Alysun (slytherin_dream) wrote in azkabanbreakout,

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On Order of the Phoenix and Fanfiction

My, this community is quiet.. *g* In view of which, I decided to drag together a few ideas and put them down for all to see. Besides which, I have homework that I really don't want to do :D

I am so not good at this.

Anyway. I was talking ages back to a RL friend of mine about Order of the Phoenix, and she said something interesting - that the new characters introduced in Book V were harder to accept than the characters from previous books because of the huge void between the publishing of the books. I agreed.

The problem with the three-year gap between books IV and V is not that people would forget, but that they would become hypothetical and pose 'what if' questions. In other words, fan fiction. It filled the gap nicely and now half the original readers are convinced that Snape wears stockings under his robes and bangs Lupin late at night, that Lucius beats his son and eats babies and that Potter and Draco were Meant To Be.

Sometimes it's hard to separate fiction from canon, especially when one idea has been written over and over again, like Cho being an absolute bitch - when we have absolutely no canon ground for such thoughts. Maybe I speak for myself here, but I think there must be at least a few others like me.

So when Book V came out, we all had to hurriedly readjust ourselves, and the more energetic ones of us reread the books beforehand. And all is wonderful. Or not.

Book IV had lovely, bubbly, friendly, worried Harry Potter.
Book V has Mr. Psychotic Angst. Being of the same age of the current Mr. Potter, I have to say I think JKR over did the angst thing just a little. Then again, I don't have people out for my blood (well, I won't if I do my homework after this) and so on and so forth. I digress.

The transition between the two Potters was not smooth. Ron and Hermione remained more or less the same, as did most of the other characters, bar Black and a few others, making him seem hugely disproportionate in his dementia.

And then enter Tonks.

My first reaction was a silent groan and then to think 'Ahh! Mary Sue baby-machine! No!' Someone who can change their appearance at will, the bouncing friendly-yet-clumsy, female-Auror, I-hate-my-first-name, call-me-Tonks, wotcher. I couldn't help but think that JKR had created a Mary Sue of her own.

Apparently someone has paired her with Snape. I want to find this fic and watch it burn. I'm digressing again.

My point is that she was so new and un-forewarned that my immediate reaction was very similar to my reactions to original characters in fanfiction. Similarly, when we had the descriptions of Kingsley Shacklebolt, I thought 'token black guy' (which is probably hugely Politically Incorrect, but I couldn't help but be touched by the first film - not enough black characters?). The question is what use is he serving? That he’s supposed to be searching for Sirius is not essential to the plot. That he’s a member of the Phoenix shouldn’t elevate him to such a high status. He’ll probably have a greater part to play later on in the books, but meanwhile, I’m sitting here wondering what and why. This book is just one big introduction.

Equally, Luna is a newbie and a weirdbe as well. I don’t like her at all, and again, she serves very little use. She is more important than Shacklebolt, since her father owns the Quibbler, which was pretty much essential to the plot. I don’t like her character, but I’m more agreeable towards her than I am to Shacklebolt, since she does serve a purpose and she isn’t around at every available opportunity.

Some other characters clicked much more easily, but there were far too many that were introduced all at once, in my humble opinion. Moody's back, plus comedic value, we learn more about Mrs. Figg (Ha! she wasn't Crookshanks! Had to throw that in..), we find out more about the only-briefly-mentioned Mundungus Fletcher. Those who have been mentioned before have links back to Book IV, III, II and I, the same with the Room of Requirement and so on. Those with lifelines back to earlier books agreed with me much more. Dolores Umbridge worked because we knew about her very vaguely before hand. We knew that there would be a new Defence teacher, and JKR had even announced that she would be female. Umbridge was expected, though not in the form she came out in. Bellatrix worked because of Goblet, the Death Eaters worked though why there isn't more Bellatrix/Rudolphus is easy enough to work out.

But I can see a possible divide occurring - Book IV and before fanfiction vs. Book V and beyond fanfiction. Maybe I'm stating the obvious, since the time gap was so huge. So much changed in Book V, characters and events included that it would have, in some ways, been better in two books. This wasn’t possible since it’s just one year, but to look at it as it is, it’s just one big filler-book. It’s like a chapter in a book that’s just there to move characters around to the right place, setting it up for the next bit.

Which, of course, is exactly what it is. But instead of being just one chapter, it’s 766 pages with very little familiar scenery. The lessons we see very little of, unlike previous books. We get much less of the academic Harry-at-school view, and much more Harry-the-Hero. He gets a nearly!girlfriend, he sees Black die, he goes overboard on every little thing.

I guess what I'm trying to put across is that the fanfiction for and after Book V will be a lot slower coming and being read. Perhaps I'm completely wrong. It's quite possible that I am, in fact.

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Well, first I have to state that I never thought Cho to be a bitch, mainly because I did, and do still ship Harry/Cho. Second, I never saw Lucius as the bastard people usually write him to be.

That aside, I have to agree with most of your points. Somehow, after all this waiting, OotP sounded just like another fanfic, and not a very good one too. OK, I'm insane and did actually like Tonks and Luna, but the new characters have brought us to a problem never seen before - people trying to alter their fics according to the new book. Sometimes it works, but mostly the new characters look just out of place. Especially when they're introduced as old friends, yet have never been mentioned before (and in most cases, the fifth year has been different from OotP too).

Angst!Harry... Well, you can say what you want about Cassandra Claire here (I personally like her stories, though), but her "A Lot To be Upset About" really did hit bullseye.

It seems that JKR has written her "Empire Strikes Back". Lots of bad things happen and everything gets just darker - yet you know that there will be a sequel (or two) and things will eventually be okay again.

And I probably have to apologize for the incoherent ramblings above. I just can't find the words to say what I want to say... :)

*grins* No worries! It's not like my post made a whole lotta sense anyway ;) What I said about Cho and Lucius was largely a generalisation for a lot of the fandom. I think it's easy for some people to dislike Cho because they like Harry - ie, they'd rather they had Harry go for someone they liked, not who JKR thought fit. With Lucius, well, he's the classic villian. He's not made to be nice so he must be completely evil - it's that sort of mentality. Also, if Draco has an evil father, it kind of aids Draco!angst which makes relationships easier to set up with him. Or at least, that's why I think people do such things.

I agree about the wait for OotP. It wasn't like waiting for the others because it wasn't real, somehow. Even when reading the book I was thinking 'I wouldn't have done it like that,' or even 'so and so is so OOC here'. It was like I was treating it as a fanfic instead of a book. As to liking the characters, I guess it's just personal opinion about them. I was hostile not because of their characters (well, except maybe for Tonks) but for the fact that they were new and muscling in as though they were old. I re-read the book again a while ago and I'm getting more friendly towards them, but the time barrier is still there. Book V and IV don't transistion smoothly in my head at all.

I'm afraid I'm not a fan of CC, but I'll take your word for it ;)

Glad to hear your opinions!
As much as I can understand the point you make, I disagree. While it was difficult to read OotP in terms of the introduction of various characters, I think they served or will serve their purposes. I don't like to be the novel-nazi, but I think books are like mazes, in which every individual character and plot twist will (or is meant to eventually) serve a purpose, and therefore, it's hard to attack JK Rowling for all the frivolous extra characters. I must confess however, the introduction of Kingsley Shacklebolt did make me laugh and I did think the exact same thing as you, token black character! Then again... In England, it's not really as though that exists. There aren't very many black people living there.. the rare occurence of 'one' at Hogwarts is probably attributed to that. I think the best point you made that I could agree with was the transition from Harry being a sweet, naïve kid to being a complete asshole. It seemed pointless to me that Ms. Rowling would jump into that without first going through explanation methodically. Of course, that's my personal gripe. Who knows, I could just be rationalizing everything too much.
Oh, I'm sure they will come to serve their purposes. But during the course of the book, it became increasingly clear to me that they had no particular use within OotP. The whole book was a filler between Book IV and Book VI. Being a novel-nazi is fine :) and I agree with you that JKR doesn't have any pointless characters. I just felt that the mad influx was a rather demanding on the reader absorbing all the information in such a short space of time.

As for Kingsley Shacklebolt, I'm glad that you agree :D Although, I live in England and so can say that there are more black people here than perhaps people abroad think so. There are plenty around cities like Birmingham and Liverpool etc (port cities). We get a lot of immigrants, legal and otherwise, and floods of asylum seekers. I don't know what the ratio of black to white is in Britain, though I'd probably agree that it could be lower than it is in other countries, certainly in comparison to America.

The only way I can rationalise the huge jump between cute!Harry and rabid!Harry is by the fact that at the end of the book, Harry's anger was needed to get him into the Ministry without pausing for breath. Still, she could have given a more gentle transition time between the two..

great to hear your thoughts :D
I very much agree on the war between pre-OotP fanfiction and after that.

Kingsley Shacklebolt was probably created just to fill in small gaps. It probably occured to J.K. Rowling that it seemed odd that the Ministry wasn't doing much about Sirius. So they simply created a small filler to tell the readers that it was all part of a plan. He does not appear to have more of a purpose yet, but he could possibly play a large roll in later books.

I had the exact same reaction about Tonks. And Luna, too. Both of them have slightly odd names, and Luna was playing the sort of "I ended up in your train compartment." idea that many Mary Sues use. Tonks sort of annoyed me, and now I've seen Tonks/Lupin and I suppose Tonks/Snape. I now feel sorry for her. Luna, I kind of grew to love. I mean Harry didn't instantly enjoy her, but no one else did. She was sort of an oddball.

Yes, I thought the angst was overdone. But once again, I don't have an axe murderer on my trail. Hm.
Good to know :D

Onto Kingsley Shacklebolt and his increasingly difficult-to-type name. That he was created to fill in emtpy gaps is possible, though from what we've seen of JKR's planning of characters etc, it's possible that he will serve some actual purpose. Nonetheless, the character he presents does strike me as a 'Oh, I'd better throw him in' kind of attitude.

I had the exact same reaction about Tonks. And Luna, too.

Lovely ^^ Glad I'm not being discriminate against JKR all by myself, then! And you've got it bang on the head, so to speak. Both characters come across in a manner that is very familiar through the Mary Sues seen in fanfiction. Tonks continues and I suspect, will always continue to irritate me to endless limits, though I agree that Luna does grow on people. That makes her sound like a fungi.. I do kind of like her now, in a roundabout kind of way. You're right; at least Harry didn't like her right away. I think that's her initial saving grace from my point of view.

Someone's going to have to get assigned as a target by the Mafia or something. We need to know how much angst is involved..
I disagree with your comment about Tonks.

She's not a Mary Sue, because Mary Sues only exist in fanfiction. Her type character has been fanfiction. Not in canon. Sure, some of her endowments are a little much, but she's not a Mary Sue. Now, if some eleven-year-old created have a Mary Sue. But the creator of the Harry Potter series concieving of a character like Tonks...she ends up being just a cool character, not a Mary Sue.
Oh, I never meant to imply that Tonks *was* a Mary Sue - anything but. My observations lay in that those who write Mary Sues would use Tonks' ability for changing her appearence for an excuse to make their Mary Sue more canon.

I am fully aware that Mary Sues are not technically possible in the novels.

Sorry for any confusion!
Oh, all right. I'm sorry if I bitched - it's just a common misconception in the fandom that Tonks is a Mary-Sue, despite the fact that a Mary-Sue in canon is impossible.
*grins* No worries about it! I can see where you're coming from. It's my fault for not explaining myself more clearly