Some links and thoughts to break blog silence


Sorry for the blog silence, but the past week was spent on family vacation in Rhode Island. Not much more to say, but a few links for your trouble:

First, I highly recommend The West Side, a new serialized online video co-created by a former student of mine, Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo. The program is a contemporary urban western with an excellent sense of visual style and genre playfulness – imagine Deadwood meets The Wire in highly-stylized black-and-white. Not the standard YouTube shtick, but a more ambitious sense of what online video might enable – check it out!

In today’s New York Times, they published four potential endings for the Harry Potter series from a range of writers. My favorite & most interesting is Damon Lindelof’s commentary about the pressure to provide closure through a happy ending versus Harry’s death – the conventions of storytelling demand Harry to survive, but we want the dramatic stakes raised via his death. It’s interesting in light of Lost, as clearly Lindelof is contemplating the expectations & possibilities of the show’s now-announced ending. Do they give us what will provide pleasures of closure, or pleasures of surprise? Given how Lost has proceeded over the years, my money’s on the latter.

In terms of Harry Potter, I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately, both in anticipation of the final book and because I’m reading the first book to my daughter. The speculation about the final book seems centered around Harry’s fate, but that’s less interesting to me – I find that the series is more intriguing in its narration of what happened in Voldemort’s first reign, rather than the narrative present of Harry’s battle. So for me, the most engaging questions I’m looking forward to resolving are how Voldemort was first defeated with the specific roles of Snape, Voldemort, Harry’s parents, etc. – I think Rowling’s most successful narrative achievement has been her ability to simultaneously tell/reveal the stories of present and past in such an intertwined and compelling fashion.

Another aside about the Harry event – what’s the window of necessary secrecy about its plot? The book will be devoured quickly by many, but not simultaneously like with a TV series – many families will need to rotate reading it and some folks will need a few weeks to get through it. So when can we assume that everyone who wants to be sheltered from the secrets has had adequate opportunity to read it? One month? Will the media oblige by sheltering spoilers for that long? I’m doubtful…

And finally, via Chuck, YouTube has seen the return of the 5 Second Movie, wrapped in (correct) fair use claims. They can be hit-or-miss, but excellent at their best. My favorite – a radically-condensed Fargo:


4 Responses to “Some links and thoughts to break blog silence”

  1. provide closure through a happy ending versus Harry’s death – the conventions of storytelling demand Harry to survive, but we want the dramatic stakes raised via his death.

    Thanks for this, because it perfectly articulates what I’ve been thinking about the book. Narrative imperative means that he will not die, and yet the very real risk is required to raise the stakes and make it exciting.

    I think, therefore, that the well-publicized “someone is going to get it” death (deaths?) is having to serve as the alternative death. If Harry can’t die, then someone else we dearly love must be sacrified in his stead, in order to create the needed emotional resonance. And the identity of that person will provide, necessarily, a missing aspect of Harry himself, so the two will have to be thematically linked. If it’s Hermione, then the aspect of him that is his intellect will be dealt with; if it’s Ron, then it’s his heart; if it’s Neville, then it’s his Voldemort-related fate; etc.

    In short, I’m interested to see how it all plays out even though I’m pretty sure she won’t kill Harry, because who dies will be so informative of the universe and of his character. Yet I half-wish that it would be Harry, that some fights are so worthy of fighting that a death is acceptable (a la Sheri Tepper’s heroines). The entire series has been set up to be an ultimate (to the death) battle between Harry and Voldemort, and closure is inevitable.

  2. Neville kills Voldemort and Harry dies too.

    My condensed two cents. . . . powdered money. . . heh

    Anyway. Me too me too. Can I shamelessly self promote? Maybe in a month after I know you better.



  1. 1 Five Second Films! : Tama Leaver dot Net
  2. 2 Harry Potter and the Magic of Narrative Closure « Just TV

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