What HP character do you identify with most and why? Honestly, I relate to lots of different characters in different ways, and as I’ve got older, I’ve realised that people are multi-faceted, so it’s hard to choose just one character who stands out. Realistically, the character I appear most like is probably Lily. I am a mother to a two year old, and I’m extremely protective of my family. I spend a lot of time making sure my daughter is happy, and I would definitely not hold back in protecting her from the Dark Lord!
Just being a protective mother isn’t enough of a reason to relate to a character, as there are plenty of mothers in the books, but I do think I also share other traits with Lily. I relate a lot to Lily’s upbringing, with being the one who is considered odd or strange compared to other members of the family. Although I’m not a witch, I’ve always been somewhat of a black sheep, and I argued a lot with my sister growing up because we had such different world views. We are now good friends as adults, but as children, I was definitely considered the ‘weird’ one, and she was much more mainstream in her thoughts and approach to life.
I also relate a lot to Lily’s experience with Snape, as I have ended a few toxic friendships, due to the other person’s behaviour. I used to be very forgiving, almost to a fault, and would let people in again after they’d caused me pain, but they’d only go on to hurt me again, so I developed thicker skin and stopped giving people countless chances. Due to all of this, I have become extremely self-preserving, and will protect my own at all costs.
What one moment in the books was the most meaningful to you? This is another question that I feel I could answer in multiple ways. On looking back on the books as an adult, I think that Dumbledore’s death probably hit me the hardest. For me, Dumbledore dying signified the end of childhood and dreaming at Hogwarts. In the first few books, Dumbledore represents stability and security. He is the adult that most of the children look to for advice and guidance. There is a sense of ‘as long as Dumbledore is protecting us, we will be fine’. When he died, that seemed to me to be the moment when the golden trio were left on their own, and they realised that things weren’t as simple as they had once perceived. I grew up with the books and this was a big moment for me where I realised that I wasn’t really reading children’s books anymore. I think this moment represents growing up, and those dark moments when you realise that you are essentially on your own.
For similar reasons to this, Sirius’ death was also very meaningful to me. At this point, Harry lost the first hope of having a loving family that he’d had since he was an infant. This was a dark moment in the books, where I wondered if Harry was going to lose everyone who loved him. I guess that means the moments that stood out most to me are the ones where the reader feels Harry’s grief, pain and loneliness, because these are emotions that everyone experiences at some point, and we are helpless against them.
What would you see if you looked into the Mirror of Erised? To be completely honest, I’m not sure what I would see. I have had different goals and ambitions throughout my life, and these can change on a monthly or weekly basis! I am an over-thinker, so I set myself goals, and then question my choices and change my mind when something else seems more appropriate. A lot of my achievements have been unplanned, or I’ve taken longer than expected to achieve them. This isn’t really answering the question, I’m aware.
I have achieved a lot that I’m proud of, from completing my degree and Masters, finding my husband and having my beautiful daughter. I have some other things I’d like to achieve, but they aren’t pressing needs, more things I’d like to achieve ‘at some point’. As the Mirror of Erised reveals our deepest and most desperate desire, it’d probably be something deeper than things like retraining as some kind of counsellor or childcare worker, doing a PhD or getting a job that pays better, all of which are currently ‘at some point’ goals for me.
Ultimately, I think I need to look very far ahead to the future of what would make me happiest, and I think what I’d see is my husband, daughter and another future child, all happy and healthy, maintaining healthy and loving relationships with each other, with my having found my dream career, and both myself and my husband earning enough money to take regular trips to Disney World, my favourite place on earth. I’d also like to have published a novel, as that has been an ambition of mine for as long as I can remember. That’s the dream.
If you were to become headmaster at Hogwarts, what is one thing you would change about the school or how it operates? Ugh, everything? No, seriously, let’s narrow this down. The first biggest issue for me is protection of students. These are young witches and wizards who are just learning about magic, and they are not safe at school. Things like sending them into the Forbidden Forest for detention don’t seem like smart choices at all. Obviously there is dark magic and danger out there, and students need to learn about it, and I’m not going to go all Umbridge and say they need to sit in class reading from textbooks all the time, but come on… a little health and safety where underage wizards are concerned wouldn’t exactly go amiss. There need to be more policies and procedures in place to protect students while they are at school.
The second issue for me is the sorting system. I agree with Dumbledore that students are sorted too soon. I mean, even as an adult, I’m not sure what house I belong in, so how is an 11 year old supposed to have their entire personality decided and set in stone? People are changeable, and they have traits from every house as well. It seems so limiting to sort a child into a house at age 11 and say that is where they belong from now on. Ultimately, if not allowing the students to be sorted later, there should be an opportunity to re-sort at an older age.
Lastly, I dislike the way the houses are portrayed in the books. Gryffindor as the big, bold, brave heroes of the story; Ravenclaw the ‘smart’ house; Slytherins all apparently evil, and Hufflepuffs the leftover ones. I realise these are children’s books and so concepts need to be simplified, but the inequality between the houses always annoyed me. Writing a whole group of kids off as ‘evil’ at age 11 always seemed slightly strange, as we know not all Slytherins are dark wizards or Death Eaters, and many Slytherins ended up taking heroic actions, such as Narcissa lying to Voldemort to protect her son, Regulus sacrificing himself in an attempt to defeat Voldemort, or Andromeda rebelling against her family to marry the man she loved . I think that the way the different houses are perceived needs to change, so perhaps more education about the different houses, and adding some inter-house activities would help students and teachers less likely to write people off based on their Hogwarts house immediately.
If you were able to invent one spell, potion, or charm, what would it do, what would you use it for or how would you use it, and what would you call it? I would love a spell that gave me more time to get the things done that I need to do, kind of like a Time Turner but simpler, and easier to use, so rather than ending up with multiple versions of yourself, you could just freeze time if you needed to get something done. I have a young daughter, as I’ve mentioned, and it’s extremely hard for me to get anything done when she is wanting my attention. So I’d love a spell I could use to just take some time for myself, either to get work done, or just take some time to reflect and consider options more. I’m always having to make decisions really quickly, so it’d be amazing to actually take my time now and then, and make sure I’m doing what will work best. I’m not sure what I’d call it. Something really obvious and easy or I’d have someone else name it for me!
You have to venture deep into the Forbidden Forest one night. Pick one Harry Potter character other than Hagrid and one object (muggle or magical), besides your wand, that you'd want with you. My answer to this question has not changed since the last time I filled it in. I’d take Minerva McGonagall, because she’s smart, quick-thinking, has a lot of experience with magic, and is an extremely talented witch. I also know she’s a good person and would help protect me if I needed it. I’d take an invisibility cloak to allow me to slip through the forest unseen.
What was your ideal job as a child? What is your ideal job now? Do you think it would be the same in the Wizarding World? My ideal job as a child was a writer or an actress. I was quite creative, loved books and reading, and very introverted, so I dreamed of doing something amazing with my talents. I was definitely very bookish like Hermione when I was young, so I wanted to write novels, but I also dreamed about being an actress because I loved playing different parts and pretending to be someone else for a while. English class and Drama club were my favourite places to be as a child. As an adult, I am a library assistant. This is not something I ever planned, though it’s not far off what I thought I might be good at. In the wizarding world, I’d like to hope I’d have had more of a clear career structure or plan, as there seem to be less options available to young wizards leaving school. I could see myself as a Hogwarts professor or school librarian, so it probably wouldn’t be that different to where I’ve ended up.
What kinds of decisions are the most difficult for you to make? I am absolutely not a decisive person and I struggle with most decisions to be honest! I’ll be convinced about something one day and then I’ll have totally changed my mind the next. I think the decisions that are hardest are the ones that affect things long-term. For example, I was supposed to be going to study a course this year, but I ended up putting it off due to various factors including my husband being made redundant and starting a new job. I am now doubting if it is the right path for me, or if I should try something completely different, because I don’t want to waste four years of my life on the wrong course of action. I’m obsessed with the concept of time and not wasting any, because I do have so much I would like to achieve over the course of my life, but in worrying about what course of action to take, I often hold myself back and don’t take a step that might benefit me. I am quite risk-averse and spend a lot of time weighing up options, trying to decide on my best move. So I definitely think the decisions that are hardest for me are the ones that aren’t easily changeable or affect the medium-long-term future.
If you had the opportunity to live forever, under what conditions would you accept? And if you did choose to live forever, what would you do with eternity? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that I wouldn’t accept this under any conditions. The earth is dying, and I don’t want to be here to watch humanity die out. Even under the conditions that somehow this wouldn’t ever happen, I still think forever is a very long time to be alive. I always used to think I would want to live forever if my loved ones could stay with me and we all lived healthily, but I have gotten older and more cynical, and now I think that there are some things I don’t want to live through. What if I reached 90 or 100 and realised I had lived a full life but was done with living? Would there be an option to change my mind? Honestly, I don’t think anyone really needs to live forever. I want to be here for my family for as long as possible, and watch my daughter grow up, and I want to live my life to its fullest while I am here, but that’s enough for me nowadays.
What is one thing you would never want said about you? I’ve had a lot of things said about me over the years, I’m sure, and there has probably been some truth in some of the things that have been said, because we’re all only human and have made mistakes. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about others thought, but since I’ve hit my 30s, I worry so much less about this, and more about trying to be a good person for the sake of my loved ones. I wouldn’t want anybody to say I’m not a good and tolerant person, but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter that much to me if someone I barely know says that. It matters to me what my friends and family think of me, and if they think I’m a good person, I’ll be happy with that. That’s not to say that I won’t get angry or infuriated with someone else saying things like that about me, but I’m done trying to change people’s minds about me.
Do you believe that moral actions should be judged by the intentions behind them, or by the consequences they create? This is definitely a grey area for me and I can’t say one or the other is more important. I think everyone should take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, and for example, if you accidentally killed someone, that would be a tough issue, as it clearly wasn’t intended, but you still killed someone and caused great pain to their loved ones. However, if a person steals food from a shop to feed their starving family, I’d judge that based on intentions, because their heart was in the right place and they were just trying to feed their loved ones. What I am saying is that it depends on a lot of factors, including the severity of the action taken.
What do you look for in a friend? There are a few important traits that I look for in a friend. It is important to me that they are open-minded and tolerant, because I absolutely cannot stand bigots and I couldn’t be friends with anyone who had close-minded ideas about the world. I’d like them to be kind and empathetic, and good at listening. I also look for a sense of fun and a willingness to explore the world and try new things. I look for the kind of friend who would be up for nice quiet dinners, rather than big nights out, as I’m somewhat of an introvert and I get on best with people I can have a good chat with, and who don’t mind going out in small groups. Intelligence in a person is an asset, but I’d never judge them for being less intelligent. The important thing for me is that they are able to hold a decent and interesting conversation with me, as I’m a really introspective person, and I need someone to bounce ideas around with. Individual sense of style and a strong idea of their own interests also appeals to me, because I know they wouldn’t judge me for my quirkier style, interests, and traits.
What trait most annoys you about other people? I’m actually a bit annoyed at someone today for a trait that really bugs me, so I think I’ll use that as my answer! I find it really annoying when people are super disorganised, don’t clean up after themselves, or think it’s okay to just raid through another person’s things without putting them back where they came from! I wouldn’t say I’m the world’s most organised person, but I do have systems for everything, particularly at work when I NEED to be organised to run the sessions for small children, and I spend a lot of time planning things, making lists and organising supplies. I am quite a particular person, I think, and it’s really only a trait I’ve become aware of recently. I wouldn’t say I’m a neat freak or anything, because I’m absolutely not that, but I like my things to be organised a certain way, and if someone comes in and messes that up, I get really irritated. I also think this is a lot to do with privacy and personal space. Being an introvert who LOVES my own space, I hate the idea of anyone coming and messing with that, whether at work or at home. So this is a big ramble, but basically I hate when people don’t respect other people’s space and privacy. There are lots of other traits that annoy me, such as when people are not understanding of other people's circumstances, or lack empathy. Lastly, I get super angry about any kind of bigotry because I just think we are all human, and deserve equality.
What do you think are your top five abilities or qualities?
Empathetic: I feel what other people are feeling, and I work my hardest to support others and be there for them. I am a great listener and a great friend, and these traits are part of the reason I am considering training as a counsellor of some kind. I have recently completed a short course where counselling skills were used, and another person on the course told me I did a really good job of getting her to open up and supporting her. Intelligent: I hate listing this as a trait because it sounds like bragging to me, but I am intelligent and well-educated. I have two degrees, including a Masters, and you don’t get two degrees without some brains. I have always loved books and reading and have always pushed myself to be the best that I can be academically. After completing my first degree, I went straight into a Masters degree in a subject that I was passionate about, not because of any career goals (it’s in Victorian Literature, which is definitely not a vocational subject), but because it was a huge interest of mine and I was excited to study it in more detail. Determined: When I set my sights on something, I won’t stop until I achieve it, and I am extremely dedicated to my goals. Although I can change my mind a lot, if something is really important to me, I absolutely won’t drop it until I’ve achieved it. I am a very hard worker and I’m always working on something, whether to do with work, home, or any kind of side project. Years ago, working in libraries, I wanted to run the story/rhyme sessions for small children, but I left for a new job before I received the training. Now I have come back to a similar role, within a day of starting it, I’d accepted an offer to take over and run the sessions! I am now running them on a weekly basis and they are some of the best-attended sessions in the city, which shows my tenacity and dedication to the things that are important to me. Resilient: There’s no nice way to explain it: I’ve experienced a lot of shit in my lifetime, with coming from a broken home, nasty exes, toxic friends and mental health issues, but I’ve always come out on top and I continue to fight every day to move past the things that have held me back. I’m a strong person who has overcome a lot of obstacles, and I have continually taken charge of my own life to improve my well-being. Optimistic: Despite struggling with my mental health throughout my life, I am generally a very positive person and I always try to look on the bright side of things. I am very enthusiastic and cheerful, which shows in my skill in working with small children, and I can cheer anybody up if I try. Despite being quite anxious about the state of the world, I am good at drowning out the negative thoughts, and through a kind of forced optimism, I keep smiling even in the darkest of times. I can be quite relentless in my positivity at times, and I have a bit of a rep as a Little Miss Sunshine-type of person.
What do you think are your top five weaknesses or worst qualities?
Self-critical: I put myself down way more than I should, and I’ve always struggled with low self-esteem. I give myself a hard time for things I would never dream of judging someone else for, and I lack belief in my own skills and abilities. Despite being well-educated with a great deal of interesting work experience, I still give myself a hard time for not being as far forward in my career as I think I ‘should’ be, for example. Anxious: I am a worrier by nature and always have been. I also struggle with an anxiety disorder. Although I am optimistic, as I mentioned above, I still worry a lot about the little things and let them get to me at times. I have developed coping mechanisms to help with this, such as meditation and exercise, and I have also started asking myself the question, ‘is this problem going to matter a year from now? 5 years from now?’ etc, to get some perspective when I am feeling anxious. Temperamental: I can be moody at times, and often take it out on those around me. I’ll go into a sulk over something that is worrying me, and I will snap at my husband for no reason. It’s something I dislike about myself and I keep trying to change, but I think I am just a bit of a moody person, truth be told. My moods change really quickly though, so I can be grumpy one minute and feeling much better the next, so thankfully I don’t tend to fixate on one issue for too long. Sensitive: If someone makes a critical comment about me, it will play on my mind for a long time afterwards. I HAVE developed thicker skin over the last few years and am not as sensitive as I used to be (the slightest criticism used to send me into floods of tears!) but I do still struggle with not taking things to heart. If the whole team isn’t performing well at work, I will make that about me and assume I am the one to blame, when in reality, I probably work harder than a lot of people. Indecisive: I change my mind a lot. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve changed my mind about the traits for this form. I’ll decide I want to do something, then next week, I’ll have forgotten about it. This is infuriating for my loved ones, who will say, ‘Oh I thought you were going to do x’, and I’ll have this really long explanation for why I’ve changed my mind about that. Like I said above, I’m very determined when I set my mind to something, but until I’m 100% sure it’s the right thing, I can change my mind a whole bunch of times.
Where did you find out about us? I was a member a few months back and left for RL reasons. I decided to go through the sorting process again when returning for the sake of my own curiosity.
Do you plan on being active in the communities once you are sorted? I was active before, so I’m sure I’ll be active again.