27 July 2007

Choking on the Bone

Welcome to my first post-Potter post in a while. And shockingly enough this post isn't really about Potter at all (shocking I know)-though, to be fair, it is inspired by a quote I read today in an interview with JK Rowling. She was talking about the major themes in the books and said something to the effect of how what she likes to look at in characters is what decent people do when they're frightened-and how much she values the virtue of courage.

When I was in England earlier this summer we got into lots of discussions on risk taking. I don' t really consider myself a risk taker-I think I've written about this before. I usually take the safe route. I stay in my room on weekends instead of going out to meet people more often than not.

I've had lots of interesting varied thoughts on courage and bravery today-I was listening to You've Got Mail today at work (I listen to movies while I enter information into a computer) and there's a line in there where Kathleen wonders if she is the way she is because she likes it or because she hasn't been brave. And then through a series of frustrating events I found myself back in that pit of depression that comes after I have a streak of ambition that I can't do anything about. I had so many great plans for myself after I came home from England-I felt as though I had really made some emotional progress. I was ready to take on the world and be the person I've wanted the strength to be-and then I got back and everything I wanted for myself blew up in my face in the space of about...72 hours. Give or take. I spent half the afternoon at work thinking about my summer and how I have gone from one extreme of feeling that everlasting yea to another feeling everlasting no (look up the reference).

But I've decided that I don't want to feel down any more. My last semester at school was miserable and I don't want this summer to be that way either. So after thinking about that quote and then reading Jo's interview, I decided to look up some quotes on courage to see if I could get a better definition of what it was. Because there are pretty varied definitions-the thesaurus lumps it up alongside words that don't necessarily feel like they would always go up next to each other-faith and recklessness for example. Coolness and certainty alongside aggressiveness and daring. In other words, the definition of courage is still a little up for grabs. Or at least what people associate courage with.

So I looked up some quotes on courage instead-since that is what I do-I'm a quote person. And I found a lot of good (if somewhat contradictory) quotes on courage. I found a few main themes though-for instance, most people agree that courage doesn't exist if there is no opposition. Simple enough. Some people point out that the best kind of courage exists in small doses in day to day things, and others talk of those who aren't afraid to stand on their own. Some say courage is the absence of fear, others say that courage is the conquest of it. I haven't fully come to my own conclusions on courage yet, but I'm hoping that further study/experience may gear me up to make the changes I want in my life possible in this next semester. In the meantime-chew on a few of these quotes and come to your own conclusions.

Alan Cohen: It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

Buckminster Fuller: Dare to be naive.

Charles Dubois: The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.

Eleanor Roosevelt: You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

Teddy Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

From a speech given in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910

Winston Churchill: Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

And because I can't go one post without mentioning Harry...a week ago this very minute I was opening my copy of book seven. Chapter one, page one. Sad! I want that night back!

22 July 2007

"All was well"

General Warning: This post is about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you have not finished the book, get off the computer and go read it. Shame on you for being here. If you have finished, bravo: continue. Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

This will be one of probably two posts on this book. I haven't quite digested it all yet-I want to re-read the book and take it all in before I really post. For now I think I'll address my predictions and general perceptions of the book.

I was pretty pleased with how well I did in predicting. And those things that I didn't get right I either couldn't have guessed (what the Deathly Hallows really were), or had logical explanations for (Harry as a Horcrux, Neville dying)-so I'll give myself a pat on the back. Because I can and because none of you are around to glare at me or roll your eyes at me for being such a snot.

Harry as a Horcrux was something I started to think about more seriously as the book went on so that by the end I was half convinced of it. Most of that was because of the way the locket behaved. The locket seemed to have a kind of life of its own. It reacted to what was going on. Why this spurred the thought I don't know-but I started to think that maybe the very reasons I thought Harry couldn't be a Horcrux also supported the theory, in a way. I hadn't considered that the connection between the two of them (Harry and Voldemort) would be a literal one, not just an emotional one. I also didn't think that Horcruxes could be accidents-the description of how they're made makes it sound as though it has to be fairly deliberate. But, there it is. It worked because it went the way Orson Scott Card predicted-he was able to live because he gave himself willingly and because of his love (he was thinking about Ginny. *peals of triumphant laughter). Speaking of sacrificial lambs-anyone else catch the blatant Christian symbolism? I hope so.

Neville living worked out for me too-even though I was completely convinced of him dying right up to the end. I liked that he had a pretty good handle on himself in this book. He was able to really come into his own-and even killed the snake which was excellent. Horray for Neville! I'm glad that the six DA-Ministry people from the fifth book are still in tact.

I like the shades of gray Jo brings up in the book. The Malfoys aren't really evil or good. They don't fight on either side, because they decide that they value their family more than anything. I liked shading Dumbledore's past too-it made him more human. And it gave room to bring Harry above his hero (hooray for the hero's journey!)

I liked that Harry didn't end up killing Voldemort directly in the end. It keeps him pure and is another way that pulls Harry above Dumbledore.

Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione at the end. I think I died of cuteness. Freaking adorable! And bittersweet too. Lots of this book seemed almost self-indulgent to me on Jo's part-certainly necessary for the plot but also a little of her just needing to say good-bye. I thought it was sad to see Harry say good-bye to Privet Drive-an acknowledgment of how far he has come from being this kid who finds out he's a wizard one day to this. I thought the end was symbolic too-Harry sending his boy off to school-the circle comes back. And ending it at a train station where it all began-not just for us, but for Jo as well. Beautiful. Only this time, Harry's surrounded by his family and friends-and, as Jo says-there has been peace for 19 years. If Ron's learning to drive a Muggle car then things have to have improved in wizard/Muggle relations.

The symbolism of the houses was still there in the Horcruxes too-another thing that made me incredibly happy. Thanks to Harry being tied with Gryffindor, that is.

Snape/Lily was interesting to me-something that I hadn't really wanted, really-mostly because in the fan fiction world every Maurader-era fic typically revolves in which Maurader/Snape is in love with Lily and it gets on my nerves because it feels so Mary-Sue. The only one I ever found interesting was the Snape/Lily idea, but I had issues seeing it until Jo explained it better. I hadn't ever seen Snape as most people write him-someone poisoned by forbidden love who turns into a Muggle-hater because James got there first-it was too simple. Too typical. Having him like Lily but still have issues with the Muggle-born thing made him more interesting. It was excellent and tragic all at once. No wonder he hates Harry right off the bat-imagine seeing your enemy's child-the perfect reincarnation of the enemy with your lover's eyes? Talk about insult to injury. The eyes of a person are so much more difficult than a nose or mouth or something. Harsh.

Did anyone catch blatant world war two references? Yikes. Creepy. Some of this book gave me chills it was so disgusting. Having to prove your relations? Muggle Studies turning into a kind of Hitler-Youth thing? Yikes. All the way around, yikes.

The book was so symbolic at times it was ridiculous. This book, of all of them, felt like it was important to us, considering the state of the world. One line that hit me was at the end of the fifth chapter when Hermione says "Harry, he's taking over the Ministry and the newspapers and half the Wizarding world! Don't let him inside your head too!" (pg 85, US). Well. Call me obsessive for trying to make everything in this world relate to my many fictional ones but that one doesn't seem so far fetched. Sunday school lessons on dealing with the devil anyone?

Well, I'll be back with more after I've fully digested everything-but it's been an incredible ride, hasn't it? I pulled my copy of book one off my bookshelf last night after finishing the book and flipped through the pages. We've come a long way. It's hard to imagine, really-hard to fathom over. It's been amazing. Jo-there aren't words to express how I'm feeling right now. My sincerest thanks.

14 July 2007

Broken Record

I said I'd be back with more Harry Potter movie reviewing but after reading Orson Scott Card's review of the movie I don't feel the need to, since the man has (and much more eloquently than I could, I might add) said exactly what I wanted to say. So rather than give a more in depth viewing of the movie analysis after my second time around, I'm going to do what we did through all of England on our study abroad: synthesize everything. Or bobbette everything if you want the other vocab word.

I learned in England not to go anywhere without paper, especially to plays and movies and concerts and things because if I didn't have a notebook handy I'd forget what I wanted to say. It's easy enough to make those notes in classes or on campus-or other places when there aren't stories to follow but seeing plays without a notebook is hard-there's too much going on to remember that one line that you liked or the one scene that touched you. As a result, I've written down the lines that got to me in one way or another when I watched the movie today.

Like OSC says, it's interesting how intelligent this movie is. There's so much there to consider. This movie touched me in ways the book didn't. The book is so laced with humor that, at times, I don't know if I really felt the seriousness of the situation. Or the cruelty. Seeing is different than reading though-I'm thinking particularly of two scenes that were in the book. The first is the detention scene with Harry-that first one when you first see Umbridge's satisfied smile and the words being etched on Harry's hand. Goodness...you know, I love Umbridge as a character. she's a brilliant villain. Reading her makes me admire Jo's ability to create two toned characters that are both humorous and villainous-really meaty characters you can sink your teeth into. But seeing her made me feel sick inside. That scene unnerved me in ways that it didn't when I read it. Maybe this is because I'm thinking more about becoming a teacher and have all these massive ideas on what public education should be-but hearing Umbridge tell Harry that "you know deep down inside you deserve to be punished"-ugh. The other scene was seeing Trelawny be sacked. A good portion of this is probably because the director decided to take the scene seriously-I seem to remember it being slightly comical in the book-but Emma Thompson is so brilliant that seeing her half trip over her suitcase made that sick feeling come back. Harry is right when he tells Hermione that whatever "this" is, it isn't simple.

These books are much more complex than people give them credit for. Yes, they're housed in the children's section, but they don't deserve to be any more, I don't think. Or people should stop thinking of them simply as children's literature. Like it's degrading. Think of how many incredible children's books there are out there that teach really powerful, deep lessons-much better than any serialized romance or crummy thriller you'd find in the regular Fiction section. Charlotte's Web and Bridge to Terabithia, for example-they deal very seriously with what it is to have friendship and what it means to face death. The Giver. Tuck Everlasting. The Boxcar Children. All these books about children who are faced with really serious situations and decisions-whether or not to drink a water that will make you live forever or face death-how to survive without parents-and we shun them as books that don't make children think? Make people think? Harry Potter is no different. People shun them aside as children's literature in the worst sense of the phrase because they are fantasy and involve children-but these books make people think in ways that I would wager more than half the books in the fiction section at Barns and Noble could.

This movie brings some of those themes out-I definitely left the theater both times with things to consider. Take two of the lines from the movie for example-Umbridge telling her class that they'll learn about defense in a "secure risk free environment" and Sirius saying "what's life without a bit of risk". We had lots of discussion about risk on our study abroad. I'm not a really risky person. I am, in a way since I do theater-every audition is a risk-but I don't really see it in that way any longer because it's something I just do. So what are they saying about risk? Because neither way is really the right way. Living life without risk or too much risk isn't what Jo is promoting here-or the film for that matter. We see where Sirius and Umbridge end up. Where is the medium?

The movie did some really great things with developing Harry's character that I loved particularly. The scene at the end when he gives his speech to Voldemort (kind of reminded me of Moses 1 in the Pearl of Great Price...was that blasphemous?)-at the end of it he says "I feel sorry for you (Voldemort)". After all he's been through, afraid that he's becoming his enemy-he expresses sorrow for him. It's Frodo admitting he feels bad for Smeagol/Gollum. Brilliant. The other bit I really liked was Harry's speech on how all the greatest wizards were children once-and if they can do it, then so can the DA. I love that because I love thinking about the power of youth. I think lots of this is because I felt so much more grown up than I was when I was younger. My emotions were very real to me. I wanted to be taken seriously. So when I see kids doing what I wanted to do-create a symbolic DA of sorts and be able to fight against adults and win-I get really excited. It's why I loved Matilda so much. It isn't bashing on adults-it's not denying the feelings and emotions and intelligence of children, who really do understand much more than most people give them credit for because we're told to sugar coat everything.

Spiritually the part of the movie that touched me most was the idea that Harry has where he thinks he's becoming Voldemort. I think we're a little too hard on ourselves as members of the church sometimes. We really are a bunch of transcendentalists, in a way-there's a lot of emphasis on perfecting yourself. I think we sometimes get really focussed-or at least I do-on what it is we're doing wrong. Because we focus so much on these things we aren't good at, I think we assume that God does too. But I think we give ourselves too little credit. Dumbledore says it later in the film-it isn't what makes us like (Voldemort/Satan)-it's what makes us different. It's the times when we do live up to our own expectations, and succeed. It's when our intentions are pure. We focus so much on exactness that we forget mercy-we forget that God wants us home more than anything.

Anyway. That's enough Harry Potter for now. Good grief-it's all I blog on now. Mostly this is because I don't have anything else of interest going on. I don't want to write about how stressful selling my contract is because then I'd have to think about it some more.

My sister was baptized today-it's crazy because I remember when she was born and thinking I would be twenty when she got baptized. That's pretty old for a twelve year old. I remember thinking I could be married or dating someone at that point (so much for that)-and here it is. It was a pretty emotional day. I won't go into all the details or the background on it, but it was incredible to see her. There was a baby picture of her in the program right next to one of her now-forgive me while I wax sentimental for a second-I love my family. Having everyone in my family together is something of a luxury now with me at school most of the time and my brothers always out with friends and my dad with work and...it's a rare occasion. We've been through the mill as a whole family in the last few months with problems that don't need to be shared with the world, but let me just say that seeing my family come together today really reminded me of how it can (and should) be-and how grateful I am for the gospel.

11 July 2007

Two thumbs up. And a wand.

I don't have time to give the whole review now-partly because I have so much reading to do and only a bit of time to do it before I go to bed. I've got about two days left to finish Order of the Phoenix if I want to keep on schedule and yesterday put me behind. Not that I didn't get my dose of it anyway. I'd like to wait until I see the movie again before I do a full review anyway. This review will, therefore, be somewhat scattered and random.

1. FINALLY a director that knows what he's doing. The transitions worked so well. How do you condense an 870 page book into a two hour and fifteen (ish) minute movie? That's about the same length as the Prisoner of Azkaban film. Well, for starters, you pick one part of the storyline and run with it. Which is what he did. Order of the Phoenix has lots of detail in it-detail that is necessary in a complex book but not as necessary in a less complex/wordy venue such as a film. The details that needed to be there were kept. Those that weren't were scrapped.

2. Screenwriter-I'm in love with this man. It's about time someone realized that the dialogue Jo creates is good the way it is. So many of my favorite one liners made the cut! Horray!

3. The movie stands on its own, but still gives plenty of nods to those of us who comb through the books-the scene in the underground with Mr. Weasley. Kingsley and Tonks-you know who they are if you haven't read the books, but those of us who have appreciate that they are there. I disagree with Liz on this-on Kreacher as well. It would have broken suspense and taken too much time to develop his storyline at this time. Besides-I get the feeling that Kreacher's importance isn't so much in this fooling of Harry as it is in book seven, but I guess we'll see later on. Jo reads over these scripts and as far as I'm concerned, she wouldn't let them do anything really drastic.

4. Luna! I disagree with Liz here too-Luna was funny and profound at the same time. It was perfect, because she is that way in the books too. Really-a lot of what she says in the books is quite profound, but it's masked with humor. Still though-she's a Ravenclaw. She's smart. And you get the feeling that she really lives in her own world. She doesn't care what people think of her, but she's not bitter about it in the way some people are.

5. Ginny-she rocks. Period.

The movie just felt like a movie. It didn't feel like it was joking around, it felt like it was taking itself seriously. Like the people who made it really wanted it to be good film-wise, not just good in the Harry Potter verse.

I thought the cuts they made were decent cuts. The business with expanding on the prophecy for example-all of that is necessary in the book because Harry's character is developed more. So much of five is internal that Harry needs to have all the extra stuff about the prophecy being important because Voldemort makes it important, and Dumbledore having heard it but-really-do we need it? Not really. Not in the film-verse. Because for the film-going crowd this is the Empire Strikes Back. This is Luke being like-ok. I know I've got to fight the bad guy now and destroy him. No, it isn't as meaty or as developed as the book is, but it's all you need. Anyway-I'm going to see the movie again and come back with more.

For now just don't try and argue with me. I'm sick of all my friends whining about what wasn't in the film. Come on, people. Get over it. I was surprised at how faithful they were to the book in the end. As opposed to the other films, more of this film came strait from the book.

In brighter less annoyed news-only ten days until seven comes out!

10 July 2007

Double Feature (and a little extra)

These last two Scholastic questions are a little ridiculous, so I'll be brief. Or as brief as I ever am. Then I have to reply to Ebert's review of the fifth movie (and give my token guide to watching the movie lecture).

Question six: Will Voldemort be defeated?

Seriously? Ok. Fine.


Know what that number is? That is (according to my calculator and the numbers The Lexicon gave me) the number of words contained in the first six books of the series. This isn't including the number of words in the school books, the interviews, or (presumably) the correct number of words for the books when published in other languages (or even the Brit/American versions). I'm assuming that the word count is probably from the US versions and since those are the versions most of us read on this side of the pond, that's the number we'll use. The next book will (judging by the length of four and six) be somewhere around 170,000 more words-easily putting the number of words in the series past a million.

And they are telling me that after all of this reading and re reading and agony over waiting (for five especially) that the point of the books would fail? Good grief.

Yes. Voldemort will be defeated. Otherwise we've all wasted so much of our time. Seriously-if, theoretically, Harry dies and Voldemort lives than what is JKR saying? This whole time she's been saying that good will conquer evil in the end, and that our choices determine our fate, and etc. etc. etc. and if all that is reversed...what a lame question. Boo on Scholastic. I should have expected it though-I've never been really impressed with Scholastic's take on the books. Mostly because they gear their questions and trivia contests towards the 9-12 year old range of readers (which they shouldn't at this point-but that's another soap box for a little later on). Scholastic drives me nuts with the lack of research they do. But then-I research to absurd degrees because I'm strange like that. This is why I wrote so many trivia questions myself for the last Potter Party I worked at Barns and Noble.

I've left my point. The question, I guess, isn't so much whether or not Voldemort will die, or just be sent to wallow. Dumbledore talks about how there are fates worse than death and that he fails to recognize this, but because he is so afraid of it, and because he has already done the "undead" thing before, it's time for him to die. Shockingly, (or maybe not), this is the one question that people seem to agree on with intelligence in the poll-80% or so say that he'll die. Bravo. Now to deal with the randomness in the other half of the 'who will live/die' poll where the same 80% say that he'll live. (eh?)

Question Seven is "What are the Deathly Hallows". I'm pretty sure I went into manic detail on this earlier on when the title was released...the difference between 'hallows' and 'hollows' and all. This question is another kind of lame one because it's something that is almost unguessable. It's the whole point of book seven, really-discovering what they are. If we knew much about them already then the point of seven would be half lost. I would bet that "Deathly Hallows" probably has a double meaning from what we know now-hallows can be places, nights/events (Halloween, for example), or things. My favorite description is one from the Lexicon-they point out that 'deathly' is sometimes used synonymous with 'deadly' but that more often it is used in reference to something that is subject to death as opposed to something that inflicts or causes death. The ancient use of 'hallows' was in reference to relics of saints. They believed that the saints themselves were housed in the relics-a fairly decent connection between Voldemort and the Horcruxes. But it's all speculation at this point, because finding out about the Horcruxes and where they are is the point of the next book.

So Ebert gave a rather ridiculous review of the movie-mostly because he's shocked about how dark it is...sigh. Fortunately for anyone who has read the book, the review should be a screaming endorsement of the movie, because between the lines he more or less confirms that the movie has been true to the tone of the book, which is very dark. JKR said in an interview once that the book had to be dark, and that ”...A psychologically plausible child would have been institutionalized by now, having gone through all this. He’s suffered and tolerated so much.’ “ (The Leaky Cauldron, 10 July 2007)

So in other words, the movie should be great. It has the highest rating a Potter film has ever had on Rotten Tomatoes. I was reading through comments on one of the posts at Rotten Tomatoes forum on the movie and heard probably the best piece of advise on watching the movie ever-don't spend all your time looking for what isn't there. Enjoy what is there, don't even try the 'it ruined the book' line (the book will still be there), and if you're anything like me, bring a hankie. I'm such a wimp.

Now that I'm done with the Scholastic questions, I think I'll move on to just random book commentary...I'm in the middle of re-reading five and I'll read six next week-I want to do a post on education theories after reading some of Umbridge again (quotes on how the ministry system of education doesn't allow for people to voice opinions on things they don't know about...etc).

But that's going to have to wait. Because I have a ticket at the IMAX with my name on it. And I'll sit in the back row so the kid behind me doesn't vomit all over again. That was nasty. Nothing will get in the way of my enjoying Harry Potter mania while I still can.

Oh boy. I'm such a nerd...it's a good thing I learned to accept the fact...

06 July 2007

Where, oh where have the horcruxes gone?

The fifth question posed by Scholastic is "Where are the Horcruxes?". I'm going to use this as a small excuse to expound on some of my more brilliant Voldemort and Snape insights ;)

First of all, one thing Jo mentioned (or rather, hasn't mentioned) is the significance of the look Dumbledore gets on his face after Harry comes out of the maze in book four-after Harry has related the story of the graveyard to him in his office. Harry tells him that Voldemort took some of his blood and then Dumbledore gets a look of triumph on his face. We know it's significant (see numerous evasive interviews), but she hasn't explained why. Here comes the brilliant insight-Voldemort having Harry's mother's blood running through him does allow him to touch Harry-but it does also give him traces of that love he despises so much. He's taken into himself some of the power that destroyed him in the first place. Wouldn't that make him easier to kill the second time around? He is both strengthened and weakened by the stuff...

As for Snape (I was listening to the end of book 4 at work today), I think I have further proof as to why he would be on the good side. It's at the end when Dumbledore and Fudge are having their spat about whether or not Fudge should get rid of the dementors/admit Voldy is back/etc. when all of the sudden Snape rips back the sleeve of his robes and shoves the Dark Mark into Fudge's face in an attempt to convince him to take Dumbledore's advice. Why would he do that if he was on Voldemort's side? It wasn't necessary, really. He didn't need to prove to Fudge that he was on the good side, Fudge already believed it. So did Dumbledore. It was a blatant attempt on his side to convince Fudge that Voldemort was back. Why would he do that if he was on Voldemort's side? Having Fudge live in denial is what Voldemort wants-it's why he lays low for virtually all of book five. If Snape was working for Voldemort or intending to turn to his side again, why would he do such a thing?

Anyway. Onward and upward.

Horcruxes. Interesting things, aren't they? Kind of morbid. What do we know about them (or think we know-Dumbledore could be wrong)-there should be seven total (including the one still in LV)-two are destroyed (ring-representing his pure blood ancestry, and diary-representing his years at Hogwarts). That leaves four tokens left, plus the big man himself. Some people suspect that there are more than this, but I doubt it. Jo has said that she considers 7 a 'powerfully magical number'. It's symbolic in many ways-eight just doesn't have the same weight. So laboring under the assumption that there are four (plus one) left for Harry to destroy, and Dumbledore was right about the cup and the locket-we've got two variables.

Dumbledore suggested that he thought Nagini might be an interesting option for a Horcrux, but I doubt it somehow. Voldemort does have curious control over her, but he is like that with most people that aren't horcruxes-and it seems so unlikely that he would put his trust in putting a horcrux in something that's living and has the capability to get away from him (even if the chance is small). It just doesn't feel right. Nagini is a mortal snake-it does not seem likely that he would place a bit of his soul into something that could die. Not to mention the significance of having the remaining four horcruxes come from the houses of the founders-it ties together the significance of the school rather nicely. Besides-one of the most important parts of the hero's journey is the part where the apprentice overcomes the master-it happens when Frodo is able to destroy the ring and Bilbo/Isildur couldn't-it happens when Luke is able to overcome the Emperor/Vader when his father/Obi wan (respectively) were not. It's an important part. Harry has to discover some of this on his own. Which is why I hold to the theory that we have the locket (Slytherin's, and either at Grimmauld still or scattered by Dung-the prat), the cup (Hufflepuff's-the location is not known, but the cup is said to have some magical powers of it's own that we don't know about).

Is Harry a Horcrux? No. No. No. Orson Scott Card has a really interesting theory in favor of this that seems rather interesting-it would be symbolic for Harry to be able to survive and destroy the horcrux inside him with the love that runs through him-but I don't agree any more. That symbolism can be achieved in other ways. It just doesn't seem likely. The little we know about how Horcruxes are made works against it. We know they are created with murder. We know that it is very deep, dark, difficult magic that is deliberately done (wow. consonance). Voldemort would not have been in any state to do so after he tried killing Harry the first time. And then there is the issue of Voldemort trying (unsuccessfully) to kill him five times now (when he was a baby, with the philosopher's/sorcerer's stone incident, in the Chamber of Secrets, in the graveyard, at the Ministry). Why would he kill something he's put a horcrux in? And then there's the question of love inside Harry-how could a piece of Voldemort's soul live inside Harry when he is so full of love for various people-the Weasley's....Ginny, Hermione, Sirius, Dumbledore, his parents...etc. etc. etc.? Voldemort can't stand to possess him long when they're in the Ministry-it doesn't seem likely that a piece of his soul could either. He could have unwittingly put one in Harry but...no. Just ...no.

So where are they? Well-let's think of what we know.

We know that one was in Hogwarts already (the diary). We also know that it wasn't put there by Voldemort-it was brought there by Lucius via. Ginny. We (think) we know that the locket is (or was) at Grimmauld Place. So while I think it's safe to assume that most of these remaining bits of Voldemort's soul will be in the place he intends them to be, it is possible that we will come across them in insignificant places (or places that they weren't intended to be). I would venture a guess that there is another Horcrux in the Hogwarts area-Hogwarts was so important to Voldemort it would seem a little ridiculous not to have one there-granted Dumbledore has probably done some searching, but he's been wrong before. The Riddle House was a murder location/his father's home/his temporary home at the beginning of book four-there could be one there. What about the orphanage itself? What other places were particularly important to Voldemort before he tried to kill Harry? It feels like we still need information about him before we can make that assessment. His life is still pretty sketchy. He worked at Borgin and Burkes for a while but I wouldn't bet on one being there-too likely that it would be sold by the greedy shop owners. Though he could have hidden it fairly well. I would also bet that there could be one somewhere in Gringotts- I don't know how special/significant this would be in terms of Voldemort's past, but it is supposed to be the safest place to keep something next to Hogwarts, and we learned a ton about it in book one that has been virtually ignored since then. It would be a pretty brilliant place to store a horcrux. It has a built in security system. There isn't a ton we can do with this information based on what we know of Voldemort's past-I think most of this will just have to wait for discovery in the next book...which is two weeks away! I will have it in my greedy little hands two weeks from now exactly. Scary.

While I'm on this track-a word of warning to you all (wherever you are)-our local paper published yet another reminder of how awful Death Eaters can be (some people call them 'the worst sort of Muggle'...I like to be a little more mean)-be wary of those who would spoil the book for you if you care. Avoid the internet, television, radio etc. until you've finished the book. People will do nasty things like make up login names revealing the dead characters/shout who dies out loud to people in the bookstore/make signs/t-shirts...everything. It's horrible. Granted, this book is fraught with death so I doubt any nay-sayers will be able to ruin everything but all the same, I plan to go armed with headphones and really loud music to escort me away from the bookstore and back to my bedroom, where I will proceed to barricade myself with some popcorn and Dr. Pepper for company (and maybe a chamber pot to save myself time...only joking)-until I have safely finished the book and my emotional purge. I didn't think such a thing would be necessary until the newspaper gave every obnoxious teen in my town the idea, but there it is. I'm not taking any chances this time. Blinders on-earphones in-eyes on the prize. You have been warned.

03 July 2007

Love is in the aiiiiirr....

In the Harry Potter-verse anyway. My life is full of all kinds of love from friends who are engaged and in that particular kind of bliss and none from the 'I have a love interest of my own' camp. Being single is too much work for me to bother with love of my own.

And besides. This isn't dedicated to my own scanty love life. It is dedicated to the rather more interesting speculations on the love lives of fictional characters! Yay!! Living vicariously through other people is the best. I would know.

Ok. So unless otherwise noted, these are all going to be assuming that the characters live. And I'm only going to write about the ones I care about, I think. Furthermore, we're going to labor under the assumption that "who ends up with whom" implies a romantic relationship, to be called 'ship' from this point onwards. Because that's the lingo and part of the purpose of this is to educate the uneducated in the language of Harry Potter mania. The "Good Ship Harmony" for example is the nick name for people in favor of a Harry/Hermione hook up. If you want to know what I think of their kind...

Alright. Here it goes. *Will try to keep passion under control*

Harry/Hermione-besides the fact that this ship is DEAD (as Jo killed it in the LeakyMug interview that was published after book six came out), it could never work. Harry describes Hermione several times as "not as good as Ron" when he's fighting with Ron. He likes her, and he thinks she's relatively good looking, but he never has the same reaction physically/emotionally towards Hermione that he does for either Cho or Ginny. He talks about Hermione in a matter of fact kind of way. And Hermione is never able to calm Harry down when he is upset. She aggravates him more, if anything. No...Harry and Hermione would never work. End of story. Don't try and argue with me. It's not canon anyway. Jo killed it. It's dead. Move on. I will say though, I get a really big kick out of people still hanging on to this ship for dear life-Muggle Net isn't my favorite website for Harry Potter news but they do have a good email section-several people emailed Emerson (the owner) shortly after the interview was published with anger over what he said and what Jo said, going so far as to blame Jo for ruining her own books. Riiiiiight.

This brings us on tooo....

Harry/Ginny-*trumpets flaring, angel choirs singing* Ok, I'm a little biased. I LOVE this ship. Because Ginny is my hero. I adore her. And thank heaven they finally got together. You had to see it coming. Honestly. Other than the blatant parallels between James and Lily they really are suited for each other. They have been through similar lives in many ways-Ginny is treated differently in her family because she's the only girl for several generations. Harry's the boy who lived. They have both survived Lord Voldemort. Both are very powerful with magic. There's a scene in Order of the Phoenix that I love right after Harry goes into the Pensieve and sees the episode with his parents and Snape. He is upset and wants to talk to Sirius, but he doesn't tell anyone until Ginny comes along in the library and expresses concern for him. He finds himself telling her about his concerns and she offers to help him. There's a line about how he wasn't sure if it was the effect of the chocolate egg he was eating or not, but he did feel better after telling her. Ginny is, as Jo says, the perfect match for him because she has the same nerve, the have the same sense of humor, and they have the same grit, and general view on life. They compliment each other well. So they'll get married after all this is over and have lots of cute children with red hair. Hopefully Harry will realize sooner rather than later that Voldemort won't care if he and Ginny are "official" or not-he'll know how much he cares for her. They might as well just be official. Bah. Whatever. Harry needs to be noble for a little while...then they'll get married. In the epilogue. They're only 16/17 years old, for heaven's sake.

Ron/Hermione- Another 'duh'. Jo says it best in the LeakyMug interview when she says that she's been dropping anvil sized hints about them. If Ron's jealousy over Lockhart wasn't an early sign, the issue with Krum should have made things more obvious, and if that wasn't enough-then six should have done you in. Seriously. And they're good for each other. They squabble enough, but they bring out the best in each other in many other ways, and they care for each other more than they might admit to. In the way Harry and Ginny mirror Lily and James, Ron and Hermione mirror Ron's parents. After they get past (or at least learn to constructively deal with) their disagreements, they'll make a really good couple because they have talents that compliment one another. You can see them pulling out of it towards the end of six after all the mess with Lavender/Cormack is over.

Remus/Tonks- Ah! I was so excited with this at the end of six!! *dies*. It's perfect really, because Lupin needs someone cool and Tonks is definitely cool. They have to get together because he needs to carry on the legacy of the Marauders since (presumably), Peter will die. There should be one remaining Marauder. Or at least I hope so. Because I really like Lupin. And Tonks. And the multi-colored werewolf cub idea is so much cooler than the dragon/donkey cross from Shrek.


Giant Squid/Dobby-I've heard worse.

Bellatrix/Voldemort-Ugh. No.

Dumbledore/McGonagall-Not unless McGonagall is ok sleeping with a portrait.

Rita/her Photographer Bozo-Hehehe. That's a funny picture. Baha! Ok. Enough with the bad puns.

So there it is. Why do I feel like this is some kind of strange episode of "Clarissa Explains it All"?

01 July 2007

Answer me this question three...

The third question presented by Scholastic is, in my opinion anyway, a bit of a lame one. The third question is "Will Hogwarts Reopen". Whether or not the school officially reopens is, to me anyway, not the point. Whether or not the school reopens to the rest of the students doesn't seem like a big point to me. Hogwarts will still play a major role in the seventh book whether it's open to the general student body or not. Harry will, without doubt, return to the school. He has to. Symbolically, there is too much invested in the school for it to disappear from the charts now.

In an attempt to make this question more well researched than it is, I went to Quick Quotes via Leaky to look up any quotes from Jo on Hogwarts that might prove important. Most of the quotes have been more related to the inhabitants of the school (including the sorting hat and Peeves) and a bunch of random statistics of Hogwarts student numbers etc. Most of the quotes aren't related to the importance of the school itself as a building/symbol. The symbol of the school is undeniable-and the symbol of the houses themselves. Jo compared them to the different elements of the earth (water, fire, earth, wind for Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw respectively). She's talked about how "Ravenclaw will have its day". She's talked about how students in each of the houses that she has named also have parentage mapped out so that she knows who has death eater parents/pure blood parents/muggle parents/etc. and that it will be important later on. She's mentioned several things in relation to the founders and the houses that seem to lead to Hogwarts remaining open, or at least important in the next book.

So in conclusion-I'll say that Hogwarts WILL reopen, on the basis of needing some convenient way to rally students and the youth in general (since Dumbledore has said many times that there is a kind of power in being young that the old ignore). Maybe a DA rehash? Hmm...But yes. Hogwarts will reopen.