Endings

30 Jun

So that site, dumbledoreisnotdead that Care sent me the other day really made me want to re-read Harry Potter. But it also made me think about good endings to stories.

One of the reasons that Half-Blood Prince is my favorite Harry Potter book is because it provides so many answers without actually providing them. It tells us who Voldemort is and what he wants, while leaving him and his motivations mysterious. It tells us what Harry Potter has to do, and is going to do, without spelling any of it out. On first glance, it seems to end the debate about Snape’s allegiances once and for all. Upon further glances though, it merely makes the debate stronger than ever. One need only look at that website to see how well it shows us a major character’s death, while perhaps not actually showing it to us.

Until or unless J.K. Rowling resolves these issues clearly, the debates can go on forever. This means that Harry Potter can go on being significant forever, as long as people care enough to think about the story.

I’m going to shift gears to Star Wars, but only for a moment, and only to serve as an example for what I hope happens with Harry Potter book 7. The genius of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is that it does what Half-Blood Prince does while also being the “end” of the story. It gives us all the answers, without really giving them. It tells us that Anakin was created by the Sith, as part of an evil plot, but it also tells us that Anakin was created by The sentient Force itself, an invisible character perhaps responsible for the death of Padmé and the eternal life of Qui-Gon. On the other hand, it tells us that Anakin fulfilled the prophecy by bringing “balance” to the force, (two Jedi, two Sith, seems balanced, right?) and the Jedi simply misread the prophecy. It tells us that Palpatine really masterminded and controlled every detail up to this point, but it also shows us that perhaps he’s only taking credit for doing so, and that in fact everything doesn’t go as he plans. This “open-ended” resolution to the saga means that the Star Wars saga will be significant forever, because the discussions and debates about it can go on forever, which means that people can go on drawing answers, lessons, and hopes from it, forever.

Can you think of a single myth, religion, or otherwise culturally significant story that doesn’t have loose ends, and that isn’t open to many interpretations?

I hope that Harry Potter book 7 doesn’t answer a lot of questions. I hope it provides a few possible answers to the many questions the previous books have raised, but that it doesn’t answer them. I hope it leaves the main question of that website open, as still a question. I hope it leaves Snape’s allegiances somewhat confusing.

I hope that it doesn’t have Harry kill Voldemort, marry Ginny, discover that Snape is good, and have Ron and Hermione get together. Because if that happens, there’s no more questions, and nothing more to wonder about. If the story taking place in the world of Harry Potter is resolved nicely, and no loose ends are left, why should I still care?

Anakin

Harry

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One Response to “Endings”

  1. tinycaredance July 2, 2006 at 1:44 pm #

    the future of buckbeack? has he evolved??? deep. food for thought…

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