Tag Archives: Harry Potter

“I am Neville Longbottom”

Harry Potter Spoilers…

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I have written before about my admiration for the character of Neville Longbottom. This week someone linked to an older article on Stirrup Queens, detailing a theory I happen to agree with: Neville is the most important character in the Harry Potter universe.

I can’t relate to Harry, can you? He’s too, well, extreme. He’s been gifted with tremendous athletic talent for starters. He’s “the chosen one.” He’s an adrenaline junkie – he takes crazy risks often without thinking. Like sneaking into Hogsmeade when a homicidal maniac is looking for him or driving off with Ron in Mr. Weasley’s flying car, just for starters. He’s unnaturally resilient – how can someone lose pretty much every parental figure in their lives and still keep going? Don’t get me wrong – I admire him as a character, but his motivations don’t resonate with me. And I’m not sure Rowling wanted them to.

Neville is another story. Neville is a kind of Gryffindor everyman. He’s a klutz, he can’t fly, and he isn’t athletic. He’s bullied by Professor Snape, and has a terrible memory for schoolwork. He has little confidence in his abilities or his smarts. He has a chorus of naysayers like his grandmother, Draco Malfoy, Snape (and I’d argue Professor McGonigall isn’t that nice to him either) implying and often outright saying he’s less than. You’d think he’d be the first to fold to Voldemort/the Death Eaters and to be afraid to stand up to those who demand capitulation. On the contrary, his refusal to capitulate results in the action that leads to Voldemort’s downfall.

It’s a wonderful moment. The twins have taken an interest in World War II because of this book, and reflection on those “darkest hours” brought me back to Neville Longbottom. When it’s most important for humankind to act, we need to stand up and say: “I am Neville Longbottom. And I won’t back down.” Sadly, the echoes of the past are still deadly.

Do you relate to Neville? Or Harry? Or, say Hannah Abbott, who is my daughter’s favorite character?

(As an aside, I am ALWAYS sorted into Gryffindor in every online quiz, even the silly BuzzFeed ones. I’m a neurotic worrier who is afraid of a lot of things like flying and heights and not eating organic food. Shouldn’t I be a Hufflepuff?!?)

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8 Things I Learned About Being A Good Mom From Molly Weasley

I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series again. I always loved Molly Weasley, although she definitely has her detractors, and I get that. She has some wonderful strengths, though.

If I can just learn these eight things from her, I think I’ll do OK.

1. Always, ALWAYS take care of your kids’ socks! One of the main ways J.K. Rowling identifies the neglect of Harry Potter by his aunt and uncle is the way they treat his socks. (Or, don’t.) In the first book, when Harry is living in a cupboard under the stairs, he has to pull a spider off a pair of socks. One Christmas, the Weasleys give him just ONE sock. In stark contrast, Molly Weasley:

“…(fusses) over the state of his socks.” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Taking care of socks = LOVE

2. The outward appearance of your home means nothing. I am an admitted neat freak. I HATE the thought of someone coming over to the house and criticizing the kids based on my housekeeping skills and our, er, non-mansion. After re-reading the books, I realized: I want the kids to have friends like Harry Potter. Snobby Draco Malfoy may have disparaged Ron Weasley’s home as being worth little:

“‘Weasley would like a signed photo, Potter,’ smirked Malfoy. ‘It’d be worth more than his family’s whole house.’ ” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

But who wants their kids to be friends with Draco Malfoy, anyway?”

Ron Weasley: “It’s not much, but it’s home.” Harry Potter: “I think it’s brilliant.”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3. Molly Weasley can deal with teasing. Molly, bless her, is not necessarily the BEST judge of musical or writing talent. She is taken with the advice of Gilderoy Lockhart, who is later revealed as a total fraud. She also likes the vocal stylings of one Celestina Warbeck (who is mocked by her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, the chic Fleur Delacour), a warbler not widely loved by anyone in the Weasley clan other than Molly.

“…Shortly after this, Fleur decided to imitate Celestina singing ‘A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love,’ which was taken by everyone, once they had glimpsed Mrs. Weasley’s expression, to be the cue to go to bed.”Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

4. Molly cares only about the character of a person, not their bloodline. This is clear by the way she befriends Remus Lupin, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. Molly Weasley is, in the world of wizards and witches, a type of nobility: a “pureblood” wizard. However, she cares nothing about this. This earns her the scorn of other “purebloods” who refer to both her and her husband as “blood traitors.”

5. She has enough room in her heart to love her seven (!) children, but still cares for many others, like Harry.

6. She has unconditional love for her children, even if they go astray. Percy Weasley, the Head Boy goody two-shoes in the family, chooses the wrong side in the war. He picks the Ministry of Magic, even though it is under the influence of He Who Shall Not Be Named. Molly never stops hoping that Percy will wake up and smell the pumpkin juice: she cries about him when she thinks no one is looking, and never stops hoping he’ll change sides. (He eventually does.)

7. She throws one HELL of a party! Molly hosts the wedding of her son Bill to the legendary French beauty, Fleur Delacour. Kind of like if your son married Bridget Bardot or something, and Molly the hostess showcases her own awesome style, featuring impeccable magic and down-home hospitality:

“The entrance to the marquee revealed rows and rows of fragile golden chairs set on either side of a long purple carpet. The supporting poles were entwined with white and gold flowers. Fred and George had fastened an enormous bunch of golden balloons over the exact point where Bill and Fleur would shortly become husband and wife. Outside, butterflies and bees were hovering lazily over the grass and hedgerow.”Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

8. She fiercely defends her family. SPOILER!!! One of her twins dies in the great end battle. Oh, I hate this part of the book so much. It is so incredibly sad and scary and awful. So when her daughter is threatened right afterwards, she takes her place in a duel and screams to the formidable antagonist Bellatrix Lestrange: “Not MY daughter, YOU BITCH!” before dispatching her. Anyone can comprehend her anger and despair and determination.

Molly has her shortcomings (Ron worries she cares more about Harry than him) but her strength, kindness and, as always with my favorite J.K. Rowling characters, courage, make her a mother to be admired.

In short, Molly Weasley RULES.

What say you?

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Filed under Family, Parenting After IF

Time Warp Tuesday: To Publish or Not to Publish?

I wanted to quickly mention SPOILER ALERT! that the “How I Met Your Mother” episode tonight (which I broke my rule of never watching a show out of sequence for) absolutely broke my heart. I already loved that show, because I feel it portrays so well the allure of the white picket fence and Frank Capra way of life and contrasts it with the road less traveled. But this episode depicted a brilliant, sad, bleak but true tale of infertility. I think someone on the writing staff must be in the know.

OK: on to this week’s Time Warp Tuesday post! I actually suggested the topic this week and am THRILLED that our brilliant and thoughtful hostess Kathy chose it. From Kathy’s description:

As Bloggers we often share openly and candidly about our lives, experiences, hopes and fears. As a result, sometimes we may have second thoughts about publishing some of our blog entries. Choose a post from your archives that you were most afraid to publish. Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since.

I had one post in mind when I proposed this topic. It’s this one, where I revealed my real identity to show support for the courageous bloggers who opposed a ridiculous and hurtful Facebook meme. The incident is worth revisiting, because the negative reactions they received are at the heart of what we fight in our battle for public awareness of infertility.

It’s a pretty ballsy post, I must say, as I reread it. I call someone out for a mean comment and put my face and name out there. I don’t think I would have done this if:

A) I hadn’t reread “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” the night before. JK Rowling is a hero to me, mainly because she instills in her readers a good sense of what courage is and why we should stand up for those who are being bullied and worse. I think she teaches us that we need to fight for the good and the kind and those in need. And that is NEVER easy, but if you look at history, those who ignore or appease or join in evil are everywhere. That’s a simplistic explanation of course. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

The mean things people say to our faces and in comments online about infertility are acts of aggression. Amy Haible’s comments are ignorant (clearly she knows NOTHING about the adoption process!) and are meant to injure those who read them. To put such thoughts out there to the world at large is something Lord Voldemort would do. And, to AGREE with such statements is ALSO terrible. Is it as evil as committing genocide? No, obviously not. But infertility silences its victims. So many are unable to stand up for themselves, because of depression (which infertility causes: yes, causes), because of shame, guilt, taboos in society. I was afraid to speak up, too. No one wants to be told “Just adopt. It’s because of you orphans are starving.” Or “Natural Selection is why you’re infertile.” Or myriad other pitiless things that are untrue and painful.

But I’ve crossed the finish line. I have children. I am LUCKY. So I thought, bring it on. I can probably handle it better than those who are in the middle of the battle. When I was in the middle of the battle, I was often unable to socialize at all, let alone defend myself from “bon mots” about how God meant for me to be barren.

I was lucky, again. I received 41 comments on that post and they were all supportive. But I know one day I’ll get a nasty response.

But dammit if I’m not going to fight the mean comments for all those who can’t.

B) I thought the wonderful bloggers who took a stand against the BS to begin with needed to be told that their efforts mattered, that solidarity needed to be shown. Putting my face out there seemed to be the best way to do that. Elphaba, Mel and Keiko deserve many, many kudos for their eloquent, brave posts.

Looking back on the post now I feel a little wary, still, that I can be googled so easily. Future employers can read all about my infertility advocacy: that may limit me in some way at some time. I was pretty open about my infertility to friends and family, but my twins may suffer some fallout. Kids are the biggest bullies of all, as we all know. There were some BIG considerations at play when I revealed my identity.

But in the end, life is short. I believe that infertility awareness is where breast cancer awareness was twenty years ago. I think that hearts and minds, maybe, can be changed. Not in people who have poisonous marrow and bitterness growing in their souls and feel the need to lash out at others. But I don’t think most people are like that. I guess I believe in the good of most people.

I’ll conclude with another Dumbledore quote.

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

And so, I’m glad I chose to publish this post.

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Filed under Time Warp Tuesdays, writing

More Harry Potter Discussion And Top 50 Mom Bloggers on Babble

I do believe this is the first time I have engaged in a popularity contest. It will probably be the last. But this is a big one, and I’m hoping you all can help 🙂

Babble is having a voting contest for the Top 50 Mom Bloggers, and I am (barely) in the running. So, I am asking for your vote. Mostly because I think it would be awesome to have an infertility voice in the mix. To that end, I’d like to ask that you also vote for the other ALI voices also in the running. Some of them have a real shot.

Here’s the instructions on how to vote:

Go here

Click on the “alphabetical” tag

Scroll to the bottom

Click on the 9 button on the list of pages, then click on the 17, then the 19.

My blog is called “Too Many Fish To Fry”, so it’s towards the end of the list. Other ALI blogs in the running are: Creating Motherhood, Four of a Kind, Here We Go Again, Once a Mother, Stirrup Queens, The Kir Corner, Write Mind Open Heart. Please let me know in the comments if there are any other ALI blogs also in the running.

OK, onto to the Harry Potter Discussion!

In my last post, I was discussing what I loved and didn’t love about Harry Potter. One thing I really didn’t love was that Fred perishes. Fred is one of favorite characters. I mean, how can you not love a character who exits Hogwarts triumphantly by blowing up the school with firecrackers that spell the word “Poo” repeatedly? Mommy Odyssey rightly points out that this wasn’t in the movie and that stinks.

Anyway, I saw a tweet from Amy the Bookish hinting that Fred maybe did not meet his end at the battle for Hogwarts. I was intrigued. Herewith follows her five part theory about Fred. It’s too fun not to share.

Hee!

This one has real promise. I’m going to have to look up that story.

Inneresting.

Word. And I say this as a mother of twins. I can’t bear to think of twins separated.

I like this. For more, read Amy’s brilliant post. I really like the way she explains how we become emotionally invested in characters and tie them to events in our own lives.

Do you read Harry Potter Fan Fiction? What would you like to change in the books, plot wise? Would you rescue any characters from death?

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Filed under Discovering joy, Uncategorized

I Now Interrupt Regular Programming To Obsess About Harry Potter

Harry Potter Shell Cottage Freshwater West

Photo Credit of Shell Cottage: Russ Hamer (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re not a fan, or you’re sick of all this talk about “Deathly Hallows,” skip this. Also, Spoilers A Plenty!

I remember when I dismissed the “Harry Potter” series as a fad before I ever read one of the books. I lived in London at the time, and Bloomsbury had redesigned special covers of the first few books to look less childish, so adults wouldn’t be embarrassed to read them. Every other adult riding the tube was reading one. I was in an insufferable book snob phase (it was the year we decided to not have a TV) and was working my way through “The Famished Road”, which…most incomprehensible book ever? (Sorry, “Ulysses.”) I went back to the states for a wedding, and I remember telling my friend about the adult book covers. Her response? “Don’t knock it ’til you try it.”

So I bought “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” at the airport and put “The Famished Road” in my carry-on luggage. And thus began my love affair with all things Harry.

Mommy Odyssey is writing a bewitching (sorry) series for “Key Pulp,” which details how the movies stack up against the books: mostly, unfavorably. It’s a must-read for Potter-philes.

I don’t want to talk about the movies, but rather what I loved, and didn’t love, about the books.

LOVE:
– The messages J.K. Rowling imparted throughout the series. It is our choices that define us, not our talents. Courage Matters, whether through small gestures like standing up for a friend or facing down a major fear, like fear of spiders or by reliving our past mistakes or worst memories. Love is what makes life worth living.
– Hermione. She’s a fully formed, flawed, likable main character who is involved in the main action of the story. She’s a girl/woman who often saves her heroic friends with her considerable knowledge. She’s smart but works hard to be the best in her year.
– NEVILLE! Neville is a nerdy, kind boy whose parents were tortured to the point of madness by Voldermort’s supporters. He’s an unlikely hero, who mainly demonstrates courage in small, non-showy ways. But the courage he demonstrates makes a crucial difference.
– Luna. Wise, unearthly, kind Luna. She’s spiritual, yet strangely practical and is the yang to Hermione’s yin. She reminds me of CookedHeads 🙂
– Fred and George. Maybe I’m predisposed to pay particular interest to twins, but I hearted them before I even got married. Their sense of humor, charm and mischief is wonderfully portrayed and they have the best lines: “Seriously evil wizard coming through!” Poor Fred. Sob.
– Mrs. Weasley. I know she’s somewhat controversial, but now that I’m a mom I’m simply amazed by her parenting skills. With limited resources, she raises seven superstar children, who achieve much success as adults. (Except for Fred. Sob.) She’s bossy, nurturing, a good cook, manages her household with aplomb and darns everyone’s socks. We all know how important socks are in the Harry Potter universe. And she has arguably the best line in the whole series: “Not my daughter, you BITCH!”
– Snape. Rowling had me guessing about his motives until the very, very end. I suspected that he MIGHT have feelings for Lily, but I didn’t see how important they would be. He’s deeply, seriously fatally flawed but he’s a romantic hero in the end.
– Historical echoes from World War II. I noted when I lived in the UK that World War II is a much greater part of the fabric of literature, movies, TV programming and even what’s covered in the news. It’s understandable: the UK stood basically alone against the greatest military power the world had ever seen. So many people died, the country was physically attacked and bombed and WWII is a great, pivotal point in the history of the country. Obviously, Voldemort is inspired in part by Hitler and his creepy “blood” policies were inspired by Hitler’s racist policies. The scariest scenes in all of the books to me are the scenes in “Deathly Hallows” of the Ministry of Magic. The Dark Lord has taken over, and his followers are free to persecute witches or wizards based solely on who their parents were. And Umbridge (shudder) runs a propaganda bureau in a Goebbels-esque fashion. Truly frightening stuff.

Don’t Love
– As much as it pains me to say, the books are not perfect. (Although they nearly are ;P.)
– GINNY – Among all of the heroes, she’s my least favorite. I personally think it’s weird that Rowling needed to pair up every member of the trio at the end. And while I know a few people who met their husband/wife in high school, most people don’t. I like Ron/Hermione a lot. But why the need to couple up Harry at age 16/17, too? And Ginny is a cipher to me. She’s MOSTly (but not entirely, as Mommy Odyssey pointed out to me: see the Ministry scene, book five), defined by what others say about her. She’s shy in the first two books, gets possessed by Voldemort in the second so we are unable to decipher who she is, seeing as she’s POSSESSED by, as Fred and George would say, a seriously evil wizard. Then we get a lot of telling, not showing, comments from Ron, Fred, Hermione in the next couple of books. Like: guys think she’s hot, she LOVES Quidditch, her boogey hex is the BEST, blah blah blah. Even when she is showcased, finally, in the last two books, I guess I just didn’t LIKE her. She didn’t seem very multi-faceted or real, but rather a conglomeration of characteristics that Harry might like in a girl. (Like being hot, liking Quidditch, being feisty, etc.) I even preferred Cho, who came across on the page as a real person. I have to admit that if I could trade Fred for Ginny, I would. To me, she is a Mary Sue.
– James Potter. OK, this one is going to get me in hot water. But I think he’s kind of a jerk. At least in the flashback scenes. I’m sure he must come around and be nice, otherwise Lily wouldn’t have fallen for him, but in the flashback scenes with the Marauders, he comes across exactly the way Lily describes him: as a toerag. I know that’s the point, and obviously he becomes the father who sacrifices himself for his son, but…I don’t know. Maybe Rowling will write the story of how he and Lily fall in love someday.

And, that’s really all. Before I read the whole series, I would probably have said that the whole S.P.E.W. subplot annoyed me, but the house-elf liberation front becomes crucial in the last book, and I like the underlying message of why the treatment of house-elves (and goblins too) comes back to bite wizards in the butt, so to speak.

What do YOU love about the Harry Potter series? And what do you NOT love?

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Filed under Discovering joy, writing