Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter

No, I haven't gone to see it yet, although I can't wait.

The reason for this blog entry is to point to two brilliant analyses of the book series (not this particular film, although book 6 is where you begin to see what has been going on all along). Both are thick with spoilers for anyone who has not read the entire series, so the links and comments go below the fold.

These articles are not, by the way, the sort of fawning nonsense you see in the popular press. Muggle Children, consider yourself warned.

I think the second article goes a bit overboard by taking the control of the Muggle PM as more than a conceit needed to explain how this entire world - and its wars - can remain invisible, but the books do take a rather deterministic view of the world.

The only thing missing from the second article seems to be any notice that the Goblins can be seen as a particularly racist caricature of hook-nosed Jewish Bankers. Or maybe it was in there, but was just left unsaid.

Where I disagree with the second analysis (and agree with the first) is that the books are not about a Chosen One, a "christ figure" come to save the wizarding world, even if he gets Resurrected to finish the job. That is the way it is cast when you start in book 1, and the way you might read it superficially, but the reality is that it takes collaboration among many individuals - each with their own special skills and weaknesses - to win the final fight.

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