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Jumping into Harry Potter Meta - Mo's Journal
May 30th, 2006
02:02 pm

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Jumping into Harry Potter Meta

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From:mofic
Date:June 9th, 2006 01:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Surprised but not really

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Everytime I watch some movie or Tv show where the biggest concern of the youngsters is who is talking to whom and where to sit at lunch I can only wonder why things like that are so important for them. I just don't get it. It was completely different with my school and also with the schools of my friends.

I'd caution you not to look on tv shows as necessarily representative of real schools in other countries. I do think - based on my experiences as an adolescent and as a parent of adolescents - that teenagers here have lots of real world concerns and lots of more interesting things to talk about than the ones you describe. OTOH, I think social anxiety is something pretty much everyone suffers from at one point or another in life and the teenage years are prime time for it. I expect that kids new to a school are worried about whether they'll find someone to have lunch with, whether kids will want to talk to them, whether they fit in. It's definitely true to my life and that of my kids. I write in a different fandom, but also a school-based one, and I do show the kids going through varying levels of social anxiety (although I focus more on the adults).

... so in the end we have a lot of couples that stay together all their life (the Weasleys, Harry's parents, the Malfoys, the Lestranges, the Longbottoms, the Dursleys,...) and there are people who are not associated with anyone (Black, Snape, Filch, Dubledore -as far as we are told-, Remus -he might get together with Tonks-,...), there are people about who are told about a starting relationship where it is also assumed in canon that they will get married (Bill/Fleure) but there is only one person that goes out with more than one boy and that is Ginny. In some kind of way her behaviour compared to the others is not "normal" (how I hate to use this word) where relationships are concerned.


That's a very interesting take on it! I don't think it's quite as absolute as you say (Hermione, for example, is going out with Viktor Krum in GoF, then sort of briefly dates McLaggen in HBP and is paired with Ron pretty clearly in HBP; also some of the boys clearly date more than one girl) but I think you're right that the norm is presented as falling in love with one person with whom you stay all your life. Not one divorced couple, not one mention of dating someone for a few years and then breaking up and meeting the man you married, not even a widow or widower who remarries. You'd kind of expect some remarriages a few years after Voldemort's killing spree, but Harry's parents dying together seems to be the model. Neville's parents go crazy together, his grandmother who is presumably a widow never remarries, the Hogwarts kids' parents (at least all who are mentioned) are all in perfectly matched couples. Even the 600-year-old couple in the first book (can't remember their names) who are kept alive through the Philosopher's Stone end up dying together, don't they?

It doesn't seem very realistic, does it? Well, of course it is fantasy.

Thanks for dropping in!
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From:simarillion
Date:June 9th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Surprised but not really

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I'd caution you not to look on tv shows as necessarily representative of real schools in other countries.

True Tv is not the reality. But then it is the easiest way of taking a glimpse at different countries or cultures. I never went abroad during my school days so I don't have any personal experience what school is like somewhere else.
But then again there are so many people out there that believe Austria is the way it is portrayed in "The Soun of Music". I am quite sure that this movie is hated by many Austriansn and I know from personal experience that even more don't even know about it. *lol*

... also some of the boys clearly date more than one girl ...

Yea, Harry for example. He's mooning over Cho as well as dating her, thinks Fleur Delacour is good looking, he goes to the Yule ball with one of the Parvatti twins and dates Ginny in the end. Way too many girls ;)

It doesn't seem very realistic, does it? Well, of course it is fantasy.

That as well as it is a children's story (mostly). In some kind of way this is supposed to show how strong two persons (in most cases here two parents) love each other and how their child/ren are precious to them. It gives children the feeling that they are safe with their parents since protected by them no hamr can befall them.

Hmm, somehow it is funny to take a look at the HP books from this perspective. Asking for the meening (hidden or obvious) behind what is written. Makes you wonder how much from what JK Rowling writes is based on reality. She was a single mother for a long time. Maybe that is the reason why Lily and James die the way they. do? James downstairs, while Lily faces Voldemort on her own upstairs to protect her child. And it is the mother in the end who saves Harry from the Avada Kedavra curse.
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From:mofic
Date:June 9th, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Surprised but not really

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You're just full of interesting ideas! How odd that JKR - a single mother herself - presents everyone as happily married.

It gives children the feeling that they are safe with their parents since protected by them no hamr can befall them.

Of course the remarkable thing about that is that Harry is so very not safe - he's abused for 10 years of his childhood by his mother's relatives. Yet he keeps getting sent back there every summer and we come to believe (in HBP? Maybe before) that he has to go there for his own safety. So the suggestion is that there's something sort of magical (ha, ha) about family love.

I do think you are right that ftmp she shows Mother Love as the main protection a child has. In addition to Lily there's Mrs. Weasley who seems to sort of keep her family okay by worrying about them (with her clock as illustration). And there's Draco's mother, who is not a very appealing character in general (even her name suggests she's self-centered) but clearly loves her son. But what to make of Sirius's mother, whom he hates and who seems to have felt similarly about him?

LOL! on The Sound of Music, btw.
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From:simarillion
Date:June 9th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Surprised but not really

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How odd that JKR - a single mother herself - presents everyone as happily married.

Ah, but then we always want what we cannot or do not have. One example (from my own experience). My mother's parents were married all their life but they almost never lived together since my grandfather mover out and lived with another woman. From time to time he came to his wife and his daughter only to trash the furniture and threaten his wife. You see, my mother's family when she was young was by no means perfect.
But what is her greatest wish, the perfect family. Only she went about it all wrong. She married an alcoholic and refused to leave him even when everyday life was getting so bad that they were fighting every day and every night. My mother is now 48 years old (I am 24) and it took all in all 29 years before my mother finally decided that her childrens' and her own wellfare are more important than having a perfect family.

You see, JK Rowling might have been a single parent at the time she started Harry Potter but she thought to be the ideal what she did not have. What would have happened had she been married at the time she started? Would she have started writing? It is an interesting idea to think about what might have turned out differently had she been married.

Of course the remarkable thing about that is that Harry is so very not safe - he's abused for 10 years of his childhood by his mother's relatives.

Yes, it is true that Harry is abused from his aunt and uncle but somehow it is also (in some weird kind of way) a protection against the world. Harry is forced to stay away from the wizard world. If he had been brought up more liberal with people who had encouraged his using magic and who had had connections to the magical world, there would always have been the danger that on one of his shopping trips or visits to a magical spot or community some former deatheater or crazy dark lord wannabe tried to kidnap him or attack him. Harry is islated during his stay with the Dursleys and that is another blanket of security for him. (as I already said in a weird kind of way)

But what to make of Sirius's mother, whom he hates and who seems to have felt similarly about him?

But then we know very little about Sirius family. We get to know that his parents stayed married, his cousines all get married and stay loyal to their spouses whatever else might happen to them (take the Lestranges for example who even sent to Azkaban together.
I think the core of the bad relationship between Sirius and his mother is the "betrayal" from Sirius' side. In his mother's eyes he went against everything the Black family believed in. Just take a look at what happens when Percy starts working for the ministry and belittles the way his family lives. I know that Molly does not react the way Mrs. Black does but Percy's "betrayal" certainly causes a thrift between him and his family.

In the end I have to say that JK Rowlings writing is sometimes somewhat inconsistent. She sometimes forgets what she wrote in prior books. Things can happen.
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