1. Name: Liz
2. Age: twenty-one
3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Either teaching in an elementary school classroom or as a school librarian – and continuing my education in my free time, going for another master's degree or something else....
4. Which of the characters do you most relate to? It's a tie between Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood – Hermione's bookishness and combination of academic strength and social awkwardness pretty much characterized my growing up, though lately I've been growing into more of a confident and capable person in other areas – more like Luna, caring less what others think about me and more willing to exercise my own creativity and walk on my own path.
5. Who is your least favorite character? Oh goodness... it's nearly impossible to pick with so many wonderful characters – I think I'll say Lucius Malfoy, who works on both the level of hating his politics and morality and him as a character, with a lot less growth and ambiguity than other characters. Even Pettigrew, who is morally bankrupt and not at all strong in any conviction other than self-preservation and promotion, nonetheless has grown from the boy trailing behind heroic James Potter to a henchman trailing behind the corrupt and villainous Lord Voldemort... evidence of human corruptibility, and someone who illustrates a path downwards rather than the idealistic path many seek.
6. What would you see when you look into the Mirror of Erised? Myself, in an elaborate Rennaissance costume, which would mean I had financial security enough to afford such a costume, and with my friends in the background looking equally secure.
7. What would your boggart be? So many fears to choose from... I think in a way it might be a Dementor, because I fear dark feelings most of all (those I have are brief and intense)... but then again, there's so many other things that could cause them, such as needles and spiders and blood, that I'm not really sure it wouldn't be one of those. I'm reasonably sure if I had been in Lupin's class when he asked his students to think of what they would see and make it funny, I would have simply frozen without any idea whatsoever of what to picture or how to improve it.
8. Dark Magic: Tell us your thoughts. Is there such a thing? Or is magic only dark because of the motivation behind its use? As seen in discussions of the Unforgivable Curses and in Harry's own personal experience with these Curses, as well as in Snape's discussions of silent spells, magic relies as much on intent as it does on the physical manifestations of that intent (the wand motion and the incantation). Having this intent to harm can corrupt any magic, but certain spells (such as the Unforgivable Curses) may require a strong "dark" motivation behind their use, and thus these spells are those the wizarding world chooses to term as "Dark Magic."
9. What is your favorite non-Harry Potter book? Quote something from it and tell us why you chose that line. To choose just one book would be impossible for me. Nonetheless, I shall choose one of my favorite books - Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, a retelling of the Cinderella story. The book begins thus: "That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift." Ella, "gifted" with obedience, experiences the danger and struggle associated with something that has often been deemed a virtue becoming an inextricable part of her personality. Levine gives a whole new perspective on the story of Cinderella, one which confronts many cultural myths generally perpetrated by fairy tales and their Disney-fied versions, and this is what gives me such a deep appreciation for this young adult novel.
10. You are sitting in your house common room when you notice that another student has left a book lying on the table. You pick it up and realize it is their personal diary. What do you do? I look in the obvious places for a name identifying the owner (on the cover, front then back, then on the inside of the front cover, and then possibly on the first page depending on whether a brief glance makes it seem to be written on as a page of their diary or as a returning-to-owner page). If my investigation can turn up the owner, I return it to him or her at next possible opportunity, otherwise I leave the book where it is, trusting the owner will return for it in time.
11. Would you use an Unforgivable Curse under any circumstances, and if so, what would those be? Although my first instinct would be to reply "No, never," I tend to shy from broad declarations and generalizations like that. What if I was magically coerced into doing so? What if I thought the Unforgivable Curse was the only way to protect someone I for whom I cared deeply and felt responsible? Those two situations are the only two I can think of at the moment which might impel me to such desperate lengths as an Unforgivable Curse.
12. Do you think Harry was right or wrong to use his cloak to get to Hogsmeade in the 3rd book? Wrong; I don't think he understood or properly weighed the risks before venturing forth from the relative security of the Hogwarts walls, and not only that, but doing so without knowledge of any experienced wizards who would have been able to offer him a degree of protection and security, nor would anyone have known if something had happened to him before he met up with Ron and Hermione. Granted, Dumbledore probably knew what Harry would try and probably had made arrangements for such a course of action, but Harry had no idea that Dumbledore would be watching over him, either. Thus Harry recklessly risked not only his safety, but also his life and the possible future of the wizarding world, in order to gain a few hours of fun in the village.
13. What's one thing you would do if you knew you would suffer no consequences from it? Consequences can mean both positive and negative things; however, if I would suffer no negative consequences from it.... take another semester of college, the negative consequence being avoided that of needing to pay for this semester.
14. Someone has graffitied a hateful remark about your House on one of the walls in the Great Hall. Luckily for you, you overhear a conversation between House elves who witnessed the perpetrator, and you alone know who did it. What do you do? What if the remark had been done by another house, and was about a house that wasn't your own? I'm going straight to Dumbledore, or another professor or responsible adult whom I trust, no matter which House that hate remark was about. Hate is wrong, and this could worry at the seams which hold Hogwarts together as a cohesive union of Houses. Not only that, but I understand how it feels to be hated, resented, and almost no one deserves that.... certainly not enough people to fill up an entire Hogwarts House.
15. What do you really think of Snape? Is he fair in the things he does? No, he's not fair in his actions and behaviors. Many of the decisions he makes seem strongly influenced by the fierce resentment and anger and defensiveness of a bullied and lonely child, rather than responsible and mature decisions based on an understanding of people as all fallible and individual. When he looks at Harry, for instance, he seems not to see a scared boy of eleven but rather a reincarnation of his tormentor, James Potter. Snape cannot seem to separate son from father and father from son, and thus cannot offer Harry a chance equal to that he offers his other students. Likewise, Snape seems fiercely and broodingly protective of those in his house, perhaps also as a side effect of the bullying and difficulty he himself faced when he was among their ranks. Despite this, he's one of my favorite characters when I view him as a character instead of a person, because of all the debate and ambiguity he sparks. Even when I look at Snape as a person, it is not without some pity for him.
16. Do you like the idea of a school being split into four separate houses? What about school unity? Four houses has its benefits and its drawbacks. Inspiration to attain a higher standard than the other houses and a certain spirit of unity and cohesion with the members of one's own house are certainly among the benefits, as is the benefit of being surrounded by like-minded people. Ordinarily, divisions among students exist but are not quite so formalized; there will be several cliques based on interests and teams. Unity as Houses while retaining clubs and teams seems to create less strict subdivisions within the House.... for instance, the members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team are all students who would belong in a sports or Quidditch clique in another school, and yet they seem to mingle much more freely with non-Quidditch Gryffindors than may happen in a school without the House divisions. Also, in the relative seclusion of Hogwarts from other schools, any kind of sporting or competition events need some kind of division within the school itself. However, these divisions also cause friction among students who may otherwise have become good friends – Hermione would likely have been much closer with many of the Ravenclaws, for instance, if not Sorted away from them into Gryffindor at the beginning of her schooling career. All of which says, basically, that I am divided as to whether or not I support the Hogwarts Houses. Though it is interesting to muse on which houses are appropriate to the personalities of various people, and makes a useful model for team division in class games (particularly as part of a Harry Potter unit).
17. Which are more important: Friends or Family? And now I feel as though I am one of the worst fence-straddlers yet, as I refuse to give any single and definitive answer to any of these questions. While family is vitally important and I would not be where I am now (in my senior year of college, preparing to teach) without them, my friends' support has also proved invaluable, particularly in the conquering of difficult assignments and in keeping me sane when college got to be too much for me. Having known what it is to lack friends, I find myself deeply appreciative of the friends I have now.
18. Some people think the Weasley twins are funny, while others find them mean spirited. How do you feel, and why? Oh goodness... yet again I straddle the fence. I don't feel they intend to be mean-spirited; I think they have a great love of fun and laughter, but are somewhat blinded by their fierce loyalty to their friends... just as James Potter and Sirius Black were as boys when they tormented a young Severus Snape. Here is a place where blind House loyalty seems to come into play as well; I could easily see Fred and George taking a young Gryffindor who was shabby and shy under their wings, and yet tormenting to no end that same boy who went into Slytherin. Even those they resent, I can see their resentful remarks and scolding being tempered by love towards a Gryffindor – if Draco had been Sorted into Gryffindor, I could see them extending some kindness towards him as hopeful that he may be redeemable.
19. Do you consider a first impression to be the only impression a person can give? Why or why not? Depends on the person to whom they are giving the first impression, and how strongly that impression is given. Personally, I tend to be bad with remembering first impressions, or else very slow at forming them... and even then, I am always looking beyond, wondering what's under the surface. Particularly of someone with whom I've had a good deal of less-than-positive experiences, and yet I hope to refine our relationship. However, there are some people who make snap judgments about people – such as when Harry took an instant dislike to Snape. These sorts of impressions take a great deal more time and experience to alter, and yet I feel that with enough time and experience, most if not all first impressions can eventually be altered.
20. You've been asked to invent a new spell to be taught at Hogwarts. What is the name of the spell, what does it do, and what is the incantation? Oh goodness... I'd have to spend a lot more time then I'm going to have to devote to this survey trying to figure out what I'd do if actually granted the opportunity. However, I would kind of like a research-type spell, something along the lines of an electronic catalogue search if used in a library, or an Edit->Find command if used on a single book (can you tell I love my computer-age convenience?) – I think it would be the Seeker's Spell, and the incantation "Querius," based on the Latin "quero," for "seek" or "search"
21. Think about a negative past experience and tell us how it affected you. What did you learn from it? If you could go back and change it now, would you? First of all, let me say that every negative experience I have had has played its part in shaping me, and as I lack the ability to fully understand the extent to which each has played its part in forming my personality, I desire to change nothing. One memory I have is of an early attempt at a birthday party; I invited every girl in my class and only the twins showed up, making it very clear that their mother had forced them. While that meant I experienced a great deal of awkward humiliation and a haunting sensation of loneliness and lack of ability for acceptance, it also meant that I learned how others could feel when one is careless with one's words, or when one is alone and isolated.
22. If you happened across the Room of Requirement, what would you find? That would depend on what I was looking for at the moment, wouldn't it? At the moment, it would be stuffed with non-fattening and only slightly filling desserts, mostly chocolate.
23. What would you be willing to die for? Not being in the situation of actually being asked to die for something and faced with the reality of the possibility, it is hard to judge the accuracy of my answer with certainty... intellectual declarations and gut instinct and reaction are two very different things. Nevertheless, the people I care about are first on the list, and I can only hope I would have the conviction to carry out this declaration if the time came... and, of course, that the time will never come.
24. If you died, would you want to come back as a ghost? Why or why not? I want to die happily, which would remove the possibility of return as a ghost... though I suppose someone should ask Rowling whether ghosts persist eternally in unhappiness after their deaths. Part of me does think it would be fun to keep going to classes and haunt the library books after my death, and perhaps even help students with their papers and things in my now copious free time.
25. Hermione has asked you to support S.P.E.W. (read: flagged you down and cornered you with a box of buttons that she shakes in your face to "entice" you to join). What is your response? "Er, sure, whatever you say," as I take a button and slip it into my pocket, promising myself to further consider the matter when I have leisure to do so. And then promptly getting distracted over another intellectual question and forgetting about the button and S.P.E.W. until Hermione flags me down once again to demand where my button is and why am I not wearing it.
26. What field of study would you most want to enter into, and why, once you graduated from Hogwarts? Something involving either teaching or research, most likely – that is, provided the research could be more creative and less left-brained than a lot of science research today. Or... I read Neil Ward's essay, "A Hogwarts Education: Well-Rounded or Not?" , and tend to agree about the lack of creative arts offered in Hogwarts. Perhaps I could become one of the first humanities professors in the Hogwarts staff... even Dumbledore seems to have noticed the lack, commenting that music is "a magic beyond all we do here." Why can't Hogwarts students experience some of that other "magic" – creative writing, music, literature?
27. True or False: Rules are meant to be broken. Explain. Generally false. Rules are made for reasons, and before breaking these rules, one should have an adequate understanding and analysis of these reasons, and the possible consequences of breaking these rules versus the gain one hopes to attain by breaking these rules. For an example, return to question twelve and my explanation.
28. You have one day to live. How do you spend your last day alive? Saying "goodbye" to my loved ones, and trying to bring everything to some kind of closure the least painful for all those affected by my death.
29. Do you think Dumbledore was correct in shielding certain truths from Harry? Why or why not? I think he made his decisions for all the right reasons, seeking to protect Harry from knowledge beyond his control and too heavy of a burden before he had learned to carry that burden he already bore. If given the information before he was prepared to understand or act upon it, Harry may well have acted just as rashly but more dangerously than he has acted in the past; Dumbledore's withholding of information allowed Harry to learn and prepare to receive that information, so that when Dumbledore entrusted him with important war secrets he was well aware of what rash and ill-advised actions could cost himself and others.
30. Finally, what house do you think you belong in? When I first considered this question, as I think every reader of the series does, I decided I wanted to look at this question differently, and figure out which Houses I don't belong in first. Too squeamish for Slytherin (despite my enjoyment of shortcuts), too nervous for Gryffindor (despite my desire to do what I think is right), too lazy for Hufflepuff (despite loyalty to friends and family), so it must be Ravenclaw. I also have a certain passion for academic questions that lends itself to my placement in Ravenclaw, though the drawback is that I do tend to become unmotivated when an academic subject is not to my liking, such as chemistry (Potions).
31. Oh, and one more thing. Just to make it easier on us for pointing, who told you about us? Found you through an interests search.