May. 31st, 2007

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I just finished reading 'The Music of Razors' by Cameron Rogers, and I'm not sure whether to be glad or vaguely scandalized that I'm so disturbed and touched and... possessed by it. For good or ill, there's nothing in the next HP book that's likely to affect me like this, because in the end while I love the HP characters, I never felt this direct, painfully vivid identification, this sort of... emotional reflection with them. Reading all those fun fantasy thrillers where the pages keep turning and nothing really matters that much beyond entertainment, I forgot just how deeply scarred and haunted I can be by a piece of writing.

The thing is, I have a love-hate relationship with that sort of thing. I really don't like having my emotional toes stepped on, having my heart wrung out, but at the same time I guess if things ended blandly or in a truly reassuring fashion, then it wouldn't haunt me like this, wouldn't seem so powerful or memorable. Just like Suni (a character in the book) says, it's the pain, the loss that we remember; all the losses and fears that make up the core of our identities.

There are larger themes in the book, more mythological aspects about angels and demons and other worlds, but the thing that really matters are the bits that are just about Hope and Suni, two really confused teenagers on the brink of touching-- something (themselves? each other?) but being held back, unable to go forward but also not quite able to leave the past behind, except that sometimes the past leaves you, and there's nothing you can do about it except survive the pain and move on. Just survive, and change if you can, roll with the punches. Any time I read about that in a powerful fashion in fiction, it's like a fist to the gut.

And in the end, the bittersweetness and the pure bitterness of that holding back-- of Suni being unable to break through to the other side, of being betrayed by his dreams even as he (sort of) transcends them if not achieves them-- that is more painful to me than any character death, somehow. The way love can hurt you, not through leaving you or breaking you, but by merely not being enough of the right thing at the right time, or by giving you the wrong thing at the right time. The most painful thing is someone you love meaning well, so painfully well, even as they destroy you, and you can't even blame them.

Supposedly there's a chance for a sequel where we find out the ultimate 'fates of the characters', so that some of this horrid hollowness of lost or twisted potentials could be changed or filled, but by the time I read it (if ever) this ache would be a distant memory, so it doesn't really matter. The worst thing that could happen to a character you care about, though, is definitely not death-- 'The Music of Razors' shows that beyond the shadow of a doubt. That's why I said that about book 7 not really having the same potential for impact, 'cause even if at worst Harry dies to save his friends, there's no way that'd hurt me as much as what Hope did to Suni, who loved her, whom she loved, all without anyone to blame, really. All without a real choice made, even.
    To deeply maim-- to destroy-- what you love without even being conscious of the meaning of the act, while hoping to do good in some twisted way-- is there anything more intrinsically horrific??! It's like Maya's fic where Harry keeps Draco as a mindless 'perfect boyfriend' who had to do everything Harry wanted, except like, a gadzillion times worse in its utter spareness and the good intentions and Suni's remaining awareness/sanity, and.... :/

But I don't regret having read the book, the way one doesn't regret loving a person who hurt you. There some deeply wise things in there about the uses of fear, the necessity of our wounds, the price of love, the things that make us feel alive.


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