Monday, September 27, 2010

Three Unforgivable Characters: Severus Snape


This has been planned earlier (see the last
part of the ‘The Force of the Harry Potter Series’ entry here). I shall now proceed with expounding on how three characters from the Harry Potter Series have become unforgettable for me (the title was thought to make this entry catchy). It would be to deprive myself of the opportunity to elaborate on these characters, which, until now, is just limited to relaying to some intimates especially to my sister how appealing these characters are.

Let me start off with the character who I thought, before finishing Harry Potter 7, was one of the worst characters in the series. That is, the worst role and actions, rivaled perhaps by Voldemort. Severus Snape turned out to be one of the most brilliant characters ever placed there. I once had an online friend (although I saw the person many times, we really did not have any formal meeting, hence the term ‘online’) to whom I had ‘light’ arguments about Snape. That person believes Snape is an ugly blot in the story; even insisting that Dobby is better. I tried to convince the person to turn to my view but failed. And so that’s a pretty long introduction already.

Reading through the whole Harry Potter series will reveal to the reader that Snape had lived through those seven long years under the constant threat of being revealed for what he really was. And yet he managed to maintain his real position – that of an aide to Dumbledore – and his important part in Voldermort’s circle in which he (once) belonged. He was an agent. Having been ‘reformed’, care of Dumbledore, he still found his way back to the fold of the Death Eaters and spy on the Dark Lord and his activities and pass them to Dumbledore.

Knowing in the end that he has in fact looked after Harry throughout the boy’s stay in Hogwarts shows how difficult it was for him to have done so. He still carried a grudge towards Harry’s father, not to mention his lost love that was Lily. It would be safe to assume that Dumbledore was aware of this but nevertheless arranged things as he has planned. Snape put up his façade of indifference towards Harry – the reincarnation of his rival – but helped him in many ways despite that. I am thinking if he ever recognized that Harry’s eyes were exactly like that of Lily.

Going back earlier, I cannot help but wonder if Snape did not get himself involved in the Dark Arts, he and Lily would have ended up being together. But then, the Sorting Hat put him in the Slytherin House, and so somehow it was his choice or destiny.

His death was rather unfortunate as Voldemort was already in desperation to kill Harry Potter. But, unfortunately for Voldemort, his constant focus towards his plans took his attention away from smaller details that could have brought better outcomes for him. I maintain the view that his downfall was the result of not minding small details in the past, like the act that Lily did to protect Harry.

He made use of his life well after his bargain with Dumbledore (just before the Potters were killed) onwards. His introductory ‘speech’ in Harry’s first potion class was particularly motivating for those who wanted to pursue potions. And, setting aside his affinity to the Dark Arts during his student days, it is good to know that he certainly had the capabilities to excel in many things. (Remember his Advanced Potions Book with its profusion of notes by Snape?)

Harry did the proper acknowledgement for Snape’s works (for him and for the others) by naming one of his sons after him (and Dumbledore). Hopefully, there is already a portrait of him hanging inside the Hogwarts Headmaster’s Office.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On the Demise of My Books


Well, not only books but my prized magazines too that I have collected for ten years.

I cannot exactly say that this is just being materialistic. Any book lover or collector would definite be of the same feeling when they see their books get damaged or destroyed. Somehow, they are already part of you, and it pains one to see them get to the inglorious place that is the garbage bin.

* a view of half of my collections taken in 2009 (the other half I keep around my computer and makeshift bed) | in the upper photo, the magazines in the upper cabinet were rendered useless, in the middle were my physics books, most of which were gone now | the empty shelves was where the first termite attack happened

My constant problem in the house is the detestable termites. Having half of the house inherited from our forefathers, which is all made of wood, the threat has always been there. Once, in 2007, some of my books were attacked, losing precious books such as my Boy Scout book, a rare Philippine history book I got from a close friend, among other. I did not anticipate that my cleanup of the wood, which consisted primarily of raking those old and hollow woods as well as some random termites away, would result to another attack. This time more devastating.

They seemed to have migrated to more ‘wooden’ pastures. And they chose to reside in my cabinet of magazines I got from abroad and to my physics books! To my physics books! I lost almost a quarter of those precious technical books, some which were just recently acquired. I admit that I still have not read them all but to have them is a start for me to tackle or read them, perhaps in the future. My mother commented that those termites have probably taken revenge to me for displacing them earlier last month. I think I cannot fully recover from this. I junked a whole sack of books and magazines by midnight yesterday.

Anyway, as in any untoward events, life must go on and I shall attempt to rebuild my collections, if that is still possible. I am keeping a small house with someone on the foot of Mount Maquiling and I am thinking of migrating some of my books there. But for now, I need to store the surviving books and magazines more carefully.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting Around Pseudo Innocence


Just as a second reading of notes increases our chances of understanding more the lessons in class, a rereading of a book certainly makes you aware of a thing or tw
o that you might have overlooked when you initially read it.
That is the case with the book ‘And End to Innocence: Facing Life without Illusions’ by Sheldon Kopp, which I have briefly noted about three years ago (see the entry here). This last rereading is in fact my third time, the second being a total loss as I did it in the midst of a mountain of school works.

I realized that I appreciated more the first part and have since inculcated it in my mind. This is about a basic truth (for lack of a term that would aptly describe it) that as we grow older we tend to shroud our minds with the thinking that there are still other people that would be taking care of us. Much like babies. The book proceeds to expound on this through the personal experiences of the author, who was himself a psychotherapist and through some of his patients' and literature citations as well. And finally help – in simple ways, at least – to break through our respective pseudo innocence.

It was good to test yourself against those characters, or mentalities in some instances, that are tackled in the book.

Do you have the Pollyanna attitude – that you always think things will work out for the best eventually? This part was a fine read, especially if you have already read the story of Pollyanna. Or are you a Paranoid, thinking that no good is to come out of the world outside of yourself?

Inherent in these two is the concept of denial, posed to pan the attention away from ‘unacceptable aspects’ of their ‘inner life’.

On a bigger scale, there is this ‘communal innocence’ as termed by Kopp where individuals – knowingly or unknowingly – consent or protect their respective pseudo-innocence.

The book is a good read from a psychological viewpoint but it is also a book for the common reader. It is a first-person narration that engages you to know more about the way we insist, most of the time, on our innocence in (and about) this undeniably vicious and unfair world.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life and Time


What I have initially thought of as a few days’ “enforced isolation” proved to be genuinely strengthening for myself. Not that I totally detested those days. Certainly a body subjected to hardships not previously experienced by the individual would naturally produce ire from within. I am yet to get used to those activities but they were nevertheless instructive to me.

For one, a deep realization and appreciation of time – and I mean each passing second that ticks in each of our watches or clocks – and the many instances we have chosen to waste them have come down to me like a burning bush experience (without, of course, the God aspect of it). I can never, as in never, be able to push back time but I can at least make reparations for the present and for the future.

I should not go on exhorting about what you’re supposed to do with life and time. But having seen and experienced (and learned) how we can actually make the choices towards more agreeable future or at least events for the present, I feel somehow justified in doing this. If you are a chance reader and was able to reach this part, you and I cannot live life long just for nothing. Write a book if you will, form a family of your own, or establish a business enterprise. For as long as it would prove genuinely meaningful to you, regardless of its weight or cover, then nothing more is to be said here.

We have read and heard much about people regretting time lost and time wasted. It would do us good to know this at an early age. I still consider myself young. And this is an announced and firm resolve to come round Time and conquer it, instead of Time conquering me.

(Hope it made sense at least. Tiredness sometimes gets in the way of making my thoughts clearer when written, or typed in this case.)