The Wizarding World Book Club has moved onto Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. The questions for the rest of book one were alright but none of them sparked any discussion post ideas for me.
From the week of August 4th there were two questions that interested me. Both of them centered around the concept of home and how it is defined. Home is one of those words that has numerous definitions. For most it is a house but it does not always have to be. A lot of the times people talk about the difference between a house and a home. The house is the building you go to at the end of the day whereas a home is where you feel safe and loved. Both of the questions from this week center around how Harry and Ron define home.
The first question was pretty simple to answer; “Why is The Burrow so appealing to Harry?” The Burrow is appealing to Harry because it contains what the Dursley’s house does not, love. The crooked structure contains a family that adores and loves one another.
Harry grew up with nothing but anger and disdain thrown his way. No one wanted him around, no one gave him a second thought, no one cared about him. He had no purpose and no power in the Dursley household. He just made it day to day. Privet Drive was just house to Harry, somewhere for him to sleep and eat.
Harry meets the Weasley and realized that life could be better. He is welcomed into their home and their family with a smile and a hug. Mrs. Weasley treats him as one of her own. He is treated as someone who matters, someone who has a life that matters.
The Burrow itself is falling apart, it is crooked and nowhere near perfect, but it is what is on the inside that matters. Ron is ashamed of his house, not realizing what it means for Harry.
The way Ron talks about The Burrow reminds me of the way my parents talk about my childhood home. It is too cramped, dirty and broken. To me and Harry all those marks and scars are what make the building a home. It represents a family, a safe place and love. When I go home I am content and happy no matter what dishes are in the sink or what holes are in a door. It is somewhere where I am wanted and loved and I think it is the same for Harry. For Harry The Burrow is the definition of what a home means, it contains love and comfort and makes Harry feel safe and wanted.
The second question was a little tricker and required a bit more thought. “Where do you think Ron feels most at home?” I don’t think there is a particular place where Ron feels at home. I think it is more about the people that around Ron and what they make him feel. For him most of the time he is at home when he is with Harry and Hermione.
Ron grew up overshadowed by his siblings. He never got a real chance to stand out. We see in the first book that when he looks into The Mirror of Erised he sees himself the best of all his brothers and sister. On top of that he has a piece of himself that feels ashamed for his family’s status.
Unlike Harry The Burrow isn’t Ron’s favorite place. It isn’t a bad place to him, he loves his family and he knows that he is safe at The Burrow. When he is at The Burrow he is reminded of the people that overshadowed him. It is a safe place but it isn’t a place where he can find who he truly is.
When Ron is with Hermione and Harry he is able to stand out. Ron has a place and a purpose inside their group. He is not just a name in the middle of a giant family. He is an essential part of the group. I think for him that is where he feels most a home, a place and time where he feels like he matters, is wanted and needed and can make a difference.
In the end Harry and Ron were able to provide homes to each other. Both of them felt loss and powerless at the time when they met and in the end they gave each other places where to they could feel safe, wanted, cared for and needed.
A/N: Todays prompt was to write about where you lived when you were twelve. The twist was to pay attention to sentence length and try to vary them. My story “Always,” provides more information about the guardian angel in this piece as well. That story gives you a better idea of who the guardian angel is.
I slammed the door behind me. I didn’t care who had heard it. Didn’t care if my neighbors would be giving me dirty looks when I passed them by tomorrow. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. My bag slipped off my shoulder and hit the ground, the content spilling out in a heap. My cat walked over and began to scratch around the surface, smelling the pages and trying to decide if he wanted to make any use of the items or not.
For months now I had been holding myself together. It was like I had kept patching up the holes with duct tape but now they were combining into one another, creating huge holes that couldn’t be covered. No amount of tape or sewing was going to fix this problem.
I slid down the wall and buried my head into my knees. Pain, confusion, anger, sorrow and hurt came pouring out along with tears and sobs. Each deep breath brought forth another emotion that I didn’t get time to fully process before the next wave came crashing down. It was becoming too much. My brain was fuzzing over and I couldn’t breathe.
Just as I was desperately trying to decide between passing out and finding my phone to call from help I felt a gentle hand grip my fingers. I caught a sob in throat and instantly looked up. I looked left, right, to the ceiling and at the floor. There was no around me. I felt the touch, a strong yet gentle hand, but there was nothing physical that I could see.
Anyone else would have been freaking out. Most would have assumed they had finally lost their minds Stress can do that to a person. Yes, my mind was exhausted and screaming for release but I knew this touch. It was a touch that I had felt once or twice before. It was his hand, my guardian angel’s hand.
As my chest eased and my nerve ends loosened slightly I felt a calm begin to steal over me. The hand still gripped mine. I pictured my guardian angel sitting beside me, huge coke bottle glasses watching me. Eyes never leaving my face as I came down from my panic attack.
In my head I could almost hear his whisper, “It’s okay. Deep breaths and happy thoughts.’ My eyes fell closed and my spent brain ran back in time.
After flipping through a catalogue of happy memories I choose a simple summer day. I opened my eyes. I was twelve and standing inside the bedroom that had been mine for most of my life.
Our house was nothing special. It was small, barely accommodating the five of us plus an eighty pound Akita, a cockatiel and a guinea pig. Shouts of laughters and reprimands coated the hallway walls like wallpaper. I could hear all the conversations we had as children, full of crazy stories and imaginary friends. Conversations that matured as we did. Going from school work to plans for our now adult lives.
My parents always said and still say to this day that the house was too small and cramped. Not one surface wasn’t covered. Everything was falling apart and the place was just one big mess.
As a child and even to this day I have never agreed. My eyes glaze over the mess of papers and piles of dog hair that live in the corners. Yes, the doors had holes where frustrated feet had kicked in the wood. In the back-room there were cracks in the walls and the wallpaper was peeling. The tiles floor of the kitchen always had footprints and the walls always had handprints. The basement was a half finished place full of darkness and dirty laundry.
Each room was small and cramped. Finding a place to hide for privacy wasn’t a real option. Even your own room wasn’t safe, people always walking in with only a knock to announce their entrance. Silence or even quiet were words that had no place in our home.
No matter the issues though, it never changed what the place was. It was home. A home where laughter, love and creativity reigned supreme. I stood, as my twelve year old self, in my room. This was the room I had moved into once my youngest brother no longer needed a crib. For most of my life this had been my room. Right now the walls were covered in NSYNC posters. The floor was covered in everything from clothes, papers to stuffed animals and shoes. If you walked without shoes you had to be careful not to step on pen caps or push pins. Books overflowed from the bookshelf, spilling into piles on the floor.
Standing here I felt a welcome calm. This was my place. Over the years the band posters would come down to be replaced by pictures of friends and family. During my four years of college the room would become dark and lonely for most of the year. Until a year ago this had been where I went to cry, to study and to read. This is where I played school with my stuff animals and where I wrote my first stories.
A year ago I had packed up every piece of paper and every last sock and had left behind nothing but tears and memories. It was my middle brothers room now, but standing here at twelve I remembered how much this place had meant to me.
A knock sounded at the door. My mom opened it slowly, barely able to move it enough to talk to me because of the mess.
“Dinner,” she told me. No comment on the disaster inside. By this age she knew it was a fruitless battle with me. I cleaned the place and two days later it looked like I had never touched it. Organization and neatness would never be attributes of mine.
It only took a handful of steps to cross from my room across the hallway and into the kitchen. Our kitchen was unique in the neighborhood. Attached to the back was what we called the “back-room.” It was just an addition created to be a dining room, but it made this area the biggest part of the house.
Tonight the kitchen held the aroma of hamburgers and french fries. These counter tops saw everything from birthday cakes, report cards with good and bad grades, to final notices from credit card companies. Here cakes were made and here cakes were dropped. Here metal spoons were turned into drumsticks and tupperware bowl were drums. The floor was skating rink in our socks or a dance floor while music blasted from the radio. This room saw laughter from crazy family dinners where more food was thrown then eaten. Tearful dinners and angry dinners with no words spoken also lived here as well.
Dinner was enjoyable that night. I sat as my twelve year old self listening to my family joke and talk about random topics. Always being sure to include the imaginary friends into the conversation as well. After dinner it was everyone off onto their own.
My middle brother and father headed out the backdoor and into the backyard, the dog at their heels. A swing set stood at the very back of the small backyard. It was hand-me down, with two red swings and a slide. There was just enough room to hit a ball and play a simple game of baseball. Which was exactly what my dad and brother did tonight. Each of them tried to use only half their power, afraid of hitting the ball over the fence. It was a good try but my brother failed. He hit it a bit too hard and watched it soar over the back fence. He groaned, ran to the back and gripped the wooden tops and threw himself over, my dad keeping a watchful eye. I turned away as the ball came soaring back over the top.
I turned back towards the front of the house. A minute later I was in the living room. My mom was busy flipping through the channels looking for something she could watch but was also appropriate for me as well. She ended up on Nickelodeon. Just like the rest of the house this was also sort of a tight squeeze. Here the couch and arm chair took up all the wall space. You had just enough room to move between sitting places.
The living room saw the opening of birthday and Christmas presents, bedtime stories and sleepovers. Here was where we played with our current dog, as well as a future puppy we would get after this one passed away. Just this year was where we also lost yet another beloved dog. It wasn’t a large space but it was big enough to build forts with pop up tents or to jump from couch to chair avoiding the lava ground. These chairs would be where I would get lost in world of Harry Potter. As each book was released I would become completely cut off from the world until dragged to dinner or when my dad stole my book to tease me.
I only watched the television for a few moments before pulling a book out of the chair cushions. It was a companion book the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV series. As I turned the pages I felt myself sinking into the words and the soft sofa cushions.
My mom sitting on the couch and our dog settled at her feet began to fade. As the picture faded I began to surface from my memory. That house was not my parents dream home. It was small, and falling apart. But it held so many memories, whole lives worth. It wasn’t perfect and never would be. Something would always be cracked or in danger of falling apart on top of you. But for me it would always be my home, my safe haven, the keeper of so many of my memories.
I had lived there for nearly 24 years of my life. I was born there and grew up there. That house was my life. Remembering those rooms with its sights and sounds began to bring my frazzled mind back into focus.
I opened my eyes. I noticed that the gentle hand was gone. Yes, things were all twisted and tangled up in a ball right now. I had no idea what was going to happen. But as long as I remembered where I had started I could figure out where I was going.
Once Upon a Time is finally back and I am extremely eager to see what the second half of this season has in store. I loved the Peter Pan storyline and how intricately connected it was to the rest of the plot lines.
They were able to make Peter Pan someone important and a tool to reveal more about Rumple and also small pieces of everyone else. I loved Peter Pan because of much he pushed the characters along and inspired some major changes in some of the major characters. He allowed so many of them to grow and for us to find the deeper parts of characters such as Regina. I hope with crossed fingers and toes that they are able to do the same with the Wicked Witch and Oz.
Oz is a little tricky. Peter Pan is a actual classic fairy tale so going into Neverland didn’t seem like a leap that was going too far. Oz is different, it doesn’t spark the same ideas that traditional fairytales do, at least for me. Few, if any, would really call the Wizard of Oz a fairytale in the sense that the rest of the stories have been classified. It will be very interesting to see how they connect and weave the stories around. Up until now they have done the twisting and weaving so very well that I have faith they will be able to work with this new story just as well.
I watched the season recap/explanation that aired before the episode and there were a few things they mentioned that really caught my attention. The idea of everyone having to find home in this second half of the season; and the idea of how everyone gets a happy ending; the story is really about how they find that ending and what they do with it when they get it.
First they mentioned about how the characters are going to be struggling with finding a home in this second half, a true home. There a many ways of defining a home. It is somewhere we feel safe and comfortable. Somewhere where we can be ourselves without having to hide who we are. Home is our sanctuary. How will everyone define this concept for themselves now?
This new theme was apparent very much in this episode. Of course there was Emma. This is not a new idea for her. She has never had a true home, never had somewhere where she felt completely safe and happy. With the new memories Regina gave she has the life she used to dream about, at least most of it. She has a real physical home and a happy life with her son.
The question for the last half will be what is her true definition of home, what will make her truly happy? Living this “fake”life she always had an odd feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Hook constantly tells her to listen to that pit in her stomach that is telling her that something is wrong. Why would this not feel right to her when for so long she has said that this is what she wanted? A life with her son is what she says she wanted. She is constantly fighting her fairytale roots, always having trouble reconciling what she dreamed of with what she has before her. Even in this fake life she is doing that. She has to get past her past and see what is lying right in front of her. I think Emma is going to discover that home isn’t a place it is where the people who love and care about you are. Whether that is Storybrooke, the Enchanted Forest or New York. It isn’t the place that counts, it is the people.
Hook is the character that really interested me in this episode. Up until now we have spent the time we had with him trying to determine what side he was on and what his ulterior motives have been. Who does he care about? and What does he actually want? Questions that we are still asking but in a different way now.
Emma showed him a new side of himself. He has fallen for her and that at first confuses him, then motivates him. He wants to have that true connection with someone. He had Milah at one time, but she really just enhanced the mask he portrayed to the world. She didn’t enable him to delve deeper into himself ever. She allowed him to continue to show the world his pirate face. Emma on the other hand hit a deeper side of him, his “hero” side. After Milah’s death he became focused on vengeance alone. He met Emma and he has had to reevaluate what he needs in life and what he is living for.
It was interesting how once they all returned to the Enchanted Forest Hook instantly wanted to leave. He is connected to Emma and without her as his anchor to this group he sees no place for him. He is afraid and he just wants to run. All the feelings and ideas Emma sparked scared him and without her beside him he just wants to run from everything. He is lost now and he isn’t quite sure what to do with himself. So he decides on a path he has always followed.
He only knows life as a pirate and without Emma beside him, guiding him, he can’t see any other alternative for his life. This new struggle is what is going to define home for Hook. Charming was welcoming to him, asked him to join them but Hook can’t open himself up like that just yet. He is hurting and all he wants to do is run away. Like Regina he doesn’t do well with pain and suffering.
Where is Hook’s home? Does he have any idea of what home actually means? He has never truly had that one place where he has felt safe and able to truly settle in. Now he has to redefine himself. He doesn’t want to connect to the world butt we see that something pulls him back to Charming and the rest of the group. He finds Emma so she can rescue her family. He doesn’t completely disconnect himself from these people. Why? What draws him to these people? Why does he want to help? Is it only for Emma? Or does he see a new opportunity for a new life in this group? Does he see that he may actually be able to have family and friends? He was hurt when he lost his brother and was betrayed by his king, can he trust and hold onto a family again?
While Hook is running and holding out no hope for finding Emma, Neil is determined to get his family back. Neil refuse to stop believing in the possibility that he will be able to reunite his family. This determination did not surprise me. For so long Neil was a hurt man. His father left him and he was forced to leave the love of his life. He was afraid of connecting to anyone because he just kept losing them. Now he has faith in the love of family again and he is not going to let it slip from his fingers. He finally got all he wanted and he will not lose that again.
What did surprise me was Snow’s reaction. She was so quick to tell Neil that there was no hope of them of ever seeing Emma and Henry again. This is a very realistic view of the situation, something that Snow is not. She is always preaching about hope and holding onto the belief that the impossible is possible. It was a little shocking and sobering to see her resigned to their new fate. Is it because of all they have gone through? Has their struggles hurt that believing hopeful heart she has always had?
I was just waiting for to her say something about how they will find a way to get their daughter back, but she never did. Is holding out hope too painful for her? She pretends to understand and be okay with the fact that they will now have a new life but we know deep down she is breaking. For someone who has alway believed in the vast power of the happy ending this new reality has to be crippling. In her conversation with Regina we see that she is in fact devastated but she has hope for a new life, not hope for the old life but for a brand new one. She is shedding her past and moving on. Why?
The conversation with Regina was touching and really showed the new relationship between Snow and Regina. Of course Regina is heartbroken and devastated. She buries her heart because she can’t deal with the pain of losing her son. She doesn’t know how to live with this kind of pain. Always in her life before she has covered up her pain with action, right now she has no way of acting. There is nothing she can do, no one she can’t go after, nowhere she can find a solution to her problem. She is helpless and that is killing her.
This moment showed a new almost sisterly relationship between these two characters. For so long they were at odds and now they are living with the same pain and regret. This can be extremely bonding. We saw the start here where Snow refuses to let Regina break and destroy herself. Snow knows she is in pain and that the only way to deal with that pain is to move on and find a new reason to live. You have to keep moving or you die and Snow doesn’t want to see Regina die. A far cry from the first season. Snow’s way of moving on is staring a new family. What is Regina’s new reason for living going to be?
Regina defined her life by vengeance and then by Henry. Now she has lost both and she has to determine what matters to her now. It will be interesting to see how she begins to live again.
The other theme or concept that really caught my attention was the idea that everyone gets a happy ending, the real story and test is how you get there and what you do with it when you have it. First can our characters get their happy ending and will they ever be able to live with it when they find it?
Emma believes she is living her happy ending, a life with her son but it is not real. Deep down she knows something is missing from this scenario. So what is her true happy ending? Life with her parents? A home in the Enchanted Forest? Hook? Neil? Just her and Henry?
Snow always thinks her happy ending is within her grasp and it is always yanked out of her hands. She marries Charming and gets pregnant with Emma then Regina curses them and she loses Emma. She gets Emma back but miss half her daughters life. She goes home to the Enchanted Forest and gets cursed again, forgetting that whole year. What is her true happy ending? Her whole family together again? Does the place matter?
Regina saw a happy ending once with Daniel, then Cora kill hims and she completely erases that notion from her mind until she adopts Henry. She found happiness is causing suffering. She adopted Henry but is always had something wrong with the situation. Now she is back at square one. Where does she go from here? Who does she trust and what will define her? Will her happy ending have Robin Hood involved? Will it only be having Henry back? Will it be saving those she once hated and cursed?
It will be interesting to see how they define the happy ending concept for each character. Will some of them get it but not be able to really enjoy it, always wanting something more? I doubt any of them will get their true happy endings until the series actually ends.
A quick word about Henry. Henry scared me in this episode. Henry got the book and that sparked his belief. He needed something to define his life and he got it from Snow. Now that moment never happened. He never was given that book, never felt out of place so what has that done to his “true believer” heart?
He was so flippant about the idea of magic when Emma asked him. Old Henry wouldn’t have hesitated in answering her with a resounding yes, now he sees it as a means to get money and gifts. He has a whole different set of memories, not just a few new ones like Emma. How much has this changed who he once was? Does that belief live in someone even if they don’t actually need it? It will be interesting to see how they convince the “true believer” to believe again.
“Tried the hero thing and it didn’t take,”- Hook- Obviously that’s not true because he goes after Emma to save everyone. Hook has been defined as a pirate and had for so long that is it going to take time for him to determine how live this new life.
“Sometimes it is okay to accept things that are good”- Henry- This is a concept all the characters struggle with. They are always waiting for the next person to take a shot at them.
“Our castle”- Regina- I loved how Regina referred to the castle. It is small but it shows that she is staying with Snow and that she is beginning to feel apart of this group.
“Wick always wins”- Wicked Witch- Is there going to be a difference between wicked and evil?
What are Neil and Belle going to try to do to get Rumple and Emma back?
Why is Hook not in Storybrooke? Where did he go after the returned to the Enchanted Forest?
Who is the Wicked Witch?
What is her connection to Regina?
What did Regina do to her?
Is there some familial connection or friendship connection?
How much has changed about Henry?
Are Regina, Neil and Belle in Storybooke too?
Is Rumple truly dead?
How much of Oz is going to play a part in this second half?