Friday, June 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Part I

With only eighteen days left until my favorite (at least by a slight margin) Harry Potter book becomes the fifth Harry Potter movie (and it looks like it might be my favorite as well), I've been re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and making notes as I read. As I'm also re-reading Half-Blood Prince, which is only 28 days and a few hours from being in my hot little hands, I'm trying to keep things straight. I've found with both that there are certain chapters that just seem to hold the most information, the crucial information, that we need before we begin the last and final book of this amazing series.

With the other books, I've made some attempts to do a chapter by chapter entry, guided by the Reading Groups at The Leaky Lounge, but I've fallen behind, and I've decided that it's more feasible to just go by my notes that I've made while reading these last two books. Notes, mind you, in the margins, and on the blank pages at the end of the books, making these last two books look like something that would make the Prince proud. Of course, the Prince would likely find my notes boring and tedious or not worthy of his time. But they are my way of trying to sort out some of the details of the books.

So.....

One of the things that I like best about Order of the Phoenix is the thing that many Harry Potter readers liked least. Finally, I thought, as I got past the first few disturbing episodes of Harry yelling at everyone and being grumpy and feeling misunderstood, unappreciated, ignored and sometimes even bullying (or thinking of it) his awful cousin Dudley, we have Harry who has at last realized that life has dealt him a rotten hand and he isn't happy about it. To me, even if he had not seen Cedric killed in the graveyard and had not seen the rebirth of Voldemort and been betrayed by Moody (fake one, it turns out), Harry still should have been saying "Why has all this happened to me? Why hasn't anyone told me about my parents? Professor Lupin, please tell me what my parents did for a job; what they were like; were they funny, talented, serious, nice?" But no, for four years we had a Harry who was patient, who didn't keep questioning Dumbledore about why this insane maniac tried to kill him as a baby, and who didn't really ask the other adults many questions about his parents either, not even their best friends.

Yes, of course, after all the years of the Dursleys making his life miserable and telling Harry not to ask questions, that has become a way to survive at their home, where he is stuck, nearly imprisoned, every summer. But not at school; there are people who like him there and who knew his parents. Like Harry, I was adopted, which was one of the things that appealed to me early in the books. Unlike Harry, my birth parents, whom I never knew, weren't murdered by a lunatic wizard, and my adoptive parents were wonderful and loving--and no Dudley or nasty Aunt Marge. But still, even I, who was happy living where I did with parents who loved and cared for me, asked questions, and wondered who was a part of my past. So Harry's lack of curiosity and willingness to accept such unhelpful answers from Dumbledore, and even Lupin, always struck me as being highly unrealistic. After all, look at all the times you hear stories about people who have searched for their birth families--it's something that naturally comes into the mind of any child who is raised by people who are not their birth family. It's normal to ask "What would my life have been like if. . . " (As an adult, I no longer felt the need to search or ask a lot of questions, but as a teenager, it was still something that I occasionally thought about. If I'd been unhappy, I'm sure it would have turned into a quest to find those answers.)

And, old as I am (57 until September), I still remember being fifteen. It's not an easy age, even if your life is comfortable, safe, happy, loving, as mine was. At times I was irritable, for no particular reason; was snappish with my mom; moody and isolated; silly and thoughtless; selfish and self-absorbed. It goes with the age. Throw in all the things that Harry has dealt with as well, and I thought it was refreshing, if sometimes difficult to read, to see him behave in such a normal way. Refreshing, not because I would have wanted to be in the same room while he was yelling, but because it shows the depth of the character that Rowling has created. She's done a marvelous job showing the kids growing up. With each book, we get teens that are less of the children that we met in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and more of the adults they will become. Well, we hope that they all make it to adulthood.

It's in Order of the Phoenix that we learn more about Sirius and his family, but I'll come back to that later. While it's important and I loved learning about it and about the Order itself, there were other things that seem more important at the moment.

Harry gets through the hearing at the Ministry, which, truth be told, would have been a huge surprise had he not. The surprises there were Percy being such a git, and Fudge still being so unbelievably dense, and of course, we get our first glimpse of Dolores Umbridge, whose own brand of evil is sometimes even more chilling than Voldemort's.

While Harry and Ron and Hermione are still at twelve, Grimmauld Place, with others of the Order, we see Harry head off to bed early, still disturbed by the photo that Moody, the real one, showed Harry of the original Order, including his parents. Harry finds it horrible to see all those people, many of whom are now dead, or in Saint Mungo's (Neville's parents), who had not a clue that horrible things were just waiting to happen. And of course, there was Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed his parents to Voldemort, a betrayal that resulted in their deaths, and the attempted killing of Harry. Like Harry says, why would Moody think it's a treat for Harry to see those photos? And so at the first opportunity, he heads off to bed, side-tracked by the sound of someone crying.

It's in Chapter Nine, "The Woes of Mrs. Weasley", that we see what terrifies Molly. She has gone to take care of the boggart hiding in a desk. It, as boggarts do, turns into her worst fear, which is seeing all of her family dead, including Harry. As a mother, I fully understood her feelings and her fears. It doesn't take the threat of an evil wizard for those thoughts to go through the mind of every mother. Harry, who knows how to get rid of a boggart, is unable to cope either, once the boggart turns into "dead Harry". He tells Mrs. Weasley to get out of the room, to let someone else take care of it. The commotion gets the attention of Remus Lupin, followed by Sirius and Moody. Lupin dispatches the boggart and then comforts Molly, assuring her that it was only a boggart, not anything real.

"I see them d-d-dead all the time!" Mrs. Weasley moaned into his shoulder. "All the t-t-time! I d-d-dream about it. . ."

Sirius was staring at the patch of carpet where the boggart, pretending to be Harry's body, had lain. Moody was looking at Harry, who avoided his gaze. (U.S. OotP, p. 176)


Harry, and we, the readers, know that this book is going to have some very serious things for all of us to handle. It's not easy for Harry, nor will it be easy for us. For any parent reading about Molly's fears, this scene strikes way too close to home. For any teen or adult who doesn't yet have children, it's a glimpse of what their parents fear--a huge dose of reality in Rowling's fantasy world. If we hadn't figured out that these books aren't just for children after the scene in the graveyard in Goblet of Fire, we should know it now.

Molly doesn't want them to tell Arthur--he has enough on his plate already without dealing with his wife's fears. She's worried that Harry will think she's silly and foolish, not even able to get rid of a boggart. But her fear is real and it's based on her family's involvement in the Order, which puts all of them at greater risk, so she's not being foolish at all, really. And of course, there's Percy, who has chosen Fudge's and the Ministry's side of pretending that Voldemort hasn't returned, or at least of trying to cover up what they do know is real. What if they don't reconcile with Percy, and something awful happens to the Weasley family? Again, a normal fear of any parent. As if that's not enough, Molly still has two children, not adults, who need her watchful care and guidance. What happens to Ron and Ginny if she and Arthur are killed? And here is one of the reasons that Lupin is one of my favorite adults in the whole series:

"Molly, that's enough," said Lupin firmly. "This isn't like last time. The Order are better prepared, we've got a head start, we know what Voldemort's up to--"

Mrs. Weasley gave a little squeak of fright at the sound of the name.

"Oh, Molly, come on, it's about time you got used to hearing it-- look, I can't promise no one's going to get hurt, nobody can promise that, but we're much better off than we were last time. . ." {OP, US version, p. 177)


No sugar coating from Lupin, but honesty, at a time when it's an honest look at the situation will be much more reassuring than what Fudge is trying to put over on everyone. Lupin's acknowledgement that they are dealing with real danger gives Molly the assurance that he takes her fears seriously, and in that, he gives her the courage to find that strength within herself. Ignorance, in the case of Voldemort's return, is not going to be bliss, and Lupin understands that as well as anyone.

Sirius tells Molly not to worry about Percy:

"He'll come round. It's a matter of time before Voldemort moves into the open; once he does, the whole Ministry's going to be begging us to forgive them. And I'm not sure I'll be accepting their apology," he added bitterly.

"And as for who's going to look after Ron and Ginny if you and Arthur died," said Lupin, smiling slightly, "what do you think we'd do, let them starve?" (OP, US version, p. 177)


Well, nothing like tackling the hard issues, is there? Yet, that's exactly one of the reasons I really liked Order of the Phoenix. There is a real threat that Rowling has created with the return of Voldemort and the resurgence of the Death Eaters. These are issues the characters would be thinking about and dealing with; to not have it in the book would minimize the threats she has created. By the same token, to have the characters never doubt or fear would lessen their humanity, so vividly portrayed by Rowling.

Molly, calmed down for the time being, by Lupin's reassurance and honest appraisal of what they face, says she was being silly. Harry heads off to bed, but doesn't think she was at all silly. He keeps thinking about the image of the boggart turning into each of the Weasley family before Mrs. Weasley's eyes.

Without warning, the scar on his forehead seared with pain again and his stomach churned horribly.

"Cut it out," he said firmly, rubbing the scar as the pain receded again.

"First sign of madness, talking to your own head," said a sly voice from the empty picture on the wall.

Harry ignored it. He felt older than he had ever felt in his life, and it seemed extraordinary to him that barely an hour ago he had been worried about a joke shop and who had gotten a prefect's badge. (OP, US version, p. 178)


We'll learn later that the sly voice is Phineas Nigelus, who seems to be sharing information about Harry with Dumbledore, even though Dumbledore spends little time with Harry for most of this year, and almost always refuses to look at him, something that is understandably irritating and frustrating for Harry. With just a phrase, Rowling has told us that Harry is no longer a child--feeling "older than he had ever felt in his life". By the end of the book, even Dumbledore no longer refers to Harry as a child, but as a man. This is the book that takes Harry from the child to a man, fully aware by the end of what he faces and what his responsibilities are.

At this point, however, Harry is still in the early stages of shock over what he saw at the end of his fourth year (Goblet of Fire) and of grief over having seen a fellow classmate, and friend, killed. Now the one person on whom Harry has come to depend won't talk to him. Of course he is angry with Dumbledore. Harry needs some serious grief counseling, and the person to whom he wants to turn, refuses to spend time with him or even to look at him.

But this last scene is a huge set up for what's coming for Harry when he sees the vision of Arthur being attacked in what turns out to be the Ministry of Magic. It's that connection that Harry seems to have, and has had for a while, to Voldemort's thoughts and emotions. For whatever reason, Voldemort wasn't aware of the access Harry had to his mind until Harry saw the attack on Arthur.

It's this connection that I find most interesting. Many think this is the proof that Harry or his scar is a Horcrux. And they might be right. I'm just not fond of the idea. If that's where Rowling goes, then I'll go along, but I will always think there is a better alternative. I guess I want their connection to be more subtle, more along the lines of something that could occur without the magic of a Horcrux. Something that we, as real people, have to fight against.

I'll digress for a moment. When I was in junior high, I had a friend who, for whatever reason, was always interested in just this sort of thing--seeing into the mind of others. We would spend time concentrating on a particular card, trying to get the other person to chose the one we had picked. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. But our favorite, and quite successful, endeavor was at the movie theater. While we waited for a movie to begin, we would choose one person, at least four or five rows in front of us. Then we would both stare at the back of that person's head, while thinking "turn around". It's very eerie, and still seems odd to me, but it almost always worked. The person, someone we didn't know, would turn and look right at us, not just randomly looking around the theater, but AT us in particular. The more we did it, the quicker the response time of our intended, erm, victim, for lack of a better word.

So, no magic needed, I think there are ways that one mind can connect with another. How? I've not a clue. I don't really even care. My husband and I often come up with the same idea for dinner, without having discussed it; the other day, we each picked the same movie (I, during the day, and he, in the evening while I went to a meeting), to watch On Demand. Truly weird, as neither of us had ever heard of that particular movie before and it was in a long list. Of course, we've been married for thirty-three years, but still, it is an odd connection that happens between two minds.

But I think that when Voldemort "put some of himself" in Harry when he tried to kill him and the curse rebounded, it wasn't a part of Voldemort's soul, but a part of his mind. The mind and the soul are not the same thing, the way Rowling tells it, in Half-Blood Prince, to jump ahead a bit, when Dumbledore explains about the Horcruxes. He tells Harry that even if all of Voldemort's Horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort will still exist, because his body and mind can live on without his soul. It's Voldemort's body and mind that are doing all the evil things that Harry sees and feels, not Voldemort's soul, of which only a fragment remains in Voldemort's body.

And that leads me to one of my favorite chapters: Chapter Twenty Four, "Occlumency". As it's well after midnight, I'm going to take a break before continuing with the chapter that really explores how Harry's mind and Voldemort's are connected.

2 comments:

merlin said...

Pat,
I just thought that I would point out that in the Horcruxes chapter I don't think Dumbledore says that the body can live without the soul. I am pretty sure that Harry speaks first of 6 parts of Voldy's soul having to be dealt with, meaning 6 Horcruxes, and Dumbledore corrects him and says that there are 7 parts of Voldy's soul to be dealt with, including the final part that still remains in his regenerated body. I cannot look up a page citation right now because I do not have my copy of Half Blood Prince, which is on loan to a friend in my department who borrowed it for a train trip back home (she is also from the Pittsrbugh area) and has not gotten it back to me yet. But I have actually "read" that one more times than any other, meaning that, in addition to the first read of the paper text, I "read" (actually listened) last year in numerous trips, the same trip that totalled about 3 hours round trip, between where I was living in Weirton WV and my parents home (now simply my mother's home) in Grove City PA, I listened to HBP probably 7 or 8 times all the way through the Jim Dale reading of the Scholastic version (even including the 7 hour drive out here to NYC last fall ... a recent trip back and forth from here to GC got me about half way through the Steven Fry reading of Goblet of Fire Bloomsbury Ed. on my mp3 player, which is my current absolute favorite piece of muggle technology ... much more conveneient to have the files all lined up in the mp3 playe and not having to switch CDs while driving, although I substituted that hassle for the one of taking notes on a yellowpad braced on the wheel at 70 mph) ... I am almost positive, as positive as I can be without have my actual text in front of me to verify (maybe when I am down in Manhattan this afternoon I will stop at a B&N and peruse a copy in the stacks) that Dumbledore speaks of what remains and was in the body at the time Voldy attempted to kill Harry and then inhabits snakes and Quirrel and later animates his new body gained by snake venom and unicorn blood through magic (baby-mort) and then the full body through the bone-flesh-and-blood ritual - is the remaining part of Voldy's soul.

Dumbledore then goes on to speak of diary-mort as striking him as being something much more than a mere memory, but technically diary-mort is a soul portion in a Horcrux, but DD speaks of it as having "mental" capabilities such as not only memory but perception and a faculty of willing and acting (thus it really isn't even as necessary to go to outside materail in the tradition where "intellectual soul" is used interchangeably with the likes of "mind" or simply "intellect" as a substantive, although such a "diachronic" exercize might be helpful alonside a "synchronic" approach like the one just done - often the the diachronic and synchronic approaches are best taken hand in hand in the proper balance, and the most errors occur when taking either in isolation).

As for scarcrux, I personally agree with it, at least for another month lol. But I agree that it is not a concluded matter within text (as I think is intentional,she is a good writer and wouldn't let that cat out of the bag entirely, in one direction or the other) ... Dumbledore only really speaks of Voldy transfering "powers" (without any language of transfer of any substance or "thing," be it "mind" or "soul") ... powers are qualities and not substances and, at least in the language of the medieval tradition - they are strictly speaking "potencies" or "qualities of potency" or capabilities, within a substance (such as a spirit or an animated body) ... I wouldn't say Vlody instills his powers in Harry on an "innate" level because that word, I think, comes from "in" "natus," or "in birth" - but the level of "inherence" with which Voldy's actions instills his powers in 1 year old Harry is on a much more deeply objective level than the way that powers come through habituation or learning ... I personally like the scarcrux theory as the most explanatory and the most narratologically consistent (on both the level of logic of imagery as well as logic of material detail), but I think something like John Granger's full blown "scar-o-scope" theory is a misreading, but still there is nothing that I can see in text that demonstrates conclusively one way or the other (she has sealed that cat in that bag until July 21st with some pretty tight stitching :) )

As for a "real world" referent - that is a very deep subject that touches on the nature of literature itself, especially symbolist literature. I think that the magic always has a real world referent. Legilimency, for example, as a form of magic is, in the real world, the abililty to read people VERY well, the way some are able to do it. In my experience this is usually inductively learned rather than deductively, learned on an "illative" level rather than the fully "conscious" level. If the movies are to be believed, which I at least see no reason to assume that they completely manufacture these things, there are places and professions in which people learn them deductively, such as the intelligence work portrayed in the standard "intelligence" espionage drama, but also in psychology ... the ability to know how to read body-language, speech patterns, involuntary eye-movement that indicates accessing different parts of the brain (particularly thinking of the movie "The Negotiator" where they use the "up and to the left means accessing creative centers of the brain and therefore the person is lying, rather than up and to the right means accessing the analytical portion of the brain working for more accurate recall of detail from memory and therefore the person is telling the truth ... Voldy's powers relate especially to that, he loves that one) choice of vocabulary, etc etc (I do it but only really on the basis of full "entexted" mediums, analysing the rhetoric used in a text - my profession is ancient text and in particular the Bible, but it is possible to do it even on the level of an ordinary email, "reading between the lines," as they say, which is accessed through studying the patterns by and in which a human mind/soul constructed the lines themselves) ... more over knowing not only how to read but how to influence, knowing what choice of vocabulary and phrasing are more likely to get the person to do what you want, including ruses of "reverse psychology" and the like.

And that really comes back to the question of symbolist connections. I read Rowling's works as properly symbolist ... meaning neither mere immanent "experience for experience sake" nor flatly straighly "vertical" allegorical 1-1 correspondance of signified and signifier (to borrow some language from Augustine, Ecco and the other semiotics guys).

In general though I myself would be very careful of positing a real world correspondance of any "power" without a connection via some sort of God-given medium (either sight through reading or use of body language, or aural/oral through speech etc, or intentional volitional means such as a high level of facility in knowing people's personalities and realizing that, given what details you know of what is going on in their life at present, for instance you know that leaving a particular book laying around might send them into a mood of anger that totally distracts them from getting something done they really should get done - which such things are often done on the subconscious level, even meaning that it is possible to manipulate somebdoy without "meaning" to - as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living) ... but I should clarify, a God given medium that is, for the most part, observable (although not always sufficiently examined

I guess in short I would say that there being certain patterns in the objective existence of the world - my main concern, which I would not ... simply because the mind, at least certain minds with exceptionally high levels of certain gifts, can figure these things out

That is one of the primary things I think is symbolized in Dumbledore being a legilimens himself - with great power comes great responsibility and it is possible to use such gifts well, but it is also a precarious high-wire act, and the higher the leap the harder the ground, and some people get very hurt by others usning those skills (I lived in one group boarding situation while doing my MA where I was eventually able to get a kid booted who was doing a real mind job on his girlfriend, himself being pretty unstable and, the last I talked to the girlfriend, who was in a custody battle with him, he had recently served felony time ... I pushed and got him evicted and that gave the girls father some leverage in the situation with his daughter, which was not good, but has since gotten as better as it can I think, but in several hour long conversations where the father contacted me for details, he basically said at one point his opinioin was that the symptoms his daughter most strongly exhibited were those of stockholm syndrome ... this guy was messed up but he grew up in a highly charged charismatic religious home and knew EXACTLY the things to say to this girl to get her completely wrapped up in him, the father told at me that at one point, the night I got the eviction pushed through, the girl called him up at 3 in the morning in absolute hysterics, not angry but rather simply falling apart at the seems ... such powers, once learned, can yield some very ugly results)

I wouldn't want to be too negative on the movie thing, for a reason I will say in a moment, but from a psychological standpoint, given the high level of self-consciousness in our culture, any person in a movie theater here, visible from behind, even if only the head visible, is bound to turn around a number of times before a feature begins, either that or do what I do and sink way down in the chair in an almost reclined position, although even then you get uncomfortable and tend to sit up for a bit ... but like I side, I wouldn't want to be seeming like criticizing that thought too heavily ... technically I am guessing it would be the logical fallacy of "post hoc ergo propter hoc" - "after this, therefore because of this" - ie "we mentally told them to turn around and then they did, therefore they must have done it because we thought it" ... taken to levels of rigidity or definition it is, like I said, technically a logical fallacy, but not taken to that level it is simply how our minds are wired ... observable cause and effect is simply one of the basic ways the human intellect works, which is why I would never want to be too critical on it.

I discover at least once a week, if not more, a place where I have committed post-hoc ergo propter-hoc: "hmmm, I turned this nob and then this happened or stopped happening ... that must be it" and then a week later "what the ... I'm turning the nob and it's not doing what it's supposed to be doing" and somebody says "um ... dude ... what are you talking about? That's the nob for this other thing over here ... you nitwit" .. you know, like that commercial where the person is hitting the switch repeatedly, either frustratedly because it is not doing what they think it is supposed to do or amusedly because they think it is the cause of soemthing that is going on that it isn't really causing, and then it cuts to the next door neighbor sitting in the car alarmed as the garage door repeatedly comes down on their hood, it's one of those geico commercials or something, the whole "life comes at you fast" ones.

But in all seriousness on a broader level, it is the type of thing I try to be careful of in the arena of concepts of "telepathy" and "telekenesis" and most particularly "tele-mentality" (meaning "mentality" there in the orginal sense of the word "mens, mentis" - simply the "thing" we calle the mind, not in the more usual sense of "mentality" as a way of thinking) ... I believe that there always is a medium through which human minds contact each other, and that the outskirts of that meeting ground is the the actual soul itself, the actual person - that the soul is not just "inside" but that it has actual contact with the mediums of communication through mysterious connection between soul and body. I believe that there are also "spiritual mediums," non-material-world channels by which human spirits at least impact each other, although I do not think it goes to the level of conscious mental content, at least not on the natural level (consciousness as we think of it is very tied to brain function, to the grey matter, not necessarily defined by it, but very connected to it) ... but such spiritual mediums are, by their very definition, not materailly (and thus in the way I am talking about it, not "consciously") verifiable OR concslusively deniable (but from my take and I'm assuming somebody like Granger, from his publicly known confessional stance, such channels are dangerous to investigate casually, for "there are far darker things in the deep places of the world" to quote Gandalf)

Almost forgot to finish out what I was saying on symbolist lit. Because it is not mere "immanent psychological drama" and "experience of the immanent psychology for its own sake" but also does not radicalize transcendancy to the point of merely exclusively vertical 1-1 correspondance between "symbol" and "meaning" - you will always have both elements, the transcendant and the immanent. You will always have concrete magical images symbolizing psychological and/or spiritual tenets (I say they are materially one and the same, but not aspectually or functionally identical, but that gets into the whole traditional Christian anthropological debate betwen "tripartite" and "bipartite" and that is a whole other can of worms :) ), but have them right alongside character and image exposition that relies on instances of things that are immanent phenomena in our "muggle" world.

Like I said, I am very wary of positing "power" connections, precisely because we human beings tend to be insecure, and the mention of power possibilities can carry with it great temptations for us often wounded souls, often seeking power by which to protect ourselves from getting hurt again (that is on the most innocent level, on the more culpable level is the development of addiction to thoughts of revenge through sadism, or simply through control etc) ... and those powers really do exist, although I think merely on the deeper levels of the "traditional mediums," and it is possible to go seeking them and to find them but in a way that we don't use them that well because we haven't looked into the medium itself and and the natural side-effects of such use of them. I say "such use of them" not "any use of them" because that is simply the way humanity works, we may not all have the level of skill of the "super-spy" - "building and working the intelligence asset and then turning them to our own informational uses" (cf a movie like "The Recruit" with Al Pacino and Collin Farrel for a gripping portrayal of a "scray judge of character" - or for a depressing look from another angle in which the intel guy is a good guy, take the second BBC series of a John Lecarre novel, "Smiley's People," where somebody even very well intentioned, George Smiley, played superbly by Alec Guiness, winds up sad because his goal of getting the Russian super-spy Karla to defect is one that not only does the Brit intel agency good and safety but actually helps Karla himself - actuall genuine goodness on both sides of the thing, but Karla is so entrenched in that way of thinking that the only way Smiley can get him to go for it is to blackmail him, to work him like an asset) But we do all possess these abilities , it is originally the good of exactly how our communal human nature works, it is built for love, but in a fallen world can be turned to manipulative selfishness very easily. And that is why I would also say not to avoid asking questions like you do in this post, not to make it taboo - it is an important part of the self-examined life - we are going to have and use these powers anyway, it is how we are built psychologically (Martin Heidegger referred to it as "Dasman" - the "they self" - as a natural constituent element of "Dasein" - "human beingness/experience"). and better to go about the thing using your wits as well, rather than simply your desires. Besides, in the end, such taboo mentality can lead to a paralyzing over self analysis that is part and parcel of very neurotic and self-destructive ways of thinking ... often this happens when you realize that you cannot stop thinking of such "powers" but constantly accusing yourself of being self-seeking every time you do think of them

Anyway, just my 0.02

Merlin

PS regretfully I have lost interest in the HP movies ... last one left me with some major disappointments and also the feeling that it was shot on a sound stage, except for what was done later with CGI (must be something abouth 4th movies, Batman 4, the one with Clooney, felt like it was shot in even less than a sound stage, like in the broom closet with Rita and Harry or something). I will probably see OotP but will probably not expend the energy and money of a trip to Manhattan or Bronxville (can't seem to find any movie theaters actually close by to me, actually in the Bronx) - I will probably by a 10 dollar one off the pirates on fordham rd (actually going today, on my way to Manhattan, to see if I can find one of the actual pirates movie, # 3, so that I can check out some details for an essay I am going to try to get published in the "Journal of Pop Culture" without going to see it in the theater again ... I mean, not like I'm not going to buy the DVD the day it comes out and dive right into those 23 deleted minutes from movie 3 lol)

Eeyore said...

Thanks for your comments, Merlin. What I was basing the Horcrux view on was what Dumbledore told Harry in Half-Blood Prince. It's the danger of reading both books at the same time--rather than sticking only with the canon in one book, I tend to include what we'll find out in the next.

So here is the quote from HBP on Horcruxes (US, Chapter 23, p. 508-9):

Harry sat in thought for a moment, then asked, "So if all of his Horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort could be killed?"

"Yes, I think so," said Dumbledore. "Without his Horcruxes, Voldemort will be a mortal man with a maimed and diminished soul. Never forget, though, that while his soul may be damaged beyond repair, his brain and his magical powers remain intact. . . ."

Dumbledore and Harry go on to discuss the uncommon power it will take, and that the uncommon power Harry has is love. However, I think the part that I quoted clearly shows that Voldemort will still function and be a huge threat even without his Horcruxes.

Rowling has already set this up in Prisoner of Azkaban with Lupin's explanation about what happens to a person whose soul is sucked out by a Dementor's Kiss--they continue to exist. The difference is that in the case of Voldemort willingly and intentionally tearing his soul apart, his mind and abilities remain intact. It's an odd distinction, and I'm not sure that I see it that way. But for the purpose of looking at this part of the story, it's not my view of what the soul is and how it works, but Rowling's view as she tells us through Dumbledore.

Well, I'm off to think about Occlumency, which I find thoroughly fascinating.

Pat