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Harry Potter: We need answers

13 Jun 14 | Re: Question after question after question after | Link-U-Post

Some while ago I wrote in qualified praise of the Harry Potter series. Qualified only by a handful of gripes, the most needling of which was the constant stream of rhetorical questions that starts in the Philosopher’s Stone and barely lets up until the Deathly Hallows are all but played out. I believe that you could excise every single one of those questions, lose nothing, and make a significant improvement. Don’t tell the reader what to wonder.

As a follow-up, for what it’s worth, I’ve now compiled every single one of those rhetorical questions for your reading pleasure. Here they are, look:

Harry Potter: We Need Answers

There are places where I’ve changed pronouns to the actual person or thing being referred to for clarity’s sake, but they’re otherwise unchanged and in the order they appear in the books. It’s quite interesting — you more or less get the whole plot of the series at warp speed (so SPOILER WARNING), though you do feel sort of interrogated at the same time.

Some stats:

Total questions: 586

First question: What could Mr Dursley have been thinking of?

Last question: Had Voldemort, too, collapsed?

Most frequent question: What was going on? (appears seven times, though sadly not in every book)

Most interrogative book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (142 questions)

Least interrogative book: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (33 questions)

Yes/No questions: 283

Easiest Yes: Was that the sea, slapping hard on the rock like that?

Easiest No: Was this dying? (Somewhere near the end of book 2)

Shortest question (apart from “Why?” “How?” etc): Hags?

Second shortest question: Snape?

Longest question: Yet how could anyone think that, when he was facing competitors who’d had three years’ more magical education than he had — when he was now facing tasks which not only sounded very dangerous, but which were to be performed in front of hundreds of people?

My favourite question: What was it that Bonaccord had done to offend the wizards of Liechtenstein?

Most irrelevant concern: What if Fred and George’s joke business led to another family row and a Percy-like estrangement?

A note about copyright: I don’t really know the legal ins and outs of copyright but I’m hoping these compiled short extracts will qualify as (1) fair use, (2) homage and (3) a nice teaser for the full books, which everyone should buy and read if they haven’t already. I’m sure fan sites and the like quote far more of the books. But if anyone out there is representing JKR and wants me to vapourise this little document, I will gladly do so. Email link in sidebar.

Posted by ADSO OF MELK at 21:26

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