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Thread: June Activities 2013

  1. #1
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    June Activities 2013

    As most of you know, I've recently dived into the Supernatural fandom, which has proven to be enlightening in terms of character development and how perception is so much of it. But more than that, it's a study in the blurred line that separates good from evil and where everyone else stands in relativity.

    Good vs Evil is a prevailing theme in Harry Potter, with Harry standing as the shining beacon of light and Voldemort at the opposite end, representing unrepentant evil. However, there are dozens of characters that find themselves in neither spectrum. Snape and Dumbledore are the epitome of grey area. Dumbledore is seen early on as this magnificent protagonist, only for his image to be irreparably damaged in our eyes in Order of the Phoenix when he ignores Harry when he's needed most and inadvertently catalyses events which led to Sirius's death. And then Deathly Hallows happened and opened a whole other can of worms.

    Which leads to the question of how we define 'good' and 'evil'. Is it the sum of good things someone's done against the bad they've done, and whichever list is longer is the winner? Or is it about repentance? Or are some things just plain unforgivable?

    Please ask and answer at least one TQ, though more is preferred. Here are some TQs to get you started.

    Do you often find yourself rooting for 'the bad guy' in books and films? Why do you suppose that is?

    Can a character be TOO good?

    If a character does something deemed as 'very good' but later begins to fall into the villain category, how much does it take before you stop considering the good things they've done against their growing darkness?

    How would you define the difference between an antagonist and a villain?




    As usual, please complete this activity by 15th June to receive credit for the month of June.
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  2. #2
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    June Drabble Challenge: And it was LURVE

    We haven't had a drabble challenge in a while, so I thought I'd throw one at you this month. Your challenge, kids, is to write a drabble featuring a pairing that you INITIALLY scoffed at when you first heard of it but soon grew to love (or at least care about). It can be a canon pairing or non-canon.

    Drabbles must be between 300-800 words and should not exceed the lighter end of 6th/7th year rating. No heavy warnings (you know which ones I mean; if you don't, ask.) And as for prompts, just throw in the word 'flipping' in there, and we're in business. Also, please use the following form:
    PHP Code:
    [b]Title: [/b]
    [
    b]Pairing: [/b]
    [
    b]Author's Note: [/b] 

    As usual, this is due to be completed by 15th June to receive credit for your monthly activity.
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  3. #3
    Time Traveler Slytherin
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    Do you often find yourself rooting for 'the bad guy' in books and films? Why do you suppose that is?
    I almost always find myself rooting, at least somewhat, for the bad guy. I really just want to know what would happen if the good side didn't win, because I find that a lot more intriguing than a 'happy ending'. It's why I loved the seventh book so much, because it gave us a chance to see why the good guy needs to win, even if he does every time. A little darkness in the form of a villain taking over is what I feel a story needs to validate the hero, because otherwise it can seem a little repetitive.

    My favorite version of rooting for the bad guy is when the main character is the bad guy. I'm not talking 'Despicable Me' type thing, but where the protagonist is genuinely not the hero, but we see how he is from his own mind. He/She doesn't need a tragic backstory, either, but I just find it fascinating to work through the villain's mind, trying to find some logic to what they're doing.

    Can a character be TOO good?
    Definitely. Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus, especially. It's when a character's faults aren't viewed as faults by everyone else that I find they're too perfect. That's why I feel the best heroes are the deeply flawed ones (esp. Harry during OotP), because they can find sympathy for the villain but also understand why they can't be allowed to continue. It develops the grey area that I so love to think about. Plus, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    How would you define the difference between an antagonist and a villain?
    Antagonist: viewed as a villain by the main character, but not necessarily others. (i.e. Draco or Voldemort)
    Villain: Hated by everyone, and really just evil to the very core. (i.e. Umbridge)

    New TQ for Discussion: In your opinion, does Draco fall under the villain category? Does Harry necessarily fall under the 'good' category?
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  4. #4
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    Yay, this is a great discussion for me to do because I'm in the middle of my second rewatch of SPN

    By far my favourite aspect of Potterverse is the many, many shades of grey (perhaps not fifty of them, though...) in terms of morality. I can remember Shami Chakrabarti, a pretty well-known human rights lawyer in Britain, writing an article once about how Harry Potter tortured Alecto Carrow. Dumbledore with his grooming of Harry, Snape with his double-agent-ness, various supposedly "good" people using Unforgivables, even Remus telling Harry to Stun people in midair if he wasn't prepared to kill them -- they all raise moral questions that truly make you think. At least, they made 11-year-old me think, and it took a lot for that to happen, haha.

    And the most compelling question raised in my then juvenile brain was this: Is it possible that every single person has both good and evil within them?

    Because I totally think that could be true. It's just that the supposedly "good" people are able to suppress that evil and vice versa. I don't think it's possible for someone to be truly bad or completely evil -- there will always be a part of them that isn't. Harry Potter proved that. I certainly think Harry had something akin to evil within him -- sure, he might have had good intentions, or at least understandable ones (revenge, self defence), but that doesn't make his torturing of Alecto Carrow right, either.

    Sooo, other TQs now my rambling is over

    If a character does something deemed as 'very good' but later begins to fall into the villain category, how much does it take before you stop considering the good things they've done against their growing darkness?

    It takes a lot for me to turn against a character if they have done even one very good thing. So yeah, Harry did do a lot of dark things, like torturing Alecto Carrow, for example, but he also did a lot of good. It's not so much weighing up what is good against what is bad; I like to think it's more about the intentions behind the good and bad things someone's done. Harry tortured Alecto Carrow perhaps out of malice, but also because she was mistreating McGonagall and torturing so many of the students at Hogwarts. That doesn't justify Harry's actions, necessarily, but it does shed light on why he did what he did and makes his intentions at least understandable.

    In your opinion, does Draco fall under the villain category? Does Harry necessarily fall under the 'good' category?

    I think they're supposed to fall under those respective categories because of their houses and our first impressions of Harry and Draco in PS. We see Harry living a miserable existence with the Dursleys and immediately sympathise with him. Conversely, we see Malfoy as being a spoilt child who later openly maligns Muggleborns. My point is, on the surface, perhaps, yes, Harry and Draco are good and bad, but I certainly think Draco redeemed himself in HBP because I don't think he could have killed Dumbledore, and similarly, Harry wasn't exactly a saint in the books, as can be seen by the torturing thing.

    Interesting questions! Aaah, I miss SPEW. Damn SPN for making me leave it so late D:

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  5. #5
    Fourth Year Hufflepuff
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    Do you often find yourself rooting for 'the bad guy' in books and films? Why do you suppose that is?
    Actually, not so much. I absolutely never did in Harry Potter, probably because the “bad guys” stand for a lot of things I loathe – prejudice and discrimination, mainly in this case. I can sympathise with certain characters on the bad side, especially where their characters are in that complex grey area, Draco for example (and more on him later). However, at no point did I actually want Draco to best Harry, and I was thrilled when Hermione punched him. I guess I'm quite a moral person? I don't know – unlike Ellie, I don't get so curious about what it would be like for the bad guy to win. Perhaps that's part of why I'm not into Voldemort-actually-won-the-war AUs.

    Can a character be TOO good?
    Absolutely, as Ellie said. No person is entirely good, so it feels false and cloying when a character is portrayed or perceived as perfectly good and pure and innocent. That's part of why I loved the aforementioned incident when Hermione punches Draco. She's a very moral character, a very good person, as showed by her own SPEW, and yet she can do bad things in moments of anger. Of course, as Malfoy is labelled as a bad character, we sympathise with her action, but hitting someone can never be a good thing to do.

    Is it possible that every single person has both good and evil within them?
    I think it's most definitely possible. As I said above, I don't believe there is anyone who is 100% good, 100% of the time. No one can say they've never done or said something that hurt someone else, so everyone must have at least a little bit of badness in them. It's just a matter of how much they let it show through, I think, and whether or not they end up in circumstances (like Harry with Carrow, as Soraya said) which make it show through.

    In your opinion, does Draco fall under the villain category? Does Harry necessarily fall under the 'good' category?
    Draco is clearly on the side of the villains, but I'm not sure he's exactly a villain himself. He's a bully plenty of occasions, but equally, a lot of his bad actions are done because of pressure from a greater villain. I tend to think of villains as being the manipulators, not someone else's victim, as being the ones who instigate the wrongdoing and as able to go through with things like murder. Draco is a bully and an unwilling henchman, but I wouldn't go as far as to call him a villain. He doesn't have the capability to do something as truly horrible as take someone else's life.

    Harry I think is slightly more clear cut. Of course he has his bad moments – Carrow, as Soraya said – but he also makes some amazingly noble decisions. Going into the forest, getting rid of the elder wand, even all those times he tried to make Ron and Hermione leave him – that, for me, makes him very definitely a good character. Of course, being a Gryffindor, he does impulsive things in moments of extreme emotion, like the torture incident, like throwing stuff around in Dumbledore's office, like shouting at Ron in the tent. However, those are him under pressure and not, I think, what he would choose to do when thinking clearly, which is an important difference for me.

    New TQ: Do you think house plays a role in the goodness/badness of a character, or in our assumptions about their moral character?
    I tend to think of Hufflepuff as the most good house, and Slytherin as the most bad. This is a vast generalisation, but that's how I would assume it would sort of average out. Gryffindors might, like Harry, be prone to doing bad things in impulsive moments, when they're under pressure in one way or another, and I feel like Ravenclaws probably have the potential to be somewhat unkind or patronising, so I think of those two houses as the middle ground, moralistically. Thoughts?
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  6. #6
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Title: Idol
    Pairing: Oliver/Roxanne
    Author's Note: I wish I had noticed this earlier! Then I could have written a real drabble, not a "I wrote this on my lunch at my desk" drabble.

    "So what you're saying is that Oliver Wood is coming. Here. Tonight," Roxanne said, sitting at the dining room table in her pyjamas.

    "Come on, Roxanne," Angelina sighed, setting a cup of coffee in front of her daughter. "It's not as if he's never been here before."

    "Not while I'm here, he hasn't," Roxanne argued. "And it is the first time that your old team has been here all together. I think Katie had a great idea when she thought of this."

    Angelina rolled her eyes at Roxanne. "You are too excited for this, and you won't even be here. You're going out with James."

    "Mum, it's Oliver flipping Wood! It's not every day that you meet your idol!" Roxanne took a sip of her coffee.

    "You weren't even alive for his glory days," Angelina replied, sitting across from her daughter with her own cup of coffee. "Besides, James is expecting you."

    "And I'll leave, just as soon as I meet him. Come on, Mum, I've had his poster in my room since I was three."

    Angelina smiled. Her daughter's enthusiasm was contagious.

    "Well, if you aren't leaving at noon now, you'd better owl James and be prepared to help get ready."

    Roxanne made a face at her mother, but went upstairs to get dressed anyway.

    ***

    Harry was the first to arrive that night. Roxanne bounded to the door when she heard him knock. When she opened the door, her smile faded a little.

    "Hey, don't look so glum over seeing your old uncle," Harry said.

    Roxanne hugged him. "Hey, Uncle Harry."

    "You know, Oliver is single, but you shouldn't look so eager. It turns men off. James told me why you were going to be late."

    Roxanne looked at her uncle with a look of horror on her face. "But he's so old!"

    As was Roxanne's luck, Oliver was the last person to arrive. She was just about to Floo to James', disappointed that he hadn't shown up when there was a knock on the door. Roxanne went to open the door, but her mother beat her to it.

    "Sorry I'm late, Angelina, practise went late, and our new Keeper is just not performing."

    The pair walked through the living room, where Roxanne was standing.

    "You must be Roxanne," Oliver said, holding out his hand. Roxanne took it and shook it, surprised at how young Oliver still looked. "Quite a fan, I hear, and a pretty good Keeper yourself. I hear you've been trying out for teams."

    Roxanne nodded. "It hasn't been going all that hot, though."

    Oliver smiled. "Well, if you ever want some help, feel free to owl me."

    Roxanne grinned. "Thanks, I'll do that."

    "I'll see you around then?" Oliver asked.

    "Definitely," Roxanne said. She turned to the fire and grabbed some Floo powder. As she tossed the glittering green powder into the fire, she couldn't help but think about how easy it would be to have her idolisation of Oliver turn into a full blown crush.
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  7. #7
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
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    Well, since I've jumped into the SPN fandom of late too, I think this is a very interesting discussion. Unfortunately, I'm too late to the party, and I'm sorry if half of what I say doesn't make sense, but here is my view on the general idea of good and evil, from what I've learned from being a part of both the HP and SPN fandoms.

    I think it's a spectrum: like black, white, and the shades of grey in between. Good is towards white, and bad is towards black, but nothing is completely black or white. I think, as human beings, we all have good and evil in us, and we can slide either ways in the spectrum, at any point in life. We are all good to some people, bad to others. It isn't defined. There is darkness within everyone, and we may or may not embrace it. But if we do, it still doesn't make us evil and this, I think answers Soraya's question: Is it possible that every single person has both good and evil within them?

    If a character does something deemed as 'very good' but later begins to fall into the villain category, how much does it take before you stop considering the good things they've done against their growing darkness?


    I'm going to unabashedly think of some of the things I've learned from SPN while I answer this. That's probably because my mind is just full of it, but then, referring to any series, any book, I'd like to say that I don't usually stop considering a character 'good' until and unless the reason for them to be villainous is unreasonable. I will give Snape as an example. Unfortunately, I can never forgive him. I can't consider the good things he has done, purely because he was being a bully without reason. I could understand if he was not good to James, but being bad to a boy he barely knew was wrong. It was never Harry's fault that he was the son of James and Lily, and he definitely didn't deserve the treatment he got from Snape. So examples like this, they convince me against their goodness.

    My TQ: Have you ever written a good character going dark side? How did you handle the change?
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