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July 26th, 2005


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08:54 pm - Spoiler-free
Happy birthday to megd for yesterday, irinaauthor and heart_of_wine for today and (the rather missed - is all OK?) mortari for tomorrow. :-)

In the four days between shifts, I have re-read Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, then read Half-Blood Prince twice, making it a very Harry weekend. Avoiding spoilers - which is more than I was able to, alas - it was a very enjoyable book, with Harry far more likeable than in the previous installment and enough fun and wordplay to keep us all entertained. There was one plot element which I didn't like; it made things too easy and I thought the concept was rather better explored in a particularly good episode of Red Dwarf. I'm trying to keep this spoiler-free, but the comments will (I suspect) be spoiler-y. All the same, I will enjoy looking out for "year 7" stories as people try to draw things together. It would be an excellent weekend to be at what will doubtless be a joyful Accio, if only it were possible.

Often I think I'm not terribly good with stories - I find it a shame that I often don't get some of Meg's favourites to nearly the extent she does; I enjoy the way that people have been able to produce complicated and convincing theories about Half-Blood Prince within a day or two of reading it; I strongly doubt I would be able to be nearly as incisive in years. I'm a fast reader, but I often miss what might be subtle nuances or might be really quite obvious ones, so it's a joy to see you all explain to me what I should have noticed and why it's interesting. It's not the proudest selling point in the world, but I do think part of the reason for the series' success is the fact that the stories are not so sophisticated that even a moderate reader like me can enjoy them. I shall halt here before we get into the "kids' book" argument.

On a point of grammar, there was an unusual construction on page 568 of the UK version: "...greatest wizard Harry had ever, or would ever, meet." To me, that looks not just like an unusual alternative but positively wrong; I would rephrase to "...had ever met or would ever meet", or perhaps just to "...might ever meet" (subtly different, but practically identical). Thoughts, please.

The BBC reports that the supermarket up the road might have to change hands again. When we came to Middlesbrough in December 1981, it was a Hinton's; Amos Hinton was Middlesbrough's one great grocer, opening a store in 1871 and eventually becoming mayor. Hinton's were absorbed into the Presto chain (who at least had a good Christmas ad, back in the days when there were good Christmas ads) in the early '80s, and when the Argyll Group (who operated Presto) acquired US retailer Safeway Inc in 1987, the Presto became a Safeway. Safeway were sold to Morrisons in 2004, and for six months, the Safeway sold (some) Morrisons' own-brands while remaining a Safeway. However, Somerfield bought 115 ex-Safeway stores, including ours, which became a Safeway, and now it's probably going to become something else (because it's situated between two Kwik Save branches, Kwik Save also being a Somerfield brand).

Confusing times. In addition, our local florist and garden supplies dealer, Fred Humphreys, has closed due to retirement. As the store enjoyed boasting about its establishment in 1881, this too is sad.

Well done, NASA. Well done, Lance Armstrong. Unrelatedly, what's been up with Michael Schumacher this season?
Current Mood: rushedBack to work, 6:30am tomorrow!

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:deza
Date:July 26th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I'll invite you to read this thread in libwitch's journal for my HP opinions. ;)
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From:heart_of_wine
Date:July 26th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
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Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, Chris!

Hugs,
Elia
From:daweaver
Date:July 26th, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
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What's been up with Herr Schumacher? Same thing as was up with M Villeneuve in 98, or Mr Hakkinen in 2000 - they're being beaten by a better car, in the hands of a better driver.
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From:missingdonut
Date:July 27th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
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I think it's all car -- that the others have caught up. Really, just look at Rubens' performance this year and compare it to last year.

Schumacher's driving talent prevented him from losing another two or three positions at the Hockenheimring last Sunday.
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From:oldbloke
Date:July 28th, 2005 09:20 am (UTC)
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It's mostly the tyres - the car can't get them to work right.
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From:missingdonut
Date:July 28th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
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The fault is in the car for not working with the tyres, not the other way around. And really, the tyres aren't that much slower than the Michelins -- in fact Christian Albers regularly has fast speed trap times in his Minardi.
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From:beingjdc
Date:July 26th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Oh, yeah, I meant to say - there are politicians and journalists on LJ, you just don't know as many of them :)
From:athena_arena
Date:July 26th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm trying to rack my brains for the Red Dwarf episode you are referring to... if you could drop the name by my journal if you want to keep this thread spoiler free, please do!
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From:rialtus
Date:July 26th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
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"I thought the concept was rather better explored in a particularly good episode of Red Dwarf."

Okay, *that* caught my attention! As a ... uhm .... non-HP reader ... I will have to see if my wife can figure out what area you are talking aboutso I can enjoy vicariously or some such.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 26th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Missing you at Accio and jealous that you'e had 2 re-reads already. I had promised myself that, but alas, it didn't quite work like that.

Really glad everything is working well for you, and hope to see you at future HP events. I'm also looking forward to talking about HBP ad nauseam over the weekend!
From:gamps_garret
Date:July 26th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
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On a point of grammar, there was an unusual construction on page 568 of the UK version: "...greatest wizard Harry had ever, or would ever, meet." To me, that looks not just like an unusual alternative but positively wrong; I would rephrase to "...had ever met or would ever meet", or perhaps just to "...might ever meet" (subtly different, but practically identical). Thoughts, please.

If you can indicate the specific scene, I will try to find it in my US version. I have an idea, but would like to compare.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:July 28th, 2005 04:47 am (UTC)
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End of chapter 28, end of the sixth paragraph before the italicised note.
From:gamps_garret
Date:August 5th, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
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Okay. I think this is a fairly modern language construction based on stream-of-consciousness narration. Rowling is trying to convey one of two things:

A. Harry isn't quite ready to discuss Dumbledore in the past tense yet, and the comma indicates a thought interrupt. Typically, a dash is more typical in this situation within the fantasy genre, but it has not caught on for general use outside of conversation for non-genre fiction, which is what HP is marketed as.

B. Rowling is using the dual commas to offset "would ever" while setting them up in direct contrast to "had ever." Adding "met" prior to the comma would break apart the syntactic opposition. Also, drawing attention to "would ever" stresses the absolutism that there will never be another wizard of Dumbledore's quality alive and active in Harry's life. Which forces us to examine Harry as Dumbledore's protege and Voldemort's foe -- will Harry be able to fill Dumbledore's role and keep Tom at bay? Will he be able to win?

Grammatically speaking, your supposition is entirely appropriate; the phrase is technically wrong and should be corrected to either of your examples in order to read "correctly." But in terms of story-telling, where grammar plays second fiddle to eliciting an emotional response, what Rowling has done is acceptable. Perhaps brilliant, actually.

I would also argue that this type of "mis-writing" falls neatly in line with the way she constructed the novel as a whole to be more of a "tell" story than a "show" story. The biggest complaint I've heard from strict lit crit folk is that Rowling didn't trust her readers enough to show them the story unfold, as she has so brilliantly with the previous five books; instead, she told us what Harry was feeling and exactly what realisations he was coming to. I argue that she has been writing the entire series from inside Harry's head, and the narrative voice has been changing as Harry has grown, as is appropriate. Sixteen is the age when the average kid really begins to editorialize in his own head -- I think that's what she's actually showing us.

But really, that's neither here nor there to your point.
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From:byrlakin
Date:July 27th, 2005 12:20 am (UTC)
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I'm a fast reader, but I often miss what might be subtle nuances or might be really quite obvious ones, so it's a joy to see you all explain to me what I should have noticed and why it's interesting.

I read much like you do. The first read is to get a feel for the plot, characters, etc and all subsequent reads help me to find the "subtle nuances" that you mentioned.

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From:imc
Date:July 27th, 2005 09:17 am (UTC)
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"...greatest wizard Harry had ever, or would ever, meet." To me, that looks not just like an unusual alternative but positively wrong
I agree; it's the sort of thing that I would pick up on. It seems a fairly common mistake, though (but not as common as the missing "and", as in, "he picked up his hat, coat and moved swiftly to the door").
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From:leiabelle
Date:July 27th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
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I concur, that's weird grammar. Seems to me that "would ever meet" should cover both past and future and make the sentence construction less awkward.

Hello, by the way! :)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:July 28th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC)
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Hallo, you! Have been lurking, but never stopped lurking :-)
From:daweaver
Date:July 27th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)

Play or Parse!

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How did I miss this first time round?

On a point of grammar, there was an unusual construction: "...greatest wizard Harry had ever, or would ever, meet." To me, that looks not just like an unusual alternative but positively wrong; I would rephrase to "...had ever met or would ever meet", or perhaps just to "...might ever meet" (subtly different, but practically identical). Thoughts, please.

The sentence itself is technically incorrect, as it is an expansion of "had ever meet"*. The meaning is absolutely clear, though.

Furthermore, the unusual phrasing serves to emphasise the "would ever" clause - putting in the extra verb slows down the pace of the sentence. "...had ever met, or would ever meet" is a lot clunkier and slower than "had ever, or would ever, meet."

Summary: it's wrong for effect.

Not sure about the equivalence of your alternative suggestions. I'd argue that there's a world of difference between "would ever meet" and "might ever meet". The original "would ever" construction implies that the list of people who might be met is known, fully and completely, and amongst that finite list, there is not a greater wizard than this. It doesn't rule out the existence of a greater wizard who is not amongst those in the met set.

"Might ever meet" does not impose this boundary condition, and would (effectively) be saying that it would not be possible to construct a greater wizard, and that therefore this is the greatest wizard who could be met. That is a far larger claim than is implied by "would ever meet."

Readers might also be interested in a post on my main journal, which discusses a related matter.
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From:irinaauthor
Date:July 28th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!!

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