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04 February 2007 @ 07:20 pm
A Pensieve for your thoughts  
1. Have you read all 6 Harry Potter books? Which one was your favorite?

Yes, I have, and more than once like most of you out there. I have a special place in my heart for the first four books because the years spent waiting for the “Order of the Phoenix” and the “Half-Blood Prince” to come out raised expectations a little too much to avoid the sense of being let down a little bit, if only at first. The first four also constitute a single unit for me because I got into “Harry Potter” my freshman year of high school when they were all published, and thus eagerly read by me one after another. They were also among the first full-length books I’d read in English, so I was very proud of myself.

That being said, I would pick “Prisoner of Azkaban” as my favorite (and I do realize that this is a popular answer, but I can’t help how I feel). I like it so much because it left me with the biggest sense of astonishment and wonder. The revelations about Sirius, Remus, Peter (“Ron’s rat! Wow!” You know?) and the past in general were fascinating and the sort of thing you read without realizing that you’ve been holding your breath. I also liked learning more about Harry’s parents and the night they died. This, of course, is a topic that’s gotten further enriched with the prophecy, Snape’s eavesdropping, Lily’s protection, etc. and it looks like there’s more to come in “Deathly Hallows”!

“Prisoner of Azkaban” also had a lot of humor in it. I especially remember my amusement while reading about the Marauder’s map insulting Snape. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t find it as funny now knowing how the Marauders treated Snape at school. At the same time I remember the way Snape behaves in the third book, and that is to say he behaves somewhat immaturely and loses himself in his anger and hunger for revenge. While I’ve grown to respect Snape more and more with each new book as an intelligent and tough character who has had a very tough life, it’s hard to forgive some of his more malicious behavior. Evil or not, he’s not very nice. It seems to me that while James and Sirius matured and became more decent human beings, Snape was never able to let go of the past. Of course, I also wouldn’t be able to forgive his murder of Dumbledore if it turns out that the latter had indeed been begging for his life, but that is something I find highly unlikely.

I didn’t like everything about this book, however. The concept of a time-turner, while both fascinating and headache-inducing, just seems like the wrong thing to introduce. It opens up too many possibilities and “why not?/what if?” questions. In other words, what’s stopping the characters from using a time-turner to go back and give Sirius a little push in the direction opposite of the Veil? What’s stopped Dumbledore from going an hour or so back at the end of “Goblet of Fire” and not letting Harry touch the portkey, thus stopping the return of Voldemort? etc. etc. (and while there’s still the issue of disrupting time and space and things like that, surely someone like Dumbledore would be able to check that a double of himself is indeed himself from the future and not an imposter). But, moving on, this complaint turns quite annoying to read after a while, doesn’t it?

To end on a brighter note, there are no books that I specifically dislike! “Order of the Phoenix” may come closest to that title, however, because it literally pains me to read about injustice and abuse of power (referring to Umbridge, of course). Ironically enough, however, while Book 5 has suffered the least amount of rereads from me, the last couple of chapters in the Department of Mysteries are possibly the ones I have read the most number of times. They’re informative and exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing the action in the movie.

2. Who is your favorite character in the series?

That would be Albus Dumbledore. I cannot resist him with his lemon drops, intelligence, humor, and the knowledge of how to handle every situation. I know that there are people who find him to be unpleasant and manipulative. And I can respect that, though it’s hard to do. It is true that he manipulates, but this is not always a bad thing and depends enormously on the people involved and the situation at hand. Plus the word itself just has a bad connotation. The important thing to remember is that Dumbledore knew far more than anyone alive at the moment in the Potterverse does (JKR herself said that he did not have an equal, and even McGonagall is not on his level), so he had a better idea of what needed to be done (most of the time, anyway). Despite all the admiration and respect, he must have been a bit of a lonely man who dedicated his life to serving the Wizarding (and, through the domino effect, the Muggle) community, actually making the world a better place, while most people only talk, or dream, of doing so. Aside from the last few decades spent worrying about Voldemort, there is also the business with the evil Grindelwald and defeating him in 1945.

But it’s not just his skills and achievements that draw me to him. It’s his ability to carry such heavy burdens and to be constantly giving advice to everyone from a first-year to the Minister of Magic coupled with his ability to enjoy things like sweets and music, and to be able to act accordingly in each situation. It’s a little hard to explain what I mean by that, but I’ll try. He’s not putting on masks and pretending to be someone else while he does this, but he displays different parts of his personality in different situations- in conversations with children (including a younger Harry) and whenever the situation warrants it in general, he does not hesitate to make a joke or mention Hogwarts toilet seats (Book 1) in a conversation; in a situation of danger he’s calm, collected, and to the point, such as in his confrontation with Voldemort at the end of Book 5. He is both polite (remember his comment about manners to the Death Eaters at the end of “Half-Blood Prince”?) and honest (unless the truth is dangerous). He can understand such a variety of people- from Harry to Snape to Molly to Hagrid to Riddle to Slughorn and so forth. I think it’s his intimate and in-depth understanding of how people’s minds work and what their personalities are like that leads people to mark him as a manipulator. The truth is that he seems more like someone who is a supporter of independence, and would much prefer that people find it in themselves to overcome their problems on their own (here, again, I must reference a JKR interview, in which she points out that after the Rita Skeeter fiasco in relation to Hagrid being a half-giant, Dumbledore gives him time to deal with it all on his own before finally going down to visit him). Being so well-rounded is in contrast to, for example, a character such as Snape who seems to be gloomy in nearly ever situation, or the Weasley twins who see every minute as an opportunity for humor. I don’t mean to say that I dislike these characters (on the contrary, the twins along with Luna, Sirius, Remus and Neville are among my other favorite characters, and Snape I find to be the most complicated and intriguing, especially after Book 6), but through the contrast I want to show the way I see Dumbledore. To me he was an optimist with a realistic outlook on life, and he tried to enjoy life whenever he could, despite anything.

3. Who is your least favorite character in the series?

As you can probably guess from my previous responses, I’m going to say Dolores Umbridge. It’s harder for me to read about Umbridge doing her little prejudiced performance evaluation of Hagrid than to read about Bellatrix torturing Neville's parents into insanity. Possibly this is because injustice is something more common in the real world than insane evil people being violently sadistic. As much as I can’t stand her, however, I don’t wish that her character never existed because she serves as a personified exaggeration of corruption and abuse of power in the government, which is essential to Book 5. Of course, that is also the exact reason why she’s my least favorite.

Ever since I was small, be it in a movie or a cartoon, injustice and cruelty made me cover my eyes and wait for the moment when the tables are turned and the hero overcomes the challenge set by the evildoer. Somehow, Umbridge is a different kind of evil from Voldemort, though they are both power-crazy and selfish. And while Voldemort is more dangerous, Umbridge irks me more. It may also be that she is a little more of a sadist (her excitement at the prospect of using Crucio on Harry towards the end of Book 5 made me think of Bellatrix), while Voldemort is goal-oriented (to be sure he tortured the kids in the orphanage, but it seems to me that after some time torture just became a tool that he readily uses when needed, not something he does for fun). And, finally, there is a bit of a hypocrite in the character in that she with her sweet voice claims to have everyone’s best interests at heart while only pursuing her own, and hypocrisy is something I am really not fond of.

4. What is your least favorite part of the series?

There aren’t really any “parts” in general that I dislike, just certain chapters here and there. The chapter in “Order of the Phoenix” about Hagrid visiting the giants was a bit unnecessary, or rather unnecessarily long. I understand that we needed to hear about it and that it’s important in terms of the war and the idea of unity etc., but it could’ve been said in fewer words. Perhaps I’m being unfair because Hagrid isn’t one of my favorites and those interested in his heritage really enjoyed the chapter. I suppose we also needed the backstory to prepare us for Grawp, and everyone fangirls over Grawp. Right?

I also don’t like (and this might not really count as an answer to this question) that almost none of the questions raised in Book 5 were really addressed in Book 6. It’ll all be dropped on us in Book 7, of course, but patience is not one of my virtues. Plus I find it slightly unrealistic that Harry didn’t ask questions about the Veil, or anything else he’d encountered in the Department of Mysteries. I suppose the only explanation is that it hurt him so much to think about it that he simply didn’t. I’ve also been wanting to know why Dumbledore trusted Snape since Book 1, anticipating that the answer would be in the next book each time, but JKR likes to keep us guessing. We love her, though, so it’s ok.

5. What traits and characteristics do you think define the true qualities of each of the four houses?

GRYFFINDOR: The first word that comes to mind is “brave”. Bravery can take many forms, as Dumbledore tells us, and apart from referring to Neville that also signals to me to some sort of bravery that Pettigrew must have as well to be in this house. I’d say his bravery is leaning more towards being brave enough to do what it takes to preserve yourself. This sounds a bit more like a Slytherin characteristic, which I find interesting because it shows that the dividing lines between the houses aren’t always clear-cut. Gryffindors are also impulsive and often make rash decisions that could end up having bad consequences, but at the same time they are the ones who save the day because they jump into action. They’re leaders rather than followers, and they “do the right thing” even if it means breaking the rules. I see Harry as a bit of an extreme example of a Gryffindor—making impulsive decisions like the one to rush to Sirius’ rescue, being noble to the point of “rescuing” Fleur’s sister in Book 4, and being brave enough to go into the Chamber of Secrets at the mere age of 12, just to give some examples.

HUFFLEPUFF: Hufflepuffs are loyal and patient. I’d imagine they tend to have long-lasting friendships and are rather open-minded considering Helga Hufflepuff’s policy was to “take the rest, and treat them all the same”. It seems like they don’t get as much credit because they’re not as “brave” as Gryffindors or as “smart” as Ravenclaws or as “cunning” as Slytherins, but practice coupled with their patience can result in wizards far more skilled than those from the other houses. Cedric exemplified this to me because he, a Hufflepuff, was chosen as Hogwarts’ Triwizard champion. It took guts, intelligence, dedication, and some craftiness to come out a winner at the end of the tournament. Thus Hufflepuffs might not be spectacular in one particular field, but they are well-rounded and friendly. They’re not all perfect, though-- just think of Zacharias Smith. Still, Hufflepuffs are not afraid of challenges and devote themselves to the task at hand.

RAVENCLAW: This house is definitely associated with intelligence and knowledge. I can see the students earning a lot of points for their house during lessons. It’s been mentioned before that Hermione has a lot of Ravenclaw traits, and all I can say to that is that Harry and Ron are lucky she is a Gryffindor, or they would find themselves pulling all-nighters with hw far more often. Ravenclaws are undoubtedly clever and this seems to be their single most distinguishing trait according to all of the Sorting Hat’s songs. At the same time, it seems that Ravenclaws have a healthy mix of academics and social life. An example would be Cho Chang, who finds time for both Quidditch and dating, as well as Dumbledore’s Army in Book 5. Ravenclaws’ knowledge is also not limited to being dry and encyclopedic, for we have Luna who is anything but boring. The only bad canon association with Ravenclaw is Marietta Edgecombe’s betrayal of the existence of Dumbledore’s Army.

SLYTHERIN: Here we find ambition, cunning minds, struggle for power, and (more or less) pure blood. I suppose views on the importance of blood are more important than the actual blood, explaining why half-bloods such as Riddle and Snape are in Slytherin while none of the Weasleys are. And though all houses have house-pride, I think there is a pronounced air of superiority that the members of this house associate themselves with, and at least on some level they actually are superior: being a part of the Wizarding world for several generations must make it easier to become a part of the upper class and be well-connected. That’s another thing- I think to Slytherins making connections matters more than making friends. Draco constantly relies on his father’s place in society to sort everything out. Slytherins are also very goal-driven and that is what helps Draco to single-handedly get Death Eaters into Hogwarts in Book 6 despite his many failed attempts, depression, and anxiety issues. The cunning side is also at work here, and I see cunning as intelligence employed for self-gain and rule-bending. Thus Slytherins are somewhat more selfish than the members of the other 3 houses, but not necessarily when it comes to those they really cared about, as shown by Narcissa and Draco’s mother-son relationship. They are also better able to control their emotions, which is why Draco is better at Occlumency than Harry.

6. Describe the house qualities that you feel accurately reflect you. Please try to include traits from each of the four houses.

GRYFFINDOR: While I can’t vouch for how brave I’ll act in the face of real physical danger, I don’t think twice about defending someone if I feel like they’re being unjustly punished or insulted. This also goes hand in hand with doing the right thing; I’ve always felt like I have a good moral compass and that my judgment of things (whether it be about people or certain topics) is fair and justified. In some small ways I am also impulsive in terms of feeling a strong need to immediately help a friend in need and to make sure that everyone’s all right before I sit down and analyze what just happened.

HUFFLEPUFF: I’m an extremely loyal friend, and I believe that betraying someone when you have their trust is the worst thing you can do to a person. My circle of friends has always been small, but to the friends that I do have I try to be the best friend I can. I am also very open-minded, and came up with the following “guide” to life in childhood: “As long as it doesn’t hurt someone, do whatever you want”. I realize now that life isn’t as simple as that, but that is a motto that I still largely believe in.

RAVENCLAW: I would be comfortable in calling myself “smart”. I may not be a genius but I’ve gotten good grades all throughout school despite moving twice to another country, and I’ve always felt that I was among the top students in my class (until I started college that is). I prefer learning about things I like or find interesting, but not staying up all night so I can have every word of every textbook memorized. I’m still a bit of a geek, and a bit of an outsider, like Luna, but not quite that much.

SLYTHERIN: I am ambitious in that I don’t like giving up if I really want something. I’ll think of ways to persuade someone if I need something from them, or try to figure out what sort of mood I need to ask them a certain question so as to increase the chances of getting a favorable answer. I can also be very goal-driven, especially in terms of school and academics. And while most people I know wouldn’t classify me as “selfish”, a lot of times I feel emotionally detached even from those I care most about, and I am rather self-indulgent and very spoiled by my parents.

7. Given the choice, which house would you NOT want to be a member of?
In all honesty, I will happily join any of the four houses. That’s because since I’m not a member of any of them I can’t really know which one I belong in, but a majority of the votes is bound to put me in the right place, whatever it is. I hope that made sense. And to not avoid the question completely, as far as I can tell I am not cool and collected enough for Slytherin, but you never know, apparently Slytherins are allowed to cry too (there, there, Draco, it’s nothing to be ashamed of).

8. What do you wish to accomplish in life?

I’m a student at UCLA and my immediate goal is to get my degree in Economics. It’s hard to think in terms of my entire life, but I’d like to find a significant other, have my close friends, well, close to me, and despite whatever I end up doing for work, to never stop drawing and painting. It seems like that’s something I’ve been giving up on, though it’s a lifetime hobby. At the end, I’d like to have made more art that I liked than art that I wanted to throw away. I’d also like to become a little more confident and less shy. I’m afraid I don’t have any big ambitions like becoming President, or curing AIDS. My goals seem to be compromised of little things, but then again, I’m a firm believer in the power of little things.

9. Describe exactly what you would see in the Mirror of Erised. (This is not the same question as #8.)

I would see myself, happy, with a loving husband/boyfriend living in a peaceful world and traveling far and wide. What I mean to say is that I want the stability and happiness that come with a long-term relationship, but I don’t like monotony and I’m curious by nature so I’d love to travel a lot. And I threw in world peace because a) I didn’t want to be entirely selfish, and b) Who doesn’t want world peace? Just because it’s a cliché, doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing to want!

10. What makes a person deserving of your respect?

They have to be true to their word and never betray their loved ones. I respect people who manage to be both good to themselves and to those around them. I’m fascinating by extreme personalities, but hold more respect for the balanced individuals.

You know, it’s easier to think in terms of people I don’t respect. Hypocracy, shallowness, tendency to gossip extensively, being unwilling to accept other points of view, etc. are all characteristics that make me put the person exhibiting them behind a certain wall even if in other respects they’re not such a bad person. And, finally, if I find out that someone is a big Harry Potter (books) fan, I give that person my respect on a silver platter! Bonus points if it’s a guy and older than 14.

11. Do you consider yourself to be more of a thinker or a feeler? Give examples from your daily life that support your answer.

I’d say more of a feeler, because even when I spend a lot of time thinking about something, in the end my decision is swayed by emotions. Sometimes I even feel like I have a sixth sense that just tells me what the answer is. Some may call this intuition, but my friends call it my “mad gypsy skills” (because of a painting, it’s a long story). I don’t plan things; I have a friend who has a class plan for all of her college years and she’s just a freshman. Me- I’m only fairly certain I know (more or less) what I’m taking next quarter.

And it’s also relatively easy to convince me of something if you can put a good emotional spin on your side of the story. Umbridge can pull me aside and tell me an autobiographical heart-wrenching childhood abuse story and it’ll make me think of how horrible being captured by the centaurs must have been, and I’ll cry and feel sympathetic. And then someone can open up a page of Book 5 where she’s being particularly nasty, and I’ll spin around and punch Umbridge in the face. Ok, not so much with the punching, but there’ll be a deathglare.

12. What's one thing you would do if you knew you would suffer no consequences from it?

I would jump off of a huge waterfall in a jungle-like place. This used to be a recurring dream in my childhood, and it always felt very exhilarating. In the dream, there were other people with me and we jumped holding hands. I don’t remember who they were or why exactly we jumped, but it seems like someone was chasing us. Nevertheless, I remember only a happy feeling from the dream and even the moment of hitting the water at the bottom was not painful. It’d be exciting to literally bring my dream to life.

13. What do you think are your top 5 positive characteristics?

OPTIMISTIC: I am the token “everything is going to all right” optimist. I’m not naïve (ok, maybe a little) or blind to reality, but I really do see (or try to see) the good in every thing and every situation. This isn’t something that I’ve “trained” myself to do so I can be happy, but a way of thinking I’ve had since childhood. So, uh, if I’m Squibbed I’ll say to myself, “Well, being in that community was going to be so awesome that I’d’ve spent all my time there and never have time for anything else and get kicked out of college and disowned by my family D: ”.

OPEN-MINDED: I can’t pretend living in California for the past 6 years hasn’t affected this side of my personality, but what it’s done is just emphasize what was already there. I recognize that right and wrong are rarely black and white, and that there are as many perspectives as people. Forcing your opinion or way of life on someone isn’t something I agree with. If what you’re offering is so great, do a good job of presenting it and then people will accept it of their own accord.

CURIOUS: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but that’s something for McGonagall to worry about. I enjoy being curious and I think this is a characteristic that makes life more fun. If I wasn’t so curious about what’s going to happen to “Harry Potter” characters next, would I have been nearly as ecstatic to get my hands on “Half-Blood Prince” that summer? On a more serious note, this also means I’m interested in a wide range of things from Astronomy to Psychology to Economics to Art to Biology.

ARTISTIC/CREATIVE: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember (that is not to say I’ve had sound regular practice, though, so I’m not very good), and coloring books have been an absolute favorite pastime in childhood. I loved them so much that I find myself coloring my little cousin’s Sesame Street coloring books with his crayons every so often. I’ve been neglecting the actual creating art part since after high school, but I have a deviantArt account where I watch a lot of very talented people.

HELPFUL: Meaning that I’ll help you if I ask. I have a hard time saying “No” to people, and I like knowing that I’ve been of some use to someone. This is not entirely unselfish, because I expect them to be grateful and to like me, you know? But if it’s something like chores, then I hastily do what I’m specifically asked and leave it at that, which my Mom happy does not make.

14. What do you think are your top 5 negative characteristics?

SHY/UNCONFIDENT: Again, something present since early childhood. I’m bad with strangers, and awkward silences are not fun. This also means it’s hard for me to make new friends when I move to somewhere new and usually takes a year or more. I also have a low self-confidence in a lot of respects. And most of the time I’ll wait for someone to approach me rather than the other way around. Once I’m close to someone, though, I’m quite uninhibited.

LAZY: There might be a thousand things I want to do, but give me a computer with an internet connection and there I’ll stay. I’m also very fond of sleep and take hour-long naps once or twice a week during school, even though I’m not nearly as sleep-deprived as the average college student.

TOO EMOTIONAL: It’s really easy to make me cry. It takes a mere hint of a sad moment in a movie scene or a book to make me tear up. That in itself isn’t a big deal. What really bothers me, is that if I’m having an argument about something that really matters to me, there are all these things in my head that I want to say to make my point, but because I feel so strongly about it, my voice gets all weird and tears pour and just.. I disgust myself.

SPOILED: I’m an only child, and for all my childhood I was an only grandchild, and to top it off my parents had been wanting a kid for several years before I was born. So I’m spoiled, though it’s less in the sense of “the world revolves around me” and more “I get everything I want”. Of course, nobody can get everything they want, especially once you grow out of the “owning this doll will make me the happiest person ever” stage, but I’ve had it pretty good.

SWEET-TOOTH: Ok, so this is not really a big negative, but I can’t say no to chocolate, ice cream, Nutella, home-made sponge cake, or any combination thereof. Mm, carbs on top of carbs.

15. Name:
16. Age: 19
17. Why shouldn't we squib you?

Because that would put me next to Filch and that’s a scary place for a girl to be. Seriously though, I approached this as seriously as my college applications, and that should count for something!

18. How much time can you and do you intend to actually contribute to this community?

Though I’m a college student, it’s only the academics that take up my time. Social life is largely nonexistent because all my friends are at other colleges. Thus, free time=Internet=Harry Potter=(hopefully) Hogwarts Elite. I’m also hoping that joining will inspire me to draw fanart again.

19. How did you find out about Hogwarts Elite?
one big blonde joke: LOLecstace on February 12th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
....Or dancing crazily with Spongebob and Patrick, as in your icon :)

Yeah, good luck with that. Maybe take two cookies?
Lucy: emo wilsonlunylucy on February 12th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
One for me and one for Wilson, so he can get happy!

Haha, sorry, I just looked at your lj and had to acknowledge the House thing. House <3!
one big blonde joke: PPTH driftecstace on February 12th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
Sure, take one for him. Poor guy could probably use it.

o.o OMG you like House? You ARE perfect! *_*
Lucy: zaphod/trillianlunylucy on February 12th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
Why thank you!

House is such a SlytherClaw.
one big blonde joke: PPTH driftecstace on February 12th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
A Slytherclaw who likes Vicodin cookies :)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Lucy: chase omglunylucy on February 12th, 2007 05:10 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
lol perfect.

(Mmm Vicodin-chip cookies!)
one big blonde jokeecstace on February 12th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
I know, don't those sound amazing?!
Rotaerotae on February 14th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
LOL. Sorry to burst in here, but OMG. ICON LOVE LYK WOA... XDDDD Chase is such a dag, LOL. And Australian, so yay! (One of my best mates used to play in his paddling pool with Jesse Spencer, LOL) :D

And you should come to Hufflepuff! We have CRACK CAKE. OMG. And, like... Wilson or something... >.> the jury's still out on him atm, LOL. XDDD

Lucy: lollunylucy on February 14th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Re: Ravenclaw
Hee thanks! There're other variations of the Chase icon over at angiescully, who has some really awesome House icons in general.