Feb. 2nd, 2014

primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
 Like many readers, some of my preferred ships in the Harry Potter books (Harry/Luna and Ginny/Neville, but that's a story for another time) didn't pan out. Like many readers, I amused (and continue to amuse) myself with fanfic, written and read.
 
I've also come to conceptualize Harry's journey in different ways from when I started, informed--yes--by some of Rowling's later interviews. There was one when she was asked how she got the idea for the series, and she said she'd been riding on a train when the idea popped into her mind--boy who doesn't know he's a wizard goes to wizard school. To her, this begged the obvious follow-up question; why doesn't he know he's a wizard? Couldn't his parents have filled him in on this detail? Well, his parents were dead.
 
And so right away, from the onset of the series, we have the thematic importance of mortality; even in the first book starring eleven-year-olds, we see death in the background and in the Forbidden Forest. As for Harry, the absence of his parents is important to his character--the Mirror of Erised scene shows his desire to meet his immediate and extended family, beyond the Dursleys who raised him. While his greatest wish has changed by the end of the book, as the stakes raise for him and the world, his original hopes remain the same. By the end of the series, we're able to see Harry raising a family of his own; becoming part of the Weasley clan is a proxy for him to achieve this, and while it still doesn't perfectly fit with the way I see the characters, I can tell why it makes sense.
 
I followed along with Pottermore, not for the minigames--surprise, surprise! ;) But because I'd rather have seen more of Rowling's backstory details. I assumed it was taking the place of the print encyclopedia she'd been toying with for some time, and I was interested in the tidbits of the magical world that didn't make it into the books. (But that were there all along! I recognize that when compiling a long, coherent page, some amount of editorializing has to be done from "tidbit piles." In a few cases, maybe making up more facts than the unseen backstory would be suitable, to organize a single topic. But it was impossible to tell how much of the Pottermore backstory was being made up new on the spot...which should maybe have been even more of a red flag than it already was?) In one or two cases, I drew on the Pottermore details to flesh out specific characters in a story; more often, I'd just use surnames that had been mentioned as wizardly, to spare me the trouble of making up something completely new for OCs.
 
Other fans chose to disregard the Pottermore backstory. As was, and remains, their prerogative! Given that I too still write pairings and scenarios that are AU from the books, it would be wholly hypocritical of me to insist on compliance with even more "canon." Nevertheless, while I've enjoyed the artistry of some of these deliberately-Pottermore-noncompliant pieces, in general they're not my scene. There's often a vibe of "how dare Rowling not do justice to the love and lust lives of my favorite characters, the books are so hung up on eleven-year-olds who want families. Bo-ring." Well. It's almost as if the world of fanfiction didn't wholly fall into the scope of the series' viewpoint character. News at eleven.
 
As for Ron and Hermione, they were the couple that I could see. I, who have demonstrated weaknesses time and again in reading between the lines, in picking up on subtle social cues, on knowing or caring about romance at all--I could see it coming, and it came. I had no dog in the fight; I didn't see enough of myself in Hermione to project onto her, and indeed, I would never get invested in a romantic subplot because of my romantic goals (I'm not sure I have any, but then that's another story too).
 
So to the interview. We'll have to wait for the full article to get context, I assume. But if the Ron/Hermione ship was more motivated by Rowling's desires than literary reasons? Then that's a point in favor of Rowling's desires, and a point against Literature per se. (I'm keeping score. I'm not a fan of Literature with a Large L, but it has a lot of fans rooting for it.) I have little interest in the opinions of the movie actors, in and of themselves, never mind their directors, so that's out.
 
We don't have any specific context on Harry/Hermione, minus some (clickbaiting?) headlines, so I'll have to wait for that. For now, I'll echo the sentiment that Harry and Hermione's friendship was a great thing to read in and of its own right, without any romantic entanglements. And that's not about Being Edgy or Political or Making Important Statements about Women Succeeding in Their Own Right, sans their Relationships with Protagonists; it's about friendships being great in their own right. Among, you know. Eleven-year-olds. Viewpoint character scope; it matters, a lot.

(Edit: forgot to mention, I'm not upset at the thought that Ron and Hermione might want counseling; not because anything strikes me as unhealthy about their relationship, in and of itself, but the amount of stresses they've gone through from ages eleven through eighteen is rather substantial. I feel like "well go see a counselor" has been bandied about, at least in real life, for much less.)
 
So, the upshot is a reminder that between Rowling's post-series pronouncements, and my gut, my gut wins out. Not your gut. Not the actors' gut or anyone associated with secondary canon. Not your favorite critic's gut, not some pretentious or disingenuous post-Gutist philosopher.
 
My gut.
 
And, I'll maybe be re-blogging some Ron and Hermione stuff to Tumblr too.

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