Get Over It
I expected the release of Half-Blood Prince to be a happy event in the world of Harry Potter fans. I expected there to be rejoicing that our two years of waiting were finally over. I expected us to have fun analysing every letter of the book, and theorizing each of the new, and possibly insane, possibilities while we awaited the final book
I have to say – my expectations led me astray.
Instead in only a matter of days after the release of JK Rowling’s brilliant sixth book, the world of Harry Potter fans was, and remains still, in uproar. There are divisions and debate, arguments and whining, and way too much hostility. I’ve come across some words about the new book that I wish Id never read.
The number one source of the turmoil: shipping.
I’d like to say it’s just the militant Harry/Hermione shippers who’ve lost their minds, and although there seems to be quite a few that have, I cannot limit my observation of madness to just them. There is frustration coming from all sides of the fandom world, because Remus shouldn’t be with Tonks, because Harry shouldn’t be with Ginny, because Bill shouldn’t be with Fleur – and yes, because apparently Hermione and Harry seem to be staying on a strictly platonic path.
I won’t say how much I agree with Emerson’s now famous (or infamous) use of the word delusional to describe the adamant Harry/Hermione shippers of the Potterverse, though I would like to say I think he at least thought he was being funny and that it was all in good fun. And, I think he at least thought that people would see it that way, that most people weren’t delusional enough to be offended by his word choice. I think he was right on all counts. I would also like to say: get over it.
And I would like to apply the same advice to everyone who is complaining and ranting about ships not turning out the way they liked. It’s Jo’s book, and as much as I’m sure that, if it were possible, she would hand us out an enchanted book that reveals to the reader what he or she wishes to read, she can’t. And so – she opts for the next best thing: writing the book the way she wants to, with what she planned, pairing the characters she created with those who she feels are best suited to them. And I’m sure she at least thought that, as her loyal fans that have enjoyed every moment of the first five books, we would continue to relish in her story.
For the record, I would like to state my favourite pairings: Harry/Katie, Remus/Hermione, Sirius/Ginny, Seamus/Luna, Bill/Fleur, Lucius/Lily, Lucius/Sirius, Narcissa/Lily, Narcissa/Lucius, Neville/Susan, Molly/Arthur and, only in Jo’s books because frankly Im tired of reading overwritten plotlines: Ron/Hermione.
Now – how many of them have been officially paired in canon? Four. How many of them, in all common sense, have no chance whatsoever of happening in canon? About four or five. And there are another two that are so minor, we probably won’t see them either.
And am I upset about any of the pairings in Half-Blood Prince? No. Not one bit. I loved the Common Room Kiss between Harry and Ginny, I adored the Hospital Wing scene between Remus and Tonks (despite having a vehement dislike for this ship pre-HBP), and I was beginning to hope Lavender Brown would fall from the North Tower (though, that might have been Jo’s intent with that one). I understand that there is a reason for fan-fiction, and that when it comes down to it, Jo has the final say. I’ve obviously accepted that many of my favourite pairings arent going to happen it comes with the territory of rare pairings. And I’d like to see my fellow Harry Potter fans do the same: understand that Jo’s word is canon, she will handle the romance how she likes, and if you still can’t live without Harry/Hermione, Remus/Sirius or Ginny/Neville: find some good fan-fiction to quench your thirst, and revel in the joy of some of the brilliant storylines out there. And if you still fume with anger while reading the actual books with the actual pairings, I’m sorry to say that you should never have allowed yourself to become so attached to an idea that was never sure-fire.
But shipping isn’t the only problem.
People are sending all sorts of criticism at the new book – there wasn’t enough mention of Sirius, there was too much of this or too much of that, and characters were acting unlike themselves left, right and centre.
I thought Sirius was handled perfectly: a mention of Harry moping about in a filthy room (thats often a sign of depression particularly in the case of Harry, whose room is usually decently organised) and not being able to bear to speak of his beloved Godfather to anyone. All incredibly realistic signs of someone grieving. I’ve been in mourning enough times to know, and I’ve had friends do the same. But that’s another editorial for another day.
As for too much of this or too much of that again: it’s Jo’s book. She writes it the way she wants. If you had incredible expectations that no human being could ever meet, then you are, in this case for sure, delusional. I thought the book was excellent – my one complaint might be that the teenage hormonal drama took up more room than I’d have liked, but I won’t deny that it was entertaining. Especially the second or third time around. And again its Jo’s book.
The out of character remarks are what I have the biggest problem with. I will admit that I’m surprised, flabbergasted and quite bowled over by the fact that JK Rowling has such a good grasp of the Harry Potter characters; better than any I’ve seen in fan-fiction, actually. (I’m sorry, I think the Sarcasm Detector just exploded, that was my fault.) Yes – she created the characters, and people think they have the right to accuse her of out of character writing. People think they have her kind of understanding of them?
I’m sorry – but I personally predicted that Hermione would be smart enough, and foolish enough, to use Ron’s jealous personality against him, and that she would have to ease up on Harry if he ever grew into his own. I think that Dumbledore is just as quirky, slightly over-confident, and caring as he was in this book. I believe that Draco Malfoy’s characterisation showed him coming into his own while maintaining the arrogance h’es always shown, all with the added bonus of giving us a deeper insight into who he really is. And yes, Fleur (who I adore!) has always been that high and mighty, and has always shown the same overbearing presumptuous efforts towards the people she’s actually attempting to be nice to.
There is the slightest (*scoff*) possibility that certain people misinterpreted the characters, or got use to reading OOC in fan-fiction, and deluded themselves into thinking the characters are anything more or less, or any different, than they actually are.
And again – if I were to really get into it, that’s all another editorial, for another day.
My overall reaction to the book: amazement, wonder, enjoyment, shock, laughter, tears, and rage (at certain characters, not Jo). I shared Harry’s annoyance and impatience, and I loved every moment he stood up for those he loved and what he believed in. It was entertaining, realistic, mysterious, inspiring, dark, and pretty much brilliant.
Another mesmerizing installment thanks to JK Rowling, and here we are grousing in our un-entitled dissatisfaction. I’d like to see half of Jo’s fans write something half as good. So, to end things, I’d like to repeat this with a resounding note: Get. Over. It.