Character, Characters

I'd like to think that I would have been one of the kids who joined Harry Potter in his secret society to counteract the fascism that has taken over Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The wise and benevolent Dumbledore has been disenfranchised due to a wave of suppression and rule by terror that has overthrown their world. The personification of this government of terror is Dolores Umbridge, a Dark Arts professor clad in  pink, sporting immovably coiffured haired and a smile that broadens in insincerity in proportion to the pain her students suffer at her discipline. Harry and friends employ courage, skill and cleverness to undermine the darkness that is a constant threat.

But I am not writing about Harry Potter.  I'm commenting on characters and character and the role literature plays in our understanding of such things. When a story is well crafted and its heroes and villains embody the qualities that writers and artists have been portraying since the ancient days of cultural mythologies those writers have become wright-ers of our current mythology; that is, they craft stories that help us understand the moral battles we must all face, in one form or another no matter where or when we live.

The names and settings may change, but we humans have been battling the same evils with the same virtues forever.  Since folks gathered around communal fires and shared meals we have anticipated the arrival of the local seanachie to tell a tale and subtly, oh so subtly, teach us about courage and love and evil and good and all the other things that go into wondrous mix that makes us human. Even when they are writing about wizards.

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