This may not be what you're expecting, given the topic.. I'm not going to talk about cheating your way out of unwinnable situations, although I do absolutely think that's a great topic.. one I'll maybe use on another day soon.. but rather than talk about the obvious, (cheating death/failure).. I'm going to talk about the idea of the Kobayashi Maru in the Star Trek movie series.
Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a Trekkie. I like the movies, and I've watched some of the TV shows, although not religiously.. I like the concept of the show, just not enough to ever attend a conference or name a kid after a character or dress up like some space cowboy or... you get the picture. But I recently watched the orignal Star Trek movies part 2 and 3 with my son and was struck by the continuity of the story.
If there is one thing I like about the show, it's that it knows and follows its roots. The Kobayashi Maru concept shows up in the original Star Trek movies from back in the early 80's.. and was incorporated to play a major role in the new updated version of the movie as well. I love it when stories are true to themselves, and when they actually plan ahead and introduce things early instead of just conveniently creating something that occurred 'off-screen' back around the first episode/book/movie and then bring it up later in the arc progression like it's well known.
(Harry Potter Spoiler Alert.)
I love the Harry Potter books. I really do, some of the best writing of our day without question imho.. but I really didn't like that the last book, the 'Deathly Hallows' was where we were first introduced the idea of the Deathly Hallows. I wish she would have referenced them somehow prior. A huge part of the final book dealt with the characters chasing after, thinking about, discussing the Deathly Hallows..something that big, and central to the story would have been better introduced earlier, imho.
|Deathly Hallows Symbol|
I do love that she introduces the ring in the 6th story, and that it plays a large and important part there.. that she introduces it as a horcrux, that it actually is the thing that leads to Dumbledore's death.. I just wish she'd have introduced the concept of the 3 brothers and the Deathly Hallows previously.
Now, I don't mean to be critical of the author, she has a ton, and I mean literally a ton of information and items that are introduced before they become relevant.. and I love that about her books. In fact, it makes going back and rereading the books all the more fun because there are all these important items or concepts that are casually mentioned and then not brought up until they're relevant. I think the foreshadowing is just tremendous in these stories, and as one who has attempted on a much small scale, something similar.. the amount of plotting and planning is outrageous. To do as many as Rowling did is simply astounding, imho.
This was just one thing that always stuck out to me in reading her books. She does this so well in all the other stories..and then in the finale, with one of the most central ideas.. the information is all contained in the final book.
I just think it could have been successfully introduced easily as a children's story, since that was essentially what it was.
However, complaining about this one thing over the entire Harry Potter series is like complaining that your desert spoon is slightly bent. It doesn't alter the end result, which was very pleasing.