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Faith, Hope, and Love: The Other Magical Trio

Published March 8, 2014 by A. Featherquill

Last March 1, I posted about Ron becoming the man he sees in the Mirror of Erised: the greatest among the Weasley brothers.

My non-Potter post of the month will again be related to dreams, in particular to the power of believing that you can achieve your heart’s desire – one of the most potent forms of “magic” as a number of sources, such as Rhonda Bryne’s The Secret, claims.

The topic of my post is a television series from the Philippines, Got to Believe. The show premiered on August 26, 2013 and ended yesterday, March 7, 2014.

The show’s promotional videos about its break up scene and its new chapter, which both trended online, piqued my curiosity so I decided to give the show a try. I searched for a site where I could watch it and I got hooked.

The female protagonist is Chichay, a poor young artist with much optimism and kindness. The male protagonist is Joaquin, a rich, intelligent and principled boy who grew up in a dysfunctional family. The show revolves around the love story of the two, but there is a lot more to the series than just seeing two people fall and stay in love with each other.

The story is a romantic-comedy with a good balance of romantic moments, comic parts, and dramatic scenes in most episodes. Naturally, the show is not perfect. But slight imperfections did not hinder me from liking it.  I have to admit that every time I watch it, I feel light, happy and with a renewed sense of optimism.

I believe this TV series deserves to be mentioned in this blog because of the values it champions. After all, believing in the “magic” of faith, hope and love figure greatly in the TV show. These themes also abound in the Harry Potter series. In Ron’s experience in particular, circumstances taught him to believe in himself, in his dreams, and in his love for his friends and family. Like many characters in HP, Ron hoped that the rest of the wizarding world would be able to defeat Voldemort and they would eventually achieve peace. He displayed faith when he stood by what is right until the very end. He showed his capacity to love (and proved that his emotional range could go beyond just a teaspoon) each time he risked his life to save the people dear to him.

Casting spells aside, moments filled with such values are truly magical. These are forms of magic which we can find in the muggle world and searching for such magical moments, in other artistic productions or in real life, is also an aim of this blog. Since November, I’ve been publishing a follow-up, non-Potterverse post to my first week Potter article. However, finding a follow-up post for the month of March proved a challenge to me. It was only yesterday when it dawned on me that the TV show I recently discovered would make a good subject.

Going back to Got to Believe, the “magic” of faith, hope, and love is present in many scenes.

Chichay’s determination to finish her studies and make it big in the art scene despite having limited resources is a great example of hope. The strength which Chichay’s family displayed despite Joaquin’s mother’s attempts to insult and crush them is a testament to their faith. The same is true when Chichay prays to God when she realized the possibility that the judge would convict her father of a crime he did not commit. Hope can also be found in Joaquin’s persistence to remember his past even though it seemed very difficult due to amnesia caused by brain surgery. Joaquin displays faith in his courage to stand by the truth even if he had to confront his mother in the process. Finally, love is evident in the characters’ decision to forgive one another and start anew. Quoting Julianna whose misdirected love caused the suffering of many characters, “Nagkamali ako pero pinatawad mo ako. Ngayon alam ko na kung ano ang tunay na pagmamahal. (I made terrible mistakes, but you chose to forgive me. Now, I know the true meaning of love.)”

These incidents may sound too sentimental for some. However, such things do happen. In fact those examples still could not compare to a terrible event which hit the Philippines last year. I am pertaining to the havoc caused by a strong earthquake and by Typhoon Haiyan – both of which occured in the Visayas area. This series of calamities tested the Filipinos’ belief in the magic of faith, hope, and love. Yet, I believe, Filipinos in general have displayed their belief in such forms of magic and so did the other nations who helped them. What could motivate a person whose whole family almost got wiped out by the said calamities to go on living? Probably faith. What could motivate a nation to rise from extreme damages which encompass the material, the emotional, and the psychological? Probably hope. What could motivate people around the globe to provide the best help they could give to the victims of the Typhoon? I would like to think that it was love.

The presence of faith, hope, and love in Got to Believe makes the show relatable and moving. Most people, if not everyone, would surely have a “magical moment” involving any of the three values. The main reason for the show’s good reception and high ratings may still be the large fanbase of the lead actors and the good use of social media. Still, the said themes must have contributed to the success of the series. In the Philippines, the said themes may currently ring true to the sentiments and experiences of Filipinos making the show truly close to the heart. Other countries however also took notice of the show. I assume that, besides the great chemistry of the lead actors, the presence of faith, hope, and love allowed Got to Believe to speak to non-Filipinos as well.

For reminding its viewers that the most potent magic is believing in the power of faith, hope, and, most of all love, I salute the Got to Believe team. The final episode gave all of its major characters their heart’s deepest desire. A number of people may find happy endings unrealistic. I admit this opinion may hold some validity. Indeed, happy endings may be more idealistic than realistic. Yet, this fulfillment of the ideal scenario may be the reason why the final episode of this TV series was promoted as “the best ending ever”. (Note: In the show, Joaquin often labels his moments with Chichay as the best <insert name of event> ever.) Through this ending, Got to Believe reminds its viewers that happy endings can still happen, if only we do not stop believing in “magic”.

Stay magical,

A. Featherquill

The Perfect Partner for Hermione: Ron or Harry?

Published February 13, 2014 by A. Featherquill

A few weeks ago, the Potter world was rocked by JK Rowling’s expression of regret over having Hermione end up with Ron, in an interview with no less than Emma Watson herself.

For Rowling, it seemed that it was more logical for Hermione to end up with Harry. However, she stuck to her original plan to have Hermione marry Ron. (See this article)

Quoting another Pottermore News article containing the full conversation between Rowling and Watson:

Watson: I thought we should discuss Hermione… I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but now that you have written the books, do you have a new perspective on how you relate to Hermione and the relationship you have with her or had with her?

Rowling: I know that Hermione is incredibly recognisable to a lot of readers and yet you don’t see a lot of Hermiones in film or on TV except to be laughed at. I mean that the intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware, girl is rarely the heroine and I really wanted her to be the heroine. She is part of me, although she is not wholly me. I think that is how I might have appeared to people when I was younger, but that is not really how I was inside.

What I will say is that I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione with Ron.

Ah.

I know, I’m sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.

I don’t know. I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.

Yes exactly.

And vice versa.

It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it… I’m not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I can’t believe we are saying all of this – this is Potter heresy!

I know that a number of people have already expressed their opinion on Rowling’s revelation. I promised last February 3 to post mine in a few days. Unfortunately, it took me more than a week before I could post an article. Still, it’s better late than never, so here is my take on the matter. At least, my post fits Valentine’s day.

When we use logic, we could really say that Hermione would have been the best match for Harry. Imagine, the chosen one ending up with the most capable and brightest witch of their age… They would definitely be a power couple. With her intelligence, talent, and character, Hermione would have been a great wife for the chosen one.

But, stripping him of his reputation as the savior of the wizarding world, Harry would have been quite similar to Ron. A young wizard with skill, but quite delinquent in classes at times. A student who has a tendency to break rules, but does it for the good of others. A boy who is talented at Quidditch. A very loyal friend. A brave and bold Gryffindor until the very end. Only, Harry has more self-confidence than the often unnoticed Ron whereas Ron has a bit more sense of humor and gets into comic situations more often than Harry.

However, come to think of it, Ron was a prefect. While he could have been chosen by Dumbledore in order to lighten Harry’s load, Ron was still deemed qualified. In fact, he was second only to the chosen one. Also, given that he believes in himself, Ron was a decent Keeper. He was great at wizard chess. In the Deathly Hallows, his talent and leadership skills started to surface. He even learned to understand Hermione’s advocacy to fight for the rights of the house elves.

While I think Hermione-Harry sounds like a “perfect” match, I personally prefer Hermione marrying Ron. The humor of the youngest Weasley boy balances the intense character of Hermione. Furthermore, by the end of the series, I think we could all agree that Ron matured significantly.

Yes, Ron and Hermione might need to attend marriage counseling at some point. But, I’m confident that they would be able to figure things out and would still have a healthy relationship.

Also, I think, if Hermione and Harry ended up together, their children would experience TOO MUCH pressure. People would expect that, having an A-witch as mother and having the chosen one as father, their children MUST do well and make a difference. Ron and Ginny could tone down the pressure for their children with Hermione and Harry respectively.

Finally, Hermione-Ron becomes even more endearing because of the couple’s imperfections which the two constantly try to bridge. In the end, couples need to put effort to maintain love in the relationship. It’s not just about falling in love, but also, and more importantly, about staying in love. It’s not just about two perfectly compatible people coming together, but about two imperfect beings accepting each other’s flaws and bridging each other’s differences.

Yes, Rowling was right to say that Hermione would have been a great match for the chosen one. Also, with her character and capabilites, Hermione really would have deserved someone as talented, as noble, and as famous as the boy who lived. But Ron is, in many ways, similar to Harry minus the fame. Ginny is also talented and has gone through a terrible experience with the Dark Lord that allows her to understand Harry’s issues well. The qualifications of Harry does not make Ron less deserving of Hermione and the qualifications of Hermione does not make Ginny less deserving of Harry because love’s eye does not look at such qualifications alone.

I hope I did not hurt anyone’s heart with this post. Anyway, all is fair in love. We are free to support whatever ship we want. Happy Valetine’s Day to everyone. May we all be moved and inspired by whatever form of love in the next few days.

Stay magical,
A. Featherquill

A Love That Might Have Been

Published February 3, 2014 by A. Featherquill

Yesterday, JK Rowling’s confession that the love team of Ron and Hermione might have been a mistake hit news. In a few days, I will post something about this topic, but, for now, I will stick to my intended post as I owe it to one of my first readers, Claudia. She asked me to write about my opinion on why Cho and Harry did not end up together. I promised to make this topic my feature for February, the month of love, and this post is the fulfillment of that promise.

However, before I begin with my take on the matter, I want everyone to keep in mind that there may be other ways of explaining why Cho and Harry’s relationship did not work out. I have tried my best to be fair for both parties and address the different factors affecting their romance. But if I still miss other factors, please forgive the limitations of this post. Anyway, love sometimes has reasons that one cannot easily understand and it has a certain complexity that makes it often difficult to fully grasp.

To start, I will describe Harry Potter’s type of girl. This description is, of course, based only on the two relationships he had and so may not be very accurate. Yet one must not dismiss it, either. Cho and Ginny are both pretty, talented witches who are good at Quidditch.

Ginny seems to be a better player than Cho as she always beats her in games. However, based on Oliver Wood’s description of Cho, the Ravenclaw seeker plays well enough. Because Cho is a Ravenclaw means that she has a decent level intelligence, although this trait seems to have been downplayed in the books and movies. On the other hand, Ginny executes spells and hexes very well.

Nevertheless, they have differences. No two people are exactly the same, anyway. Ginny is more sassy and tough. Cho is more sentimental. Due to this attitude, Cho became very vulnerable when Cedric died and made her defend Marietta Edgecomb, who, according to the books, was the only friend who patiently comforted her as she mourned Cedric’s death.

Here lies the problem.

Cho was still in the process of mourning. For all we know, she might have been in a state of depression or melancholia – conditions that were reasonable for her to go through. Cedric did not die of an illness or a typical accident. He was mercilessly murdered and so she did not expect his death. Thus, I do not think she is, by nature, weepy and whiny. It is natural for people going through mourning, depression, or melancholia to sometimes act the way Cho did. What she needed was someone patient enough to listen to her.

However, Harry was already worrying about other serious matters. Even before knowing the whole prophecy, he knew that he would have a major role in fighting Voldemort. Also, it seemed like, if he could forget the trauma of Cedric’s death, he would. So sharing the details repeatedly might not have been what Harry needed at the moment. Harry could not afford to listen to Cho, comfort her, and wait until she is ready to devote herself to Harry alone. In her state then, Cho could not qualify as the girlfriend of the chosen one. Likewise, Harry could not take on the role of Cho’s boyfriend.

Therefore, I was not surprised when Cho went for Michael Corner because, according to Ginny, the latter tried to comfort her. Also, Ginny seemed to be more fit for the role of the chosen one’s girlfriend. Anyway, she’s tough and sassy. Moreover, she had been a victim of Voldemort before. If you may recall, she had been used by the memory of Tom Riddle in The Chamber of Secrets. Thus, more than Ron or Hermione, it was Ginny who somehow experienced an inch of the whole of Harry’s problems. She once directly suffered from Voldemort’s dark tricks and, therefore, could relate to Harry. This common experience would create a strong emotional bond between the two.

To sum things up, it seems that Cho had been expecting something Harry could not provide. On the other hand, Harry needed a strong girl at a time Cho was emotionally vulnerable. Because of the circumstances, the two did not have much opportunity or energy to warm up to each other and adjust. Having dated other boys before, Cho might have expected more from Harry. While a cheerful Cho would have allowed Harry time to adjust, the depressed version of her did not have much of that patience. Also, to be honest, Harry was not that gifted with dating skills. In the Yule Ball, he did not bother to entertain his date even just to be polite and let her enjoy the night. Finally, as there was an impending war already, Harry could not make himself an ever-present boyfriend. He was also going through something which meant, probably, that catching up on his dating skills really could not be his top priority.

Had it been in another space and time, Cho and Harry could have ended up together. But that means being in a different story.

That is my take on the matter. Again, there is a likelihood that I haven’t addressed all the factors involved in the Cho-Harry love affair. But I do hope that this post entertained everyone, especially Claudia.

Stay magical,
A. Featherquill

The Other Boy Who Lived

Published December 1, 2013 by A. Featherquill

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …”

Quoted above is the prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney about the boy who is destined to defeat Voldemort. Two boys fill the requirements – Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter. However, the prophecy has pertained to Harry ever since the Dark Lord, believing that it was the Potters’ son who is destined to defeat him, tried to kill Harry. In doing so, Voldemort ironically made the prophecy come true.

Thus, Harry Potter has become the chosen one, the hero, the savior of the wizarding world. Likewise, being unchosen, Neville ceased to be an option and grew up as an ordinary boy.

Neville started out as awkward, careless, prone to accident, and forgetful. Also, he performed poorly in most of his classes except Herbology. He was often bullied but he could not defend himself. Seeing him in his first few days at Hogwarts, one would wonder how this boy ended up in Gryffindor. One would think that Voldemort was right in picking Harry instead of Neville.

Nevertheless, Neville learned to stand up against evil and became one of the bravest in his batch, re-organizing the Dumbledore’s Army. He would often defy the Death Eaters in order to give others hope even though it meant he would get beaten. Most of all, when everyone thought Harry was dead, he was the one who boldly told the Dark Lord that the fight was not yet over for them. With or without the savior, the battle must go on. It does not mean that, when the destined hero is dead, they all must kowtow to the Dark Lord. In the absence of the chosen one, Neville took the responsbility to continue the battle against evil.

He may have been just an ordinary boy, not chosen by Voldemort as his equal, but he still became a source of hope during a time when everyone thought the supposed hero was dead.

Neville’s evolution in the series can also be a source of inspiration for all of us. His feats show that everyone can be a hero. It doesn’t matter if we have a painful past. It doesn’t matter if we are not famous, smart or wealthy. One does not have to be a protege of someone great. One does not need to have a title. One does not have to wait to be chosen. Instead, it is our choice that matters.

We may be ordinary. Others may not believe in us. But we can still choose to move, to change, to fight for a greater cause, to send out love to others, to be a source of hope and inspiration. We just need to believe in ourselves.

Let me end with a quote from The Order of the Phoenix movie that shows Neville beginning to embrace who he is, an exchange with Harry which I believe was significant in Neville’s development.

Neville Longbottom: Fourteen years ago, a Death Eater named Bellatrix Lestrange used the Cruciatus Curse on my parents. She tortured them for information, but they never gave in. I’m quite proud to be their son. But I’m not sure I’m ready for everyone to know just yet.
Harry Potter: We’re going to make them proud, Neville. That’s a promise.

Indeed, he did!

Stay Magical,
A. Featherquill

—–
Have you guessed the theme of the month? It is being an unlikely hero. Please wait for the best-of-the-web post (if you don’t know what this type of post is, read this) coming in the third week of December.

A Different Kind of Magic

Published November 18, 2013 by A. Featherquill

Last November 2, I posted an article about Remus Lupin. This post sets the theme for the month, which, as I have stated in my earlier article, is about being able to transcend the discrimination that you have experienced.

As promised, on the third week, I will feature something related to the theme, but not coming from the world of Harry Potter. At the end of my former post, I have included a clue: It has something to do with magic, and you can collect it like Chocolate Frog cards.

Have you guessed what it was? Congratulations, if you have thought that I meant Magic The Gathering.

However, the focus of this article will only be the following card:

melira
The Sylvoks are known to have brown or green copper studs or laces on their skin, and often don metallic armor. Nevertheless, Melira, though born from this race, does not have those qualities. So, lacking of metal in her body, she has been left to perish at the forest of Tangle. Luckily, the troll Thrun took care of her. Yet, due to her condition, Melira has been branded an outcast.

Things changed when the Phyrexian contagion began. The metal bodies of the Sylvoks were very susceptible to corruption brought by the glistening oil while the very condition that made Melira an outcast has made her immune to the spreading disease. Thus, Melira became the hero capable of defending and helping the people of Mirrodin.

Like Remus, Melira has been viewed as a pariah. Yet she also has chosen to protect the very people who mistreated her.  She led the Resistance of the people of Mirrodin just like Remus who fought with the Order of the Phoenix. The former became labeled “Mirrodin’s last hope” and the latter became awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class.

Fortunately, these former outcasts had the chance to show the world their value. Others do not have that opportunity. Sometimes it is also because we do not let them demonstrate their worth and we do not bother to even notice them. However, let us allow Melira and Remus to remind us that even those who are discriminated can be valuable and deserving of acceptance. Let us hope that there will be no need of an event as great as the wizarding war or the Phyrexian contagion to remind us to love even those we find unlovable.

On the other hand, for those who have been mistreated and discriminated, there is hope.

So, with the shining examples of Remus and Melira, I end this post.

Stay magical,
A. Featherquill
—–
Image taken from Gatherer.Wizards.Com

New Directions

Published October 31, 2013 by A. Featherquill
Early this week, I learned from Pottermore News and Hypable, that the Hogwarts Express has arrived at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This development contributes in bringing the Potter experience closer to reality, and becomes a proof of the persistence of imagination to make fantasies real.

In the series, the Hogwarts Express brings Harry to a world of magic, a world where he can explore life, a world where he can grow, a world where things imagined are real – a far cry from his dull life with the Dursleys who lock him up inside their house.

Like Harry, guests will now be able to ride aboard a tangible Hogwarts Express, which will bring them to and from Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. They will experience  sitting inside the train where the trio and various other characters met and became friends, or, in some cases, enemies. As they allow themselves to be transported to the fulfillment of their fantasies, they will probably make new acquaintances themselves. Some, in their desire to test reality, may even attempt to cast a spell. However, like Ron, it may fail. Then again, they will soon arrive at their dream destination, so their failure to cast a spell will soon not matter. Even when the whole trip is over, there is a high possibility that their lives will never be the same again. The actualization of a dream is an enchantment too powerful that no memory charm can erase the experience.

Ahem, ahem… I may have romanticized the matter too much. Forgive me for that, but I have just imagined myself sitting aboard the Hogwarts Express.

While the arrival of the train may not be very hypnotic for all, I still see it as a meaningful event. The Hogwarts Express can mean a leveling up to another stage of our fandom. Trains, after all, have symbolized journeys. 

In the same way, my blog is entering a new stage.Two months ago, I have started this blog. It has been a great journey so far. I have learned a lot both from writing my posts and reading other people’s blogs. Most especially, I am very happy to have gained new friends who share my interests. Special thanks to Judith, the first ever to comment, Claudia, the first ever to request a topic, and Aspenlinmer and River Taylor, who both regularly read my posts and whose blogs I enjoy very much.

At this point, I think it is about time to level up my blog.

First, I will put some regularity to my posting schedule. Starting November, I will have a theme for the month. The theme will be set by the article which I will post on the first week of the month. In the third week, I will feature whatever I find on the web that I think is a good example or take on the month’s theme. If I have time, I may still post on the second and fourth week, but I will not put restrictions or labels yet.I will implement this strategy for a good length of time to test if it works well. Of course, friends and readers, your comments and suggestions will be taken into account.

Second, I want to promote my social networking sites. My twitter has been active for quite some time. My username is @a_featherquill. I also have a google+ account, and, just today, I have created a facebook page. My name for both google+ and facebook is Anya Featherquill. You can add me in those sites, if you like 🙂

That is all for now. On November 2, I will publish my first post for November.

Stay magical,
A. Featherquill

Getting to the ‘Goblet of Fire’ – Difficult Indeed!

Published September 26, 2013 by A. Featherquill

In the fourth Harry Potter book, reaching the Goblet of Fire is not easy. The goblet is well-guarded and under-aged wizards cannot get near it. Waiting for the release of the ‘Goblet of Fire’ adventure makes me feel like I’m one of those under-aged wizards – I feel so close to the goblet, but can’t quite reach it yet.

I really cannot help but wonder when the ‘Goblet’ will be released!

The fun I had with exploring the moments in the first three books, especially in ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, makes me very excited for the release of ‘Goblet’. That this Harry Potter installment features many important wizarding events like the Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament, and the Yule Ball adds to the anticipation and sets my expectations high for the upcoming adventure.

Even now, I imagine seeing the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrive – the beautiful ladies of Beauxbatons gracefully gliding through the halls of Hogwarts and the men of Durmstrang performing a well-choreographed march. I can envision Harry summoning his Firebolt in order to deal with the Hungarian Horntail in the First Task. Maybe we will be made to click something to summon the broomstick and get past the dragon. Also, I can hear mermaids sing the clue for the Second Task. It’s likely that opening the golden egg will be one of the things we have to do in one of the moments. I can already see Cho Chang dancing with Cedric Diggory and Hermione Granger transforming into a fine young lady as she dances with Viktor Krum in the Yule Ball. Most of all, I am excited to finally see the maze for the Final Task.

What about you? Which moments do you wish to make a cut in the next Pottermore adventure and how do you imagine them to be?

Stay Magical,
A. Featherquill

P.S. In the meantime, keep on adding points to your respective house by brewing potions, dueling, and doing other activities in Pottermore.

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