Masha did post. Feel free to check it out and join me in the combox, wondering how Harry ever manages to develop any sense of ethics at all. From Masha:
causing physical harm to another (even repairable harm, unintentionally caused) is not something to ignore, in any situation, and I'm not surprised Harry never really ends up learning to control himself, with the unbalanced jump from neglect and abuse in the one society to catering and over-excusing in the other.Considering that Harry's examples of ethics include the Dursleys, who punish him for existing, the Ministry of Magic, which only punishes him when he's innocent, and the Hogwarts teachers, who only sometimes bother punishing him even when they actually catch him doing something wrong, which they don't half the time, it's pretty remarkable that he has a sense of right and wrong at all. It would've been a different story if he hadn't. (Fan fiction. Go.)
War and Peace
Those who tried to understand the general course of events and to take part in it by self-sacrifice and heroism were the most useless members of society, they saw everything upside down, and all they did for the common good turned out to be useless and foolish... Even those, fond of intellectual talk and of expressing their feelings, who discussed Russia's position at the time involuntarily introduced into their conversation either a shade of pretense and falsehood or useless condemnation and anger directed against people accused of actions no one could possibly be guilty of. In historic events the rule forbidding us to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is specially applicable. Only unconscious action bears fruit, and he who plays a part in an historic event never understands its significance. If he tries to realize it his efforts are fruitless.Such cynicism, Tolstoy.
Also: damn it, but there's a reason I put off reading books like War and Peace. It's fear of having to re-experience the reason I hated Jurassic Park and never, ever should have read The Hunger Games*. I find it very difficult to sit through a scene where a human being is brutalized and/or murdered. Yes, this is a staple of fiction at every level, and yes, I'm fulfilling female stereotypes, and yes, many of my favorite books contain such scenes, but Tolstoy's account of an arrogant policeman's sacrifice of a prisoner to the mob, upon which the mob did what mobs do despite the young man's cry for mercy, was absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking to read.
It shook me pretty badly. Possibly the sidecar I was drinking at the time did not help. But I'm not sure when I'd have gotten up from the corner of the couch, where I'd lodged in protest against the awfulness of the world, if Lou hadn't lured me out with lit candles and a back rub and a patient reminder that fiction doesn't reflect reality in proportion.
Tolstoy has some serious making up to do right about now. He made me want to ditch the whole story and go re-read Twilight. Fortunately for him, I'm much too fond of Pierre and Natasha and Prince Andrei to give up on them. It's also quite possible, of course, that when I get to the end of the book, all will be forgiven.**
I still might re-read Twilight, though. Brace yourselves.
* Oddly enough, I read the sequels to both. You'd think I'd learn.
** The chances are good, actually, since Maria (of commenting days of yore) recommends this book with enthusiasm. Maria despises cruel endings of the Tess of the D'Urbervilles variety as furiously as I do.