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This week, I've been enjoying reading Mark Reads Harry Potter over at Buzznet. Turns out that Mark (age 26) had never read a single HP book (I'm shocked!), and he's committed to reading the whole series, start to finish. And he's engaging in a form of torture, really, because he reads one chapter at a time, then blogs about that chapter, then moves on. Those of you who've read the series know how horribly difficult that can be, particular when things get knotty. Just this week, he started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and as his past (and better-looking) header said, "You are not prepared." Or rather, it's pretty clear that Mark is going to have his mind blown. I hope you'll check out his project, but whatever you do, DO NOT SPOIL HIM. Because reading his complete breakdown over Cedric's death in Goblet of Fire was both funny and exceptionally moving all at the same time, and I expect him to have a complete conniption when the major death in Phoenix occurs. (When he reaches the Battle of Hogwarts in book 7, I fully expect his head to explode.)

But Kelly, you say, I thought you said this was a Poetry Friday post? Well, it is. But one more digression before I get there (and it ties in, I promise). I've commented many times before on the (roughly) weekly writing exercises that I do with Angela De Groot (angeladegroot). A while back, we used the following assignment, ganked from a fellow poet at an open reading one night: Pick a fictional character, and have them write a letter to their dead mother. The woman who mentioned the assignment had written a poem from perspective of the Incredible Hulk, which flummoxed me a bit because the Hulk is actually an alter ego for Doctor Bruce Banner, but I digress.

I took the assignment and wrote what is a mixed-up sonnet from the perspective of a character from the Harry Potter books. Savvy readers will identify the speaker easily:

Letter to Mum
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

You never understood me. Never tried
to see a broader world outside the dark
and hateful world in which you lived and died.
You tried your best to snuff out every spark
of friendship with James Potter, every bond
with anyone whose blood you deemed impure.
When I rebelled, you called me immature,
yet you threw tantrums, blasting with your wand
in anger at the heirloom tapestry,
seeking to wipe me from the family.
I would not have you love me, do not care
that you preferred my brother. In the end,
you died alone in your Grimmauld Place lair,
while I died in the service of a friend.

Form: Mixed-up Shakespearean sonnet, if I have to assign it a name. It's written in iambic pentameter (five iambs per line: taDUM taDUM taDUM taDUM taDUM), with the following rhyme scheme: ABABCDCDEEFGFG.

Discussion: I suppose this counts as fan fiction, now I think of it. I could happily write an entire collection along these lines, if I'm being honest. It was so much fun to write! (I siriusly hope that you've all figured out who the speaker was in this poem. Bet you saw what I just did there!)

You can find other Poetry Friday participants by clicking on the box, below, to get to this week's host:

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( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
This was fun to read, too! The last two lines gave me chills. And I laughed at the pun in the notes.
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
Chills? HOORAY! *does a victory lap of the room* Thanks!
Aug. 27th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
love that!

Aug. 27th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
Aug. 27th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Kelly, dammit! You made me cry with that poem. Ok, I just got a little misty, but all the same...

I read all the Harry Potter books but for the last one summer a few years ago. I had steadfastly refused to read them because I knew I wouldn't like the movies anymore. Then my daughter (lecomtessi) said to me, "Would you rather have a mediocre movie ruined for a good book? Or a good book ruined for a mediocre movie?" Ah the logic of youth! So I read them ALL. The Summer of Harry. And then I had to wait a whole year for the last one!
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
I made you misty-eyed? *dusts off hands* My work here is done! Thanks!

I think I'll re-read the entire series again soon. I've read the first book close to 20 times now (at least 5 passes were supposed to be analytical, but I get so sucked into the story that it all falls to pieces after a few chapters - so much for my critical reading skills). And I've read books 2 & 3 at least a dozen times, with fewer readings of the later books. It would be nice to read all of them all the way through again.

And I'm STOKED for the coming movies - the trailer makes me cry!
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
I want to read them all again to--start to finish. My favorite is still Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm looking forward to the movies too! I'm trying HARD not to see what is missing, and instead focusing on the movies as MOVIES, but it's so hard!
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my favorite, too - it has to do with the interaction between Harry and his Patronus, which makes me cry just thinking about it.
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
We two, my dear, are kindred!
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
Oh - and I should have said that I came at the movies having read (and re-read) the books long before they were made. So I always realized what was missing from the movies, but I remain fond of the movies nevertheless. I've loved watching those kids grow up on screen. Good thing they're finishing these movies, because Tom Felton (Draco) and Matthew Lewis (Neville) both appears to be losing their hair at a young age!
Aug. 27th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
I noticed that too!
Aug. 27th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
Yep, got it :)

Thanks for sharing! I bet it was fun.
Aug. 27th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed it. As I said, I enjoyed it so much that I could've done a full collection of Potter-based poems. Not that I should, of course!
Aug. 27th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
tanita says:
...Oh, I was so sure you'd announce that as your next project!!

I really like this. So many of the emotional subtleties are lost in the movies - there's just no room for them - but there really was so much in the books.
Aug. 27th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says:
Man, I would love to do that as a project. Siriusly. However, I'm pretty sure there might be intellectual property rights involved that preclude such a thing. Woe.
Aug. 27th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Hey, so you are a Harry Potter fan too? More specifically, the Marauder era? Ever tried your hand at fanfiction?
Aug. 27th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
I am indeed a Harry Potter fan - I've read the first three books at least 12 times each, although my numbers fall off a bit for the later books (they've all been read more than twice, however).

This poem here is the only HP fanfic I've written. But I really loved writing it.
Aug. 28th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC)
new fodder for daughter
Well, this is an intriguing idea! My 11-year-old is enjoying working on fanfiction concerning the "next generation" of characters, but I'm sending this her way as a whole new possibility for exploring the books that she has read all of at least 5 times each...

Really enjoyable, Kelly! Who's writing to their mum next? Is Harry ready to address Lily?!
Aug. 28th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Re: new fodder for daughter
I'm not sure I'll write more of these, since I can't really do much with them once I'm done with them, but I may try a few more. And the variations possible are endless. Imagine what Hagrid might say to/about his dead mother, for instance. Or what Harry might say to his father, knowing that James wasn't always the nicest guy (but was, in fact, a typical person with faults as well as good points).

I hope your daughter enjoys her fanfic. I know several writers who got their start as writers that way, and others who basically stole their earliest stories from their favorite books (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery).
Aug. 29th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
Re: new fodder for daughter
Draco to Narcissa! Neville to Alice!

I love your choice of a semi-Shakespearean form for Sirius- it really seems appropriate for a rebellious aristocrat with a Horatio-level sense of loyalty.
Aug. 29th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
Re: new fodder for daughter
also: Percy to Molly! Dumbledore to Kendra!
Aug. 29th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Re: new fodder for daughter
What a completely appropriate analogy. Sirius=Horatio totally computes for me.
Aug. 29th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC)
Very nice indeed. I think you captured the character well. Nice "pune or play on words" to mix series references.
Aug. 29th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Why, thank you! Goodness, but I love Sirius. And the more I've been thinking about Rowling's characters, the more I appreciate that she gave all of them flaws. Except, perhaps, for Lily Potter. But James and Sirius were flawed, Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, Hermione . . . FABULOUS!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 29th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
Hooray! If it still makes sense without knowing the books, then I have done my job. Thanks, Melodye!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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