Wednesday, February 26, 2020

On Harry Potter, Commenting under the Video of a Fan of Rowling

Can I Read/Watch Harry Potter as a Christian? - My Catholic Perspective
Ali-Marie Ingram | 13.II.2020

1:40 Well, you have not made a compact with any demon.

Now, look at the Biblical and Patristic fact that sorcery actually is (in some places and times more than others) for real, as I found out while reading or skimming the book I of Life of Moses by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

I just made a post about it:

Creation vs. Evolution : Does Magic Work (Sometimes), and Was Gregory of Nyssa Uninterested in Factual Accounts?

2:19 JKR has now gone over to Calvinist, Kirk of Scotland.

219 propositions condemned by Bishop Tempier in Paris and England (that is all English bishops retroactively agreed with bishop Tempier) arguably condemns the denial of freewill as conclusion of God's omnipotence, would have to check (certainly condemns the denial of freewill overall).


Hans-Georg Lundahl
7:33 Actually, "expelliarmus" is very much not real Latin.

Ali-Marie Ingram
Expelliarmus – Rowling herself took a liberty with this one, by combining the Latin words of expello meaning “I drive away, banish” with arma meaning “weapons”. This disarming charm makes the victim's wand fly out of reach.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
@Ali-Marie Ingram I think that is not the only one where she took a liberty.

Btw, I found one real Latin : tergeo.

Ali-Marie Ingram
Hans-Georg Lundahl Just because it’s a real Latin word doesn’t make it a spell. That was the entire point of me bringing it up.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
@Ali-Marie Ingram If you recall my op, it is, the point you made presupposed she was usually or often using real Latin.

Expelliarmus, accio vs tergeo, excrucio ... 2:2

And as a Latinist, I am both very aware that Latin is not a language automatically spelling (!) out spells, and the difference between fake and real Latin.

Now I am going to bring up the behaviour of the good guys in a new comment, I skimmed through parts of Half Blood prince yesterday, and can comment on some things on a scene by scene level.


Hans-Georg Lundahl
I haven't read them, but I wonder if I should, and wonder a bit if the stories of Ron, Harry and Hermione aren't a very mistreated triangle story, unfortunately very realistic in modern school settings ...

Shurland James
If you’re unsure, I’d suggest reading the first book and see how you like it 🙂

Hans-Georg Lundahl
@Shurland James In the first book, they are all three pretty much pre-teens?

So the problem doesn't really arise.

Shurland James
Hans-Georg Lundahl nor does it ever arise really...

Hans-Georg Lundahl
@Shurland James Come on, Ron and Harry both in love with Hermione, all three stay friends for years without her really deciding finally (for Ron) until very late on.

As said, this kind of situation is tragically realistic, but it is still bad.

That's why I'd like to know a bit more of how it is portrayed.

Confer Aragorn with Eowyn and Arwen, Eowyn very rapidly tells Aragorn she loves him, Aragorn very rapidly tells her, he's engaged to Arwen. End of story.

8:11 Space travel in sci fi is very much fantasy, thank you.

Voyager 1 and 2 are about 40 years in space and are not yet one light day up.

I read parts of the Half Blood prince yesterday. NOT a question of reading the book or of getting a good grip on the action. Simply skimming though and looking at single scenes. I didn't take Prisoner of Azkaban or Chamber of Secrets, also in the library, since at least one of them Harry, Ron and Hermione are still children. I also didn't get any scene featuring all three of them in this second to last, but at least they are all adolescents or young adults. I'll add comments under this one for each specific.

Fudge and the Prime Minister.

  • 1) I don't like the idea of a world of secrecy "appearing" only to a PM or a President ... a bit like the idea of Illuminati secretly running the world, and being very discrete. "My predecessor" (back-translating and from memory, not quoting from original) "didn't tell me" - "Well, would you tell anyone, including your successor?"

    Ministry of Magic is supposed to be the "good guys" ...?

  • 2) This could be meant as satire, but the idea that steel and concrete were just fine and didn't really rust or crack, it just happened because of magic, is a bit cynical. A bridge collapsed in Italy last year or the year before, and it was because the concrete and steel were meant to be replaced after a few decades, but everyone had forgotten. We should face the fact that much modern infrastructure is indeed fragile and if neglected a safety hazard.

  • 3) And, someone pointed this out about the social ethics in Tolkien, but it is heavier here : such and such a threat to lives of Mugglers is roaming around, only Ministry of Magic can really help. In Tolkien, Dúnedain do a lot of helping decent folks by killing orcs and such outside their sight, but at least this secrecy is not the only weapon against them, see the Scouring of the Shire.

In the home of Dursley's : Dumbledore makes a scene calling them cruel against Dudley.

Sure, dysfunctional relations exist, but here we have Dumbledore making a point of prolonging it in order to provide magically for Harry's safety.

And making a scene to make a point in psychology strikes me as heavily bad manners, obviously the cruelty they had done to Dudley would have been unconscious or subconscious and they would not have normal conscious responsibility for it, so why the blame?

Because shrinks like to blame people for their subconscious.

Dumbledore, Slughorn and Harry : Slughorn mentions he "n'aime pas" such and such a female teacher, which may be understandable, but thereon Harry starts giggling or laughing, and has to explain he doesn't like or love her either.

[Was it Dolores Umbridge in English original?]

I mean, how repressive can that school have been if he didn't feel he could express it before "an adult" had done so? Remember, he is about one year from "of age".

Just checked, yes, Ginny is both Ron's sister and eventually Harry's bride.

Fair enough as a solution to a very overloaded triangle, two young men are rivals about a young lady, man A has a sister and that sister draws man B away from the common love interest.

B U T ... we have her speaking about the time when she was annoyed at one ... Zachary Smith ... and she put a spell on him, and was afraid she would be punished for it, but the teacher approved of her tactics (and comradeship to the "crétin") and invited her for tea instead.

AND we have Ginny and Ron quarrelling over, well, Ron is kind of slut shaming her, without daring to be explicit, a magical event confirms Ginny's mindreading, and Ginny responds by virgin-shaming Ron.

Overall, part of what I had already suspected in advance is, there is a lot of virgin shaming against Ron.

Let's take Ginny's response to the "crétin" ... compare Sam Gamgee's to Bill Ferney. A very openly thrown unripe apple.

Some guys think manipulative low key and indirect violence is preferrable over open physical violence. Such guys get confirmation from this kind of thing.

Let's recall a Father Brown story by Chesterton, in which Fr Brown SJ points out that stealing golden fish is just as much stealing if done by spiritual means as it is if done by physical means. Or Aslan's words to Lucy, eavesdropping by magic is the same as any other eavesdropping.

Could one generalise : being mean by magic or supernatural or otherwise spiritual means is still being mean? I think so.

Here that teacher was telling Ginny it was OK to be mean, if she did it that skilfully.

So, I think even apart from magic, one may have reasons to not read these books.

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