So, Steve the Llama Butcher linked to my earlier Harry Potter piece with a KILLER question I desperately wish I’d thought of. Then again, what do you expect? I am merely one side of the radio dial. He is a llama butcher. Clearly it’s going to be no contest.
Anyhoo, Steve’s question was: If he could obtain it, would Harry use Sauron’s Ring, from The Lord of the Rings, to defeat Voldemort?
And that, I think, quite clearly encapsulates most of my problems with the Harry Potter books. Because there is pretty much no question that, yes, absolutely, Harry would use The Ring to strike Voldemort down…and would then become the new Voldemort.
That’s the entire point of The Lord of the Rings, innit? That even those who would use The Ring with the best of intentions—such as, initially, Saruman and, later, Boromir—cannot help but be fatally corrupted by its power and its intrinsic evil. That’s why neither Gandalf nor Galadriel will so much as touch The Ring, lest either also fall prey to its grasp.
But Harry ain’t got that kind o’ moral fibre, as the HP books make plain again and again and again.
To read Steve’s piece in full, check it out here.
Also, an interesting piece which refers to both Steve’s question and my earlier Left of the Dial rant can be found here.
Here’s a small excerpt:
My technical beef with Rowling is that she is the George Lucas of kid’s magical fantasy: great at the little details that at first seem to make the world come alive. But not so great at inventing motives for characters and societies that propel people through those worlds. A lot like looking at a realistic model train set, and then trying to look inside the buildings for little miniature furniture. Just not there: the little plastic people don’t need to sit down. That, I think is what Madeleine L’Engle meant by this quote:
Have you read the Harry Potter books?
I read one of them. It’s a nice story but there’s nothing underneath it. I don’t want to be bothered with stuff where there’s nothing underneath. Some people say, “Why do you read the Bible?’’ I say, “Because there’s a lot of stuff underneath.”
And, finally, yet another interesting piece from <a href="http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GG20Aa01.html
“> The Asia Times.
What accounts for the success of the Harry Potter series, as well as the “Star Wars” films whence they derive? The answer, I think, is their appeal to complacency and narcissism. “Use the Force,” Obi-Wan tells the young Luke Skywalker, while the master wizard Dumbledore instructs Harry to draw from his inner well of familial emotions. No one likes to imagine that he is Frodo Baggins, an ordinary fellow who has quite a rough time of it in Tolkien’s story. But everyone likes to imagine that he possesses inborn powers that make him a master of magic as well as a hero at games. Harry Potter merely needs to tap his inner feelings to conjure up the needful spell.
So there you go. I most highly recommend checking ‘em all out. Meanwhile, our local library informs me I am now 38th on the list of those waiting to read the latest Harry Potter book (with another 65 in the queue behind me). And a friend has received a copy as a present but says she won’t be getting to it for months so has offered to lend it to us the next time she sees us. So it looks like I just may be getting caught up soon after all. And who knows? Mayhap I’ll revise my opinion on the whole series. Which would be nice.
But don’t hold yer breath.