ricardienne: (Default)
So: the Regulus Ode. Most of me is horrified. Regulus is really awful: the worst kind of stiff-necked more-virtuous-than-thou Roman type, and I am still a little bit in doubt about the intention of the whole poem: surely Horace can't be writing straight-faced?

But then, I get to parts like this, and I'm moved, in spite of myself, because, OMG SO NOBLE AND PRINCIPLED (and plenty far away in time from actually affecting me):
fertur pudicae coniugis osculum
parvosque natos ut capitis minor
ab se removisse et virilem
torvus humi posuisse voltum,


But what I really want to talk about is Regulus Black, actually. I only have DH in French, as it happens, but this is more or less what happens: Regulus became a Death-Eater, then volunteered Kreacher to Voldemort, who took him to The Cave and forced him to drink the potion in the basin, then abandoned him. But Regulus had ordered Kreacher to return, so he did. He related the experience to Regulus, who later took Kreacher back to the cavern, ordered him to switch the lockets and keep the real one safe/destroy it, drank the potion himself, and died.

Obviously the parallel is the self-sacrifice and bravery for 'the cause' but I think there may be more subtle things going on, too. It's hard to know much about Regulus' (HP) state of mind and motivation, but I'm tempted to think of him applying some of Regulus' (SPQR) words to himself: nec uera uirtus cum semel excidit/ curat reponi deterioribus and deciding that death is the only decent way out for him, having once been a Death Eater. It's certainly an attitude that seemed to play elsewhere in the series. Atqui sciebat quae sibi barbarus/ tortor pararet is more clearly relevant to the situation, being true of both Reguluses. Similarly, it's hard not to read about the fundamental baseness of the one who fears death, and not not think of Harry Potter. Noble man resists being taken in by the lure of the easy way out and personal gain. He stands up for his principles and dies.

One thread that is very present in the Regulus Ode is slave vs. free, and Regulus (SPQR) makes much of the indignity of Roman soldiers (and therefore citizens) being treated as slaves and suffering to be treated so. For Regulus (HP), too, the blurring of the line between slave and free is crucial to his ultimate noble decision. But for this Regulus, it is the mistreatment of a slave that changes his allegiance. Regulus (SPQR) takes on the identity of his captors' slave as a condition of his captures with the claim that one who has been so can never really be a citizen. Regulus (HP), too, effectively takes the place of a slave, by letting himself be killed in the manner that Voldemort had intended Kreacher die expendable.

But given how, I'm sorry, repulsive much of Regulus' (SPQR) speech is, I think I can actually see Reglus (HP) as a subversion of Horace's Attilius Regulus. (At this point, I'm not sure that it's necessary to think about Horace Slughorn setting Regulus Black on a certain path of honor and tradition, but then, that is present, isn't it?) Regulus (HP) is held up fairly consistently as the "good son" in the old-fashioned, blood-status conscious world of the Blacks. He is, in a way, the robustus … puer of the second Roman Ode who is going off to fight the good fight for the elite wizarding world. But, as we know, this good fight is actually the bad fight. Regulus (HP) is more the immiserabilis/ captiva pubes whom Regulus (SPQR) condemns than Regulus himself. It is true that Regulus (HP) has been "captivated" by Voldemort, but his disillusionment is with the end result of a system he has been brought up to support, not with a deviation from it. His death, likewise, is toward the (secret) destruction of that system. I want to come back to Kreacher here. Regulus (HP) is redeemed (or lost, as I want to take it from the opposite point of view) through compassion to someone he isn't necessarily supposed to think of as worthy of it (a very HP theme, and maybe one that is not possible for pre-Christianity Romans). His personal loyalties to his dependents come before his loyalty to 'the cause' and prove to be much worthier. Contrast this with Regulus (SPQR) who is adamant about a slaves unworthiness, and who will not take up his place as a spouse and parent in order to make a point. From the last stanza, one might even argue that he has made 'the state' his business and has fulfilled it instead of his ordinary duties to his personal dependents. So Regulus (HP) is really the anti-Regulus, who is betrayed and enslaved by 'the good fight' and dies in abandoning it.

I suppose I can't really take Harry Potter as a deep subversion of Horace's militaristic streak, where the brave young youth is actually just as much a degraded captive while serving his country as he is when dishonorably surrendered to its enemies. But that is what happens to Regulus (HP). And it's worth noting that the things Horace starts his ode by deploring -- mixed marriage between Roman soldiers and the daughters of Eastern enemies -- is an issue straight out of the later HP books.
ricardienne: (Default)
Old-school classicists make me laugh. In his earnest attempt to vindicate Lucretius V.1308-1340 as not the product of insanity (the article he cites dates from 1926 -- the fact that people were still taking the love potion story seriously so late boggles as well), dear R.B. Onians mentions, among other rather far-fetched examples, that "The Royal Welch Fusiliers have enjoyed the protection of a live goat down to the present day."

Is this perhaps a vague source for Aberforth's goat? (Isn't Godric's Hollow in Wales?)



ETA:

Also, consider this explanatory note:
ille. Force of pronoun is conveyed by Burns' phrase "yon birkie ca'd a lord."


On the plus side, I now know what a "birkie" is -- and the OED even cited that exact Burns line as explanatory. Further on the plus side, I feel that Jeeves must have had a hand in the writing of these notes. On the minus side, although I agree that "yon birkie ca'd a lord" might accurately describe the (supposed) antecedent of "ille," I'm not clear on how "ille" inherently gives that impression: for me, it's rather the whole 8-line passage.
ricardienne: (Default)
You know what annoys me? Going to the supermarket and seeing fruit that says "tree-ripened" or something but that clearly isn't. Who do these companies think they're fooling? And how can they get away with such a blatant lie?

I have been tenatively pursuing information of Aquilius Regulus (The link is perhaps not a particularly reliable source, but most of if it is straight out of Pliny, so it's probably not any more inaccurate than anything else) -- a lawyer, informer, and legacy-hunter under Nero and Domitian. Not much connection with Regulus Black, then. The accounts of gold-digging and persuading little old ladies to include him in their wills put me more in mind of Tom Riddle than anything. He seems to have lived into Nerva and maybe Trajan's reign, so no clear parallel there. Oh well.
ricardienne: (snail)
All the books are moved. It's rather amazing, but Camp now has a library. We have about 8 boxes of stuff to get rid of, from which I rescued a mouse-eaten 1840's Vergil and a Cicero. In the former, they have the poetry rearranged into standard (English) word order in the margins. Tee hee, but it does make it easier. I love old books.

I also found a fountain pen. It is much easier to get pretty flourishes and curlicues (I have been feeling ashamed of my ugly handwriting since looking at so many old copperplate-written journals) with a proper nib. It's also much easier to smudge the ink, though. It makes one realize that it wasn't just a love of conformity and superstitions about the sinister side that made them switch lefties -- before ball-point pens there was a very good reason for writing right-handed.

I was rereading Anne of Windy Poplars yesterday, and I made a Harry Potter discovery. Well, at potential one at least. Windy Poplars is the one where Anne has a three year stint as a principal in another (larger) town while Gilber is at medical school. It has always struck me as very episodic -- one eccentric family with whom Anne becomes entangled after another. One of these is Miss Minerva Tomgallon. Tomgallon is not an exact anagram from McGonagall, of course, but the characters not dissimilar. There was one particularly striking scene with her cat. Miss Tomgallon is the last of an illustrious family and lives all alone in the old family mansion, full of dusty rooms,old portraits, and six generations of hair-raising stories. A slightly less dark version of Grimauld Place, perhaps. I'm almost sure JK Rowling pulled a few things from here. Or perhaps it's all a coincidence. Are the Anne books even popular in Britain, or are they a North American phenomenon?

haha

May. 30th, 2006 03:04 am
ricardienne: (york)
I was poking around on Red Hen Publications, whose essays are a lot of fun, even if they verge on the absolutely absurd (in my opinion) and sometimes seem to be more attempts to justify fandom and fanfiction premises than straight analysis/speculation of the books, and I found an essay entitled "Loyaulte me lie". It's about Snape, or rather it's an elaborate Dumbledore-Snape Conspiracy Theory that is the most convincing one I've seen yet. But the important thing is obviously the title: I'm not the only one to want to associate Snape and Richard.
ricardienne: (Default)
I am of course not actually doing anything. Why am I so lazy? WHY?

I have been poking around on HP Lexicon, however.

This essay is fascinating, although I think she draws perhaps too many conclusions (I mean, can we really say that Terry Boot must be an evangelical Christian by his name alone?) and it was written pre-HBP:
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/essays/essay-secrets-of-the-classlist.html

And this essay is seriously in denial:
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/essays/essay-dumbledore-vivens.html

I also listened to this bit of interview with JKR:
http://www.crusaders.no/%7Eafhp/interviews/connection/13.%20Snape.mp3

So… Snape falling/having fallen in love is a Very Significant Question, and has something to do with a redemptive pattern, and will all be explained in Book 7.

To which I say, therefore, Snape is not evil. Obviously.

I'm sort of worried that I want Snape to be on Harry's side in the end so much. I really will feel let down and betrayed if he turns out to be a loyal Death Eater, or, more likely, an utterly amoral Slytherin opportunist. It certainly isn't that "oh, there must be good in everyone" sentiment. Snape is a nasty, bitter, unpleasant person. I had him for a quartet coach once, actually, and it was a horrible experience. On the other hand, being a loner and hating everyone I meet I can identify with. I think it would be pushing it more than little a bit to say that I want Snape to be redeemed because that will prove that I can be redeemed too: I don't really think I'm in need of redeeming.

I suppose it's because he's a fascinating character -- the most interesting character in the whole series. He's also a tortured and angst-ridden character: I like those, too. And I'm a naive romantic this way. I don't find the Evil Side attractive because it's rebellious and edgy and alternative: in fact, Slytherin-apologists, wannabe Death Eaters, and Voldemort-adorers kind of bother me, because I am not really a moral relativist that way. There are things that are wrong, and torture, murder, and tyranny are rather high among them. I don't wear teeshirts that say "Voldemort Votes Republican" and "Bush is a Death Eater" because I like the Republicans. Evil that is glamorous and lives in a mansion and can trace its ancestry back 700 years is still evil. I must retract some of this: there is something attractive and exciting about the DEs. I suppose danger is thrilling, and absolute power, and charismatic and cruel leaders who are as likely to torture their subordinates as their "enemies" have some sort of draw. Hierarchies are exciting things. I've always been fascinated with hierarchies, and who has power over whom. I still am. For me, this is all the same pull that fascism has: so simple, so powerful. The power, I think, is the main thing. But, I believe that we can do better than that. I am a child of the Enlightenment; I can recognize that this sort of primitive power-structure and I can fight against its attraction.

I can see this in Snape, as well. He was a sort of twisted idealist, I think; when he was in school, the old, shadowy darkness must have seemed more meaningful than the bright-lit cheer of egalitarian New Hogwarts represented by Dumbledore. But if the darkness is more exciting, the light is preferable for actually living. I want Snape to realize this, or to have realized it. It's all very well for Barty Crouch to be deluded; Lucius Malfoy, in spite of his name, has a stake in the hierarchical power-driven world. But Snape… he invents his own spells; he makes potions: creates things. There is an element of knowledge to his character, and an intellectuality that means he should be able to realize how worthless the vision that Voldemort presents is.

Jan. 28th, 2006 05:54 pm
ricardienne: (snail)
Is this Illyria, Lady? Because it sure as hell doesn't bear much resemblance to it. It doesn't even look like Harry Potter, for crying out loud. I think we may be witnessing a new low over at [livejournal.com profile] midsummerfest



Hey! Look!

I hope whoever buys it puts up a good scan of the whole thing. Of course, all the pureblood familes being related, I'm not surprised to see a Crouch, a Yaxley, a Flint and a Bulstrode on there. It's interesting that a Burke is, though; either the family or the business has degenerated quite a bit since then, I'd say. It looks like one Dorca [Black] (I assume, as her mother was Violetta Bulstrode so her father must be the child of Phineas and Ursula) married a Charles (or is is Charlas?) Potter, while her cousin Callidora Black married Harfang Longbottom. Could these be Harry's and Neville's paternal grandparents? The dates are about right. Except, of course, that Neville's paternal grandmother's name is Augusta, not Callidora. Perhaps these are the parents of the infamous Uncle Algie, then?

stories

Jan. 16th, 2006 09:29 pm
ricardienne: (snail)
I have come up with two analogues to Romeo and Juliet: Hero and Leander and Pyramus and Thisbe.

Now that I have more examples, I really can state the difference between this story and the Tristan and Isolde one. There is a physical barrier that prevents the lovers from uniting in this story. Hero is in her tower; Pyramus and Thisbe are separated by a wall; Romeo and Juliet, while they don't have a concrete barrier, are separated by the enmity of their families. They can't get together. In Tristan and Isolde, or Dido and Aeneas, or any similar, the barrier is moral. They can get together, but they shouldn't.



Something else that I've noticed: many of the big stories involve a trip down to the Underworld. Odysseus goes; Aeneas goes, Orpheus, Theseus, Dante… Even Beowulf goes down into the lair of Grendel's Mother. In Tolkien, Aragorn has to take the Paths of the Dead (and he doesn't look back!) as part of his story. So will Harry? He really should. And death is such an important theme in the series: his parent's deaths, Voldemort's fear of death and need to conquer it, Dumbledore's not being afraid of death, the Death Eaters, the ghosts, who weren't brave enough to go on, the Veil in the Department of Mysteries. But how will he have time when he has all of the horcruxes to find and a Dark Lord to defeat all in one book?
ricardienne: (Default)
Leave it to the Victorians to produce Measure for Measure without once mentioning sex.


It's… hilarious. The Pompey and Overdone subplot has been completely cut, of course, but so has the Juliet one. Yes, Claudio is now condemned "for an act of rash selfishness which nowadays would only be punished by severe reproof."

Read on: Marriage as a dishonorable act )

In other news: OMG! My dad is rated on ratemyprofessor.com! They seem to like him, though they say his classes are hard. And should I be relieved or disappointed that he has no "hotness" rating?

EDIT: I am even more amused: he is listed twice; once with last name spelled correctly, and once with the infamous ie-ei switch. The one really negative rating comes under the mispelled name.

In still other news, The Harry Potter Love Match Meme )
ricardienne: (Default)
So last week, I came accross [livejournal.com profile] midsummerfest. It's devoted to a six month Harry Potter fanfiction challenge. You're supposed to take a Shakespeare play and retell it in the Potterverse. The deadline for signups is today. I'm not signing up, incidentally. I considered it briefly (doing Measure for Measure, of course) but I don't really want to a)ruin the play by turning it into a HP fanfic, b)write a giant HP fanfic, or c)spend six months doing either of the above. Also, in spite of all its claims to seriousness, I'm just not getting a very good feeling from what people have posted already.

(click on the cuts and watch me demonstrate my HP geekiness)
Exhibit A: Othello )

Exhibit B: Twelfth Night )

So that, in short, is another reason why I'm not participating.

Natty and I talked about it for a while the other night; the fun part is "casting" and figuring out the "mise en scene," and making fun of other people's choices.
ricardienne: (Default)
Today was an up and down day.

I slept through my alarm clock, which is quite scary. Particularly as I overslept an hour. Fortunately, even waking up at 8:00, I was able to practice for 45 minutes before grabbing a bagel on the way to Latin.

Latin was quite fun. He brought in an exerpt from Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. The first Potions Class, to be exact. I got to read Snape. This was quite exciting, and I actually did a half-way decent job of reading, as far a prononciation is concerned. We skipped over to the dialogue between him and Harry, so I didn't get to do the monologue about how wonderful Potions is. But even still, it was quite amusing. I don't think it was a coincidence that he decided to give us Harry Potter the same day we filled out class evaluations, though.
ricardienne: (Default)
The food in the dining hall is depressingly bad. I mean, the only things you can count on to be okay are the bagels and the cake. But they're always out of bagels by dinnertime, and I really shouldn't eat cake very often. It's all so gluey, the food. And too salty. Agh! The problem is, I'm still used to meals being pleasant times. Times when I can sit and talk with my family, where I can enjoy the food, and be relaxed. I'm used to looking forward to meals. You'd think that after 14 weeks of eating fairly gross food alone I'd have learned.

And now for the crackpot Harry Potter Theory of the Day:

Reasons why JK Rowling is a Yorkist

I. Nearly-Headless Nick
He was executed in 1492. Whether you buy into my Perkin Warbeck Theory or not, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Henry Tudor (Henry VII) was king during this period. Henry won the Battle of Bosworth by treachery, killing the last Yorkist king, Richard III there.

II. The House of Gaunt
Am I the only one who did a double-take when (s)he saw that chapter heading? The House of Lancaster (Henrys the IV, V, and VI) was famously descended from John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III. (The Yorks traced their descent back to the 2nd and 4th sons). The Gaunts of the Potterverse are degenerate near-savages, obsessed with their own right and lineage. These are definitely not the good guys.

III. Neville Longbottom
While we're on the subject of names, the Neville family was major player in the Wars of the Roses, mostly on the side of York. Anne Neville was married to Richard III.

IV. Hogwarts, Hogsmead, The Hog's Head
The Cat, the Rat, and Lovell our Dog
Ruleth all England under a Hog

The White Boar, or Hog (as in the above bit of doggerel) was the emblem of Richard III.

V. Draco
The dragon (L. draco, draconis) was the emblem of Henry Tudor. Furthermore, Henry's colors were green and white, the heraldic verte and argent: the same colors, essentially, as those of Slytherin House.

This is obviously a work in progress, and I realize that there are at least as many arguments the other way, including one gigantic, enormous one. (Points if you spot it!).



The difference between myself and my roommate:

So today she almost went out without a bag. She was going to carry her wallet, key, and water bottle around with her. Why? Because she couldn't find the only one of her bags that matched her outfit. Fortunately, I thought to remind her that she had one which matched her shoes.

I, on the other hand, am liable to say to myself "I'm wearing a brown skirt and a black shirt and can only find a blue pair of socks. Oh well, I don't mind being a bluestocking."

If the first anecdote is telling as far as my roommate's character, it's indicative of mine how many times I've made the above (bad) joke to myself.
ricardienne: (Default)

kal. nov.



…Was 'murdered' in 1492. Which means by Henry VII.

Nearly-Headless Nick was a Yorkist )

I always knew that a true Gryffindor would fight against Henry.
ricardienne: (Default)
It comes to my attention that this journal has been severely neglecting two of its favorite subjects.

I don't think that Snape is evil, I really don't.Some more about Snape )
So, that was a rather long digression. The point I wished to make was that I definitely espouse good!Snape. I also, as is very clear, am a partisan of Richard. I don't believe that he was evil, either. In fact, I've made some comparisons between Richard and Snape in this very journal. But, really, all of those comparisons relate to my perceptions of the characters, not to the characters themselves. Snape and Richard, as I see them, are very little alike, if at all.

The similarity, however, is between an ambiguous to evil Snape and what we might call evil!Richard or Shakespearian!Richard.

Examine:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.


Couldn't this be Snape speaking just after Voldemort's first fall? Everyone's celebrating, everyone's cheerful and happy and relieved. Dedalus Diggle is sending up shooting stars in Kent, etc. etc.

Click for continuity )
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.


This is Snape exactly. He's been tolerated as long as the war was going on: he was useful, as a spy. But no one really liked him. He didn't really have any friends. I doubt whether anyone in the Order really trusted him to begin with. Assuming they even knew he was one of them. And, certainly, no one is going to be inviting him to any celebrations. He's bitter, he's angry, he's hurt, but he's too proud to admit that he's been slighted. So he mutters to himself, all alone, in the shadows.

So I've been putting a fairly benign spin on it so far. Really, you could read the connection as describing an evil Snape. Look at the whole play. Look at the next line: "Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous." This is Snape who has tricked his way into Edward's Dumbledore's good graces. He's playing the loyal supporter as long as it furthers his own desires for power. No, I am not suggesting a correspondence of plot. Even as far as character, Voldemort is a more suitable match for his Richard. But I am interested in Richard and Snape. When they are both evil, they are not dissimilar.

Oh, and, incidentally, Snape Castle (owned and possibly inhabited by Richard), is fairly close to Hadrian's Wall, which was repaired by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, who died in the City of York.



Today has been a fairly good day. In spite of my forgetting my Latin notebook and having to sprint back to my dorm to get it. That was actually okay, because I did it in five minutes, actually making it back into the classroom before the professor arrived.

ramblings about latin )
ricardienne: (Default)
First of all, unceremoniously yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] voglia_di_notte:
Harry Potter Character Meme )

So. As some of you know, summer vacation is a time to read and re-read St. Nicholas Magazine, and immerse myself in good, wholesome, Victorian era children's literature.

This is the summer of the Annoyingly Sappy Historical Ballad. My favorite specimen of which was "Crooked Dick." Stop that right now! I know what lewd thoughts you're having! Stop. No. Bad. This is the 1890's. People don't even kiss eachother on a general basis.
Anway, it is moderately cringe-worthy, but actually presents a fairly decent Richard, for a n essentially Shakespearian model. Here it is:
Crooked Dick )
Well. Amusing, n’est-ce pas?

The idea, of course, is that even evil cannot stand up against the innocent trust of a child. Hmm. So, l could not, of course, resist trying one of my own.

And as I had already made the Severus-Richard comparison in a previous entry (not a comparison of character but a comparison of my reaction to the character), I had a logical subject... yeah, spoilers for HBP, I think.

This is an Unabashed Parody )
There, now. Don't you feel like a better person?
ricardienne: (Default)
(Okay, so this entry really should be back-dated to July 17th, that being the day on which I finished Half-Blood Prince.)

Well.
ENTER ANYTHING UNDER PAIN OF BEING SPOILED MASSIVELY FOR HARRY POTTER (And I don’t care if you don’t care about spoilers, Anna. Don’t read it anyway!)

”Spoilers )

”Defense )

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