There is nothing I feel quite so strongly about the end of the Harry Potter series as I do about the matter of courage. The last installment feels like nothing so much as an entreaty to youth to be unafraid of death and to understand that all plans fail except those that leave your heart's direction undeflected. The end of Harry presages the end of Europe.
Surely there have been those who have taken the arc of Rowling into a more appropriate context, but to this Yank it's loud and clear. Destruction awaits us, but there is a way through it.
I read a little graphic over at the website of the animators who are contracted with the Royal Society. It said something to the effect that success is 99% failure. All the difference is made by recognizing the 1% for what it is. Faith in the 1% chance. I am starting to make more sense of this particular sensibility. Rather like Rudyard Kipling's 'If', there is something to the the idea of acting as if failure is impossible, living 'as if'.
But it cannot be the only thing that inspires. There is much to be said about the foolishness of diehards whom fortune favors. Beware the bull of a man who doesn't actually out-maneuver you, but squishes you down. Hmm. I don't have to tell you that, unless you are alternately cowering and braying behind Voldemort.
Watching Harry destroy the most powerful wand in the world, I get it. Seeing him drop the Resurrection Stone into the weedy floor of the darkest wood, I understand. What makes us best is when we are best without the promise of reward. It is the anti-meritocracy - and that's hard to explain and almost counter-intuitive in America, but I'll try to spell it out.
As Cobb readers know, I admire spies and priests on the predicate that they are abiding secret keepers. Rather like Snape, there is much admirable to be said about the man who doesn't, at every turn, attempt to profit on what he knows. That is the simplistic meritocracy, and what it creates is an atmosphere of high stakes volleyball. You know. Where everybody competes all the time and doesn't want *you* on their team if they can avoid it. And you get pissed and start cracking wise about how it's only volleyball. Nobody likes a smartass. But the presumption that everybody gets rewarded with wealth, power, fame, honor, etc. make everybody into a smartass. Especially those who smug wankers who win, and those jealous haters who decide that they're too smart to take that winning seriously. Big prize money, the Dosh Point, it warps the moral space-time continuum, and when that happens, well then lazy people can travel faster than light, even though the speed of light is the law.
So you have to watch out for the power of the brass ring. Hmm. Tolkein. Let me contemplate tha parallels for a moment. OK, enough.