[LMB] OT: Malfoy on Pratchett, rated G I swear.

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Wed, 18 Aug 2004 11:13:44 -0400 (EDT)

 --- Louann Miller <lqmiller at ev1.net> wrote: 

> But sometimes the second is phrased as something 
> like "trying to make Slytherins look bad." As if
> Slytherins were something other than fiction. 

Which pinpoints part of my problem.  It's a little
like the problem I had with Ayn Rand; that a whole
group of fictional people, put together through no
choice of their own, is branded as 'bad' and yet which
seems to have characteristics that I tend to like or
want to identify with - like having a snake as an
emblem.  It leaves me with uncomfortably mixed

What I love about Bujold's writing (one of many
things) is that it's never a matter of "Barrayarans
are good and Betans are bad" or vice versa.  People
are people, some bad, some good, all redeemable and
all corruptable.  I don't see that in Rowling. I see
"Gryffindor good, Slytherin bad" regardless of their
behaviour - and without individual personality or
differentiation being taken in to account.

Now, it's all from Harry's point of view so that
explains it, but I don't enjoy it being done that way.

Put another way: I want to be able to suspend my
disbelief in a work of fiction, and Slytherin makes it
impossible for me to do so because I can't believe in
their badness.  I can believe in giant gardeners and
flying cars and cloaks of invisibility but I can't
belive that a designated 1/4 of a school is all bad
(despite showing positive traits) while another 1/4 of
the shool is all good.

> Slytherin is her word; Rowling may define it
> offensively but she 
> categorically can't define it _wrong._

Yes, but she can make a world that satisfies me as 
literary entertainment, or she can make one that
doesn't.  Otherwise there's no point in discussing
books (and one's reaction to them) at all.  Rowling
has every right to write books in a way that I don't
enjoy - just as I have ever right to discuss my
reactions, good or bad, to ideas or characters in
those books.

This is true of any work - we sort out what we like in
it from what we don't, and apply various kinds of
analysis to it.  Many people get into fanfic to "fix"
areas of a story they think need fixing.  No one can
say Rowling is "wrong" in the context of her book, but
they can say, "it would be better this way", or "I
wish she hadn't done it that way" or "what she has
here is contrary to human nature".

> My own reaction, having absorbed and agreed with so
> many critiques of her 
> work, is to utter the Eight Deadly Words ["I don't
> CARE what happens to these people!"] 

Chuckle.  Fair enough.  I still enjoy the discussions.
 I guess I do care - enough to want to think about it
and talk about it, especially with people who I
believe won't be offended by my comments. 

> Plus my own personal complaints about the cutesy 
> elements -- school contests, wizard sports, 
> every body drinking pumpkin juice - - which I
> understand are accepted risks 
> of reading a children's book.

My favourite children's books don't have any of those
elements.  Children's books are not all alike any more
than books for adults are.