Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Seven: Uncle Ben's Uncly Wisdom

It is arguable that the most moral lesson taught in the series is one that we already mentioned: choice vs. ability. This lesson is illustrated time and time again in the stories. As mentioned before, Harry has tremendous power and ability, and thus he is given a great responsibility. Harry must learn to control himself if he wants to become a great wizard that helps mankind. His emotions, passions, desires, and actions often go against what is considered good. Self-discipline becomes a necessity for Harry. The effects of a lack of self-control are shown throughout the story also, and help teach children the danger of recklessness. Harry learns to contemplate issues, ponder information, trust others' wisdom, and make informed decisions that will lead to the greater good. Harry has already witnessed his own ability to think under pressure and come out on top, but now he has to learn to do it when others' lives are at stake. He can't just rely on his own abilities anymore. He must make moral choices that will affect him and those he loves.

Previous: Part Six
Next: Part Eight

Sierra With The Assist

Last night we went and played soccer again for the first time in quite a little while. It was nice to run around again.

Anyway, I just wanted to use this public, heavily-trafficked blogsite to give my lady some props for her wonderful assist last night. She normally plays defense (instead of "normally" read "always") and in a rare occurrence, she made a run forward along the side of the field. She sent off a beautiful pass to another girl whose name is Gabby (I think) and Gabby calmly put that little mother away (instead of "mother" read "soccer ball"). Needless to say that Sierra was ecstatic and I was proud of my baby.

Good job, honey.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Six: Harry Luther King, Jr.

Continuing on with the hope of ending this project soon...

The series also stresses the importance of acceptance and tolerance. Hogwart's school is divided into four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Each house values different traits in its students, and thus every student is sorted into the different houses by a hat. Every year there is a friendly competition between the houses based on athletics (on the quidditch field), academics, and behavior. Over the centuries, this friendly competition has grown into a very heated rivalry between the houses, especially between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Deep feelings of distrust and animosity exist between the two houses and are displayed at times through physical--or perhaps better said "magical"--fighting. As Voldemort returns to power and prepares to wage his war, these houses will have to learn to put aside their differences and unite or they will crumble. Great emphasis is placed on this theme throughout the story. Slytherin believes in a Nazi-like pure-blood society where only magic wielders who ancestors were magic users should be allowed into the school. These "pure-blood" magic families are extremely proud of their heritage and feel that they are superior to the half-bloods (who have only one magic parent) and mud-bloods (whose parents are both non-magic folk). All sorts of symbolism can be extracted from this. Racism would possibly be the most obvious interpretation. Acknowledging the fact that there are many out there who feel that racism is good, I still will assert that it is NOT. Our society has made great leaps and bounds towards equality for all, and the best place to ensure that these steps continue is through educating our children to the ridiculousness and harm of racism. The Harry Potter series quite eloquently and vividly portrays the harm of racism, by drawing a parallel that is very easy for a child to understand. In teaching equality, Harry Potter is a great source of morality.

Previous: Part Five
Next: Part Seven

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Live And Intimate Episode 9: Rivers The Conductor

All right. Let's have some fun, eh? I stumbled upon (by seeking for it...conundrum?) this little gem of a Youtube page. Videos from a show that Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer fame) did with his "friends" at the release for Alone II: The Home Recordings. I specifically chose two songs from Pinkerton both because they add fun elements and because I freaking love that album still...after all this time...

Please. Enjoy.

Rivers Cuomo and friends - "Across the Sea"

Rivers Cuomo and friend - "Butterfly"

Last Episode

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Five: Moral Disobedience

Yep. I went and did it again. Here is the next installment of that old essay of mine.

Also, in case you have not been following along from the beginning or if it has been too long for you to remember what you have previously read and you want to freshen up the old memory bag, here is a link to the first part of the series.

Next it is important to look at the story itself and see what morality may be found there. One of the complaints against Harry is his disregard for rules. That complaint is extremely credible; Harry and his friends are constantly breaking rules throughout the stories. However, Dan McVeigh argues that "to break a rule, leading to demerits for your house or a dangerous attack by a troll, is both a reflection of real life and a part of growing and learning" (204). Harry also demonstrates an understanding of "higher rules"--such as fairness and honor--when he knowingly breaks a tournament rule by giving an opponent information that will equal the odds for all contestants (McVeigh 205). Harry's rule breaking isn't as motivated by self-indulgence as it is by the sense of responsibility he has to save others' lives. In a Christian light, Harry's disobedience shows a deeper understanding of and respect for higher laws. Which shows the greater morality: obedience to man-made rules (such as a curfew), or obedience to eternal or higher laws (such as saving the life of another)? McVeigh argues that "wise adults...understand that for Harry to break a Hogwarts' rule for a larger purpose, and at serious personal risk, is no more to practice self-indulgence than if he were to cure a paralytic on the Sabbath" (205). So the question is whether or not Harry's rule-breaking is moral. Many would argue that under no circumstances is it moral. They wouldn't be the first in history to argue that. The Pharisees argued that same point against Christ when He broke their incorrect interpretation of Sabbath Law and morality to cure the paralytic. The point here is NOT to compare Harry Potter to Christ; instead it is simply to say that perhaps there is a time and a place for rule-breaking when lives are at stake. Harry and his friends show a far greater respect for the rules than do many others in the story: the Weasley twins, the villains, and--perhaps most importantly--than even Harry's own father. The Marauders (Harry's father's group) showed little respect for the rules for no better reason than they were bored and wanted some fun. Harry and his friends on the other hand, usually only break the rules when they are trying to stop whatever evil is most recently plaguing their school, and are then willing to accept whatever consequences follow. Their motives are very moral; they don't want people to get hurt. The rule-breaking in Harry Potter is very moral in that sense, because it teaches us to value life more than man-made laws and rules.

Previous: Part Four
Next: Part Six