Monday, July 13, 2009

Nonfiction Monday

Here's a little nonfiction coming at you on a Monday evening...'s Harry Potter Should Have Died: Controversial Views from the #1 Fan Site Emerson Spratz and Ben Schoen

I was so bitterly disappointed by this book. I really enjoy and their previous effort, Mugglenet.Com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End. I was also hoping that this book would fill a void that exists in every hardcore fangirl (or fanboy). The series is long over and most of our friends have moved on with their lives and the ones who haven't, well, we've gone over everything over and over again and just keep having the same conversations. So, maybe this book would offer new ideas and fresh insights?

But, no.

Their arguments have a distinct lack of nuance. The series does contain quite a few complexities, but they're all glossed over. There are some big questions asked, but the arguments aren't there. Honestly, it reads like some of the comments on their website, ones written in chat speak by tweenybopper fans who think they're hardcore but don't know how to spell Hermione.

For example, in their debate on who's more helpful in Harry's quest, Ron or Hermione, Hermione gets credit for finding Nicholas Flamel in the library, but completely overlooks the fact that Harry found him first on the chocolate frogs card.

I could have done without such "debates" as "Would you rather shave Hagrid's back or give Voldemort a foot massage" or "Who would you rather make out with: Voldemort or a Dementor" and taken longer, more well-thought out arguments on the bigger questions. Instead, their arguments seem slap-dash and hasty.

Moreover, some of their views are just, well, despicable.

They spend much time bemoaning how little we find out about the future of the wizarding world. One of the things they harp on again and again is the role of other magical beings. They seem to feel disappointment that their role hasn't seemed to change, that the war didn't change enough. BUT they then argue that House Elf enslavement is ok. In debating whether or not S.P.E.W. was good for the house-elves, the fail to really discuss that it didn't work because Hermione was working for instead of with them, they instead argue it was bad because (and I quote, from page 109):

House-elves have carved out a cozy mutually beneficial existence for themselves, not altogether different from the relationship between dogs and their owners. Dogs provide unconditional love and loyalty, and their owners respond by providing them life's essentials. And so it is with the house-elves, who cook and clean for their owners and in return receive safety, food, and shelter. The house-elves are happy with this relationship and their place in society.

Before anyone points out that the authors argue both sides of every point, and that paragraph from one of their arguments, I quote from their verdict on the debate:

[Hermione] fails to appreciate the beauty in the relationship [house-elves] have with humans.

Given the two examples of house elves we see are Dobby, who is routinely forced to punish himself by odious owners, and Kreacher, who's former owners mount house-elf heads on their walls... I just can't stomach this and am, frankly, offended. Their views on goblins are no better.

Overall, a disappointment, and to put it bluntly, a waste of money.

roundup is over at In Need of Chocolate.

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