Wizarding Culture Archives

Or the lack thereof.

Posts about wizarding culture and society in general, including wizarding education and class structure.

RE: Wizarding Justice (WAS: use of unforgivable curses)

The death penalty in the Wizarding World, and the use of the Dementor's Kiss.

Posted January 20, 2002 at 8:36 pm
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RE: Hermione's ethnicity -- Other wizarding schools in Britain

An American reader's initial impression of Hermione's ethnicity, followed by an analysis of the dialogue in PS/SS and an explanation of how it does not support JKR's later assertion that Hogwarts is the only wizarding school in Britain.

Posted January 21, 2002 at 6:55 pm
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RE: Snape and the Longbottoms

Speculation that many people in the Wizarding World might be mistrustful of or even hostile to Aurors as a general class. And an explanation of why I dislike Moody that got me into a spot of trouble with a fellow listmember.

Posted January 22, 2002 at 4:48 pm
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RE: Moody -"Types" - Where Are the Bleeding Hearts?

An attempt to soothe the ruffled feathers of a listmember who was offended by my characterization of Moody as a Law and Order Fascist. Some observations on the perils of Reader Response and a question: Where ARE the Bleeding Heart liberals of the Wizarding World?


RE: Moody-"Types"-Where Are the Bleeding Hearts?

Discussion of the Bleeding Heart liberals (or lack thereof) of the Wizarding World and the extent to which such attitudes might be considered a matter of Muggle influence. More on the character of Moody.


RE: Devout Students at Hogwarts

Devout students at Hogwarts

Posted January 29, 2002 at 10:31 pm
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RE: Real Wizards Aren't Squeamish (Pettigrew, Wizarding Culture)

Some discussion of why I find Pettigrew a more sympathetic character than Karkaroff, followed by the proposal that the wizarding world is a warrior culture, and that the members of House Slytherin are disadvantaged by the fact that their House's values are not those privileged by their own culture


RE: Serpensortia--the Dark Arts--Divination

Discussion of the Serpensortia scene in CoS and whether or not it indicates that Snape was trying to smoke out Harry's Parseltongue abilities from the very start, followed by a discussion on the nature of the Dark Arts and of Divination. I suggest that all of the truly effective forms of Divination available to humans in the Potterverse may be considered Dark magic.

Posted February 17, 2002 at 1:45 pm
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RE: Still-Life With Memory Charm

Discussion of the Memory Charmed Neville theory, and of Neville's character and memory charms in general. Lays forth evidence that Neville's magical problems stem not from a lack of magical power, but from a lack of control over that power. Argues that Neville deliberately downplays his own magical competence, encouraging others to view him as less powerful than he really is, and hypothesizes as to why he might choose to do so. Also touches on his relationship with Snape.


RE: Real Wizards Don't Apologize

The warrior culture of the wizarding world, and how it militates against apology. An analysis of Lupin's response to Sirius' plea for forgiveness in the Shrieking Shack and why it might be that so many readers feel some degree of discomfort or dissatisfaction with that exchange.

Posted March 20, 2002 at 7:24 pm
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RE: WW name trends

Suggests that the shift in naming traditions from the classical/Latinate names seen in older characters to the mundane and floral ones seemingly more popular by the time of canon is a reflection of sociopolitical sea change within Wizarding Britain over the course of the twentieth century.

Posted April 11, 2002 at 6:52 pm
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RE: Neville: Memory, History, Legacy, Power

Neville as a literary double to Harry, and its ramifications for the series' thematic emphases on memory, history, legacy and power. Also touches on Voldemort's, Snape's, and Crouch Jr's roles within this schematic and on the leit-motifs of burial, exhumation and parricide in GoF.


RE: Neville: Memory, History, Legacy, Power

More on Neville and Harry, and on the significance of themes of renunciation, memory and forgetfulness for the series as a whole.

Posted May 14, 2002 at 2:46 am
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RE: TBAY: Memory Charm Symposium (1 of 3)

Part one of a three-part survey of Memory Charmed Neville theories. This part covers the "No Suppressed Memory At All," the "Psychological Repression," the "Spontaneous Magic," and the classic "Well-Intended Memory Charm" theories. It was also, by the way, my very first "TBAY" prefixed post.


RE: The Triwizard Portkey

More about Voldemort's original plan for the Triwizard Portkey. Includes a short defense of Fudge's skills as a bipartisan political leader.


RE: The Magic Quill, Hogwarts' Admission and Squibs

Discussion of that Magic Quill, which JKR has claimed (in interview) writes down the names of all of the magical children born in a given year in a book kept in Hogwarts. Also a discussion of whether the wizarding world practices infanticide on baby Squibs.

Posted July 05, 2002 at 6:47 pm
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RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

In which I offend nearly everyone by tackling the issue of class (and of real world politics) in HP. Had the moderators not been so overwhelmingly American, I suspect that this post would not have been allowed on the list, as it is not only provocatively political, but also really quite insulting towards English conservatives. Argues that JKR's overt progressive message is subverted by the unconscious conservativism of the world-view underlying her novels, a la Richard Adams' essay, "Harry Potter and the Closet Conservative."


RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

More on social class as one of the HP series' "fault lines," those areas of ambiguity or inconsisstency which fuel reader anxiety with the text as a whole.


RE: Official Philip Nel Question #10: Class

More on class distinctions in the wizarding world, with a few asides regarding the designation of canon and other theoretical subjects.


RE: Historical Analogs to the WW -- "Quaintness" and Nostalgia

Historical analogues to the wizarding world, specifically in terms of the conflict between the values of House Gryffindor and those of House Slytherin. Also, an analysis of the specific nature of JKR's nostalgia, and an argument that it is not so much focused upon the Middle Ages as it is upon the aesthetic of the Quaint, a generalized sense of "past-ness," which has more to do with the nineteenth century than it does with the Medieval period.


RE: Wandless magic -- is it Dark in here or is it me?

Is there a connection between wandless and Dark magic?

Posted August 22, 2002 at 11:13 am
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RE: Bully!Sirius, "Coach" Twins, Snape's Grudge, and Stoned!Harry

Defense of the (now canonically-established) theory that MWPP really *did* bully Snape back in their school days, followed by a thematic analysis of Snape's Grudge, the Train Stomp, and the end game of PoA.


RE: TBAY: Canon College: DEs and Aurors 101

A rather complicated TBAY post, mainly about the Wizarding World under Crouch and the extent to which it might have resembled Stalinist Soviet Russia, but also touching on the debate over whether or not the Twins are bullies, on the issues of netiquette, reader response and humour that had been raised in the course of that debate, on the various ad hominem arguments that had been circulating nastily around the list that entire summer, on an old SYCOPHANTS/Evil Overlords discussion, and--oh yes--incorporating a tiny bit from the Snape's Grudge thread as well. Apparently it was a bit *too* complicated for HPfGU, though, as very few people seemed to get the subsidiary points I was trying to make with it at all.


RE: TBAY: Crouch -- Where Three Roads Meet (2 of 9)

Part two of nine. Examines Crouch's political situation in the wake of Voldemort's fall and his motives in regard to the trial of the Longbottoms' assailants. Contains an analysis of the Penseive scene and the QwC exchange with Winky as parallel scenes. Also proposes that Crouch's relationship to his son replicates in microcosm his relationship to the wizarding world as a whole.


RE: TBAY: Crouch -- The H Word (3 of 9)

Part three of nine. Crouch's multiple narrative functions in the text, and the extent to which his hypocrisy enables JKR to use him to serve somewhat contradictory functions. Challenges the reading of Crouch as Tragic Hero on grounds that Crouch's degree of self-interest and hypocrisy prevents him from exhibiting the nobility of stature requisite in a classically-defined tragic hero. Also touches on the Crouch-Brutus parallel, suggesting that its use is ironic in intent.


RE: TBAY: Crouch -- Midnight In the Golden Wood (4 of 9)

Part four of nine. Evaluates the motives underlying Crouch's political decisions and how these relate to his narrative function. "Thematically hedgehogs" Barty Crouch Sr.


RE: TBAY: Crouch -- "My mother saved me" (5 of 9)

Part five of nine. Proposes that Crouch Jr's statement that his father saved him from prison only in order to honor his dying mother's last request is not objective truth, and suggests a number of reasons why young Crouch himself might have believed it.

Posted December 07, 2002 at 6:44 pm
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RE: TBAY/SHIP: Crouch - Winky As Wife and Mother (9 of 9)

Defends the proposition that Crouch Sr. and Winky's relationship was sexual and discusses that 'ship's thematic relevance to the series as a whole. Also discusses JKR's seemingly conflicted attitude towards femininity and motherhood.


RE: Crouch in 9 parts

Crouch Jr. and the extent to which his actions can be said to be motivated by love, the canonical plausibility of Crouch Jr. reappearing in future canon, the extent to which we are meant to read his veritaserum confession as objective truth, the thematic significance of bones and burial in GoF, and the attitude of people of the Crouch's social class towards marital infidelity; followed by a discussion of the House Elves, their relationship to folkloric "dobbies," and their role within Wizarding Society.


RE: WW justice

On wizarding justice and the extent to which the WW's conception of "human rights" matches our own

Posted January 08, 2003 at 4:56 pm
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RE: House points and Dumbledore

On the Ever So Contentious House Cup victory scene at the end of PS/SS (commonly known on the list as the "Dissing the Slyths" scene), and on the arbitrary nature of the point system itself.

Posted January 30, 2003 at 12:22 am
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RE: House points and Dumbledore, Authorial Intent, and A Question

More discussion of the PS/SS point award scene and the likelihood that it taught a bad lesson to the Slyth kids. Argues that since Dumbledore has been shown in canon to be fallible, a reading of this scene as one in which he chooses the wrong tactic in regard to House Slytherin is perfectly canonically defensible, followed by an explanation of why such a reading can still have value even if it is not believed to be the author's intent. Concludes by drawing a parallel between the PS/SS point award scene and the "Train Stomp" at the end of GoF, and asks how reader response to these two scenes differs - and if it does, then what this might say about the series' maturing perspective.


RE: Anatomy of a Rift

Examines GoF's focus on the reciprocal nature of fealty, loyalty and patronage - a reciprocal nature ignored or dismissed by the novel's villains, Voldemort and the Crouches - and suggests that the rift between Ron and Harry might serve as a kind of early warning sign to Harry, a reminder of his duties and obligations to those who have shown loyalty to him.


RE: TBAY: More Invisibility Cloaks

Defends the idea that Invisibility Cloaks belong to wizarding aristocrats, not to members of the DMLE.

Posted February 14, 2003 at 7:45 pm
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RE: TBAY: Solzhenitsyn's Russia meets the Wizarding World

More on the question of possible evidence implicating Crouch Jr. in the Longbottom Incident, discussion of the reaction of the wizarding world as a whole to Crouch Sr. after Voldemort's fall, and a question about reader response to Barty Jr's performance in the Pensieve scene of GoF.


RE: How can they tell who's a Muggle?

Argues against the notion that wizards can identify other wizards by sensing their magical power

Posted February 19, 2003 at 3:40 pm
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RE: Grindelwald, Voldemort, and other dark folks

Motives people may have had for joining the Death Eaters, and the question of whether JKR will ever address the issue of legitimate (and sane) idealists among their ranks.

Posted February 20, 2003 at 5:20 pm
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