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Old May 4 2015, 04:26 PM   #41
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I'm not sure how the subject matter and the tone of books can be strictly separated. I'm sure someone could write a comedy about, say, genocide, but it would be at least creepy, if not depressing.

I read the Potter books as very optimistic. Bad things happen and there are spooky sets and grotesque characters, and some of the themes I don't agree with. (Sure, let's separate 11 year olds up into houses and tell them Slytherin is the BAD HOUSE with the single worst teacher in the school in charge and they'll likely wind up evil, then be surprised when they act like it.)

But like Anareth says, the good guys win, acting like a hero is as important as being a hero, and love and friendship are the things that will see you through the darkest night. British children's literature has a tradition of tackling some fairly heavy subjects -- Have you ever actually read Narnia? I mean really paid attention to all that was going on in it? -- but with an generally optimistic outlook.

Being a good person will get you far in that kind of literature, whereas most of Anne's protagonists, at least on Pern, aren't really what I'd call good people. That isn't a mark against the author! Protagonists don't have to be good people to be good characters. But Lessa learning that murder isn't the way to get through life was never a goal of the books.

Pern is a medieval world no matter how you slice it, and those get pretty nasty for everyone but heroes. And I'd say a book like Dragonflight, which kicks off the plot with slavery and murder, has a romance plot that starts as rape, and is a race against time to save the world from destruction, is pretty dark.
Exactly. It's not a question of one series being better than the other, it's the principles behind the characters. Anne's characters for the most part have decent, relatively moral GOALS, but their means of achieving them and their worldviews are...not exactly appropriate in THIS world or something necessarily meant to be good. In some ways they're products of their time--pulp SF/F of the silver age is full of antiheroes and people doing dubious things provided the outcome is "good." Ditto for the questionable treatment of some female characters (Kylara is "bad" mostly because she's sexually adventurous and constantly treated as a slut for that, Brekke is good because she only sleeps with one man and he has to force her into it, Thella very deliberately has some uncomfortable 'psycho lesbian' overtones in her pursuit of Aramina).

HP, on the other hand, has light trappings of fantasy monsters written for a young audience that are superficially "scary" (if you've never read any fantasy directed at an adult audience), and deals with some heavy themes (like self-sacrifice, unrequited love that actually STAYS unrequited, school bullies, racism) but comes at the moral of the story from a much more young-read and modern-friendly perspective. Ultimately, even some of the villains (the Malfoys) are saved because familial love wins over Voldemort's world-domination plans. Maternal love plays an enormous role, romantic love is definitely a part but not as a be-all end-all problem solvers or supreme goal, and all the heroes do morally dubious things, but especially when they're terrible they're called on it. Heck, Dumbledore masterminds the entire thing for a valid reason, and he still rightly admits he's kind of being an a--hole in the process. F'lar is being an a--hole through quite a few books, but for whatever reason the narrative can't allow him to be wrong about it. Robinton, as he gets apotheosized, gets it even worse (he TORTURES Meron to get what he wants. But that's okay because Robinton!)
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Old May 7 2015, 08:00 AM   #42
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Exactly. It's not a question of one series being better than the other, it's the principles behind the characters. Anne's characters for the most part have decent, relatively moral GOALS, but their means of achieving them and their worldviews are...not exactly appropriate in THIS world or something necessarily meant to be good. In some ways they're products of their time--pulp SF/F of the silver age is full of antiheroes and people doing dubious things provided the outcome is "good." Ditto for the questionable treatment of some female characters (Kylara is "bad" mostly because she's sexually adventurous and constantly treated as a slut for that, Brekke is good because she only sleeps with one man and he has to force her into it, Thella very deliberately has some uncomfortable 'psycho lesbian' overtones in her pursuit of Aramina).

HP, on the other hand, has light trappings of fantasy monsters written for a young audience that are superficially "scary" (if you've never read any fantasy directed at an adult audience), and deals with some heavy themes (like self-sacrifice, unrequited love that actually STAYS unrequited, school bullies, racism) but comes at the moral of the story from a much more young-read and modern-friendly perspective. Ultimately, even some of the villains (the Malfoys) are saved because familial love wins over Voldemort's world-domination plans. Maternal love plays an enormous role, romantic love is definitely a part but not as a be-all end-all problem solvers or supreme goal, and all the heroes do morally dubious things, but especially when they're terrible they're called on it. Heck, Dumbledore masterminds the entire thing for a valid reason, and he still rightly admits he's kind of being an a--hole in the process. F'lar is being an a--hole through quite a few books, but for whatever reason the narrative can't allow him to be wrong about it. Robinton, as he gets apotheosized, gets it even worse (he TORTURES Meron to get what he wants. But that's okay because Robinton!)
Harrys use of two of the unforgiveable curses is more then just morally dubious, it is criminal.

I would rather be on Pern any day then stuck in the world of Harry Potter.
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Old May 7 2015, 04:17 PM   #43
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Harrys use of two of the unforgiveable curses is more then just morally dubious, it is criminal.

I would rather be on Pern any day then stuck in the world of Harry Potter.
Well, yes, it's criminal. There are laws against torture and murder in the Harry Potter universe. On Pern, there's actually no law against Robinton torturing Meron, and no law against Lessa murdering various people, and no law against the several rapes that we see occur.

I'd rather live someplace with rule of law, however flawed. Which is why you ain't getting me through a portal to Pern or in a time machine to most of our own planet's past.
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Old May 7 2015, 04:28 PM   #44
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I think the difference comes in the lives of the characters we see. Pern's like most other pseudo-medieval crapsack worlds - if you're one of the 1%, provided the shortage of antibiotics doesn't kill you, you're probably going to have a fairly decent life. Harry Potter offers similar privileges for the elite, and it's by no means a perfect society, but it's still a lot more egalitarian for the masses. You just have to look beyond the books'-eye focus on the main characters, which many readers simply won't do, because they're identifying too closely with the protagonists.
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Old May 7 2015, 05:36 PM   #45
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But if Pern is such a terrible place, than why are we so drawn to it? As for Pern having no laws... Are you sure? What about that Charter of theirs?
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Old May 7 2015, 07:32 PM   #46
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But if Pern is such a terrible place, than why are we so drawn to it?
Because it has great adventures and the dragons are so compelling! At least, I'm definitely here for the dragons. The harpers are pretty cool, too. And in general I like the "failed colony" sort of sci-fi, where humans try to establish a colony on another planet and things go terribly wrong with fascinating results. Pern, Darkover, Rider at the Gate, 40000 in Gehenna -- that sort of thing.

And like Kath says, Pern is pretty cool for the point-of-view characters we follow, who are the elites of that world. They have lots of struggles early on, like Lessa and Menolly did, but they rise to power and prominence. Their struggles are heroic, not endless grinding hardship. I don't want to read a Pern book about the illiterate peasants living in a small hold five days from Telgar who see a Harper twice a turn and lose half their children to disease before the age of three. That doesn't mean that, realistically, the majority of people on Pern aren't peasants living hard lives.

Whereas in the Potter books, by contrast, the average wizard seems to live remarkably like a middle-class UK citizen plus magic. I don't want to read a book about Joe Average Wizard, either, I want to read about the heroes. But I wouldn't mind so much being an average person in the Potter series.
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Old May 8 2015, 06:34 AM   #47
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Well, yes, it's criminal. There are laws against torture and murder in the Harry Potter universe. On Pern, there's actually no law against Robinton torturing Meron, and no law against Lessa murdering various people, and no law against the several rapes that we see occur.

I'd rather live someplace with rule of law, however flawed. Which is why you ain't getting me through a portal to Pern or in a time machine to most of our own planet's past.
Really so you would like to live in a world where with the change in leadership, you could be rounded up by the secret police, questioned tortured and made to wear the wizard equivalent of a yellow star or pink triangle?
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Old May 8 2015, 12:18 PM   #48
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That's basically the real world, isn't it? I mean, things like that have happened before. Someone on Earth, they're happening right now. That's the risk you run for being alive in this crazy world.

You're acting as if that's business as usual in the Potterverse, though. It's not. Voldemort or Grindewald was as big and bad a deal to wizards as Hitler or Stalin was to us. Most of the time, life as a wizard is peaceful and reasonably democratic, same as here.

Edit: Sorry, ran out the door without competing my thought.

So, that's life in the Potterverse. Western Liberal democracy (not in the tiresome American liberal vs conservative sense of the phrase, but in the older and more useful sense) that can descend into fascism if the bad guys aren't stopped. The good guys have the task of stopping the bad guys from doing that.

On Pern, by contrast, when things are going well, you live under a hereditary dictatorship. If you're really unlucky, you live during one of the 50 year spans where Thread tries to eat you and your family and your crops. Medicine is primitive -- though at least you've got a decent grasp on hygiene, probably, so that's good. Survival requires hard physical labor every single day. Your children die, and half the time the Healers can only say that they're sorry, but that's just how it is. Unless you have connections or you're unusually bright and manage to get yourself apprenticed in a Craft, you're probably going to live and die doing the same agricultural labor your parents and grandparents did. If you're a woman like me, you're probably going to have a bunch of babies -- whether you want them or not, because rape seems to be taken for granted on Pern -- and they're going to take a toll on your body and limit what you can do with your life, because you don't have our modern technological conveniences to make it feasible to juggle children and a career. You probably can't read, and you're doing well if you know enough about the world to find your home on a map. The good guys have the task of preserving this status quo.

Again, this does not mean the Pern books are bad and the Potter books are good! I wouldn't be on a Pern forum if I thought the books were bad! It's simply a fact that, in the Pern books, we're reading the adventures of the ruling class who live much easier lives than the common folk we catch glimpses of. Life on the ground on Pern is hard. Life on the ground in the Potterverse is basically the world I already live in, and it's pretty nice, at least if you're like me and had the foresight to be born into one of the right countries.

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Old May 8 2015, 01:34 PM   #49
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Well, yes, it's criminal. There are laws against torture and murder in the Harry Potter universe. On Pern, there's actually no law against Robinton torturing Meron, and no law against Lessa murdering various people, and no law against the several rapes that we see occur.
I don't think Lessa actually murdered anyone. She just used her E.S.P. to influence people so things went from bad to worse at Ruatha, and Fax executed the Warders who had apparently mismanaged the Hold. (Murder by proxy?) And I'm betting a few of the 8 didn't stick around when they heard he was on his way for a tour of inspection.

She was sorry about the first one because he was trying to run the place equitably, and at 11 years old maybe she didn't realise he would actually be executed, but just kicked out of the Hold. As for Gemma, Lessa's anger may have weakened her, but she probably wouldn't have survived the birth anyway, and Lessa was sorry she died.
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Old May 10 2015, 07:16 AM   #50
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"...and Lessa had honestly regretted the necessity of his death. But he would have made her revenge impossible. He would have found her out before she had learned to camouflage herself and her little interferences. ... Well, she regretted his death."

She might not have dealt a fatal blow by her own hand, but she engineered his death deliberately, and acknowledges her responsibility for it.

Also note that the first warder was doing a good job, and the craftspeople were becoming accepting of him. Fax had no motive to execute him. The situation on the ground was improving. The only options the text supports are Lessa arranging an 'accident', murdering him directly (unlikely) or pushing on a random malcontent to do the deed. Some of the later warders who died are on Fax's conscience, but the first one is all hers.
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Old May 10 2015, 05:39 PM   #51
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You're right, Kath. I thought Fax executed him, but I was confusing him with the second Warder (the one whose skull was still rolling around in the midden).

It's hard to think of an 11-year-old being that bloodthirsty, but I guess seeing your whole family slaughtered can do that to you. Regardless of the first warder's ability, she probably saw him as nothing but a tool of Fax. If she'd been less 'gifted' she might have quietly bided (?) her time and popped up a few years later to claim the Hold for herself when it was safe to do so.
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Old May 10 2015, 06:54 PM   #52
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Speaking of Dsong, we've got... deliberate intent to maim
Nope.

Menolly jumps to that conclusion when the healers at Benden and the Harper Hall tell her that the cut missed the tendon. She assumes Mavi did it on purpose.

However, we have a scene from Mavi's point of view where she is desperately trying to figure out how to treat this injury (and why didn't they have a certified Healer at Half-Circle, anyhow?!), and where she is thinking to herself, in her own head, what a shame it is that Menolly won't be able to use that hand anymore.

Not that Mavi didn't look the other way on the other abuse, but the bad scarring of the hand was not done with intent.
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Old May 12 2015, 06:57 PM   #53
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Given the Charter's ignored or lost for a big chunk of history, application of law beyond the Lords, Masters, and Weyrleaders periodically getting together are pretty arbitrary. And the punishments when they ARE meted out are harsh. Abandoning someone on an island is basically a death sentence, mechanical castration is practiced....It's a quasi-medieval world.

And like pearl says, it's not like that was standard operating procedure--Voldemort is a not-very-subtle Hitler analogy, Grindelwald somewhat less so, but they're NOT viewed as normal or good by any except their universe's version of brownshirts.
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Old May 13 2015, 06:20 AM   #54
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Given the Charter's ignored or lost for a big chunk of history, application of law beyond the Lords, Masters, and Weyrleaders periodically getting together are pretty arbitrary. And the punishments when they ARE meted out are harsh. Abandoning someone on an island is basically a death sentence, mechanical castration is practiced....It's a quasi-medieval world.

And like pearl says, it's not like that was standard operating procedure--Voldemort is a not-very-subtle Hitler analogy, Grindelwald somewhat less so, but they're NOT viewed as normal or good by any except their universe's version of brownshirts.
was the whole wizengot(or however you spell it) under the imperious curse? Don't you think that some of them would say no we can not round up the muggle born? No we can not put that big statue to the oppression of muggles into the entry hall. If I understand the wizard world the minister is elected from the wizengot. Didn't even one of them say "I wonder what is wrong with the minister?"
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Old May 15 2015, 11:00 PM   #55
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...You don't understand how dictatorships work very well.
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Old May 16 2015, 12:23 PM   #56
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...You don't understand how dictatorships work very well.
Benevolent Dictatorships actually work quite well. The "leader" is only interested in doing what is good for his/her country.

According to one reference I found:
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Benevolent dictatorship

Benevolent dictatorship is a form of government in which an authoritarian leader exercises political power for the benefit of the whole population rather than exclusively for the benefit of himself or herself or only a small portion of the population. A benevolent dictator may allow for some democratic decision-making to exist, such as through public referendums. The label is often applied to leaders such as Józef Piłsudski, Josip Broz Tito and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

That, however, is almost never the case.


According to Wikipedia, a Dictatorship:
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Dictatorship is a form of government where political authority is monopolized by a single person or political entity, and exercised through various mechanisms to ensure the entity's power remains strong.

A dictatorship is a type of authoritarianism, in which politicians regulate nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of normal people. Dictatorships and totalitarianism generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems, as is the nature of nationalism of any governing system.

Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong meets with U.S. President Richard Nixon. Mao's dictatorial rule from 1949 to 1976 is believed to have caused the deaths of an estimated 40 to more than 70 million people.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, traditional monarchies gradually declined and disappeared. Dictatorship and constitutional democracy emerged as the world's two major forms of government.

In other words, "I" like the power to do anything "I" want and will use my minions to ensure that any dissenting voices are never heard.
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Old May 16 2015, 02:45 PM   #57
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Those descriptions are pretty accurate, but I don't think they're related to the point Anareth was making, regarding how nominal democracies become dictatorships.
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Old May 16 2015, 06:51 PM   #58
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Спасибо за эту информацию
Thanks for this information Natalya

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Old May 17 2015, 05:21 AM   #59
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Ginny, do I want to follow those links? Or have you been hacked by a bot?
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Old May 17 2015, 08:52 PM   #60
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Ginny, do I want to follow those links? Or have you been hacked by a bot?
I haven't been hacked, those were what I used to understand what some else asked in Russian, I can hear what it say in there. that was a goof I shall fix
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Old May 17 2015, 09:58 PM   #61
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Those descriptions are pretty accurate, but I don't think they're related to the point Anareth was making, regarding how nominal democracies become dictatorships.
Yeah, exactly, pearl, the point was more "if you assume that the entire HP world is obviously happily corrupt and not going along out of a combination of fear and willful denial ("It's not so bad, and if I keep my head down it won't be me next") because the nominal representative government goes along with a ruler by force who is a demonstrated, proven mass murdering lunatic and the ONLY person known to be able to take him on is dead, you fail World History AND human psychology forever and probably aren't worth trying to discuss anything with because you don't have sufficient frame of reference."
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