What HP character do you identify with most and why? When I reread the series most recently, I identified most with Minerva McGonagall. There’s a moment early on in the books where she questions Dumbledore, and she finds herself Every Woman, listening to a man choose a course that is incomprehensible, and likely not the best path. So, I paid attention. She’s intelligent. She sticks firm to her values, while knowing what sort order they are in. For example, she’s a stickler for the rules, but willing to bend them to allow Harry onto the quidditch team for the benefit of her house. She protected the students from the Carrows and led the resistance in the Battle of Hogwarts. In terms of being a champion for others, for improved processes, for the security of everyone and an equal playing field because of those systems and processes, and in knowing my own values and sticking to them unapologetically, I am very similar to Minerva. There are areas where we are not the same, i.e. in what our actual values are, but I can relate to being a more than passingly competent woman in a world largely still run by men. We can see in the example of Harry Potter crossing Umbridge, earning a detention in his first class with her, that she also does what needs to be done which is a quality I like to think I share. After all, Minerva was sympathetic but warned him that Umbridge was not to be trifled with and that he should keep his head down
What one moment in the books was the most meaningful to you? I’m sure this has been said before, but the moment when Narcissa lies to everyone about Harry’s presence and effectively saves him is meaningful to me. We could go back and forth about any further motives she may have had outside of her son’s immediate safety, but for me, it was a moment of clarity into how she thinks. I love a strong female character, and Narcissa, in that moment, struck me as 1) highly intelligent, 2) extremely protective of her family, and 3) yet willing to do the right thing despite the risk if she was caught though her reasons were debatably noble. It just adds another layer of depth to a character that would otherwise likely come off as selfish, pompous, and trite. It also shows that the right outcome (as indicated below in my response) is really more important and redeeming that the reasons/justifications/intentions that led you to that outcome.
What would you see if you looked into the Mirror of Erised?Me, my wife, and my dogs sitting on a couch with a coffee table of our books -- her cookbooks and my novels -- in front of us. Us old enough to show that we can weather any storm thrown our way, which we have mostly proven given that we’re in a same sex marriage in a conservative state, and have bought and sold a house together and are working our way out of debt. Still, I would want that hope of knowing we made it past that, and made it past my current challenges around possible place on the asexual spectrum. That we’re happy, and healthy, and were able to pursue our most deeply coveted pursuits and be successful at them.
If you were to become headmaster at Hogwarts, what is one thing you would change about the school or how it operates? The one thing that has also stood out to me about Hogwarts is its sorting system where the students are classified at such a young age. This aspect of JKR's work lends itself more to a dystopia than to a fantasy novel. And, it's a bit inefficient, I think, leading to more cliques than would otherwise exist.
There are multiple students within the HP universe that we can discuss regarding whether or not they were sorted into the house that was best for them. Examples of students that are popularly scrutinized in this way include Hermione, Percy, and Neville, etc. If students can scrutinize their peers on the merits of belonging in XXX house, obviously there is room for improvement. And the root of the problem, as I look at this from many angles, seems to be the young age at which wizards and witches are sorted. Thus, my idea:
I believe wizards and witches should spend at least their first year, if not their first two years, unsorted. Hogwarts could accommodate the need for non-house affiliated dorms for the first and second years. This should foster a greater sense of house unity as relationships are built that will eventually be across house lines once they are sorted, and give the students more time to grow into their own and show their true colors. We have to remember that this is the first time, for many of the young students, that they are on their own, away from their families, and they will need all the support and understanding from their peers, the professors, and older students that they can get. To address the latter, I believe an elite group (where membership is a privilege earned and not an assumed right) of older students across all the houses should come together to form a welcome committee for the new students and to oversee the Hogwarts Club structure. Through the welcome committee and the myriad clubs, the first (and potentially second) years can get a taste of what life will be like once they make it into a house.
This type of system will also remove a bit of the fear involved with the sorting process. I mean, if it were you, how would you feel when you approached the stool within 30 minutes-ish of arriving at Hogwarts? I'm sure there would be nerves, and if you were a muggle-born witch/wizard with no relatives that have gone before to reassure you, you might even be shaking in your boots. Yet it is in that type of circumstance that JKR has her students find out where they ‘belong’. Certainly, it would help with situations like Neville’s where he feels as though he doesn’t belong where he indeed does belong. Yes, I think it would be better if the sorting aspect was postponed until the students were better acclimated to Hogwarts itself and had made friendships and support systems that would live on even after they had been sorted.
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? We have two pups. One who is 11 years and one who is three and a half years old. We love them like children, and I think when they pass, I would want some way to turn their essence into a living tattoo on my body. Something to remind me of them fondly without a ton of fuss and sadness. Something for closure. Perhaps it could be called Memores in Perpetuum (forever remembered).
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. Firstly, I would not go into the Forbidden Forest unless absolutely necessary; for the purposes of this question, we will assume it is necessary. I would bring Firenze because he’ll be able to help me get safely through the forest and back out of it, and he would be interesting conversation as well. He’s always struck me as someone who gives fantastic advice and mentorship, has excellent leadership skills, and has courage to balance my inherent caution. Additionally, I’d take a portkey for us to evacuate quickly if things got out of hand, or if I got scared in general.
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? I have been interested in many different professions in my life, but the common theme has been that they make use of my creativity and analytical skills, my ability to lead or follow, my flexibity, my work ethic, etc. Well, except for when I wanted to be a mermaid but I was like 3 years old so I think that can be excused. :D In my career, I’ve had many roles, but they’ve followed those same themes, and I’ve found that my flexibity is one of my more valuable traits, along with my ability to pass on knowledge, process, and mentor others to take on what I was doing so I can approach a new challenge or arena and improve it as well. Hopefully that doesn’t sound pompous... I’m just really grateful to have had the opportunity to apply my brain to confusing questions, discombobulated processes, and poor decision making to determine root cause and develop a strategy to work with a team to improve them and make everyone’s lives better...
What kinds of decisions are the most difficult for you to make? Decisions with only 2 possible options. Yes or no, questions. Would you rather A or B... Those sorts of things. They’re often not life or death, which also doesn’t help. 2 options is typically not enough to supply me with an option that I feel strongly aligned to, mostly due to the fact that I know there are more options than just 2 in most cases. My brain thinks in possible outcomes and in planning for those outcomes. Yes, it’s complex, but life is also complex and sometimes we over simplify with our reliance on binary solutions/problems/answers.
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? I don’t believe the benefits of living forever would outweigh the cost. For the purposes of this thought exercise, I think, as an introvert, I would want to be able to have some sort of anonymous existence past a certain age, but also have full access to changing technology and information on how to use it. I would want to be able to communicate with people anonymously through the changing technology and would likely pick a systemic problem at a time to tackle and try to influence the remediation of. I certainly wouldn’t be able to solve something that large on my own, but with proper time and resources, could funnel information and strategies to groups who could enact change. I really think that would be the only reason to live for eternity... To ensure that we keep making progress... I would otherwise become listless, I think...
What is one thing you would never want said about you? I would hate to hear that people don’t think I add value. I put a lot of stock into knowing that I can add value, whether that be in the work environment, or whether I can add value as a friend through a listening ear and being a good support system.
Do you believe that moral actions should be judged by the intentions behind them, or by the consequences they create? We should judge actions based on the outcomes they achieve. It matters less whether someone intended to hurt you, or hurt the population at large, than whether that hurt actually happened. If we don’t enforce the guidelines and boundaries of right and wrong behavior, then the unintentional will not learn to be intentional, conscious decision makers. I do believe, however, that the level of consequence can be impacted by the type of intention, though we would have to take someone’s word as true in regards to their intentions. And that word may or may not be trustworthy... though it’s unlikely for someone to lie about having a negative intention after a positive outcome.
I.e. Positive or No Outcome + Positive Intention = Commendation Positive or No Outcome + Negative Intention = Warning but no consequence Negative Outcome + Positive Intention = Lowest Severity Consequence Negative Outcome + Negative Intention = Highest Severity Consequence
It’s about balance and about making sure that the system acts as both protection and deterrent.
What do you look for in a friend? loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness, the ability to listen, an analytical mind, someone who also has dreams and goals they’re pursuing, a cheerleader / someone I can be a cheerleader for. Someone who will be understanding of my need to introvert at times.
What trait most annoys you about other people? when there is a lack of motivation/drive (not present in all people, but in some). I refuse to spend my time and energy trying to help someone who won’t help themselves, and who doesn’t show any initiative and ambition and follow through. I also like to surround myself with people who expect the sane from me.
What do you think are your top five abilities or qualities? 1. Driven - I don’t settle, and I always have a goal or dream I’m working towards 2. Analytical - I think this one speaks for itself, yeah? :) 3. Determined - If I find something wrong or see an issue with things, I either fix it or bring it up as a discussion topic so it can be fixed. I will work endlessly to see that change happen too if it’s something I believe in. 4. Resourceful - I’m good at making do with what is at hand, at stretching supplies, at approaching problems creatively in the moment to get to working solutions 5. Strategic - I’m a planner and a thinker and have an ability to foresee various possible options to navigate to the best known path at the time and guide others along it.
What do you think are your top five weaknesses or worst qualities? 1. Sometimes Impatient - When I recognize that something needs to change to make it better, I want that change to have already happened or to happen as quickly as possible, though this can also be argued to be a good quality because it prompts me to work my hardest to ensure the change happens as quickly as possible. 2. Sometimes Lazy - I’m lazy about things that don’t affect other people and am therefore a bit bad about taking care of myself sometimes. Right now, I know I need to clean, I need to take an LSAT test to get a baseline to start a study program, and I need to start exercising again, but, since none of that affects anyone else, I choose to procrastinate on them because they’re a hassle and who else cares about it? It’s only when things affect my friends or people at work or there’s some political thing in the news that I get busy and hard to work to change things and make them better. 3. Sometimes Aloof - I’m slow to warm up to people I don’t know yet and can seem standoffish because I also like to observe as an introvert 4. Sometimes Anxious - I tend to overanalyze things, even things that aren’t meant to be analyzed. I want everything to have a rational answer that I can fall back on because rationality equals security and truth in my mind. Unfortunately, some things, like emotions, are just not rational. 5. Sometimes Critical - Again, I over analyze, and I also have high standards for myself and other.
Where did you find out about us? Previous member (years ago) :)
Do you plan on being active in the communities once you are sorted? Yes, I hope to. Certainly have more time at the moment. Fingers crossed!