2. Age: 36
3. Gender: female
4. What are your hobbies/interests outside of HP? How do you feel these hobbies/interests contribute to your personality?
Many and varied. What it says on my CV is: learning, community participation, human rights, leadership, ritual, comparative spirituality, deep ecology, creative writing, reading, singing and songwriting, dancing, cooking, music – but that’s only a taster. You can also add magic, divination, development issues, ethics, interfaith working and gender / queer politics to that list.
I don’t think my interests contribute to my personality so much as give avenues for expression of important parts of it. I’m both introverted and extraverted – the former finds expression in my creative and spiritual interests, the latter in my political and community activities.
5. Which Harry Potter character do you feel you can relate to the most? Explain. Which character is your favorite? Again, explain.
There are three HP characters I can relate to: Hermione, for her bookishness and lack of friends (except for two close friends) at school; Neville for his forgetfulness and how easily he’s humiliated; Luna for her loner nature, quirky take on the world and ‘floaty’-ness.
I’m no longer sure who my favourite character is, but I think it’s probably Snape, because he’s the character with the most complex and hidden motivations (i.e. he’s the most interesting peson in the books!). My views on many characters changed in HBP. Up until then, I might have said Ginny was one of my favourite characters, but I really didn’t like her in that book at all – she suddenly became nasty and spiteful. Also up until HBP I’d have said I really disliked Draco Malfoy. Now I feel real tenderness and compassion for him and his situation. (See more related to this theme here.)
6. Give us the reasons for and against you being sorted into each of the houses.
For: Open mouth, insert foot; insert other foot too for good measure. Argumentative. Hair-trigger temper. Think outside the box. Rule-bender, not -breaker. Laugh a lot and raucous sense of humour. Passionate. Self-important. Politically radical.
Against. Shy. Situational ethics. Don’t believe the means always justify the ends. (Note: I know that sounds more Slytherin than Gryffindor on the face of it, but how many times do Gryff characters do something that they think is fine because it’s for a good cause, or simply because they, ‘good’ people, are doing it, when if a ‘bad’ person did it would be a bad thing to do? Too many to count; I can give references from the books if you like.)
For: Conscientious. Worry wart. Strong service ethic. Love nature and the earth. Appreciation of ordinariness. Love baking and cooking and sharing the products with others. Love physicality.
Against: Lazy, untidy, the opposite of methodical. Bored easily. An edge-walker - not part of ‘the gang’. Stand out from the crowd (though sometimes not obviously to look at). See things slantwise. Unusual observations. Passionate about ideas as well as their application. Individuality is important.
For: Intellectual (and intellectual snob). Philosophical. Bookworm. Debater. Need to know why. Curious about everything.
Against: I prefer to be present than to live in my head – although it’s a useful escape when things get too bad. My intellect is tempered with passion and emotion and caring – I do my best to integrate them all together. I enjoy my body (and other people’s!) and letting go.
For: Emotional but often hide real emotions. Pragmatic. A cynic. Shy. Clingy. High standards of integrity. Strong sense of connection to ‘my people’ (caveat: my ideal of ‘my people’ includes not only all of humanity but also all of creation). Despite the caveat, only feel safe and comfortable and really at home when I’m with people I can identify as definitely and absolutely ‘my people’. Can hold onto hurt feelings for years. Creative, playful, sensual. Strong sense of propriety – but not the same as that shared by most of society.
Against: Inclusive. Non-vengeful. Try to see all sides of an argument. Try not to leap to conclusions.
7. What was your least favorite moment in HP?
When Ginny, Hermione and Molly are nasty about Fleur in HBP. She’s done nothing to deserve it, they’re just ganging up on her because they see her as too different from them to join their ‘happy family’. I found that sickening and deeply hypocritical, especially from Molly, who’s old enough and experienced enough to know better.
8. What about HP appeals to you (e.g. the romance, the adventure, the friendships, the fantasy, the mystery)?
The humour, the inclusion of snippets of real history and mythology in quirky ways, the adventure and mystery aspects of the stories, trying to work out where JKR is going with it (in both individual books and the whole series).
9. What would you do if your friend was in danger? What would you give up in order to save them? Would you lay your life on the line?
Which friend and under what circumstances? (My answer ranges from ‘not much’ to ‘a very great deal’ depending on the answer to my own question.)
10. Given a choice between fame and money, which would you choose?
Money, undoubtedly – you can do a lot with money, both selfish and unselfish. What use is fame to anyone? And who wants all and sundry pawing all over their life?
11 If you could only store one memory in the Pensieve to visit over again, which one would it be? Why?
My initial reaction was ‘the best sex I’ve ever had’, but on deeper reflection it would have to be something to do with our dogs. ::loves::clings::
12. What excites you the most in life? Where do you get the most joy and fulfillment?
Being part of a community, and not just that, but being part of a community with a common commitment to making the world a better place. Creativity – both my own and others’. When I see the light go on in someone else’s head about something I’m passionate about, especially if it’s simply because they’ve been hanging out around me for a long time.
13. If you were in Harry's position during the "Snape's Worst Memory" incident, how would you view Peter, James, Sirius, Lily, Remus, and Snape differently? Why?
I would probably be completely disillusioned with James and Sirius and feel angry and confused towards them. I would also probably feel really guilty towards Snape on their behalf and embarrassed on my own behalf. I might also have a lot of respect for Lily, having not known a lot about her before.
14. Imagine you were an eleven-year-old Muggleborn witch/wizard who did not know about magic and had just received your Hogwarts letter. How would you react to leaving home and going to a magic school?
If it was me now, I’d want to know about home tuition or being a day student, because I love my home and family and couldn’t be apart from them for that long. If I was 11 but had the benefit of hindsight, I would jump at the chance – I was about to become utterly miserable both at home and at school at that age.
15. If you had access to a time turner and there were no regulations regarding its usage, what would you use it for and why?
I’m not sure there’s anything in my own life that I’d seek to change, even though some bits of it have been really, really shitty. I don’t think I’d go back and alter world events, either, because who knows what might happen – except, possibly, stopping Christopher Columbus from sailing across the Atlantic. It might not have stopped colonialism in Asia or Africa, but it would at least have prevented two genocides (the Mayan, Aztecs and Incas directly at the hands of the Spanish in the 15th century and then indirectly via blankets deliberately infected with measles; the Plains Indians at the hands of the US government in the 19th century under the guise of buffalo trophy hunting).
16. In the Philosopher’s Stone (AKA Sorcerer’s Stone) Neville had a choice: he could let his friends go out at night when they weren’t supposed to and potentially they could lose points for his house, or he could confront them and stop them from breaking the rules. What would you have done in his situation?
I’d have let them go – gaining people’s trust for what could be a lifelong relationship is more important than housepoints any day, and I’ve never seen the point of keeping rules for their own sake.
17. Who (dead, alive, or fictional) do you most admire? This can be someone from real life or from Harry Potter.
::ponders:: That’s a hard question to answer, as actually I don’t hand out that much admiration! Probably Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela. Both of them had strong ideals, were willing to get their hands dirty and to do what it took, backed up their ideas and their actions with strong reasoning as well as strong passion, and did not allow bitterness or hatred to drive them.
18. What is your favorite book outside of Harry Potter? What is it about this book that endears it to you?
Probably The Dispossessed by Ursula le Guin. Not only is it a brilliant exposition of anarcho-syndicalism as a social system, it’s also a brilliant critique of both capitalism and communism as archist systems, i.e. systems where the state is in control. It is also a deeply compassionate book, which places human relationships at the centre not only of the emotional, but also the intellectual, social and political life of communities and societies. (Or anything else by U le G, actually.)
19. You're sitting the final examination for a class that has given you a lot of trouble. Your grade is borderline, you really need to do well on this final to get an A. You can see the paper of your friend who sits next to you and who happens to excel in this subject. You've gotten to a question that you're stuck on. Do you glance at your friend's paper to figure out the answer or not? Why?
It would depend on just how important getting an A is for my future. If it’s really, really important, then yes, I would cheat in that particular circumstance. It’s an opportunity offered, not a premeditated attempt to do well on someone else’s merits, which I would not do unless no other option was possible. In fact, I would most likely work something out with a tutor, or retake a year, because the information or understanding is likely to be just as important to me in later life as the result. Part of me is horrified at the idea of cheating, but it’s a very small part of me, and a theoretical rather than a practical part. I’ve experienced enough of life now to let the practical, pragmatic part of me rule the roost, as long as no-one is harmed, or at least as long as the path I’m taking is one of least harm, all things considered.
20. In Goblet of Fire, Harry was chosen for the Tri-Wizard Tournament even with the age-line. Ron was unable to enter because of the age restriction even though he really wanted to be a part of the Tournament. Was Ron right to be jealous/angry at Harry? Were Harry's reactions appropriate? Why?
Ron was not wrong to be jealous or angry – no-one can help their immediate emotional reactions – but he was wrong to feel that towards Harry, because it was neither Harry’s fault nor his responsibility that he was chosen for the tournament. (But see comment below about teenage boys.) I honestly can’t remember Harry’s reactions, but hey, they were both teenage boys; any kind of emotional reaction is likely (if not ‘appropriate’) at that age!
21. Which class would you look forward to the most at Hogwarts? Which classes do you/did you excel in most at school?
I don’t really know. The only magic-based classes I’ve ever got a really strong feel for from the books are Transfiguration and Potions. I think I’d look forward to Potions the most, although it’s a close thing between the two of them. Or, possibly, Care of Magical Creatures, having been in the Muggle world up until now ☺. Or, of course, there’s Divination, which I have some grasp on already. I would probably really, really look forward to getting on to Ancient Runes and Arithmancy once I was actually at school.
In my real school, the only classes I didn’t excel in were Biology, PE, ‘Domestic Science’, Art and super-advanced Maths (when trigonometric functions start getting included in calculus. bleurch). My favourites were History, Maths (up until it got horribly complicated), Latin, Ancient Greek, French, Physics and Chemistry. English I did enjoy, but to what extent really depended on the teacher. At university, where I studied social anthropology, my absolute best finals paper was Kinship (in which I got a first! ::proud::).
22. What would be the first place you visit during a Hogsmeade weekend? Why?
Madam Puddifoot’s – not for the romance or the kitsch, but for the cakes. (Or Honeydukes, if it was just before my period ☺.)
23. In the wizarding world, all 5th year students are required to pick a career to focus on going into their 6th and 7th years at Hogwarts. What career path would you choose? Why?
I’m not really sure what careers are open to witches and wizards, beyond those we know about within the Ministry, or being a shopkeeper or pub landlord. Given my current interests, something in the field of Divination would probably appeal, or something in education, but not in a school. ::shudders::
24. In the Wizarding world, some pure-blood wizards consider Muggle-borns "filthy" and "horrible." In our world, people are categorized by their wealth, racial background, and appearance. What are your opinions on Muggle-borns? What are the qualities that you value in others?
Assuming that ability, etc. is equal between Muggle-borns and pure-bloods, if I were a pure-blood witch my opinions on Muggle-borns would depend entirely on their own abilities and personalities as individuals. Even if there were ways in which Muggle-borns didn’t understand or couldn’t use magic, that actually wouldn’t make them different from an incompetent pure-blood.
Of course there’s the argument that Muggle-borns alter wizarding culture, but as Muggle-borns have been entering wizarding culture for hundreds, if not thousands, of years (evidenced by Slytherin’s decision not to allow them into his house on the founding of Hogwarts), those alterations can themselves be seen as an historical and important part of wizarding culture.
25. You have stumbled across five magical wells. One is the Well of Common Sense and Logic, the second is the Well of Creativity, the third is the Well of Optimism, the fourth is the Well of Physical Strength, and the fifth is the Well of Beauty. You can only drink from one well, but once you do you will be endowed with that ability for the rest of your life. Which well do you think you would definitely not need, and which do you think you would want to drink from?
I find it curious that common sense and logic are in the same well, as in my experience they are often at odds, and in terms of houses I associate the former with Hufflepuff and the latter with Ravenclaw. Common sense I don’t always have, but then I don’t always need it, and I have plentiful ability to think logically already.
Creativity I already have to some extent, and know how to cultivate and develop.
Beauty is, I firmly believe, in the eye of the beholder (and also, “beautiful is as beautiful does”), so that well would be of no use to me.
Physical strength would be handy, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it and may end up hurting rather than helping with it.
That leaves optimism, which is not only the only one left, but also something I often lack (although I look very optimistic from the outside); so that is my choice.
26. In Half-Blood Prince, we witnessed Harry force-feeding Dumbledore the potion that weakened him, even though it pained Harry to do so, because he promised Dumbledore he would do whatever he wished. If you were in Harry's position, would you have stopped feeding Dumbledore the potion, or would you have continued? Do you think it was right for Harry to do as Dumbledore wished? Explain.
I don’t know what I would have done. I certainly wouldn’t have done it just because I had promised, but then I don’t think that’s the only reason Harry did it either. If I trusted Dumbledore completely, as I think Harry did, then I would have done as Harry did also. But I don’t think I would have trusted Dumbledore completely, so I may well not have carried on force-feeding him the potion; indeed, I may well not have made the promise Harry did in the first place.
27. Anything else you want to tell us before we sort you? Also, please tell us where you heard about this community. (Members who refer new applicants receive points, so please try to be as specific as possible.)
I like to sing in the shower (which is actually true). Having glanced over the first couple of pages of applications, I feel ancient! I found out about you from usrweirdos in a post at draconeville.