starlady: (moon dream)
I wrote the following for a course in philosophical theology in November 2006. I should mention at the outset that the paper is a fairly direct attempt to explain the actual physics of time as they are currently understood to my professor, who is a wonderful man and a brilliant philosopher but a very poor physicist (not that I can make any claims to being anything more than an educated layperson in that field). Consequently I wound up talking about Harry Potter and the books of Gene Wolfe in an attempt to illustrate my points comprehensibly. I still enjoy this essay, and I hope readers will too--the suspiciously broad generalizations stop right after the cut, I promise.

In Search of Time, Lost and Otherwise

Before the modern era there was no distinction between science and philosophy; someone who might today be labeled a scientist would have called him or herself, at most, a “natural philosopher.” Thinkers such as Aristotle and Hypatia discussed the nature and composition of the cosmos as readily as they did morality, ethics and the good life. It was not until the modern scientific revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that science and philosophy parted ways, but today the disjunction between them is nearly as profound as that between science and religion.

This state of affairs is unfortunate on a number of levels. Both science and philosophy are engaged in explaining the nature of existence, but the insights of each field are lost on the other. Nowhere are the pernicious consequences of this situation more evident than in the study of time.

Time is the one thing you do not have. )
starlady: (adventure)
Happy Birthday to Harry Potter!

My mother loved Harry Potter. In fact, it's perhaps the one book (or rather, series of books) that my entire family read, enjoyed, and discussed together--and then we saw the movies and discussed some more.  So thank you, J.K. Rowling, for giving us those experiences. And here's to Harry, the Boy Who Lived!
starlady: (siriusly)
The sun has risen over New Jersey and I finished the seventh and final volume, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, about ten minutes ago. I disagree with Michiko Kakutani about "clunky chunks of exposition," I thought this book slithered along with a fleetness and an inevitability probably not matched since Goblet of Fire, which is now dueling in my heart for the position of "my favorite of the lot" with this final entry of the saga.

Without revealing too much, I will say that all the little odd details that seemed telling and memorable throughout the first six volumes came home to roost in this seventh, although a disproportionate number seemed to be from Sorcerer's Stone, which seems only fitting. At several points I was laughing outloud at how bits of memorable verbiage from that first book were made real in this last. In the beginning was the word, indeed. I am pleased with the high number of guesses and wagers I had made with myself that turned out to be true, although on at least one I was completely wrong. And on at least one important question, everyone was right, and everyone was wrong.

I don't think I've ever read a book that has made me sob like this one did. Just--sob. I have wept at books, yes, but I have never sobbed like I did for this one: Sob at the thought of these characters' fates and of how they met them, and also because it is over and I have loved every minute of being a Harry Potter fan since I first bought that first book nine years ago because from the first words it was impossible not to love these characters, even the most broken and damaged among them. But then, the ones who love us never leave us, and nor do the ones we love. All is well.

P.S. After years of JKR saying she would never write about the Potterverse again, recently she's changed her tune and said, "Well, maybe," and in my opinion the pessimistic could take the end of this volume as leaving the door so wide open Hagrid could walk through it without bending. We'll see. I'm not sure what I think. Maybe I think what I thought after finishing Sorcerer's Stone: "Good ending. She could totally write another if she wanted to."
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
“Well, after seven--no, nine--years, I finally hold in my hands the final installment of Harry Potter, and I'm very sad, and I can't even bear to read the entire table of contents. Which is unusual, 'cause usually I read the whole table of contents, which is how I figured out that Dumbledore died in the sixth book. And, yeah. I don't know. It's quite the scene in the bookstore; people in ball gowns and costumes. There was this one Druid guy with a skull and a stick and then he put like a paper crown on the skull? It was weird. And it's 1:22 now, so--yeah, if I'd been smart I would have gone here at 2 in the afternoon when I saw the people queueing outside Barnes & Noble. The cops are here too actually; I guess they're keeping public order. But, yeah, I don't know. Wow. I feel a strange reluctance to read, actually. But--oh god, my back cover is bent. That's kind of sad. Whatever. Anyway. It's mine, it is mine. Yeah, okay. Off to the 24-hour Starbucks with the units 'cause apparently we're going to read through the night, or at least I am. And we're having Three Buck Chuck at home. So, yeah. I don't know. Potterdammerung, someone called it, and it makes me sad. Sad, but also excited, because I want to find out what happens. But whatever. Yeah. Okay. Off to read Potter. Bye.”
starlady: (adventure)
“1:00 in the morning on the East Coast & I've been waiting for Harry Potter since 7:30. They've just called my wrist band color. But I hear that Barnes & Noble is total chaos, whereas we actually have an orderly line, so hopefully I'll have my book soon. Apparently, it's only 1/2 an hour from where I'm now standing. I wasn't going to post until I got this but whatever. So, anyway next post will be when I have the book in hand, later.”

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starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
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