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Recent Blog Entries

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  1. Today
  2. Lady Ausra

    For Love of Fanfiction

    Yeesh. I feel so sorry for you, with that kind of teacher; I'm glad you've gained the knowledge I have, and that you've gained that kind of understanding about myself, and that you're just figured out how fantastic you are - very. Congrats on your test scores despite the bad teacher, and book, and moving on to do awesome things with your life! Thank you so much for your kind words, and I'm glad my post proved so entertaining, and insightful.
  3. Yesterday
  4. scooterbug8515

    For Love of Fanfiction

    I really liked this blog and can sympathize in a lot of ways though my school days are long behind me. I hated my English classes. The technical mechanics were lost on me to a degree and I found diagramming sentences stupidly frightful. I also suffered under one teacher who tried to teach creative writing and yet had little to no creative bones within her own body. By the time I finished her class said teacher told my mother and I that creative writing was not my skill set at all after handing me my sealed national creative writing test results. Upon opening the results? I had the highest score possible which I had been told was very difficult to achieve. So don't loose heart soon you will be out from under the less than creative teachers who go by the book and then you can continue to soar through wonderful worlds both in reading and in writing. I know I didn't let that teacher get me down and I have been tempted on more than one occasion to quietly send the woman a copy of my book reminding her of what she told my mother and I but that is simply petty so I won't. Also you are not alone in discovering your identity via the fanfic community. I didn't learn until much later in life that I am Asexual but it has been so liberating particularly the part about not being broken. I spent a lot of time in high school wondering that very thing so having an understanding now helps so much. So I am happy for you that you know the truth at a younger age than me. So keep being beautiful and amazing! Your blog was a delightful read.
  5. Last week
  6. Lady Ausra

    For Love of Fanfiction

    Oh, dear... that means so much, thank you, you have no idea. Ever since I've found fanfiction, it's been a wild personal ride, but I think it's been a great one, and it'll only get better if you all are anything to judge by. But serious props to you for giving your students that kind of an assignment, really. It means a ton to know there are teachers like you not giving out the assignments I described in my personal soapbox above. I agree with you on the importance of essays (Even if I seem to prefer writing unconventional ones), though, I seem to keep getting the by-the-book teachers. Thanks for reading, and for the great welcome!
  7. Unwritten Curse

    For Love of Fanfiction

    I want to echo what @Margaret has said. I’m also an English/Language Arts teacher and one of the things I want my students to cultivate is their own creativity. I think essays can be a way to do that. I let my students choose a topic and I tell them to imagine the person they are writing to in order to give their writing voice. I’ve had students who have hated writing tell me that they are excited to work on their essays. I don’t say this to brag—I say it because I think there’s something to be said for the “typical English essay” and its capacity to help students communicate their opinions and, often, to come into their own. I do sympathize, though, because I know there are teachers out there who teach “by the book” and focus on structure instead of voice. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with that, but I do agree it’s less engaging. (Also, studies have shown that explicit grammar instruction can actually cause writing skills to plummet. So I do very little and I try to make it fun.) But more importantly, I am so glad you found our community! I feel the same about fanfiction. It has always (well, almost always) felt like fun to me—not a chore, not a duty. It’s a place I could explore the craziness in my head. And I immediately gravitated to HP fanfiction because the world felt so familiar to me—kind of like coming home. I also admire you so much for sharing your thoughts on love and opening up about your sexuality. You’ll find that we are an incredibly inclusive community and I am so proud to be a part of it. I’m never afraid to share personal things because I know that these wonderful humans are some of the best out there and they won’t judge me. They’re all supportive. And like I said: The. Best. You’ll fit right in, hun.
  8. FawkesyLady

    These Spells Are Not Gluten Free

    Are the number of strands in a round challah different? One of my friends makes Finnish Biscuit for New Years every year, but I can't find any sources (albeit with a limited Google Search) suggesting that it is considered a ritualistic sort of food. Lisa might just have the time at New Year's (and the willing audience). It is braided (straight, not round) and has the same colour of challah. She brings me a loaf as we tend to invite them over for New Year's. It is so pretty and yummy. I can't say I've had the pleasure of making challah or any other braided breads myself, but I've got difficulty getting bread to rise, much less creating the right recipe that won't die under braiding. In a world where prayer can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, I think it is interesting to think about all of these things that have "always" been done with the intent of bringing good luck. Thanks for commenting!
  9. Lady Ausra

    For Love of Fanfiction

    Exactly! I mean, I understand what is trying to be taught with assignments like that, but then teachers I've had (Obviously, can't speak for you here, and you sound to be brilliant about it) prove incredibly limiting with what their idea of "realistic" could be, saying it can't be fanfiction, even though...well. And yes, to the diversity of fanfiction, it's brilliant, and actually, those "missing parts" like Sherlock's cases are some of the best, and I love them. It really isn't given enough credit. Also, I adore Sophie Hannah's Poirot as well as Moriarty. Absolutely the best. Thanks for reading!
  10. facingthenorthwind

    These Spells Are Not Gluten Free

    Challah is so difficult and you make a SUPER BEAUTIFUL design and you're like "THIS IS THE GREATEST" and then you put it in the oven and it ends up just looking like a blobby loaf of bread and you just. yell into the void. But my favourite thing about challah is that at Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) you eat a round challah (instead of the loaf form you usually eat) because the year is round! And you often put sweet things like raisins in it because you want your new year to be sweet. But yeah, obviously the braiding pattern for a round challah is different to the braiding pattern for a normal challah.
  11. Margaret

    For Love of Fanfiction

    As an English teacher, I am really wondering why those things aren't allowed. OK, I guess it depends on the specific assignment, but a fair proportion of the assignments I give are things like "write what you think will happen next in this novel" or "rewrite this chapter from the villain's point of view." I've also had students interpret prompts in completely different ways from how I (or the exam when correct state exams) intended it, but the general rule is if it is possible to interpret the prompt that way, then it's acceptable. I always tried to reinterpret boring or obvious titles when I was at school myself. I think some people believe fanfiction is all or mostly people shipping their favourite characters or writing stories where they insert themselves into the novel and end up saving the day or falling in love with the main character. Not that there is anything wrong with that either (and I think there is some misogyny in the way the romance genre gets treated) but you can see why some writers who have written things like the many stories now written about Sherlock Holmes where he investigates the cases mentioned in canon but not written about (in nearly every story, there is a mention of how "Holmes had just solved the curious case of xyz when we heard a knock on the door" or "it is hard to choose a case to write about as some like *gives a list* are too confidential") would want to make it clear that that was not what they were doing and possibly might not even see their stories as fanfiction if they believe fanfiction is all about the romance and the fanboying/fangirling. That fanfiction has as many (perhaps even more) genres than original fiction is something many people don't appear to be aware of. I will add that I know of a published author, who had her first novel published when she was 14, who wrote fanfiction throughout her 'teens and 20s. I do not know what she wrote or even what fandoms she wrote in. She's just mentioned writing it on her website. So there are people out there with published novels who are also playing in various fandom sandboxes. And of course we know there are published books that are essentially fanfiction. Sophie Hannah is currently writing Poirot stories, Anthony Horowitz wrote the absolutely brilliant Moriarty and House of Silk, both of which are Sherlock Holmes stories.
  12. FawkesyLady

    These Spells Are Not Gluten Free

    So, pursuant to my interest in using textiles and braids as spells, I was doing some reading on wheat weaving, known as 'corn dollies' in the UK. It is pretty fascinating as a tradition and some variant of it exists where-ever wheat was cultivated throughout the world. The last bit of wheat harvested for the year is taken and woven into a blessing for the farmer's home. The lore suggests that in some areas the spirit of the crop was thought to be forced down into the last bit, so it was being taken and preserved, to be planted first when the time came so that the next crop would be bountiful again. The area of Britain that self-identify strongest with Merlin would be Wales (correct me if I am wrong!), and there are several designs that survive to this day. I was looking about on the internet and found The Wheat Goddesses, a little shop that sells these intricate works. In addition to the Welsh fans that abound, there is a twelve-spoked wheel, called "Merlin's Wheel" and they state that the idea behind it was that there was one spoke for every month of the year and its purpose was to maintain the balance, the natural progression of seasons. This is a re-phrase of my understanding anyway. That got me to thinking about some of the Lore presented in the World of the Five Gods, a Lois McMaster Bujold series that I adore. In their belief system there was a period of time where demons escaped into the world, beings of chaos that disrupted order and could not engender it, who enticed men to become sorcerer's (by sharing a soul, which was eventually consumed by the demon) to allow the demon to take on some order - such as speech and memories and in turn lending power to the man. The age of sorcerers was terrible because the seasons were completely disrupted and chaos threatened to consume all. Anyway, it ended well, but what of the age of the Titans as described in Greek mythology or the age where the Jotun had the run of the world before the Norse Gods shut them away are all different viewpoints of the same thing? A twelve spoked wheel, woven of wheat as a ward against such chaos sounds like it may have been a little prayer, or a small charm against chaos. Was it the basis of some greater spell Merlin was thought to have used? Maybe. In addition to braiding and weaving the wheat, Challah bread is a woven blessing that has its own significance and different shapes for the occasion and throughout the world. Fascinating! Does anyone out there weave wheat or make corn dollies? Any stories to share? Be well!
  13. facingthenorthwind

    The Sliding Scale of Evil Dumbledore

    I will happily be the first person to say I hate Dumbledore, but the tropes you've used in your post are... Absurd. Like, don't get me wrong, I believe you that they're a common feature of anti-Dumbledore fics! But there's so much extremely canon information that you can hate Dumbledore for? Why would you need to invent other things when that just seems to weaken your case against canonical Dumbledore? For the record though, don't read song for the Julian calendar. It is my only fic that involves Dumbledore and I don't paint him in the best light.
  14. Lady Ausra

    For Love of Fanfiction

    Well, that makes one of us. I've never been handed that kind of an assignment, just certain prompts. Interesting choice, though, Private Peaceful. Thanks for reading!
  15. Simplicius

    For Love of Fanfiction

    Interestingly, the first piece of fan-fiction I wrote was for an English assignment. We were asked to write the first chapter of a sequel to Private Peaceful.
  16. Lady Ausra

    For Love of Fanfiction

    I hate English. Not the language—I could write sonnets in the style of Shakespeare on how I love linguistics—but the class. Writing, ELA, whatever you call it, wherever you go to school; I loathe it. Abhor it, with the passion of a thousand suns. The in-class essays (40 minutes, class), the insistence upon peer editing (No, that comma goes here), the pedestal on which being able to tell an independent clause from a dependent one is placed (...Huh?), the belief pressed upon us that knowing the definition of "superfluous" will get you everywhere in life (See what I did there? See it?). But I always reserve a special place in my blackened, hating little heart for the creative writing assignments. With those, there's just enough room left for me to get my hopes up, to fantasize about writing something real (Read: lightsabers), only to hear the dreaded word count limits, the prompts, the insistence upon conforming to the standard set by whatever dusty book of the week it is. "Klara, you can't set this aboard the starship Enterprise." "Sorry, Alex, you're not allowed to write a crossover sequel involving Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn running away together." "No spontaneous time-traveling Nazis, Jim." Dull, boring, positively dreadful. Quite frankly, Internet friends, I loathe writing, much of the time. But, did I forget to mention I'm also an avid fanfiction author, reader, and reviewer? I've published nearly 100K in the last six months, am a professional 'shipper, and I've begun the painstaking process of outlining an original novel of my own to attempt for NaNoWriMo. Just a bit of a paradox, no? How does a high school senior who hates her English classes that much, belong in the magnificent lunatic world we call fandom? I mean, writing is kinda the name of the game here, isn't it? Well, it began...hmm... almost three years ago now, and, as it did with the lovely Mary Sue herself, with Gene Roddenberry's brain child. I'd come off watching "The Tholian Web" (AKA the one where... well, K/S people will remember. ), and, innocent creature I was, entered into Google: "Tholian Web Kirk Spock ending fiction", thinking, there had to be some sort of a novelization, possibly. Three guesses what the first results were. The first two don't count, nerds. Fanfiction.net and AO3 were bewildering, frightening, and utterly wonderful. I hadn't a clue what fanfiction was, nor particularly cared for any of the implications of its existence. I had just found my people, who loved Star Trek and the characters—and a short while later, Harry Potter—just as much I did. I wasn't as alone in my geekiness, and love of shipping Harry and Hermione together (These days it's Luna/Harry, for the record). It was fun, and I was unbelievably happy. I got to read these what-if worlds that blew my mind, where Harry married Hermione, and his parents embarrassed him at his wedding; where Ginny traveled back in time to kick ass, take names, and still get the guy, where Ron was Dumbledore and Dumbledore was Ron. Canon? Who needed it? I had the imaginations of thousand of people around the world at my fingertips. It was great. Then, one lazy summer day, I read this article about some schmuck who couldn't even admit he wrote fanfiction. I only recommend reading it if you want your brain to explode. At least E.L. James admitted it. (And thank you, Stephanie Meyer, for never taking legal action, and allowing fanfiction to continue across the world. I mean this in all sincerity, and I will always be grateful for it. Just not for the books you wrote. Sorry.) I just couldn't understand it. I was a few months removed from trying my hand at fanfiction myself, but here was some guy insisting he hadn't written fanfiction, instead having some sort of "writing experience" that involved "lifting large amounts of text" from The Shining, acting like being a fanfiction writer was something to be ashamed of. I was so utterly confused by the phenonemon; so, I decided to look up more opinions from outside fandoms. What found blew my mind. Arguments over the legality of it, over the worth of it, over the worth of the writers? (Which, by the way, do not look up. Most of it's extremely nasty, misogynistic, LGBT+phobic nonsense. Y'all are fantastic, brave people for putting your writing out here, and I love you all.) So, Internet friends, I get it. I truly do. Fanfiction isn't everyone's cup of tea. Not everyone reads it or writes it, or particularly likes it. But that never gives anyone the right to pass judgement on what we do as a whole. Ever. Yes, a good bit of fanfiction is certifiably awful. Admittedly, most of it is still pretty entertaining. *Cough, Cough* My Immortal *Cough, Cough* Yes, teenagers and women make up a large part of the people who write it. But that is the end of what those articles get right. Many of us are aspiring authors, hoping to write something of our own some day. Many of us go through life different in some way that causes struggles, whether we belong to the LGBT+ community, belong to a minority, have a disability, face sexism in our real lives, or anything else. Many of us, use it as a way to escape from the occasional dreariness of daily life. Many of us do it because it's fun. Or, y'know, you're convinced Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood were meant to be. That could just be me, though. But I digress, before I start another 'shipping war. Fanfiction has been my companion as I've come of age, and changed in an infinite number of ways as a person. Occasionally, it's been responsible for those changes. With it, I have been able to accept my sexual and romantic orientations, to learn that I am not alone, and that like so many others out there—my fellow aces, this is for you, above all—I am not broken. I've learned that love comes in infinite shades and shapes, that kindness and honor are not weakness, and that there are so many wacky, weird, wonderful, people with better alliteration skills than me out there. Actually, come to think of it, I rather like the person I've become as a fanfic writer. Also, I've been gaining mad writing skillz. So, read fanfiction. Write it, review it, when you find one in need of precious feedback. Live, love, dream—as you will. Or, don't. You do you. Read your favorite novel, go outside, play a game. Live, love, dream—as you will. Everything's your choice, after all. (Just avoid English class essays. They suck.) "And it's gonna be...fantastic." -The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who
  17. FawkesyLady

    being too hard on yourself

    I am so pleased that you were able to see past the difficulty and were able to share this experience. I looked back at some of my own writing and took the first story I wrote down as it just came off silly. You are in good company. It means that we have been writing long enough to experience self-reflection, although not always in the kindest way. Some call it "Imposter Syndrome" and it is a feeling that even the successful, published and paid authors suffer. My favourite response to it was from Mary Robinette Kowal where she encourages all of us to understand that writing is a skill, one that takes time and practice to develop. She puts it like this: what age are you? That's the "level" of human you are. How many years have you been writing? If you are like me, and the answer is probably like less than two, then it helps put things in perspective. All of us feel this way at some point or another.
  18. FawkesyLady

    Everything's a Shambles

    I agree with you that it was part of the Horcrux evolution, but still is altogether interesting. Thanks for commenting!
  19. greisful

    being too hard on yourself

    i don't know why but for some reason i have always been under the impression that i'm a terrible writer. and to be fair, when i first started writing out, i truly was atrocious, like at that point in time it was fair to say to myself, wow this is really just,,,,,not good. but like most people i have found that over time, after you've written a lot of stuff, and read a lot of stuff, you get better, and eventually you find your voice and style of writing. but up until recently i was still convinced that my stories were trash to mediocre, which is why i have literally no expectations of them because i'm like this is not good so it makes sense that no one would read it or leave a review/comment. but one day i went back and i read some of my newer one-shots that i have posted and i was, dare i say it, quite impressed. they weren't as bad as i thought they would be, in fact, they were pretty good, mistakes that i had missed when editing aside. i genuinely was sitting and reading my own work and my mouth was hanging open because i had never expected something like that to come from me. it's by no means perfect and there's always room for improvement, but i wasn't as bad as i thought i was. and to be honest, i was pretty proud, and i still am. and it's something that every writer and artist etc. falls into, constantly thinking our stuff isn't good enough or a lot worse than it actually is and we end up being super hard on ourselves when we shouldn't be. and while it's a bad thing, that sense of never being satisfied with your work is also what pushes you to get better and better at what you do and i'll admit, it's why i no longer write the way that i did when i was younger. so i don't know where i was going with this but i guess don't beat yourself up too much and realize that your work isn't as terrible as you think it is, but also don't get too comfortable because otherwise you might stop pushing yourself and miss your full potential.
  20. FawkesyLady

    The Sliding Scale of Evil Dumbledore

    I suppose that is your answer. These writers are enjoying embelishing, stretching beyond the canon line and filling in cracks to push Dumbledore over from questionable to dastardly. It may not be to my taste. I do feel it reasonable consider these stories OOC when they are embellished, or AU or whatever you feel is best.
  21. Alopex

    Everything's a Shambles

    This is a really interesting blog entry. I never put much thought into the potency of "bits of you" like hair or toenails, etc. after death, but you make a good point about how wand cores retain their power. In a one-shot I wrote, I implied that a charm wore off when the caster died...but I think you could argue it either way (and that had nothing to do with anything physical other than casting a spell). I do like it when people make connections to other aspects of magic or lore and the Harry Potter universe. I definitely think there's room for exploration there, especially if you start looking at cultures outside Britain. If objects and potions can be imbued with magic, as they can, why not textiles and the like? I think it could also work as a way for people to channel or direct their power, much like wands allow them to do. The theory that Voldemort is hairless out of paranoia is interesting. You could make a compelling argument for it. I think it was representative of him becoming more snake-like and less human, but implying that it's at least in part on purpose (especially if you write it such that he is that way BEFORE attempting to kill Harry the first time) doesn't sound far-fetched at all.
  22. Simplicius

    The Sliding Scale of Evil Dumbledore

    I largely agree. My issue is not with interpretation but invention. Obviously, all fan-fiction must invent certain details (otherwise they'd be a retread of the text) but I'm consistently bewildered by the need of some to add events which twist Dumbledore into a sinister character especially when there's already enough canonical information to take that tone if one wished. This is a trend I've noticed as well, whereby authors worry about their story in that way. All too often, I've seen authors forewarn their readers that a character is going to do something bad or explain the thought process of the character outside of the text (just to make sure we got it).
  23. Margaret

    The Sliding Scale of Evil Dumbledore

    The first one, which I haven't seen, also ignores the "blood connection" thing - Harry is safe from Voldemort while with his mother's relatives. Even Dumbledore did ignore explicit instructions not to place Harry with the Dursleys or appointed somebody else as guardian, ignoring those instructions wouldn't, in my opinion, make Dumbledore evil, since if Harry had grown up with anybody else, it would be easier for Voldemort or the Death Eaters to kill him. Now we know Voldemort didn't return until Harry was at Hogwarts and that the Death Eaters basically disbanded, but Dumbledore may not have known that when James and Lily died. A good story could actually be written where Dumbledore has to choose between following Lily and James's wishes and placing Harry where he will be physically safest, but not best cared for. I think that would be interesting - do we place Harry with a loving adoptive family where he could well be killed or do we place him with relatives who appear not to care for him but where he will definitely be safe and we have to decide now. I know that's not the point of the blog but it did occur to me. My guess would be that some of this comes from authors wanting readers to agree with their perspectives on characters and possibly thinking they have written the story badly if somebody disagrees. I have seen it happen, usually from the opposite perspective, that of making everybody like the hero or heroine. I've seen people ask stuff like "how do I make people like my main character and see that his/her flaws aren't really his/her fault?" or defending a character after somebody criticised them in a review. I think it comes from feeling if somebody disagrees with the writer's intentions, the writer must have portrayed things badly, which OK, can be true sometimes, but it's also true that any realistic character will be liked by some readers and disliked by others (OK, maybe Voldemort-typed characters are exceptions as he has pretty much lost his humanity). I'd guess some writers just feel "I must make it obvious that Dumbledore is bad in this story." Of course, there are also probably some stories where the writer just had a particular idea that required Dumbledore to do something evil for the plot to work.
  24. FawkesyLady

    The Sliding Scale of Evil Dumbledore

    I think that Dumbledore is set up to be a God like figure in the books and frankly there are signs that he does not feel he deserves such power or trust. He would be Minister of Magic or something even higher in the International Governing body if he had such ambition. Dumbledore keeps a great number of secrets and compartmentalises but it feels like a furtive effort to maintain the limited integrity of his own image while hiding the hard seed of guilt surrounding his own part in failing Tom Riddle during those critical formative years, and subsequently the world. I think he is indeed a ridiculously powerful wizard but he takes on the folly of the old in mistaking his own experience and knowledge as the actual authority to make decisions without involving the pawns input or consent. Yes, the fate of the world was in the balance and no, they may not have been another way but one cannot help but think that if he had only talked more openly that things could have been stopped the first time, or better still when Myrtle was murdered.
  25. Margaret

    How to Nail Your First Year at Uni/College

    Pretty much the same here. I think it's also that in our system (U.S. might be different here due to having core requirements), people who choose a certain course or degree or subject generally have interests in common anyway so instead of being thrown in with all the people your age in your town (or all the people of your gender in your town, given that many Irish schools are same-sex), you are in with all the people who chose the same degree or subject as you and had the grades to get into it in your county (not accurate really, as people don't necessarily go to college in their county - I didn't - but in Ireland, it is common to go to the nearest college unless you are doing a course only available in a small number of colleges). This was a very awkward one for me when I started college. E-mailing was OK (not that it became common until my 2nd or 3rd year), but when talking to them... I called one lecturer "Miss" my first year and was rather embarrassed as it made me sound like a schoolgirl. Don't think any of my classmates heard though. And one of our lecturers started laughing when one of my classmates said about another lecturer, "Gerry...or Mr. Dukes...oh, I don't know what to call him." The lecturer we were talking to said "Gerry" or at least I think she did; it was hard to be sure as she was laughing. The whole "if in doubt, err on the side of being more formal" makes sense though. It wasn't uncommon in my college for tutors to be lectures. Occasionally we had PhD or MA students, but it was more usual for them to be lectures. The conversation I mentioned above happened in a tutorial for example. This was because my college was really small though - 1,200 students and about 4 lecturers for each subject. I think there were four English lecturers and five History lecturers. Great advice overall, I think.
  26. Reading HP fan-fiction is a fairly hazardous pursuit for me since my favourite types of stories ('Canon Rewrite' and 'Peggy Sue') are also the most likely to include gratuitous bashing on my favourite character. Even the 'exclude' feature on AO3 only goes so far. Here's an example. I was reading a really nice 'what if' story, wherein Lily ended up with Severus. It was going quite well and I felt safe since the summary had specifically stated that there would be no character bashing. Lo and behold, however, my enjoyment was brought to an abrupt end when the author decided to dedicate an entire chapter to an intervention, or some such, where all of the adult main characters berated Dumbledore. Two things seemed particularly egregious; Snape referred to Dumbledore as "worse than Tom Riddle" (yes the self-same mass murdering lunatic) and Elphias Doge was revealed to have been a false friend (leaving the old man friendless and alone). A few months later, I encountered a story in which Fawkes himself abandoned Dumbledore, and there appears to be no shortage of these sorts of stories. I don't go out of my way to read them and I don't begrudge people for writing them (apart from when they pretend they aren't) since fan-fiction often serves a cathartic purpose which character bashing is an efficient, if crude, vessel for. So, for some cathartic release of my own (because, goodness knows, I can't get actually create something to channel my emotions into), I thought I'd make a catalogue of things these stories have in common that make Dumbledore look worse than even the least charitable interpretation of actual text could: The Will. These stories invariably include reference to a will specifying Harry's placement with someone other than the Dursleys. That's fair enough, of course, but the most likely candidates are indisposed so it typically includes an almost comically long list of people with increasingly tenuous connections to the Potters or, more bizarrely, explicit instructions not to place him with the Dursleys. Dumbledore ignores the will, of course, because he's evil. The Magical Core. Another one, though less common, is the idea that every witch/wizard has an innate source of power which is stronger or weaker as the case may be. I can see the appeal, since is makes the writing easier if characters can just make things happen without practice. As it happens, Harry has a very powerful magical core which could lead to him performing wandless magic before he can tie his shoes. Dumbledore decided to bind Harry's magical core, however, because he's evil. The Anti-Horcrux. If Dumbledore had bothered to look it up, he'd have discovered that the procedure to harmlessly remove a horcrux from a living host is quite simple. He didn't bother, however, because he's evil. These three represent the sliding scale of Evil Dumbledore. The first sets up a far more manipulative Dumbledore who is constantly abusing his power to keep Harry away from the wonderful and loving family desperately trying to adopt him and raise him to be the next William Gladstone by the time he's thirteen. The second sets up a far more sinister Dumbledore who is actively harming Harry to maintain his own grip on power and the third depicts the quintessential Evil Dumbledore who is hellbent on an entirely needless blood sacrifice. I find it very strange that these authors can't stick to the canonical list of grievances (leaving him on the doorstep in the middle of the night, keeping secrets and so on) and always include invented crimes which the reader is presumably meant to be incensed over. But what's the point? If you don't like Dumbledore then surely your characters can rake him over the coals for the things in the actual book that made you dislike him rather than for things you made him do.
  27. sapphicsunrise

    How to Nail Your First Year at Uni/College

    so i've been thinking about writing one of these blogs for a wee while, and while i'm sure hpft is not the most prominent of platforms to post advice like this i'm sure there are a few people in this community who are due to start tertiary study soon - so this post is for you. im gonna try and keep it as universal as i can, though i am more familiar with the UK-style university model because i'm from new zealand and colonialism is a thing. for those of you who don't know me - hi, i'm lisa. i've just completed a masters degree and am a tutor (read: TA if you're in the US) for a 100-level medieval history course this semester. this is my eighth year at uni. i like to think i've picked up a few things. PART ONE: MAKING FRIENDS always remember: everyone is in the same boat in first year this is amplified by about ten times if you're in a hall/dorms/campus accommodation in your first year because everyone else has left home too and they don't know anyone, except maybe a couple of school acquaintances who they're gonna realise they don't have much in common with anymore i was a deeply uncool kid in high school but i ended up with surplus friends in first year because everyone's on the Friend Market. i picked up some weirdos in first year, kids. weirdos making friends in your classes is always a good idea because a) you already have this thing in common; b) you have someone who you can ask for notes if you're away, or help with an assignment; c) complaining about the class is a sure-fire way to connect on an emotional level with other people your tutorials/labs are a good starting point for making friends because they're smaller classes than your lectures and, if your tutor is anything like me, they will help you along by putting you in groups this technique this semester alone has, by my own estimation, resulted in at least half a dozen group chats. i believe many share memes there will be at least one person in your lectures/classes who has cool fandom stickers on their laptop. this is your in to talk to them. put stickers on your own laptop mature students are usually really interesting people with great stories. befriend them. you may find they take you under their wing and impart their wisdom. friendship lottery clubs. join clubs on campus that relate to your interests galaxy brain: if you're nervous about showing up to their events without really knowing anyone, volunteer early to be on the leadership team/executive of the club. this gives you a) a smaller group of people to get to know; b) a purpose to work towards so you're not stuck making small talk; c) cameraderie. working together with people on something you all care about is the ultimate adult friendship hack clubs look good on your CV and show you're getting something more out of your time at college/uni than just your degree. also they can lead to some interesting opportunities PART TWO: PRACTICAL TIPS backpack. satchels look cool and all but you can't fit all your shit in them and they will destroy your back you may want to cultivate an Aesthetic on campus and while this is encouraged, cool little satchels are only practical if you live on campus and can go home to grab stuff on a regular basis also if your laptop is really tiny or you've gone analogue for your note taking. bold move Dropbox/Onedrive/whatever cloud storage system your institution has a subscription to Keep everything on the cloud and back up to a flash drive or external on a regular basis - especially if you're working on a major assignment As soon as you get your university email account, set up email forwarding to the account you check/have synced to your phone, or set it up directly using the app on your phone. For most institutions this would be Outlook Don't buy food on campus it's a trap do as i say, not as i do follow your institution's social media accounts this is often where they post important updates follow the relevant meme pages as well join the buy/sell or textbook exchange FB groups find the following places on campus: the nicest bathrooms or, if there are no nice bathrooms, the ones with the graffiti that best aligns with your political affiliation the 24 hour study spaces. all-nighters will probably happen your favourite spot in the library the area/floor of your library where the books relevant to your majors can be found an all-weather lunch spot the best coffee place, if you drink coffee PART THREE: ASSIGNMENTS read the course outline/syllabus r e a d. i t. find out the basics like deadline (including time!), where you submit (inc. online or hard copy, etc), word/page count, presentation requirements, referencing style, how much of your grade it's worth, and the penalties applied for late submission, going under/over word count, or anything else you can write an essay overnight but you can't research one overnight if there's a suggested reading list for an essay/assignment, read the things. cite them. they're recommended for a reason get a friend to proofread before you submit read your feedback!! seriously it takes so long to write PART FOUR: ASKING FOR HELP if in doubt, ask disability support most institutions should have something like this this is where you arrange accommodations/support for any physical or mental health issues you have that might affect your studies ours send out confidential learning support plans to the teaching staff of the courses you're enrolled in support can range from having reader-writers for exams, extra time/a quiet room for exams, a note-taker, flexibility with assignment deadlines, permission to record lectures, etc academic writing workshops/skills centres again, most institutions should have something like this these focus on teaching technical skills like grammar, spelling, how to structure an essay, etc this is a good option if you don't need help with course content but aren't confident with writing tutors/TAs if you have one, these are your first point of contact for everything related to your course i encourage all my students to discuss essay plans with me take your tutors up on this offer, even if you think you're fine they can offer you feedback at an early stage, recommend readings, and make sure you're on the right track tutors are typically postgraduate students (Masters or PhD) this means you'd usually be on first name basis with them contacting lecturers/professors your lecturer/professor is your first point of contact if you don't have a tutor/TA as a general rule they are happy to help and particularly to explain course content but they are Very Busy People when you email lecturers/professors, use their correct titles. if in doubt, check their staff page even if it's normal to be on a first-name basis with your lecturer (eg in Australia/NZ) it's best to use Dr/Professor [X] the first time you contact them by email In the US 'Professor' is a generally used title for academic teaching staff, whether or not they have a PhD In the UK system 'Professor' is the highest academic rank and it is incorrect to use it unless they've reached that rank If in doubt use Dr n. b. there is a whole Thing with people not recognising or using the titles of academic women so if you have a female lecturer/professor make sure you address her using her professional title unless she tells you not to.
  28. FawkesyLady

    Green

    As I said, my hero. Thank you.
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