POSTS TO HPFGU
2002-2003
     
             
             
   

Reader Response Archives

Posts analyzing reader response or examining the reasons why different readers might have different emotional reactions to the same characters or scenes in the story.

RE: Snape, the DEs and the Longbottoms

Delurk. Query as to why (in early 2002), the fandom seemed to prefer to believe that Snape never held his old Slytherin classmates in any regard or affection, followed by some speculation on Frank Longbottom.

 

RE: Moody -"Types" - Where Are the Bleeding Hearts?

An attempt to soothe the ruffled feathers of a listmember who was offended by my characterization of Moody as a Law and Order Fascist. Some observations on the perils of Reader Response and a question: Where ARE the Bleeding Heart liberals of the Wizarding World?

 

RE: Moody-"Types"-Where Are the Bleeding Hearts?

Discussion of the Bleeding Heart liberals (or lack thereof) of the Wizarding World and the extent to which such attitudes might be considered a matter of Muggle influence. More on the character of Moody.

 

RE: What Does It Mean To "Like" A Character - "Types" - Hagrid

On the various ways in which it is possible for readers to state that they "like" a character (as a person, in terms of their narrative function, etc.), and the phenomenon of readers cutting more moral "slack" to characters for whom they feel affection than to those whom they dislike.

Posted January 25, 2002 at 1:10 am
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RE: Hagrid, Moody and Violent Responses

Reader response to various scenes of violence: the ferret-bouncing scene, Hagrid's slamming Karkaroff against a tree, and Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy's fist fight at the beginning of CoS

Posted January 27, 2002 at 4:04 pm
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RE: Ludo Bagman Is Ever So Evil

Was there no one who was GENUINELY duped or tricked or Imperio'd into serving Voldemort during the last war? For heaven's sake, where are all the patsies and weaklings?

Posted January 28, 2002 at 12:23 am
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RE: Voldemort's Unwilling Executioners

Suggestion that Arthur Weasley might have been an Imperius victim of the last war, followed by speculation about the role of non-DE "fellow travellers" during that period. Question of who those "loads of people" Karkaroff is supposed to have put in Azkaban were supposed to be, anyway. And my explanation of why it is so important to me as a reader to see more patsies and weaklings in canon

 

RE: Dehumanizing Language-Sirius' Prank

Reader response to the infamous "Prank" and an explanation of why Moody's use of degrading and dehumanizing language in the Pensieve scene should have made me think more ill of him than Sirius' use of similar language in the Shrieking Shack did

Posted January 30, 2002 at 5:26 pm
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RE: "Types"--Stock Characters--Identification Issues

More on the various reasons readers might have for liking or disliking certain characters: character types ("stocks"), narrative function, personal identification, etc.

Posted January 30, 2002 at 9:36 pm
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RE: Real Wizards Aren't Squeamish (Pettigrew, Wizarding Culture)

Some discussion of why I find Pettigrew a more sympathetic character than Karkaroff, followed by the proposal that the wizarding world is a warrior culture, and that the members of House Slytherin are disadvantaged by the fact that their House's values are not those privileged by their own culture

 

RE: Humor--the Train Stomp--Crouch Jr. and Sr.

The "train stomp" at the end of GoF and my dislike of the Twins. Examples of farcical humor in the books. Affection for Crouch Jr. and a brief analysis of his father's behavior towards him.

Posted February 02, 2002 at 3:34 am
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RE: Where's the Canon? (Part Two) -- Fans, Subversion, Snape & the DEs

Subversive readings and what drives them. "Fault lines" in the text which lead to reader anxiety. The question of why the fandom does not tend to subversion when contemplating the relationship between Snape and his old Slytherin housemates and DE colleagues. Part two of two.

 

RE: Snape & the DEs, Reprise (With Bits of Where's the Canon?)

Snape and his narrative function: his indeterminacy, his subverting role in the text. His character: the tension between his instincts and proclivites and his moral principles. His relationship to House Slytherin and specifically to the Malfoy family. Also contains some discussion of House Slytherin in general, and passing questions as to the nature of the Dark Arts.

 

RE: Avery and Ambushes

The FEATHERBOAS post. Contains some joking around over Fourth Man Avery's backstory and bloody ambushes, and a good long wrangle over the timing of the Longbottom Incident. Also a bit on Memory Charmed (or, in this case, Reverse Memory Charmed) Neville.

 

RE: Why Suspect Lupin?

Lupin's "Edge" and why it is so appealing.

Posted February 16, 2002 at 4:29 am
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RE: Pranks & Pranksters, Bullies, and Guilt By Association

Pranks, pranksters and the Twins. Charismatic bullies and Ex-Victims-Turned-Bully. Reader identification with these character types and how it affects interpretations of the Twins, Sirius and Snape.

 

RE: Would Lucius have gone on a Voldy hunt?

Musings on Lucius Malfoy's motivations and his (and other DEs') likely feelings about Voldemort.

Posted February 16, 2002 at 2:52 pm
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RE: Snape & the DEs

Snape as a principled sadist and sympathetic character. Analysis of both "The Egg and the Eye" and the end of PoA in terms of reader sympathy for Snape. Snape's divided loyalties in regard to House Slytherin.

Posted February 16, 2002 at 9:24 pm
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RE: SHIP: Cupid's Snitch and Cupid's Quaffle

Correction to error made in previous post.

 

RE: Lupin's Edge/Twins' Edge?

Discussion of "Edge," followed by one of the Twins' harrassment of Percy.

Posted February 22, 2002 at 1:47 pm
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RE: Neville and the Canary Creams

Explanation of my reasons for believing that Neville may well feel resentful at others' condescension. While acknowledging the possibility that my reading could be unduly autobiographically influenced, I also give textual evidence for the supposition that What You See with Neville is not always All That's There, and suggest that there might indeed be conscious authorial misdirection going on with Neville's character in the series to date.

 

RE: Do people like SYCOPHANTS?

Grovelling Minion characters ("SYCOPHANTS") and why I like them so much. Sympathy for Pettigrew in the Shrieking Shack, and a defense of the notion that he does indeed evidence remorse for his crimes.

Posted March 18, 2002 at 8:43 pm
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RE: Do people like SYCOPHANTS?

Reader response to Shrieking Shack, and a disquisition on the entire notion of "just deserts."

Posted March 24, 2002 at 12:57 am
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RE: Neville: Memory, History, Legacy, Power

Neville as a literary double to Harry, and its ramifications for the series' thematic emphases on memory, history, legacy and power. Also touches on Voldemort's, Snape's, and Crouch Jr's roles within this schematic and on the leit-motifs of burial, exhumation and parricide in GoF.

 

RE: Neville: Memory, History, Legacy, Power

More on Neville and Harry, and on the significance of themes of renunciation, memory and forgetfulness for the series as a whole.

Posted May 14, 2002 at 2:46 am
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RE: Draco Malfoy Is Ever So Lame. Yet Sympathetic. And Dead, Too.

Draco's inadequacies as Harry's peer rival, and other ways in which the text encourages a Redeemable!Draco reading, such as JKR's refusal to combat either Sympathy For the Devil or Hurt-Comfort when she writes the character of Draco Malfoy.

 

RE: Draco Malfoy is Ever So Lame

A bit more on Draco's narrative function, and further explanation of Hurt-Comfort

Posted May 27, 2002 at 8:15 am
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RE: Hurt-Comfort and reader crushes

The "hurt-comfort" dynamic and reader crushes on male characters. Contains an explanation of why Ron does not benefit very much from hurt-comfort.

Posted May 30, 2002 at 1:02 pm
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RE: A Taste of Moody (no thanks)

An explanation of why Moody does not benefit from Hurt-Comfort.

Posted May 30, 2002 at 3:32 pm
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RE: Sexuality in HP

Sexual entendre in the HP books, with particular emphasis on depictions of Riddle/Voldemort and on the sexualized language of the graveyard scene in GoF.

Posted June 20, 2002 at 12:48 pm
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RE: The Sorting of Neville Longbottom

More on Neville's behavior in PS/SS, and the extent to which it reveals not his courage, but his weakness.

Posted June 21, 2002 at 5:31 pm
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RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

In which I offend nearly everyone by tackling the issue of class (and of real world politics) in HP. Had the moderators not been so overwhelmingly American, I suspect that this post would not have been allowed on the list, as it is not only provocatively political, but also really quite insulting towards English conservatives. Argues that JKR's overt progressive message is subverted by the unconscious conservativism of the world-view underlying her novels, a la Richard Adams' essay, "Harry Potter and the Closet Conservative."

 

RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

On the "double-nostalgia" of JKR's world, the way in which not only the wizarding world, but the universe as a whole seems (in spite of the contemporary social markers of the Dursleys) to be faintly archaic. Suggests that Aunt Marge's connection with the Dursleys implies a link between the older English conservativism her archetype represents and the more recent Thatcherite conservativism represented by the Dursleys.

 

RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

More on social class as one of the HP series' "fault lines," those areas of ambiguity or inconsisstency which fuel reader anxiety with the text as a whole.

 

RE: The Politics of Nostalgia

Argues that the particular nostalgic tradition in which JKR has chosen to write sits uneasily with her own progressive values, and that this may be largely responsible for the ambiguities and inconsistencies evident in the series' approach to social class.

 

RE: Nel Question #10: Elitism

Calvinism in HP: the extent to which Harry is portrayed not only as a member of the "elite," but even perhaps as a member of the *Elect,* and the extent to which this aspect of the books may stand at the epicenter of reader anxiety with the series as a whole.

 

RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

More on class distinctions in the wizarding world, with a few asides regarding the designation of canon and other theoretical subjects.

 

RE: Fred and George: The Bullies You Do Know

Polemic on those mean nasty bullies, Fred and George. A post that caused a good deal of trouble, really.

Posted August 22, 2002 at 2:13 pm
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RE: Fred and George: The Bullies You Do Know

An attempt to clear up misapprehensions (some of them downright *weird*) about bullying and bullies on route to defending my belief that the twins are depicted as bullying types.

Posted August 25, 2002 at 9:43 pm
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RE: Twins, Toons, Humor and Instinct

Objection to the prevalence of "my instinctive reading is spontaneous and natural ...but *your* instinctive reading is over-analyzing the text!" sentiment floating about on the Twins thread. Emphasis on the subjectivity of humour and a challenge to the notion that comedic or "toonish" scenes do not reveal character or have deeper significance, using as an example GoF's Ton Tongue Toffee scene and its role as a precursor to both the QWC and Pensieve scenes.

Posted August 27, 2002 at 10:38 pm
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RE: Why I Dislike The Twins

A bit of a reprise of "What does it mean to 'like' a character?" this, itemizing factors contributing to my strongly negative reader response to the Twins. Also raises the issue of the double-standard in list etiquette, according to which it is acceptable to abuse unpopular characters in the harshest of imaginable terms, while polemic directed at popular characters raises objections of unkind behavior and "vituperative language."

Posted August 27, 2002 at 11:11 pm
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RE: Bully!Sirius, "Coach" Twins, Snape's Grudge, and Stoned!Harry

Defense of the (now canonically-established) theory that MWPP really *did* bully Snape back in their school days, followed by a thematic analysis of Snape's Grudge, the Train Stomp, and the end game of PoA.

 

RE: Twins, Toons, Humor and Instinct

More on the extent to which characters' canonical behavior is revelatory of character, regardless of whether or not they are portrayed as "Toons," and a disussion of the thematic significance of the Ton Tongue Toffee scene.

Posted August 29, 2002 at 7:38 am
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RE: Toon Talk

Objection to the notion that some forms of humour are more "moral" than others.

Posted August 29, 2002 at 8:00 am
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RE: Why I Dislike The Twins/Toon Talk

A bit more on the Twins as bullies and the Twins' relationship to Percy, followed by a discussion of humor and its relationship to character analysis: aren't the characters' actions revelatory of their character regardless of whether or not said actions are *funny?* And why on earth would someone cease to find something funny merely because they have come to believe that it is cruel? Have none of these people ever heard of black humour?!

 

RE: TBAY: Canon College: DEs and Aurors 101

A rather complicated TBAY post, mainly about the Wizarding World under Crouch and the extent to which it might have resembled Stalinist Soviet Russia, but also touching on the debate over whether or not the Twins are bullies, on the issues of netiquette, reader response and humour that had been raised in the course of that debate, on the various ad hominem arguments that had been circulating nastily around the list that entire summer, on an old SYCOPHANTS/Evil Overlords discussion, and--oh yes--incorporating a tiny bit from the Snape's Grudge thread as well. Apparently it was a bit *too* complicated for HPfGU, though, as very few people seemed to get the subsidiary points I was trying to make with it at all.

 

RE: TBAY: Weasley Predisposition To Imperius?

Some thoughts about the possibility of a Weasley vulnerability to mental domination (To what extent would it violate the series' thematic emphasis on choice? Could it have been the reason that Lucius Malfoy targetted Ginny as the victim of Riddle's Diary? Could it have been the reason that Crouch/Moody did not think that Ron would make a good Auror?) Also, speculation that Harry was actually the intended recipient of Riddle's Diary, and some commentary on Crouch Jr. and Sr's respective degrees of Imperius-resistance (as well as on their physical dissimilarities).

 

RE: TBAY: Crouch - C.R.A.B.C.U.S.T.A.R.D. (1 of 9)

Part one of the nine-part Crouch monstrosity. Is Crouch portrayed by the text as Dead Sexy? Was Mrs. Crouch Tough, or Weak? Where did Barty Jr. learn his skills of interpersonal manipulation? And just why *is* Elkins so resistant to a reading of Crouch Sr. as Dead Sexy, anyway?

Posted December 07, 2002 at 5:58 pm
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RE: TBAY: Crouch -- Where Three Roads Meet (2 of 9)

Part two of nine. Examines Crouch's political situation in the wake of Voldemort's fall and his motives in regard to the trial of the Longbottoms' assailants. Contains an analysis of the Penseive scene and the QwC exchange with Winky as parallel scenes. Also proposes that Crouch's relationship to his son replicates in microcosm his relationship to the wizarding world as a whole.

 

RE: TBAY: Crouch -- The H Word (3 of 9)

Part three of nine. Crouch's multiple narrative functions in the text, and the extent to which his hypocrisy enables JKR to use him to serve somewhat contradictory functions. Challenges the reading of Crouch as Tragic Hero on grounds that Crouch's degree of self-interest and hypocrisy prevents him from exhibiting the nobility of stature requisite in a classically-defined tragic hero. Also touches on the Crouch-Brutus parallel, suggesting that its use is ironic in intent.

 

RE: TBAY: Crouch -- Midnight In the Golden Wood (4 of 9)

Part four of nine. Evaluates the motives underlying Crouch's political decisions and how these relate to his narrative function. "Thematically hedgehogs" Barty Crouch Sr.

 

RE: TBAY: Crouch -- "My mother saved me" (5 of 9)

Part five of nine. Proposes that Crouch Jr's statement that his father saved him from prison only in order to honor his dying mother's last request is not objective truth, and suggests a number of reasons why young Crouch himself might have believed it.

Posted December 07, 2002 at 6:44 pm
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RE: TBAY: Crouch -- Last Orders (6 of 9)

Part six of nine. Examines Crouch's behavior in regard to his son after the QWC and takes a cold hard look at his thematic role within the text.

 

RE: TBAY: Crouch -- Through A Glass, Darkly (7 of 9)

Part seven of nine. Crouch's mirror relationship with his son, his redemption scene, and his thematic function within the context of the series as a bildungsroman. Also, some discussion of the relevance of mirrors not only to the Crouch subplot, but also to the series as a whole and to reading practice itself. Includes a rather snarky Lacan reference.

 

RE: TBAY: Crouch - Sympathy For the Devil (8 of 9)

Part eight of nine. The nature of Crouch's madness and death, and his possibilities as a future canonical ghost. Some discussion of ghosts in the Potterverse. Textual evidence that Barty Jr. did not really want to kill his father. And a bit of sympathy, for a change, for poor old Crouch Sr.

 

RE: TBAY/SHIP: Crouch - Winky As Wife and Mother (9 of 9)

Defends the proposition that Crouch Sr. and Winky's relationship was sexual and discusses that 'ship's thematic relevance to the series as a whole. Also discusses JKR's seemingly conflicted attitude towards femininity and motherhood.

 

RE: Crouch in 9 parts

Crouch Jr. and the extent to which his actions can be said to be motivated by love, the canonical plausibility of Crouch Jr. reappearing in future canon, the extent to which we are meant to read his veritaserum confession as objective truth, the thematic significance of bones and burial in GoF, and the attitude of people of the Crouch's social class towards marital infidelity; followed by a discussion of the House Elves, their relationship to folkloric "dobbies," and their role within Wizarding Society.

 

RE: Polemic, real characters, and real *people*

*Exceptionally* testy explanation of the various valid forms literary criticism can and does take - polemic being one of these - followed by a plea for listmembers to keep dat ole factional/fictional divide in mind and not draw conclusions about other listmembers' character or intellectual honesty from how they talk about the fictional characters, or from which critical styles they favor. This is what I sound like when I'm about to snap.

 

RE: Polemic, "cannibalism," and Common Wisdom

Has the use of polemic really risen within the fandom as the wait for OotP has dragged on? And if so, then why might this be the case?

 

RE: House points and Dumbledore

On the Ever So Contentious House Cup victory scene at the end of PS/SS (commonly known on the list as the "Dissing the Slyths" scene), and on the arbitrary nature of the point system itself.

Posted January 30, 2003 at 12:22 am
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RE: You're reading the wrong book

"If you don't want to be exposed to other people's readings of the text, then why on earth are you HERE?" Phrased only marginally more politely than that.

 

RE: House points and Dumbledore, Authorial Intent, and A Question

More discussion of the PS/SS point award scene and the likelihood that it taught a bad lesson to the Slyth kids. Argues that since Dumbledore has been shown in canon to be fallible, a reading of this scene as one in which he chooses the wrong tactic in regard to House Slytherin is perfectly canonically defensible, followed by an explanation of why such a reading can still have value even if it is not believed to be the author's intent. Concludes by drawing a parallel between the PS/SS point award scene and the "Train Stomp" at the end of GoF, and asks how reader response to these two scenes differs - and if it does, then what this might say about the series' maturing perspective.

 

RE: Humor and Morality

More on reader response, humour and morality

Posted January 31, 2003 at 2:44 am
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RE: Characters you hate

What does it mean to "hate" a character? On those characters you just don't like to read (in my case, the Dursleys).

Posted January 31, 2003 at 4:40 am
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RE: House points and Dumbledore - in context of school stories

Reader response to the series in the context of various genre expectations

 

RE: The Train Stomp vs. Dissin' the Slyths

Suggests that by presenting events filtered through an ever-maturing moral perspective, the series is structured to actively encourage revisionist readings of the earlier volumes. Uses as example the "triumph over Slytherin enemies" scenes at the end of PS/SS ("Dissing the Slyths") and GoF ("Train Stomp").

 

RE: TBAY (Mild): Slytherin and the Reader -- Sympathy for the Devil vs SYCOPHANTS

House Slytherin and Reader Response. Draws a distinction between Sympathy For the Devil and the sort of 'rooting for the underdog' that leads people to identify with or like minion characters like Pettigrew, Avery and Gollum (SYCOPHANTS). Suggests that the built-in personality test of the Sorting Hat (practically an invitation to reader self-insertion!) might have contributed to the HP books' mass appeal.

 

RE: FF: Evil!Cho: Cho Chang and Reader Response

Analysis of the popularity of Evil!Cho in the fandom.

 

RE: TBAY: Solzhenitsyn's Russia meets the Wizarding World

More on the question of possible evidence implicating Crouch Jr. in the Longbottom Incident, discussion of the reaction of the wizarding world as a whole to Crouch Sr. after Voldemort's fall, and a question about reader response to Barty Jr's performance in the Pensieve scene of GoF.