Monthly Archives: January 2016

Mother Figure (2)

Molly Weasley is the type of mother I want to be, not only because she fucking rocks at being  a mother, but because she rocks at life.  Here are the facts:

  • Molly Weasley was sorted into Gryffindor House during her time at Hogwarts, meaning she is brave af
  • Canonically, she fell in love with Arthur when he showed her a working circuit board, which shows a decent level of intelligence as well as a recognition of passion
  • While it’s suspected that she wasn’t an active member of the Order during the first Wizarding War (due to being busy birthing and raising seven children in eleven years no I’m never going to let that go), she was obviously involved in SOME way – she clearly inherited her brother’s possessions, and she obviously knew many of the members when the Order re-formed during the second Wizarding War.
  • She is more than likely the creator of her infamous clock that shows where any particular Weasley is at any particular time.  Why do I say this?  Well, because it featured her particular family, and I would imagine that changing the spell or charm on it to add or remove people would be fairly complex, so I doubt that she got it from anyone else.  Also, Dumbledore himself mentioned that he had never seen anything like it, which further strengthens my argument that she made it for herself.  That is not some Lumos-level spell.  It’s serious magic (with serious implications, now that I’m giving it some thought, but that’s for another time), and it absolutely suggests that Molly is pretty talented.
  • She kills Bellatrix Lestrange.  Bellatrix is known to be a talented witch as well as a very talented deulist; many other talented witches and wizards had fallen before her, and it was Molly Weasley who took her down.

In other words, JK spent several books showing us motherly Molly, domestic Molly, stay-at-home-mom-and-wife Molly, and then slowly snuck in references to the idea that she did these things – became this person – because that’s what she wanted to do, and the life she wanted to lead; but that she was completely and utterly badass at heart and being a wife and mother did not diminish that at all.

Don’t ever discount the housewives; they’re probably there because they want to be.

 

 

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Mother Figure

Molly Weasley is totally my hero.  I touched on this a little bit before, but as I’m re-reading the series (I’m currently a couple of chapters into HBP) it’s really hitting home for me that Molly Weasley is who I want to be when I grow up.  Or at least, part of who I want to be.  Specifically, Molly Weasley is exactly the type of mother I want to be.

Molly Weasley is so good at being a mother.  First of all, the sheer number of children she has is impressive.  I have one set of twins and I’m overwhelmed some days – imagine if those twins came when I already had three?  And then to have two more after the fact?  Insanity.  That’s just…that’s so many children.  So many diapers, and bottles, and hours attached to a breast pump, and so many times saying the same thing over and over….the mere thought of the parenting ability that went into having seven kids 11 and under boggles my mind.

And she did a good job of it, too.  First of all, her children grew up to be incredibly successful.  When we meet the Weasley family, Bill and Charlie are already successful in their fields (curse-breaker and dragon-wrangler, respectively); by GoF Percy has gotten a  position in the Minstry of Magic; after OotP Fred and George opened their own shop in Diagon Alley and  did a booming business despite the atmosphere of fear created by Voldemort’s return; and after the series ended it’s canon that Ron joined the Ministry and later moved to help George and Ginny had a stint as a professional Quidditch player.  To have all 7 of her children grow to be so determined and ambitious – and to achieve their goals so spectacularly – tells a great deal about her parenting and the environment in which they all grew up.

It’s also incredible to me how matter-of-factly she opened her home and her family to Harry & Hermione.  This is a family that has – seriously, I cannot stress this enough – SEVEN children, and canonically struggled financially to raise those children.  But she opened her home to Harry & Hermione, for no other reason than her son (Ron) told her that they didn’t have anybody (in the Wizarding World in Hermione’s case and in the entire world in Harry’s).  She opened her home to them, fed them, did their laundry and assisted in their packing, chauffeured them to get their school books and get to school (in GoF I think she even goes BY HERSELF to get everyone’s stuff so they can all enjoy the Quidditch World Cup).  By all accounts she IS their parent, their mother, in the Wizarding world.  And she didn’t have to be.  She could have been polite but distant on the platform, maybe asked after their health when Ron came home for the holidays, but kept herself well out of their lives and focused on her own children.  But she didn’t do that, because she was too good of a mother not to want to reach out and help children who needed it.

And that’s exactly the kind of parent I want to be – the kind where when my kids bring home a friend who needs help, they know that I’ll be there to provide it.  Even if it’s inconvenient or difficult.  Because every child deserves a parent who’s willing to do the hard and inconvenient things for them.

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Ships

I don’t understand people who don’t ship Ron & Hermione.  They’re not my OTP (ahem) but goddamn do I think they’re perfect for one another.  I think that Ron is the perfect person to support Hermione’s ambitions, and she’s the person who reminds him that he’s something other – and bigger – and better – than  just the youngest son, competing against his five big brothers.  They compliment each other in a way that I don’t see happening with anybody else.  Plus, while Hermione has  bunch of other ships waiting in the wings (Draco?  Fred? HARRY?), Ron doesn’t, and Ron is too good of a person and friend to be tossed aside like last years garbage.

Besides my personal love for Romione, however, there’s the fact that…well…I feel like it’s just incredibly obvious in the writing.  And I realize that JK has gone out on record saying she  was planning on putting Hermione with Fred and blahblahblah whatever you know your characters are perfect together and it slipped into the books without you doing it consciously or realizing it HA.  From Goblet of Fire and their infamous fight surrounding the Yule Ball, through Order of the Phoenix and their bickering and appraising and generally making Harry the 3rd wheel to their awkward teenage courtship, I honestly don’t understand how anyone reading the same books I am could see them with anyone but each other.

 

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Role Models

It’s an oft-quoted statistic that Harry Potter fans are more likely to be open-minded towards minority groups (published 2014 by Journal of Applied Social Psychology).  Reading through it again as an adult, I’m even more in awe of how important – and how blatant – it is.  Reading through as an adult, and seeing how passionate the characters are about equality and justice, makes me prouder than ever to be a HP fan.

Because it was Dumbledore who said that “it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be,” and who told us that “differences of habit & language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open”.  But we are letting differences of religion and region separate us and parse us into tiny boxes with high sides when the differences between us are dwarfed by our similarities as human beings.  Rather than focusing on our shared humanity, we’re obsessing over labels and turning everything into an us-vs-them scenario.  All Dumbledore wanted was for us to work together and we can’t even manage that.

And it was Hermione who taught us that “It’s people like you…who prop up lazy and unjust systems, just because they’re too lazy…” and who encouraged us to stop being lazy and go out and do something about those unjust systems.  Theoretically, she should have been the most dazzled by the wizarding world of the Golden Trio – Ron grew up in it and it was normal to him, and Harry had to deal with the heavy price of fame alongside it, which may have spoiled it a bit – but Hermione was a Muggle born witch who didn’t know anything about this society until  she was 11 years old and was told that all the things she was told were only in fairy tales were real.  But she could still see the problems and the issues and instead of reacting with a shrug – or with the platitude of we’ll fix that once we deal with this thing that’s a bigger threat to me – she jumped right in and started trying to make things better.

And it was Mr. & Mrs. Weasley, standing up for what was right even when it was holding them back financially -“We know what Fudge is.  It’s Arthur’s fondness for Muggles that has held him back at the Ministry ll these years.  Fudge thinks he lacks proper wizarding pride” – that taught us that there are more important things than career or money.  That raising your children to be good people was important, and that raising children with good values can be just as important as boots on the ground fighting (canonically, the Weasleys didn’t actually fight in the First Wizarding War because they were raising their children).

With role models such as these, it’s no wonder those of us who grew up with Harry et. al. are more open-minded.

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The Ministry Drops the Ball (SHOCKER)

So, I’ve seen online that the process of becoming an animagus includes holding the leaf of a Madrake in your mouth for one month.  This raises a serious question for me:  Exactly how stupid is the Ministry of Magic?  Because there’s no way on God’s green earth that Minerva McGonagall didn’t notice that the three / fourths of the Mauraders who weren’t werewolves were holding this shit.  Dumbledore may have missed it, because he’s always off in his own schemes or whatever, but not Minerva. So, yeah, there’s no way that she didn’t know about their transformations – a fact cemented (in my brain, at least) by her complete and utter lack of surprise when Dumbledore tells her to go fetch a large black dog at the end of GoF.  So, obviously, the Ministry is more stupid than McGonagall, but that’s kind of a given.

But what about Rita Skeeter?  We find out – again, in GoF – that she’s an unregistered animagus, and that’s how she’s been getting many of her scoops.  By transforming into a beetle, she’s able to creep on private conversations without being noticed and get information people would rather keep off the record (Krum asking Hermione to visit him, Hagrid’s mother being a giant, etc).  It’s unknown when she became one (though personally I’d think it would be at the beginning of her career at the earliest, it’s a pretty time-consuming process and most wizards & witches don’t think it’s worth bothering with).  So not only did the Ministry miss her BECOMING an animagus – remember, one month with a mandrake leaf! – but they totally missed her being one while she was reporting on all the scandals at the Prophet.  Where did they think her scoops were coming from?  And don’t you dare tell me that she wasn’t in contact with Ministry personnel at this time, the Prophet was practically an outpost of the Ministry in the years leading up to the Second Wizarding War.

So, my question is – if the Ministry is supposed to be keeping track of wizards who become Anamagi, and there were only seven registered in the 20th century (mentioned by Hermione in PoA), but we know of at least FOUR running around unregistered during the two decades covered by the books (going back to the 70s for the Mauraders era and through the 90s for the events of the books), then is anyone actually keeping track?

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Trust and Drama

 

So, Dumbledore is obviously a divisive character.  It’s pretty well accepted that JK likes him and thinks of him as a good guy (though she also thinks that way about Snape, which, whatever), but a lot of the fandom seems to think he’s a pretty terrible character.  Ruthless, manipulative, the whole nine.  I’ve been pretty neutral on him, actually – I really like his whole befuddled Gandalf thing, and I think he truly does want what’s best for the wizarding world.  But I think that part of the reason that people recoil from him so strongly during re-reads and re-watches is that he is so implicitly trusted by so many characters, and in a lot of ways he doesn’t seem worthy of that trust.

Sirius Black is my F A V O R I T E character, you guys.  I love him so much.  I want to snuggle with him while eating ice cream and watching eighties movies and make everything in his life better.  After being disowned by his family for standing up against their beliefs, he was accused of betraying his best friend because he shared those beliefs, and spend over a decade of his life in Azkaban for that crime (without a trial, thanks Barty!) (in case it’s unclear, he was innocent).

Dumbledore was on the Wizengamot at the time – he is mentioned throughout the series as being a powerful and influential wizard – and yet he (apparentely, from what we see) does nothing to prevent this from happening, makes no moves whatsoever to suggest that possibly there was another explanation, and – again, from what we see – seems to accept Sirius’ guilt wholeheartedly.  If I were Sirius, I’d be PRETTY MAD that someone who had known me since childhood and worked with me completely accepted that I was a liar and would happily sell out my best friend.

Sirius, however, seems to hold no grudges.  Throughout the series he seems to have the same level of implicit trust in Dumbledore that everyone else does, to the point that it’s almost fucking creepy.  I could possibly accept that Dumbledore was simply distracted or had been hurt too many times while Sirius was being locked up – after all, his best friend turned out to the the precursor to Voldemort and the war was still being fought, though the big guy was out of the picture – but I can’t imagine that drama-queen-numero-uno Sirius Orion Black would forgive and forget quite so easily.  At least not without some VERY DRAMATIC scene / argument – which we never saw him getting.

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Dangerous Creatures

I know that JK really likes Dumbledore, and sees him as a truly good guy, making the hard choices that the rest of us are maybe not so willing to make, for the greater good.  And I know that a lot of the fandom thinks that he’s a ruthless, manipulative old coot who needs to have a bit more respect for the lives of those around him.  I’m…neutral on this issue.  I think that Dumbledore is maybe a little more steely than you would assume on the first go-around, but I also think that he’s truly on the side of good and isn’t blinded by power (ahem, Crouch, Umbridge ) or still being angry at a girl not wanting to sleep with him (Snape).

That being said, I wonder sometimes if JK didn’t give us a hint about the danger behind Dumbledore’s facade.  Because while most of the character’s who aren’t Death Eaters love Dumbledore and trust him implicitly (a big clue to the Malfoy’s loyalties comes with Draco’s attitude toward Albus), Hagrid in particular is violently loyal to Dumbledore – literally inflicting bodily harm on folks who dare disrespect Dumbledore in his hearing.  Ostensibly, the reasoning for this is that Dumbledore allowed him to stay on as groundskeeper after he was expelled, and hired him on as a teacher despite not having technically finished his education (and by extension giving him a home within a wizarding world that was hostile at best towards his parentage).  But if Hagrid has one defining character trait, it’s being drawn to – and defending – creatures that are dangerous and even deadly.

That trait can, of course, be explained by the fact of his heritage and the fact that many  witches and wizards considered Hagrid himself to be dangerous because of his mother.  But I think that if we pull back the curtain a little bit,  it’s a pretty big red flag that the character who is most drawn to dangerous creatures is also most loyal to Dumbledore.  JK tells us over and over again that Hagrid is incapable of seeing the danger in any of the creatures he loves – dragons, skrewts, Aragog – despite the dangers being real and clear to anyone but Hagrid. In retrospect, it sort of makes the ruthless and dangerous nature of Dumbledore more obvious – after all, would Hagrid love someone without a dangerous streak?

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