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Annotatiunculæ Criticæ - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Annotatiunculæ Criticæ

Morning, you lot.

 

As I work on various bits and pieces of the fic, I pause to make a few notes on divers matters.

 

A Note to Fanartists. 

In the United States, evidently, most if not all diagonally-striped neckties – what would elsewhere be regimental or Old Boys or club ties – have their stripes descend from the wearer’s right shoulder, that is, the viewer’s perceived left, to the wearer’s left hip.  Thus, looking at such a tie from the perspective of the person not wearing the same gives:

\

\

\

\.

In the United Kingdom, including, surely, Hogwarts School, all but a handful of those organisations that have regimental, club, college, or Old Boys neckties, adhere to the tradition that the diagonal stripe runs ‘down from the heart’, that is, from the wearer’s left shoulder angling towards his right hip, such that an onlooker sees the stripes as tending from the viewer’s right to the viewer’s left, thusly:

/

/

/

/.

Obviously, the stripes visible on the knot will run in the opposite direction to those on the body of the tie beneath the knot:

[\]

|/|

|/|

|/|

|/|

\//.

Thank you in advance for not bollixing this up in future.

 

A Note to Authors. 

We are all by now painfully familiar with ‘leather trousers Draco’ and ‘Wizarding Armani’, and, yes, I’ve had a few comments on this subject in the past.  Belt up, you’re hearing it again.  (I needn’t, surely, say that I wince when I hear ‘leather pants’: by now everyone must realise that in the language in which canon is written, that is, the Queen’s English, ‘pants’ mean your boxers, a bloke’s smalls.  Leather smalls, dear God….  Ouch.)  I also understand the impulse of writers to try creating atmosphere with quotidian detail, and why it is that so many writers immediately turn to ‘fashion’ as a means of doing so.  I don’t even, actually, condemn that part of the impulse: simply in addressing this topic, I suddenly found myself nostalgic for one of my favourite suits from twenty or twenty-five years ago, based on a suit of my father’s and cut by the same tailor.  (A splendid heavyweight woollen suit.  It was designed to be just the merest soupcon long and full in the coat, with a hint of the frock-coat, and was at once traditional and arrogant: it was a deep, almost black, blue that was just a shade not navy blue, and it although it was a classic pinstripe, the pinstripe was not white, but a deep and subtle burgundy.  Magnificent suit, really, I quite miss it.  I understand that Maurice Sedwell now have a similar fabric available.  Hmmm….)

Nonetheless, please to understand that all this overpriced spiv-wear that crops up in fanfic in a misguided attempt to show (usually Draco’s) sophistication, does precisely the opposite.  Wizards of the better class would not go to a ‘Wizarding Armani’ if it existed.  Their measurements would be in the book at a bespoke tailor’s, tailors whose shops would be in the Wizarding equivalent of Savile Row.  Scrimgeour Filch Avebury.  Peeves & Fawkes.  Grimsditch & Henge.

It’s an easy enough game to play.  If you are publishing fanfic on the Internet, you clearly have access to the Net.  Accordingly, you clearly have search capabilities.  It is as easy as kiss your hand to find the names and websites of Jermyn Street shirt-makers and Savile Row tailors, and to work from that. 

Research covers a multitude of sins.

 

Structure. 

This may very well be intelligible only to avus, but I mention it even so.  Good fiction, like, say, a Bach fugue – yes, avus, this is the reason I don’t really admire Mr Adorno.  It’s not that he was a Marxist, discreditable as that is: that is only a symptom: the problem is that the man never understood Bach – is subject to Schenkerian analysis.  The Ursatz drives the plot: Urline interacting with the Bassbrechung contrapuntally.  The climactic plot turn is the interruption following the structural dominant (I – V – interruption – I – V – I): the presence of an underlying ternary.  Progression, arpeggiation, linear melodic patterns, all depend upon the Ursatz and its motion within the tonal environment – the theme, in literary terms – by scale-steps (3-2-1 for drabbles, a complete octave line for longer pieces).  Plot incidents are prolongation and diminution (and inversion and augmentation and stretto and All Sorts, as far as that goes, but let’s stick with prolongation and diminution here), prolonging the tonal centre (addressing the theme) and composing-out the background Schichten to establish their  relationship and that of the tonal centre with the Ursatz.  Moreover, the details of the fiction, like arpeggiation, mirror the (overall) tonal prolongation as each being an Ursatz of its own, prolonging subsidiary tonal areas, and all then work together to establish a chordal (thematic, literary) progression, I – vi – ii – V – interruption – I – V – I.  This replication is literary parallelism in plot and subplot.  Linear melodic patterns – parallel consonant intervals – further aid in the prolongation of the tonal centre: parallelism, foreshadowing, and so on.  And of course, in Schenkerian structure, all pitches, however separated in time, relate to one another: especially significant in detective or mystery fiction, as clue and misdirection, and in all fiction, really, as metaphor and as another aspect of foreshadowing.  Everything ties together.

I don’t go so far as to say that better fic is written by authors listening to Bach or Scarlatti than by those writing to a background of Nine Inch Nails, say, or Weener Blunt, but I do say that the sheer rightness of a Bach fugue is the ideal to which a good piece of writing aspires, and the analytical tools one would apply to the former would be most helpful in composing the latter.

 

Life-Debts. 

We tend, most of us, to think of Wizarding Life-Debts in terms of unwilling bonds incurred by a rescue for which the debtor is not at all grateful.  We are meant by JKR to think in these terms, and not to look – indeed, to not look – behind the apparent magic.  Authorial misdirection.  Almost all fanfic that mentions, much less turns upon, Life-Debts, considers only those that are clearly resented by the debtor: Snape’s to Harry, vice James and possibly in Harry’s own right as creditor as well; Pettigrew’s to Harry.

But what sleight of hand is going on whilst our attention is being misdirected?

For example, it is very possible, as I have just suggested, that Snape owes Harry – in his own right – a Life-Debt.  It certainly helps to explain why, for example, Snape appears to continue to owe Harry a Life-Debt that was not expunged by, say, his saving him from Quirrel’s broom-hexing.  It is also worth wondering to what extent the Wizarding World as a whole owes, every man-jack of it, a Life-Debt to the Boy Who Lived, as such.  (The same applies, I may add, to the Dursleys, and with peculiar and ironic force.)

But it is more intriguing still to wonder, Did Severus Snape owe a Life-Debt to Albus Dumbledore?  It seems quite probable; and, if so, then his killing (or apparent killing) of Dumbledore atop the Tower was at Dumbledore’s own orders, as, otherwise, Snape would have effectively committed suicide by killing his Life-Creditor.  Still more probably, Draco Malfoy acquired a Life-Debt to Albus Dumbledore that night: it is simply not on to suggest that Dumbledore, however old, injured, dying, and with his wand cast aside, could not have, had he so wished, extinguished young Mr Malfoy with a mere wave of the hand.

But Dumbledore, after all, is – almost certainly – as dead as mutton now.

Ah.

Let us leave aside for a moment the Sectumsempra incident, and Draco’s flight after the Tower incident.  What does the probable Life-Debt owed by Draco to the late Headmaster mean to Harry?

We are aware, are we not, that – as with the Life-Debt owed by Snape to James Potter – Life-Debts are heritable.  Who, in this sense, is almost certainly Dumbledore’s heir?  Why, Dumbledore’s man, through and through: Harry Potter.  Even aside from any Life-Debts owed by Snape to James Potter or to Harry Potter, even aside from any Life-Debt owed by Draco to Harry directly, is there much doubt that Harry now inherits the creditor’s position as to the Life-Debts that Snape and Draco both owed Dumbledore?

Now let us return to an earlier point.  There is no reason in canon to conclude, or even to assume, that a Life-Debt is incurred only when an enemy spares, rescues, or saves an enemy.  If we accept that a Life-Debt can exist between persons who are not enemies, then there are a couple of other Life-Debtors to whom Harry is creditor.  One, of course, at least since the Second Task of the Tournament, is Ron, unless Ron has paid his debt, as he may well have done at, say, the Shrieking Shack, or on countless other occasions.

Another, however, is generally if not universally overlooked in this context.  This probable Life-Debtor is often disposed of in fanfic for shipping reasons; less frequently, and almost always in better English, this Life-Debtor makes the ultimate sacrifice for reasons of plot or theme.  I have yet, however, to encounter fanfic (though it may very well exist) that involves the sacrificial death of this person in the context of a Life-Debt.

Surely, however, since that moment in the Chamber when Harry faced both Tom Riddle’s projection and a Basilisk, and killed them both, saving her life at the very moment of her death and very nearly at the cost of his own, Ginny Weasley has owed a profound and unmistakeable Life-Debt to Harry Potter.

How that debt will be resolved we cannot be certain, but there is a very high chance, I think, that, just as Snape’s, Pettigrew’s, and Draco’s Life-Debts may be paid in several instances with their death and in one or two instances with unexpected help at the ultimate moment, Ginny’s Life-Debt will be paid at the climactic juncture by a willing and loving sacrifice, through which the victory – however painful its price – of the Boy Who Lived is secured by the self-sacrifice of the Girl Who Died for love of the Boy Who Lived.

In any event, I think it very clear that Ginny, as much as Wormtail, owes Harry a Life-Debt.  It may be that, like the great Anglican divine, Richard Hooker, like Socrates in the Phaedo, what she owes may, in the end, simply be a death.  Such passes always for good coin amongst heroes and in sacrificial love.

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42 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tiferet From: tiferet Date: July 8th, 2006 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the note about tailors. How in the world people have managed to miss the fact that when you are really well-to-do you get your clothes made just for you, I don't know.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank YOU.

It's always the ones who don't know that they don't know, isn't it. Baffling, really.
aillil From: aillil Date: July 8th, 2006 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)

A service to fandom

That's what your discussing wizarding wear is. I do would like to see that old suit of yours, alas, it must be long gone.

Ahem, I, too, understand what you have to say on structure. Adorno indeed did never really came to grips with Bach, he was a Beethoven man through and through; and Bach and Beethoven don't really go together, not only are they divided by the gap that separates their respective epochs, but their whole approach to composing was very different.

Reading your take on life-debts makes me gag, because Ginny sacrificing herself... *rolls eyes* Apart from my obvious disgust with such a cliché which is all too likely to actually find its way into Book 7, there is a wide-spread criss-cross pattern of life-debts in canon that must result in something, very true. However, I doubt that it is possible to inherit life-debts, and I can't but wonder if it really doesn't matter in what way the sacrifice was made. Harry has a life-debt to Lily, who sacrificed herself willingly so that he could live, but when Harry convinced Sirius and Remus to spare Peter, he did that for wholly different reasons. Hm.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, lovely, someone else who knows theory.

Sadly, yes, hard-wearing though it was, the suit did at last give up the ghost. But I thank you.

I quite understand how the sacrifical love aspect can be cloying. I do think it is true that Life-Debts are heritable, however, as per Ch 22 of PoA, et sequitur (Harry accedes to the Life-Debt Snape owed to James).
aillil From: aillil Date: July 9th, 2006 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)

We're not all boors, you know. ;)

I read the passages you refer to quite differently. In my opinion it's Snape who has this strong sense of not having paid his life-debt to James, not least because he was the one to pass information of the prophecy to Voldemort. He's in debt up to his eyelids and will never be able to pay it off, but he tries, because being indebted to someone isn't his preferred state of mind, so he transfers this debt to Harry. It's not that he does a very good job of paying it, except when push comes to shove and Harry's life is at stake, but that's also what sparked all the dislike and vengefulness against Harry.
I think that this fits rather well into Snape's character, because he's very childish in many respects, most strongly evident in the petty powerplays with both his peers and his students.
It's a debt that is there, but it isn't really tied to Harry, Snape only imagines it to be, because then he has a chance of actually paying it off.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I'll look that out.

Who knows? If the lad's good, I may order a suit.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

I shd be honoured and delighted.

How exciting! Send it on.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Too kind?

Tell me that after I've had at with a blue and editorial pencil.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
alliekiwi From: alliekiwi Date: July 8th, 2006 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I've looked at fan art showing school uniforms before and thought 'there's something wrong there' but been unable to put my finger on just what it is. And you're correct - it's the tie! I don't think I've ever come across a tie with the stripes going the 'other' way, and I just went to the hubby's rack of ties to check his (and some that were my father's) to make certain.

I wonder why there is a difference in the US?

I totally agree with the tailor comment. Wizarding Armani most certainly rubs me up the wrong way, and is an establishment the nouveau riche would be frequenting rather than those of Old Money. I've tried pointing that out when I've been beta reading, but noooooooooo....
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

No idea why the US bias runs the opposite way, actually, but I see it time and again.

I'm taken aback to hear that anyone fortunate enough to have you as a beta-reader, wd ignore yr perfectly correct advice. Rather misses the point, doesn't it.
alliekiwi From: alliekiwi Date: July 8th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you.

Some people seem to think I nitpick too much. "You're so pendantic!" is used quite frequently as an accusation. However, I rather think being pendantic when editing someone's work is actually a good thing. Especially when we're all on the internet and thus able to check the minutiae. I'd make a good trainspotter, no doubt.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, some people...

... Are twats.

Anoraks, unite!
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: July 8th, 2006 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting point about the ties. That's something I hadn't noticed. Probably because I'm married to a man who only owns one suit and only wears it for weddings, funerals and job interviews.

"Wizarding Armani" has me hitting the back button faster than anything I know. A certain Big Name Fan has a lot to answer for in my opinion.

I've always thought poor Ginny was for the chop precisely because she seems to be our Harry's One True Love in Canon. No good ever comes of that sort of thing in stories (except for Jane Austen, of course).

MM
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, quite.

(See icon.)

And thank you.

(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

My dear.

I couldn't resort to that because I'd never encountered it. Now that I have done, well....

Always glad to do my bit for proper dress.
From: kaskait Date: July 8th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like your thoughts about life debts.

On the surface it seems very ideal. But to me, life debts among wizards have a strong organized crime element to them. In fact, I'm starting to look at the whole wizarding world as a crime family. They are marginalized, violent, sociopathic and they steal (not only from each other but from normal humans as well).

Unless it has to do with business, are everyday people concerned with debts? When a life is saved in our world it is because it is the moral thing to do. Its a part of being human and nothing is expected of it. Why would such a gift have to be sullied by making the person saved become a debter?

But criminals have no moral code, it has to be forced on them. Hence we get all those family codes, pirate codes etc. In Rowling's world we get the life debt. Its another form of corruption.

Rowling stated that Ginny owes Harry nothing. This is supposed to be True Love so it can't be ruined with a debt.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Did she really?

I'd not seen La Rowling's pronouncement on the subject.

I do see yr analogy to the Krays (Slytherins, both, no doubt). Yet it seems to me - and you will probably bear responsibility for prompting the next essay; just now, though, I shall be brief, and write the essay later - it seems to me that the Wizarding world is composed of two superficially similar strands that are governed by magic. I think that Harry and Albus, say, if a Life-Debt accrues in their favour, or should either incur a Life-Debt, wd view the issue through the lens of honour. That is to say, there is much in the Wizarding world, though it seems alien to most modern Muggles, that is simply a holdover from, ultimately, Classical and Hellenistic times, and more immediately from the Yorkist and Tudor ages. Sidney should, doubtless, have saved a life because it was the right thing to do. So too would a Paston or a Stonor have done, temp. Richard 3d. But had their own lives been saved, one wd see the old music-hall routine: After you; No, no, after YOU: played out.
'Sir, I did but act as you should have done had it been I who was in want of mercy.'
'Nay, sir, nay. Sir, my honour urges me that I am in your debt, natheless. I do take my life of your hands and mercy, and I shall recompense make.'
'Sir, it needs not, I do protest.'
'Nay, sir, my honour impels me. Your servant, sir.'
You'd get that sort of thing from the days of Talbot the Constable to those of Sir Roger Williams facing Parma in the Low Country as the Armada left Corunna.
Yet, because there is this second element in Wizarding society, these gangsters, magic intervenes to impel what honour would impel had the gangsters any honour. And then there's all the client-patron issues (sometimes the Wizarding world is Elizabethan, sometimes, mediaeval, and sometimes it seems akin to the last days of the Roman Republic, with Voldemort as Cataline).
Of course, I might vy well be wrong in all of this.
Thank you for such a thoughtful and though-provoking response.
From: kaskait Date: July 8th, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Did she really?

I think Rowling made the Ginny statement in the Mugglenet interview last year. If I remember correctly.

Yes! I do see the parallels with the royal patronage game in the WW.

But I also think of the big families (royals and merchants) in the ancient world as a stop gap for chaos. There were hardly any social safety nets, or a proper legal system etc. so the last resort was cronyism. They were the more "respectable" elements and people huddled around them for their protection. We certainly see a lot of huddling in the Wizarding World. Harry attracts the huddlers by the boat load.

I look forward to your essay about it!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, precisely.

And that, I think, is just where the WW is, pre-War.

I see we are once again thinking alike.
From: kaskait Date: July 8th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes, precisely.

I think, is just where the WW is, pre-War.

Oh yes, and killing Riddle will be about as eventful as killing a flea on a dog's patoot. The WW will still be pre-war even after the deed is done.

If Rowling is gutsy enough to leave it that way...that will be something.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

If she leaves it that way...

... There's space for a lot of post-War fanfic.
shezan From: shezan Date: July 8th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
This, of course, is when I have to quote one of my many favourite chunks of Lust Over Pendle:
"Granger, what's that thing you're holding?"

Hermione brandished the Barbour over the breakfast table "It's your jacket."

"Sorry, think you're mistaken there. That frightful green oily object has never been given closet-room in any wardrobe of mine."

"Is this going to be another case of your calling me in just to ignore my advice? It's what Muggles wear in the country."

"Go right ahead, then. I'm not stopping you."

"What's wrong with your wearing it?"

"It's too new, it's too nouveau, it's too uncomfortable and it's too bloody Islington."

"What do you mean, Islington?"

"I have got the right place? That is, an area of Muggle London populated by trendy media types and weekend cottage-owning wannabes, no?"

Hermione's jaw dropped. Draco gestured at the window seat of the breakfast room. It was piled high with Muggle magazines; she spotted Living etc, Elle Dec, Tatler, Country Life, FHM and Loaded . A few battered looking Penguins, including Cold Comfort Farm, The Empress of Blandings, Brideshead Revisited and The Monarch of the Glen, lay scattered around.

"Research. You obsessed about research, so I did some. And all I can say is that the Muggles are bloody lucky it never occurred to the Dark Lord to read Muggle magazines. He'd have only had to get a really good Dark research team onto this Internet thing they seem so keen on and they'd never know what hit them."

"Anyway, even if you don't wear this, you can't possibly meet the Patullos in that decrepit tweed object. It looks as though it's been slept in for the last ten years."

"It was you who said "Emphasise the English aristocrat bit." This happens to be the jacket in which my grandfather seduced the Duchess of Argyll in the driver's seat of an Alfa Romeo Spyder on the summit of the San Bernardino pass. It couldn't get more aristocratic if you held auditions."

"Your grandfather seducing a Muggle? Bit out of character for a Malfoy, wasn't it?"

"This may be Wiltshire, but I did have two grandfathers, actually. My mother's father didn't object to Muggles at all provided they were female, aristocratic, and horizontal. There were so many Dukes and Earls turned up at his funeral to check he was really dead that they had to take The Times social column into a special edition. And I inherited his entire Muggle wardrobe, which he had precision engineered for him in Savile Row at a cost approximately equivalent to the gross national product of Belgium. By some freak of inheritance they happen to fit me perfectly, and if the choice is between wearing them and – and – that, I'm not going to let the minor fact that they're nearly forty years old stop me. Retro, I understand, is in, anyway."
That, of course, being an example of how to get it superbly right.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Of course it is.

It's by Hall, after all.

Superb.
shezan From: shezan Date: July 8th, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Of course it is.

Oh, and are you, actually, of the male persuasion? I always assume people on LJ are women, but every now and then I do get it wrong.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Indeed I am.

Both in my own sex and in my preferences. To quote Sandy - or is it Julian? - there's your actual poof right there, that is.
shezan From: shezan Date: July 8th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Indeed I am.

They have Log Cabin Tories (other than the wettestest Norman St John Stevas variety?) Yayyyy!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, I'm a fully fledged, Hard Right, Eurosceptic, Thatcherite...

... In fact, all the fun of the fair. I've never thought my orientation shd dictate my politics: that is the job of reason, after all.
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: July 8th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Warning - strong language.

Ah, the Armani problem. I have a "waffles and syrup" and "can of soda" problem, which I exacerbate by not mentioning to any of the authors. In fact, this is my only public confession of this issue. As a wise American woman once said on LJ - One day the most popular fandom in the world will be American, and when that day comes, I hope I'm not going to be a cunt about it. So I say nothing.

Life Debts. Well, I read your piece, went outside, had a fag, had another one, decided to talk about grape jelly first etc.

So, Sirius sets up Lupin to attack/kill Snape. Sirius gets a month's detention, James gets a Hero's Badge and Snape gets a Life Debt. I know the Wizarding World's unfair, and life's unfair, but this is out of order. Snape was the victim; James did what any reasonable person would do; Sirius gets a month's detention. I'm surprised Lupin ever spoke to Sirius again, to be honest, and I don't consider doing the Right Thing to be worth someone owing you a Life Debt. You and JKR are most welcome to disagree.

Inheriting a Life Debt; please. If these books are about anything (and I'm open to argument about that) surely they're about not visiting the sins of the fathers upon the sons, and about making your own decisions. Inheriting a Life Debt, or forcing a descendent to accept a Life Debt, don't seem to fit that model, if it applies.

Draco owing Dumbledore a Life Debt - for not killing him? Surely not; way too open to abuse. "I didn't kill you today, you owe me one." And if Dumbledore had talked to Draco earlier in the year, could matters not have been concluded to everyone's advantage, without half a dozen Death Eaters about to arrive on the scene?

Snape owing Dumbledore a Life Debt - for giving him a job? For taking him on as a spy in which role he risks his neck on a regular basis? I'd agree Snape may owe him bigtime, but a Life Debt? And do you think Dumbledore didn't get a pound of flesh out of him, and wasn't pleased he had a man close to Voldemort? And if asking someone to become a murderer, and basically Public Enemy No. 1, isn't enough payment, what is?

Ron owing Harry for the Task - if you mean getting him out of the Lake, then no, I can't buy this at all; it assumes he (and all other people tethered in the lake) would be left to die; that Gabrielle owes Harry a Life Debt and Hermione Krum. So the tethered have a choice - die or owe a Life Debt; bit steep, and they're not even competing.

Snape owing a Life Debt to Harry for the death of his parents and the ensuing years with the Dursleys; I have sympathy with this, much sympathy, and rather in contrast to the thought that saving his life in the Quidditch match may make up for it, I think really that nothing can make up for it. That's the thing, you see; Snape's death brings no-one back; Harry's childhood isn't made right; it's just another death and other people are bereaved and unhappy; while I can certainly imagine Ginny dying for all the wrong reasons ("love"), I think we can forget that all the Weasleys and Harry will be devastated. In what way can the death of someone who is your comfort "make up for" you saving their life earlier? No, surely it can't be. And would it be fair to imagine that Harry, in killing the basilisk, also saved his own life?

Anyway, I'm sorry, this is one of my pet peeves; touches a nerve few other issues even find. I'd be happy to disagree on this one.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, well, I'm analysing, not advocating.

Your quarrel is with Jo, not with me. I do think that canon holds that such debts are heritable, and at the very least, I think Draco incurred one to Albus on the Tower ('it is my mercy that matters now'): perhaps the reason this is more clearly a Life-Debt than anything that occurs between Harry and Ron, is, here Albus, like James as to Snape, is making a conscious choice against his own interests and safety to prevent or to eschew the death of the debtor, all at great personal risk.

I think I'm right at least to that extent that this is what JKR appears to be saying. I hold no brief for the ethics of her world: I didn't create it, and for at least one year longer, we none of us know it fully enough to make a final judgement.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: July 8th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. Well, another American perspective:

I happen to have an RAF tie which I acquired at the anglophone reception during one of the annual military pilgrimages to Lourdes, and it seems to go the other way.

I say Ginny repaid any debt she may have owed Harry by dragging him into the woods and relieving him of the burden of virginity.

As for Armani, Draco or any other old-family pureblood probably wouldn't be aware of this phenomenon, but I'd be willing to bet that anywizard who made his fortune playing Quidditch wears Armani robes, and as an American, I don't doubt that he has a wizarding line. Star athletes wear Armani, unless they're so far up on the tacky scale that they have precious metals visible in their dental work. That's just the way it is. Sorry...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 8th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Snort. Some recompense THAT was. It's Draco he wants.

I've no idea what may be off with the Raffers's tie, I shall have to look into that.

Thank you for the intriguing prospect.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: July 9th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Snort. Some recompense THAT was. It's Draco he wants.

Well, of course he does. Ginny knows that, as does everybody in the Potterverse, except, at this point between Book VI and The End, Harry himself. Shame to die heroically without getting any. Besides, now he can't be chucked into a volcano. Maybe that's what our Jo meant about giving someone a reprieve.

And now that he's going to live, he can make an informed choice about his sexual activities; Ginny, as a registered 'ho, can vouch for his having a choice, not simply being too goofy to get a proper woman.

As for the Raffer tie, it's probably a noncom tie (one doesn't have clear memories of the "language" receptions at the Military Pilgrimage. Lourdes is a wild little town on that night...): it's polyester. Maybe commissioned officers' ties are silk and lean correctly?
nineveh_uk From: nineveh_uk Date: July 10th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)

sartorial elegance

Nothing makes me hit the back button (except for an incorrectly rated fic accidentally opened on the office computer) like “Wizarding Armani”.

It was designed to be just the merest soupcon long and full in the coat, with a hint of the frock-coat, and was at once traditional and arrogant: it was a deep, almost black, blue that was just a shade not navy blue, and it although it was a classic pinstripe, the pinstripe was not white, but a deep and subtle burgundy. Magnificent suit, really, I quite miss it.
I want that suit, although it would require a certain amount of alteration to fit. It’s the hint of the frock coat that does it.

Actually, what I really want, and have since I first saw The Marriage of Figaro twenty years ago (Oh, help!) is a full-length, silk, quilted smoking jacket that somehow manages to be understated, of the sort sported by Count Almaviva in 8 out of 10 productions. I lack the height, shoulders, and C18 palace need to carry it off, but I still want one.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 19th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm unconscionably late in responding. Please forgive me.

The smoking jacket sounds superb.

I'm amazed that you were paying that much attention, though, at an opera, at the age of two.
nineveh_uk From: nineveh_uk Date: July 27th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Not that much of a child prodigy

I wish I were seven years younger – at least, I do if I could tell myself what I know now (not least, that I ought to have bought that velvet frock coat I once saw, if only to wear at home on chilly evenings).
woman_ironing From: woman_ironing Date: July 13th, 2006 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Fumbling

I have the feeling that a life-debt isn't something - God, I can't think of the word I need - concrete, y'know, definite, but is instead a sort of indication of the state of mind of the debtor and of the nature of the relationship between the debtor and the creditor. If someone saves your life, a transformation should occur. If it doesn't, you're left carrying this burden of debt.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 19th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

In Muggle terms, I agree.

In a world of magical contracts and Unbreakable Vows, I do, really, wonder about the mechanics.

My apologies for my unpardonable delay in responding, by the way.
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