,” they stood dumbstruck, forgetting even to take offense at the insult to Harry. Malfoy suddenly stabbed out with his hand, and shoving aside Parkinson’s arms, he rummaged in her robe and yanked her wand free. “Shove off if you want to be pawns,” he said to the Slytherin table. He turned back to the astonished Professor McGonigal and said, “Slytherin for Hogwarts,” and raised the wand, which fired off green and silver sparks to the ceiling.
... There was a small silence, and McGonigal said, “Very good, Mr. Malfoy. Anyone else?”
... “Hufflepuff for Hogwarts!” said Ernie McMillan at once, and there was a shower of yellow and black.
... Cho Chang stood. “Ravenclaw for Hogwarts!” she cried, and fired off sparks of blue.
... And a dozen voices competed at once to yell, “Gryffindor for Hogwarts!” and a wave of scarlet and gold burst out. Under cover of the cheers and fireworks, Harry noticed that many of the Slytherins had slunk from the hall – but a solid minority remained. Malfoy still stood, arms folded now, looking over the entire crowd as if he was personally leading each and every one to glory. Well, it was a start, he supposed. Malfoy caught his eye and they regarded each other coolly; then, for no reason he could discover, Harry grinned and stuck his tongue out at him.
... Draco arched his eyebrows in amusement, and then called, “Haven’t you somewhere to be?”

20. The fight for the tiara: mostly well-done in the execution, as Harry gets to put his Seeker skills to use, but kind of pointless in the consequence – for one thing, the tiara perishes in the Fiendfyre, and for another, it has pretty much no effect on Draco Malfoy. You’d think that being asked to kill Dumbledore, having to host 180-proof evil under his roof, having his wand stolen, watching one of his best buds snuff it, and having his life saved by Harry Potter would be enough to sink into his head. Worse, Rowling had set us up for Draco’s change of heart, where (as the Tick would say) he “knocks off all that evil!” Then she never gives it. That was a serious misstep. Grade – D.

21. I’ve just noticed that with the rewrite Draco wouldn’t be confronting Harry about the tiara, it would just be Crabbe and Goyle. I give myself a P. But - but still - somehow I think that this beats the "INSERT SYMBOLISM HERE" moment, where the Slytherin hourglass is smashed during the fight. I think the book is stronger if all four houses band together, the way Dumbledore and Snape worked together. Even the Sorting Hat talked about it!

22. The Shrieking Shack: poor Severus. It’s a hell of a way to die. But it does demonstrate what he’s been doing under the deadliest peril for seven straight books, and unlocks the character most completely. Grade – E+.

23. Three cheers for Percy. I knew that deep down he wasn’t such a prat. Head Boy, after all, and the Weasley blood runs in him. I would NOT want to be Rookwood. Grade – E.

24. Eleven cheers for Rowling herself, for making death stick. Grade – O.

25. Harry in the Forbidden Forest: this is troubling to me, especially after the curse lands and he goes down. I was a little hazy on the explanation for his ability to come back. Was it just the nobility of the thing, his choosing not to resist? Did his mother’s blood have something to do with it? But then why was Voldy such a threat for the rest of the book? Did it have something to do with his possession of the Stone and Cloak, being struck by a spell from the Elder Wand, thus uniting the three elements of the Hallows and giving Harry control over death? That seems the likeliest according to the logic of the story, but Dumbledore seems not to give that as an answer. Of course, at this point it was about four in the morning and I couldn’t understand English anymore. In any case, this is how Harry does in the last Horcrux – himself – and so it’s essential that he do it and then somehow get back to finish the job. There’s a ready explanation at hand. Even if that’s not what the book actually said, I’ll give it to her. Grade – A. It goes up to E if it turns out that the Hallows thing is the explanation, and I don’t remember it right.

26. Yay, I got my centaur charge! Grade – O.

27. Neville rocks so wicked hard I have to go beyond grade O. Fact: cutting off Nagini’s head with the sword of Godric Gryffindor is AWESOME. I waved a lit Zippo over my head while twelve ninjas started wailing on guitars. Bonus points – this means that tool Griphook lost the sword AGAIN. Grade – \m/ ^.^ \m/

28. Leader say Mrs. Weasley don’t shiv. Grade – O.

29. After all of that, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Harry rules Voldemort. I don’t know that I was totally behind that explanation of the Elder Wand thing – I would have to reread it to really get what was being said. What I do get is how this sums up why Harry has become the best wizard of his age. He always had the character, he used that to get the superior knowledge, and then all of that plus his skill means a walkover, one-spell duel. Voldemort may as well tried to fight him with a conductor’s baton. Good touch at the end with repairing his own wand, and the salute from the portraits. Grade – E.

30. The epilogue: Necessarily scant on the details. Still, I would have liked to have known more. Did Harry ever reconcile with his Aunt Petunia? Does Dudley run Grunnings now? Has Krum retired from International Quidditch, did he play in England – or did Harry? Did he ever follow through on becoming an Auror? Etc, etc. One thing that kind of bothered me is that most of the Order wound up snuffing it. It's not that I preferred half the school under shrouds - it was bad enough that Colin Creevey was killed - it's just that, logically, one would expect the Order to suffer losses at a lesser rate, being fully-trained (some of them professional Aurors) and well-practiced. Grade – A+.

So, that’s it. I rather suspect that Harry did become an Auror, if he isn’t teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts. He’s already got job training for those, after all. Luna is in the Department of Mysteries. Kingsley runs the Magical Enforcement department. Hermione could of course teach Charms or Transfiguration if she pleased, but I think she’s more of a writer and researcher. Percy, naturally, is now the undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, his father. George is carrying on at Weasley’s with Ron. Lee Jordan is now editor-in-chief of the Daily Prophet. Ginny held the Charms post herself for a while after Professor Flitwick became headmaster, but resigned to accept a full-time position on the Wizengamot. The Patils do astronomical research. Draco is a resident at St. Mungo’s, and his potions work has given him a thriving private practice.

He never gave back Pansy’s wand. (She moved to Yorba Linda and currently owns 43 cats.)

Thanks for reading! Any thoughts? I know Spoiler Vision is unavailable in comments, but go ahead - everyone is advised to be careful clicking through if you're not done reading! You have been warned!

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