20 July 2007

Harry Potter July 1997 - July 2007

The As A Dodo Team is pleased to announce that one of its junior staff members - fresh from his previous work editing a documentary on Her Majesty the Queen - has today provided us with what must be the greatest scoop of the decade, a sneak peak at what he assures us are the final few paragraphs of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (despite the fact that they seem to have been scrawled in his own hand on the back of a series of losing betting-slips made out in his name), paragraphs which reveal that Harry Potter is to die in tragic and unforeseen circumstances. Accordingly, we print the following paragraphs as the young wizard's obituary. Let them speak for themselves.

"So, Harry. We meet again", said Nosferatu Lord Voldemort, his long thin form gliding towards Harry.

"I'll kill you Ming the Merciless Voldemort", said Harry, angrily, in the first bit of direct speech he'd been granted in the last two hundred pages.

"Oh I doubt it, Harry Potter", hissed Saruman Voldemort, his red eyes gleaming.

Harry raised himself to his feet, preparing himself for the bout of sadistic cruelty that he always had to face at the end of one of his books. Fu Manchu Voldemort pointed his wand at the young wizard and muttered a word with just enough bad Latin in it to sound a bit magical. Harry struggled to stand but found himself frozen. The Dark Lord of the Sith slid towards him.

"No, Harry Potter, it is you who will die, though I will not be the one to kill you ... that task belongs to your true enemy", continued Lex Luthor Voldemort, the slits of his eyes widening. "But first I must give a long and involved recap of all that has happened so far in case any of the slower readers - not to forget all those people who have got so used to skipping turgid passages about Quidditch matches, magic lessons, O.W.L. examinations and your tedious and somehow strangely passionless 'passions' for a series of females lacking any deep characterisation that they've flipped straight to the final pages - have missed anything."

Harry was about to speak but remembered that if he did so he would break up Davros's Lord Voldemort's lengthy exposition. At last - several pages later - the red eyes turned once more to Harry.

"What a fool you are Harry!", Moriarty Voldemort cried. "You thought I was your enemy all along didn't you? Didn't you realise who was punishing you?"

"It was Snape! I knew it!" said Harry.

The Sheriff of Nottingham Voldemort sneered at him. "Snape! Don't be a fool - if he doesn't get a moment of Darth Vader-like redemption in the last book I'll eat my own horcrux! Your enemy, Harry Potter, is She Who Must Not Be Named!"

"She Who Must Not Be Named?" thought Harry, who was having one of those astonishingly thick periods he always got between making astonishing intuitive leaps when the author wanted to move the plot on. "Dolores Umbridge? Rita Skreeter? Not Professor McGonagall?"

Dr Doom Voldemort momentarily buried his head in his hands. "Dear Lord you're almost as stupid as Sam Gamgee C3PO Ron Weasley. Think boy! Think! I speak of the one who truly hates you. Who is it that has punished you for seven, ever longer, books? Who is it that has ensured that all around you ignored your warnings and called you a liar? Who has seen you pummelled and beaten, cruelly mocked and more cruelly tortured for thousands upon thousands of pages? Who has made you doubt your own sanity?"

Harry looked up at the man he had once thought was his greatest foe, who he had always feared - even after discovering his true name was, ridiculously, Tom Marvelo Riddle.

The Wicked Witch of the West Voldemort continued, "Oh she hates you, Potter. Don't doubt that. Think how she sent you away to the Dursleys ..."

Harry shivered. "They're awfully common aren't they?" he said, then brightened for a moment, "But I'm not like them - I go to boarding school and have friends called Hermione and live in a magical world that is exactly like a scene from a 1950s Ealing comedy."

"But without the warmth or humour" said Blofeld Lord Voldemort, stroking a Persian cat. Harry nodded to himself, he knew his enemy's words were true. The Hooded Claw Voldemort carried on, "She even killed off your uncle Boromir Sirius Black and your mentor Gandalf Dumbledore"

"You mean Obi-Wan Dumbledore won't 'unexpectedly' be making a reappearance in the final book?" Harry shouted, his knuckles whitening as he clenched his hands in anger and disappointment.

"I wouldn't put it past her", whispered Nogbad the Bad Voldemort. "Can you really be so stupid?", he continued, his rage mounting once more ... "Didn't you suspect anything even when you realised she'd made your best friend a ginger?!"

Harry just grabbed his wand and squeezed it tight, causing sniggers among any of his readers who'd ever laughed at a Carry On movie.

"It is your creator who detests you so! She Who Must Not Be Named is J.K. Rowling! And now she has chosen to kill you by creating a saga so long and so repetitive that you will be sucked into an endless sequence of quidditch matches and O.W.L. examinations, punctuated by the occasional death of a friend and several over-familiar plot-devices. You will die not by my wand, Harry Potter, but by the actions of ten fingers upon a keyboard!"

His speech finished, Abanazar Lord Voldemort looked down triumphantly at Harry but Harry could not see him for Harry was already dead.

Harry Potter will be buried at St Mickey Mouse's Church of the Marketing Wizardry, in a grave well set apart from Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain, Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, James Thurber's The Thirteen Clocks and The White Deer, Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence, Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the works of The Brothers Grimm. He is survived by a generation of young adults for whom thousands of years of myth and legend, wizardry and wild romance, fairy tales and gothic sagas, imagination and mystery have been distilled into a moderately-well written, deeply small "c" conservative, school story in which all the magic of "magic" has been rendered into a banal substitute for technology with all the eldritch mystery of a trip to McDonalds.


M. ACC said...

Wow, crikey lawks a mussy what sustained bit of crit tinged with vitriol and fairness. Great learning is shown in the far from misspent youths who of those who wrote the piece.
That said there are only so many story lines and having ready A.S.Byatt's crit (Same line as yours but heavier in comparison texts and legends and leaden in delivery) I want to say this.
Given all the derivations and the story showing all its creaky workings the HP (soon to be moved to Holland for production)product is an intellectual feat starting from initial courage in knowing it would be accused of plagary a million times over; comprising tremendous vision in its scope and even greater skill in rectifying false, dead lines of theme and characters. It is a Saga which contains no more crap and deus ex machina manipulation than the other myths and is well suited to a modern audience who need a bit of pleasure from their OWLs and a glimpse into what is right and wrong.
Well done lads.

Anonymous said...

Extremely well said! Also funny and witty. Mind if I gank the last (bolded) para to insert in my LJ essay? I think it's one thing that can't be said enough times.

Well, at least until the batshit insane fans learn how to think. HAHAHAH! Sorry. From the post above, learning to think seems a far-away goal.

And M. ACC.? JKR has actuallky ripped off all 'her' best ideas from other, better authors. Plot ideas AND details. So kindly STFU.

Not really anonymous, but I don't have an account.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Brilliant! I'm sure JKR will be crying all the way to the bank now.

Anonymous said...

This is just typical of the people who don't understand Harry Potter or JK Rowling. I'm sure it is very easy to mock but where's _your_ multi-million pound book deal? JK Rowling's books have brought pleasure to *millions* of people across the globe, which is more than you have ever done.

Anonymous said...

to paraphrase mrs merton... "and what first attracted you to the billionaire jk rowling?" it's a tired old argument that financial success is the benchmark of good literature. millions of idiots bought the da vinci code. does that make dan brown the shakespeare de nos jours? no. it means there are millions of idiots - like you - who wouldn't know a decent book if it bit them on the arse they use for a mind. i'm with as a dodo on this one - the sooner harry potter disappears in a puff of smoke, the better.

Tony Davis said...

If you ask me this is all about jealousy. I'm sick and tired of "clever-clever" types slagging off the Harry Potter books. Have you actually read any of them. They're fast-paced and exciting and have got kids reading. What kind of petty-minded mentality do you have to have to attack something that's done so much good?

Daisy Reed said...

That's the trouble with this country: too much inverted snobbery. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being "clever-clever"! And thank God some of us are. For goodness sake, Tony Davis, why are you even reading children's books? (It was a difficult assumption to make, judging by your rhetoric, but i am assuming you are over 18.)

"Get a life!" as my kids might say. Try reading some Proust or even Dickens if you like a plot, and if you must have magic there's always Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

"Grow up!" as I DO say.

Bobmeister said...

Blah, blah, blah. I'm thoroughly sick of the Harry Potter thing - including all the commentary. It's over! Let's move on to something else.

tuz said...

harry pottr getsz hooked on crack,thats a book id read. who cares about magic n boarding school? it's 2007. not 1807.

Stella Williams said...

I'm very disappointed. I normally enjoy Dead As a Dodo but this time I think you have chosen the wrong target. As others have said before me, J.K. Rowling's books have brought pleasure to millions. My own son had a complete phobia about reading until he came across the Harry Potter series. Now he's read all of the books cover to cover (he spent the whole weekend buried in Deathly Hallows). They may not be the best books ever but just because you don't like them doesn't give you grounds to criticise.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's easy to mock but I challenge anyone else to write something that does so well. I've talked to bookshop owners who say that no other book has created such a culture of reading, particularly among young boys, despaired of as far as reading was concerned by parents and teachers alike. It's a shame that every human endeavour has to be reduced to mockery.

Quark said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

TGarner said...

Well "anonymous" I'll give you mockery. What's a mockery is when someone gets paid vast amoutns and gets hero-worshipped for what I'd bet you is the hard graft of a hard-working editor. Jeffrey-boy Archer syndrome strikes again methinks.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a shame that so many people are so intent on taking the intellectual high ground and criticizing everything that's not their idea of a masterpiece that they can't just run away with their imagination and enjoy something a bit silly once in a while. "daisy reed," it is not impossible to appreciate both works by Proust and Dickens and by J.K. Rowling, for different reasons. The fact is that Rowling is a genius when it comes to ripping, and often witty and imaginative (despite what people say) plots, which have kept millions of people on tenterhooks for years. They are not all simpletons, they just have healthily loose imaginations and a sense of humour. In fact, I think there are more similarities between the techniques of Rowling and Dickens than you would care to believe.

shelly said...

I dug Harry Potter quite a bit. Certainly it's not full of poignant scenarios painted on an flawless canvas of craftsmanship. I hardly have the mental capacity or the time or day to read twenty pages of Dickens lay out one scene. Maybe that's my problem. Regardless, though, Harry Potter keeps me reading, and not watching television. Which, I hate to say, is kind of the point. Coming from a fifteen year old who could surely never evaluate the artistic genius of Proust, I say that Harry Potter is helping the literary world out whether you like it or not.