Harry Potter Geekery

In my ‘break’ from cramming for the JLPT (I say break from, but it’s more like I have little breaks for studying; definitely shouldn’t be the case, but procrastination brings out the worst of us), I’ve been exploring Pottermore. I’m still really far in front, in the first book, but I just got my wand from Ollivander! I really like the name Ollivander, by the way; there’s a certain old charm to it somehow.

Wand: Larch, 10 3/4 inches, supple, with a core of Unicorn hair

Unicorn

Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard.

Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously mishandled, meaning that the hair may ‘die’ and need replacing.

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Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair – although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor of the owner’s life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.

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Larch

Strong, durable and warm in colour, larch has long been valued as an attractive and powerful wand wood. Its reputation for instilling courage and confidence in the user has ensured that demand has always outstripped supply. This much sought-after wand is, however, hard to please in the matter of ideal owners, and trickier to handle than many imagine. I find that it always creates wands of hidden talents and unexpected effects, which likewise describes the master who deserves it. It is often the case that the witch or wizard who belongs to the larch wand may never realise the full extent of their considerable talents until paired with it, but that they will then make an exceptional match.

Let’s see what sorting will bring!

Gryffindor! Didn't quite expect this

Gryffindor! Didn’t quite expect this

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart

– The Sorting Hat

Bravery and chivalry? Daring and nerve? I guess that kind of reflects what I’ve been talking about recently. Really thought I’d get sorted into Hufflepuff, but this is a pleasant surprise. Perhaps I’ll follow in Neville Longbottom’s footsteps (and become a heartthrob? Unlikely, but I can dream) and become the courageous fellow he was in the later books, once he believed in himself. According to this, anyway:  “The Sorting Hat can detect nascent qualities in a student and place them in the House that will challenge them and put their character to the test. Case in point, Neville Longbottom was sorted into Gryffindor because the Hat sensed that he was capable of demonstrating bravery and leadership during his time at Hogwarts. However, these qualities did not fully surface until Neville learned to believe in himself.

One of the fun things about fiction is that it lets you imagine yourself as any of the characters that you identify with at any point in time, and as that character grows, you can take qualities you admire and try them out in yourself so you grow too, though probably not as exponentially as most characters do.

“Life doesn’t require ideals. It requires standards of action.”
– Nagasawa (Norwegian Wood by Murakami Haruki)

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The people we keep close

I did plan to make a post on some other technical considerations I had in mind, like internet plans and VoIP, but I haven’t felt quite up to it.

The past week or so I’ve been spending my time quietly at home, talking more to my parents and brother, especially my mom since it’s the school holidays for her so she doesn’t have to go to the kindergarten to teach. Something I wish JETs could do during the summer holidays but.. that’s beyond our control. While each day feels like it’s been passing rather slowly, on the whole it feels like the weeks just sped by. I’m getting quite anxious about revision for my JLPT test since I haven’t been doing the practices regularly and as a consequence am rather behind schedule.

I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness.” – Anaïs Nin

There’s been an undertone of anxiety and some conflicting emotions in my social interactions with people, most likely brought about by certain irrational thoughts that run through my head. My social circles are rather small, so I don’t think there are really that many people for me to meet, but for those that I keep close I do want to see more of them, hang out more with them. I’m just grappling with my own personal dilemma of appearing too.. needy (for lack of a better word) that I escape into aloofness, which is completely contrary to what I want – which is to spend so much more time with the people I love before I leave. As a result, I’ve been venting at the Tumblr I share with one of my closest friends, when I guess all I really need to do is say, “Hey, are you free? I’d like to spend more time with you. Let’s hang out.”

素直になれないな。。
Being upfront with my feelings is hardly my strongest suit.

We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.” – Robert Fulghum

This piece on loneliness by This Japanese Life is extremely well-written and worth reading, and I get so many of the points made there. I don’t think loneliness is necessarily something that occurs only when you’re away from the people you know though. It’s like a little voice that speaks out in your head – when you’re in the company of people you know & can connect with, that little voice is easily quieted, but when you don’t feel a sufficient level of mutual understanding and connection with the people around you, that little voice resounds and echoes in the empty caverns of your mental living space, easily drowning out everything else. This is when shadows become demons as they creep out to fill your emptiness, whispering insecurities and uncertainties, eating little holes into yourself, holes which you feel compelled to fill in some way through vice or less destructive activities.

I am fortunate to have friends with whom spending time is truly a gift for my soul, friends in whose company my problems are washed away, friends whose warmth cover you like a warm fleece blanket and soothes the pains in your heart and quiets the demons in your head. These are the people with whom I feel the safest, with whom I think could make me stay even as I feel like I’ll always be drifting around, the people I keep close to my heart. My friends are the reason why I think I can be brave if I need to, even if it’s not necessarily courage but foolhardiness I have; they are my home away from home.

I will miss them terribly, but for now I will try to spend as much time as I can with them.

I don’t know what they are called, the spaces between seconds – but I think of you always in those intervals.” – Salvador Plascensia