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So I'm still at my workplace, but not actually working. Just writing and reading -- it's warm, there's cookies and free coffee, and I can catch a Tube later (if they have dried enough to be running again after today's torrential rains) to present myself at a bookstore at midnight.

Right, standard disclaimer: I don't think Rowling is a particularly good writer -- fair to middling maybe, and her female main characters are downright disappointing -- nor is she good at world-building. She can't even get the ages of the Weasley brothers in any kind of logical order, let alone work out the endless little bits and pieces that would make her Wizarding World internally consistent. Her books aren't remarkable to me so much as books, but as a cross between a TV serial transposed back into the novel form, and a giant collective jigsaw or treasure hunt game: all deeply rooted in contemporary children's pop culture. The commercial control exercised by Warner Brothers is nothing short of enraging of course. Rowling has some substantial saving graces as a storyteller, mostly because of her sense of humour, and the fact that she DOES pull off the jigsaw thing quite well.

How well we'll learn soon. Because this all said, I will be reading H.P. and the Deathly Hallows over this weekend and even try to stroll out  of here, with a pit stop getting dinner, in time to pick up a copy just after midnight. It's all good fun, these years of guessing how a particular hint or action or object or minor character might fit into the whole. Well ok, full disclosure: one of my online friends is into writing fan fiction. And between books 5 and 6, when I was sick pretty often, I dived into that world a little ... and still marvel at what fans are inspired to do. The mere fact that there are literally thousands of novel-length texts around continuing the Harry story from various intermediate starting points, and covering every imaginable level of eroticism and configuration of sexual partners, boggles my mind. Whether most of the writing is atrocious or not is secondary: there is clearly something going on. In the face of this cornucopia of literary productions (wannabe or not), it's not surprising that there are occasional gems -- writers who explore something with more depth and intelligence than the original author would ever have been able to, wanted, or even condoned. And of course it warms my heart to think of all those teens who will be mustering their school English, take a deep breath, and, for the first time in their lives, plunge into a story written in a language that's not theirs.

Anyhow, enough of this. I'm not going to bore you with my ideas for a Hooch/Sprout femslash saga (cough). What I originally planned was a little self-indulgent post with my own expectations and predictions. Then I discovered that, this time round, there are REAL wide-spread spoilers. By virtue of being too busy, I didn't catch any, except a one-liner apparently from the epilogue (which doesn't tell me more than confirming one thing I expected anyway. Also, I discovered that fans have known some things for months from publicly available info, for example about the return of a certain magical creature, or a narrowing of the sense of the word "hallow" in the title from help given to translators.

Well both kinda takes the fun a bit out of the prediction game. So let's make it short and sweet. My expectations:

  1. I expect to be disappointed. JKR planned this romp apparently from the very beginning, but has amassed so much extra material in the course of writing that I just can't see how she manages to tie up all the loose ends. Also, I'm apprehensive of her overdoing the Christian thing.
  2. This said, I expect consistency in the "black/white/grey" department precisely because she planned it out in one go. Which answers what I expect from Snape: remember book 1, count the number of times he could have offed either Potter or Dumbledore with no one being any wiser, and you have an answer. (That he is a  deeply unpleasant person with the emotional development of  a particularly immature teenager, goes without saying.)
  3. As for the question that seems to fascinate the bookies and non-Potter readers, "will she kill him off?", consider the following: a) it's a children's story; b) with a total, unequivocal, barely-human-any-more, evil baddie; c) and a prophecy that says that out of the baddie and the hero only one can live. From a) and b) follows that the baddie will die. Now factor in c).
  4. I'm looking forward to finding some of the underused magical tokens: Gringott's and its family vaults/Bill the curse breaker (now that could come in handy!)/dragons; time travel; wands/the strange and maybe wise Mr Ollivander; Kreacher/Dobby; animagi/metamorphmagi/ghosts.
  5. Oh, and the obvious candidate for becoming a Hogwarts teacher in the future is of course Neville.
Well, see you soon. I have a book to read.

July 2010

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