Tags: other topics:morality


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Is Voldemort truly evil or does he have a psychiatric condition?

Why is he unable to love?

If he is incapable of love can he truly be held responsible for his actions?

Voldemort remains one the most iconic villains in children’s literature. However, because of his iconic status, it can be difficult to recognise and relate to him him as a truly three dimensional character because in order to do so we must analyse him as a real person rather than a plot device.

I explore the root cause for Voldemort's inability to love and why, regardless of this "handicap" Voldemort is still ultimately responsible for his choices and his actions.


The Missing Babies


  • Infant mortality in the wizarding world and why there is so little evidence for it

  • How wizarding society functions

  • Why having a large family is beneficial

  • Why wizards/witches may have a very different attitude to family planning

In previous essays, I have explored how infectious disease can create high death rates in wizarding society. This does not just effect the population structure, it has huge consequences on how society functions and how the wizarding world approaches family planning.

Draco Malfoy is probably not a single child by choice...


The Potterian Nightmare (Part 2: Homosocials)

If you are somebody who cares about the political issues I have talked about in my Part 1, as deeply as I obviously care about them for me to open my big mouth, you may want to take a time out here, and go get yourself a glass of water. Or scotch, or an empty bucket, depending on what you're feeling like right about now... Because whatever you feel you need now, you're going to need it in triplicate for what I am planning as your next roller coaster ride into the Potterverse. On the other hand, if you are somebody who doesn't care about LGBT issues at all, or if you do care but you finished reading my Part 1 feeling I am just way off base, and yet still feel willing to go onto Part 2, then first of all, I would like to thank you for sticking around despite the clearly unpleasant things I have just said. And I would just like to warn you especially heartily about this latter half. Because, firstly, it's just as long. And second, brace yourself: it is going to be filled with even more craziness than Part 1 -- making you go "WTF?" at possibly about ten times the rate as you already did in Part 1. (But going "WTF" can be fun. And the most constructive of criticisms tend to start off with just those three magic letters, so I would be grateful for anyone with a different POV who would still take the time for me. Just... Be warned. It's completely whacked.)

Onto it then. *takes a deep breath*

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The Potterian Nightmare (Part 1: Homosexuals)

...And I had to turn right around and start spewing my venomous hatred toward DH in the very next post to be made on this comm. That's very sad. But the latest influx of fen's thoughts spurred on by JKR's most recent interview (namely here and here) got me thinking, yet again[1], about the message of love and morality perpetrating the HP universe. And I couldn't help but notice some... well, things.

And I think -- while there's actually nothing new about what JKR said in that interview, because that very same message that she voiced[2] has always been there in the book, just not in the text and only ever implied in what she might call subtext, so all she did this time was out it, as she did with her gayness of Dumbledore -- what she told us during the same interview about the thing that she considers to be the fundamental undercurrent of society's homophobia[3] revealed to me a huge piece of the puzzle that is the Potterian Psychology. And you know what? Not to go too meta on you here, but it's just so darn Potterian that the speech of one seemingly-benevolent character (Quirrel, Tom, Moody in GoF, the list goes on up until pre-DH Dumbledore) can never be trustworthy, never sure to be giving us the whole truth that can be swallowed as it is, but very often rather a half-truth whose true meaning you have to figure out on your own -- even when that character happens to be JKR. And you have to look at the entire picture of the speaker's patterns of behavior to figure out what the true meaning of the words are, as well as what your morally integral take-home message should be. What all of the characters say to us in the Potterverse are actually key to understanding (by each of us readers using our own rational thoughts) what might conceivably be wrong with each of them, and in what ways they might be trying to poison their own beautiful universe.

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I'm ready to talk about the book

Remorse and transformation of character

Cross-posted from my own journal.

I've been mulling HP7 over some more, specifically about remorse. I told gina_r_snape I'd like to do an essay on the subject.

Before I could get started, however, I ran across this essay, about Snape's story arc in book 7. I really urge you to read it, it's excellent. And I'm going to riff on some of what she was saying in that essay in the remarks I have that follow, so read it first.

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mug, tea, writer

"To Love And Be Wise": The Ethical Imperative in the Potterverse

Title:"To Love and Be Wise": the Ethical Imperative in the Potterverse
Type: Essay
Category: Gen
Length: About 6,000 words
Rating: G
Summary:What is the major conflict in the Potterverse, and, if we can answer that question, might it help us predict the ending? Compares the Potterverse to the world of "Lord of the Rings"
Disclaimers and Notes: I'd like to thank my sister and Beyond_Pale, who read this for me and approved it. The essay follows the cut (and it's not about Severus Snape! Really! This one is about Harry-)
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mug, tea, writer

Harry Potter the plagiarist

TitleSo, what's so wrong in Potions Class? (or, Harry Potter and the sin of plagiarism)
Author mary_j_59
category essay, gen
length about 500 words
warnings none - rated G
summary So - what, exactly, is the problem with Harry's use of that Potions textbook? Why am I so disturbed by it when many fans don't seem to care? Just a short, informal entry on something that has really been bothering me. The essay follows the cut-
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Grief and Vengeance: A close-reading of 'Silver and Opals'

I'm pleased to have this opportunity to pinch-hit for Chapter 12, "Silver and Opals," in part because, here, as also was the case in the chapter I summarized earlier, the important advancements of the novel's (and series') major plot occurs behind-the-scenes, while those aspects that I feel are most crucial to Harry's development are easy to overlook upon an initial reading. So, in other words, there's a lot to play with. I hope I can do it justice.

This is part one of two. Part Two will go up tomorrow, because it isn't done yet, and is a more standard "read-through." Part One is something different, though, and perhaps is not part of the HBP Read-Through at all. (Which is why it is not currently titled or tagged as such.)

It is an examination of Harry's development and trajectory as a hero and as a person. It is an exploration of Harry's limits, and his motivations. It's an explosion, for me, of the Harry I idealise and carry around in my head. It is a close reading of nine very brief paragraphs in the center of Chapter 12, a tracing/treatment of what led to Harry's brutal assault on Mundungus Fletcher, and an argument for the centrality of this attack's significance to Harry's journey.

So, Silver today, and Opals tomorrow. I have lots to say about Opals, so I hope you'll all stick around. Gratitude to siriaeve and the rest of the mods for their patience regarding my real-life essayathon. All book cites refer to the first US hardcover editions.

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SPN: not alone

Individual morality in the Potterverse

"There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it."  Quirrel states this in the final chapter of *Philosopher's Stone*, either quoting or paraphrasing what Voldemort has taught him.  I haven't seen much discussion of this statement, yet I think it must be important, given that it's presented to us as the personal philosophy of the series' central villain.  In fact, I think it sums up the moral conflict around which the whole series is built: the fight in the HP books isn't between people who are consistently, reliably good and people who are consistently, reliably evil.  It's between people who believe in the existence of good and try to achieve it, and people who believe that trying is for losers.

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