Five Vital Characters in the Harry Potter Books

One of the most popular book series turned to a movie series ever is Harry Potter, known in the Wizarding World as The Boy Who Lived. While as the title character Harry is deeply involved in the plot, he is certainly not the only one that keeps the story moving. These five wizards played integral parts in the Harry Potter series:

harry hermione and ron

Ronald Weasley: Harry meets his classmate while searching for the 9 3/4 boarding platform as King’s Cross Station, an entryway concealed to the Muggle eye. The boys bonded over candy on the train trip and shared a room at school. They worked together, along with Hermione Granger to defeat the villainous plot revolving around the stone.

Hermione Granger: Though it seemed when Ron and Harry first met Hermione that the boys would never accept her into their group, that changed when the threesome had a victorious battle with an unexpected troll. Their friendship was solidified at the conclusion when they take on the villain from this novel.

hagridHagrid: This gentle giant was given the responsibility of transporting baby Harry from his parent’s home after their death to her sister’s home, where Harry grew up. When it was time for Harry to begin his formal wizarding education, Hagrid picked him up. His gambling and trade issues also brought about unravelling the mystery of the school year.

Professor Quirinus Quirrell worked at Hogwarts for a single year, causing a great deal of trouble along the way. In addition to responsibility for the troll that the trio of students encountered, he aided Voldemort in staying alive by the slaying of innocent unicorns and was attempting to steal the stone, which extends life, in order to help the Dark Lord.

Professor Severus Snape: This misunderstood character is perceived by Harry and his classmates as a villain throughout their education. However, many of the actions they perceived as suspicious were actually under the directive of Headmaster Dumbledore, who was suspicious of Professor Quirrell, the new Dark Arts instructor.

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The True History Hidden in A Game of Thrones

Everyone knows that literature is a not so secret hiding place to put the truth. That’s what makes it so great.

What you might not know is that the truth is literally sitting in front of our eyes with so many books, but no one ever stops to think about what it might really mean or why the author decided to write it in the first place.

I pointed this out last week with my post on The Lord of the Rings allegories, and this week we’re going to take a look at another popular series: A Game of Thrones.

This book parallels medieval history with the epic description of the “fictitious” War of Five Kings.

What Is The War Of Five Kings In Game Of Thrones? A Short Guide

five kings

In the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, more popularly known today as the “Game of Thrones” series, the War of the Five Kings is waged. There are some colorful characters involved in this war who send the plot hurtling towards a final ending that no one expects.

The five kings involved are brothers Stannis and Renly Baratheon, their nephew Joffrey, Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy.The war in itself is three separate conflicts: the battle between the Baratheons for the Iron Throne, the independence of the northern kingdoms of Westeros, particularly Winterfell which is headed by the Starks, and the independence of the Greyjoys and the Iron Islands.

The reason the war is being fought is that Robert Baratheon, who sat on the Iron throne that unites the many lordships of Westeros, died under strange circumstances. As a result, his eldest son Joffrey was set to take the throne until rumors flew that Joffrey was the incestuous son of the Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister. Joffrey’s uncle and Robert’s brother Stannis laid claim to the throne.

Not to be outdone, younger brother Renly claimed the thone as well. In the turmoil surrounding Robert’s death, his trusted adviser Ned Stark was put to death. Ned’s son Robb then declared independence from the throne, calling himself King of the North. Taking this opportunity to assert his own power, Balon Greyjoy joined the fray by declaring himself the King of the Iron Islands.

All the parties involved had no interest in working with each other, and the entire kingdom was plunged into peril as a result. No one is quite sure when the war will end and who will ultimately end up on the Iron Throne and rule Westoros.

Does that sound familiar? Think War of the Roses, the medieval battle between English elite as they vied for the crown and control over different regions of the kingdom, resulting eventually in the push for more democratic motions and the signing of the Magna Carta.

The question is: what is George RR Martin really trying to tell us?

You can get the full scoop by visiting A Game of Thrones Audiobook, which has offers to A Clash of Kings, where the bulk of the War of Five Kings occurs, as well as the most recent title in the series, A Dance with Dragons, which picks back up on the end of the war as Danerys gains powers in the East and Stannis continues to fight his way down from the North!

The Hidden Truth in The Lord of the Rings

lord of the ring metaphorsThe Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite book series of all time.

I know you know what it is, so I’m not going to waste your time explaining anything about what happens in the novels or why you should go read them.

What I want to talk about is how Tolkien hit upon some pretty incredible metaphors in the trilogy that no one ever seems to talk about, even though they reveal a ton about our society and the way we interact on a day to day basis.

Criticism of Corporate Interests and Power

Although most people never talk about it, Tolkien presents a strong criticism of corporate interests in the Lord of the Ring series.

Before you scream BS and point out that there aren’t any corporations within the book, think again.

Tied in with this idea is the technophobic nature of the book. If you look carefully, you’ll find that all of the forces of good, from teh Hobbits to the Elves to the humans, live very simple lives, and most have few luxuries and don’t do any mass production.

Mass production only occurs by the forces of evil, for instance with the manufacturing of orc armies, which are sent out into the world to destroy within it. This can easily be seen as a criticism of mass industrialism and the rise of monolithic power structures that control the creation and distribution of goods.

Even though it isn’t “corporate” those power structures are singular organizations, especially in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

To deepen the parallel, these forces are obsessed with the acquisition of the ring, which represents corporate greed and an obsession with our own, often singular aim: money.

The Corrupting Nature of Greed

This also brings us to the other main metaphor that no one talks about, which is the corrupting power of greed.

The ring is possessive. It is addictive, and throughout the story whoever comes in closest contact to it is corrupted by it. That’s because the ring represents not just power itself but also the acquisition of power, aka: greed.

Whereas many novels point out the corrupting nature of power, far fewer link that corruption to the motivation behind power, which is the greed that drives us to achieve it!

If you’ve read these books and didn’t get a sense of these metaphors within them, I encourage you to re-read them. Check out the following links to get access to the novels:

Note that while some aspects of these criticisms are present in the movies, you can’t get the full meaning of Tolkien’s works on the big screen alone, so definitely check out the books or audio books to read it first hand and see for yourself!

There’s also a great Youtube video on the allegorical nature of the novels, so you might want to check that out below as well!

 

The Truth About The 50 Shades Franchise

fifty shades controversySince it was first released back in the Summer of 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey, along with the other books in the series, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, has taken the world by storm.

The novels are especially popular among teens and young adults, following the trend for darker romantic stories that includes other huge hits, such as the Twilight saga, which was a best selling book trilogy as well, along with a billion dollar movie franchise.

Even though this love of dark lust and romance displayed by our nation’s youth isn’t knew, the question is still whether or not this trend has gone too far, and if restrictions need to be put in place for the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

The Books

Each one of the Fifty Shades of Grey books seems to get darker and more disturbing than the last.

The first book starts out normally enough, and it isn’t until you’re a few hundred pages in that you realize the truly disturbed depths to which the author takes you.

The problem, from my perspective, is that we don’t have any real way to warn parents or children about these scenes before they’re already well into the book and, even, well into reading the scenes themselves.

While I would never argue that books should be censored, there has to be something more we can do to make sure that our innocent kids aren’t inadvertently exposed to this type of material. Should we have some sort of sexually explicit warning message to place on the cover? Perhaps.

Click to download the Fifty Shades of Grey mp3, or get the Fifty Shades Darker audio mp3 free from FiftyShadesofGreyAudiobooks.com.

You can also click here to download the books from Google.

The Movie

I want to say that the movie takes things to a whole new level, but the reality is that they’re simply a vivid portrayal of everything that’s already included in the books.

The difference, however, is that while we have no commonly accepted content rating system for books, especially those targeted towards teens and young adults, we do have such a system for movies.

The first Fifty Shades of Grey movie is rated hard R for sexual explicit scenes and violence.

In fact, it isn’t simply the presence of these scenes and the details they show, but their implications as well, as 50 Shades mixes the concepts of love, sexuality, and violence in a dark and twisted world of sado-masochistic lust.

Is that really something you want your 15 year old reading and watching?

Watch this uncut interview for more on the controversy.

The Education Crisis in Developing Countries

education in third worldIn this video, Brookings Institute policy and education expert Rebecca Winthrop discusses the three primary crises facing educational practice in the developing world.

In her view, there are three main issues that need to be dealt with:

First, children in many countries are unable to go to school. This could be because they live in rural areas where there are no schools close enough to them to reach, or because they live in an area impacted by warring tribes and conflicts, or environmental crises, and survival, not education, is their primary focus.

Second, that those children who do go to school often receive a very low quality of education. This occurs due to underfunded school systems and a lack of qualified teachers. In a sense, many areas have a system of “the blind leading the blind,” with little hope of breaking the cycle without outside influence.

Third, many children don’t learn the real world skills they need in order to get jobs in their countries or regions. Many argue that schools should focus more on technical and trade skills that can make a real impact in lifting areas out of poverty, rather than a “traditional” education focusing on literacy, math, and history.

Watch the video for the full perspective.