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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I'm not allowed to have layers?"
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July 23 2011

Joss Whedon talks Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods and Buffy. Great video interview at Techland also has an interview with him where he talks about the Buffy comics and the Harry Potter ending.

I just watched it - when did he talk about the Harry Potter ending?
Yeah, he talked about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and how it was responsible for destroying magic first. [eta] Oh, you mean the other interview!

This was fun. He didn't really give much away about his projects, just some insight into what it's like for him right now. Busy & panicky!

[ edited by Emmie on 2011-07-24 12:16 ]
maddy click on the Techland interview to read his comments about Harry Potter.
Excellent interview, I like hearing how it is for him(!).
Did Joss really just call BtVS "mundane"?
While I hesitate to disagree with Joss Whedon, particularly in matters of narrative, "Harry Potter" does not take place in either our universe or the Whedonverse. The way things, and people, work in Rowling's world *does* allow for people to go through what the characters go through, get married and stay married. For that matter, while not a romantic couple, Mal and Zoe are indeed together years after having jointly survived the Battle of Serenity Valley.
While I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I'd be interested in hearing what is different in the Harry Potter world that allows for people to go through trauma and react differently than they would in other universes. To me, what makes good sci fi and fantasy work is that the characters react the same, no matter how fantastical the universe is.
Did Joss really just call BtVS "mundane"?

I have a feeling he's being sarcastic.
As far as the Harry Potter thing goes, I'm torn. On the one hand, I see what he means about it being all tied up in a neat little bow with everyone being happy and married. But I think that was the point. It was important to see that Harry and co. are happy and have families, because that was always the most important thing to Harry himself. He needed to end the story with a family, because that was the one thing he wanted more than anything else.
I think the Harry Potter ending reflects different attitudes by the creators: Joss could write a believable Firefly or Buffy 20 years later, because those characters continue to live for him and he wants to think of them still out in the world (with all the good and bad that involves). I think that JKR really wanted to tie up her story, with that 19 year coda, so that it would be over (and fan fiction writers wouldn't think they could mess with her cannon). However I think JKR is already regretting that she did end it so completely (jmpo, I don't know for sure if she is regretting it), it limits your ability to keep playing in the world you created.
Maybe J.K. needed to believe in a normal happy ending for her as well, while Joss is just too optimistic for uncomplicated endings. She has talked about how wrapped up her life was with the story of Harry, and how it did get her to a really bad place. Obviously, her life has gone straight downhill since then, but to say the scars never hurt at all cannot be totally honest. I think life can be painful, at times near unlivable after a thing like that. George Martin mentioned at the Game of Thrones panel that Tolkien had it right when it comes to ending this type of story.
Knuckleball, "Harry Potter" is a very different universe from "Buffy" or "Angel." Take the Weasleys, for instance - would Joss Whedon really create a completely happy married couple who have seven children, open their home to both Harry and Hermione, with no marital strife, substance abuse, Mrs. Weasley being too tired to take care of anyone, etc., etc.? A world in which the Weasleys can exist in the way that we see them is already a different world than that of "Buffy" or "Angel." IMHO, of course.
There's a lot of dark family stuff in Harry Potter. I'd argue it's the darker universe of the two in terms of family dynamics, actually. Harry is abused as a child. Emotionally and physically. The Dursleys don't even feed him enough. There's codified racism, and enslaved domestic servants. Harry's dad was a bully, and Harry is bullied by the teacher who was a victim of that. There was a lot of strain in the Weasley household at times, and I thought that pressure in an otherwise happy family was very believable. And so on. Yeah none of the Scoobies had the best family lives, but with a "high school is hell" metaphor and a need for a tight-knit core group of teenagers that could work with, of course there are no Cleavers on screen. There are several strong parental figures though. As flawed as Buffy's mom can be, she's still amazing. Personally I'd much rather have Buffy's childhood than Harry's.

Neither story has shied away from flawed parents, dysfunctional families, deaths of parents and mentors, and the emotions that go with all that. I think handling all that well is a big reason a lot of adults are still following stories about teenagers.

I think Harry Potter did get wrapped up with too nice and neat of a bow. It's pretty much awesome before the epilogue. No need for who married whom. They're 17 at the end, they have their whole adult lives ahead of them.
I thought the point was less who married whom than that the world had been saved - kids are going off to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express at the end. The battle achieved its intended purpose, not just of ridding the world of Voldemort, but of making possible the world that Harry et al wanted to see continue. And I think perhaps J.K. Rowling did want to essentially say, "Please don't fanfic Harry later on with Hermione - or Ron ..." Not to say everything, or most things, should end this way, but once in awhile, it's okay to say, "There was a terrible struggle, but it achieved the intended result."

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