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.

 

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Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs/ The Servant of Lord Voldemort (PoA 18/ 19)

I waited to write this blog because so much in my life had taken over in getting ready to move and getting ready for school to start. I’m happy I did too. The themes I pulled out of these two chapters include Patience and Understanding, and Forgiveness v. Revenge. Looking at the state of the world today, with the whole Charlottesville hate march this weekend its hard to have any feelings except either anger or despair. For me, I just don’t understand how there can be people who truly believe that the white race is and should be the only ones to hold power.  What kind of world do we live in that people still actually believe one race, one type of people is better than a diverse mixture of backgrounds, traditions, and cultures. I truly wanted to believe that our world was different, or at least our country was different, but this past year, this past year has shown us, we haven’t come as far aw we hoped.

These two chapters of Harry Potter have a lot of dialogue. We and out Lupin, Sirius, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter were the creators of the Marauders Map and best friends at Hogwarts. We find out Peter is indeed alive and has been Ron’s rat this whole time. We find out that Sirius wasn’t the exact reason for Lily and James’ death, but that it was Peter. We see Snape’s grudge fully turn into a desire for revenge and we see everyone arguing over the events of the past 11-12 years. There is fighting, there is reconciliation and forgiveness, there is trust and hope, there is  tinge of justice and understanding.20729753_1634243996588873_1585066995659752833_n

They say there are always two sides to a story. Sometimes either side of the story is the actual truth to the person telling it. Whether it’s exactly what happened doesn’t always matter because to that person it’s the internalized truth of them, it’s their story. Sometimes either side of the story is a complete fabrication, a lie to make the person look or seem better than they are. It’s a story that distorts the truth to change the perception of those listening.

Peter Pettigrew, his friends most dire secret keeper, wanted power, craved attention and gave away his friends hiding spot resulting in their murder and the orphaning of Harry Potter. It also took all of his master’s power away and in turn made him the enemy of many Voldemort followers. Instead of meeting the wrath of Sirius Black who wanted revenge for his friends’ deaths, Peter took the lives of innocent muggles and framed Sirius to be the culprit. Peter faked his death and went into hiding to cover his tracks only to be found many years later by the man he framed.

Revenge consumed Sirius Black in Azkaban. The thought of finding Pettigrew, of actually killing him this time took over Sirius Black’s mind. Sirius didn’t care about justice, about taking back his freedom for a death he was wrongfully accused of, he on;y cared about actually killing Peter this time. His narrative would always be controlled by the desire to avenge the death of his friends no matter the consequences.

For both of these characters saving their own skin, having some sort of power, doing what they thought was right, ending the story the way they saw fit, those were the only things that mattered. Then steps in Harry, the boy who lived to never know his actual parents, the people betrayed, the people to be avenged. Harry steps in and reasons with the two sides. He doesn’t care for Peter, but he also doesn’t want Peter dead, he thinks Peter should have to face the consequences of his actions and deal with the Wizarding Justice system. Harry also doesn’t want Sirius to become a murderer, he wants Sirius to be free like Sirius deserves. Harry wants to right wrongs, he sees that violence, murder and revenge don’t add up to a happy ending for all, but just keeps the cycle going. Harry wants to change the narrative, he wants the story to no longer be a dark one, but one with a light at the end of it.

Our world is a dark one, or at least it seems to be heading back towards being that way and has been for the last year. Our country has always had a racial issue, it’s always been an underlying issue that no one wants to deal with or discuss, but nows the time to talk about it. Now is the time to try and change it, to work on making it a different ending. We don’t need more hate thrown on the fire, we need justice, we need to hear the stories of both sides and work, truly work together to bring both stories together and make them better. But we can’t do that with revenge, with power struggles, with anger and hate. We can only do that with patience. We can only do it with understanding, forgiveness and a desire to move forward together. We’ve got to stop the violence against each other. Plowing people down on the streets is not okay, it is not what we are about.

10628354_10212420784173566_4979643868370710538_nMy fear is this won’t happen. Things will only continue to get worse. Trump will only continue to be silent and not condemn either side. A leader who does nothing only stirs the pot and allows violent, hate-filled acts to continue.

WE need to stand together. We need to stop pointing fingers and seeking revenge. We need to stop looking at the color of our skin as a way to power. We need to move towards justice for all… not power for few.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.