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In Defense of the Wretched Epilogue 
31st-Jul-2007 12:34 pm
RWS:  Farcrest
First of all, Hi, I'm Piper [for now] and I am here via Helenangel. /waves

Now.
This epilogue business.

Personally, I think epilogues are like introductions - they're best kept short and to the point. In that sense, I think it's a very good epilogue, even though it does read more like, yes, an introduction.

Will there more Harry Potter books?

Honestly, I hope so. That's the fan in me, though, and not the writer. The fan in me is passionate about this world and the people in it. The writer in me would hate to see JK Rowling forced into the same eternal loop that writers like Anne McCaffrey have wound up in - Pern is the cash herdbeast that puts the food on the table - and it no longer matters if the books are good or bad, as long as they are Pern. It kills the imagination of the writer, and that kills the world.

I'd like to see JK take a long break. Maybe go to the moon, or into hiding, or back to school, or lay on her back on the roof of her house and do nothing for a while. Why not? But one of these days she'll get back to writing and when she does, she's given us a nice set up.

So that's one point - the epilogue is about 1/2 intro to what might be down the pike, if she gets the hankering to write about this some more.

What the epilogue is to me is a longed for scene that never happens between Harry and Snape: the one where they look and see each other clearly, for the first time. The one we can't have because of how it all ends. It's also about choices, and I like the way JK brings us gently back to that pivotal moment in the very first book - what Harry chooses under that hat determines everything that happens after.

Dumbledore tells Snape he thinks sometimes they sort too early. Perhaps Severus' path would have been different if the people in his common room had been different, if his friends had been other than they were. There were choices he wasn't given, choices Harry was. And when Snape got to a point where he started forcing those choices, or having them forced upon him, they came on the cutting edge of repeated loss and sacrifice. In a way, Snape didn't start making those choices until they no longer were choices, but the only clear path for a very broken heart.

What we get in the epilogue is vindication for Snape. We are now Snape's eyes and ears. We readers are the only way he will know he has been seen and understood. Through his words to, and the naming of, his son [with Lily's eyes and Ginny's hair!], Harry makes it clear that all is not only forgiven, it is embraced, accepted and cherished for what it was. And when he speaks to Al, it is to remind us all of the choices he was given through the sacrifices of others.

I like to think that when Al gets sorted, he'll have to choose between Ravenclaw and Slytherin and he'll go with Slytherin because at least it's familiar.

That's definitely me being all fanish.
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
31st-Jul-2007 08:15 pm (UTC) - Re: *Applauds*
*curtsies*
Thankee!

I can be passionate when I want to be, but you might want also to look at my comment to garlicfiend below. I'm a big believer in, and embracer of, paradox [otherwise, how could I love Snape so much?], but I'm not blind!
31st-Jul-2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
What we get in the epilogue is vindication for Snape. We are now Snape's eyes and ears.

No offense, but about 85% of that epilogue would leave Snape wretching and puking into his cauldron in disgust. Because, after all, he is still a git. A git with depth and motivation maybe, but Harry's cute little family scene isn't going to leave him all choked up with emotion. Except the part with Albus and sorting.

To me, where the entire epilogue fails is in the way it treats Teddy. JKR goes out of her way to set up the story of his birth, his existence, and then the death of his parents in the final battle, knowing that Harry is his godfather. Did Harry and Ginny raise him? It didn't sound like it. His maternal Grandmother survives, but did she raise him? We never get to know! All we know is that he's caught snogging on the back of the train. No resolution of dramatic tension at all.

Sorry for the tantrum. Really, that was nothing on you, I've just been holding that in for a while.

I don't hate the epilogue, but I think the last bit with Albus only just barely saves it.
31st-Jul-2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
Well, I DID say that 1/2 the epilogue was introduction for future possible books, didn't I?! :P

Snape is still a git, and I'm sure, even if he wasn't pushing up thistles somewhere, if there ever was a meaningful moment between him and Harry, it would be dry, humorless and utterly without sentiment. Anything else would be a lie, and it would drive you, me and millions of Snape fans completely bats. Bats, while appropriate for Snape fans, aren't really what I'm trying to get to here. All that matters for our Snape situation is the part with Albus and the sorting.

I'm assuming [horrid of me, I know, but there you have it!] that he grew up with Andromeda, with healthy and most likely extravagant doses of Weasleys and Potters [and Longbottoms, et. al.] on the side. I agree that we don't get any resolution for the dramatic tension there, but we do get a clear indication of her intended direction for Teddy. And she does at least let us know that things work out for him - he seems to be happy, healthy, loved and in love.

Feel free to tantrum. I'm not saying I'm right about anything. I am candy-coating for sure, and I won't deny that somewhere in that epilogue is an oddly shaped tie-fighter hurtling away from an exploding Deathstar with someone that looks a terrible lot like Darth Vader in it. It's not well written, and it doesn't touch on several points I'd like to see addressed; namely, what the hell has happened to George Weasley and poor Lavender Brown?!

However, from a literary stand point, I do think it serves a purpose, and the scene with Al and Harry would seem oddly disembodied without all that pap at the front end.
31st-Jul-2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
However, from a literary stand point, I do think it serves a purpose, and the scene with Al and Harry would seem oddly disembodied without all that pap at the front end.

I think all that pap is mostly just to let the reader know that, for the most part, everything works out more-or-less the way we would expect it to. And to make the fanfic writers put "Post-DH, pre-epilogue/sans-epilogue/f*ck-the-epilogue." Granted, we all know that JKR meant to write in that hot smouldering glance between Draco and Harry alluding their on-again off-again secret affair behind Ginny's back...

I won't deny that somewhere in that epilogue is an oddly shaped tie-fighter hurtling away from an exploding Deathstar with someone that looks a terrible lot like Darth Vader in it.

I seriously think she has set up a wonderful series around Teddy. We know he's half werewolf, half automorphmagus (or whatever it's called), and Lupin says he's concerned what effects that might have. Voldy may be gone, but there are likely still some deatheaters running around. And the whole werewolf problem is still a major problem in wizarding society. I think our Darth Vaders would be Greyback (what, you think getting brained by a crystal ball is enough to take down a werewolf?) and Umbridge who is still all kinds of evil and still working for the ministry. And you can fit Lavender brown in to all this (maybe she has a half werewolf kid too?). And Harry makes the statement that Teddy has an irresponisible godfather too. I think Harry needs to be pulled away from family life on and off to help out Teddy in his adventures.

But I want JKR to write, and she probably won't. I can however dream...
31st-Jul-2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
I think all that pap is mostly just to let the reader know that, for the most part, everything works out more-or-less the way we would expect it to.

I agree wholeheartedly.

I seriously think she has set up a wonderful series around Teddy.

Also agreed. And Teddy is a character dedicated readers have every reason to adore already. I don't know if you were in on the filter where I hid my Harry Potter dream, but I'm seriously considering turning into a bit of fanfic and posting it where you can see it.

I also posted a scene from my Deathly Hallows inspired play called "A Fitting End". It's behind a cut, because it does have some vague spoilers, but nothing serious.

The werewolves are a very good point. In fact, if you take into account several of the heart-changes that take place in Deathly Hallows, we are well poised for all out Wizarding War, with perhaps the Wizards and Witches joined by the house elves and the centaurs, battling against the werewolves and the goblins. All they would need is a charismatic leader of some sort [not Umbridge, but possibly Greyback] and the fight would be on.

My heart breaks for George, and I want desperately to know he's okay, and still being a prat, and making people laugh and not living face down in a tankard somewhere. I worry for that boy.

What would be spot on thrilling [to me] is if Scorpius and Al strike up a decent friendship and with the careful guidance of the usual cast of bad influences, stir up some real trouble for whoever the Darth Vader turns out to be. This is also an element of why I'd like to see Al sorted into a house that is neither Gryffindor [omg, so DONE!] or Slytherin [too apologetic]. Ravenclaw has featured fairly heavily, and the Ravenclaws tend to be a smart and insightful lot. I am continually sorted into Ravenclaw, obviously they're my first choice, but the house I'd really love to see represented is Hufflepuff.

Can you see a Potter and a Malfoy in Hufflepuff?! Neither can I. But it would be funny as hell.
16th-Jan-2010 10:47 am (UTC)
You've raised some really interesting points here, thanks!
I have to admit I was very disappointed by the epilogue. It was like a bad fanfic, apart from the Albus Severus thing, which I thought weirdly touching, especially as Snape was mainly a git. But I was pleased that he was a goodie.
According to various online chats and stuff with JK, George never quite recovers from the loss of his twin (I still can't believe Fred died!) but marries Alicia Spinnet or one of the other Quidditch players, but I can't remember which.
Oh the one good thing about the ending generally was Neville's bit, the unlikely hero and all that, I thought that was great.
The bit with Teddy was very disappointing though.

Haha a Potter and a Malfoy sharing a dormitory...
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