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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2009 :  11:20:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good-bye 2009; Hello 2010
Happy New Year!!!!!

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2009 :  21:26:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Happy New Year! May 2010 bring everyone happiness and peace. May the economy and job markets continue to grow stronger in the coming year.
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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2010 :  00:13:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May you find time to connect with old friends...



And I love you, I love you, I love you.
Like never before, like never before.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2010 :  11:41:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
AMC!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How've you been? We've missed you!

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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2010 :  14:09:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, AMC! What's new?
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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2010 :  20:50:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello you two!

I am fine, but I've had a busy little year - quit my job last year because the stress (due to management) was ruining my health. Took a 4 month leave to get myself back mentally and also spent the time getting a long-desired certificate in swedish massage. Had to pay the bills after that so I took a 6 month contract working across the country - I fly to Miami each week on Sunday and fly home on Thursday! 7 more weeks and I'm DONE! So it's been a good year but chaotic. How are things with you, Siobhan and JKRIs???


And I love you, I love you, I love you.
Like never before, like never before.

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Bee
Mediwizard

846 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2010 :  15:04:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi AMC! Great to hear from you. Sounds like you've had a hectic time of it but glad things are going well for you now. Congrats on the Swedish massage certificate - I've just googled Swedish massage and now I want one!

I've been fairly busy with work since the new year. We've had three weeks of snow, which is highly unusual for our climate. The country isn't equipped to deal with these conditions so everything pretty much ground to a halt. It's been a nightmare getting to and from work everyday, but thankfully we're pretty much back to business as usual at this stage. Now if only I could shake the head cold I'm smothered with, all would be well.

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Purveyor of Fine Peebles
Haggy is (probably not) Cactus!

Edited by - Bee on 01/13/2010 15:05:34
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/14/2010 :  16:20:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone! Happy new year! Life's been pretty busy at our house the last couple of months too, though nothing like yours, AMC. Welcome back, btw. It's good to know you're well. We've just been dealing the the usual holiday rush along with applying to colleges for my younger son. I can't believe I'll have two of them out of the house soon. Plus my baby girl is going to be off to high school in the fall and my older son is going to turn 20 in February!! Now that makes me feel old.

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"Always"
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2010 :  09:08:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tell me about it! Daughter just turned 13. Funny how the fact that they are growing up hits you all at once.

Good to hear from you AMC and Theo! We've missed you.

Sometimes I think we try to put too much into the holidays-- keeps me from enjoying them like I used to. We were busy from October right through December, slowing down only once the new year started. Feels like I can finally breathe again. Well, perhaps after all the decorations are put away-- which won't be till we have located and disposed of the lateset Dearly Departed in the attic. The cold weather has been a blessing in some ways (the stench isn't as bad) but a curse in others (without the stench it is difficult to find a corpse in the attic insulation). We've got a warm up coming over the weekend. With any luck I'll be able to get things wrapped up Sunday.

Now is a good time to sit with the gardening catalogues and dream of what to do in the yard, or work on my knitting UFO's (unfinished objects), or re-read HP.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2010 :  12:10:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I completely agree with you about the holidays. We do Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house, plus a major affair for New Year's Eve, PLUS our traditional Day-After-Thanksgiving-Day party (for friends as opposed to family) and another get-together to exchange Christmas gifts with my best friend's family. And of course that's all on top of the decorating, shopping and other standard holiday goings on.

On anther note, we had quite a stir at New Years. On New Year's Eve we always keep our dogs in the backyard since, with about 20 people over, it's too much to try to keep them in the house. This has never posed a problem, but this year as everyone was getting ready to leave around 12:30, we opened the front door and found our smallest dog, Ginny, sitting on the stoop.

Ginny is something of a Houdini dog. She climbs like a cat and can squeeze through impossibly tiny openings. It's not unusual for her to get out of the yard, but she is very well behaved and always stays in the front yard. This night was no exception. Her older sibling, Molly, is twice her size and never gets out. She was still happily running around out back.

The problem was their mom, Misa. How she managed to get through the 3-inch wide loose board in the fence I will never know, but she had and was nowhere to be found. We searched everywhere and drove around the neighborhood until 2am with no luck. The next day we contacted the pounds and SPCA - still no luck. On Saturday we put up signs all over the neighborhood and went to visit the pounds and SPCA. They still hadn't seen her, but one of the people at the SPCA told us to try Craig's List.

I'd never been on Craig's List before, but I logged on and discovered that they have a whole thread for missing pets. Lo and behold, there was a listing for a sheltie that had been found half a mile from our house on New Year's Eve. Sunday morning we called and sure enough it was Misa.

The people were very nice. They had found her at 2:30 in the morning running along the side of the road and had taken her in. She was no worse for wear for her three-day adventure and is now safe and sound back home. The internet is a truly wonderful thing and I will always be grateful for Craig's List.

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s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"

Edited by - Theowyn on 01/15/2010 12:14:14
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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2010 :  12:41:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Glad you got your dog back safely, Theo. The internet is a wonderful tool.
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  11:31:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It can also be a scary place-- just watch the news.

Was forcibly hit with some HP hate last night. Well, not specifically HP I guess. A friend on facebook posted alternate title names for books 1-6 that she and her high school classmates had come up with as a joke. I questioned one of the titles because it made no sense. But the replies really got me. It started out with "that's a bad series." OK, no explainations given-- simple statement of opinion-- no problem. I stuck to my question about the title (they seemingly didn't understand the difference between illegitimate and half-blood birth) adding that I had enjoyed the series. Then one of the girls comes back with "Dumbledore's a homosexual." I left the conversation immediately since I didn't want to get into that particular subject with high schoolers that I don't know but that reaction bothered me. I understand the idea that sexual preference is a big issue for some, but to let it be the determining factor in what qualifies as good literature when it doesn't actually feature in the story makes me sad. It's hard to accept that minds so young can be so closed and small. I would almost rather that the point had been about teaching children witchcraft.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  14:58:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is exactly why many people were frustrated when JKR outed DD. It was never going to do anything but hurt the series and it was pointless since, as you say, DD's sexuality never even comes up in the books.

As for the kids you were talking too, yes it is immensely sad that people so young can be so blind, but the fact is that people generally don't wake up one morning when they're 30 and decide to become bigots. Prejudice is taught by parents from the moment a child is born and it is nurtured by family and friends. A child exposed to opposing viewpoints may be able to break free from their family's small-minded beliefs, but those raised in a community where such beliefs are the norm have virtually no chance of escaping the indoctrination. That is the saddest truth of all.

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s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"

Edited by - Theowyn on 01/19/2010 14:59:39
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2010 :  08:45:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And I happen to live in a community that cherishes its rightness in every sense of the word. *sigh* It's still depressing. At least the rest of the kids that have posted after I left the comments were making jokes. Additionally, the girl I know hasn't commented since she posted the explaination of the book titles. I'm hoping that means she isn't of the same mindset.

As for JK outing DD, I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand she has needlessly hurt her series and it's overall message of tolerance, and on the other she's upheld the whole idea. I certainly wouldn't want someone I know and love to have to live a lie simply because a segment of the population cannot handle it, but then again, DD was already dead (and from what we know of him had most probably come to terms with the situation). If the point is to teach tolerance, then is it not better to leave that aspect of his life alone in order that the basic lesson be open to more young people, rather than challenge it before they even pick up the book?

I finally started re-reading the series(again) over the weekend. Still love the beginning of PS. This will probably be the last re-read for a long while. I've been wanting to read the entire set again now that the whole thing is finished and there's no delay between the books, but have needed time to come to it fresh.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2010 :  13:02:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
JKR outing DD can be looked at in different ways. I think even members of the gay community have varying opinions on whether it was good or bad. Personally I think it was a mistake. If she'd simply said that of course there were gays in HP, but refused to name names everything would have been fine. She could have even said Ernie McMillon was gay and it probably wouldn't have been a big deal. But DD is this iconic, grandfatherly figure who many people just can't accept as having an alternative lifestyle. Worse, he was very close to Harry so you know all those people who equate homosexual with pervert will now apply all sorts of ulterior motives to DD's interactions with Harry. Ugh!

Also, I have to say that I considered it a cheap shot to out DD after his death and after having made no mention of it in the books. To me that's like outing your great-uncle at his funeral. It's not good form.

Let us know what you think of the books on your re-read, particularly any differences between the first four books and the last three. To me there is a change in tone between GoF and OotP that isn't accounted for by the kids growing up or the series becoming darker.

In the first four books Harry defeats various obstacles to save the PS; defeats a basilisk to save Ginny; defeats a horde of Dementors to save Sirius; and fights LV to escape and return Cedric's body to his parents.

By contrast, in OotP Harry is duped into going to the DoM, fails to defeat the DEs, has to be rescued by the OotP and inadvertently causes Sirius's death. He's ineffectual in fighting Bellatrix and doesn't even raise his wand to defend himself when LV shows up. In HBP, he's ineffectual in his efforts to figure out what Draco is up to, watches helplessly as DD is killed and suffers a humiliating defeat at Snape's hands. In DH, Hermione does all the heavy lifting. Harry gets his wand broken and can't even manage to pull Gryffinfor's stupid sword out of a pond without nearly drowning and having to be saved by Ron. By the end, his fate is completely out of his hands as he goes to sacrifice himself because DD told him to and he only manages to defeat LV because of the blood magic/elder wand combined with LV's relentless stupidity.

Beyond these objective differences, there's also a difference in Harry's attitude. The Harry of the first four books is a spunky, confident, take-charge sort of kid. He's clearly the leader in solving the mysteries of the PS and the CoS. He's in charge in the Shrieking Shack and in saving both Buckbeak and Sirius. And in all three books, Harry chooses to embark on his adventures. He's no one's pawn. Although in GoF, Harry is forced into competing in the Triwizard Tournament, he is still his own man. Against the odds, he beats every challenge thrown at him, including facing LV. While he has help in the graveyard as he always does, it's his own determination and refusal to give up that truly save him. His mantra in GoF: Even though there's no hope, I'd rather die fighting than just let LV kill me.

In OotP Harry is a frustrated young man with no direction. DD keeps him in the dark and forces him to take Occlumency lessons. When he does strike out on his own it is an unmitigated disaster and his confrontation with LV is markedly different from their confrontation in GoF. His mantra here: Let me die; then I can see Sirius and my parents again.

In HBP Harry again is frustrated. He fails at the task he sets himself (figuring out what Draco is up to) and is obliged to devote himself to DD’s plan. Harry is no longer the leader in his adventures, but the follower.

In DH Harry is again following the path DD laid out for him. He’s ambivalent and unsure of himself. The aimless wandering of the never-ending camping trip is a perfect metaphor for Harry being lost and uncertain of how to proceed. The plucky boy who so endeared himself to us in PS has turned into Hamlet.

Harry’s bravery and loyalty never fluctuate, but he goes from being a determined leader to a dutiful follower and I find I like him less for the transformation.



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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2010 :  13:41:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
But doesn't every hero have to go through uncertainty? In your assessment it would have worked a lot better if Harry had once again become a leader by the end. If he had gone through all the doubts but come out stronger and on top of them by the end that would complete the story arc.

That sense of continuity is what I'm hoping might make the last of the series work better for me. I guess I'm still rather desperate to like the ending even just a little bit better-- or short of that, figuring out how and where it went wrong. That's what bothers me the most I think. I've got to pinpoint the problem.

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2010 :  16:23:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

But doesn't every hero have to go through uncertainty?
Of course! But as you say it would have been much better if Harry had once again become a leader by the end; if he had gone through all the doubts and come out stronger for having endured them.

quote:
That sense of continuity is what I'm hoping might make the last of the series work better for me. I guess I'm still rather desperate to like the ending even just a little bit better-- or short of that, figuring out how and where it went wrong. That's what bothers me the most I think. I've got to pinpoint the problem.

I know what you mean. I've given this a lot of thought and DH just seems to have taken off in an entirely different direction from the other books. Harry's emasculation in OotP and HBP would have worked fine if he had overcome it in DH, but he doesn't. He's worse than ever.

Harry's great achievement in DH - his character growth - is coming to terms with death. That might have worked for a different character in a different series, but it's weird for Harry. He's never feared death and there are certainly other issues that could have been addressed to greater effect. Snape is certainly one. Or how about DD's shameless manipulation. If Harry had managed to step out of that man's shadow and win the day on his own terms, that would have been worthy of the 11 year old who teased out the mystery of the PS or the 12 year old who slew a basilisk.

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"Always"

Edited by - Theowyn on 01/20/2010 16:25:54
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2010 :  15:40:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There's a cosmetic change for Valentine's upcoming. I've sent the new stuff to Mad-Eye. It's just that I've sent them via Errol so it may be a while before the changes arrive. There may also be a delay on my part getting things reco-ordinated, so bear with me.

Saw Avatar Friday. WOW! Too beautiful for words-- makes me wish I was ten feet tall and blue.

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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2010 :  21:36:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I love it, especially the leopard print.
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2010 :  23:56:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I love the new look too. And yes, Avatar was visually amazing.

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s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2010 :  11:28:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, I think I've got all the colours set. Let me know if there's a problem, though. After all this time you'd think I'd know what is what, but it just falls under that heading of "Things I Figure Out" rather than "Things I Need to Remember."

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2010 :  19:06:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We had SNOW!!!!
Snowed Friday evening till about midnight. Is but a memory now, of course. There are a few lumps left in the shady parts of our yard. Was very pretty while it lasted.

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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2010 :  07:00:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

We have RAIN!!!! ....?

It's been dribbling like dog drool off of the eaves for the last 24 hours.

I have writer's block. Trying to write an original story and so far only have one page. I know what I want to write, but can't work it out of my system. Does anyone know a good literary laxative?

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As to the avatar, well, if you girls can all have Alan Rickman...

"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2010 :  11:20:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by diricawl


I have writer's block. Trying to write an original story and so far only have one page. I know what I want to write, but can't work it out of my system. Does anyone know a good literary laxative?

Just write. Something. Anything. Every day. It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't even have to be on topic to begin with. The more you write, the easier your writing will flow and soon you'll get back on track.

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s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"
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JKRisSuperior
Mediwizard

USA
694 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2010 :  16:10:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Maybe you could also practice by writing 1,000 words on any topic you wish.
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 03/02/2010 :  12:21:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I LOVE the green!

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"Always"
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 03/02/2010 :  15:03:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Me too. I'm fond of the fuschia, too. Reminds me of my Daddy's greenhouse, the smell of fresh dirt, and repotting all the fuschia starts-- but definitely NOT of the fish fertilizer!


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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2010 :  11:22:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have to admit it. I've been less than attentive to my re-reading project than I intended. Put it down to less time in the tub due to a busy schedule, using my time to knit and play on Facebook, and allowing myself to be sidetracked by other books (Moribito and Shutter Island). However, I've been finishing up Philosophers Stone the last couple of days. Once again I love it. The humour is still fresh. The story still fairly innocent. I guess the old magic remains. We'll see what happens as I go along.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2010 :  14:17:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
PS and CS are truly children's books in every sense. They are delightfully innocent. Do continue to share your thoughts as you read. I look forward to hearing them.

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Eeyore
Barmy

USA
311 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2010 :  18:29:26  Show Profile  Send Eeyore a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Just trying to catch up. We went through most of the winter without a hint of snow and then it snowed for about three hours on March 8 or 9! Goofy weather here, this year. And it's been windier than usual for western Washington.

I've been re-listening to all the HP books. I enjoy them as much as I did the first times through. In some ways, they are better, when I can see how things in the last books tie back to the first ones and how JKR set things up from the beginning.

I have a little different take on the last three books. Harry's "dark night of the soul" was that period of time when he became more aware of what really faced him. Yes, he stood up to all those things in the first four books, but it was with the innocent confidence of youth. Finally in OP he is seeing his situation and the wizarding world around him from a more adult perspective. He wouldn't seem like he was growing up if he continued to be the hero who just forged ahead with no real questions or consequences.

And the reason he was so ineffective in OP was that he put all his trust in himself. I think one of the points that JKR makes throughout the series is that we have to have some help along the way - we have to rely on our friends because we don't live isolated lives. That's what Voldemort does - he doesn't have friends, he has people who are intimidated into following his orders, but they are not friends. Harry does have friends who will stand by him, but that only works when he is willing to listen and share the burden with them.

In HBP, which is what I'm currently listening to, it does seem like Harry can't get much done. But he really does a lot. It's just that it's the reverse of OP - he's talking to his friends about what he thinks is going on with Malfoy but THEY aren't listening. He's been wrong so many times in the past on his evaluation of Snape that they have learned to not trust his judgement.

I'm at the point where Harry has finally got the real memory from Slughorn and then makes the stupid mistake of using sectumsempra against Malfoy, resulting in his detentions with Snape.

What it gives us is the picture of an imperfect hero. And I like that much better than the kind of hero who never makes a mistake or who gets more and more powerful each year. Harry, in his imperfection, is becoming more human, more like an ordinary man placed in extraordinary circumstances. The hero who is more human makes a better role model because he shows us that we don't have to be super-human and perfect to have courage and make the right choices.

And as for DH, which I loved and I know y'all didn't, it's the story that one person alone will struggle and might not succeed, but two or in this case, three together can make a difference and accomplish their goal. But, you first have to figure out what the goal is, which is part of that going back and forth over whether to look for Horcruxes or Hallows. Hermione had her part to play in the story and Ron had his, in being the one to retrieve the sword (and save Harry). That's a moment when the two of them see just how much they depend on one another and that they have a lasting bond of trust. It's also, I think, the reason that Neville plays such a big part at the end. He becomes a leader when the obvious leader is absent. We see that in real life. Someone seems to be the only person for a job but when they step aside, either willingly or unwillingly, someone else will step into that position. They might not do the job in the same way, but they will do it. And I loved that it was Neville who stood up to Voldemort and killed Nagini, destroying that Horcrux.

JKR has compellingly made the case that it takes all of us working together to overcome evil. It's not some easy or trivial task that can be accomplished by one outstanding hero. Even those who don't think of themselves as brave have a part to play.

Yeah, well, enough for today.

Oh, and I agree with all that's been said about JKR outing Dumbledore. At the time I just groaned, knowing that some who criticized the books would just have something new to complain about. And like you said, it served no purpose. It wasn't in the books (no matter how much people said they could tell - I never saw it), and it was just information that didn't matter to the story. If it had mattered, then she should have put it in there in the first place. I know the initial reaction from some was that it was great for the gay community. But when you read the books on Dumbledore's story and listen to what JKR said about him, he lived a very lonely life, sounds like he was probably celebate. That's not much of a ringing victory for the gays, IMO.

And now I need to go finish up some other stuff and get ready for an early dinner. We're part of a small group that meets on Sunday night, a time which I find very inconvenient. I'll be glad when we are done.

Eeyore

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