Keeping in mind that I read the book while in mild pain, in a overwarm room, and sleepily:( let the spoilers commence! )
Someone said something about Harry Potter the series being Calvinist, so I looked it up (usually there's an essay backing the argument somewhere) and I had an intense People are Wrong on the Internet moment while reading. Not with the theology, which I'm never gonna be qualified to argue. But on literary interpretations, well, I had objections. Here is the post for reference.
While I agree that Snape isn't a nice guy, he's written as a godawful teacher, a jerk, spiteful, but also bullied, misguided, and held up as someone who did good in impossible situations--even if he personally was awful to be around. Harry names his child after him
, for heavens' sake! Even if you want to argue that it's just Harry's inhuman ability to forgive (wrongly), Snape himself shows you don't have to be sorted into Gryffindor to be, as the essayist says, 'the Elect', the good guys. Lily...does not treat Snape as dirt. She's shown to stick up for Snape in that infamous scene by the lake, she tells Snape while they're in private--after years of being friends--her reasons why she feels uncomfortable with his associates. She doesn't just drop Snape for no reason; I think being uncomfortable with friends getting violent/holding ugly prejudices against you
is certainly not unreasonable, and nor is it "treating Snape like dirt". I will not argue that James Potter was not "a bullying toerag", but one of the recurring themes in HP is that it's possible to be bad and still love people. I wish she had de-evilized Slytherin and carried the theme more consistently throughout, but that's an argument for another day. Nevertheless, look at the Malfoys--they really love their son (to the point where Narcissa quite clearly defies Voldemort, risking everything at the cusp of their supposed victory). James clearly loved both Lily and Harry a great deal. Dumbledore loved Ariana but not enough, as a teenager, to realize what he was doing or enough to stop being resentful. Love didn't make characters perfect, but imperfection elsewhere didn't (doesn't) mean that jerks couldn't love.
Some of the statements were perfectly wrong. "That deep down a person can't change. Deep down...Percy is officious"--but it's a major point that Percy comes back and says, giving up his pride, that he was wrong and he did wrong and he was a prat and he's sorry. This essay also ignores other characters sorted into different houses: what happened to Luna? The DA is populated with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Harry has a rather low opinion of some of them--he thinks Ernie McMillan is pompous, for example--but never does he, nor the text, argue that they have less of an impact fighting against Voldemort because they were sorted into the wrong house. I could go on refuting random sentences, and it's tempting, but I think I've made my main point.
I feel this argument was predicated on one assumption, namely "Harry Potter is Calvinist", and the facts got twisted to suit it. That's one way to construct an argument, but I don't see it as very valid. I'd rather you start with a reading of the text first, or at least play around with the idea.
In real life news, I went to dance class on Thursday! We started salsa, and it was a blast. I don't like dance as a performance very much--I did it as a child, and synchronized choreography, performance, and all that is not my cup of tea--but I do very much enjoy dance with a partner. Or with sequential partners, like square dance. I know some of my classmates thought it was hopelessly old and outdated, but I thought it was just so fun, and music was ridiculously catchy. OK, it's fun when the person you're partnered with wants to be there and wants to exert effort (not always a given in mandatory gym class!) but here, my partner, a random boy standing across from me, was good, or at least equally matched with me.
We went through the basic steps, and some turns and variations. It was really warm, even though the sun had gone down hours ago, but massively fun. My partner was good (and could hear the rhythm! Oh man, best
) so we ended up practicing everything a million times while the teacher went among other dancers. I've done jive before, which I thought was kind of similar--at least some of the turns. The stop and go (leader does basic step, follower turns 180, twisting arms around, then unfolding) I'm pretty sure I did before. The music was fast--a lot of energy is involved! Definitely looking forward to learning more this week.