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Clues From JKR's Favorite Books



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  #21  
Old February 18th, 2007, 12:27 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

I'm almost afraid to post this because thus far the conversation has been quite intellectual and I fear that my contribution is no where near intelligent, but Rowling is the mother of young children and wrote PS/SS when her daughter was quite young. There are some stories you read to your kids over and over and over so many times you can recite them in your sleep.

The image I get whenever I hear Hufflepuff is the big bad wolf from The Three Pigs (I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down). The pig who prevailed (or survived depending on the version you read) was the one who worked the hardest and built a nice strong house. I know it sounds stupid, but I've wondered whether her idea for Helga Hufflepuff came from the Three Pigs.....


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Old February 18th, 2007, 12:34 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

monster_mom, I think that's really clever. I always thought Hufflepuff sounded like a goofy name, especially compared to the others. I think that could be where she got the idea.If you are right, I wonder if this is also why she has all that pig imagery and pig names in there (Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and the winged pig statues at the gates.)


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  #23  
Old February 18th, 2007, 12:44 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

I think it's a nice connection, monster_mom. The sorting hat talks about the four houses being like pillars used to keep Hogwarts standing strong. Who better to emphasize this union than loyal and fair Hufflepuff?


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  #24  
Old February 18th, 2007, 1:20 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

There is also Puff the Magic Dragon, and heffalumps, a stuffed animal that has similiar words to Hufflepuff.

There is one thing I noticed when reading Jane Eyre that seemed like something that Harry might do. Jane was treated very poorly by her aunt and cousins, just as Harry was. When Jane returned to the bedside of her dying aunt, she had found out that the spoiled rotten boy cousin who had tormented her, grew up to be a gambler, etc, who put the family into financial ruin and shame. Jane found out that she was no longer angry with her aunt for all the ill treatment she received, even though the aunt continued to say mean things to her on her deathbed. The other two cousins, the sisters, hated each other and couldn't wait to leave as soon as the mother died. Jane stayed to help the sisters move into their new lives, even though one of the sisters was still cold to Jane.

I think that Harry will also move past any desire to get revenge on Dudley. Harry has bigger fish to fry, as the saying goes, and may feel sorry for Dudley some day, maybe even helping him, just as Jane did.


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  #25  
Old February 18th, 2007, 3:22 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

Susan Bones - I think you're onto something about Harry forgiving Dudley. Quite a few people believe that IF Harry's power (that Voldy doesn't know) is Love, then he must forgive (or at the least put away desire for revenge). That IF he has hate in his heart he won't succeed.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 7:54 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

And Dudley's blood provides the same protection Aunt Petunia's blood does. Like it or not, Dudley is, at least genetically, a blood relative of Harry's.


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Old February 21st, 2007, 1:19 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by zgirnius
If you are right, I wonder if this is also why she has all that pig imagery and pig names in there (Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and the winged pig statues at the gates.)
I thought Hogwarts was so named because it was only a couple consonants away from 'Hogwash' (which is what someone like Uncle Vernon would consider it).

But anyway, as far as literary influences: E. Nesbit. E. Nesbit. E. Nesbit. E. Nesbit.

I only just discovered her this weekend, even though I'd been meaning to look up her work for a while. She's on the "links" bookshelf on Jo's website.

Quote:
Ms. Rowling, have you ever been inspired by another author?

The author with whom I identify most is E. Nesbit. She did some great, funny fairy tales.

link
Quote:
Rowling said she loved the books of E. Nesbit and wondered if anybody in the crowded audience knew of her work. Nobody did.

link
Her stuff's sort of hard to find, even Amazon doesn't stock a lot of the titles. And my library only had a couple battered old picture books. But if you can, it's really really worth it because her brand of magic is almost identical to Jo's. Her wit and her writing style and her sense of humor, none of it feels a hundred years old.

In fact, when I started reading Melisande I had a really hard time convincing myself Jo didn't write it. It's eerie, I know they can't be the same person because E. Nesbit died in 1924, but it's almost like Jo's her literary reincarnation. Best possible stuff to tide you over until Deathly Hallows comes out.


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  #28  
Old April 14th, 2007, 12:44 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

I just finished reading 'The Little White Horse' one of the books mentioned as one of Jo's favourite childhood books.

There were several similarities to Harry Potter with the main character of the book Maria Merryweather. Both are orphans, and both are locked in a struggle between good and evil and are the subject of a prophecy that makes them the 'chosen one'. Maria is the person who fulfils the prophecy by making the evil men of the dark woods good again, she does this not through fighting or anger but by love and peace.
The book also features a number of magical creatures such as unicorns, lions you can ride, dwarfs, fairies and is full of mystery. A great read.
One thing I found interesting is the book also did an epilogue of what happened to all the characters after stories end, they all got married and lived a long time and then died so possibly she will do a similar thing at the end of book 7.


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  #29  
Old May 1st, 2007, 8:55 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

I don't know if it's one of her favourite books or not but she did study Classics...

In Book 6 of the Aeneid, Aeneas descends to the Underworld to consult his dead father for advice of how to fulfil his destiny as prophesied by a sibyl.

Could this be a clue for DH, whose title suggests that Harry may also be tavelling beyond the Veil to find clues about how to fulfil a prophecy of a Sybil?


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  #30  
Old May 5th, 2007, 6:24 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

Animal Farm is overall an allegory with Stalinist Russia - I read this one a while ago and don't remember the details, but there might be some parallels here with the MoM and Fudge's propaganda and slightly authoritarian tendencies (in the case of Umbrige: not-so-slightly authoritarian tendencies).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
With both Emma and To Kill a Mockingbird you can see where she got the device of the unreliable narrative viewpoint from. There's a lot of similarities between Dumbledore and Atticus - supremely wise and tolerant, standing up 100% against hatred and prejudice, but prepared to give the children in his care freedom to make their own mistakes.
I agree
My mind is a blank on Mockingbird, but Jane Austen's writings are full of narrators (and characters) who often form innacurate impressions about other people. Emma is no exception. Harry seems to have this problem on occasion as well.

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Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I'm interested to see Hamlet in the list. Am I alone in seeing parallels between Harry's relationship with Snape and Hamlet's relationship with Claudius? Harry, like Hamlet, has lost a father under treacherous circumstances. As Hamlet did with Claudius, he hates and resents Snape even before he knows that he had a hand in his father's death (and in the deaths of his two father figures, Dumbledore and Sirius).
Sounds good as well.

Though to be honest, Hamlet doesn't really jump out at me with similarities. Hamlet, personality-wise, doesn't seem like Harry: Harry's a little hot-headed and brash at times, while Hamlet's problem is that he's too indecisive.

JKR does seem to like the 'foil' technique though, which is also in Hamlet. Hamlet has a big three-way foil with Hamlet/Fortinbras/Laertes. And HP has one with Draco/Harry, and IMHO one with Arthur/Lucius.


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  #31  
Old May 5th, 2007, 1:35 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

I have been thinking a lot about the parallels between Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and Snape. Someone in another thread asked the question of why would JK Rowling have written a book with one of the main characters turning out to be such a nasty guy. Heathcliff is a nasty guy who really doesn't seem to get a whole lot nicer. I don't like Heathcliff. He doesn't treat people very well. He has a lot of disdain for Hareton, who's father belittled and maltreated Heathcliff. It is similiar to Snape mistreating Harry because James mistreated Snape.


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Old May 5th, 2007, 4:53 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

It's an interesting idea about Hamlet disliking Claudius before he knows the truth. While Snape did not put his wand to James like Claudius killed Hamlet Sr., there is a sort of stepfather dynamic going on in both cases. Kids never like the "replacement".

SusanBones111- Wow, I was actually thinking of Heathcliff this morning. Coincience! Seriously, though, the Harry-Snape and Heathcliff-Hareton relationship is interesting to parallel. There is a big similarity between the two relationships in that the adult is mean to the child. But there is also a big difference: Heathcliff hates Hareton and fights to keep him low, filthy, and uneducated. Snape, while not a fluffy teddy bear, does the exact opposite.


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  #33  
Old May 5th, 2007, 7:00 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

In retrospect, I may have been a little fanciful in perceiving a Hamlet connection (It's Snape, not Harry who's a melancholic in a suit of sables)! Every time I read the graveyard scene in GoF, though, the priori incantatem bit reminds me of the "Despair and Die" scene in Richard III.

Quote:
JKR does seem to like the 'foil' technique though, which is also in Hamlet. Hamlet has a big three-way foil with Hamlet/Fortinbras/Laertes. And HP has one with Draco/Harry, and IMHO one with Arthur/Lucius.
Yes! the whole Riddle/Harry/Snape half-blood unfortunate parallel reminds me a lot of the Hamlet/Fortinbras/Laertes/Pyrrhus parallels.

Quote:
Originally posted by SusanBones111
I have been thinking a lot about the parallels between Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and Snape. Someone in another thread asked the question of why would JK Rowling have written a book with one of the main characters turning out to be such a nasty guy. Heathcliff is a nasty guy who really doesn't seem to get a whole lot nicer. I don't like Heathcliff. He doesn't treat people very well. He has a lot of disdain for Hareton, who's father belittled and maltreated Heathcliff. It is similiar to Snape mistreating Harry because James mistreated Snape.
Interesting. I'll have to think some more about this - I haven't read WH since I was 16 and studying it for 'O' level. Oddly enough, WH and Mockingbird were the two set novels for my 'O' level English Lit (or maybe it's not so odd - JKR must have done her 'O' level English Lit a year or two before me, so they were possibly her set texts, too!)

Off the top of my head, though - dark, vengeful, brooding, bullied as a child but immensely powerful as an adult and uses his power to torment others, particularly children in his care, obsessively in love with a woman married to another, with the love continuing many years after her death....cough...Heathcliff like Snape? Surely not!

However, Heathcliff is famously one of the biggest sex symbols of the literary canon. As JKR has professed shock and dismay that so many readers apparently find Snape sexy, could she have consciously modelled him on a 19th century literary poster boy?


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  #34  
Old May 6th, 2007, 1:49 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
There is a big similarity between the two relationships in that the adult is mean to the child. But there is also a big difference: Heathcliff hates Hareton and fights to keep him low, filthy, and uneducated. Snape, while not a fluffy teddy bear, does the exact opposite.
Hareton ends up being adopted by Heathcliff and becomes loyal to him, in spite of his poor treatment. Harry, on the other hand, is the main protaganist, so he has a different journey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
Off the top of my head, though - dark, vengeful, brooding, bullied as a child but immensely powerful as an adult and uses his power to torment others, particularly children in his care, obsessively in love with a woman married to another, with the love continuing many years after her death....cough...Heathcliff like Snape? Surely not!
Yes, an obsessive love would be an interesting Heathcliff-Snape parallel - wouldn't it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka
However, Heathcliff is famously one of the biggest sex symbols of the literary canon. As JKR has professed shock and dismay that so many readers apparently find Snape sexy, could she have consciously modelled him on a 19th century literary poster boy?
As with all of JK Rowlings' plot and characters that seem to have some commonality with other cultures and literature, there are limits. The Heathcliff-Snape parallel would stop at the sex symbol category

But there are some similiarities with the fact that both Heathcliff and Snape are very complex characters. My guess is that the bad guys are always more fun to write because they are so much more unpredictable than the good guys. Healthcliff never seems to want to give up his obsession with Catherine. Snape never seems to want to give up his obsession with James. Heathcliff eventually dies a broken and tortured man. We don't know what fate has in store for Snape, but it will be different than Heathcliff's fate.

Heathcliff is probably one of the most famous nasty guys out there. Bronte and her book, "Wuthering Heights" stands as a classic. This shows that a book can have a character that isn't admirable and yet still be successful. It also shows that you can end a book without redeeming the nasty guy, although I think Snape will be redeemed, just probably just won't stop being nasty.



Last edited by SusanBones; May 6th, 2007 at 2:11 am.
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  #35  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:38 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

I would like to provide a link from Charlie and the chocolate factory to Harry. Charlie is a boy of innocence and the underdog in the book. He doesn't think selfishly and try to profit from his crime on taking the everlasting gobstopper back to Mr slugworth. Harry does not commit a crime but he is an innocent boy pulled into a demand from a more superior opponent in Lord Voldemort to live forever and for no one person to stand against him.


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  #36  
Old May 17th, 2007, 7:44 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

Jane Austen's books have a lot of self-delusion, and I'm reminded of them often in Harry Potter. In Jane Austen books, the heroine spends half the book with a deluded belief (Darcy is bad, Churchill is good) and then, in the final act, the truth is revealed. (Darcy good, Churchill a jerk). I think the Harry Potter books actually have a similar structure to Pride & Prejudice and Emma. In the same way, Harry is very emotional, and often makes snap judgments about people that turn out to be incorrect. (In each book - Snape, Draco, Sirius, etc.) I think that JKR is interested in our capacity for self-deception, and this theme looms especially large in HBP. She's said that Book 6 & 7 are two parts of the same story - I think the first half is the deception, and the second is the truth. This pattern mirrors the structure of Pride & Prejudice - in which the heroine spends the first half of the book believing that Darcy is a villian, and then realizes that the villian is actually a hero. She spends the first half of the story in a state of self-delusion, and in the second she finally sees the truth.

If this is true, when book six sets Snape up as the "villian", book seven will eventually reveal that he is a heroic figure. The internal debate that the reader has over Darcy's character is very similar to the debate people have over Snape's character - he's cold, rude, cutting, yet there are also clues that indicate he may be a good person at heart. From the very first book, Harry disliked him, and that dislike colored his perceptions, in the same way that Lizzy's dislike colored her perceptions of Darcy. I think, in the last book, we will finally learn the truth about Snape's character, and it will be very different from what Harry believes now.


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  #37  
Old May 17th, 2007, 9:57 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

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Originally Posted by MarieNC View Post
Jane Austen's books have a lot of self-delusion, and I'm reminded of them often in Harry Potter. In Jane Austen books, the heroine spends half the book with a deluded belief (Darcy is bad, Churchill is good) and then, in the final act, the truth is revealed. (Darcy good, Churchill a jerk). I think the Harry Potter books actually have a similar structure to Pride & Prejudice and Emma. In the same way, Harry is very emotional, and often makes snap judgments about people that turn out to be incorrect. (In each book - Snape, Draco, Sirius, etc.) I think that JKR is interested in our capacity for self-deception, and this theme looms especially large in HBP. She's said that Book 6 & 7 are two parts of the same story - I think the first half is the deception, and the second is the truth. This pattern mirrors the structure of Pride & Prejudice - in which the heroine spends the first half of the book believing that Darcy is a villian, and then realizes that the villian is actually a hero. She spends the first half of the story in a state of self-delusion, and in the second she finally sees the truth.

If this is true, when book six sets Snape up as the "villian", book seven will eventually reveal that he is a heroic figure. The internal debate that the reader has over Darcy's character is very similar to the debate people have over Snape's character - he's cold, rude, cutting, yet there are also clues that indicate he may be a good person at heart. From the very first book, Harry disliked him, and that dislike colored his perceptions, in the same way that Lizzy's dislike colored her perceptions of Darcy. I think, in the last book, we will finally learn the truth about Snape's character, and it will be very different from what Harry believes now.
Great point! Since JKR is an open fan of Austen it would be in line with that admiration to have Harry's perception resemble that of Austen's protagonists.


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  #38  
Old May 18th, 2007, 1:47 am
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

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Originally Posted by MarieNC View Post
Jane Austen's books have a lot of self-delusion, and I'm reminded of them often in Harry Potter. In Jane Austen books, the heroine spends half the book with a deluded belief (Darcy is bad, Churchill is good) and then, in the final act, the truth is revealed. (Darcy good, Churchill a jerk). I think the Harry Potter books actually have a similar structure to Pride & Prejudice and Emma. In the same way, Harry is very emotional, and often makes snap judgments about people that turn out to be incorrect. (In each book - Snape, Draco, Sirius, etc.) I think that JKR is interested in our capacity for self-deception, and this theme looms especially large in HBP. She's said that Book 6 & 7 are two parts of the same story - I think the first half is the deception, and the second is the truth. This pattern mirrors the structure of Pride & Prejudice - in which the heroine spends the first half of the book believing that Darcy is a villian, and then realizes that the villian is actually a hero. She spends the first half of the story in a state of self-delusion, and in the second she finally sees the truth.

If this is true, when book six sets Snape up as the "villian", book seven will eventually reveal that he is a heroic figure. The internal debate that the reader has over Darcy's character is very similar to the debate people have over Snape's character - he's cold, rude, cutting, yet there are also clues that indicate he may be a good person at heart. From the very first book, Harry disliked him, and that dislike colored his perceptions, in the same way that Lizzy's dislike colored her perceptions of Darcy. I think, in the last book, we will finally learn the truth about Snape's character, and it will be very different from what Harry believes now.
I don't like to post without actually saying something, but all I can think in response to your post is " "


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  #39  
Old May 19th, 2007, 9:52 pm
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

Its amazing to sit down and think about it, but so much of the series can be construed as going back to Austen's works.

It is interesting that so many of you compare Emma to Harry (and I DO agree with that in many senses!) because Emma is often seen as one of the less popular of Jane Austen's heroines. Emma, like Harry, is quite a flawed character, though often in different ways. However, it is not until they see the very real possibility of their future partners (Knightley and Ginny) being with someone else, that their own feelings hit them. Although it will have been building up inside them for a while, it is not until Harriet tells Emma she likes Knightley, nor until Harry sees Ginny kissing Dean in the corridor that the two realise that they have fallen for someone who has been right in front of them for so long.

That comparison could, to a certain extent, be used for Harry and Edmund Price in Mansfield Park. Until HBP, Harry sees Ginny as Ron's Little sister, while Edmund spends most of Mansfield thinking that way about Fanny Price. Again, both partners were right in front of them all the way through the book, but Harry was too busy chasing Cho and Edmund Mary Crawford that they did not notice.

I also agree that Jane Austen's technique of writing her heroines a failed romance before they get together with 'the right one' at the end, has influenced JKR, who stated that part of the reason for Ron and Laender's relationship was that she didn't want Hermione to be Ron's first kiss. Aside from that, Harry dated Cho, Hermione went to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum and Ginny went out with both Michael Corner and Dean Thomas.

However, if there was one romance in the whole series that I would liken to Austen's, its James and Lily's, which I think is pure Lizzie and Darcy. Both girls were completely resistant to their men until they got to know the 'real' person, I think.

Going back to comaprisons between Harry and Emma, I also think that they both have quite mistaken first impressions. With Emma this is mainly in regard to Mr Elton, Churchill, and, to a certain extent, Robert Martin, the farmer that captures Harriet's heart. Harry's first impressions of Sirius in particular are also greatly mistaken, though we are all fooled for a while to a certain degree as to the true motivations of Churchill and Sirius.

One comparison I don't think has been made yet with regards to Austen is that of the Black sisters and the Elliot sisters from Persuasion, in terms of attitude and temprament, at least. Elizabeth, the eldest, like Bellatrix, is obsessed with the idea of 'family' and social rank in the world she inhabits. While Elizabeth is not evil, nor a Death Eater, her views on the 'purity' of her class, and place in society because of that, is a little like I imagine Bella's being. Anne, the middle daughter, wants to marry a Royal Navy sailor, Wentworth, that her family look down on because of his social class, as Andromeda would have been for marrying a muggle born. In the end, both appear to have married for love and not money or status, setting them apart from their sisters. Mary, the youngest sister, is extremely snobbish, and ignores those she believes herself to be above. And the way she completely disregards the Hayters, cousins of her husband Charles Musgrove, is how I think Narcissa would treat Tonks, though as they have never interacted in canon, I have no proof of that! Mary forces herself to the head of the queue, and dislikes associating with those she sees as being of 'lower rank', like Narcissa obviously despises proximity to Hermione, a Muggle-born, in the top box at the QWC final, and then in HBP at Madam Malkins'. Though the two sets of sisters are not EXACTLY like one another in every single way, I think a certain correlation does exist there.


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Old May 22nd, 2007, 12:39 am
MarieNC  Undisclosed.gif MarieNC is offline
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Re: Clues From JKR's Favorite Books

Harry reminds me so much of Emma; I get the same feeling of frustration for both characters because they seem so determined to misunderstand the events and people around them. I really do think, that behind all the fantasy and wizardry, this series is about the same themes as Austen's works. As you said, both Emma and Harry have trouble recognizing their own feelings. And in a larger sense, both at first misjudge people before seeing their true worth. This theme is repeated so many times in HP, (Siruis, Hermione, etc.,) that I have to think it will play a major role in the final. Right now, Harry's beliefs are false, fake, just like the fake locket he recovers at the end. He'll have to change his beliefs in order to find the true locket & the real path to wisdom.

The biggest Austen parallel I see is between HP and "Pride and Prejudice." And the parallel characters are Snape and Harry. Snape is very prideful & reserved, just like Darcy. And Harry is very confident & prone to form snap judgments, just like Lizzy. In the HP books, you can see Harry's "self-delusion" slowly grow, from Harry's negative first impression of Snape, through numerous red herrings, & spun/false information given by his enemies, all creating an unshakeable (false) opinion of who Snape really is. I think JKR has orchestrated this all to create a "false" impression of Snape, leading Harry and the reader into self-deception. It's almost exactly like how Lizzy spends the first half hating Darcy because of the negative first impressions & false stories she hears from Wickham. Then comes the "revelation" - the truth. And that revelation is soul-shaking, because it directly contradicts the false tower of delusion that has been built. Lizzy's "revelation" came with Darcy's letter; maybe Harry's own revelation will come from reading a letter by Snape?

One critic said that P&P is actually a mystery, in which detective Lizzy must "solve" the mystery of Darcy's real character. With all the mysteries in the HP series, I think the central mystery is the nature of Snape's character. It's been introduced in so many ways from the very beginning of the series - is Snape good or bad? Is he friend or foe? Snape's also got that gothic hero think going on - Snape seems like a combination of Darcy & Heathcliff to me. That said, it's interesting that JKR hasn't cited any gothic novels as among her favorites. It seems like she's actually structuring the series as a mystery novel.

The mudblood/pureblood thing could be a parallel to the commoner/aristocrat conflict that exists in many Austen novels. The Malfoys remind me a lot of Caroline Bingley, Darcy and other Austen "snobs." I wonder if maybe JKR used Austen for some of the "class conflicts" that exist in her novels?



Last edited by MarieNC; May 22nd, 2007 at 12:47 am.
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