Category Archives: Response 4

White Witch’s Wellspring

Of Terry Pratchette’s many references to famous fairy tales and fantasy stories in Witches Abroad, the comparison between Lilith and the White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia is one that is not as clearly stated such as comparisons to the story of Cinderella. In the Chronicles of Narnia, it is said that Lilith is the mother of the White Witch. Through Pratchette’s character Lilith, he expands on the characteristics of Lilith from the Chronicles of Narnia, thus making connections to C.S. Lewis’s White Witch and alluding to why her characteristics were greedy, manipulative, and oppressive. One specific characteristic that is very evident between both Lilith from Witches Abroad and the White Witch is that both hold a facade that they are kind and out to perform acts for the greater good, but in fact, their actions are misleading and destructive. The White Witch was able to lure Edmund into bringing his siblings to Narnia by offering him Turkish delight and hot cocoa infused with her dark magic, while Lilith becomes the power behind the throne of Genua by becoming heavily involved with narrative magic and using mirrors to boost her power. “‘Her who’s behind all this,’ said Mrs. Gogol. Ogg. I mean her. Her with her mirror magic. Her who likes to control. Her who’s in charge” (Pratchett 225). Just like the similarities between their oppressive actions, they both were equally punished by some form of magic. The White Witch was defeated by her ignorance, for she did not know of the deeper magic that goes back beyond the dawn of time; therefore, Aslan was born again, and made haste to defeat the White Witch. In the mirror universe, Lilith and Granny are confronted by endless reflections. Death tells them that they are both alive and dead, and can only escape when they find the one version of themselves that is real. Granny looks down at herself and simply says,”This one” (Pratchett 344). Lilith, whose whole life has consisted of reflections, is unable to choose and is doomed to spend the rest of time imprisoned in a dimension of mirrors, and has not been seen since.
Good Witch or Bad Witch Survey

How the dwarves from The Hobbit and the dwarves from Witches Abroad differ

 

There are many differences between Tolkien’s representation of dwarves in The Hobbit and the representation of dwarves in Witches Abroad.  A big difference that stands out between the dwarves in The Hobbit and the dwarves in Witches Abroad is freedom.  In The Hobbit the dwarves just showed up at Bilbo’s home to try and persuade him to go on an adventure with them.  The dwarves had a choice of whether or not to go on the adventure, they weren’t forced to do anything.   In Witches Abroad the dwarves were treated more as servants, even though it seems as if they chose this life for themselves.  When the witches arrived at the disaster site dozens of dwarfs were working feverishly to prop the cracked roof and cart away the debris, some were even in tears.  This shows how hard they are forced to work.  As they arrived to the site of the boat, they took a large basket off of an attendant dwarf that was packed with food.  You can see how they were carelessly treated by the King.

The dwarves from The Hobbit were also very rood.  When the dwarves started to arrive at Bilbo’s place, they just came in as if they were being expected.  “…and he too hopped inside as soon as the door was open, just as if he had been invited.”  On the other hand, the dwarves from Witches Abroad were much more caring and proper.  Granny Weatherwax was impressed by the dwarves.  She said that you didn’t often see proper dwarf halls in those days.  Most dwarfs were off earning money in the cities down in the lowlands, where it was much easier to be a dwarf.  And for one thing, you didn’t have to spend most of your time underground hitting your thumb with a hammer and worrying fluctuations in the international metal markets.

The dwarves from Witches Abroad also seemed to have been gifted with some sort of magical powers.  When Granny Weatherwax was going through the basket of food she came across a small packet of food.  “That’s the famous dwarf bread, that is.  They don’t give that to just anyone…they say it never goes stale even if you stores it for years,” said Granny.  Nanny Ogg also added that it can keep you going for days.  When Magrat went to go and eat it, she couldn’t even break a piece off.  Then Granny mentioned that it’s more for sort of keeping you going.  Which means that you don’t have to actually eat the food to keep yourself going.

 

Just as long as the Story is Told

In Terry Pratchett’s, Witches Abroad, the witches in this story are not like our everyday fairytale witches. The witches aren’t the typical kinds of witches although the one thing they do resemble to the all the other witches is that sometimes they can be pretty rude and they seem to speak out of turn a lot. Although as witches, I suppose it makes sense for them to do that considering they expect everyone to respect them regardless of anything. It’s interesting how Terry Pratchett makes a lot of references to a few other fairytales, although when he does make references to them, it is in an ironic way.

The first fairytale that Terry Pratchett makes reference to is Cinderella.  When Margrat receives a package delivered by Hurker sent from Desiderata, the package turns out to be a wand that makes her a fairy godmother (Witches Abroad 33-34) Earlier in the text it is mentioned that Desiderata wanted to be a fairy godmother and as we know, for a witch that is not common at all. The interesting thing is that after Desiderata dies, everyone else is looking for it. But since Magrat receives the wand that makes her a fairy godmother. Magrat’s task was to go to Genua so that “Ella Saturday must NOTTE marry the prins.” (Witches Abroad 34) What’s really ironic about this is that fairy godmothers are supposed to help young ladies find there prince, but instead, this fairy godmother has to break p this marriage. By doing so, this makes one think back at all the fairy tales that we’ve read that involve fairy godmothers and think of how the characters are portrayed and if marrying a prince will really solve all of your problems.

 

  

The next fairy tale that Terry Pratchett makes a reference to is Little Red Riding Hood. This happens when “Nanny raised the hem of her skirt. She was wearing red boots” (Witches Abroad 47). The red boots makes reference to Little Red Riding Hood’s red cloak. When Granny see’s this, she does not approve of it and she says, “You know what they say about women who wear red boots” (Witches Abroad 47). For those who have read the original Little Red Riding Hood story, and then we know that Little Red Riding Hood was portrayed as a hoe because of how she basically performs a strip tease and she dies in one of the many versions of the story. And because she was wearing a red cloak, the color red is perceived as a seductive color and it is also means blood.

By making references to other fairy tales, this helps add humor to the story and it also helps see the witches in another light. The reference to the other stories goes along with what Terry Pratchett begins the tale with by saying that “Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats” (Witches Abroad 9).

 

Charlie Bucket is a hero merely by default.  In the grand scheme of fairy tales and fantasy, he is not a true fairy tale hero.  The only reason he is a hero in this novel, is because he is simply the least horrible of all the other children.  Charlie is a very passive character, and encounters most of his fortune by luck alone.  It is sheer luck that allows Charlie to find the dollar bill in the town.  In any case, a true hero would not have indulged him or herself on chocolate with the dollar, but instead would have spent it on food for their family.  Charlie though, in a moment of normal, human weakness, chooses to buy chocolate, and is lucky enough to find the fifth golden ticket in his second purchase.  While it is true that Charlie is for the most part not greedy, selfish, and spoiled, and has very few if any bad traits, he doesn’t really act on his good traits.  For example, when Augustus got sucked into the chocolate river pipe, a true fairy tale hero would have made some attempt to save him despite his negative character.  Yet Charlie stood by passively, commenting that Augustus really “has stuck” (74).  He has similar reactions to all of the other children’s misfortunes.  While there is nothing particularly wrong about Charlie’s inaction, it is not heroic, for a hero would have gone into action.

In truth, Charlie’s good traits are set upon a heroic pedestal merely because all of the other children are spoiled and horrendously ill mannered, and Charlie is not.  By comparison to the others, Charlie seems like an angel, when truthfully he is simply not bad rather than truly good.  In fact, he was really lucky that those four children were the other ones to receive the golden tickets, for he may have had a tougher challenge if different, truly good children had won the tickets.  Rather than win the competition, Charlie just does not lose.  All the other children lost, and so Charlie “was the only one left,” and won by default of being the only candidate (142).  In the end, it is luck that again wins out for Charlie.  By not losing, he has gained an incredibly successful factory, which will sustain his family and provide him with a job, and never-ending chocolate.  All this because Willy Wonka was “giving it to him” (151).  Charlie never had to earn the factory; it was just given to him.  A true hero would have had to work hard and pass some difficult test to gain such a reward, while Charlie only did not lose.

Civil Rights for Werewolves

While the Harry Potter novels are full of magic and things that don’t exist in our world, J.K. Rowling included some parallels to our world as well. One of these parallels is discrimination. This is shown mainly through the Dursley’s mistreatment of Harry. They are always extremely mean to him for what appears to be no reason other than the fact that he is a wizard. They hate him for being what he is. The Dursleys always refer to wizards as “your lot” when they talk to Harry about them. The Dursleys, being Muggles who know about the existence of wizards, may hate them out of fear for the powers that they possess. Aunt Petunia has a prejudice against wizards because her sister was gifted with the ability to perform magic and she was not. Aunt Petunia’s sister (Harry’s mother) got to go off to Hogwarts while Petunia had to live a normal Muggle life. It is because of these things that the Dursleys treat Harry so poorly. It is kind of like a way to lash out at the wizarding world.

Another example of prejudice in this book is the way werewolves are treated. This form of discrimination is interesting because it exists in the magical world. Professor Lupin tries to keep his being a werewolf a secret but when he is discovered at the end of the novel he has to leave Hogwarts. It is not Lupin’s fault that he is a werewolf but he still has to deal with the mistreatment. Professor Snape hates Lupin for being a werewolf because when they were in school Sirius tried to get Snape to enter the shrieking shack on a full moon while Lupin was transformed. Lupin really hasn’t done anything to bring on the hatred for being a werewolf except for being a werewolf.

Harry is a Hero

Harry Potter has many expectations thrust upon him due to his fame, but it is through his actions that he proves his heroism.  Harry had the qualifications of a hero as a baby, surviving an attack from “the most feared Dark wizard…Voldemort” and making Voldemort flee (6).  This past makes people very admiring of Harry.  However, he is not only heroic for a past he scarcely remembers; he is heroic because he disregards his own safety while fearing for others and he shows mercy to people who harm him.

Harry shows heroic qualities such as fortitude—he is determined to learn to fight dementors, for example, wanting to conquer his fears no matter what.  He also sacrifices himself for others when they are in danger.  When a dog attacks his friend Ron and pulls him into a passageway, Harry knows there is not enough time to get help and runs after him; the only thing he can “think of [is] Ron and what the…dog might be doing to him” (337).  He disregards his own safety many times, refusing to leave Ron when Professor Lupin turns into a werewolf, for example; he also runs into a crowd of dementors to save his godfather Sirius while knowing dementors have a more horrible effect on him than anyone else.   In addition, he does all he can to save a hippogriff Buckbeak from execution, deciding to rescue Buckbeak and have Sirius escape on him. His risk of being caught by the executioners is very high; he determinedly says, “We’ve got to try, haven’t we?” at Hermione’s doubt (396).  When he, Sirius and Hermione collapse due to swarms of dementors, Harry saves them all—to Hermione’s shock— with the spell “expecto patronum.”  She tells him that it is “very, very advanced magic” (412).  Through Harry’s concern for others, he shows his defensive talent and saves many people, including Ron, Hermione, Sirius and a man called Peter Pettigrew.

Harry’s mercy is the next trait that makes him so heroic.  Not only is he extremely brave and loyal, he also shows compassion to those who might not seem to deserve it.  When he meets the man he thinks is the reason for his parents’ deaths, he cannot kill him; “his nerve…[fails] him,” or his compassion shows through (343).  He also gives the man—Sirius Black—a chance to explain himself, stopping Professor Snape from sending Sirius to the dementors.   This mercy is fortunate, because Sirius turns out to be innocent and becomes a great friend to Harry.  However, Harry shows his mercy yet again with Peter Pettigrew.  He realizes that Pettigrew is the real reason for his parents’ deaths, but he runs in front of Pettigrew when Sirius and Lupin want to kill him, saying, “You can’t kill him…you can’t” (375).  Harry’s heroics lie in his compassion for every person and his desire to fight for this compassion; he truly does make a name for himself regardless of the events surrounding his birth.

The Eyes Have It

“I expect you’ll tire of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James. Except for the eyes…you have your mother’s eyes.”(427) It is often said that the eyes are the window to the soul. This is significant where Harry is concerned because it leads us to conclude that Rowling was trying to show that, while Harry looks a lot like his father on the outside, on the inside he has his mother’s personality. This personality shows itself particularly strongly in the company that both Harry and James keep.

            James is not a bully, but he does enjoy being the center of attention and he can’t help showing off sometimes. This is first seen during the conversation between the teachers in the Three Broomsticks, when Professor McGonagall describes both him and Black as “leaders of their little gang” and “exceptionally bright” (204). Their “little gang” consisted of James, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. Further on in the conversation McGonagall states that Pettigrew was “never quite in their league, talent-wise,” and that he “hero-worshipped Black and Potter” (207). From this conversation is seems as if James allowed Pettigrew into their group because he was in awe of everything they did. James probably loved having Pettigrew “tagging around after them at Hogwarts” (207). This eventually comes back to haunt James. He, Lupin, and Black felt real loyalty towards each other because they had formed genuine bonds of friendship based on whether they enjoyed being with each other instead of what they could provide for each other. With Pettigrew, however, they allowed him to be their friend because he loved everything they did, never recognizing that he felt no true loyalty towards them and was only their friend because they were popular and could protect him if he needed it.

            The relationship between Harry and his friends is markedly different than his father’s because he has more of his mother’s personality. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are friends not because they feel they can benefit from each other, but because they enjoy each other’s company. Their friendship is truer than the friendship between James and Pettigrew because none of them are looking to gain anything from the friendship except a friend. In addition to Ron and Hermione, Harry is also friends with Neville Longbottom, a boy who is very similar to Peter Pettigrew. Neville is seemly not very talented and is usually impressed by what the trio do. Unlike, Pettigrew however, Neville does not feel the need to tag along incessantly after the trio nor is he friends with them simply because Harry is famous. Likewise, Harry is not friends with Neville just because Neville thinks Harry is someone to be admired. Harry’s friendship with Neville is like his mother’s would be. Harry is kind and accepting of Neville because it is the right thing to do; whereas James only accepted Pettigrew for the adoration he would give himself and the others.

When it comes to loyalty however, Harry is very similar to his father. James would have rather died than betray his friends, even Pettigrew, and Harry would do the same for Ron, Hermione, and Neville. Unfortunately, Harry and James also make the mistake of acquiring childhood enemies. In the first book, we learn that James and Snape were enemies at school. This relationship is shown in more depth as the books progress, especially anytime Harry mentions his father in front of Snape. This childish relationship of hatred is mirrored in Harry and Draco’s relationship.  Harry and Draco hate each other almost the minute they enter the school. This relationship is similar to that of James and Snape because in both relationships it is a case of Gryffindor vs. Slytherin and hatred of Dark Arts vs. fascination with Dark Arts. These relationships do differ however, in the way they are executed. At one point Snape reveals to Harry “Your saintly father and his friends played a highly amusing joke on me that would have resulted in my death…had their joke succeeded, he would have been expelled” (285). This quote shows that James and his friends often goaded Snape into doing things, which resulted in him taking every opportunity to get them back. In the Harry and Draco relationship however, it is usually Draco that picks the fights and goads Harry and his friends. The trio, for the most part, only responds to Draco out of defense of themselves or others. When he insults Hagrid for crying over Buckbeak, “Harry and Ron both made furious moves… Hermione got there first…she had slapped Malfoy across the face” (293). They never try to jinx Draco in the hallway or trick him into doing something stupid or dangerous. James and Snape had a more balanced relationship of hatred with both sides attacking the other, whereas Harry and Draco’s relationship is slightly unbalanced with Draco instigating more of the issues then Harry.

Harry has avoided some of the pitfalls his father fell into in terms of his friends because of having more of his mother’s personality. Unlike his father, Harry chooses not to become friends with people who only like him because he is famous; instead befriending people he enjoys being with and whom he can be himself around. Harry and his friends feel a deep loyalty to each other and therefore he will not run into the same problem of betrayal that his father did. However, the pitfall that Harry was unable to avoid was the acquisition of a childhood enemy. Both he and his father gained enemies at school, although James’s proved to be fatal, while Harry’s did not.

JK Rowling Makes it Cool to be a Strong Witch

As one of the most popular women writers of modern fiction our generation has ever known, it is no surprise that JK Rowling reflects many strong and independent women in her text.  The masterful development of her beloved characters, across the span of seven series, is partly due to the way in which she opposes her leading ladies with men who bring out stereotypical traits in one another.  For example; headmaster Dumbledore is seen as the stereotypical wizard who is depicted very similar to that of the famous Merlin while his direct counterpart Professor McGonagall represents the media’s common depiction of what a witch looks and acts like I had always imagined a typical witch to be, “she transformed herself in front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes.”(121), along with her connection to the classic familiar  Minerva McGonagall is given the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom and reason which her character embodies.  Dumbledore and Minerva are the two figures that the young Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger look up to.  This brings me to Hermione, and how Rowling brings her personality to the forefront of this story. Her eager thirst for knowledge and her ability to keep up with her curious and at times reckless companions, Harry and Ron, molds her into a person that the author’s readers want to be.  At the beginning of the novel we learn that Hermione has chosen to take on more courses than a student at Hogwarts is required to, simply because she can never get enough knowledge; “ ‘Well, I’m taking more new subjects than you, are’ said Hermione. “Those are my books for Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, the Study of Ancient Runes, Muggle Studies’”.(97)  Rowling utilizes this to support her character profile.  Hermione is described as “the cleverest witch in Harry’s year,”(8) and time and time again proves her worth by being the brains behind many of the trio’s hi-jinks.  She serves to act as the logical voice of reason and as they mature together Hermione grows into not just the bookworm but she becomes the feminine touch in their friendship. This contrast may not be obvious but it does hold a valid point because of how the balance of stereotypical gender roles in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban does not leave women out of the picture, JK Rowling puts a positive spin on strong women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muggle Society

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K Rowling tries to
portray the characteristics of the world through her characters and the
secondary world that she creates. In the story, the humans are said to be
muggles, but are portrayed in a demeaning way, and witches are portrayed as
good figures. This shows how humans in the world sometimes act different ways
towards things because of their different attitudes. In the story, the muggles
have characteristics that degrade the human population.

The Dursley family is
portrayed as very mean, selfish, and prejudice towards others. They do not act
nice towards Harry and only care about themselves and their needs. When Harry
asks Uncle Vernon if he could sign his permission form, Uncle Vernon replies by
saying “If, at the end of it, you’ve toed the line and kept to the story, I’ll
sign your ruddy form” (Rowling 21). This shows that Uncle Vernon is only
worried about his needs and how Harry will act towards his guest so he decides
to give into Harry’s wish. This makes a reference to how humans worry about
their own desire, and end up doing anything to fulfill it. Even though Uncle
Vernon hates the fact that he has to do as Harry wishes he is more concerned
with the fact of how Harry will act towards Aunt Marge.

In the story, Aunt Mary
is shown as a muggle who is very prejudice. When she comes over she makes as
many attempts as she can to make Harry’s life miserable. She criticizes every
aspect of Harry. “If there’s something rotten on the inside, there’s nothing
that anyone can do about it” (Rowling 25). This shows that humans are sometimes
prejudicing towards others when they feel insecure about something. Aunt Marge
makes very demeaning comments about Harry without knowing him to make her-self
feel secure.

J.K Rowling demeans
humans through the characteristics that she gives to the muggles. She shows
that human society as a whole is very selfish and self-centered. She also shows
that humans are greedy and can go to any extent to fulfill their wish. Rowling
validates witches and gives them good characteristics to build on the
characteristics that she gives muggles to give a clearer picture about how the
human society behaves as a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work
cited

Rowling,
J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban. New York: Scholastic,
1999. Print.

 

“It is our choices, that show what we truly are.”

To a great extent, J.K. Rowling attempts to show the injustice of classifying people by social and racial prejudices. She has the wise and all-knowing character, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, scold those who show prejudices against other wizards and creatures, as well as those who show hatred toward Muggles. In contrast, Voldemort, the antagonist, and his followers, despise Muggles and any other person or creatures that are not wizards like themselves. However, despite all of this work to show the unfairness of holding prejudices based on race or social class, some prejudices appear unintentionally throughout Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Rowling has the main characters confront many common prejudices in the Wizarding world, some that many people make in the real world. One such prejudice, is the way students from the Slytherin house, lead mainly by Draco Malfoy, treat their new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. The Slytherins judge and mock Professor Lupin by how much money he has, a common social prejudice in our world today, saying ‘“Look at the state of his robes…he dresses like our old house-elf”’(141). The story continues that nobody else cares about Lupin’s poverty, as he is such a good teacher. As Slytherins are often characterized as being the villains and poor decision makers, Rowling has thus shown young readers not to form prejudices against those who may fall into a different social class as their own. Rowling also addresses this prejudice many times throughout the series with poverty of the Weasley family, showing their happiness and unity despite having to buy second-hand robes and books.

Despite these large efforts show the injustice of stereotypes and prejudices against those, who may not be like you, Rowling creates an unintentional bias against Muggles. Among other things, wizards often view Muggles as dimwitted, as Stan Shunpike, conductor of the Knight Bus points out saying they ‘“Don’ listen properly, do they? Don’ look properly either. Never notice nuffink, they don’”’(36). Muggles appear too foolish to the wizard world to notice a large double-decker bus speeding down the street. This prejudice is exemplified further by Harry’s own bias against the Muggle world from his miserable childhood. At the beginning of the novel, Harry is intent on leaving and getting as far away from his Muggle family as possible, shown by his running away from home saying “I’m going…I’ve had enough”(30). Harry’s longing to be back in a world with other wizards, creates a prejudice in readers against living in a world without magic.

Rowling’s attempt to break old prejudices is strong effort and effective. It will undoubtedly send the message that judging others by their class or heritage is wrong. Nonetheless readers are consistently reminded throughout this book and the entire series how superior wizards and witches are when compared to Muggles. Thankfully this is not a prejudice that corresponds to groups in our world, so no harm may come of it.