Harry Potter Book Club: Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 11–12

Hail! I have excuses for posting late this week, too, but they might bore you and they'd certainly slow down the post. On to the H.P.B.C....

Masha posted on the Marauder's Map, the Fidelius charm, and Lupin:
There is a certain hazard in reaching out to people, particularly to people you care about deeply.
In this chapter, Professor Lupin is walking a fine line with Harry. He is, in this book alone, Rowling's best attempt at a father-figure for Harry...
Art by Patricia D./perselus
He is. Several men spend quality time in James Potter's vacant shoes—Dumbledore, Arthur Weasley, SPOILER—and as much as Harry loves and honors those men, only SPOILER really steps up as father rather than as friend or mentor. And even SPOILER, for SPOILERIFIC reasons, only gets halfway there. Lupin is not just a quality teacher for Harry in this book; he is as wise and loving and parental as any relative stranger could reasonably be, and no one ever quite equals him in that.

While Harry never acknowledges that gift in words, I think he knows it—and I think that's a lot of what's behind the fury in a certain scene in book seven.
... and it's clear he steps into the role unwillingly.
There are a lot of possible reasons for that. Masha says,
Maybe he knows that reaching out to Harry will eventually require him to confront all the losses and missed-opportunities in his past.
...and that's similar to my own thoughts. Lupin was conscientious on his own even when very young, but was also very easy to influence, unwilling to challenge anyone he loved. Now in his thirties, he's prone to a sense of guilt and inadequacy so strong that it chokes his judgment, makes it next to impossible for him to feel his way forward in the right direction. (He reminds me of myself sometimes....) And yet, he's wise and caring and possibly more empathetic than anyone else in the series. I love that guy.

There's lots more to come from Remus John Lupin... but for now, on to this week's reading!

* * *
This Week in Reading Harry

Read: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, chapters 11–12

Potential Discussion Points:

Source. But I was sad and it was the meme-makers' fault,
so I put in a tiny apostrophe after "dementors."
The usage could be singular, rather than plural,
but it's clearly possessive.

1. Christmas at Hogwarts. I love that presents appear at the foot of the bed in the Wizarding World, although this seems to be a charm of some sort, not connected to any personage either legendary or historical or both. Which makes me miss Narnia's Father Christmas.

Christmas dinner at Hogwarts sounds like an awkward family gathering full of stereotypes. Trelawney (the crazy relative) and McGonagall (the enforcer of family tradition) are much less than civil to each other. Dumbledore (the one who makes sure everyone gets together, like it or not) has to play diplomat between them. Snape (the one who 'has not' and is therefore a little to the outside of things, like a spinster aunt who wanted to get married) gets teased about something that embarrasses him.

Which makes me particularly grateful for my family Christmases.

Art by Michael Sheridan

2. The Firebolt. Not the most sensible gift, but then, it's not given by the most sensible guy. Sometimes gifts are given with more feeling than wisdom. Feeling types—as opposed to Thinking types, in the Myers-Briggs—are often subject to this failing. (Being an off-the-charts Feeler, I do this sort of thing myself, usually with affirmation. I wish I could stop, because I see it make people uncomfortable.)

Art by Sarah M. Zagacki
3. Buckbeak and Hagrid. Right now, I'm smiling because Hagrid couldn't leave Buckbeak outside at Christmas, and because Ron made tea as a form of comfort. Crazy they both may be, but it's a good kind of crazy.

And there's no better way to get your mind out of an obsession than by fixing it on someone else's need.... although my mind develops obsessions a lot more frequently than others' needs make their appeals to me. It's rather a constant thing. Fortunately, said obsessions don't usually involve revenge.

4. The Patronus, by definition:
"The Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the dementor feeds upon—hope, happiness, the desire to survive—but it cannot feel despair, as real humans can, so the dementors can't hurt it. But I must warn you, Harry, that the charm might be too advanced for you. Many qualified wizards have difficulty with it."
I'll bet many qualified wizards do have difficulty with that charm. Hermione later does, as I recall, which makes sense—like the giving of not-very-sensible gifts, the casting of a Patronus is more of an emotive work than a logical or technical one. Intelligence does not necessarily increase happiness—not even when it comes with mastery.

Especially not if you're Grumpy Cat.

As for the definition itself: here in the Muggle world, we don't quite face the utter annihilation of our souls, nor can we quite place our hopes outside ourselves in some invincible protective form. But if Rowling's dementors are depression with substance and animation, it only makes sense that the antidote would be corporealized happiness and hope.

If "Expecto Patronum" doesn't work,
try kittens!
5. I Expect a Guardian! I love this post by Terpsichore over at The Egotist's Club. Terpsichore asks,
What happy memory or hope is your guardian against Dementor-like feelings?
and doesn't get much of a response, but it's a good question. I'll answer, but first: considering that Lupin defines a Patronus as "a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the dementor feeds upon—hope, happiness, the desire to survive," it's odd that Harry is asked for a happy memory. Memories can help, but hope is what's needed, and that's what I like about Terpsichore's post. She points out several (SPOILERIFIC) instances where Harry's casting of a Patronus is done by some means other than memory, and then says,
Where a happy memory may not get us through, our hopes may; perseverance may; or faith may, the assurance about what we do not see.
I employ of all of the above; depression is not a one-weapon battle. But when I "can' see the point o' livin'," like Hagrid in Azkaban, here's one idea that defends me well: the thought of young people whom I know and love dearly, some of whom love me dearly in return—young people who need to see me fight through life, for whom my giving up would be devastating and might influence them to do likewise. I spent yesterday with two of them. There is not much in this world more precious to me than their innocent faith that Aunty lives for them.

This turns out to be a personal Patronus drawing, but I thought it was SPOILERS.
Art by MauserGirl.

6. "Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off—"

This one just hurts me. Lily's sacrifice is made much of in the story; James', perhaps because he—unlike Lily (SPOILERS!!!)—would have gotten murdered anyway, is not. But when Voldemort shows up at the Potters' hideout, James doesn't hesitate.

Fan fic in pictures: James protecting Lily in a more cheerful way.
Art by burdge

If only he could have gotten in a lucky AK. *weeps*

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