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Two Hermione articles
I'm not particularly (or, really, at all) active in the Harry Potter fandom, partly because I find it much harder to read, let alone write, fic in the same medium as the original - HP is a set of novels to me, and thus primarily written stories in JKR's style. I feel the same way about other books; it's much easier to encounter written material in fandoms where the primary source is film or TV.

However, I came across two very interesting articles today, the first about an imagined Hermione Grainger series and the second a response to the reactions to that article.

It points out a lot of areas where I've felt JKR's worldbuilding was problematic, particularly her representation of girls: how hard Hermione works to be a sidekick; how many of the other female characters are paper-thin or simply comic relief. It also suggests that making Harry the Chosen One is authorial laziness. She references BtVS. However, although she doesn't pursue it, there are significant differences.

Harry is Chosen not long after birth, has a gaggle of supportive adults watching out for him, turns out to be preternaturally talented at a game he didn't even know existed before he arrived at the school and wins repeatedly despite not apparently being particularly bright or hard-working. He's a member of the classic trio: two boys and a girl.

In BtVS, on the other hand, we have a girl Chosen against her will, struggling with her destiny yet working hard to develop her skills. The trio of young heroes is two girls and a boy - where else do we see this? Oh, and even minor, walk-on characters develop solid, rounded personalities and backstories.

Both sequences cover seven years, as it happens. Only one, IMO, shows a true progression through adolescence to adulthood.

HP is fun. It got a lot of boys reading, for which, as an English teacher, I was very grateful. But there are reasons why I am not particularly interested in exploring this world further, while I always come back to the Buffyverse.

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velvetwhip From: velvetwhip Date: March 28th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I can honestly say I've neither read the HP books nor seen the films.

chiron14 From: chiron14 Date: March 28th, 2014 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I must admit I got stuck on a sandbank halfway through volume one - I felt I was being talked down to. My fault for not being able to appreciate YA literature? Remember, I never met it at an "appropriate age".
orangerful From: orangerful Date: March 28th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
HP for me is another series that didn't survive the "rewatch". It was fun once but the more I think about it all, the less I enjoy it. So, yeah, like you said, I'm happy it got a lot of kids reading but, in the end, I felt very letdown by the characterization etc. Buffy all the way <3
yvonnet From: yvonnet Date: March 28th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh well, but I liked Harry Potter -probably partly because my children grew up with him - Cei even being an extra in the first film, which was partly made in Durham.

I really must go and see the Cheapside hoard.

So weird - yesterday afternoon I went to see the Prince of the Pagodas at the Coliseum, and saw there a woman I know from Durham - Miss Blair, the owner of the Other Ballet School. Straight after that, I went to the free rush hour concert at St John's in Waterloo ( as we Londoners do )- with Tom Willis, and rushing back afterwards, practically bumped into my friend Brigitte from Durham ( I think you've met her, the German lady)who was in her turn rushing off to the National Theatre. And there you were in London at the weekend!! No-one ever tells me they are coming :( But people come to London to do particular stuff and to see particular people, and don't have time for random meetings...

So anyway, .. I sent you an email, did you see? 'cause you didn't answer

If you have time before the end of May, do you want to go and see the Matisse cut-outs at the Tate Modern? I can take a guest free before my membership runs out.

and finally... " I wish I didn't get so nervous before exams" - hypothetical situation in the present ( apparently) but we English use the past form of the verb. So why isn't it " I wish I haven't got so nervous before exams" ? cried my Russian students. Didn't get v haven't got... I had to suppress the desire to say , "I don't f***ing know, it just is", and hastily make stuff up about multiple meanings of "get". ( Why am I TEFLing? what am I talking about?) So why isn't it, O wise one? Can you tell me before Monday?

BTW, look for "Queen at Rambert" on youtube, and spot yrs truly in a dance class (lol. Queen underwhelmed!)

sartorresartus From: sartorresartus Date: March 30th, 2014 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Still looking fit, m'lady! It took a while to fine you, but then it was obvious, you haven't changed much at all!
yvonnet From: yvonnet Date: March 31st, 2014 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Why, thank you kindly ma'am. I'm really lucky to live so near the new Rambert studio at South Bank, and to be able to go to subsidised classes there !
eilowyn From: eilowyn Date: March 28th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've spent the past month dipping my toes into HP fandom, and I can't help but give a resounding YES to both articles. The fact that Hermione, like Spike, is the "little black dress" of fandom that can be shipped with anyone because she's so relatable. I've been reading Hermione ship fics with lots of male characters (except for Harry and Ron - they aren't her intellectual equals, and Snape, because ew), and I'm feeling her like I feel Buffy - she's my girl. However, Ron and Harry are like Xander times two, and I find that ... Distasteful. HP is BtVS with Xander as the hero. I don't know how Hermione is treated by fandom at large, but I know someone to ask if you're curious.
slaymesoftly From: slaymesoftly Date: March 29th, 2014 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I read the first HP book and enjoyed it. But began the next one and felt such a sense of deja vu that I bailed on it after a few chapters. And yes, I find the idea of writing in a world created in a book nearly impossible. Possibly A book - just one, where characters are so well-developed and appealing and the world is so good, that it makes you want to explore their future. But that hasn't happened yet. Much as I love LofR, I can't see myself writing in that world.
kassto From: kassto Date: March 30th, 2014 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Since Buffy finished on TV, and since the final Harry Potter book came out, I have rewatched all of Buffy and reread the HP series practically every year. That's a lot of rewatching and rereading. Both series are still very powerful for me – a single mother in her early '50s with little that is heroic in her own life.

I get more and more out of the HP series every time I read it, and my admiration for Rowling grows. I don't particularly agree with a lot of what she says in interviews, but I prefer to let her characters and stories talk for her. Although in theory I should have most in common with Hermione (since I was very good academically at school and am female and was as far away from being a princess as you could be), and don't get me wrong, I'm very glad Hermione is there, I think it is Harry I most relate to, mainly his adolescent rage (so wonderfully portrayed by Rowling that I can feel my own angst bristling under the skin in sympathy) and his fascinating relationship with the adults in his life. However problematic it may be assigning gender to your hero and their sidekicks, I think Rowling finds a nice balance of characters in her main trio.

Buffy I find more problematic. She "earnt" her skills and powers a lot less than Harry did – they were handed to her. And OK, she had her superhero status forced on her, but what I find incredibly annoying is the "normal" life she so pines after is so vapid and shallow, I can't see what the appeal is. Dating, hair and make-up, clothes, proms and popularity – this is what she pines for. To me it's not exactly a rivetting option. I love Buffy and I love a lot of her story, but in the end I found her deeply neurotic and not really a grown-up at all at the end of her story. I didn't like the way she treated people a lot of the time, and I found what I was seeing onscreen didn't bear any resemblance to what I was told by the writers I should be seeing.

I think I'll still be watching and reading both for a few years to come.
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