More late night musings

More late night musings

So it’s 3 am and I’m up feeding the baby again. I pick up my laptop and check my email. There’s the daily readings waiting for me (thanks to The Daily Gospel online service). I guess I should read them since I’ll probably be pretty sleepy at mass in the morning, my mind will probably be wandering as usual, I’ll probably be distracted by the bad music and by the cuteness of my daughter, maybe I’ll even have to go out with a fussy baby Bella, though that hasn’t happened yet. In any case, I usually try to read the readings but frequently forget. Now I’ve got plenty of time and, gee, maybe God is trying to tell me something.

As I started to read for some reason I began to ponder Karen Hall’s recent questions. She’s troubled by the poor leadership in the Church. By the pope, the cardinals and bishops who don’t seem to be doing anything about bad priests, bad liturgy, about the pain of people who keep asking: How long, O Lord, must we suffer?  And as I read it was eerie how all the readings kept talking to the point of the discussion  that’s been raging at her blog and at Dom’s and elsewhere on the net.

I didn’t set out with an agenda. I just wanted to read the readings. But I guess because I was tired, I was more open to the voice of the Spirit than I usually am, because things just kept jumping out at me, I was moved to prayer and meditation. And so here is a very long ramble of my late night thoughts.

I didn�t set out to do so, but as I began to read the first reading, �Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD.� I began to pray for all those shepherds we have now who are leading the people of God astray. Cause it�s certain they need our prayers, all these priests and bishops who have not cared for their flocks but have driven them away and scattered them.

Seems to me I recall that she�s been engaged in praying for them too, especially for those Jesuits who have become bad shepherds. Because she believes that they are not beyond redepmption, that not all is lost. Rather than joining in the loud chorus of Jesuit haters, she rightly points out to those naysayers who condemn the whole order that through our prayers God can bring about renewal for the Jesuits; but that we need to pray. 

So I was pondering this problem: why does God allow bad shepherds to arise and lead his flock? Isn�t he worried about all those lost sheep? It�s a problem I�ve long had with the Old Testament: what about all those people who lived and died never knowing God? Why did he choose some people, Israel, and not others? Doesn�t God love the Egyptians and the Caananites and all those other ancient peoples that Israel kept fighting?

And then, as I was pondering these questions and praying not only for the wicked shepherds but also for the lost sheep, I moved on to the psalm: The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. Wow, that�s a pretty good answer to my complaint. It may look to my human eyes that God doesn�t care for his sheep when he allows bad shepherds to lead them astray; but the psalm reminds me that indeed the Lord himself is our shepherd. He�s in control and he loves his sheep. So I have to trust that somehow he�s still shepherding those lost sheep. It may look to me like they are wandering lost in the wilderness but God has a plan for each one of them. Even though they walk in the dark valley, God is at their side. The Bible tells me so, and I gotta trust it. I�ve got to trust his word because it�s the truth. God doesn�t lie. He�s still setting his table for us every Sunday, nourishing us with his word and with his very body.

To flippantly paraphrase from The Wizard of Oz, pay no attention to the man on the altar. Instead, look to the man-God on the altar. Listen to his words. He is the light in the darkness. And that�s the wonderful thing about being Catholic. No matter how sinful the priest is, how terrible the liturgy is, we can still receive nourishment from the proclamation of the word (eeven if we have to plug our ears during the homily) and as long as the consecration is valid, the words are said and the deed is done, (even if it is done illicitly in glass chalices, or gracelessly in a wreckovated church to the accompaniment of liturgical dancers) as long as the form and the matter of the sacrament are valid, then Christ is present, body blood soul and divinity. Thanks be to God who is so good to us. Because our poor Protestant brothers and sisters are muddling along without even that.

And then I move on to the epistle. It�s St. Paul writing to the Ephesians, and usually I have a hard time with him when he starts talking about the law. How does that apply to me? It seems so first century. But tonight—this morning, rather�it�s clicking into place with the other readings. �But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.� It is Christ who is our shepherd and his role is to gather all those scattered sheep of Israel, to bring them into the fold all those who have been led astray by the bad shepherds, the corrupt prophets and godless priests that Jeremiah is raging against. And what is more he is God�s answer to that whole problem I have with what about all those people who aren�t God�s chosen people. Because Jesus came to abolish the law, to break down the wall of enmity between the Jews and everyone else and to make them one body instead of two and to reconcile both to God.

Jesus is God�s answer to bad priests and faithless prophets. God knows that men are weak and that human shepherds are just as likely to lead their flocks astray as to lead them to safety. So he sends us his Son to gather us up and save us. I don�t know how he�s going to do it in our day and age when everything looks so dark to me. When I see so many of those human shepherds who seem like their stumbling around in the dark even worse than the flock they�re supposed to be leading. But God tells me over and over again that his ways are not my ways and they are so far beyond me I can�t understand them. Like Karen, I don�t understand. But I know that God is telling me here that he�s got it under control.

Sure, I�ve got my part to play, and I�m doing it now. I�m praying for those godless shepherds and I�m praying for all the sheep they�ve led astray. And that�s my job. That�s all I can do. After that, I�ve just got to trust that God who loves them much much more than I do and who is saddened much much more than I am by the whole situation will take care of them. �He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.� He�s preaching peace to me and I�ve got to either accept it or reject him.

If I lose my peace of mind over the scandal of bad priests and bishops, I have only to turn my eyes to the even greater scandal of the cross. That�s the answer. God can take the worst of human sinfulness and make it his greatest deed, the one that saves us. I don�t understand.  I don�t understand how he does it, but there it is.

I don�t understand why God chose such a loser as St. Peter to lead his church. Surely there must have been a better choice. Surely he was joking when he called Peter the rock. Peter! He�s the guy who denied Jesus. Surely it�s a joke to call this guy a rock, to establish a church on such a weak foundation. But there it is. I don�t understand; but it seems to be how God works. That�s the answer I�d point people to when they question why the pope seems so ineffective. Well the Holy Spirit must have some plan to use this weak, ineffective human being. If he could use Peter, then he can use Joseph Ratzinger. He must have been the best choice for the job.

I don�t understand. But I believe. I believe in the Holy Spirit. And I believe in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic, Church. I don�t understand it. It sure doesn�t look like the church I�d design if I were God. I think I�d do a better job picking shepherds for my flock if I were God. I�d find some way to keep the bad seeds out or to get rid of them once it became apparent they were bad. But that�s not how it works evidently. I don�t understand; but I do believe. 

And finally I come to the gospel. And it sure is a doozy. �When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.�

At the beginning of the passage it looks like Jesus doesn�t care. He and the apostles are going off to a deserted place to rest. What about all those poor suffering souls they are leaving behind? How dare they rest when there are sick people needing healing and sinners needing preaching to? Why is he abandoning them, all these people who are coming and going in great numbers, these people who have nothing to eat? Why is he setting such a bad example for the apostles? Doesn�t Jesus care?

And indeed the people follow Jesus and interrupt his plans for a peaceful retreat. �People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.� Well, it looks like Jesus� plan didn�t work. People were there waiting for him and the apostles when they got to their quiet retreat.

But maybe, Jesus, being God, knew that would happen, right? Maybe that was part of his plan all along. He knew that people were so hungry for leadership they�d not be content when the shepherd left them behind. They�d go out seeking him. They�d be waiting when he got there. No matter how far Jesus and the apostles run away to get some personal time, there are still sheep there hungry and needing to be tended.

I�m going to go out on a limb and make a speculation now. Maybe that�s part of God�s plan too. Maybe he goes away so they will have to follow. He allows them to get hungry so they will recognize that they need food. Maybe he�s like the parent letting go so the baby can learn to walk on her own. And yes, she�s going to fall; but that seems to be part of the process. No babies learn to walk without a few tumbles on the way.

And here�s where I get a bit radical in my speculation. Maybe he allows bad shepherds so that the sheep will have to work a little bit. Maybe it�s part of his prevention plan to keep us from being lukewarm. Maybe all these angry people who are raging about the state the Church is in now need those bad shepherds because otherwise they would be complacent about their faith. Maybe God allows bad liturgies to happen because then people have to drive further to find that more reverent parish or that Tridentine mass and it keeps them on their toes. Maybe he wants us riled up so we get off our butts and get to work, get involved in music ministry if we think the music is bad, get involved in a Bible study and read up on the Church�s teaching because Father isn�t doing his job.

Maybe it�s the lukewarm homilies at my parish that send me out on the web to find better ones. And maybe that way I�m paying attention whereas if the homily was good I might still drift off and miss what he�s trying to tell me.

If we�re angry, at least we�re hot, not lukewarm.

Dom likes to tell the story of his sister-in-law, a woman I�ve never met. She died of cancer when my niece Mary was very small. One day she told him that if cancer was what it took to get her to pay attention to God, then she accepted that. And, well, maybe it was. Maybe that�s what it took to get her to turn to God and ask for help. It seems pretty harsh to me. But then so does crucifixion.

Cathy�s story teaches me that God sometimes allows us to suffer because it�s the only way to get our attention. It doesn�t seem fair that Mary was left without a mother so that Cathy could get to heaven. Surely there must have been a way that didn�t involve a little girl losing her mother. But that�s the way God works. His ways are not our ways.

Anyway, I’m praying for Karen and for all who are troubled by the scandals in our Church. I pray that they may receive some of the same consolation and peace I’ve been given. And I pray for the shepherd who are leading people astray, for the godless priests and prophets who will be held accountable for their actions and for their lack of action. I pray that not a soul may be lost because of their actions but that all might be shepherded safely through this dark valley and find rest and refreshment at his table today and in eternal life.

Also I pray for peace in the Holy Land, as Pope Benedict has asked us to do today. Funny how the first psalm in Evening Prayer I for this Sunday is Psalm 122 and the antiphon is “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Eerie how often the daily readings of both the office and the mass seem so appropriate. God is great like that. 

I’ll end with a stanza from one of the hymns for Night Prayer that I like to read (I don’t know the tune.)

This world, my God, is held within your hand,
Though we forget your love and steadfast might
And in the changing day uncertain stand,
Disturbed by morning, and afraid of night.

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  • smile Nope, that answered it. Personally I wouldn’t let my children read the books or watch the film until they were older because of the problematic elements of the story and, quite frankly, I think certain parts could be quite scary to a young child anyway. At the same time I have a hard time not enjoying the books myself, flawed as they are (I wasn’t so fond of the films).

  • I always wonder if I should say anything or not about HP.  Nobody has to like it or read it but… some of the criticisms seem so strange to me that I wonder if I’m reading the same book. 
    1) They are not children’s books. Period.
    2) Harry’s lying and cheating have always seemed to me to be in the mode of Stalky and Company,  a book about an English boarding school written by Rudyard Kipling. So I have always assumed that there is a “boarding school” mentality where a certain amount of hijinks and rule-breaking is allowed.  You can see it also in Louisa May Alcott’s book, An Old Fashioned Girl, in the stories that the grandmother tells. The key in those books is to sort out what rules you can break and what you can’t.  And really it is the same in life.  A parking ticket is not the same as a speeding ticket, either legally or morally.  But you broke the rules in each case. 
    3) In book six something terrible happens at the end.  It was set up DIRECTLY by a nasty thing done by Fred and George Weasley which at the time they seemed to get away with. In fact it was in another book.  And my sense about many transgressions in the books is that they are punished but not quite directly or instantly.  As a lesson for children that may or may not be the best.  As a lesson for teenagers it may be unbeatable.  I met someone who told me seriously that when he realized that no lightning would strike he gave up his belief in God.  Well, there *will* be bad consequences but who has ever suggested to him that consequences may be very delayed?  The end of Book six isn’t the only example by a long shot, but it’s the most dramatic. 
    4) I disagree completely that Harry would use the Ring if he understood it.  He refused to have the person who betrayed his parents killed when he had the chance.  And the idea that he is “special” is a very nuanced one.  The whole magical world is engrossed in a struggle that revolves around the question of whether their powers make them unaccountable to others for their actions.  Does their magic make them above others?  This has been vivid since book two but not well expressed in the movies.
    And, of course, the films (which I hate) miss all of the nuance completely when it comes to the moral questions. IMHO.

  • Jane,

    First, did you actually read Scott Peterson’s posts and the posts he links to and the comment sections of both? Because the points you bring up I thought were pretty well addressed by him already.

    Second, in case I didn’t make it clear, I liked the books. I’ve read them all and plan to continue to read them. I don’t love them or think they are great literature, I have some problems with some aspects of them is all. Especially as it pertains to kids reading them.

    Which brings me to your list, which I’ll address in order as best I can.

    1. I know that. You know that. But they are being marketed to kids. The publisher doesn’t know it. They are in the kids section in the bookstore. The bookstores don’t know it. Thus the parents don’t know it.
    Teachers are recommending it to students and are excited because it’s encouraging to see kids read such long books. They aren’t dealing with it critically.

    J.K. Rowling doesn’t seem to know it either. I’ve heard her comment on the readers growing as Harry grows. Which comes to Scott’s great point about new readers. Which Rowling either hasn’t thought through; in which case she’s short sighted to say the least. Or else she doesn’t care and is just about making money. Which doesn’t ingratiate her to me.

    I seriously question her ethics as a writer. Which makes me more sceptical about the books. Even though I kinda like them. 

    When I first read them I just enjoyed them and didn’t think about these things. Now I’m a mom and thinking and reading a lot about education, I’m starting to look at a lot of things in a new light.


  • 2. I’ve heard the boarding school mentality argument several times before. And to a point I agree. But I guess I disagree that the rules Harry breaks don’t matter. I think it is not a good thing for a teacher to overlook a student’s disobedience because of her own ambitions. (Again, see Scott’s discussion on Harry’s first flying lesson.)

    The point Scott makes is that there are no repercussions and no attempt to frame Harry’s transgressions in the context of a larger discussion about morality.

    A parking ticket is not the same as a speeding ticket, either legally or morally. But you broke the rules in each case.

    Yes, and in the real world you have to face the consequences of both actions. But in Harry’s world some infractions not only get off scot free, they are winked at and almost encouraged by those in authority. For no good reason.

    One instance Scott doesn’t mention but I will is the Maurauder’s Map. In order to use it Harry has to say “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good.” Ok, so it’s kind of a joke. Boys will be boys and are always getting into mischief. But it certainly doesn’t make Harry a hero in the model of Frodo or the Pevensies. It makes him an anti-hero. Which as Scott points out is fine for adults. But not for kids.

    3. It’s been a while since I read any of the books so I’m not too sharp on the details of the set up you refer to here. And I’ve got a fussy baby nursing on my lap so I can’t go find the book.

    In any case I think I can address the larger point. I never said no actions ever had consequences in Harry’s world or that no bad deed goes unpunished. In fact, sometimes they do. But my point is that there doesn’t seem to be a consistent ethos guiding such things. Just whether or not it’s convenient to the plot. Which strikes me as shoddy workmanship. And diminishes my pleasure in the books somewhat.

    I’m disturbed by the fact that Slytherin is tolerated even when it seems everyone knows that nothing good comes from Slytherin. And there never seems to be any pressure from Dumbledore or the others to reform that house. It bugs me.

  • 4) Well maybe we’ll have to agree to disagree. This is, after all, a matter of opinion.

    But throughout the book I sense a constant none too subtle undercurrent of the ends justifying the means. And Dumbledore consistently fails to match up to Gandalf as a wise counsellor.

    And as Scott points out Harry doesn’t trust Dumbledore or confide in him when D specificallyt asks if he needs help or wants to talk. That bugs me. In Harry’s world adults can’t help, kids are on their own. The kids reflexively lie to adults even when it seems against their own interest. Why?
    And they don’t ever seem to learn from their mistakes. I’ve never seen a moment when Harry says: Hey, we didn’t tell the truth last time and it really screwed things up, maybe we should do things differently this time.
    I don’t see a message to Harry that he must eschew use of his powers for personal gain and that some magical spells and objects are too dangerous even for the most pure of heart to use. In fact, Harry has used spells that seemed quite morally questionable. (Sorry I can’t look up examples at the moment.)

    As far as the nuance of his specialness, you haven’t convinced me. It seems the consistent message is that muggles are stupid and inferior and wizards are better. There may be a struggle about the ethics of power, but often the authorities come up on the wrong side, they are blind to Hagrid’s innate goodness and to Snape’s duplicity. (If Snape does turn out to be on the side of good, he is still a piss poor teacher who lets a personal grudge against Harry color his actions, who engages in favoritism towards students in his own house, etc.—In fact the whole house system with teachers awarding points to students in their own houses seems like an invitation to corruption. A near occasion of sin that a well run school would avoid.)

    The thing is to me that if there is a struggle then the lines are not well drawn and it is hard to draw a clear line between good and evil. This is very unlike Tolkien’s world.

    When I read TLOTR it is clear to me that a Catholic worldview underlies Tolkien’s universe. There are numerous points in HP where it is clear that Rowling’s universe operates under very different rules.

  • btw, I’m not sure why you keep bringing in the movies; do you think I’m confusing them with the books or are you just making aside references? I’m staying away from any discussion of the films cause I’ve only seen 1 & 2 and was not terribly impressed.And anyway that’s a whole other ball of wax. I’m only talking books here.

  • Jane,
    Don’t worry I’m enjoying the discussion. If I didn’t want a conversation, I’d not have posted this piece or I’d not have responded to your post. I find that discussing issues with someone who disagrees teaches me much more than a conversation with someone with whom I see eye to eye.

    First, I’m curious, do you have any kids and have/will they read Harry Potter and if so how have you discussed/will you discuss any of the moral issues that come up in the course of the books?

    I ask because the whole context for Scott’s remarks is his reading the book to his daughter. And the context for my remarks is as a parent looking to the future and planning how I will deal with such issues when my daughter is old enough that I’m confronted with these choices. So that I’m not blindsided but have worked out, as much as is possible, a policy and a strategy for discussing morally flawed characters/works of art with her.

    Since my impetus for writing this entry was being really excited by what Scott Peterson has to say, cause I thought it was insightful we obviously have a bit of a problem. If you don’t like his take on the book then we’re pretty much bound to disagree as well.

    You have twice dismissed the children issue as secondary and if for you it is, then that’s fine. I’ve already said that I have no problems with HP as light reading for adults. (and for that matter neither has Scott) But we don’t then have much common ground to stand on because, for the purpose of this discussion at least, that’s the primary lens through which I am reading these books and the source of all my criticism. If they were being marketed to adults and carried in the fiction/literature section of the bookstore and if parents, teachers and children were not going crazy
    for them, then I would have no criticism. Or at least I would have different criticisms than the ones we are hashing out here.

    (I was confused because I forgot Cecelia’s Mommy had mentioned the films. I guess it then became relevant to the discussion.)

    So much of what you say seems to fall under the general category that I’m failing to grasp subtlties of the text. Well perhaps that’s a flaw in me as a reader, but maybe that in itself is a flaw in the text. If it is so subtle that a person who has been trained professionally to read texts misses the point (I have a BA and MA in literature and have taught college English classes) if it’s that subtle, then maybe it’s a flaw in the writing. Especially in a book that’s supposed to be aimed at 8 year olds. Last I checked they are not quite so skilled in subtlety.

    About your reading of McGonagle’s having seen Harry snatch the remembrall, well in Scott’s defense that detail comes up a little later in the passage when they’re talking to Wood, maybe he didn’t read that far. But ok so she saw the whole thing and Scott missed that detail when he was writing, then that still leaves the question even more open. Why doesn’t McGonagle punish either Draco or Harry? What kind of teacher sees a student steal another student’s property and defy another teacher’s direct order and do nothing about it? It’s a flaw in McGonagle that’s never addressed by the books and one that is troubling to kids.

    Children’s literature should instill trust of authority, not distrust. Children’s literature should instill a sense that the world operates within certain moral perameters. Children have not yet fully internalized a code of morality, one reason we give them literature is to help them develop a moral compass. Books like HP are bad children’s lit because they are confusing to kids. That’s the criteria by which I am judging the book. It seems like you are reading it with the preconception that it is not children’s lit. Which I see as a false premise. If that’s the assumption all your arguments are based on, then in a way we are reading a different book. Which would explain why we interpret the same set of data in such wildly different ways.
    You remind me of Sirius Black death and that’s a perfect case in point. I had a huge problem with that episode precisely because Sirius Black died because of what Harry did and Harry knows it. That’s a terrible message to send to kids. So often children look at the world and think they are responsible for things that are really beyond their control. They think their parent’s divorce happened because of them and internalize guilt for all sorts of terrible things. I think children’s lit should inculcate in children a sense that actions have consequences, but it should also protect them from the full weight of the world’s problems and from a false sense of responsibility.

    Fairy stories translate the problem of evil into terms that children can cope with. They are mythic rather than realistic. HP presents evil in the case of Sirius’ death in a way that in my opinion is too realistic for most young children to handle. I think it could be quite traumatic for a child and is irresponsible for an author of children’s books to include in a series that began with an eight year old protagonist.

    To Peterson this is a flaw but to me it’s about encouraging kids to see that adults are around them to help even when they don’t realize it. Well it seems again this is an issue of perspective. Peterson as a father wants his childen to have an internal image of a world in which adults are trusted figures, people to turn to in times of trouble. I think if the book is trying to make the point you claim it’s making, that adults really are there even when kids don’t realize it, then it fails to make that point clearly enough. That might be the intent but the execution is flawed. Because that’s not how I read those scenes. And if I misunderstood it, then I guarantee there are lots of kids out there who will also misunderstand it too.

    I see where you can say that Rowling does a take down of seeing the future. Because the teacher is clearly a phony. But that ignores the fact that the school has a class in it. If I had a really bad history teacher my conclusion wouldn’t be that history is bunk, it would be that my teacher is incompetent to teach that subject. The fact that the school offers the subject implies an official endorsement of it. 

    As far as cheating and long term vs short term consequences, that’s another place where I think my perspective is colored by thinking in terms of parenting. Sometimes, yes, you sit back and let the child suffer the natural consequences of an action. But often children are not experienced enough or do not have sufficient critical thinking skills to draw a line between cause and effect when the two events are sufficiently distant in time. That’s why for punishment to be effective it should be immediate. Especially if the consequences can be dire, it is important that you stop the behavior before the child experiences them.

    You don’t let a kid get hit by a car to learn the lesson that you don’t run into the street. Nor with a young child do you reason with him. You give him a quick spanking or send him to time out or some other punishment that will make it clear to him that such behavior is unacceptable.

    I guess I feel that cheating is a behavior that should receive more punishment than just the inevitable consequences of doing poorly on the exam. If I had a kid who was a whiz in math, could do calculus in his head, and I found he was bored in school and copying his assignments out of a teacher’s manual because he couldn’t be bothered to do the work, I’d still punish him. The point isn’t whether he can do the work. The point is that cheating is wrong, a form of lying. If he’s having problems being bored in school, he needs to find a different solution to the problem.

  • I knew I should have kept quiet, (so to speak). 
    The only easy point – I mentioned the movies (do I keep bringing them up?) because Cecilia’s Mommy did.
    I had only read your posts and excerpts when I commented.  Now, I have read Scott Peterson and think he’s horrid and arrogant.  When McGonagle puts Harry on the Quidditch team it is *as the Seeker*, that is the person *who can grab small things out of the air*, so she saw him grab the Remembrall, so Scott missed the subtlety there.

    Who is Voldemort?  He is the wizard who thinks that he can do anything and what he likes to do is to torment Muggles, because they are Muggles. He is trying to purge the wizarding world of half-bloods.  This was also Slytherin’s idea.  This is a good representation of evil to me because it doesn’t set up anything big and majestic as the evil possibility.  Just cruelty, power and death if you follow him.  Fighting him is, in part, fighting against the whole question of specialness for wizards.  That’s what the house elf, giant treatment stuff is all about.  If the wizards defeat Voldemort they are going to do it with the help of “people” that they (as a group) looked down upon and treated badly.

    Sirius Black died because of what Harry did and Harry knows it. 

    When it comes to the cheating on homework uproar that’s a little curious.  Because the only thing that matters is passing your OWLS and NEWTs. You can’t cheat on them.  Your grades in class are almost irrelevant to your chances in life, but if you didn’t do the homework you are going to have trouble with those overarching exams.  So to me, it is another example of consequences coming at a very different time. 

    You say that in Harry’s world adults can’t help.  But in fact until the fourth book Harry is Never as alone as he thinks he is and even then he gets unexpected help.  To Peterson this is a flaw but to me it’s about encouraging kids to see that adults are around them to help even when they don’t realize it.

    Rowling does a devasting take-down on Ouija boards, makes ghosts entirely unappealing, dissects and destroys the idea of seeing the future, and manages to allow her characters to, um, experience their hormones without being coy or pornographic.  I think that’s pretty good work, myself.

    The children issue would take too long at the moment and i’ve used up my share of the comments i think. 

  • Melanie—

    I’ve been enjoying this discussion tremendously. Rather than hijack your thread, I replied to this comment:

    I had only read your posts and excerpts when I commented. Now, I have read Scott Peterson and think he’s horrid and arrogant. When McGonagle puts Harry on the Quidditch team it is *as the Seeker*, that is the person *who can grab small things out of the air*, so she saw him grab the Remembrall, so Scott missed the subtlety there.

    on my own blog. Hope that’s okay.

    Thanks for a very enjoyable and thought-provoking read.