OotP movie notes

The last few months have been probably my busiest since my last semester of grad school (when I was working two jobs, one with a long commute, and trying to finish a thesis, all at the same time). This year hasn't been that bad, but it has still been a challenge. What I've Been Doing RecentlyCollapse )

However, I did manage to take a couple of hours off to see the OotP movie when it came out last week. I liked it, although mainly because I wasn't expecting anything truly great-- it was just a nice illustrated (and abridged) version of the books. I'm not sure how well it would have worked for someone who didn't already know the book; it kind of seemed like several things in it depended on a knowledge of the books in order to make sense. Obviously, in condensing an 870-page book into a 2+ hour film, they had to leave a lot of stuff out; and the effect, I thought, was to reduce the impact a lot, so that both the high and the low moments were less intense than they were in the book. Movie spoilersCollapse )

Anyway, I may or may not find time to post any final thoughts on expectations for Book 7. I won't really have anything new and exciting to say, I don't think; most things I could discuss about the book are in one of three categories: (1) things everybody sort of knows (like Regulus and the Locket); (2) things where I don't even have any intelligent speculation (like what the Ravenclaw horcrux will be, assuming that there is one); (3) things where I know what my guess is, but most of you seem to be guessing differently, and there's not really anything more to say (like Harry probably returning to school, at least for most of the year).

There may still be a few interesting things I can manage; but time may not permit (I've spent too much time on this post already!). If not... happy Book 7 release, everybody!

More HP Stuff (including another quiz)

(1) Concerning Book 7:

...(a) JKR's comments on the release date: Read more...Collapse )

...(b) $34.99? Read more...Collapse )

...(c) JKR's Favorite Read more...Collapse )

(2) Whither Fawkes? Read more...Collapse )

(3) Blinky and Weatherby Read more...Collapse )

(4) And finally: Here's another quiz. Read more...Collapse )

(By the way, top honors last time went to alphielj, with honorable mentions to prettyannamoon [a full-marks paper turned in shortly after Alphie's], and to tartanboxers [first to respond, with only one pair of chapters transposed]. Good luck, everybody!) :-)

ETA: I guess this was easier than I thought it would be! Top honors to tartanboxers, with alphielj also receiving full marks, and peachespig and lilac_bearry having one mistake each. Nice job!

Further thoughts on "HPDH"

(I started to write this as part of my reply to perceval on the previous thread, but decided to split this part out as its own post.)

My position-- now that I've had a couple of weeks to consider the title-- is still more or less what it was:

(1) I think "sacred place" is the most likely sense of "hallows," followed by "sacred objects." I would have a hard time seeing JKR using it to refer to "holy [and presumably deceased] people," although I'm not sure I can rule that out absolutely.

...(a) I could see her using the "hallows" with sort of a dual reference, both to a sacred place and to the sacred objects that are kept there.

...(b) I could see it referring to a cemetery, or perhaps to the Death Room (Veil Room) at the Ministry.

...(c) If "hallows" refers to place, it could be either singular or plural (one place or many places). If it's "many places," then it seems like it could conceivably be Voldemort's own phrase for the places where the Horcruxes are kept (though that may be too much of a stretch; I'm admittedly grasping at straws for ideas here).

(2) As for "deathly," the definitions at dictionary.com allow it to be a synonym of "deadly" (i.e. "causing death"), but also allow the more general sense of "pertaining to death." I'm guessing that JKR means "pertaining to death" (or "deathlike," "resembling death," etc.), partly because if she had meant "deadly" she would probably have used that more specific term, and also because something like "pertaining to death" seems to fit the story better.

However, all of the above suggestions are only "guesses" (free-association conjectures about what JKR might have meant). I have no "theories" in the sense of "serious expectations about what JKR is probably up to with that title," nor do I expect to until she gives us further hints.

Note: Until a consensus develops otherwise, am supporting reference to Book 7 as "HPDH," to reduce risks of ambiguity.)

Time from completion to publication; Fantasy or school story?

Two issues here:

(1) I note that it was two years ago today (December 20; see the HPL timeline) that JKR announced the completion of HBP. Her publishers followed this shortly with the announcement of a publication schedule for the following July 16.

I commented a bit on this a few months ago, and still mostly stand by those remarks. Of course, with every day that passes without substantive information, the reasonable-to-expect probability of a summer release goes down ever so slightly; in September I said 50-50, now I might say 40-60.

The key question remains: How late can JKR finish and still allow a summer 2007 release? OotP took 157 days, HBP 208 (I suspect that HBP may have taken that long more for marketing reasons than for the actual mechanics of publication). My memory of GoF was that it was pretty quick, and this HPFGU archive post (sorry, membership required) seems to confirm it as having been only 104 days (exactly half of HBP's 208, amusingly). My guess is that they won't crunch it that tightly again; wouldn't want any wand-order type mixups on Book 7!

I'm inclined to say that four months (about 120 days) would be the minimum schedule, and 150 days would be a pretty safe one. So, to have a release by the end of August, JKR would need to finish by the end of April at the latest, and more likely by the end of March. Which I don't think is impossible. The title of HBP was one that JKR had liked for a long time, and so I can well imagine that she settled on that earlier in the writing process than is becoming the case with Book 7. Furthermore, the OotP title ended up meaning something different than what she originally intended (see the discussion here on how the Order and the DA seem to have swapped identities during the writing process). So I can imagine that, if she's in doubt about the title, she might want to hold off on publicizing what it would be.

Nevertheless, it does seem true that the completion of the manuscript is not imminent. She's not giving the sense of "any-day-now" that we had at this time two years ago. I'm still hoping for a March release, even if such hopes are becoming steadily less realistic; but I'd be surprised if it were much earlier than March.

I might also mention: It seems possible that Book 7 might be longer than HBP, and that this might partly explain the time it's taking JKR to write it. (Of course that's not the only possible explanation; but it seems reasonable.) At this point I'm sticking with my earlier prediction of 220K words, 800 US pages, and 39 chapters (though I'm tempted to bump the chapter guess up to 40!); but I am becoming more confident that I didn't shoot too high with those guesses.

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(2) On a rather different subject: I've been thinking a bit about JKR's remarks on the fantasy genre, from the July 2005 Time interview:

The most popular living fantasy writer in the world doesn't even especially like fantasy novels. It wasn't until after Sorcerer's Stone was published that it even occurred to her that she had written one. "That's the honest truth," she says. "You know, the unicorns were in there. There was the castle, God knows. But I really had not thought that that's what I was doing. And I think maybe the reason that it didn't occur to me is that I'm not a huge fan of fantasy."

Of course it's well-known how Terry Pratchett gave some rather snarky comments in reply to the above. But the thought has since occurred to me: Is it really correct to label the HP stories as "Fantasy"?

That is: It has often been remarked that the HP stories use a lot of elements from the school-story genre (Encarta, for example, says "The Harry Potter books combine two powerful genres—the school story and magical fantasy—but Rowling’s treatment of these is almost entirely original"). So my question is: Is it more accurate to view HP as a fantasy story with boarding-school elements, or as a boarding-school story with fantasy elements?

I can certainly agree that it's fairly close to 50-50. Certainly both were part of JKR's original vision ("boy finds out he's a wizard and goes to wizard school"). Yet I am inclined to view the school-story aspects as more fundamental to the series, and the fantasy elements as more of an added characteristic. In which case JKR's slowness in associating her story with the fantasy genre makes a fair amount of sense.

(But I reserve the right to alter or refine the above opinion. I would not say that I've yet gotten to the bottom of the question.)

My Latest Musical Adventure

...had its origin last spring, when the youth orchestra for which I volunteer was preparing for its annual concerto auditions, in which members of the orchestra can try out for the chance to be featured as a soloist with the orchestra during the following school year.

At one point, I heard that two of the students from the viola section were interested in playing J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #6, but that they had been told that it wouldn't work because it's not for orchestra. (Bach's original scoring features two violas, backed up by two violas da gamba [sort of like small cellos played between the knees], a cello, and a bass with harpsichord.) "What?!" I thought. "This is too good a piece to tell people they can't do it for lack of orchestration-- I'll make an orchestration for it myself."

So I did, Read more...Collapse )

An amusing mental picture

So, when TLC posted the headline this week saying "Owls are delivering W.O.M.B.A.T. results"...

Was I the only one to have thought, "Well, I suppose that's better than if it were the other way around"?

(P.S. No, I don't have any results coming. Had intended to try to find my student ID from the first exam, but couldn't find it where I thought it was filed, and then JKR.com closed up shop before I could do a more thorough search. Oh well.)