Ian Paganus's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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Mar 13, 12

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Relevance Alert

This is not a review of the book.

My comments specifically relate to a scene in and a song from the soundtrack to the first Deathly Hallows film.

Sexuality Content Warning

I originally posted a version of my comments in a GR discussion about sexuality and Harry Potter.

If you are the sort of reader who thinks these two issues should never be associated with each other, please do not read on. I don't want to spoil your world view.

Sexuality, Adolescence and Harry Potter

One of the funny things about the original discussion and the response to it is the lack of recognition of how important sexuality actually (and overtly) is to HP, especially later in the series.

It defies me how people expect someone to write about or think about or progress through adolescence without considering sex or sexuality.

Heartstring Wands and Love Triangles

For me, HP is a love triangle in which there is enormous sexual tension around who will end up with Hermione by the time they escape the chains of adolescence.

Obviously, JKR for her own reasons avoids the obvious temptation to let Harry end up with Hermione.

However, right up until the last moment, there is some doubt as to whether Ron will get the girl.

It's totally misguided to think that HP's adolescent audience isn't right on top of this issue.

In fact, they're probably way ahead of most adults in the audience (including me).

Let's Dance

In the first Deathly Hallows film, Harry and Hermione dance together, while Ron remains banished in the wild.

This was a tipping point in the story, when Hermione might possibly have reversed her sexual selection.

When I saw the film, a whole group of kids burst out laughing in this scene.

I still don't know whether I missed something (was it Harry's seriousness or clumsiness?), but I was too busy concentrating on the soundtrack and trying to work out its significance.

The Ship Song

[I wrongly thought] the song was Nick Cave's "The Ship Song", which was the last thing I expected to hear in a HP film.

It's a great melody, but if you have a look at the lyrics, you have to wonder what was intended by the director, at least.

http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/n/nickc...

Did Harry create a "little mystery" with Hermione?

Did Hermione loose her dogs on Harry? Or let her hair hang down?

Did Harry have to remove her wings, so that she could try to fly in her own right?

Did Hermione have to escape Harry's legendary pull, so she could find happiness?

I wish I could have asked those kids.


Post Script:

I just asked my 12 year old daughter why people laughed at that scene, and she said (in this order) "because they weren't together" (i.e., a recognised couple) and "because they were goofy".

Original Review: February, 2011
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Comments (showing 1-32 of 32) (32 new)

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message 1: by mark (new)

mark monday fascinating!


message 2: by Nicola (new)

Nicola I thought the song was 'O children' by Nick Cave - I love the song, and the lyrics are beautiful.


Lindsey Dude, you are waaaaaay over-thinking this. First of all, there is no love triangle here—it was always Ron in Hermione. From, like, book three at least. And besides that, not everything is a coverup for Freudian sex-obsession. Normal people—kids, adults, lawyers, chefs, hobos, children's book authors—do occasionally think about other things. Just sayin.
Oh, and by the way, Nicola is right. It is "O Children"
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926084/s...


message 4: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus "Forgive us now for what we've done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag."


Lindsey Yeah, I have no idea what Nick Cave's lyrics are supposed to mean. Probably something deep and dark that's way over my head. I leave my argument as is.


message 6: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Nicola wrote: "I thought the song was 'O children' by Nick Cave - I love the song, and the lyrics are beautiful."

As my wife says all the time, you're right, I'm wrong.

Forgive me now for what I've done, it started out as a bit of fun.


message 7: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus There is an interesting article about how the song ended up in the film here:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music...


message 8: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus I wrote my original comments from memory about two months after I saw the film and I got the song wrong.

I wrote about "The Ship Song", because it describes love and lust and sex in a way that makes sense. Especially to adolescents.

So, sorry, I don't want to correct the error or change my review.

I'll leave it there, Hogwarts and all.

The name of the song is wrong, but the song remains the same.

Here is a link to the lyrics to "O Children":

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nickca...

"We're older now, the light is dim
And you are only just beginning
O children"



message 9: by Ian (last edited Mar 12, 2012 03:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus As I've just said off-line, I hope that HP readers discover "The Ship Song":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKlaV-...

and "Into My Arms":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG0-cn...

They're both beautiful love songs, in the gospel tradition, about the fullness of life.

The featured artists on this show were three of my favourite writers, John Cale, Nick Cave & Chrissie Hynde.


message 10: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2012 01:27AM) (new)

Traveller FWIW, I personally kept rolling my eyes and gagging when Hermione and Ron were snogging and carrying on - because I had always wanted Hermione and Harry to be together. I equally rolled my eyes and gagged when Harry and that other girl got into each other... she simply didn't seem close to being competition for Hermione.

Most people I know agree with me that in the reader's/viewer's mind, Harry and Hermione would make an obvious couple, so Rowling is creating the tension by having the two team up with partners that simply seem unlikely choices for them.

So I completely agree with Ian.
I'm with you on this, Ian, and would have liked your essay above 10 x if I could!! ;D


message 11: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Thanks, Traveller.

Often, adolescents know more than adults think they know (and by "they" I mean both adults and adolescents).


message 12: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich In fact, they're probably way ahead of most adults in the audience
Me too. That's the scary thing about having a daughter, all those things she will understand someday that I will not.

Great analysis though. I was glad JK didn't just have the H's end up together, it would have felt forced.


message 13: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2012 05:55AM) (new)

Traveller s.penkevich wrote: "I was glad JK didn't just have the H's end up together, it would have felt forced. ."

You think? I hoped they'd get together at the very end, finally. (view spoiler)


message 14: by Bennet (new)

Bennet To those familiar with my literary likeness, it will come as no surprise to hear that I have a daughter named Emma who appreciates Jane Austen as much as I do. She's 18 and a freshman in college. She read the first Harry Potter book in fourth grade, and over the years we've read and/or watched the books/movies together, although I'm behind and haven't read or seen the last two yet so maybe shouldn't be commenting here.

But anyway, Emma had a crush on Ron from the start, and both of us were always rooting for Ron and Hermione to get together, probably because they seemed the nerdiest pair and we're partial to nerds, but most of all we liked that Hermione was always her own girl and on equal terms with her guy friends.

And the older Emma got the more she appreciated Austen and Rowling for allowing that teen sexuality (not her term -- she called it love) isn't all freaking and grinding (dance terms) but that things like friendship and courtship (her terms) matter. Call me a mom, but I find it very encouraging and affirming of hope for humanity.


message 15: by Bennet (new)

Bennet Oh, and about The Ship Song, Ian, you know I love it.


message 16: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Traveller wrote: " I hoped they'd get together at the very end, finally. [spoilers removed]"

I've been told on Good Reads that it wasn't "interesting" to comment on any analogy between Harry and Christ.

Even though the Bible says:

"The Lord is the Potter,
I am the Clay."


message 17: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus s.penkevich wrote: "I was glad JK didn't just have the H's end up together, it would have felt forced."

I wouldn't mind betting that JKR originally intended the two to end up with each other.

However, the characters got together and told her to leave things alone.

It would have broken Ron's heart for him to miss out on Hermione, and I think she realised just how popular he had become with readers.

It would have been too predictable for the two H's to end up with each other, she had to resist the authorial temptation to surrender to the inevitability.


message 18: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Bennet wrote: "To those familiar with my literary likeness, it will come as no surprise to hear that I have a daughter named Emma who appreciates Jane Austen as much as I do. She's 18 and a freshman in college. ."

Why isn't she on Good Reads?

Courtship is such a good term for what happens over the course of these books.

It's not just something that Rafael Nadal is good at.

I'm grateful that you're partial to nerds.


message 19: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Bennet wrote: "most of all we liked that Hermione was always her own girl and on equal terms with her guy friends. "

I actually think that this is the most important achievement of the series: the assertion that young women don't have to be an accessory to a male or a male's vision of himself.


Vicki Seldon Harry and Hermione together would have been way too easy. Hermione and Ron is more akin to the romantic "opposites attract".


message 21: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2012 09:17AM) (new)

Traveller I must admit that I've not read most of the books, though I religiously watched all the films. I suspect the films and the books aren't quite the same experience, so perhaps your different experience of Ron (as a nerd which he doesn't seem to be to me in the movies) is because of this. I don't know when I'll ever get the time to actually read all the HP books though... *sigh*

But yes, I also prefer nerds, I suppose I just tended to see Harry as more of a nerd than I did Ron.

..but that perception comes from the films, so I suppose I can't comment re what goes on in the books.


message 22: by Traveller (new)

Traveller Ian wrote: "Bennet wrote: "most of all we liked that Hermione was always her own girl and on equal terms with her guy friends. "

I actually think that this is the most important achievement of the series: the..."


Yes, amen to those comments. *applauds*


Vicki Seldon Actually, in my reading of things Hermione would be classified as the nerd, certainly not Harry (He's the hero and though JK plays with the nerd stereotype of glasses, he's not a nerd in any other sense of the word after he reaches Hogwarts). Ron is more of a slacker stereotype actually. The stereotypical nerd is Hermione. What I love about the whole HP world that both the books and the movies create is that they plays with and upend the coming-of-age stereotypes that American films and some books rehash over and over and over again. In my mind, this will allow the books and the movies to become classics in the future while much similarly themed entertainment will not survive its time.


message 24: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2012 01:01PM) (new)

Traveller Vicki wrote: "Actually, in my reading of things Hermione would be classified as the nerd, certainly not Harry (He's the hero and though JK plays with the nerd stereotype of glasses, he's not a nerd in any other sense of the word after he reaches Hogwarts). Ron is more of a slacker stereotype actually. The stereotypical nerd is Hermione. "

Yes, that is how i read it too, and is why i thought Harry is more of a nerd than Ron is, though Hermione is quite clearly the intellectual nerd, IMO. Hermoine is better at academics, whereas Harry is better at practical magic, which still makes him more of a nerd for me than what Ron is. (But my connotation to "nerd" is a positive one, i must add, meaning: someone who prefers to sit in front of a book or PC as opposed to a party person or a sports jock.)

I suppose Harry -is- a bit of the latter, so he possibly might not qualify as a nerd in everyone's book...


message 25: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Vicki wrote: "Harry and Hermione together would have been way too easy. Hermione and Ron is more akin to the romantic "opposites attract"."

I think you're right, Vicki.

Sometimes, love is just where you find it or where you didn't go looking for it.

It's not inevitable that we end up with the partner our friends thought we would in our last school yearbook.

Life has this ability to defy expectations. Whereas a lot of art [of the predictable kind] wants to fulfil them.


message 26: by Jose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jose You're over thinking this. There never was a Harry/Hermione. EVER!! Although I thought about it a lot while reading the series, I knew that the pieces didn't click together. About the dancing in the movie...There is something called friends. Harry was just trying to cheer her up. She is her best friend (along with Ron). Doesn't he have every obligation to at least try to take her mind of things?


message 27: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Thanks, I'll try not to overthink.


message 28: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus You can have a lot of fun in Pseud's Corner.


message 29: by Traveller (new)

Traveller Is that anything similar to a "virtual intellectual"? ...or does the latter only occur on the internet.

You can have a lot of fun in Pseud's Corner. Please, oh please don't let this lead on to Freudian jokes/puns again.... :Z


message 30: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Traveller wrote: "Please, oh please don't let this lead on to Freudian jokes/puns again.... :Z "

Note six months of self-restraint.


message 31: by sj (new) - rated it 4 stars

sj I assume you've heard this version of The Ship Song? http://youtu.be/rZb5tGun50I

Also, this conversation is appropriate, given that "ships" (relationships) are being discussed.


message 32: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus sj wrote: "I assume you've heard this version of The Ship Song? http://youtu.be/rZb5tGun50I"

I'm extremely embarrassed to admit that I haven't heard that version, because I'm probably the biggest Steve Wynn fan in the southern hemisphere. Thanks for letting me know about it. I was also a pretty big fan of Johnette in the early days.


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