The Order of The Phoenix and The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black (OotP5&6)

It’s so strange to see that the number of blog posts left (66 after this one) is lower than the number of blog posts written (which if I recall correctly will be 73 after this one). That means school and our journey through HP is slowly coming to an end. It’s sad but also super exciting! And exciting stuff is coming our way in Harry Potter too!

Chapter 5- The Order of the Phoenix

Even though Harry is angry with everyone in his life he is still getting the opportunity to spend time with Sirius. Sirius tells Harry a little more about the old house they are all living in, it’s the Black family’s home, Sirius’s childhood home. Harry slowly falls back into his old routines with the Weasley family. Mrs. Weasley is yelling at Fred and George like normal. Everyone gets together for dinner like normal, except the conversations around the dinner table are anything but normal. Every conversation has to deal with the Order of The Phoenix, a group of wizards (including everyone here) who fights against the Dark Lord and his followers. The group changed over time as original members, including Harry’s Parents and Neville’s parents, were killed or severely injured. Mrs. Weasley, in true Mrs. Weasley fashion, is adamant about the underage wizards in the house (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny) knowing nothing about the Order or where Voldemort is at this time, but after a row with Sirius about who knows best for Harry, Harry gets some answers to the questions he’s had all summer long.

Chapter 6- The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

Doxy_concept_artThe next day everyone is off to do chores. The Black house is like a little house of horrors. Doxies, fairy like reptile creature things, live in a set of curtains in one of the rooms. The gang works to tackle these little creatures. While doing so Fred and George tell Harry about the joke shop and the products they are currently testing out. (Remember it’s all thanks to Harry’s Triwizard Money that they can do this.) The house is chaotic, but that’s pretty normal for a summer with the Weasley family and more. Sirius pulls harry aside one day and tells Harry about his past, showing him a tapestry of the pure blood wizards family trees (because of course they are all interconnected). Sirius shares stories about his brother becoming a Death Eater and about how Sirius used to stay with the Potter family and James (Harry’s dad) after Sirius’s mother kicked him out. Mrs. Weasley interrupts their bonding moment calling for lunch. Over the next few day’s Harry and the gang simply work to tackle the house’s unwanted guests and filth, taking Harry’s mind off the upcoming Hearing at the Ministry of Magic.

What I love about these chapters is art of storytelling. Both chapters hinge on stories and updates told to Harry by members of the Order or Sirius himself. J.K. Rowling begins to weave a tapestry of information that will be useful in the subsequent books, but also that sheds light on each character individually. The main character she is building up here is Sirius, of course. Sirius tells Harry a lot about his past and his family in these two chapters. He paints pictures of struggles and sorrow. He knits together stories of good and bad times. He reveals to Harry so much about himself in short conversations. He reveals to everyone who pays attention his desires to have not only his best friend James back, but to also have a companion, someone to bond with, to connect with, to hangout with. Sirius tells us just how much is lacking in his life, just how much he is still a prisoner in this world.

sirius family treeI think it’s interesting that Rowling uses these conversations this way.  It’s quite brilliant actually, and it’s something we do in the legal profession all the time. We are storytellers, we paint our clients the way we want the world to see them. We weave together stories about how our clients aren’t bad people, sometimes they are just people that make mistakes. We reveal to juries or judges that our clients are people who deserve second chances, or who deserve justice for the harms done to them. We weave together stories and put together puzzles in hopes we can change lives.

We are creative storytellers even in the transactional world. We have clients that we work together with to build up their businesses. We help take in the stories of their neighborhoods and piece them together to get funders to give our clients money. We piece stories of people’s passions together to create business entities. We take mission statements and help ensure contracts that uphold those mission statements. We are still storytellers even if that story just ends up becoming a contract.

open bookLast night I spoke with someone about telling stories in your career. As law school goes on, as careers begin, we will be telling the world a story with every decision we make. Whether we choose to take risks, make plans to get to our end goal, or choose to be comfortable and stay in one place, every decision we make tells a story to others. Think about that during your day. Think about what story you want to tell others, what story you are telling others and how all of that is working out for you in the long run. It’s your legacy, it’s your life, it’s you on the line. Is your story one you want to share? Is your story working for you? Think about it this week.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

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The Pensieve Task of Flesh and Death Eaters (GoF 30-33)

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

pensieveSo 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

sphnixThe 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!)Voldemortreborn

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.

graveFor 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.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Aboard the Hogwarts Express (GoF 11)

220px-Taylor_Swift_-_Reputation“Ohhh look what you made me do.” Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, comes out in a little over a month, and man I CANNOT WAIT! It’s going to be great. Taylor Swift’s concept for this new album is taking her “ruined” reputation back into her own hands. There’s nothing better than seeing someone stand up for themselves in life, even though we still don’t have control over who lives, who dies and who tells our story. But it made me start to think a little deeper about reputations and law school.

This chapter of HP fit in perfectly with that thought! Reputations are being built or solidified everywhere! The chapter begins with an urgent house call made to Mr. Weasley about Mad-Eye Moody. Mad-Eye Moody has a reputation for flying off the handle and being a bit paranoid. Weasley is sent to go and help with Moody’s latest home incident witnessed by Muggles. The rest of the gang heads to Kings Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express. Percy doesn’t tag along for his normal “I should really be at work” excuse. Fred and George tease Percy solidifying Percy’s reputation as a kiss-up. Once on the train, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, and Harry run into Draco Malfoy who is spouting off loudly about his brilliant father and how Draco knows this year’s biggest secret taking place at school. Hermione tells Ron to not let Draco get under Ron’s skin as Draco continues to brag (solidifying his reputation as being a haughty bragger).

Reputation: the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.

Alastor_moodyFaculty and staff always preach reputation at the law school. Your professional identity, the small Denver community, being nice to your peers… the lectures go on and on. While they mean well, and of course they do, I think there is something to be said about reputations. To me, reputations are simple perceptions about people usually made through the lens of your own insecurities added to half-truths about the actual person. Take Draco Malfoy for example. He has a reputation for being a brat, a snotty, rich brat. Most people dislike Draco terribly. His reputation does nothing but hurt him, over and over and over again, until you get to the end of the series. Draco puts up a front, he elaborates on his stories, he lives a half-truth filled life, attempting to make things seem better or make himself seem more important so he doesn’t have to face the real him inside.

Ron hates Draco based off Ron’s perception of Draco and the Malfoy family. The Weasley family is poor, the Malfoy family is rich. The Weasley family is kind to muggles, the Malfoy family HATES all non-pure blood wizards and witches and of course muggles. Ron’s perception of the Malfoy’s was most likely built from a young age and as he started school he has carried that with him and began hating Draco due to that perception. Ron refuses to look any deeper than the reputation Ron has built in his mind of Draco. We all do it. We find someone whose actions push the nerve of an insecurity inside of us and subsequently build a wicked reputation of that person in our minds as a coping mechanism.

Law school makes us do that even more. As we are put in a high stakes, high stress, and high competition environment we start to build these beliefs and opinions about other people. “Oh that girl is a gunner,” ” oh that guy just parties, there is no way he is smart,” “oh that person is always in the library, they must be super smart.” I’ve heard these all, and I’ve partaken in building some of these reputations. We are only human, it’s what we do to avoid our real issues. images-3

But we don’t have to. We can instead work on the reputations we build for ourselves about ourselves. If we took the time to stop looking outward at the people around us, instead taking the time to look inside our own hearts and minds we could change the world. I’ve always struggled with not letting other people get to  me (much like Ron) and really wished I could just brush it all off, but at the end of the day, there is no brushing it off, because it triggers something deep inside me I need to really work on.

So the next time someone rubs you the wrong way and you start to build up an opinion about them, take a moments and analyze why that bothers you. Then decide whether or not there could be another explanation about why that person is acting the way they are.  For Draco, it could be an act to try to win the approval of a father who never chooses to show Draco love. For Percy, it could be an act to try and feel important when he lives in a super large family who just doesn’t seem to appreciate him the way he would like. For Moody, it could be a real mental issues (paranoia and PTSD) triggered by his years of work putting wizarding criminals in Azkaban.

No matter what the story, the underlining premise of all of this is to just be kind to people. Don’t talk crap about them, don’t be curt when they ask for your help, just be nice. You never know what battle someone else is fighting or has already won/lost. So be kind.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

The Riddle House and The Scar (GoF 1&2)

Starting a new book is always a fun adventure, but starting a new book the same time you move into a new place on the one year anniversary of this blog is the BEST ADVENTURE… oh and there was some sort of eclipse thing today too if you were like super interested in that.

IMG_1814Well ladies and gentleman and scholars and muggles and wizards and aliens alike… we did it, we’ve made it to book 4 of the Harry Potter series. The Goblet of Fire is where things start to take a truly dark turn in the series. It’s also the movie that I punched my sister in the arm after because she made fun of me for crying at it. Anyways, like every book, JK Rowling reconfigures the story for us, setting it off on the right path, picking up from where she left off. Except, in true Rowling fashion, this book doesn’t start off with Harry… instead we get a little story about the Riddle family and their gardner.

The Riddles were a nasty rich family who one day all fell over dead into their dinner. The gardner was taken in by police and questioned, since he was the only other person seen at the house that day. His release only happened after the autopsies of the Riddle family came back clean… no signs of poison or violence as the cause of their death. The whole family seemed to be terrified to death! Years later and the gardner still worked on the premises, paid by a man who did not live at the house but instead owned it for tax purposes. One night he is awoken by knee pain and sees a light in the old house. He assumes its just brave children who snuck into the abandoned place and lit a fire. He goes to check it out, only to find its 2 men planning the death of some person named Harry Potter and discussing the recent murder of a woman. He tries to escape but is caught by a snake which one of the men can communicate with. He is summoned into the room, only to be murdered with a flash of a green light. Harry awakes having dreamt all of this. His scar hurts. He searches his mind to make sense of it all, identifying the two men as Wormtail and Voldemort. Uncertain as to what to do next he writes to Sirius explaining the pain of his scar. IMG_1572

What’s interesting about law school is listening to the stories people tell. Having just finished the first week of school and now starting the second week you hear a lot of stories from 2Ls and 3Ls recapping their summers and discussing their class schedules and you hear the woes of 1Ls talking about their classes, teachers, classmates and bragging about their resumés. It’s fun to catch up, to hear about people’s jobs this past summer, to hear about their adventures, and to share my Italy stories. It’s also good practice to get back into the swing of advocating and presenting information in an intriguing but to the point way.

AS part of my classes this year I will be participating in a Community Economic Development Clinic, which is fancy way of saying we help people start businesses and non-profits that help redevelop low-income communities. As part of our orientation we went down to Five Points, a “dangerous” part of Denver. We took a tour of this historic city, known as the “Harlem of the West” and heard about the great Rossonian Hotel which once saw jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. We listened to stories and hardships belonging to the neighborhood. We visited an exhibit showcasing memorabilia collected from residents in the neighborhood. We asked questions. We digested the stories, and we took them with us back to the classroom.

IMG_1287While digesting these stories and feeling inspired by the work that lies ahead it made me think of one of my own stories. Now, I’m talking about a book I wrote, but also about a time in my life where I wanted to make a difference so bad I rushed through the process of writing, editing, publishing and marketing a book. I quickly started a not-for-profit business to sell this book and ended up selling 64 copies. I used the money to then purchase 64 books for a local elementary school (books they needed for classes). Eventually, I felt like it wasn’t enough, I need to do more, I needed to crank out another book, keep a blog going, sell more copies of my current book and keep going and going and going…. until I ended the whole thing altogether. But the desire to do more for local communities never ended… and look where I am now.

Stories are what drive us in law school. We collect stories from clients. We take in and reframe stories into arguments. We weave together sentences and calculated pauses to create a narrative that will hopefully help us win our case. We have stories that push us, motivate us to go further than ever before. Everything we do is tied up in a greater story. We live for these stories. We feed off these stories… we are always looking for the next one. It’s what we do. It’s who we are, even if we hate it.

At my core there is a writer. I’ve spent my entire life piecing together stories. From playing barbies, to playing in the woods, to sitting alone at my desk creating new worlds… for a second last year, I though for sure I had lost my drive to tell stories. I thought I lost my ability to create new worlds, to truly get lost in the worlds hidden in my mind. I thought I would only ever be able to reach them again in movies or if I stumbled into some free time to read for fun. Even with this blog, I still felt as though my desire to write these grand stories was fading away… and then I went to my clinic orientation and there stood a neighborhood, a hidden jewel of history and stories. There stood a hotel full of music and life, waiting to be re-released onto the people rushing past it. There stood my inspiration. IMG_0892

I tell you this because I think it’s important that we never lose sight of the story inside us. The story may seem out of focus, it may seem to get a little off track, we may stray from the usual patterns and rhythms of our normal stories, but in the end, it all has a purpose. Rowling started this book with a different beginning than the last three. She started it with a brief backstory, a brief insight into a few not so new characters. She started it with a purpose in mind. And while we may not see that purpose unfolded in the first two chapters, when we get to it, when we watch it completely revealed to us, we won’t be disappointed.

So, as the new school year begins, what stories are you telling to the world and yourself? What stories are you collecting and reframing? What voice are you using? Dig deep. Find your story if you lost it. Check in with your story if you’ve been adding to it. Enjoy your story as it unfolds and keep writing… you’ll never know who needs the inspiration.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed