Before Christmas, Masha wrote about about Divination, which was fascinating, since in her pagan days, she'd actually done it:
I can (but don't, so please, don't ask!) read pretty much anything: cards, palms, fire, moles, dreams, handwriting, wax...I used to love it, until I started worrying about my soul.Her take is thoughtful, too; hardly a case of straight-up scientific dismissal:
It's nice to know the flakes of the world (Trelawney, Lavender, Parvati) show up alongside the Type - A, rationalists in the wizarding world as well as the real world. And really, there's no better place to reveal them than in the Divination tower.. Flakes of all types love divination - until you tell them the cute-guy-from-Whole-Foods won't actually be marrying them in the next few months - and Hermione or McGonagall types loathe it..even when it's dead on.Read it! And then come back here for boggarts and fear-facing.
Meanwhile, want something fun to procrastinate with? Figure out which Harry Potter character you are. This was a surprising and interesting result:
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This Week in Reading Harry
Read: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 7
Potential Discussion Points:
Here's Hank Green comparing the public school system to Hogwarts, unfavorably, by way of cornball song.
"...and they don't put you in Hufflepuff if you're not coolI get that second line, but the first... just WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, Hank??!!!
instead they sort you in the parking lot after school"
|Say 'Everyone who isn't cool should be sorted into Hufflepuff'
one more time.
Just say it.
1. Bad teachers. Hagrid is incompetent; Trelawney is a dangerous absurdity; and Snape, for numerous reasons, should never have been put in charge of young minds.
|Art by Shellvia-Blackthorn
Snape is vicious to the point of being able to inflict lasting damage on young lives. We have limited insights into his relationship with Dumbledore, but if Dumbledore ever pulled him aside and attempted to stop him bullying Neville, we at least know it didn't work. Possibly it wasn't said, however, since it would have had to come out like, "Look, I need you and you need me, but go on bullying students and I have what it takes to land you in Azkaban." Snape knows way too much to make that a good idea. But still.
Dumbledore's 'hospital for the screwed up and screwed over' has at least one almost-unqualified success, however. SPOILERS. Moving on.
|Art by Callista1981
This class is brilliant. Lupin saves the reading and essay assignment till after he's carefully coached the class through some unforgettable experience, ensuring that he has both their attention and their respect. When Snape shames Neville in front of him, Lupin calmly displays a confidence in Neville that, as far as we know, no adult has ever given the boy. It's an immense and meaningful gift.
The result, like the gum up Peeves' nose, is a touch ethically questionable—and these are quiet hints at a SPOILERIFIC segment of Lupin's history—but is equally effective. The class laughs, and fear is conquered. It would be hard not to laugh.
3. Neville. He's had great courageous moments before, but Lupin's class is—if I recall correctly—the first opportunity he's ever had to win a fight. The fact that he's been fighting without winning for two books now is sign enough of his character; now, faced with his worst fears but having a capable teacher backing him up for the first time, he shows that his mind is perfectly up to the challenge.
|Art by Melody Moore
The Wizarding world is lucky Neville is able to overcome the shame loaded on him by Snape (and Augusta Longbottom, for that matter). That's all I've got to say. For now, anyway.
4. The boggart. I don't know much about boggart mythology—I've never even read Susan Cooper's book—but the concept of a creature that takes on the appearance of a potential enemy's worst fear is fascinating. That would certainly be an effective form of self-defense. I wonder what happens when a boggart actually gets you? Does it just run you over and leave you fainting from terror? Or does it do like the Matrix and kill you with you own mind's tendency to make whatever it believes real?
|Or maybe it makes like River and does it for you...
At the moment I could probably confuse a boggart all by myself... but when I was first reading the books, I knew exactly what it would turn into if it crawled out of my closet: the low-head dam on the Wenatchee River. As a former whitewater raft guide and rescue tech, I know what happens when water hits a smooth, submerged obstacle like that. I know it almost invariably kills you if you get stuck in it, and I know how—I know the details. I used to have nightmares in the middle of the day about that thing.
I think I'd try to make it sprout a bunch of those agricultural sprinklers: the kind that rotate slowly for part of a circle and then speed back: "tchish, tchish, tchish, tchish, tchish, tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tchish..." You know the type. I've always found them amusing.