Monday, July 11, 2005

You Go, Parvati and Padma!

I've ordered my copy of #6 to arrive on pub date, but I'm saving it to read on a long plane ride coming up in August. So don't tell me what happens, okay?

As for The Goblet of Fire flick, I trust that the Patil girls will be absolutely gorgeous, even as they dump Harry and Ron at the Yule Ball. Take a fuzzy peek at Harry dancing with Parvati (Shefali Chowdhury). In the books, Rowling makes these sisters downright silly. No "noble savage" or "exotic other" syndrome in Harry Potter, not for the Asians, at least. Rowling never uses ethnicity to define Cho Chang's character, apart from describing her shining dark hair. Cho, like Parvati and Padma, is permitted to be a girl first and foremost without any modifying adjectives or easy stereotypes. I like that.

Rowling, however, does rely on ethnic stereotypes to characterize Europeans. I wonder what it's like to be French and read about the pampered, picky students of Beauxbatons, or German, and read about the austere, cold practices of Durmstrang. It doesn't seem to have hindered sales of the books throughout the continent — or anywhere on the planet. Here's to Harry, everybody! Keep writing, J.K.!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Padma and Parvati are likely Maharastrian, so their last name is Patil - which is a surname in that community. If they were Gujurati, their name would be Patel. It's not a misspelling, if that's what you are suggesting.

Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks for the info; I edited the post accordingly. Both girls playing the parts come from Muslim families, and I'm assuming Maharastrian Patils are Hindus, so that's interesting ... (at least to me!)

Anonymous said...

I also found it very interesting that Rowling used stereotypes of Europeans in her books, and I was thinking about what she'd write if she brought any American wizards into the tales. From the other British literature I have read, they always seem to think Americans are vulgar, untidy, and rude. However, if she described this in one of her books, those of us in the U.S. would probably read it and think "Oh, that's just a stereotype. I'm not like that." It is interesting to contemplate stereotypes and how people react to them, though. We are all sure that we are "different", that generalizations are incorrect and unkind, but they must have come from somewhere! Maybe we should all just take a few minutes and think about that.