Author Archive

Harry Potter and 911

Sunday, September 11th, 2011 | Author: Katherine

The war against the Death Eaters can be paralleled to the war on terror. It is a fight in which the enemy are not from one specific country, and this enemy relies on fear and hate to operate. The government doesn’t know how to react and many people distrust the way that they operate.

The events in 2001 came at about the same time the Harry Potter books took a much darker turn, and in my opinion stopped just being children’s stories for certain. They not only served as an escape from life, but as a reflection in some strange way.

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Dear Mr Potter

Saturday, July 09th, 2011 | Author: Katherine

I thought I’d write my own “Dear Mr Potter”, what with it being less than two weeks to the last film. I actually wrote this a few weeks ago, but I’ve been without internet.

Dear Mr Potter,

From the moment I first picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone nine years ago, Potter has been the one constant unchanging thing in my life, my rock to hold on to. From the first day, sat on my bed, dictionary beside me, I was hooked. Even though I was only six, I devoured the first four books in just a few days. They were amazing! I had always enjoyed reading, but I had struggled to find something written for children, with as much depth and detail as I wanted.

That weekend, I begged my parents to let me watch the films. And eventually, they gave in. After watching the first film, I remember crying in my room because “Hermione doesn’t look like that!”. For me, you see, the characters were real in my head.

Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, I became very ill, and was in hospital for six weeks. I survived, and Harry and his friends kept me going through the long hours spent in a hospital bed.

I had to wait a year until the fifth book came out, which I think was a good thing, as I found the first chapter of Goblet of Fire very scary. I read it in a day, only pausing to eat, and once I had finished, I went straight back to the beginning and read it again.

At school, I would play Harry Potter with my friend, Shona, who then introduced me to Potter Puppet Pals. But for another six years, that would be my only foray into the online fandom.

When Book 6 came along, I was living in Germany, and because I wanted to be able to fully enjoy the book, I decided to wait a few weeks to read it in English. This was my first experience of spoilers. Random strangers would come up to me in the street and say “English? Dumbledore stirbt.”

When it finally came out in English, I dressed up to go the book shop, and read it in a few hours. I completely fell for Snape being evil (I was nine, give me a break) and I wouldn’t believe Dumbledore was really dead until the last page. I kept thinking that there must have been a mistake. But after finishing the book, I knew he wouldn’t ‘do a Gandalf’. I had no idea what Harry would do next though.

I was back in England for Deathly Hallows, and dressed up again for my first (and last) midnight release party. Despite promising my parents I would go to sleep, I had finished the book by morning. I was devastated that there would be no more Potter. But at least I’d have the films.

Then, bored in the summer holidays of 2009, I typed Harry Potter into Google. I was amazed – there were other people as obsessed as me! Soon I had read every essay on the HP Lexicon, and checked Mugglenet and Leaky daily. It wasn’t long before I discovered podcasts.

Now I face a similar situation to 2007, with a world without Potter looming on the horizon. Although I missed the speculation, and the fansites heydays, I still feel that the Harry Potter community will survive a little longer. After all, we’re getting Pottermore. Still, it really does feel like the final closure to the series, and the films just prolonged the fun. It’s the end of a series that has kept me going through illness, and bad times in my life, and has always been there for me. I’ve felt like the trio really were my friends when I moved schools yet again. I don’t know who I would be without Harry Potter, but I wouldn’t be the same me.

Because what’s really so great about Harry Potter is it’s so relatable, despite the magic. Harry’s nerves before entering Hogwarts for the first time were my exact feelings on my first day of grammar school. That’s just one example out of millions. And they’ve also taught a whole generation to hope, to love, and to know that they’re not alone. They’ve taught us that no matter how bad things seem, or how much evil seems to happen in the world, not to give up. And that everyone can do something to help. The very fact that the HP Alliance exists is testament to this.

So thank you Harry Potter, for everything that you’ve done for me and so many others, and I know that one day, my children will read the books. Because, even if the fandom shrinks, I want another generation to experience the wonder, and lessons, of Harry Potter.

Yours always,

Katherine

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Favourite Character?

Monday, May 30th, 2011 | Author: Katherine

Sorry I have not posted in a while, I have been busy revising for GCSE and school exams.

There is currently a survey by Bloomsbury (who publish the British Harry Potter books), about what Harry Potter fans’ favourite character is. Check out www.bloomsbury.com to take part. As part of the press campaign for this they asked Jo what her favourite characters were. She replied Harry, but that she would like to have Dumbledore round to dinner.

I personally feel that Hermione is my favourite character because I can identify with her most, and I think that she is a very strong person. She is not afraid to be clever and stands up to what she believes in. I think she is a very good role model.

My favourite teacher would have to be Professor McGonagall. I love her so much because of her soft interior despite that hard shell. I like her teaching style and I also think that her subject would be interesting. I admire her a lot for standing up to Umbridge.

I would most like to meet Luna because I think that would be a really eye-opening experience. I love science, which may make people feel I would struggle with her belief in everything. However, I disagree. I want to be a Physicist, and they need an open mind as part of the job!

What about you?

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Battle of Hogwarts :(

Monday, May 02nd, 2011 | Author: Katherine

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and I made a video commemorating all the people who died.

http://kittyweasley.tumblr.com/post/5127950579/may2

It had to be a link as the file was too big.

The music is No One But You by Queen. They sang it in 1997 after Princess Diana died and it ould be argued it is also about Freddie Mercury who died in 1991. I thought it fitted with this too.

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Category: Blog Post, Books, Canon  | 5 Thoughts

Harry Potter as a Christ figure?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | Author: Katherine

As it is now Good Friday and Easter is nearly here, I thought that a topical blog could be one comparing Harry to Jesus. I am not particularly religious, so I hope I have the details right.

I don’t think that Jo intended, as C S Lewis did with the Chronicles of Narnia, to write a book as an allegory to the Bible, and neither has she. However, she is a Christian so I think some aspects of that may have found their way into the book.

Jesus sacrificed himself so that Christians may “live forever” in the afterlife. It was because of His sacrifice that “we shall not die” because He loved us enough to die for our sins. Harry also sacrifices himself for his friends, and his love means that they cannot be harmed by the death-eaters. Lily’s sacrifice for Harry could be similarly compared. Harry and Jesus were also both resurrected.

Also, like Harry, Jesus was famous when he was very young, with the three kings visiting him. They both were prophesised to be born.

I have also read that the scars on Harry’s forehead and hand could be symbolising the stomata on Jesus’ hands, and the cuts from the thorn crown at the crucifixion. Isaiah also calls God “the Potter”, which is identical to Harry’s sirname.

Harry and Jesus also both have problems with the corrupt authority that they were living with, publicly denouncing it whatever the personal costs to them. He is friends with many whom society shuns, such as Hagrid, Sirius, Ron and even muggle-borns. Jesus lived with lepers, tax collectors and Samaritans.

So in conclusion, far from being a book that some Christians feared would promote Satanism, it promotes values of love and sacrifice which can be found in the Bible.

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Dudleys and Malfoys in the Real World

Sunday, April 17th, 2011 | Author: Katherine

I was listening to the latest episode of Potter Pensieve Podcast and I was really impressed by the discussion the hosts had about bullies, and the media, and I thought I would follow it up with an essay of my own.

Malfoy and Dudley Dursley are both stereotypical bullies, but different types. Malfoy is clever, and makes sharp biting comments – so he would be a verbal bully. Dudley is a lot less sharp, but his size makes up for that – he is a physical bully.

Bullies are cowards?

But what interested me the most would be Hollie’s comments on how teachers in Canada were meant to deal with bullying and how she struggled with it. It made me think of how bullying is dealt with in England.

In English primary schools children are taught that bullies are insecure and that the bullying stems from this. We can see this clearly with both Malfoy and Dudley. Both come from privileged backrounds, but are still troubled. Malfoy is under extreme pressure from his father to succeed more than Hermione in school, and has insecurities about himself because of this. He tries to seem big in front of his “friends”; who would almost certainly leave him if they perceived him as weak.

Dudley too, has all his material needs catered for by his parents but none of his emotional needs.

However, the treatment of bullies in schools does not follow this path. They are, when caught, either given detention or suspended from school. This does not solve the problem, it just makes it worse. However, I do not agree with the treatment of victims either.

In England, victims of bullying face two options: move class/school, or gain a stiff upper lip. Neither of these “solutions” solve the problem either.

Could Harry and Malfoy have worked together?

Dudley’s Smeltings stick I think is a physical representation of the bullying that is said to be encouraged in public schools. (in England, public schools are posh schools that you pay for). They apparently encourage bullying between the boys to encourage strength.

So whilst I do not agree that the bully should be the only one treated as a victim, both should have counselling or something and the problems resolved. If Harry and Malfoy had been able to overcome their differences, maybe Malfoy would have been a useful ally, and not have become involved with the Death Eaters. OK, maybe that’s a stretch too far but maybe not…

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Hogwarts Houses as Political Ideologies

Monday, April 11th, 2011 | Author: Katherine

This essay is about how I believe that the Hogwarts houses could be interpreted as different political ideologies not just single characteristics for example, cleverness and bravery.

Before reading this essay I suggest that you visit this website: http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis as it bears the basis for this essay. It is very informative and interesting – taking the test takes only 5 minutes, and though you don’t have to, it could reveal things about yourself you didn’t know. Even if you don’t want to take the test, I would recommend reading the analysis as it makes this essay make more sense.

I do not wish to offend anyone in this essay or say that one set of political ideologies is better than others, merely say how I think the houses correlate to these parties. I refer to British Political Parties, as I am afraid I don’t fully understand political systems for other countries. On a normal political scale, the Conservatives are right wing and Labour is left wing. The Liberal Democrats I’m not sure to be honest.

Firstly I believe that Slytherin would be on the Authoritarian Right. This ranges from mild views like the Conservative Party in Britain to more Death Eater like Fanatics who would compare more to Hitler’s National Socialists or the BNP. I believe this to be the case as they are traditionalists who do not welcome the changes in the Wizarding World. There is also a tendency for Racism in the more extreme parties of this political ideology (See the Nazis or the BNP) which can compare to the Death Eater’s stance on muggle-born wizards. As the Slytherins are more power hungry than other houses, this may also fit with the Authoritarian position as if they were to be in power, government would have more power over the people.

Hufflepuffs are pretty much the opposites of Slytherins so I think that their political position would be Libertarian Left. This shows them to be accepting of everyone and peace-loving – both important Hufflepuff traits. Real world examples of this ideology include Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and the Green Party. However, Hufflepuffs aren’t always taken seriously by other houses, maybe an example of how in the real world these figures are often thought to be too idealistic, and their ideas wouldn’t work. However, Mandela and Gandhi eventually did achieve their aims.

I think that Gryffindor would be more like the Labour Party. This ties in that they are the red house and Labour’s colour is Red. This also mirrors Jo’s own views which were demonstrated in donating to the Labour Party and also in a letter to The Times newspaper. She has said that to be British is “it means a welfare state of which we should be fiercely proud and a tradition of tolerance and free speech we should defend to our last collective breath.” These are also the values of Gryffindor house. Therefore, I think Jo is definitely a Gryffindor.

Ravenclaw are the hardest to place. They are definitely elitist as a house, and support Slytherin in GoF. However, Luna is also a Ravenclaw, and she is, I believe, closer to Gryffindor.

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Category: Blog Post  | 14 Thoughts

We Will Remember Them?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Author: Katherine

For those of you who read the comments of my last blog post, I know that I said I was going to publish an essay on the houses next; however I have decided to do something different. I have spent the last few days in France and Belgium looking at the First World War battlefields and graves. It has been an incredibly humbling experience, and lead me to wonder – how did the Wizarding World cope after the fateful battle on 2nd 1998?

Thiepval

Firstly, there will have been an unimaginable amount of grief, and nearly a generation of young people dead. Like after The Great War; these dead would have needed to be buried. And how should they be commemorated? Should the wizards build huge statues – for example Thiepval (British/French); or simple symbolic memorials like that at Beaumont-Hamel (Newfoundland/Canada)? Or should the burial be left to the families?

Beaumont-Hamel

I believe that a statue of a phoenix in a similar idea to Beaumont-Hamel would be nicest, as this represents Dumbledore and everything he, and Harry stood for. Beaumont-Hamel felt like a small piece of Canada, which technically it is, so maybe it could feel like a piece of Hogwarts.

I also like to think that the dead would be remembered, as we remember those who gave their lives for us.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.”

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Hermione – a young JKR?

Sunday, March 27th, 2011 | Author: Katherine

Hi, I’m Katherine, another of the new bloggers on the Potter Pensieve website. This is my first blog, so bear with me!

Hermione has been described by JK Rowling as being like Jo herself when she was younger. She is very clever and studies very hard. However, despite her outwardly confident appearance Hermione has, according to Jo, a “sense of insecurity underneath”. By understanding this we can realise that the reason she tries so hard at school as she may try to achieve at school to compensate for this.

Indeed Hermione’s biggest fear, revealed by her Boggart, is that she fails at school. This may seem a trivial fear, but if we extend it to a fear of failing generally we can begin to understand. Hermione is inwardly insecure, and to fail would, in her mind, expose her to others. In a wider sense, failing in life outside school would be potentially disastrous, especially when fighting Voldemort. For Jo, failing to publish her book would have meant a life in poverty.

Hermione is a very gifted witch but this does not stop her from helping those around her. She supports Neville through school, and sets up S.P.E.W. Whilst Harry and Ron find this amusing, her social activism also echoes Jo – who is a member of Amnesty International.

In conclusion, Hermione’s character has direct parallels to Jo’s, which can be seen throughout the books. I believe that she is also a way for Jo to express the type of girl young women should aim to be: dependable, hard working and affectionate. Heaven forbid that anyone who grew up reading Harry Potter would turn into “a Pansy Parkinson”!

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