Saturday, March 29, 2014

Harry Potter's Lenten Retreat Part Two

Our love thoughts have been delayed a bit..I am thoroughly distracted by friendships. I can't help it. I blame the winter, it hasn't moved on, so why should I? But today is spring-like and fresh; the sun is shining on the snow: it's time to wake up.

As we talked about the trio and the tone of their friendship in the books, we could only agree that time will tell..the later books will show Harry and his friends at their best and worst, and if you find them inspiring when it's all done, well..I'd recommend a healthy dose of Rilke and another of Joss, but Jenna might just have a hug and a cup of tea for you.

Happy, magical tea!

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Jenna writes:

 Hermione is the constant in the Trio, the one who—despite bossiness and a taste for following the rules that goes mostly unshared by her best friends—is never, as far as I can recall offhand, disloyal. She bickers with Ron and is occasionally rude to him, usually after he does something particularly unkind to her, but she never gives either of them up for lost causes. Both boys need that loyalty.
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron and Hermione don't speak to each other for weeks on account of Hermione's cat supposedly killing Ron's rat. Harry and Ron are both more heartless without Hermione, and it's her approach, trembling, with the important knowledge of a mutual friend's grief, that begins reconciliation. That act cracks Ron's pride. When Ron's pride cracks, Hermione's caves in, and Harry's might never have existed. All is forgiven.

She's right. I really liked her point, it put the group in perspective for me a bit. Hermione is never disloyal. She bickers, she bosses, she's prissy and obnoxious, and completely loyal. She definitely holds the three together. She is, in that sense, the heart of the trio. It's an unfortunate weakness that she's also the brain of the group, leaving it a bit lopsided, as she both nurtures and understands, Harry acts and directs, and Ron...? 

Jenna also reminds me that the love Rowling seems least comfortable with is actually romance. Right again! I'd sort of neglected romance because at this point because there's really no way to discuss romance in the series at this point, is there??? I mean, book three is too far away from anything really discuss-able..right Jenna??

And the know, I was sort of careless last week. I neglected them completely. Go read Jenna's thoughts on them, if you haven't already! 

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Familial love..

We see quite a bit of a few different families in Harry Potter. In the first three books we have the Dursleys and the Weasleys primarily, but there are glimpses of others: snatches of Neville's grandmother and tiny peeks at Hermione's parents. What's missing for me is a healthy family dynamic. Not ideal..I'm not expecting ideal, - really, honestly, I'm serious! - just reasonably attractive. I know everyone thinks I'm mean for rejecting the Weasleys..and I'll admit I've no real-world experience with life inside such a marriage. I hate-with-a-passion the 'hen-pecked husband' thing. Can't stand it. I am way too sick of the over-abundance of Father-as-object-of-Ridicule gigs to embrace yet another. I'd love to see a family where spouses share a mutual respect and nurture each others dignity, but the whole "mother as over-bearing, controlling, nag/husband as hen-pecked loser" thing repels me. Yes, I'm biased - forgive me? If you are a real-life husband who's wife regularly channels Mrs. Weasley, and that treatment leaves you feeling loved, respected, and uplifted, feel free to correct me. Or, if you're not, but you're sympathetic to their whole family dynamic, tell me about it. I'll argue with you, but not too much, because today's my anniversary(!!), and I have cute new bangs, and a husband I adore; besides, whatever the day, I pity the Weasleys more than dislike them.. It's hard to break out of unhealthy patterns; I know, it's lent and I'm craving gelato.

That face says "Bored now" me.

 The Weasely siblings are not a bad bunch though. They've got the whole mean-but-loyal brotherly bond going on..(for the most part..coughpercycough..) and they're kind of an adorable group. Bill-the-hottie was obviously the best of the lot, but his kid brothers are everything I can think of to like about siblings: obnoxious, loyal, grumble-y, companionable..and his sister is very much the 'youngest child of a large family'. I'm not a fan of Ginny..but she fits her family well, and there's a nice bundle of affection tying them all together. 
The Dursleys - even amongst themselves, ignoring their treatment of Harry - we can leave for a discussion on un-loves. Rowling does wonderfully with them. They're so distanced from proper familial love that I don't even compare them to run of the mill unhealthy families, a class of their a bad way. And I pretty much love every scene they're in in these first few books.

The tiny family pictures: Neville and Gran, Hermione's Mum and Dad..what do they show us about the theme of familial love in the series so far? Not much, really. It'd be easy to judge the relationships we see on what little is shown of them so far - another overbearing woman, belittling her grandson; distant, uninvolved parents. But that isn't the whole picture, and so we'll wait and watch. I wish Neville's gran was kinder to him now, I wish Hermione's parent's weren't so conveniently out of sight and mind; but unless any of you have thoughts on them to share, I'll leave the picking apart of their loves 'til later. 

hahaha..sorry, I couldn't help it

What do you think about all the family love we're looking at here? Link in or comment!



  1. Regarding the Scabbers fight, I really think Ron is completely in the right for once: he had repeatedly asked and told Hermione to keep an eye on Crookshanks, who had made repeated efforts to eat Scabbers, yet Hermione *still* didn’t, with the (apparent) result that her pet killed his pet. To cap it all off, she doesn’t even apologize, but instead gets angry at him (Ron even tells Harry that he wouldn't be so mad at her if she'd so much as ACTED like she was sorry instead of getting all defensive). Who wouldn't get angry in a situation like that? Ron’s a little meaner about it than he needs to be, but I think the real onus is all on her side.

    1. I think they're both sort of in the wrong, but Ron is more understandably so..seeing as his pet got eaten! Hermione seems to have a real tendency to demean him and push down what he sees as important (like his rat's life). Hermione likes to shut him down and cut him down.. :( So, yeah, I know what you mean.

    2. I actually think Ron is more in the wrong. He brought a rat to school which should have been in a cage (rats can't be toilet trained so the thought is rather disgusting otherwise). Since rats aren't on the list of allowable pets at Hogwarts and he must know that cats and owls are (both of which might go after a rat) then the onus is on him to keep his rat in a safe enclosure. Also, it would be very difficult and cruel for Hermione to keep her cat confined to her dorm whereas it wouldn't be difficult or cruel to keep the rat in a cage.

      I do make allowances for his obvious upset but if he'd made an effort to save his pets life and his first reaction wasn't anger at someone who was essentially blameless I would have more sympathy. (Hermione wasn't terribly sympathetic but her reaction may have been different if Ron's first reaction wasn't anger and blame.)

  2. Hahahaha! This is a great post! I LOVE the Neville meme. :D And the flying teapot!

    And exactly how are Mal and Inara nicer to each other than Ron and Hermione??? :P

    I'm OK with my love for the Weasleys being a bit irrational, I think. Because it's true that the dynamic between Arthur and Molly is far from ideal, and is the sort of thing that's absolutely insufferable in real life. The dynamic between Molly and anyone is less than ideal, except for Harry perhaps--and it's her love for Harry, her mothering of the motherless, that redeems her so thoroughly to me. It might just be because I have so many sympathetic emotions. My heart and soul are entirely accessible through the feels...

    ...and I am distracted by friendship, too, right now. :)

    I WANT PICTURES of the bangs!!!

    1. brought that up!!! I wanted to compare the two...but [SPOILERS!]....mmmmmmmmm..I do a bit anyway:

      They're not. Mal and Inara are way harsher to each other than Ron and Hermione. That said..I can deal with them better because they're both so very broken. Ron and Hermione are nowhere near as broken - Hermione especially is supposed to be the least - 'issue filled' of the trio, where as Inara is one of the most damaged characters on Serenity. She's a whore, her job degrades her, but her only experience of romantic love is the role she plays for her customers. She's never NOT 'played' someone, and she can't really play Mal, because she doesn't quite get him. So she pushes him away because being with him would lose her everything in her life.

      And Mal is a killer. He's a 'bad man', we can see a lot of why he's pushing her away in 'Our Mrs. Reynolds'.."I'd be a terrible husband"...But there are a lot of similarities in the way they treat each other, right???!! Ugh. Book six, we are going to be all over this!

      Bang photos on the way!

      I'm OK with my love for the Weasleys being a bit irrational, I think. Because it's true that the dynamic between Arthur and Molly is far from ideal, and is the sort of thing that's absolutely insufferable in real life. The dynamic between Molly and anyone is less than ideal, except for Harry perhaps--and it's her love for Harry, her mothering of the motherless, that redeems her so thoroughly to me. It might just be because I have so many sympathetic emotions. My heart and soul are entirely accessible through the feels...

      I totally get that!!!! :) Sympathetic emotions are all over me for some characters, and there's nothing you can do about them ;)

  3. whoops, happy anniversary!

    bt, I totally agree about Scabbers and Crookshanks. Poor Scabbers is a victim of anti-rat prejudice here, I think :( :( :(. . . and possibly some authorial [SPOILER]-informed apparent prejudice also. The "cats will be cats" attitude shouldn't be allowed to prevail in a school where large numbers of students keep pets.

    Actually, I find the dynamic between Arthur and Molly a little less sufferable in fiction than in RL. If Arthur and Molly were real people, I might have good reason to think, "Oh, The Weasleys, you're annoying, but if you're happy together, that's what matters," But in a fictional context it just feels lazy. (I'm not going to judge them based on one still, though; they don't look particularly bored to me).

    I like Ginny. I just don't like her as [SPOILER]. And I like what I know about Hermionie's parents, which is like 99% inference from Hermione's character; it would have been great to see more of their interactions with the W. World and what if Harry stayed with them one summer instead of crowding in with the Weasleys? SOMEONE WRITE ME SOME FIC ok?

    hahahaha, Mal and Inara, ugh. I like Mal and I like Inara. I do not like that Mal / Inara "I secretly wish you were my girlfriend but it's not really a secret, so I'm just going to insult you whenever I get the chance" thing.

    ZOE / WASH 4 LIFE, though. <3 <3

    1. I wish there'd been more interaction between Hermione's parents and the W. world!!!!!

      Crashing at Hermione's would have balanced things out nicely..or Christmas holidays? They're so abandoned after this book..I miss them later on!