Living In A Make-Believe World

Though my heart may long for the ocean
And my soul may pull towards cleansing,
The lush green grass outside my car window
Will always dance around my mind, echoing.

An imagined reality, surpassing that of romance;
I am heartily enthralled by the impossibility,
The fantastical chance for a happy ending.

My mind’s eye sees in a variation of coloured pens,
Fat, vast, greedy lines pass my sight,
Eventually fulfilling the outline of a child’s fantasy.

An Enchanted World

I want to live within magic;
A world poured out of a bewildered brain,
A bottomless pool of novelty,
Where everything is enchanted
But nothing is the same.

My dream; to step onto a path, not a street,
Nobody to reveal gritty reality,
An unspoken absence of terrified grins
Or over-probing eyes,
To fuel the rediscovery of personal space.

A magical world where a life is one’s own;
An earth not abuzz with static electricity
But built upon the fabric of adventure. 

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic” – Albus Dumbledore

The Wisdom of Rubeus Hagrid

Hagrid is an often overlooked character in the Harry Potter series. Readers may chuckle fondly at him and his clumsiness or his many ambitious schemes to conceal or train magical creatures, however Hagrid is not given enough credit for the virtues he displays or the hardships he has to face. So, to give Hagrid the attention he deserves, here are three lessons which the Hogwarts Keeper of Keys and Care of Magical Creatures Professor taught us throughout the Harry Potter books.

1. Our differences gives us a unique insight rather than being a burden to hamper us

Hagrid lives his life on the fringes of the magical community as a half-giant. He was lumbered with the weight of the many stereotypes which wizards and witches attributed to giants; that they must all be stupid, without compassion and undeserving of the same privileges which the wizarding community could enjoy. However, Hagrid proceeded to show all of these stereotypes to be wrong; he had the highest understanding of anyone about the workings of magical creatures, as well as showing the most love and empathy to both them and his pupils. His experience of being consistently undermined, persecuted and insulted by wizards and witches alike gave him the insight to understand how other marginalised communities felt. For example, when Hermione was first called a ‘mudblood’ by Draco Malfoy, it was Hagrid who could comfort her the most because he knew what it was like to be ridiculed for being different. Also, he had unique sympathy for the cruelty Harry experienced when living with the Dursleys because he knew what it was like to be treated as an inferior and frequently criticised.

2. Love and loyalty breeds the strongest relationships

Hagrid was the first person to show the 11 year old Harry proper love and almost paternal affection. Hagrid never doubted Harry for one moment throughout all of the years when he was being ridiculed by the Ministry and The Daily Prophet and, in return, Harry counted him as one of his closest friends and allies, as shown when they stopped to hug each other even when the Battle of Hogwarts was raging around them. The loyalty Hagrid showed Dumbledore when he obliged any request which the Headmaster gave him was also met with loyalty in return as Dumbledore would not hear a bad word about the Keeper of Keys and protected him in his job when most members of the wizarding community would not have given the position to the half-giant in the first place because of their own prejudice.

3. Hard work and dedication can overcome the obstacles others place in your path

Hagrid was denied the education that was rightfully his as a young Tom Riddle took advantage of the many stereotypes which people attributed to giants and used them to frame Hagrid as the pupil who had opened the Chamber of Secrets. Therefore, Hagrid’s learning was cut short and he was burdened with the label of being a particularly dangerous member of the magical community. Through this he was stripped of his right to ever use magic again and had his wand snapped (although he did find ways around this with his pink umbrella!). However, Hagrid did not let any of these things stop him as his love of magical creatures continued to flourish and he found himself back at one of the most prestigious magical schools in the world within an official staff role. Later on, when Hagrid was again convicted of opening the Chamber of Secrets in Harry’s second year, he eventually returned to the school with his name cleared and without a hint that he would ever take a step back from his role in the magical community even though he was aware of how easy it was for his peers to suspect him of terrible and violent crimes. Whatever hardships and barriers were placed in Hagrid’s way, he found methods to navigate them whilst never showing any shame for who he was and continued to show love and compassion to his beloved magical creatures.

“I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.” – Rubeus Hagrid

5 Lessons I Learned From The Harry Potter Books

1. You get out what you put into relationships

The bond Harry, Ron and Hermione share impels them to never let one another fight a battle alone or without each other’s love and support, no matter how many times they get into arguments amongst themselves. In the same way, the Order of the Phoenix and the passion they share for a common cause means that they can trust and rely on each other even in the darkest of times. Relationships based on this level of commitment stand the test of time throughout the books, in contrast to those which are founded on fear like the ones Voldermort illicits.  

2. Do not judge people on the basis of assumptions

Peter Pettigrew was one of the most cowardly, selfish and deceitful characters in the whole series yet he belonged to a house which prided itself on the values of courage and chivalry, showing that you cannot form a judgement about people on the basis of very few facts. In addition, Regulus Black was able to learn the error of his ways and die for the right cause even after coming from a family of pure-blood elitists and spending his school years in Slytherin house which cherishes ambition and cunning rather than putting morality before self-interest, supposedly. People disregarded Neville as being incompetent or a weakling, yet he was the one who managed to kill Nagini, the snake, in the end. People also scorned Luna for her eccentricities and constantly undermined her intellect, yet she was one of the most dedicated and effective members of Dumbledore’s Army.

3. Money and status can leave you hollow

The Malfoys begin the stories as a family with an immense amount of influence, status and wealth which they direct from their lavish mansion. Yet, Draco’s insecurity is immediately evident as he resorts to being the school bully to maintain his status. Later, the Malfoy family becomes fractured by the weight of their immoral and dark choices, leading Draco to spiral into a deep well of sadness. On the other hand, the Weasleys are characterised by their warmth, love and likability despite the fact that they are always under financial pressure and struggling to produce enough money for their family. Arthur and Molly raise their children with the highest amount of care and nourishment anyone could give and prove that they do not need the sort of resources which the Malfoys have at their disposal to be a happy family.

4. Every being deserves respect

The magical creatures are very loyal to those who show them respect and those who do not inevitably suffer the consequences. It is often the coldest and most unhappy characters who show no consideration for the magical creatures whilst it is the warmest characters who do. Hippogriffs for example respond with great loyalty and kindness to those who show them respect in the form of a deep bow. The Harry Potter books show that approaching animals with kindness and openness makes all the difference in your interaction with them.

5. Those who are happy in themselves lift others up

Throughout the books, it is the most unhappy characters who seek to undermine and bring others down, such as the Malfoys who scorn muggle-borns, muggle sympathisers and those who are not wealthy. The Dursleys are also immensely cruel to Harry because they feel threatened by his magical talent and they cannot stand being usurped in their status. In contrast, Hagrid’s happy and optimistic demeanour lifts those around him up and he is a consistently comforting sight to Harry, Hermione and Ron.

‘You sort of start thinking anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.’ – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Self-Care

In my eyes, ideas of self-care have become convoluted paths to luxurious experiences or funnels through which substantial amounts of money are spent which only leads to increased stress in the long-term. For this reason it seems that we have drifted so far away from the fundamental basis of self-care; to create time and space for ourselves in which we can prioritise our health and happiness during which we answer to no-one but our own needs and desires.

Mainstream ideas about self-care have morphed away from prioritising the search for peace and love within ourselves to the prioritisation of material things, such as extortionately priced bath bombs and candles, so that our sessions of self-care will be ‘instagram worthy’. I frustrate myself when I realise that, in my pursuit of self-care experiences, I overlook and disregard the simplest of things which are usually the most enjoyable and rejuvenating:

  • Sitting or reading a book under a tree with the sun shining upon you
  • Dedicating time to reflective journalling so that you can listen to your mind once more
  • Having a solid hour-long yoga session in which you set your practice intention to be calm and ease
  • Cherishing a new bunch of flowers you cultivated in your garden or picked yourself
  • Re-connecting with your all-time favourite book by re-reading it again and embracing the nostalgia which comes with it
  • Changing your bed clothes and sheets so that you can indulge in the experience of clean, crisp material when you go to bed that night

All of these small and simple things are gentle and easy ways to re-energise yourself after you feel ground down by the daily toll of life. When you come to reflect on your efforts at self-care you can appreciate the simplicity you have introduced into your life through that process rather than burdening yourself with superficial extravagance.

‘There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth’ – Leo Tolstoy

10 Quotes for Creativity

    1. “The two terrors that discourage creativity and creative living are fear of public opinion and undue reverence for one’s own consistency.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    2. “Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” – Henry David Thoreau
    3. “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath
    4. “For something to be great, there has to be some kind of  trial or some type of struggle that actually makes it special or valuable to you. Otherwise, anything could be easily taken for granted.” – Hayley Williams (of Paramore)
    5. “I like the idea of not being afraid of letting your imagination rule you, to feel the freedom of expression, to let creativity be your overwhelming drive rather than other things.” – Florence Welch
    6. “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner – continuously and stubbornly bringing for the jewels that are hidden within you – is a fine art, in and of itself.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
    7. “Art is what you can get away with.” – Andy Warhol
    8. “The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” – Dan Stevens
    9. “The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” – Pablo Picasso
    10. “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” – Oscar Wilde

THE ULTIMATE HARRY POTTER TAG

Often on my blog I talk about the things that get me down or make me feel anxious. It is a lot less often that I talk about the things that help lift me out of these dark feelings. Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s wizarding world in general is one of those uplifting things which can show me magic and escapism even when I am in my worst muggle state! So, to bring a little magic to my blog I thought I would do the Ultimate Harry Potter Tag…

1)Favourite book?

The Prisoner of Azkaban. Sirius Black is one of my favourite characters in the whole series of Harry Potter books, so I love the amount of focus on him in this book as well as Lupin and the tales of their days at Hogwarts. Plus, the presence of the dementors gives the book a really ominous and gloomy feeling which I really enjoy.

2) Least favourite book?

The Chamber of Secrets. This is not to say that I think this is a bad book at all, it’s just if I had to chose then I would say The Chamber of Secrets, although I do love Dobby’s presence in the book.

3) Favourite movie?

The Prisoner of Azkaban for all the same reasons why I love the book. The film also did such a good job of depicting the dementors, as well as Buckbeak and Lupin in his werewolf state.

4) Least favourite movie?

Again, it is The Chamber of Secrets which leaps out to me unfortunately.

5) Favourite quote?

The answer to this always changes but for now it is “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

6) Favourite Weasley?

I think Charlie Weasley is too easily overlooked by everyone. I think he is a great character even if he does always feel at a distance (to be fair he was working with dragons in Romania). He has the characteristic kindness of a Weasley (he helps get Norbert out of Hogwarts) whilst also having a rugged and playful edge to him.

7) Favourite female character?

Probably Professor McGonagall, she is fierce, defiant, protective and amazingly skilful. Plus, when I was 15 someone at school told me I looked like her when I had my glasses on, although I don’t think they meant that as a compliment…

8) Favourite villain?

Probably Bellatrix Lestrange, simply because of how infatuated with the dark arts she is and the fact that she has no shame about her blood lust!

9) Favourite male character?

Sirius Black. He is a deeply flawed character for sure but he is also resilient, resourceful and fiercely loyal. Wouldn’t you love to have him as your Godfather, even if he did come from a prejudiced family.

10) Favourite professor?

Professor Lupin! His classes were so fun and imaginative, plus he endorsed the emotional benefits of eating chocolate, so he sounds like just my sort of professor!

11) Would you rather a) wash Snape’s hair or b) spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself?

Definitely wash Snape’s hair. If anything, I think this would be satisfying in the end and it doesn’t really bother me, whereas I would probably end-up resorting to violence if I had to spend the day with Lockhart.

12) Would you rather duel a) an elated Bellatrix or b) an angry Molly?

Well an angry Molly killed Bellatrix, so probably Bellatrix.

13) Would you rather travel to Hogwarts via a) Hogwarts Express or b) flying car?

Hogwarts Express FOR SURE! I would love the sweeping landscape going by and stocking up on magical confectionary from the trolley.

14) Would you rather kiss Voldemort or b) give Umbridge a bubble bath?

Kiss Voldemort, am I the only one who is a little intrigued what this would be like *cowers away sheepishly*. The idea of Umbridge in the bath makes me feel physically ill anyway.

15) Would you rather a) ride a Hippogriff or b) a firebolt?

Definitely a Hippogriff, they’re so majestic and proud and it would make Hagrid happy.

16) Is there a character you felt differently about in the movies?

Ignoring the obvious which is Ginny Weasley, I would say Cho Chang. I think she is dealt with a lot more sympathetically in the movies, whereas in the books I share Harry’s pain when she gets on his nerves.

17) Is there a movie you preferred to the book?

No, just no.

18) Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore?

Michael Gambon for me, although this is probably just because I had more time to bond with Gambon’s Dumbledore over the larger number of films he did.

19) Your top thing (person or event) that wasn’t in the movie that you wanted there the most?

Harry, Ron and Hermione’s visit to St Mungo’s in The Order of the Phoenix where they met the Longbottoms as well as a much reduced Lockhart.

20) If you could remake any of the Harry Potter movies which would it be?

I guess I would remake the Philosopher’s Stone with all of the technical advancements which have happened over the years and improve the visual effects.

21) Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of?

Slytherin as I have always been resourceful (basically a kind word for manipulative and sly!).

22) Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottermore?

Slytherin and I am proud of this (says she as she sits here typing wearing her bright green Slytherin hoodie).

23) Which class would be your favourite?

Defence Against the Dark Arts, there’s just something I find fascinating and empowering about it, plus it is practical and you get to use magic (unless Umbridge is teaching you).

24) Which spell do you think would be most useful to learn?

Well, I’d love to produce my own Patronus but I would hope that I’d never be in a situation that I would have to but maybe Expelliarmus which would embarrass anyone annoying me (I’m really showing my Slytherin side!).

25) Which character do you think you’d instantly become friends with?

Lupin maybe? I feel like he can see the best in people (unless they are dark witches and wizards) and he is tolerant, plus we could bond over chocolate frogs!

26) If you could own one of the three hallows, which would it be?

The Invisibility Cloak definitely, it would enable you to do so much and also avoid so many people. I think if you had the Elder Wand you would just become a target for people to try to disarm and kill you.

27) Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change?

NO WAY! That question deeply offends my soul.

28) Favourite Marauder?

Padfoot aka Sirius Black, I definitely feel that he has got the best animagus as well.

29) If you could bring one character back to life, which would it be?

Sirius (can you see the theme here?). I feel like he got such a raw deal in life that it is only fair to give him a second chance.

30) Hallows or Horcruxes?

Well to make my own Horcruxes I would have to murder someone so that I could split my soul which definitely isn’t desirable so I would have to say Hallows.

Ok, so that was fun. Please don’t judge me for my answers (especially the one when I was said that I was curious to kiss Voldemort). I know that I wasn’t actually tagged to do this but it looked like fun so I did it anyway!