Hey cool kids, did ya think I forget this week’s Wizarding World of Law School post? Nah, I’ve just been busy adulting this week, which means things are running a tad bit behind. Here we are though, starting the fifth HP book. To be honest the first chapters of every book are always a tad difficult to make a great blog post out of, but this book starts with a BANG! Check it out!
Chapter 1- Dudley Demented
We are back at Privet Drive. Harry hasn’t heard a word from anyone about what’s going on, so he tends to hide in the bushes listening to the muggle news outside the Dursely’s home. When he hears what he thinks is someone apparating onto the street he rolls out of the bushes with his wand at the ready. Caught by Uncle Vernon, Harry heads to the park where he has a run in with the new and improved Dudley. Okay, maybe improved isn’t the word, but Dudley has lost some weight and joined boxing. In Dudley’s spare time he practices his boxing skills on 10 year olds. Harry and Dudley have a slight altercation, things start to get stormy and they start to run home where they have an encounter with Dementors. Yes, Dementors. Harry of course whips out an “EXPECTO PATRONUMMMMMM.” Suddenly Mrs. Figg, the batty old neighbor from across the street appears explaining she’s a squib and well, that Harry needs protecting.
Chapter 2- A Peck of Owls
Well as the night goes on, Dudley is like truly messed up. Mrs. Figg and Harry get Dudley home. The Dursley’s freak out. Hella owls come saying Harry is expelled, Harry isn’t expelled but has a hearing, and that HE SHOULD NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE. But like the Durselys want Harry out… until a howler comes for Petunia with a message “Remember my last, Petunia!”…. Interesting…VERY INTERESTING.
See? I told you it was a BANG! Anyways, isn’t it odd when a) things aren’t always as they seem AND b) everyone is suddenly telling you what to do in your time of need? That’s an interesting part of the law school. They (the weird collective they; the all-knowing, omnipotent they) tell us going into law school that you don’t always end up doing things just the way you plan on doing them once you get out. And they just might be right. That’s not to say that I am having a change of heart or anything, nor does it mean that I don’t want to have food law.
What it means is that things, paths, life goals, life circumstances, etc., aren’t always what they seem. I came to law school thinking that I had one path… well that path was my own carved out sort of mucking it through the mud path. But the thing is, it’s pigeonholed me, and I’ve actually found joy in doing transactional work. Contracts, accounting, real estate, employment, and all other business related law things. But as I start to find joy in these things and look towards doing business/transactional work after law school, people start to try and persuade you to go back to your roots. When you say you want to do corporate work or business work people all of a sudden want you to remember the little man, to remember the public interest work you wanted to do.
The thing is… I haven’t lost my interest in the little man or public interest work. I have always committed my life to serving others, to taking care of other people, to going above and beyond. Only some of that has changed. I have instead started to want to do what’s right for me as well. It’s not about wanting money, it’s not about wanting to help the “big guys,” it’s not about not wanting to do “what’s right.” No, this is about needing to pay my dues, to obtain the skills that will help me help so many more people one day, and to do something I like doing.
Law school is hard. We all come in thinking that we know exactly what we want to do and how we are going to do it. For some that path works out, for others things change, and it doesn’t help when people suddenly want to speak up about your choices. The best thing one can do is listen to their intuition. You can take people’s advice or follow their directions: Harry decides to follow Aunt Petunia and Arthur Weasley’s words and stay put in the Durselys’ home. You can also decide to go your own way: yes, like the Fleetwood Mac song.
Either way like they said every day in middle school and high school after the announcements “the choice is yours.” Stay true to you… you’ll be glad you did.
So another book ends and another semester begins. Winter break surely was not long enough. I wish it would have gone on forever, but alas here we are. This winter break taught me a lot about myself and how I see the world. A lot of times I refuse to standup for myself, allowing myself to become the victim, allowing myself to become distrustful of those around me, even when I just met a person. Winter Break gave me time to think about all of this and really help me to determine why I react to people the way I do, and it’s simply because I refuse to listen to their story and follow my instinct to process what they are saying. Instead, I let my ego get the best of me in everyday life which causes WAY MORE problems than it solves. And as we leave Book 4 and head into Book 5, we will see how ego can get in the way in everyone’s lives, especially politicians. But for now, let’s wrap up Book 4’s remaining chapters
Chapter 34- Priori Incantatem
So Harry is let down from the grave he was tied to and then the duel begins. Harry scrambles a bit, Voldemort taunts him a bit and then they duel. They cast curses at each other and BAM they are oddly connected. They hold the connection and start to float. Then ghost like figures start coming out of Voldey’s wand. These figures include Cedric and Harry’s Parents. They all say they are going to buy Harry some time. Cedric says to take his body back. Harry breaks the connection and runs to Cedric’s body summoning the portkey and heads back.
Chapter 35- Veritaserum
Harry lands with Cedric’s body back at Hogwarts. He tries to tell everyone Voldemort’s back and then panic sets in. Oddly enough the “My son, my son” cries of Mr. Diggory are not in the book, but it happens. Through the chaos Moody grabs Harry to take him back to the castle. Turns out he’s not actually Mad-Eye Moody, he’s BARTY CROUCH JR.!!!!! Hogwarts teachers burst in the door to save Harry. They pour veritaserum down Barty’s throat and the truth spills out. We get the whole back story of how Barty Courch Sr. broke Barty Crouch Jr. out of Azkaban and how then Jr. escaped and how Bertha Jorkins found about him and then had to die. Barty Crouch Sr. also needed to die so Junior killed his papa.
Chapter 36- The Parting of Ways
Once Dumbledore got all the info he wanted out of Junior Dumbledore moved on. Sent for Snuggles and brought Harry to his office. Dumbledore explains everything to Harry and Sirius, attempts to explain things to Fudge who refuses to hear it. Sends harry to the infirmary and everyone is whispering about things. Harry gets his winnings, Cedric’s parents are in mourning. Harry goes to sleep.
Chapter 37- The Beginning
(Of another semester…) Harry tries to give the gold to the Diggory Parents, they won’t take it. Dumbledore explains to the whole school Cedric’s death and that Voldemort is back and that the Ministry won’t recognize it. Then they eat and it’s time to leave Hogwarts. Harry gives his gold winnings to Fred and George to start their joke business.
Talk about traumatic experiences! I’m the first to admit that Harry is one of my least favorite characters in the series and we will see why in Book 5, but I do feel bad for him in these chapters. Harry has something super traumatic happen to him, but since he was the only one to see it and experience it, he is treated poorly. No one believes him. It made me start to think about how we do things in the legal field. Sometimes people come to us with problems and we have to decide to believe them and take on their case; or at least we have to believe in the system and take on their case. But sometimes it is so hard to believe someone’s story. No matter how hard we want to believe, no matter how much this person cries and tells us their tale, sometimes we just can’t believe them.
And that doesn’t happen in just the legal field, it happens in our personal lives every day. I came to law school with some trust issues already. Law school really challenges you to work through those trust issues. It challenges you to change how you see the world but to stay true to your gut instinct. But it’s hard when you are like Harry and no one understands what you just went through, where you’ve been, or who you truly are. I think it’s important to note that Harry struggles with this throughout the whole series. Not too many people know how horrible it is for him back at the Dursleys, how crazy it’s been to be thrusted into a life of magic and a life of fame, and later there’s no way anyone understands what it’s like to know that there is someone, someone very powerful, out there that he alone has to face and be killed by in order to save the wizarding world.
So while I don’t like Harry, I sympathize with him, much like I sympathized with Voldemort in the last post. We never know what others are going through, what they’ve been through, and what they are left facing. Yet, we judge them and we judge each other all the same. I’ve done it. I’ve looked superficially at someone’s life and with a jealous eye determined to write them off, even if I’ve heard their story, heard the things they don’t want to share with the whole world. And I too have been on the other side of this. The thing is, in law school and in life, you have to trust your gut and in order to learn to trust your gut, you have to move your ego out of the way. As we will see in Book 5, there are a lot of egos being thrown around which leads to a lot of disbelief and blindness.
Our egos are a huge part of this journey. Our egos tell us only what we want to hear, what we want to know, and what we think about ourselves. Our egos compare us to others, dismiss others thoughts and ideas when they challenge ours, and try to keep us in control at all times. But that smaller voice, the one that says Harry is telling the truth (why would he lie to us about this?), that’s the voice we want to listen to. That is the instinct, the truth teller, the right voice to lead us. Sure, sometimes its a very naive voice that may put you in situations that you don’t like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to it.
All of this is to say that as another semester begins, to check in with what voice you are listening to. To really take inventory of the stories being told to you and process them before reacting or making a decision about someone. Be open-minded, quiet the ego and listen to your instinct. You’ll be happy you did. You’ll find more peace. You’ll help make the world a more understanding place.
I love a good story. That’s what makes Harry Potter the best, its a complicated story full of twists and turns, foreshadowing, and hidden messages. The best part about stories is that they all come from somewhere, they are all secrets inside each author’s chest and mind just waiting to get out and be shared with the world. How does this relate to law school? Well law school teaches us that it’s all about the story. Each case is based on a series of stories from both sides. Each policy or law is built off a story, a desire for change (or greed) from those who write and enact it. It’s interesting really when you think about the stories behind everything the law touches, and for a lot of us, those stories began before law school. Before we dive into that though, let’s dive into the Harry Potter Story we’ve been tracking.
Chapter 30- The Pensieve
So Dumbledore leaves Harry alone in his office, what’s a kid to do? Snoop, of course! I mean, who wouldn’t?? Harry finds the pensieve, a magical memory holder that Dumbledore uses like a giant bowl shaped jigsaw puzzle. Harry swoops into some magical memories of Barty Crouch sentencing his son to Azkaban and then Dumbledore shows up (the real one, not the memory one who apparently looks the same exact way as the current one) and is all like “Harry lesssssgo, you’ve snooped into my personal life enough now.” Then Dumbledore is all like, “oh of course you are curious, and of course I didn’t lock that thing up tight enough. It’s not like I was hoping you’d snoop.” Which I don’t buy, Dumbledore never does anything uncalculated, sort of like Beyonce or Taylor Swift, everything they do is done on purpose. They talk about Voldemort and Snape and the Crouch family. The end of the chapter.
Chapter 31- The Third Task
The final task is here! Can I get a drumroll??? Okay, it’s actually pretty cool… the movie makes it look pretty lame, but this huge maze is pretty awesome! There’s even a sphinx with a riddle! Why the heck was that left out of the movie, the CGI on that alone would have been cool to see. Instead the movie just glosses over Krum’s eyes, has him attack everyone, and there’s mysterious wind that blows the shrubs around. Cedric’s and Harry’s hero complexes come out to play like normal and they both end up saving each other at some point. THere’s a giant spider. Then Harry and Cedric play a round of “you can have the cup, you are a true hero” “Oh no you take the cup, you deserve it.” They both grab the cup and BOOM, it’s a portkey! *mic drop*
Chapter 32- Flesh, Blood, and Bone
The movie and this chapter go hand in hand a bit well. Harry and Cedric find themselves in a graveyard. Cedric gets murdered by some weird little rotting baby corpse that Wormtail is carrying. A bubbling cauldron is made. Flesh. Blood. Bone. Baby Corpse. and BAM! Voldemort sans nose is back! I wonder if we will ever find out why he doesn’t have a nose. Does anyone knows why?? (See what I did there!? lol!)
Chapter 33- The Death Eaters
(Also known as our current Government Leaders…sorry I had to!) Well Voldey is back, he calls his servants (the Death Eaters), lectures them about loyalty, says some stuff about his old family, talks about how he created a new family out of these Death Eaters. He hints towards horocruxes. He talks about immortality and the legacy he wants to have. Then he tells Harry “ohhh look I can touch you… because your blood is in my body now so no more magically love blood bonds from your mama.” Then he makes Wormtail untie Harry and is all like “let’s duel so I can kill you.”
I guess you could say almost everyone in these chapters has some sort of hero complex and who doesn’t? We all want to champion something and we all think that our mission and values are the best. We all have a good reason for what we do. I had a friend during my first year of law school who wants to become a District Attorney so that he/she could put people who do hard drugs in jail. I fundamentally disagreed with her, but I never asked the question as to why this was her mission in life. I had another friend who wants to dismantle the current prison system and stop systematic racism. Other friends want to simply make a lot of money. Some friends want to help save the environment. We all come to law school with some sort of mission and we think that our mission is more valuable than many others (even if we don’t want to admit it). The hard part is that we don’t always see the ramifications and potential consequences of this mission.
A good example of this comes from a huge research project I’ve been working on for our school’s Water Law Review. The Glen Canyon Dam which is located in Arizona, not too far away from the Utah border is a dam that’s created a lot of controversy since it was built. The dam was supposed to be in Utah, but after the Sierra Club and a couple other big voices fought against that decision since it would of course flood an area they wanted to preserve it was moved down to Glen Canyon. The head of the Sierra Club at the time in later years said this was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made. He fought so hard to have the dam moved down stream that he didn’t stop to look at what it would do to the Glen Canyon area. He later said that it ruined that area, which is something he deeply regretted.
The gist of this all is that we all have a reason we fight for something. We all have something that drives us. For me, wanting to better our food system and create equal access to healthy foods for all people is because when my mom and step-dad divorced I saw first hand how a lack of money will affect your diet and your access to healthy foods. It’s not okay that people have to choose between making a healthy meal for their family and paying for electricity. And please know that money is not the only issue, so is time, there is not always time to make a healthy meal, shop for healthy ingredients and such, so a lot of times processed food is the cheapest and the easiest option for lower income families.
For Voldemort, his whole reasoning behind his movement is the reaction his family had to him growing up. He’s not even a pure-blood wizard, but because his dad reacted in a way that ensured a hard life for Voldemort, he made it his life mission to go and seek revenge. He had a sad life, a hard life and he made life choices that reflected his inner angst. Sure, it’s not okay that he then wanted to kill all muggles, but once you know his backstory a bit, it can change the way you see him.
That’s the thing, you have to ask the right questions before jumping to conclusions about a person’s decisions. You have to see things through their eyes before sealing in your mind who you think they are. You have to be willing to take a step back and get to know them before outcasting them or thinking they are mean or a bitch to begin with. And on the flip side, we have to be willing to put aside our own baggage and let people in, people who will care about us and show us that maybe, just maybe our world views and our mission isn’t 100% the best thing there ever was and will come with some big consequences that we just might regret later down the line. Think about what could have happened if Voldemort had done just that, or if the head of the Sierra Club could have foreseen the consequences of his actions.
So, take some time in this new year and ask some questions, get to know people’s backstories and then make decisions about them. You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t even have to like them afterwards, but at least you’ll better understand them.
Have you ever watched those Real Housewives shows? I know you have, don’t try to freaking lie, we all love to watch these rich ladies get plastered and argue and fight with each other over silly things. I mean who wouldn’t love to be one of them?? Personally I live for the escape from reality into “reality tv” or really any dramatic television show. I love these scripted shows where you can tell the writers have been sitting in a small room pouring their mind power out to create a script full of “unexpected” tricky twists and turns… the joke of it all is if you watch enough tv or read enough books, these unexpected twists are pretty predictable.
I once had a a high school english teacher, Ms. Fagan, tell us that every story is the same because every story is one about the human condition. Meaning that every story we read, listen to, talk about, tell, or watch is the same story. We all suffer, we all rejoice, we all have hang-ups, we all tell lies, we all deceive one another, we are all selfish, we all love, we all endure heartbreak… every story has already been told because we are all human. But in law school that is sometimes THE HARDEST THING TO REMEMBER. Therefore, this blog’s theme is this “the unexpected mixed metaphor.” Fascinating right? Here’s the recap and I’ll explain how this theme fits after.
Chapter 22- The Unexpected Task
Well, well, well… Looks like Hogwarts is gonna have Yule Ball… which means the boys and girls need to pair off and have dates. Nothing sends panic down someone’s spine, especially teenagers, but really anyone who doesn’t have a date, like a fancy dance. Also, nothing brings out the truth of how we view one another like a dance. Everyone is pairing off in this chapter. Ron does the unthinkable and tries to get a date with Fleur by shouting at her. lol Hermione has a secret date. Harry and Ron end up with Parvati and Padma. And everyone is so mean to Neville… except Ginny.
Chapter 23- The Yule Ball
Of course hormones and nerves are running high. There’s dancing, and a wizard rock band. There are secret rendezvous in the gardens, overheard conversations about Hagrid being part giant and lots of snagging. Oh did we mention Ron’s jealousy is back when he sees Hermione with Viktor Krum? So much teenage angst. It’s a dance, there’s not much to say here.
Chapter 24- Rita Skeeter’s Scoop
Here she is to ruin the day again! Rita Skeeter’s scoop is that Hagrid is half-giant… which every is like “oh no, that’s horrible, he will kill our children in the night, kill the beast!” Wait, that’s the wrong Emma Watson movie. But nevertheless, apparently being part giant is horrible and Hagrid stops teaching for a bit and everyone learns about unicorns instead of other magical animals… and if some of these kids are from Scotland, shouldn’t they already know about their country’s animal? I don’t understand why they need a couple classes about unicorns… roll my eyes. Well, on the other hand Ludo Bagman is shady AF. Tries to break the rules and offer Harry help with his next task… isn’t this man leading this tournament? Seems weird to me… anyone else? Harry of course says no (which i guess is a good tell of his character… but realistically what teenager would say no?) And then Cedric tells Harry how to crack the screeching egg code by taking a bath.
Chapter 25- The Egg and the Eye
Harry of course is a bit pig-headed and refuses to heed Cedric’s advice. He sulks around pretending to have solved the egg clue already, lying to everyone until it’s almost too late and then he sneaks off after hours. He goes to the Prefect bathroom to take a giant bubble bath with his sidekick Moaning Myrtle the total pervert there to watch. She tells him to open the egg under water and stick his head down there. He hears the mermaid’s voice tell him hints about the next task. On his way back to bed he gets caught a trap stair and then gets caught by Moody after an almost run in with Flich and Snape. Nevertheless in true Harry fashion he is let off the hook for being out after hours and heads to bed. Lucky lucky…
A mixed metaphor is my absolute favorite english device in the world. It’s simple really, you take two metaphors and mix them together. For example: “Don’t go in there with cold turkey on your face.” The separate metaphors are: 1) Going cold turkey; and 2) Don’t go in there with egg on your face. See? Simple and cheeky. Alright, so how does this simple english device relate to law school, television, and Harry Potter? Well it’s simple really. Life is one large box of unexpected and expected mixed metaphors. Sure, sometimes life is just a single metaphor: “an endless night;” “anger bottled up inside;” “battle of the egos.” Those are expected. We all endure these… until we have “an endless bottled up battle of the egos.” Then we are like WTF is happening in my life!?!
Law school is a freaking series of these moments. Once you think you have battled the final essay, passed the last final of the semester, and can catch your breath, law school stops you and tells you to “take a flying hike.” And there you are standing in the middle of a cold dark room feeling like someone “shot the wind out of your saddle.” You just stand there feeling like you “have to get all your ducks on the same page.” And that seems impossible.
But that’s the thing. Life is not scripted like television. It’s not written like Harry Potter. There aren’t all of these expected twists and turns. There aren’t just Yule Balls and the expected reactions of teenagers needing to find dates or giants being outed. Now sometimes things do happen, and you may still be like, what the heck?!? or you may be like, oh I got this. And maybe law school is the same way for many people, but I know for me, it’s a series of mixed metaphors, a series of events that constantly leave me feeling confused and “sweating like a bullet.” But isn’t that what we signed up for? We signed up to have Rita Skeeter’s misinforming the world about who we are or leaking our worst traits to the world. We signed up to feel confused and uncertain… and since the world keeps on spinning and churning out the same stories over and over again, we know that on the other side of all these mixed metaphors and unexpected chaotic moments, we will be stronger.
So really I guess all of this is to say that while law school feels unmanageable at times, and we feel like a bag of confusing garble, television, books, and the human condition tell us that we are going to make it through. We will all end up with dates to the Yule Ball, we will figure out the egg clues, and we will make it to see another day. You got this… and congrats on making it to winter break. Now get offline and go do something unexpected, unscripted, and above all else, something fun!
The things about the second year of law school is everyone can start to deep dive into what they are passionate about. For me it’s Food Law, an up and coming part of law that most people scratch their heads at… except the 200 people I just spent a weekend with this past November at UCLA. The Food Law Student Leadership Summit, put on by Harvard and UCLA, is a conference where students from all over the country meet to tackle food policy issues as well as learn form some of the top food law professors and speakers in the United States. It’s an amazing conference that tackles all food related issues, from agriculture to labor laws, from foraging to SNAP programs. I met so many amazing people who want to tackle food issues! It was so nice to be surrounded by people who are also passionate about food topics.
This blogs chapters are a doozy. From wand weighing (which let’s be real, it sounds a bit like a penis contest to me… which my friend Kevin would tell you that’s all Harry Potter is about anyways… boys fighting over wands) to fighting dragons, to fighting to break social norms… it definitely feels like Hogwarts is more like law school than it is a magical school. This week’s theme is “weighing the heavy stuff.”
Chapter 18- The Weighing of Wands
So the chapter before this had everyone acting like little babies, whining that Harry put his name in the Goblet of Fire and it wasn’t fair… everyone forgetting that Harry is trying to be killed by Voldemort… so clearly this was all Harry’s doing because he loves danger (which he probably does… because he’s sometimes an arrogant little jerk) and wants to die. Anyways, now Harry and the other champions have to go through a want weighing ceremony with Rita Skeeter (the worst human reporter on the planet… which some may argue is what JK Rowling thinks of all tabloid reporters) lurking around. Why they have to get their wands weighed is beyond me… it seems very silly especially when Ollivander gave most of them their wands anyways… and by most I mean Harry and Cedric (that’s half right? and Harry’s ego counts for two people…amirite? haha). Anyways… they weigh wands and Rita Skeeter writes weird stuff about Harry being so young and innocent.
Chapter 19- The Hungarian Horntail
Ron of course is still not talking to Harry and everyone hates harry like normal, now they just have pins that say ‘Potter Stinks’. Nevertheless Hagrid the friendly giant shows Harry what the first task will involve. Hagrid fancies the giantess leader of the Beauxbatons school and also shows her the first task. Harry is like “whoa what the heck, I’m a little boy, those are big dragons, this is insane, i’m going to die, boohoo.” Then he tells Cedric and Ron acts moody.
Chapter 20- The First Task
The first task comes upon them. Moody hints to Harry what he should do and Harry freaks out. Hermione helps Harry practice the Accio spell. Ron keeps his distance. The first task day arrives. Everyone picks out their dragons. Harry is the last to go… he gets the Horntail and everyone survives the dragon task. Harry uses a broom…Swoosh swoosh, he also survives and ties Krum for first place. Now Harry and the other champions have to figure out the weird egg they got.
Chapter 21- The House-Elf Liberation Front
With the first task behind him, everyone celebrates. Ron becomes Harry’s friend again (dammit Ron why are you like this?) and Harry opens the egg to only hear screeching. (I get that this synopsis is weird, but this whole book is weird…and not one of my favorites because teenagers are so freaking moody, but so are law students so I guess it works.) Rita Skeeter bothers everyone, goes after Hagrid for an interview. Fred and George tell Hermione how to get to the kitchen where the House-elves are and she finds Dobby and WInky (Crouch’s old house-elf) working int he kitchens. She’s bothered by this. Hermione becomes even more determined to help these house-elves get paid and respected, even though Winky and every other elf besides Dobby don’t want to be paid. And then everyone laughs about Percy being a stuck-up brown noser.
Oy vey… I understand why they cut so much of this for the movie… while I enjoy Hermione’s activism I don’t think too many audiences would want to watch her going on about elves. BUT I DO ENJOY READING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE GIRL POWER! It’s heavy stuff to take on when nobody else really cares… sometimes that’s how being into food law feels. There aren’t many opportunities to get involved in food law the way want to get into it. Just yesterday my mentor told me that he didn’t know how to help me find opportunities to do the work I want to do. He said it was interesting that I have decided to build my career on a social cause.
What is that social cause? Changing the idea that food is a privilege into the idea the food is a fundamental right. And what do I mean by food? I’m not talking about processed, packaged food filled with hidden sugars and preservatives, I’m talking about healthy, regionally grown food options. A lot of people don’t understand what I’m talking about, because they have food, fridges full of packaged food, freezers stuffed full of frozen chicken nuggets and pizzas. People who think they are unaffected by food deserts or food swamps are mistaken. Just because you can afford to buy food from he local grocery store, doesn’t mean you haven’t been duped into buying unnatural harmful food items… and that you aren’t making yourself sick.
But where does the weighing of heavy things come into play here? You see when Ron saw Harry defeat the dragon to win his first task, all of a sudden Ron was back on Harry’s side. He knew there was no way Harry was trying to elevate himself by putting himself in the line of dragon-breath fire. So his mind changed. However, when it came to Hermione’s cause, both boys still just couldn’t understand why she would ever want to tackle something that appeared so meaningless to them. They couldn’t understand the cause because it didn’t effect them… at least not directly. They were taught that this was normal, that house-elves were meant to be “slaves” to their masters. That these house-elves were just doing what they were supposed to do in society. And the house-elves (except Dobby) believed that too.
On the idea of food rights vs. food privileges, we’ve all been brainwashed into believing that the way we consume and view food is the normal. It’s the way food is meant to be consumed. But what if there was more to it? What if we actually took the time to understand what we were putting in our bodies? I mean, I’m a prime example of following social norms… I’m sitting in Starbucks drinking yet another drink because they gave it to me for free… I know it has an immense amount of sugar, but here I sit drinking it because that’s what I’ve always done (and I’m addicted to sugar).
And that’s just it, Starbucks, Fast-food, Processed food, easy food options… they are a way to make someone rich at the top, and make people sick at the bottom. Does it seem like I’m being dramatic?? Of course it does, because in America, freedom is being able to get a venti $8 drink from starbucks and a piece of desert bread or a donut to start your day. It’s not about being able to eat healthy or nourish your body, mind, and spirit, no it’s about nourishing someone else’s checkbook and wallet at the cost of your health.
Now, to add onto that, a lot of you know I work at Starbucks, and I have for a little over 10 years now… and here I am to tell you about the moral dilemma I have with that decision regularly. Literally 20-40 hours a week I push sugary drinks and unhealthy food options on people and their dogs (dammit people STOP GIVING YOUR DOGS DAIRY FILLED SUGAR! THEY WILL DIE!). I hate it, but yet, Starbucks helps pay for my overly expensive apartment (thought they pay me minimum wage to work like a house-elf which does not nearly make it worth it most days). Nevertheless I stay. nevertheless I give people drinks full of sugar and fat to start their day. Nevertheless, I regrettably watch kids get cake pops and parents give their children milk full of sugar. Nevertheless I stand there and watch the unhealthy epidemics of capitalism take a toll on society, because that’s what I’ve been told to do, taught to do, and can’t find a way to get out of it.
In law school these are the things that weigh heavy on your soul. You see the injustices of the world, and yet while you want to change it, while you want to stop just mindless going along like a Ron and Harry, and you want to be a Hermione… society stacks the odds against you. Society tells you to not bite the hand that feeds you, to do what you are told or you’ll end up a societal reject. So in order to have a place to live, in order to have a life… I continue to work and continue to spread the problems that I morally and ethically struggle with each and every day.
BUT that can change, and in 2018 I will be changing that. No that doesn’t mean I am going to straight up quit my Starbucks gig outright (remember I need the paycheck, even if it is small). You see each year I choose a word for the year, a word I try to live by. This past year, I didn’t do that, and well this past year has felt like a freaking mess the entire year… see what happens when you aren’t intentional with your year? So 2018 here’s the word: Self-care and Self-love. That’s right two words! 2018 will be about me, and not in the narcissistic way. No, this next year I will set goals and focus on taking care of myself starting with the food I consume.Sure, I cannot change the way every single person relates to food. I cannot give everyone access to good food all at once. At least, not yet, but I can start by changing the way I approach food and the things I eat… that means i’m unhooking myself from the sugar train, the coffee train, and meat trains and instead hooking myself to the veggies, fruits and fish trains. That’s right, I’m going Pescatarian in 2018. It’s not going to be easy, and I anticipate it not being perfect either. I anticipate their being minor slip-ups, and minor breakdowns over not getting to eat whatever I want whenever I want (dammit, there goes my American FREEDOM), but it will be worth it. So stay tuned.
The whole purpose of this is to show people that while we cannot change all the injustices in the world as we see them, we can change the way we interact with the things that weigh heavy on our hearts and it starts with ourselves. Hermione shows us that, she shows us how heavy this whole house-elf system weighs heavy on her, and how she truly tries to make others aware. Yet, Hermione cannot undo the brainwashing of all of those around her, but she can live her own truth. In law school, we are sometimes the Hermiones, trying to change the world, but feeling alone… but we can change the world for one or two more people or even ourselves if we would just truly try… and by changing your own ways of interacting with injustices in the world, you just might inspire someone else to change how they interact with the world.
So take inventory, what’s weighing heavy on your heart and mind? And then what can you do about it in your own life to change it? Maybe it’s being less materialistic, maybe it’s to stop drinking alcohol, maybe it’s to start volunteering more, maybe it’s to go and start living your passions and truths… maybe it’s just to start taking care of yourself a little more. Whatever it is, go and do it… you’ll be happy you did.
About a month ago I said I was done with this blog. I said it was too much to have on my plate alongside all of my client work and class work… but I’m back for two reasons:
Someone recently said that I tend to give up on things when things get hard… Challenge accepted to change that
I recently read a book that said if you are passionate about something you treat it like a wild affair, you dress up and make time for it… what’s sexier than a writing affair?
Before I left for law school a friend told me to never forget my first true passion: writing. I smiled and said I wouldn’t, but it’s easy to forget passions that aren’t directly tied to the law when in law school. Sure we write a lot in law school, but for the most part its dry, mechanic writing, with very few chances to write those long, verbose, passionate, and illustrative paragraphs that creative writing allows for.
I woke up this morning longing for the creative writing that I’ve been putting on hold for so long. I laid on my couch trying to push away the thoughts of deadlines, memos, legal questions, and all of the other chores the weekend was beckoning me to start. I laid on the couch trying to push away the excuses that were building, asking me to not sit down and write. I laid on the couch trying to push through the fears of failure, perfectionism, regret, and insecurities that forced me to stay put and not get up and write. It’s funny how the universe speaks to us. How the universe quietly whispers that we should push ourselves to be our best selves, our most true selves while the world yells at us to be something different, to be better, to keep reaching because we will never be enough.
It’s up to us to choose what voice to listen to… the small whisper or the loud yelling. SO here I sit, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire sitting next to me, a triple vent salted caramel mocha (a free one!! yay!!) and my computer. It’s both exhilarating and terrifying to jump back into this writing. But here we go…
First things first… we are shaking things up a bit because one reason I wanted to quit was the vastness of this project. Taking on all 7 books, every chapter its own blog started to feel overwhelming and impossible. There just weren’t enough weeks before graduation to make every chapter its own blog. So instead… for the rest of Book 4 I will be combining chapters 14-37 into six sections, each section four chapters. So as you see in the title of this blog we are covering four chapters, chapters 14-17. I will still give a brief synopsis of the main events happening in the chapters and pick a central theme which this week is “The unforgivable curses of law school.” So shall we dive right in??
Chapter 14- The Unforgivable Curses
You might remember this scene in movie four. Moody teaches his Defense Against the Dark Arts class the unforgivable curses (the Cruciatus curse, the Imperious curse, and the killing curse). Ron names the first curse, Neville the second, and Hermione the third. What you didn’t see in the movie was Hermione’s continuing quest to help house elves through the creation of S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare), Ron and Harry faking their divination predictions, or Sirius’s letter to Harry saying he was heading back north because of Harry’s scar hurting. (Also in the movie I’m pretty sure this all happens after the next chapter… lol movie magic.)
Chapter 15- Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
In this chapter, Sirius arrives back in the country (hidden of course). Beauxbatons, a french school (of BOTH girls and BOYS, unlike the movie) and Durmstrang, a school who doesn’t want anyone to know where its located arrives! Of course that means Viktor Krum, Bulgarian Quidditch star also arrives. All of the Hogwarts students are of course still in awe… and Hermione is still trying to get people to buy her S.P.E.W. badges to help her cause, but no one is biting.
Chapter 16- The Goblet of Fire
A feast occurs, because this is Hogwarts and why wouldn’t there be a magical feast, oh and its Halloween so of course that means a feast and not candy… what the hell are we doing in America?!? Of course the rules of the Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Tournament are announced, everyone boos because you have to 17… the twins try to figure out a way around the rules, hermione tells them they are ridiculous, people speculate at who is putting their name and who will be the champions. Eventually the night comes to announce the winners…. you have Fleur from Beaxbatons, Krum from Durmstrang, Diggory from Hogwarts… and SURPRISE, SURPRISE Harry Mother’effen Potter.
Chapter 17- The Four Champions
OMG everyone is in shock… how dare Harry put his name in the Goblet and how dare the Goblet name four champions? Clearly nothing bad or weird has occurred here… this is normal. Oh and its a magical contract… interesting the way wizarding laws work. Anyways from this chapter the masterful Old Dumbledore vs. New Dumbledore casting crisis of the movie is born from the line “Did ya put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” My good old friend Hank loves to use this line as evidence that the old Dumbledore was far superior to the new Dumbledore. Anyways everyone is upset and Ron starts acting like a jealous twit… end of the chapter.
So how does this theme of the “unforgivable curses of law school” track throughout these four chapters? Well the unforgivable curses are insecurities, jealousy, and pride. Think of them this way: Cruciatus (the pain inducing curse)= insecurities, Imperius (being controlled by someone else curse)= jealousy, and the killing curse (AVADA KEDAVRA)= pride. Let’s see, Ron is insecure, jealous, and prideful throughout all of these chapters. Durmstrang as a whole is sickeningly prideful. Hermione is prideful. Harry is insecure. Each character is struggle with some sort of harmful curse… as does every law student.
It’s like the second you walk into the law school you are hit with one of these curses (if not all three). I remember first year I felt so insecure. I wanted to make friends so bad (and if you know me at all most people do not like me at first and call me “mean” or “bitchy”) and I tried so hard. I cannon balled into friend groups as if they were nice warm swimming pools, and sure enough those people in the pool did not like being splashed and left the pool. I started to wear my insecurities on my chest like a brazened red A of shame. I felt alone, hurting on my own, longing to go home and quit this whole law school mess.
After first semester it got worst because grades came out and I unfortunately did not make the cut. So add jealousy to the mix. I started doing whatever I could to mirror the successful people in my section… which led to more issues and more people being like “ohhh awkward, not helping you, goodbye.” Law school is hard, and even worse when you realize you may not have much to offer to the people you want to be friends with and law school is not a team sport no matter how much we want it to be. So I started to get frustrated and started to act in accordance with the social norms of law school… I repeat, law school is not a team sport, everyone is on their own. (Don’t believe me, ask my old roommate who explicitly told me we had to do things on our own when we just the night before talked about running for student government together and then she went rogue making her own flyers that night without me. Law school is not a team sport, and even more so for those who are the weaker links.)
So, first semester sucked, reality of poor grades made second semester worse… then the summer happened, my GPA rose and so did my pride. I entered into the second year, a little less likely to put up with people’s shit, still insecure, thinking I was independent, alone and didn’t need anyone telling me otherwise… the thing is, the universe doesn’t put up with that crap. The universe will be the first one to knock you down… hence why pride is the killing curse, because if you become prideful, the universe will knock it out of you. So here I sit, trying to figure out what to do next.
Law school brings out the nasty in people, the drive, the jealousy, the pride, the insecurities, the bitchy side and so much more. But we get through it, we get through law school and out into the world and we do what we were meant to do… the key is to not let these curses define you, but make you better. Pick the small whispering voice you want to listen to and listen closely. Don’t let law school define you, don’t let you hang-ups define you, and always choose New Dumbledore over Old Dumbledore… there’s no way Old Dumbledore could have kicked as much ass as the New one does in the 6th movie.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explantation is that I was made for another world” – C.S. Lewis
This week’s chapter Draco gets turned into a ferret. Of course, it is because Draco taunts Ron Weasley and then attempts to strike Harry while Harry’s back is turned to him. Moody strikes turning Draco into a ferret. Draco is taunting Ron about another article in the newspaper about Arthur Weasley (the Weasley father). Rita Skeeter writes the article calling Arthur Arnold. Draco mocks Ron calling his father a “complete nonentity.” The whole interaction takes place in only a few seconds with McGonagall making Moody turn Draco back into a human.
The thing I found interesting about this whole interaction was the severity of Draco’s taunt. Not only does he call Mr. Weasley and complete nonentity, he then attacks the Weasley home and calls Mrs. Weasley fat. It made me think about a few key players in my life that does the same: 1) my own brain; 2) the stress of law school; 3) the anxiety about the future.
I’ve spoken a lot about my mental health on this blog, so there’s no need to unpack that suitcase again and again… but I will say: I’m working on being nicer to myself. The last two key players I will unpack though go hand in hand.
Law school can be very stressful at times. With a mandatory curve that splits the class up only allowing for a few A students at the end of the three year stretch, with our school’s bar passage rate dropping 10% this year, and with the constant push and pull of the traditional lawyering path following us around, law school and our futures can be laborious. And don’t think we didn’t know that coming in the door. We signed up for this, each and every one of us signed up knowing it was going to be a difficult task. And knowing that we are all in it together makes things feel a whole lot better.
Just this past week, I had a friend in class talk about her realization that as she inches closer to graduation she’s never actually thought of herself as being a lawyer after law school. As she said this I felt comfort because I too have never really pictured myself as a lawyer.
I met with a new mentor this past week too, who encouraged me to keep on my non-traditional law school paths.
It’s harder to get through law school if you’ve never actually imagined yourself being another cog in the legal world. A lot of people come to law school knowing that at the end of the process they are going to be a lawyer in whatever desired field they’ve chosen. I’m always in awe of these people, because for some reason I always choose the harder paths in life to follow.
Hell will always come before you grow. – Imagine Dragons
When you walk with only a few people on the road less travelled you start to feel like a “complete nonentity” in the world. You start to feel like a freak, like you are doing something wrong, like you are going to fail because everyone else seems to be doing things a certain way and you just can’t fit yourself into that box. Here’s the catch though, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, sometimes you just are destined for bigger things.
It’s hard to see what you are destined for from the perspective of where we are seated. When you are in the midst of the mess, the hard work, the emotions, the world which tells you to conform, when you are in the midst of all of that it’s hard to see the big picture. We are all destined to do something in this world. Some of us are meant for the traditional paths of the world, meant to make an impact where we are. Some are meant to revolutionize the whole world to bring together the masses. Some are meant to make small ripples in the world through untraditional paths.
Whatever you are destined to do, you have to give your whole heart to it. You have to constantly remind yourself that through the stress and the anxieties about the future there is a bigger plan at hand, one you can’t see and sometimes cannot feel, but It’s there.
Two roads diverged in a wood and I– I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost