Friday, February 14, 2014

TEEN ROUNDTABLE: Romance, Regrets, and overall Riveting conversation :)

For our February roundtable, we wanted to do a little something romance oriented. So, we centered the discussion around one of my favorite YA couples: Ron and Hermione and the recent Wonderland article (click here to read it!) about them. But before we get to the heart (pun intended J) of the chat, we’ll catch you up on our favorite shows...

Sarah: catching up on some Teen Wolf. love that show hard
Tracey: I've seen maybe three episodes of it, Sarah, and loved Stiles. Can it be all about him instead of the lopsided-faced star?
Sarah: omg stiles is ahmazing. This week's episode was ALL Stiles and there were so many boy tears
Tracey: I might start watching it again just for him.
Sarah: you should. he just keeps getting better and better. I'm really looking forward to Dylan O'Brien in Maze Runner
Tracey: Me too! I even saw that other movie with him that kinda sucked but I watched it because he's adorable
Alison: I wish I could contribute to the Teen Wolf conversation, but lame Alison doesn't even watch TV. I watched the first movie. With Michael J Fox. #oldperson
Katy: Yeah, I've never seen Teen Wolf either.
Alison: I keep saying I'm going to use netflix to catch up on Lost and FNL
Katy: Aaah! FNL! I'm totally obsessed! I just started watching. I'm through Season 1 and I LOVE IT.
Tracey: I only watch on Netflix now. I have no patience for commercials or waits between weeks.
Sarah: Alison, yeah you should def catch up on Lost. We DVR everything so we can fast forward thru commercials. Live tv is for chumps
Tracey: I second the Lost marathon. One of my favorite TV shows ever. That and Fringe.
Sarah: oh god, FRINGE!!
Tracey: Sarah, you're like my soul sister. I know it's the show I'll re-watch over and over. I've put off FNL because that would be one big black hole of TV watching. It'd be hazardous to my health.

Alison: So, did everyone read the Wonderland blurb? About Ron and Hermione? Thoughts?
Sarah: i had a lot of thoughts. mostly about the nature of having "regrets" about something you've written. Or at least a major aspect of something you've written years later
Katy: I read it. First, Emma Watson looks gorgeous on that cover. Second, I wish they'd all shut it and let the story live in the minds of readers. But that's just me.
Sarah: but also, my first thought was, nothing has changed for me. Her regrets don't have any impact on the my reading experience
Katy: I feel like that too, Sarah. I think R&H are pretty perfect for each other.
Sarah: i just really don't understand how she can have a regret over such a major aspect of the novels. Like, that's huge, so to me, she had to have had doubts WHILE she was writing it, right? A huge regret like that can't just come up out of nowhere years later
Riv: My main feeling is this: Hermione is this super rad and super brilliant and super capable young woman/girl. Why are we turning the dude she marries into this huge thing? There are many many more important things to think about, and who she ends up with in no effects who she is as a character.
Katy: Bravo, Riv
Sarah: I guess, for me, i never questioned if Hermione should have ended up with Ron or Harry or whoever. I just read the books and was like "this is what happened"
Katy: Also, I really love that Hermione and Harry had a lovely, platonic relationship
Matt: There really two questions at play here. The first, and maybe? the easiest, is about Harry/Ron/Hermione. For me ... Ron and Hermione were written in the stars. They had such a beautiful, authentic teen relationship, and one of the most believable I have ever read.
Tracey: Agreed. I won't stop loving Ron + Hermione.
Matt: I think a big part of it was that Rowling had a unique opportunity to build them up over seven books, but I think another big part was that they had a chance to BUILD. A chance to get to know each other, and FALL in love
Sarah: while reading the books, i don't know if it ever really occurred to me that Hermione would be with someone other than Ron. especially once it was clear they were headed that way. Since it was a slow build at first. Because they were younger
Matt: What felt so real to me was that they were friends first, and then spent a long time being awkward, but still kind of in love, and then it worked out. I thought that was lovely in the long run. And yeah, a lot of books don't have the luxury of that much time, but who cares? Rowling did, and she made it work with class and heart.
Sarah: I do know i think i would have been disappointed if Harry and Hermione had been a thing. It would have been a bit too cliche for me or something
Katy: Yes, too expected
Tracey: I love Harry and Hermione's friendship, and I love that it was just a friendship
Rebecca: As someone who's only watched the first three movies and read 2.5 of the books, I don't really have an opinion on the subject. It was surprising to hear what the authors true feelings were but I feel like it shouldn't have realty been touched. It's done and dusted and considering the fan base, I think they were pretty happy with how it ended. Plus, yay for the lovely platonic friendship! Double plus, I'm looking forward to one day reading/watching Hermione and Ron get together. Considering how much they BICKER in the beginning, it should be very interesting and amusing.
Sarah: it is super adorable; though, i will say that i don't know that i ever really bought into Harry and Ginny. It seemed an extra stretch in the movies, too, just because there was no real chemistry between the actors
Katy: Yes, Harry and Ginny's scenes felt awkward. Especially in the books. Should've been Harry and Luna.
Rebecca: Harry and Ginny? Really? I didn't know about that. Ginny always was smitten with Harry though.
Alison: I personally LOVED R and H together - I felt it was very natural. I'm kind of like Sarah. The regrets thing threw me for a head spin.
Tracey: The problem is that these are real people to the fans, and it's hard to think about what could have been or might have been because that's not what *was.* We think of it like they lived and it all happened, because that's how you think about a really great story.

Matt: How do we feel about authors in general essentially retconning beloved franchisees in this way? I mean, I love Jo, to no end, and I would never second guess anything she does because she's a genius and the greatest kidlit author ever in my book, but I have to say...
Sarah: i think it's dumb, if i'm being honest
Matt: as a reader I don't really care for her getting this specific about a published work in an interview.
Sarah: yeah i have problems with it. Like, why you gettin' your hands all dirty like that?
Matt: as a writer? I get it, I do, but I don't know how necessary it is, or whether there's some publicity reason behind it, I'm sad to say. Because, again, such a huge regret. which to me means she had to have been thinking of it for awhile. Most likely while she was still writing it so she had time to "correct" it then. And if she didn't, then that's on her, and she should keep that to herself
Tracey: I think it's fine to regret it, but maybe just tell your close friends and family. As a reader, I don't want to know what an author regrets.
Matt: I mean, buy all mean, HAVE REGRET, that's the definition of story, but don't make it public, am I right?
Sarah: Or maybe, maaaaaybe if you want to bring it up at least give it another decade or two, you know? It's still pretty fresh for a lot of fans
Katy: The general consensus among authors seems to be that once the book is pubbed, it belongs to the readers. I wish JK would have stuck with that.
Matt: READERS = OWNERSHIP of STORY. Hell yes. That defines it for me, Katy.
Rebecca: What Katy said!
Tracey: It'd be one thing if it were an issue in the book that's often talked about. Like if Stephanie Meyer came out and said, "You know what, Edward watching Bella sleep *was* kinda creepy. I regret that." But it's hard for the readers when it's a relationship they love.
Rebecca: Once it's been written and published, it's done. I would hate it if an author wrote about having regrets and wishing something had gone a different way, if I loved the book and was happy with how it was. Or even if I didn't like how a book/series ended and it came put later the author regretted a relationship or how the love triangle turned out. Then I'd just be frustrated that it still turned out the way it did because it's been written and there's turning back. Let sleeping dogs lie, I say.
Tracey: Well said, Rebecca.
Matt: Or don't right the damn epilogue in the first place. Am I alone in that I would have loved Haryy Potter equally without it? Something left to the imagination and what not?
Katy: That epilogue... *shudder*
Sarah: yeah, i mean, if she didn't have that, then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Or probably not
Matt: I think one huge issue that is often left out in the media is the scope of this series. I mean that shit had never been done, not like that, not in kidlit, not EVER. So I think Jo was left with a baby she had never dreamed of. As lovers of books, ALL of us are very lucky to have had her.
Sarah: How awesome is it that we have a series that starts as MG and then transitions to YA? Why isn't that more of a thing? I would love that to be more of a thing
Rebecca: Agreed! I'd love to read an MG-YA series. Quick, someone right one!
Sarah: Right? Like books and characters that age with their readers? For example, i always thought it was awesome that i was the same age as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We were in the same grade. We aged at the same rate
Rebecca: Yes! There's nothing better than getting to grow with characters. As they age up, you do too.

Matt: But what about HER? I mean authors are still poeple right? How about her attempt to go anon, and her publisher or whoever outing her? Is there a conversation worth having, maybe a sub-convo worth having, about her rights as an artist?
Tracey: I think she has a RIGHT to change her her mind and regret, sure. But I wish it had been one of those take-it-to-your-grave regrets.
Sarah: I think it's a difficult place to be in regards to the anon/publisher bit. Because, also, doesn't the pubber have the right to cash in on her name?
Matt: So agreed, Tracey. I would have loved if she never said anything, but since it's been said, should we converse about her right to say something? Personally, I'm against it in ways, and for it in others.
Sarah: Matt, i also think there's something to be said, too, about opening a conversation with your readers
Matt: Agreed. Like ... can it ever be done perfectly? Obvisouly not, but can it ever be done RIGHT? And with respect?
Sarah: So yes, keeping her mouth shut is one side. But by saying "i have regrets" maybe it also opens a conversation between the author and readers. I mean, it certainly opened a lot of conversations on the interwebs
Matt: Yep. But I still think that same question from Rowling would have meant more (or maybe less, LOL) in twenty years.
Sarah: but there definitely has to be some sort of balance there, and i have no idea what it is. Also, the ability to have conversations between readers and authors is, more or less, a new convention with the invention of the internet so a lot of this is new ground to tread for EVERYONE. So there are bound to be misteps along the way
Matt: And it's a good thing. I truly believe it is, but one has to be careful.
Sarah: honestly, though, i hope in my career, i never have such a huge regret in something i write
Katy: Same, Sarah. I'd keep it to myself if I did, though
Matt: I feel the same, but at the same time, I think Rowling deserves some ... leeway? For creating somehing so beyond what she ever expected
Sarah: that's a heavy burden to live with. And yes, i would also keep it to myself. Or wait until i'm elderly and just don't give a shit any more

Tracey: Oh! I just thought of a good example of an author who had regrets, talked about it, and it was amazing! Veronica Roth, after DIVERGENT published, publicly talked about regretting the scene where Tris is sexually assaulted because it was treated flippantly and it was basically a plot device. She was honest and open about it, and I respect her more for it. And I don't think it ruined the story, the characters or her world at all.
Katy: That's a great example, Tracey
Sarah: god, i completely forgot that Tris was sexually assaulted. And that is a great example
Katy: And I agree: VR handled that really well
Tracey: Here's her blog post about it:
Sarah: but, that to me makes sense. Like she's apologizing for taking the easy way out of a serious thing
Tracey: So I think authors can have regrets, and I think they can speak publicly about them. But whether they SHOULD seems to be a matter of what it is they regret. Now, if Veronica Roth comes out later and says she regrets the ending of ALLEGIANT...that might cause more of a stir...
Alison: Please don't spoil that one. I still haven't read ALLEGIANT.
Matt: LOL. I have heard the ending is controversial.
Alison: lalalalalala *plugs ears*
Tracey: No, my lips are sealed, Alison. That would be a sucky spoiler to spill.
Matt: I have yet to read that Trilogy, but don't worry, I don't get mad over spoilerish stuff, since I can usually see them coming. As for Divergent in general, I imagine it suffers from many of the same questions that Harry Potter suffered from, because major commercial success is going to harm artistic interpretation of any work, in any medium. Such has proven throughout history, and it can work for good as much as it can work for ill.
Sarah: i wonder if it depends on if/where the moral weight lies. Like, there really is no moral weight about who Hermione marries. But there's definitely a lot of moral weight in regards to rape culture
Matt: Moral weight and history is a great point, Sarah.
Sarah: so, like, regretting using rape culture as a just a plot point makes sense to me. Regretting which character hooked up with who, not the same thing. Or at least it seems to me, anyway
Katy: I agree, Sarah. Sexual assault is something that's genuinely upsetting to most people, particularly victims. R&H is silly in comparison. I get why VR felt the need to explain herself.
Tracey: I also think readers have very strong opinions when it comes to romance and very strong attachments to couples. More so than their attachment to a certain plot issue.

Um . . . apparently we didn’t end up talking about romance. Oops. Hope you enjoyed regardless. Thoughts on author regrets? Favorite romances? And Happy Valentine’s Day!


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