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Did JKR show favouritism in her writing?
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:02 pm    Post subject: Did JKR show favouritism in her writing? Reply with quote

There's a debate going on on that subject in the Google group. Here's my latest contribution to it:

It always bothered me that "Sirius" was given one of Harry's son only as a middle name, putting him on the same level as "Severus". Sirius deserved a lot better than that, and Snape deserved less. And please don't try and make my heart bleed with Snape's undying love for Lily, that'll just make me run to the bathroom and throw up. Some love!!! Whatever Snapefen, and even Snape fans say, the way Snape treated the son of the woman he professed to love, along with his friends, is unforgivable. What a vindictive, self-centered jerk he was!

Yes, he was brave. So were lots of other people. Neville should have been among the names given Harry's kids also (of course they'd end up like one of those royals who have at least 5 or 6 names, LOL)

I also agree that Jo kind of lost her bearings there in the epilogue.

I don't think she really liked Slytherin House. Like every parent, there's some of her "children", or creations she favours, others that she doesn't like. It's only after the publication of DH that she comes out with, yes some Slytherins did stay at Hogwarts to fight alongside Slughorn (which is not at all apparent in the book), then George married Angelina and Cho married a Muggle. I think she just pulled that out of a hat, to satisfy the people who were asking questions.

Those of you who've read my posts on CoS (though the "ethnic minorities in HP" threads have been deleted at least 3 times because every time someone started one, the debate got too hot) and on AV know how I feel the ethnic minorities in HP have been short-changed, from Cho to Angelina to the Patil twins. After Cho gets snubbed by Ginny and upstaged by Luna, there's no more mention of her. How she fared in the battle, who she fought. All we hear about are the white people, and that bothered me no end.

I also agree that James has been short-changed in favour of Snape, and Lily. I happen to like James a lot, "arrogant toe-rag" and all. And though I feel sorry for Snape's sad life and pathetic death, that can't make me even like him. (Except in the fan fic titled "Stealing Harry" but that's not canon.)

Yes, Jo messed up bad in the epilogue, but IMO at that point she was tired of the whole thing and just wanted over with. That's still not a good excuse for putting Snape on a pedestal. And now we have to live with the Snapefen, Snape fans and Snapewives seizing on it to show us a glowing picture of Snape. Aaaargh!!!
Eek
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: The debate prior to my post Reply with quote

Oops, some of the members of the other group may object to my posting their thoughts, so I moved my post to somewhere the members can't see it until I get the necessary permission. Then I will repost the debate. Sorry, guys.

ETA - I did get the required permissions, but in the meanwhile the debate has taken an entirely different direction from the one in the Google group. So I'll let it be and just let this one take its course - away from Snape!
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Last edited by Wildflower on Sat May 12, 2012 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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RavenStar



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject: Favouritism in writing Reply with quote

Interesting question(s).

What are we discussing, is JKR favouring Caucasians over ethnic minorities, or is she favouring Snape over James, or both?
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Favouritism in writing Reply with quote

RavenStar wrote:
Interesting question(s).

What are we discussing, is JKR favouring Caucasians over ethnic minorities, or is she favouring Snape over James, or both?

I think we discussed the ethnic thing at length already. So unless some new voices come in, there's no point in rehashing old arguments and/or grievances.

The question has been raised in the other group as to whether James was kind of short-changed. Someone said he came off as the "lesser parent". The writing focuses a lot more on Lily (even without Snape) than on him. I can't remember off-hand all the arguments on the matter and right now I don't have the time to go, look, and paraphrase.

But I'd like to know what you all think, if James got less of the limelight than he deserved? To be quite honest, I never thought about it before, so I'm throwing the question out for discussion.
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Asteria



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:16 pm    Post subject: Favouritism? Reply with quote

It is true that the books dwell a lot on Snape's love for Lily. James' love for her is, at first, a subject for an indulgent laugh. The arrogant toe-rag being shown up for what he is. But then it sort of skates over the great love that develop between them, how happy they are together.

And while much is made of Snape's longing and suffering, JKR also sort of takes James' sacrifice for granted. He does die for the wife and son he loves. I wonder why his love didn't protect Lily and Harry the way Lily's sacrifice protected Harry later?
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4Wizards



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Favouritism? Reply with quote

Asteria wrote:
I wonder why his love didn't protect Lily and Harry the way Lily's sacrifice protected Harry later?

Maybe because Voldemort didn't give him a choice?

Whatever it is, I'm glad to see that we're starting to discuss some HP again.

I agree that Jo spends an inordinate amount of time showing us Snape's redemption through love, eclipsing his terrible behaviour. Harry himself seems to have forgotten, and certainly forgiven, Snape's bullying of the Gryffindor students.

I, too, was uncomfortable with him naming one of his sons after "possibly the bravest man I ever knew", even if it was only a second name of a second son. Sure Snape was brave, but then so were all of the members of the Order of the Phoenix and the members of the DA. His role as a double agent must have taken a lot of nerve, and a lot of courage, yes. But by that time he didn't have much of a choice. Confused

ETA - I just realize. Here we are discussing Snape again. Ok, now, what about James?

Now that Wildflower made me think of it, JKR treats James like a minor character, his only claim to fame is that he's Harry's father. James died for his son, and goes on protecting him after death - in the graveyard when Harry battles Voldemort, and then again comforting Harry when the latter walks to what he thinks is his death in DH.

Snape has a whole book (not to mention a number of chapters in that book and in the others) named for him, James has none. Nor, for that matter, does Lily.
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Mr.Watch



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Favouritism Reply with quote

Was it deliberate or just not enough time or pages were spent. I can't say. Only JK could really answer that.

Fact of the matter is, there are things that are rather unsatisfactory in the amount of background history we're provided. Lily, Snape, Harry, Dumbledore and Ron to a degree are given a great amount of background history provided throughout the books. James, Sirius and Hermione (undoubtedly an integral part of the trio) have very little information given about them.

Hopefully Pottermore reveals more about each character, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it does not. I've always wanted to know about Hermione. The fact that we don't even know where she's from is rather sad.
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4Wizards



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Hermione, Sirius et al. Reply with quote

Mr.Watch wrote:
I've always wanted to know about Hermione. The fact that we don't even know where she's from is rather sad.

Yes, isn't it strange than this one member of the Trio's background is almost totally unknown? So she's Muggleborn, from seemingly a middle class family, and I seem to remember her parents are dentists. They also raised her to be a liberal, with a social conscience, as shown in her crusade in favour of House Elves.

Though she's a very important part of the Trio, certainly the smartest, she's the one we know the least about as far as her background and upbringing are concerned.

Quote:
James, Sirius and Hermione (undoubtedly an integral part of the trio) have very little information given about them.

Mr. Watch, we actually know a lot more about Sirius than you imply. His unhappy childhood with parents, and certainly a mother, obsessed with blood purity. A rebel, who escaped from the gloom of Grimmauld Place to spend his time at the Potters', with a conforming younger brother. It's a pity he never knew that Regulus did turn against the Dark Lord at the end. We also know that he was one of the driving forces within the Marauders, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix from early on. A kind and decent man, though a frustrated one. Also one who was was Azkabanned without a trial and suffered a lot of injustice and unfairness. It may have made him short-tempered, sometimes bitter, but it never diverted him from the path of good. We certainly know more about him than we do about James and Hermione.
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CinnamonRolls



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: James Potter Reply with quote

Hi everyone, CinnamonRolls here. What better way to start off my AV posts than with one of my favorite characters, James Potter? very happy

I definitely think James was short-changed in the books in order to exalt Lily and Snape. Lets forget about Snape for the moment and compare James only with Lily. Both of them are Harry's parents and they both died for him. Ideally, they should both be placed on the same level. However, there are several instances throughout the course of the books that suggest that, in Rowling's mind, Lily is somehow "greater" than James or that Harry's love for his mother is - and should be - greater. A few examples:

- In PS, Harry's first connection in the Mirror of Erised is with his mother. She is the one described in great detail and, when the time comes for Harry to leave the room, it is specified that he tears his eyes off his mother. Not his "family" or his "parents". His mother.

- Throughout the series, we hear Dumbledore praise Lily's courage in sacrificing her life for Harry. Not once in the ENTIRE series is James's sacrifice for his wife and child specified. When Dumbledore and Harry are speaking of Merope's lack of courage to stay alive for her baby, Dumbledore compares her to Lily, saying Merope never had Lily's courage. In DH, when Harry is explaining how he had survived the AK for a second time, he says that he'd done what his mom had done. Why, I ask? How was Lily's courage any greater than James's? It was only through the actions of external characters - Voldemort and Snape - that Lily's sacrifice managed to bestow a protection upon Harry. That doesn't nullify the fact that James had also sacrificed his life for Lily and Harry. Is it James's fault that he wasn't given a choice to live? Does that make the love with which he sacrificed his life for his wife and child any less than the love with which Lily's gave her life for her son? The elevation of Lily's sacrifice over James's has always been a point of contention for me, personally.

- In the Resurrection Stone scene in DH, Lily's smile is described to be "widest of all". This kind of deliberate elevation of Lily's love for Harry over James's love for Harry is really not necessary, IMO, unless the author actually favors Lily over James. In the same scene, Harry cannot take his eyes off his mother. Right before walking into the forest, Harry looks at his MOM specifically and says "Stay close to me".

- Notice how the series has ended but Harry never had to learn anything less-than-sterling about his mother. Not one thing. While his dad's faults and flaws have been impressed upon, both, Harry and the readers pretty strongly. I find it hard to believe that Lily, as a person, didn't have one single flaw or that she was, in every way, superior to James. An example of Rowling's need to maintain Lily's paradigm-of-virtue image.

- One especially disturbing line, for me, was when Dumbledore tells Snape in TPT that while Harry may be like his father in looks, his true nature is like his mother's. I think this was extremely demeaning to James 1) because it implies that Harry, the hero of the story, has taken after his dad only in the most superficial ways but that the qualities that make him a hero actually come from his mother and 2) because Dumbledore is speaking to, of all people, Snape, the man with the least respect for James and James's love for Lily. Yes, Harry is gentler than James and, as a teenager, perhaps had a stronger sense of right and wrong. Does that mean that he's only like James in looks? Where, I wonder, did Harry get his saving-people-thing? From Lily? If Dumbledore means that Harry gets his great capacity for love and his compassion from Lily only, I have to disagree with him there too. As far as I could see, James had an equal capacity for love and compassion and justice as Lily. Just because someone has a more bombastic personality, it doesn't mean he/she has a lesser capacity for love and compassion, IMO.

There, you have it. My FEW examples. Laughing I personally think that Rowling favored Lily because of her greater love for her own mother and her strained relationship with her dad. Whatever Rowling's personal reasons, though, in James she created a character that I really liked and I found it extremely unfair that he was sidelined so much in order to highlight the qualities of Lily.
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: James Potter Reply with quote

First of all, welcome to AV, CinnamonRolls! I took some time, but we finally did get you in and you finally found something worth your time posting. wink

Wow, what a spirited defense of James! I agree with you completely on this, though.

CinnamonRolls wrote:
I personally think that Rowling favored Lily because of her greater love for her own mother and her strained relationship with her dad. Whatever Rowling's personal reasons, though, in James she created a character that I really liked and I found it extremely unfair that he was sidelined so much in order to highlight the qualities of Lily.

Yes, JKR took a lot of her inspiration, and her stand on her characters, from her own personal experience. Like the way she treats handicaps, mental (in the Potterverse, being a Squib is a big handicap) or physical by drawing on her own experience with those close to her, especially her mother. I remember we started a discussion about that on CoS but a Mod came in saying we were not to mention JKR's personal experience, which was kind of silly. But you know CoS Mods.

Yes, poor James is relegated to third-rank status, practically. We know more about, say, the Creevey brothers than we know about the hero's father, apart from the admittedly slanted memories that Snape has of him - oops, there I go, mentioning Snape again.

I too would like to have known more about him, and more about his love story with Lily, and less about Snape (yes, him again, unavoidable) mooning over her, because there never WAS a Snape/Lily romance, however much the Snapefen want it, and whatever you see on YouTube (Did you see the video they made to the music of "Unchained Melody"? Have a plastic bag ready in case your stomach churns.)

On the Lily and James romance, one of the few things I found is this GIF series of pictures, which I think is pretty cute:

James and Lily

I also like this one a lot:

James and Baby Harry
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Cho_Lover
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:45 am    Post subject: The Potter Family Reply with quote

Since we're into pictures, what about this one that was made for last Christmas' Advent Calendar?

Harry's First Christmas

More people than you think appreciate James, be it James and Lily or James and the Marauders or both. They're just not as vocal as the Snapefen, that's all. shameless grin
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Favouritism Reply with quote

Cho_Lover wrote:
More people than you think appreciate James, be it James and Lily or James and the Marauders or both. They're just not as vocal as the Snapefen, that's all. shameless grin

That's true, but we're not talking about the fandom here, we're talking about how slanted JKR's writing might be.

And slanted she certainly is. She obviously favours some characters and Houses over others, though she created them all. As pointed out before, it's not unlike a mother and her children, there's always the apple of her eye and the one she barely acknowledges. Well, almost always. It's no different for a writer and his or her creations. Plus, when you're writing, your story sometimes takes off on its own, as do you characters. Or you get influenced by something in your personal life. All writers, I think, dip into their own lives, experiences and memories to create their work. Jo is no exception.

Without dwelling too much on it, the way Cho is treated always grated on me. The token Asian who's Harry's first crush, and Cedric's "person he'll miss most", does well enough in the DA, but then she turns into a "hosepipe", gets unceremoniously thrown on the side, gets publicly humiliated then totally ignored.

But I said we weren't going into the ethnic thing again. Sorry. It's just that it's one of my pet peeves, that at the end the Trio all marry white people, with only as an afterthought George who marries Angelina and just a word about Cho and her Muggle husband, on whom we have no information whatsoever.

OK, end of ethnic rant. Back to James and other characters who may have been short-changed.

We could also talk about names. Why did Neville get an unattractive name like Longbottom? confused
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Mr.Watch



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Names Reply with quote

Longbottom is a common last name in Lancashire. (He does mention that his uncle Algie tried to drown him while they were in Blackpool, which is in Lancashire).

It might sound odd to the non-English folks, but she could have gave him a worse last name: Butt is one. Even Butterfield or Butterman wouldn't go well for Neville who Parsy Parkinson claimed to be chubby.
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Ariana D



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Names Reply with quote

Mr.Watch wrote:
Longbottom is a common last name in Lancashire. (He does mention that his uncle Algie tried to drown him while they were in Blackpool, which is in Lancashire).

It might sound odd to the non-English folks, but she could have gave him a worse last name: Butt is one. Even Butterfield or Butterman wouldn't go well for Neville who Parsy Parkinson claimed to be chubby.

Whether it's a real name, and a common one or not, is not really the point, IMO. It just doesn't sound good. There are so many names to choose from - Jo did choose Jordan, Johnson, Granger, etc. - why not go with a better-sounding name for one who, after all, is one of the heroes, even from the first book, when he gets the extra 10 points that gave Gryffindor the victory, for standing up to his friends.

I also question "Weasley", because it sounds too much like "weasel". Lockhart and Lovegood made me laugh. Lockhart was obviously deliberately chosen for the character and fit Gilderoy perfectly. super grin

Then there's the question of the names being translated in other languages. I remember a thread on CoS about that. How Longbottom became "Longdubas" and, worse, "Crouch" - which also is a real name of Scottish origin meaning "crossroads" - became "Croupton" - "croupe" meaning the rear end of a horse, or another animal or even human. It wasn't necessary to translate those names, while leaving others as they were, but this is another problem altogether.
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Mr.Watch



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 8:34 pm    Post subject: Names Reply with quote

Well, the odd choice often makes them memorable.

Harry Potter has a ring to it, Hermione is unique enough (Granger is too common); Ron Weasley is ultimately memorable; as is Sirius Black, Severus Snape, Tom Marvolo Riddle. Won't even mention Dumbledore.
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