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Thread: Character Essay: Body, Mind and Spirit

  1. #31
    LuckyRatTail
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    Posted by kumydabookworm:

    I'd be interested to see if there could be a shadow character that was a PROTAGONIST in relation to the other three parts of the complementing quartet.
    Do you think that Draco could be classed as the shadow protagonist, in relation to his friends? Draco = Shadow, Crabbe = Mind(?), Goyle = Body, Pansy = Spirit(?). The others need him to lead them, they can't function without him, but Draco is quite capable of going off on his own when he wants to. Just a thought...

    Could you argue that Voldy is the shadow protagonist to Bellatrix, Lucius and Snape? If we're saying that a shadow is someone who is capable of working without the others, who compliments/contrasts the other characters. You could describe Voldemort as a spirit or mind character (probably the latter), but I see him more as a shadow.

    * * *

    On a rather bizarre off-note, I'd like to point out the comparison with Paradise Lost - just to highlight the Mind/Body/Spirit/SHADOW situation. You cannot have Heaven without God, and the Holy Trinity. In contrast there is Satan, and you cannot have Hell wihout Satan. Seeing as you cannot have good without evil (something to contrast good), the world cannot function without Satan - you cannot spot the good from the bad. The shadow character is therefore necessary in maintaining the balance between good and evil - the Holy Trinity plus the shadow character, Satan. Does that work? God (in relation to Paradise Lost, you understand, I'm not really venturing into religion here) is the Spirit character(?), whilst Satan is the antagonist - the shadow.

    Conclusion of that ramble: the shadow character is necessary to the trio?

    The trio needs a contrast, an enemy, someone to keep the balance. Look at this in view of the Founders: Slytherin showed the others what they did not want to happen - and by doing that, he highlighted what they fought for, but they didn't even realise they were fighting for it before then. He also is necessary to highlight the darker side of the students. What Vorona said about ambition is particularly interesting in relation to this - ambition has a darker underside in Hogwarts because it is associated with Slytherin.

    You could argue that Snape does this for the Marauders: he showed them what they knew they didn't want, he personified what they were fighting against, as Draco does for Harry.

    I'm not even sure if I completely understand what I'm trying to say, to be honest... Oh well.

  2. #32
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    Could you argue that Voldy is the shadow protagonist to Bellatrix, Lucius and Snape? If we're saying that a shadow is someone who is capable of working without the others, who compliments/contrasts the other characters. You could describe Voldemort as a spirit or mind character (probably the latter), but I see him more as a shadow.
    Honestly, I think Voldemort stands alone. For one, I don't think we know enough about the "bad guys" to really try to pair them off, or establish trios like we have among Harry's friends or the Maruaders. Second, I think one can see the three parts - mind, body, spirit - within Voldemort quite a bit more clearly than in others. I think because of that, he works alone: he was born alone, he grew up alone, he went off alone, he fights death alone, he rules alone. Oh, we could really pick apart the psychology of all that but not here. I just think that he doesn't need - or feel the need - for balance from without.

    It's possible Voldemort represents a bit of Dumbledore's shadow. After all, in SS/PS, McGonagall says something about Dumbledore having powers that he is just too noble to use. It's possible Voldemort is the ultimate distortion of all that is good in Dumbledore. That said, I think his function within the story is stronger than that of a shadow character like Draco. He is *the* primary antagonist, he represents Harry's ultimate quest. I know very little about literary criticism, but I would imagine there are fancy terms for it. In a way, Voldemort is his own protagonist, his own hero, on his own journey; it's just that the story is told from Harry's POV and since Voldemort's motives are in opposition to Harry's, he becomes the antagonist instead.

    I'm tempted to make the comparison to Star Wars. In the first three movies, we watch the story through Luke's eyes, and Darth Vader is the enemy; but in the prequels, we see the story more from Anakin's viewpoint and learn that he was indeed on his own journey. The most immediate difference I see is that while Anakin/Vader was ultimately redeemed, JKR has said this is not true of Voldemort: he is the one character who cannot be redeemed. I can look up the quote if you like. I think this also makes Voldmort more unique as well.

    Perhaps will all my oodles of spare time I will do some research into the Dark Lord. That said, please discuss because I'm curious how Voldemort fits into all this and what you all think!

    ~Gina

  3. #33
    LuckyRatTail
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    Posted by Gmariam:

    Honestly, I think Voldemort stands alone. For one, I don't think we know enough about the "bad guys" to really try to pair them off, or establish trios like we have among Harry's friends or the Maruaders. Second, I think one can see the three parts - mind, body, spirit - within Voldemort quite a bit more clearly than in others. I think because of that, he works alone: he was born alone, he grew up alone, he went off alone, he fights death alone, he rules alone.
    Do you think that Voldemort can actually be classed as Mind, Body or Spirit? You've said that you can see all three parts inside him, but he, to me, is very tricky to pin down. Perhaps it is simply that we do not know enough about him, although the trips into his childhood in HBP confuse me. I might have classed him as a body character (driven by greed and self-protection), or a spirit (his independence) but there are elements of mind in there as well. I honestly don't think he can be classed as either Mind, Body or Spirit. What you said about him being the shadow to Dumbledore was very interesting, but I'm not even sure, like you said, that he can be put into that category. I think he'd be quite happy not being the antagonist to anyone, simply standing alone.

    Now - the BIG question - can Voldemort not be classed because he is simply like that, or because of his lack of soul? I've said that, as a child, it was difficult to class him, but do you think that has become even more difficult as he has gradually removed any traces of his own personality and become a machine driven by his obsession for power? A body character? No - he suppresses basic instincts and desires (except for his fear of death, which makes this all even more interesting), plus, that's not even really his body. A spirit character? No - he has no faith in anything but himself. A mind character? Maybe...

    Can he not be classed as either Mind, Body or Spirit because he is lacking in all of these things? As he has been tearing them apart, gradually, for years?

    - There should probably be a separate thread just for this, as we appear to be getting a little off-track!

    Just one final note - are there people who simply cannot be classed as Mind/Body/Spirit? Who don't fit into a trio, like Voldemort, because they stand alone. And how are these people different to shadows?

  4. #34
    ThessalyRose
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    Do you think that Voldemort can actually be classed as Mind, Body or Spirit?
    No, that's why I suggested a fourth category to begin with. I think Voldemort falls into that fourth category, the shadow category.

    Keep in mind, though, that any character could be either really good at his category's attribute, or really bad at it. For example, Luna and Snape are both Mind characters. The Mind character's weakness is faith. Luna believes in everything; Snape (apparently) in almost nothing, but they both struggle with faith.

    To state it from a writer's point of view, the purpose of the Mind category is to describe what the author thinks about faith. In this case, JKR is telling us that having faith in nothing will leave you friendless and alone (like Snape), but having faith without applying reason (like Luna) isn't a good idea, either.

    So rather than having a category of his own which is a mirror of the Spirit category, maybe Voldemort is a Spirit character who has failed to get control over his weakness and has been consumed by it.

    Now, back to the topic of the Spirit category. Vorona was trying to say, I think, that Harry's great strength is his trust in his own moral judgement, which allows him to be brave and to stand up for his friends. But his weakness is in distinguishing when to trust his own judgment and when to trust someone else's. You might be on the right track there, but I'm still not convinced. There might be something bigger.

    Gina -- JKR studied Classical Literature in college, so it is very likely that what we're discussing is her deliberate use of Plato's triad in the books. I agree with you, though, that envy is something we see more from Ron than from Harry. Although I think there was some envy there for Cedric in Goblet of Fire.

    At risk of muddying the waters further, is it possible that we're really discussing two or three separate categories? Snape and Draco are not members of their three-part souls, but outsiders who antagonize it, while Wormtail and Slytherin are members of the "soul" who have betrayed it. Another category might be the weaker hanger-on, which might include Wormtail and Neville, and possibly Hagrid.

    (I'm opening another can of worms here, but does anyone know if there are Tarot cards that relate to these three archetypes? That's something else that Granger discussed in Looking for God. Well, he was talking about alchemy, but I have the impression that it's related to the Tarot.)

    Also, keep in mind that it's entirely possible for one character to fill different roles in different groups. For example, I believe that Dumbledore-Snape-McGonagall are a Spirit-Mind-Body trio, but when the Mauraders were around, Snape was definitely the shadow/foil category. Draco may be the Spirit of his own little trio, but he's a Shadow in relation to the Harry-Ron-Hermione trio. Also, Voldemort may be a Shadow to the Dumbledore-Snape-McGonagall trio but the (inverted) Spirit of the Voldemort-Malfoy-Bellatrix trio. Or maybe Draco and Voldemort are always inverted Spirits who can lead their own trios but who compete with other Spirit characters (like Harry and Dumbledore) when they come around. What do you guys think?

    (By the way, bravo to everyone who has posted! I wish I was a prefect so I could give you all house points!)

    Thess

  5. #35
    Vorona
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    Tarot...

    In the Major Arcana, and even in some non-three Minor Arcana cards, you do have threesomes, and they tend to reflect each other.

    The ones that come to mind immediately are:

    The Hierophant: A pope figure with a key "blesses" a man and a woman

    The Lovers: An angel "blesses" a man and a woman.

    The Devil: A devil holds a man and a woman enchained.

    The 6 of Pentacles: A man distributes money to two poor people.

    In all of *these* threesomes, there's clearly a SOCIAL superior, and two "inferiors": dependants/penetants/prisoners/humans (vs. angel, in Lovers). I don't think this is the kind of trio we see in Harry Potter.

    Incidentally, about Harry's strengths and weaknesses... What you said of his strength is what I meant, but that's not what I meant about his weakness -- sorry for the confusion. I meant not that he doesn't know when to trust his own judgement vs. someone else's, but that he sometimes believes what he *wants* to believe when evaluating others... not what's really there. He *wants* Snape and Draco to be evil, because that makes life simple and then he can feel superior (he's only in his teen years, that's not meant to be a harsh criticism of him - I think everyone feels that way at times).

    It also occurred to me that in the case of "Scabbers" and Quirrell, he was reacting to a situation in which it looked like one party was downtrodden or "in despair" (Scabbers/Quirrell) and that another was being unnecessarily forceful or cruel (Crookshanks/Snape). I think his sense of fairness caused him to cheer on the underdog so to speak, but again, without really considering anything other than the unbalance... That is, he didn't try to learn *why* Snape was threatening Quirrell -- he just *assumed* Snape was evil. I don't mean that he should just take someone else's word on it, but he could look at the situation more carefully, rather than having knee-jerk reactions to people he doesn't like. After all, that knee-jerk reaction thing is the exact same thing that landed Sirius in Azkaban.

    ---

    As for the three part soul and outsiders/betrayers... We know for certain that Peter did betray the other Marauders, but I'm not as certain about Slytherin. My belief is that it wasn't Slytherin who suddenly wanted it to be only Purebloods, but that it always *was* -- after all, that long ago, they might not have had the magical quill and they might not have even known of the existence of Muggleborns. And if that's true, then suddenly deciding to open Hogwarts up *to* them might have seemed really dangerous to Slytherin. Maybe there's more down in that Chamber than just the basilisk... maybe the basilisk is actually a protective measure designed to keep the Muggleborns safe from some worse evil that they could potentially use to destroy all of Hogwarts or something. I'm rambling here, but the point is, we really don't know *what* Salazar Slytherin's reasoning actually was. Heck... maybe the chamber was actually meant to keep the basilisk *away* from the students...

    If we're dealing with the Jungian shadow archetype here, Voldemort *could* be Dumbledore's shadow, and Harry's as well (all those similarities: no parents, etc.). But remember that the key to the shadow is that you don't *destroy* it, you accept it. And I don't think that's where Jo is taking the books. Which is too bad, since that *would* be a very powerful way to end the story and would also fit with the prophecy (they are incomplete when separate, and only whole and truly "alive" when together as one being). I think she said that there's no redemption, though, and there would have to be for that ending to work *sigh*.

    Anyway, it is possible that we have two foursomes, that have their own interaction apart from the Mind, Body, Spirit thing AND two trios that do follow that model. Or just one foursome (Hogwarts), a trio that is unbalanced because of a fourth (Body?) character, and two trios... It's hard to say.

    I do think Snape is a shadow, though, and that Harry is going to have to see the darkness inside of himself that Snape forces him to see/use.

  6. #36
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vorona
    I do think Snape is a shadow, though, and that Harry is going to have to see the darkness inside of himself that Snape forces him to see/use.
    The second part of your statement is exactly what I was going to say in regards to Voldemort being Harry's shadow character: if the point of a shadow character is to integrate it's characteristics into oneself, then what you said could apply to Harry and Voldemort: he will have to see and accept the darkness within himself - that bit of Voldemort, even - in order to truly defeat the Dark Lord. When talking about separate characters, it's not like they have to suddenly start working together to integrate; they can remain enemies. But whatever reflections the shadow character casts back at the hero, the hero will have to accept. In this case, I think it's not just Dark Magic, but fear, which Harry has already begun to accept (see Lupin's speech on Dementors). I think much of Tom Riddle's psyche springs from a deep-seated fear (in Campbell, there are two vices, fear and desire, that seem to lead to all other downfalls), which in turn has motivated his desire to conquer not just life, but death as well. I don't think Harry fears his own death as much as he does others; and I think its possible he will start to fear the darkness within himself (he did try some Unforgivables at the end of HBP, after all). So I think he may need to address these fears in the final book; at least, I would like to see a psychological self-examination of sorts myself. And that could represent Harry accepting his shadow self.
    This may also happen with Draco or Snape. Either way, I don't think Harry will be a whole person fully capable of the power of love - the key to defeating Voldemort - until he does this.
    That was painfully short but that's what I have right now. More later, I'm sure.
    ~Gina

  7. #37
    LuckyRatTail
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    Posted by Gmariam:

    This may also happen with Draco or Snape.
    Do you think that you could say, rather than Snape being Harry's shadow, that Snape is Draco's? They may both be on the same side, and both embrace the darker side of wizardry, but the comments made about integrating characteristics applies well to Draco's task in HBP. Draco has to learn to embrace Snape's sacrificial nature, and his ability to harden himself and kill somone because he knows he has to. Something which Draco seriously struggles to do when it gets to the end of the book and he is actually faced with Dumbledore. Perhaps, deep down, Draco is not as dark and - possibly - evil as Snape or Voldemort? And maybe he needs to embrace or integrate those characteristics if he ever wants to truly fit into his place in his trio?

  8. #38
    Vorona
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    No, I don't think that works. Because it's not about integrating things you *want* to integrate. Draco *wants* to be able to kill Dumbledore, he wants to be more like what he sees Snape is.

    Shadows are tricky. I just happen to like them, so I've thought more about them than most people probably have. They *seem* evil. If you were to make a list up of all the worst qualities a person could possibly have and then made a character based on that -- that would be *your* shadow.

    For example, I'm a very patient and honest person, so things in *my* shadow would be impatience and dishonesty. However, there are times when I am impatient. Instead of acting angry at all impatient people and feeling superior to them, I need to remember that there are times that I am also impatient. As for dishonesty, there are times when it really is the best thing. For example -- I now feel justified in calling in "sick" when I need (and truly need, not just pretend need) a mental health day. This isn't entirely honest, but my boss doesn't need to know about my mental problems/stress levels/way I manage stress.

    Another good example would be James and the Dark Arts. James said he hated the Dark Arts. And yet, what he did to Snape, whether it's actually labeled as Dark Magic, is clearly dark -- but it's okay, because Snape, to him, is evil. He's unwilling to see his dark side, and integrate with it.

    I think Harry is on the same path: he thinks it's okay to *use* the Dark Arts against people he thinks are evil, without considering that he's using the Dark Arts and thus, he's becoming a Dark wizard himself (if he continues down that path). Realizing this dark side and working *with* it (i.e. knowing when, if ever, to use them, such as an AK to the last bit of Voldemort) is the only way he can win this war.

    Now. That's the archetype. We all have a shadow within us. We also all have bodies, minds, and spirits. So, if you are able to have characters that represent those archetypes in fiction (which we do), there may also be characters that represent the shadow archetype.

    However, the shadow will only be a shadow -in relation- to another character. I'm suggesting the spirit characters, because it is their natural opposite (based vaguely on what I know of spirit characters, which has more to do with how I see Harry, James, and Ginny than what I know of the actual theory).

    But no, Draco's shadow would probably be:

    Muggleborn. Gryffindor. Selfless to the point of being a doormat. Unwilling to share/Individualistic (Lucius buys the whole *team* brooms, not just Draco). Hardworking. Unwilling to use extra advantages...

    Shoot... I hadn't really planned to describe Hermione there (aside from the doormat thing, though she does expend a *lot* of energy on other people that I think Draco would consider in the same category... and she's willing to share, though she is individualistic and believes people should succeed based on their own merit, not who they know...)

    Is this helping any?

  9. #39
    LuckyRatTail
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    Posted by Vorona:

    I hadn't really planned to describe Hermione there (aside from the doormat thing, though she does expend a *lot* of energy on other people that I think Draco would consider in the same category... and she's willing to share, though she is individualistic and believes people should succeed based on their own merit, not who they know...)

    Is this helping any?
    Absolutely - thank you. What you've said about Hermione being selfless does add-up when you take into account the House-Elf malarky. Do you think that Hermione therefore works better as Draco's shadow than Harry?

    Weirdly, I think Hermione stands up to Draco, or becomes a target for him, more than Harry. Perhaps Draco recognises Harry as an equal (although he'd never admit to it) and chooses to take everything out on Hermione instead. There are some major clashes between Draco and Harry, but there are also some very memorable ones with Hermione where she doesn't use magic to fight back. I mean, think of some of the iconic moments where someone has stood up to Draco: Hermione punching him; Hermione looking fabulous at the Yule Ball and striking him dumb; Hermione gaining Slughorn's respect when Draco thought he'd laugh at her. In punching Draco she's using a Muggle (Mudblood) way of attacking him: she's countering everything that he knows. The same goes for Slughorn - she uses her own intelligence rather than her bloodline to impress him.

    - I'm not going to venture too far into the D/Hr shipping forecast right now, but the amount of times that he teases her - if they were in a playground it would be the equivalent of a boy pulling a girl's pigtails to get her attention! Does he really hate her, or is there something else going on there..?

    Harry seems like the obvious choice for Draco's shadow, but I think that what you said about how Harry behaves sometimes (occasionally embracing the dark arts) puts him probably closer to Draco than he'd like. Perhaps that's what clinches him as Draco's shadow, but I think Hermione contains some of the same comparisons. Besides, Hermione is ambitious (as you've already said in a previous post) and that is what often drives her - so she does embrace some of Draco's traits. She also has the occasional bit of trickery up her sleeve - setting up the DA, catching Rita Skeeta - but she uses intelligence to pull it off rather than magic and, well, the kind of nastiness that is present in Draco's actions.

    However, I recognise that these are traits that do not, necessarily, have bad connotations. Shadows represent elements of a person that they do not want to embrace, and Hermione certainly doesn't seem ready to suppress her ambitious nature.

    As I say, this might be completely barking up the wrong tree, as everyone so far has been listing Draco or Snape as the blatant choices for Harry's shadow. After all, he was almost put in Slytherin, and he is the one who, more obviously, is trying to suppress his darker side. But your previous post suggests that Hermione is certainly an interesting element to consider. If not Draco, who would be Hermione's shadow? Or do you not think that she has one?

  10. #40
    Vorona
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    Well... Shoot.

    We were originally thinking of the Shadow to be a particular character in the whole Body, Mind, Spirit thing to account for a fourth, in the cases of the Marauders and Hogwarts.

    In other words Mind compliments Body, Spirit compliments Shadow. So, the only shadows we've been talking about are Harry's, since he's the Spirit character.

    However, then we started talking about Draco, and what *his* shadow would be, and since it ended up looking like Hermione, we got a bit off-topic, as far as the title of the thread goes. (Bad run-on, too lazy to fix right now)

    Still, it just occurred to me, while reading your post, that some of Draco's "success" in his task against Dumbledore came from Hermione:

    1. The enchanted galleons
    2. Mead wouldn't be inspected for poison

    So, he seems to be doing some integrating also.

    Interesting...

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