Thursday, 14 October 2010

Rewrite Deathly Hallows? No.

Suggested by Joy:
If you could rewrite the ending of any book, which book would it be?
And how would you change it?

Looking at the answers already given by some other readers to this Booking Through Thursday question, I saw that more than one person suggested a rewriting of the end of the Harry Potter story - or at least "the end of the end", i.e. the epilogue to the last book, The Deathly Hallows. However, their opinions varied on HOW the ending should be different... One of the answers suggested that the peek into the future would have been better left out, and left to the reader's imagination. Another was disappointed because we were not told enough...

Here is my comment today to
gautami tripathy
of Everything Destils Into Reading:

The Deathly Hallows was not quite what I had expected it to be - and I had a lot of fun speculating about it beforehand... I know quite a few people were disappointed, myself I enjoyed the fact that she managed to surprise me. One of the bits that actually did not surprise me was the very end that you speak of - looking ahead into the future - because Rowling had already said in so many interviews that she intended something like that.

After writing that I went back to my own archives and dug up some comments I made in internet forum dicussions about The Deathly Hallows about six months after I first read the book.

1/ ...And it was in fact much the same things [as some things I had been saying about The Order of the Phoenix] that I liked about The Deathly Hallows even in the first reading. That feeling of being stuck, not being able to get on with what you know you're supposed to do; people telling you what they think is best for you although you haven't asked for help or advice (and they don't even know the full story and you can't tell them); and frustration at not having been told enough (how to destroy the horcruxes); and at the same time having to deal with confusing information you hadn't wished for and weren't prepared for – like the revelations about the life and lies of Albus Dumbledore, and the meaning and purposes of the strange objects he left them in his will, and the Hallows (= having to find your answers in fairy tales!)… I think that as readers we go through a lot of those emotions with Harry & co without quite realizing it, and that may be part of why some readers end up frustrated with the whole book.

To me the biggest "flaw" of the DH plot is probably that Harry's understanding or intuition rushes ahead of ours much too fast towards the end of this book. But again, that's life sometimes: Long periods of nothing and then suddenly everything seems to happen at once. (It struck me as I watched that documentary the other day [about JK Rowling], that from what we know about JK Rowling's life, that's her experience, too!)

2/ [Someone else wrote:] "That is certainly true that it had to be all tied up and couldn't be open - but HBP and OoTP are far more 'adult' books than DH, in a way. DH feels as though it could have been written straight after the first few books."
[My answer:] Yes, that's more or less what I meant by JKR perhaps being more "locked" by her original ideas in the last book than in the previous two. However, I'm not sure I see the book as reverting to being more childish. I was not all that disappointed in DH - the story took some different turns compared to my expectations, but after having accepted that, there are lots of things I like about this book. One of the themes that stand out to me is the necessity of getting "disillusioned" as part of the growing-up-process, and coming to terms with how to handle the fact that your role models and heroes (as well as yourself) turn out to have flaws. But also being able to put the shattered pieces of disappointment together again and "get on with your life": What you saw in the mirror was perhaps not what you thought it was, or wanted it to be, but it might still turn out to be helpful.

3/ Wow, you guys seem to be really disappointed in both DH and the author... There were things that surprised me and that I would have wished to turn out different, but I think my main irritation is with things said in interviews rather than the book itself. (Although I probably haven't read half of the interviews.) I can understand if it was tricky to handle the pre-DH interviews, and that she even had to give sort of misleading answers sometimes, in order not to reveal too much. I find it harder to find excuses for adding to the story after the last book. For example, I thought she was rather wise not to be too explicit in the epilogue; until she started giving that kind of info in post-DH interviews anyway. In my opinion, what did not go into the book should stay out; that is, be left to the reader's interpretation/ imagination. It's very confusing to have a sort of extra canon out there consisting of various quotes made in all kinds of different contexts. So I really prefer to ignore the interviews and keep to the actual text as we have it in the books.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin