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Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis



 
 
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  #1381  
Old February 20th, 2012, 8:24 pm
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
What do you propose as a brave alternative? Letting Voldemort destroy her only child?
Not so keen on that alternative.

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Harry Potter may have been the master of death by not fearing it, welcoming it in fact; however most people do not think this way. Most people are scared of dying, they are scared off how much time they have left, what will happen to them, their families and so many of the philosophical questions that have been asked throughout the ages that religion has attempted to answer.
Well put. And none of them are like Lord Voldemort. It's a natural thing to wonder and to worry about death and to hope to live. It doesn't mean one is obsessive about it like Lord Voldemort unless they're willing to die to protect others.

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Perhaps it is your age or your experience that makes you think this way, but believe me as much as dying is a part of life; the majority of people in this world have a great desire to live; to see their loved ones, because they believe that they have something to offer to them and to the world. The decision to put one's life for the safety of others is incredible, I hope no one that I know will ever have to make that decision.
I agree. Voldemort feared death and thought it was the worst fate of all. However, that does not mean that wanting to live and live long enough to grow old peacefully is a bad thing. I don't see why a natural desire to live is being compared to Voldemort's obsession with defying death. Choosing to die to protect someone else is incredibly brave, IMO.

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The thing is, Voldemort would never have asked. He simply said this for the sake of saying it. Sociopathic psychotic serial killers, often say things which would make their victims believe that they are offering them mercy, only to murder them afterwards. They relish the sight of shock, terror, belief that they still have hope and the acceptance that they will be murdered.
Voldemort was going to allow Lily to live as a reward for a DE, but I don't think that's much of a life. And clearly, Lily wasn't willing to watch her son be murdered so that she could have the honour of being branded like an animal. He would never have offered Lily any way to keep Harry alive because Harry was the prophecied threat.


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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Well, the problem I have with the whole matter is this: If the decision to sacrifice herself was a radically brave one, then it must also be supposed that a typical mother would not have chosen to sacrifice herself... Which would support Voldemort's supposition that Lily would step aside to save herself.
Why is it not brave because most mothers (and fathers) would do so? Why is something not brave because it is not unique? Most parents would do so, but that does not cheapen it or make it any less courageous. I think it means that people can do incredibly brave things for those they love.


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I realize I'm arguing in a weird circle here, but I hope it's clear what I mean. Either it is true that amor vincit omnia in Harry Potter, or it is true that Lily was brave. I don't see how it could be both.
I think it can very easily be both. The right thing is not always easy. Just because there is love, doesn't mean it doesn't also take courage. If Lily wasn't brave because she acted out of love, then it surely follows that nobody who acted out of love was brave to do so.


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  #1382  
Old February 20th, 2012, 8:44 pm
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Well, the problem I have with the whole matter is this: If the decision to sacrifice herself was a radically brave one, then it must also be supposed that a typical mother would not have chosen to sacrifice herself... Which would support Voldemort's supposition that Lily would step aside to save herself.
But your options are not mutually exclusive. To be radically brave does not mean you cannot be a typical mother. That most mothers would choose to sacrifice themselves in such a situation does not make the one who actually does so less courageous. The majority of mothers are not put in a situation where they have to take a Killing Curse full on in order to save their child. The situation itself would make the occurence rare and therefore notable.


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  #1383  
Old February 20th, 2012, 9:49 pm
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
Personally, I think stepping aside and letting her son be murdered would have been a more cowardly decision, so in this circumstance, yes, dying was the bravest action. I think that refusing to watch her child be murdered was a brave action. I think it showed immense courage.
I wasn't implying that she should have stood aside to watch her child die. It would indeed have been a cowardly decision. She made the right choice here. I'm just saying that it wasn't the bravest.

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I think it's easy to say what one would do, but in such an extreme situation as Lily was in, who really knows how they would act?
In either case, it comes down to your personal desire. When push comes to shove, self preservation takes over. I'm talking self preservation not just in the physical sense. Snape said he'd do anything when he ran to Dumbledore. He wanted to die when he found out that she had died. Dumbledore said he'd do anything when he was reliving the Ariana death scene followed by "kill me". Wormtail went the other way and betrayed his friends when faced with possibility of death.

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Except that Lily did not know that her sacrifice would protect her child. She didn't know that her death would do anything for Harry. As far as she knew, Harry would be murdered immediately after her. However, she refused to abandon him. It wasn't going to do anything to save him, but she wasn't going to just jump aside and forget Harry and move on with a nice tattoo and make pals with DEs.
Its true that Lily had no idea how her action would affect Harry but my point was that she wanted to prevent Harry's death in whichever way she could. Failing that, she didn't want to be around to see her son getting murdered. That whole scene with Voldemort was just utter desperation and panic from Lily.


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I imagine she would have agreed, then taken the first opportunity to get herself and Harry away.
I agree.


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Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
What do you propose as a brave alternative? Letting Voldemort destroy her only child?
In this particular case, I don't think there was a brave alternative. Just a right and wrong one. It would have been brave if Lily was terrified of dying.

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To be honest, I'm quite shocked and lost for words that anyone could even think in such a way. Dying to protect your child is brave, it is an incredible form of self sacrifice. The series is all about self-sacrifice, about selflessness and the atlernatives of selfishness, of lack of friendship, the lack of love. Harry Potter may have been the master of death by not fearing it, welcoming it in fact; however most people do not think this way. Most people are scared of dying, they are scared off how much time they have left, what will happen to them, their families and so many of the philosophical questions that have been asked throughout the ages that religion has attempted to answer.
I said it was not necessarily the bravest action. I do think there are instances where dying is one of the bravest things you can do. I was simply stating that in this particular case, I didn't think it was. Its true that people are scared of death. I was taking about situations where the fear of death is overwhelmed by the fear of something else. IMO in this specific instance, Lily's fear of dying was crushed by her fear of losing her only child.

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So you propose that people like Jason Durham, Michael Murphy, Ross McGinnis, or Michael Monsoor (you can wikipedia the four of these examples) are selfish because of the actions they performed, dying for their friends, their loved ones?
Ok, I was speaking about myself when I said it would be a selfish act. Selfish is probably the wrong word here. I guess I'm trying to say that a certain amount of self preservation comes into play. The examples you cited were brave people because they overcame their fear to do what needed to be done.

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Perhaps it is your age or your experience that makes you think this way, but believe me as much as dying is a part of life; the majority of people in this world have a great desire to live; to see their loved ones, because they believe that they have something to offer to them and to the world. The decision to put one's life for the safety of others is incredible, I hope no one that I know will ever have to make that decision.
I agree with you that such a decision is a tough one and not one to be taken lightly at all, I'm just saying that it need not necessarily be the bravest. Harry and Regulus are two characters who I think were incredible brave when they decided to die. Both of them had to confront their fear and go ahead and do it. I guess I'm distinguishing between thought processes here.

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The thing is, Voldemort would never have asked. He simply said this for the sake of saying it. Sociopathic psychotic serial killers, often say things which would make their victims believe that they are offering them mercy, only to murder them afterwards. They relish the sight of shock, terror, belief that they still have hope and the acceptance that they will be murdered.
Whether Voldemort would have kept his side of the bargain is irrelevant, its about the limits Lily would go to to protect her son.


  #1384  
Old February 20th, 2012, 10:43 pm
Pan_Kleks  Male.gif Pan_Kleks is offline
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
I wasn't implying that she should have stood aside to watch her child die. It would indeed have been a cowardly decision. She made the right choice here. I'm just saying that it wasn't the bravest.
Lily Potter had no choice, it was either lose her soul by stepping aside and allowing the man who had murdered the love of her life, her husband, murder her only child. Which she would never have done, or try to shield Harry from Voldemort. Considering that neither James nor Lily had wands on them when Voldemort attacked the house, fighting back was impossible.

Tell me what you would have done if you had been Lily, I mean, considering you believe her sacrifice was cowardly.

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In either case, it comes down to your personal desire. When push comes to shove, self preservation takes over. I'm talking self preservation not just in the physical sense. Snape said he'd do anything when he ran to Dumbledore. He wanted to die when he found out that she had died. Dumbledore said he'd do anything when he was reliving the Ariana death scene followed by "kill me". Wormtail went the other way and betrayed his friends when faced with possibility of death.
Snape ran to Dumbledore because he realised than, the magnitude of his mistake by snitching to the Dark Lord about the prophesy. He told Dumbledore he only cared about Lily but relented and told him to protect the whole family in any way possible. His wish to die, was a result of the failure of the concealment. I don't think he realised until than that Voldemort would stop at nothing. Snape's strength of character and redeeming quality was his love for Lily Evans. He lost all of that on October 31st. His wish to die had nothing to do with self-preservation. Nor did Dumbledore's wish to take the rage of Gellert Grindelwald when he was using the cruciatus curse on his brother and whatever evil he committed against his sister.

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Its true that Lily had no idea how her action would affect Harry but my point was that she wanted to prevent Harry's death in whichever way she could. Failing that, she didn't want to be around to see her son getting murdered.
The statement that Lily placed herself in front of a killing curse by Voldemort simply because she didn't want to live in a world without Harry or James is ludicrous. Mind boggling, I think you are forgetting that neither James nor Lily had a wand on them when Voldemort burst in. They could not fight back, they could not disapparate.

Well, let me ask you this. Where is the source in the books that claims that she had no idea of what she did by dying in protection of Harry? Harry evoked the ancient magic of protective love by thinking about it, by wishing it, by desiring it when he sacrificed himself in the Forbidden Forest. It worked, Voldemort was unable to cast spells which could last against those that Harry loved; his two best friends, Luna, Neville, the Weasley family, Professor McGonagall and the rest of the Order.

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That whole scene with Voldemort was just utter desperation and panic from Lily.
Of course she was desperate and in a state of panic, they had been shocked by the fact that Tom found them. They had put faith in a person they were sure would not betray them. They suffered from cabin fever, but had let their guard down. Mind you, their guard against Lord Voldemort would have undoubtedly not given them much in store for potential protection.

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In this particular case, I don't think there was a brave alternative. Just a right and wrong one. It would have been brave if Lily was terrified of dying.
How would it have been brave if Lily was afraid of dying?

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I said it was not necessarily the bravest action. I do think there are instances where dying is one of the bravest things you can do. I was simply stating that in this particular case, I didn't think it was. Its true that people are scared of death. I was taking about situations where the fear of death is overwhelmed by the fear of something else. IMO in this specific instance, Lily's fear of dying was crushed by her fear of losing her only child.
Was she really afraid of death though? Besides, I think you're contradicting yourself here. You said she would have been brave if she was afraid of dying and now you're saying she was afraid and that made her 'selfish'

She didn't want her son to be murdered, that is all. It has nothing to do with one fear overwhelming another. She did what she felt would potentially protect Harry. Sacrificing herself and thus evoking the ancient magic of love and the bound of protection it would give to the son she loved.

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Ok, I was speaking about myself when I said it would be a selfish act. Selfish is probably the wrong word here. I guess I'm trying to say that a certain amount of self preservation comes into play. The examples you cited were brave people because they overcame their fear to do what needed to be done.
Bravery comes in many forms, to be a brave, a hero isn't necessarily limited to those who overcome their fear of death. We can only assume that Dobby did not wish to die when he came to rescue the trio and the prisoners of Malfoy Manor. He came despite his traumatic experience of having served the Malfoy family. Despite all of that, he still fought back, he saved the trio and the rest of the Prisoners and died as a result. He may not have consciously come over his fear of death, he was simply doing what he needed to do to ensure that his friends would not be killed. Regulus and Harry, knew that they were sacrificing their lives (which obviously still makes them brave), however Dobby's sacrifice does not make him any less brave because he unknowingly went to his death.

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I agree with you that such a decision is a tough one and not one to be taken lightly at all, I'm just saying that it need not necessarily be the bravest. Harry and Regulus are two characters who I think were incredible brave when they decided to die. Both of them had to confront their fear and go ahead and do it. I guess I'm distinguishing between thought processes here.
Bravery is intangible, it cannot be measured, nor grasped nor tasted because of that, their isn't a single definition of what makes one brave.

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Whether Voldemort would have kept his side of the bargain is irrelevant, its about the limits Lily would go to to protect her son.
Voldemort was first and foremost a sociopath and a serial killer. He lied about everything, from covering up his past to covering up his true intentions to lying about his motives and attempting to make himself bigger and better than he was. I don't think for a minute we can doubt that Tom Riddle was about to keep his bargain. He did not care for his followers, Dumbledore said so himself; he merely viewed them as servants to do the more menial tasks he didn't want to bother himself with. Voldemort having been limited in his intelligence and understanding of people, probably believed that if he made Severus believe he was about to spare Lily's life that would make him more loyal.


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  #1385  
Old February 20th, 2012, 10:54 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
What do you propose as a brave alternative?
I think Harry walking into the Forbidden Forest knowing he was walking to his death and doing nothing to stop it was more brave than Lily sacrificing herself to save him when he was a baby. Personally.

If we're talking points on a bravery scale.

0--------------------------------------------5--------------------------------------------10

Voldemort (Generally)-------Less than 0

Lily's Sacrifice----------Around an 8 for me

Harry's walk ----------------- 9.5 or 10

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To be honest, I'm quite shocked and lost for words that anyone could even think in such a way. Dying to protect your child is brave, it is an incredible form of self sacrifice.
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Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
I said it was not necessarily the bravest action. I do think there are instances where dying is one of the bravest things you can do. I was simply stating that in this particular case, I didn't think it was. Its true that people are scared of death. I was taking about situations where the fear of death is overwhelmed by the fear of something else. IMO in this specific instance, Lily's fear of dying was crushed by her fear of losing her only child.
I agree with both of you: Dying to protect your child is a very brave thing to do but I don't necessarily think, of all the brave acts one can perform in a lifetime, that it would rank #1 on everyone's list. It might have been the bravest thing Lily did in her lifetime but it wasn't the bravest act by anyone in the books.

To me, Harry's walk into the Forest was more brave. He was going to his death to protect people he loved but also people he didn't even know, arguably he was sacrificing himself for future generations of people who would learn about him in school in 100 years and only know him as the Boy Who Lived - But Who Died For Them.

Whoa.

Major realization here.

Harry... was the wizarding Jesus.



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Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
But your options are not mutually exclusive. To be radically brave does not mean you cannot be a typical mother. That most mothers would choose to sacrifice themselves in such a situation does not make the one who actually does so less courageous. The majority of mothers are not put in a situation where they have to take a Killing Curse full on in order to save their child. The situation itself would make the occurence rare and therefore notable.
I also agree here.

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Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
As for Lily unknowingly evoking ancient magic, well that's an assumption isn't it? Did J.K. provide any evidence of whether the magic was evoked on purpose or not?
No one knew that if Lily sacrficed herself under precisely those conditions that Harry would gain this enormous, profound magical protection from her death. That's why Harry's survival was so amazing and why people thought that he must be a really powerful wizard to survive something like the killing curse when he was only a baby. Students in COS claim his survival meant he must be a powerful dark wizard because he both survived and "killed" voldemort in return.

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Is it less brave if a mother does what her instincts tell her to do? I don't think so, mothers often show an incredible insane superhuman inner strength if they believe their child is in danger. It has been documented that a mother has been able to lift a metric ton to ensure the protection of her child.
Meh... Such feats aren't confined to mothers, and most examples of super-human skills seem to appear in situations of personal survival.

At the risk of having the description removed by mods, look up Aron Ralston, the hiker with the boulder and the multitool. 'Nuff said here. Danelle Ballangee is an adventurer racer who, while out running, basically fell off a cliff, shattered her pelvis and femur and survived two days by sheer willpower. To be fair, though, her dog is the one that saved her.

There are many many examples of people who display so-called superhuman abilities in life-threatening situations.

I do agree that saying Lily's sacrifice wasn't brave because it is perceived as "what a mother should have done" in that situation does not mean that it was, therefore, not a brave act. I think it falls on the medium to high side of the bravery scale. Still a brave act, yes, but perhaps not the single bravest thing ever done in history - or in the books. =^/

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There are many examples of self sacrifice I think I can mention, not one is less brave than the other.
Everyone has their own individual bravery scale.

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I'm a bit surprised by the spite shown toward Lily or James on this website, it is undoubtedly from the fact that she did not return Snape's love for her and that James was seen as a bit of an arrogant bully. We must remember however, that it was Snape who chose the life he did for himself which pushed Lily away from him.
Are you saying that the spite some people here show towards Lily is because she didn't return Snape's feelings and fans here condemn her for that? This paragraph is a little confusing...

I don't condemn Lily for not returning Snape's love; she was under no obligation to.

I don't condemn her for seeing James as a bully; that's the way he was portrayed and, to be fair, he was picking on Lily's friend and she didn't like it.

I don't condemn Lily for ending her friendship with Snape; it was becoming unhealthy, they had drifted apart ideologically and at the time it didn't appear to be a reconcilable situation. The beast and apparently only option at the time was the go their separate ways.

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The irony of course lies in the fact that most who seem to dislike James for his bullying, overlook the fact that Snape was the worst kind of teacher; a petty loathsome bully who taunted students who could not defend themselves.
I'm not even touching this.


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  #1386  
Old February 20th, 2012, 11:12 pm
Pan_Kleks  Male.gif Pan_Kleks is offline
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
No one knew that if Lily sacrficed herself under precisely those conditions that Harry would gain this enormous, profound magical protection from her death. That's why Harry's survival was so amazing and why people thought that he must be a really powerful wizard to survive something like the killing curse when he was only a baby. Students in COS claim his survival meant he must be a powerful dark wizard because he both survived and "killed" voldemort in return.
Well, children are usually not experts in most fields. In this case, it would hard for them to know or understand Harry's survival being tied in with ancient magic, especially when Voldemort did not even know it, understand it nor could foreshadow it.

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Are you saying that the spite some people here show towards Lily is because she didn't return Snape's feelings and fans here condemn her for that? This paragraph is a little confusing...

I don't condemn Lily for not returning Snape's love; she was under no obligation to.

I don't condemn her for seeing James as a bully; that's the way he was portrayed and, to be fair, he was picking on Lily's friend and she didn't like it.

I don't condemn Lily for ending her friendship with Snape; it was becoming unhealthy, they had drifted apart ideologically and at the time it didn't appear to be a reconcilable situation. The beast and apparently only option at the time was the go their separate ways.
For benefit of civil discussion, I shall have my statement retracted.


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Last edited by Pan_Kleks; February 20th, 2012 at 11:18 pm.
  #1387  
Old February 20th, 2012, 11:35 pm
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
What do you propose as a brave alternative? Letting Voldemort destroy her only child?

To be honest, I'm quite shocked and lost for words that anyone could even think in such a way. Dying to protect your child is brave, it is an incredible form of self sacrifice. The series is all about self-sacrifice, about selflessness and the atlernatives of selfishness, of lack of friendship, the lack of love. Harry Potter may have been the master of death by not fearing it, welcoming it in fact; however most people do not think this way. Most people are scared of dying, they are scared off how much time they have left, what will happen to them, their families and so many of the philosophical questions that have been asked throughout the ages that religion has attempted to answer.
As a mother who's not all that young *cough, cough*, I see no alternative if your child is threatened than to do whatever you have to do to save them. And, that may include sacrificing you own life.

What many of us are saying here is that what Lily did was courageous, but no more courageous than any mother putting herself in the line of fire, such as Molly Weasley taking on Bellatrix to protect Ginny.

Of course mothers are as scared of death as anyone, but, when that moment arrives that it's you or your child, a mother will almost always make the choice to save her child. I say "almost always" because I have no way of knowing that it's 100% of the time. But, I've read and heard many, many stories of mothers who've risked their lives or given their lives to save their children.

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So you propose that people like Jason Durham, Michael Murphy, Ross McGinnis, or Michael Monsoor (you can wikipedia the four of these examples) are selfish because of the actions they performed, dying for their friends, their loved ones?

Perhaps it is your age or your experience that makes you think this way, but believe me as much as dying is a part of life; the majority of people in this world have a great desire to live; to see their loved ones, because they believe that they have something to offer to them and to the world. The decision to put one's life for the safety of others is incredible, I hope no one that I know will ever have to make that decision.
Not sure what these people have to do with Lily's sacrifice as a mother, as they are all men. But, everyone who gives their lives for others are most courageous and selfless people. It doesn't make them anymore so than people who risk their lives to protect others but do not die, though. I know people who have risked their lives for others and knew people who died trying to save others, and I find them all absolutely awesome.

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The thing is, Voldemort would never have asked. He simply said this for the sake of saying it. Sociopathic psychotic serial killers, often say things which would make their victims believe that they are offering them mercy, only to murder them afterwards. They relish the sight of shock, terror, belief that they still have hope and the acceptance that they will be murdered.
Severus had asked Voldemort to spare Lily. Whether he was honoring that or not is debatable, but he did give her the chance to step aside and save her own life. Would he have captured her and taken her back to Severus (who he thought was "lusting" after her)? Or, would he have killed her after he killed Harry? We don't know for sure, of course. But, she wasn't armed and was no threat to him. IMO, he was out to kill Harry and if Lily had stepped aside (which we all know she wouldn't have) I think he'd have just zapped Harry and left.

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Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
Voldemort did not understand the love of a mother for a child, simply because his mother had abandoned him by dying in child birth. In fact, Voldemort never understood love in general. Undervalued and underestimated it as an emotion and a force. As for Lily unknowingly evoking ancient magic, well that's an assumption isn't it? Did J.K. provide any evidence of whether the magic was evoked on purpose or not?
He'd forgotten about the "ancient magic" that love represented and the protections it provided or I think he would have AK'd Lily without giving her a choice, therefore negating any protection for Harry. No choice...no protection charm.

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Is it less brave if a mother does what her instincts tell her to do? I don't think so, mothers often show an incredible insane superhuman inner strength if they believe their child is in danger. It has been documented that a mother has been able to lift a metric ton to ensure the protection of her child.

There are many examples of self sacrifice I think I can mention, not one is less brave than the other.
IMO, it doesn't lessen the act of the sacrifice because it is a maternal instinct. But, it also doesn't make Lily anymore brave or courageous than any of the other mothers who risked their lives for their children during Voldy Wars I and II.

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I'm a bit surprised by the spite shown toward Lily or James on this website, it is undoubtedly from the fact that she did not return Snape's love for her and that James was seen as a bit of an arrogant bully. We must remember however, that it was Snape who chose the life he did for himself which pushed Lily away from him.
Not necessarily. In Lily's case, to me, it's that she wasn't as good a friend to Severus as she might have been. -- my opinion of course. But, I, personally value my best friends more than that. When I compare her friendship to Severus with Hermione's friendship to Harry and Ron, Lily doesn't measure up real well, IMO. Hermione sure put up with a lot from them, especially Ron, but she never gave up on them, no matter what. I think if she'd been Severus friend she'd have beaten him over the head with her notebook until he promised to forget about the DEs altogether. Being a bit silly there, but, in all seriousness, I just don't think Hermione would have let him get away like that and I don't think it would have mattered what her "friends" said. Look how she hung in with S.P.E.W. and how she risked her very friendship with Harry to keep him from riding a broom that might have a curse on it.

And, did Severus push Lily away or did she push him away because of peer pressure and what he thought he was planning to become? If you drop over to the Snape thread we can get more into what did he actually do, that we are shown. We hear a lot third hand (from Lily's friends telling her and then us reading Lily's statements), but we don't really know what his plans were for the future. Again, that's not for this thread.

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The irony of course lies in the fact that most who seem to dislike James for his bullying, overlook the fact that Snape was the worst kind of teacher; a petty loathsome bully who taunted students who could not defend themselves.
This, too, is for the Snape thread. Drop over and we can discuss it there.


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  #1388  
Old February 20th, 2012, 11:49 pm
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Well, the problem I have with the whole matter is this: If the decision to sacrifice herself was a radically brave one, then it must also be supposed that a typical mother would not have chosen to sacrifice herself...
I think the key is where you inject the word "radically" in front of "brave." I personally don't believe it necessarily has to be there. To me, it doesn't matter how most mothers would react in this situation. If a sociopath comes to murder your child and gives you the chance to step aside and you refuse, IMHO, you are being brave in the truest sense of the word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
I'm a bit surprised by the dislike shown toward Lily or James on this website.
I think one of the gifts of JKR is creating realistic characters we can relate to. None of them are saints, and in fact many have some serious flaws.

Lily strikes me as someone who, once she formed an opinion, did not back down and could be very stubborn. In some ways, this is a plus. I can definitely see her as a brave person overall, and I believe, had she not been targeted, she would have been one of the bravest and strongest supporters of the Order, and would have fought hard for what she believed in. On the flip side, I don't think she gave Snape a chance to explain himself after SWM - her mind was made up, and he knew it.


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Last edited by MerryLore; February 20th, 2012 at 11:54 pm.
  #1389  
Old February 20th, 2012, 11:55 pm
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

Lily wasn't just another mother defending her child. Think about WHY Voldemort went after her son in the first place. She defied Voldemort three times! That's what spurred Trelawny to make that prophecy. This wasn't just a random home invasion. Lily joined the Order as did all of them thinking she could possibly be killed.

Of-course you could see it in a twisted way and think of her as irresponsible for having a baby during war time after defying Voldemort so many times and becoming quite a target.


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  #1390  
Old February 21st, 2012, 12:17 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by MasterOfDeath View Post
Of-course you could see it in a twisted way and think of her as irresponsible for having a baby during war time after defying Voldemort so many times and becoming quite a target.
I always thought Harry was unplanned myself.

I can't really imagine James and Lily sitting down and making the decision to get pregnant in the midst of a war when they're 19 years old and integral players in the resistance movement.

Quote:
Lily wasn't just another mother defending her child. Think about WHY Voldemort went after her son in the first place. She defied Voldemort three times! That's what spurred Trelawny to make that prophecy. This wasn't just a random home invasion. Lily joined the Order as did all of them thinking she could possibly be killed.
No, she wasn't "just another mother": she was THE mother who HAD to defend her child. The vast majority of mothers are never confronted with a situation like Lily was: "step aside or I zap your kid" (BTW, MinervasCat, !!!!!) but that's not to say that the vast majority of mothers wouldn't do exactly the same thing Lily did.

IMO the "wasn't just another mother" argument lessens the bravery inherent in the act. She knew she, James and Harry were targets and took measures to reduce the likelyhood of becoming a victim of Voldemort. She knew he was looking for them and might one day find them. To a certain extent she probably formed a game plan or at least thought of what she might do in certain situations even if they were never voiced: "If Voldemort finds us, I'll do anything to keep Harry alive" and in that sense she was simply playing out the plan she'd made. Knocks the act down the bravery scale to, maybe a 6 out of 10... Still brave but not saintly.


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  #1391  
Old February 21st, 2012, 12:22 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
I wasn't implying that she should have stood aside to watch her child die. It would indeed have been a cowardly decision. She made the right choice here. I'm just saying that it wasn't the bravest.
In that situation, wandless, what was the bravest thing she could have done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pan_Kleks View Post
Lily Potter had no choice, it was either lose her soul by stepping aside and allowing the man who had murdered the love of her life, her husband, murder her only child. Which she would never have done, or try to shield Harry from Voldemort.
I think she did have a choice - she could have stepped aside. She never would have done that, but she did have that option. And it was that option that saved Harry. If Lily hadn't had a choice, her death wouldn't have saved Harry.

Quote:
Well, let me ask you this. Where is the source in the books that claims that she had no idea of what she did by dying in protection of Harry? Harry evoked the ancient magic of protective love by thinking about it, by wishing it, by desiring it when he sacrificed himself in the Forbidden Forest.
That was because Harry had learned about the circumstances of his own survival. He was the only person known to have survived the Killing Curse, which strongly suggests that nobody knew this kind of protection existed before then.

Quote:
Bravery comes in many forms, to be a brave, a hero isn't necessarily limited to those who overcome their fear of death. ... Regulus and Harry, knew that they were sacrificing their lives (which obviously still makes them brave), however Dobby's sacrifice does not make him any less brave because he unknowingly went to his death.
I agree. Everyone's circumstances are different, everyone faces different challenges, and how they respond to them says a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I agree with both of you: Dying to protect your child is a very brave thing to do but I don't necessarily think, of all the brave acts one can perform in a lifetime, that it would rank #1 on everyone's list. It might have been the bravest thing Lily did in her lifetime but it wasn't the bravest act by anyone in the books.
But that's just it - everyone has to react to their own circumstances, not someone else's. And as Lily had joined the Order, and thrice defied Voldemort, I think it's safe to say that she was courageous in other circumstances.

Quote:
No one knew that if Lily sacrficed herself under precisely those conditions that Harry would gain this enormous, profound magical protection from her death.
I agree. It had never happened before - Harry was the only one known to survive the Killing Curse.

Quote:
Everyone has their own individual bravery scale.
Not everyone.

Quote:
I don't condemn Lily for not returning Snape's love; she was under no obligation to.
100% agree, but I tend to think that is debated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
Of course mothers are as scared of death as anyone, but, when that moment arrives that it's you or your child, a mother will almost always make the choice to save her child. I say "almost always" because I have no way of knowing that it's 100% of the time. But, I've read and heard many, many stories of mothers who've risked their lives or given their lives to save their children.
And all of them are very, very, brave, IMO. It doesn't have to be unique or rare to be something brave, IMO.

Quote:
Severus had asked Voldemort to spare Lily. Whether he was honoring that or not is debatable, but he did give her the chance to step aside and save her own life. Would he have captured her and taken her back to Severus (who he thought was "lusting" after her)? Or, would he have killed her after he killed Harry? We don't know for sure, of course. But, she wasn't armed and was no threat to him. IMO, he was out to kill Harry and if Lily had stepped aside (which we all know she wouldn't have) I think he'd have just zapped Harry and left.
As Lily was meant to be some sort of reward for a DE, I think he would have captured her and brought her along. Little point in sparing her as a prize and then leaving her at liberty.

Quote:
IMO, it doesn't lessen the act of the sacrifice because it is a maternal instinct. But, it also doesn't make Lily anymore brave or courageous than any of the other mothers who risked their lives for their children during Voldy Wars I and II.
But nor does it make her any less courageous than any of them.

Quote:
Not necessarily. In Lily's case, to me, it's that she wasn't as good a friend to Severus as she might have been. -- my opinion of course.
Lily was, IMO, a very good friend. Like any good friend, she did not want someone she cared about to become involved in crime. If refusing to become a mob-wife type, turning a blind eye equals a bad friend, I'm very confused.

Quote:
But, I, personally value my best friends more than that. When I compare her friendship to Severus with Hermione's friendship to Harry and Ron, Lily doesn't measure up real well, IMO. Hermione sure put up with a lot from them, especially Ron, but she never gave up on them, no matter what. I think if she'd been Severus friend she'd have beaten him over the head with her notebook until he promised to forget about the DEs altogether.
The relationship between the trio was never poisoned by racism and bigotry. Ron and Harry never, ever, ever considered Hermione a "mudblood". They never threw racist insults at her. They never became buddies with people like Malfoy who wanted muggleborns dead. IMO, there's a whole gulf of difference between the two friendships. Hermione behaved differently than Lily. But then again, neither Ron or Harry behaved like Snape.

Quote:
Being a bit silly there, but, in all seriousness, I just don't think Hermione would have let him get away like that and I don't think it would have mattered what her "friends" said. Look how she hung in with S.P.E.W. and how she risked her very friendship with Harry to keep him from riding a broom that might have a curse on it.
Hermione would not put up with a so-called friend who threw racist abuse at her. Nor would she support a friend in becoming a thuggish DE. If Ron or Harry had thrown that racist epithet at Hermione, her reaction would have made the canaries look sweet and fluffy. Hermione did not let people push her around. I really don't see what SPEW has to do with the DEs. A rights group and a murderous oppression group? No comparison. Hermione stood firm to her opinions - and I think she would have avoided like the plague any so-called friend who was interested in joining the DEs.

Lily's friends were concerned for her in the same way she was concerned for Snape, IMO. Nobody who's a real friend wants their friend hanging out with people who are on the path to crime.
Who wants their friend associating with people who will lead them astray? Lily didn't want Snape hanging around with Mulciber and Avery, wannabe DEs. Lily's friends didn't want her hanging around Snape, a wannabe DE.

Quote:
And, did Severus push Lily away or did she push him away because of peer pressure and what he thought he was planning to become? If you drop over to the Snape thread we can get more into what did he actually do, that we are shown. We hear a lot third hand (from Lily's friends telling her and then us reading Lily's statements), but we don't really know what his plans were for the future. Again, that's not for this thread.
I think it was clear that Snape was planning to become a DE. And as he actually did become a DE, I think it's clear that Lily knew what she was talking about. He was condoning Dark Magic and throwing racial abuse at people - among them Lily. Lily saw how he was behaving. She saw what he was condoning. And she heard the very worst insult directed at her by someone who claimed to be a friend. I don't believe there is any proof that Lily ended the friendship because of peer pressure. She ended it because her so-called friend threw the worst racial abuse in the wizarding world at her, using her as a sop for his anger and frustration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
Lily strikes me as someone who, once she formed an opinion, did not back down and could be very stubborn. In some ways, this is a plus.
When it comes to being 100% opposed to something as evil as the DEs, then I think refusing to back down is definitely a plus.


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Last edited by FurryDice; February 21st, 2012 at 12:29 am.
  #1392  
Old February 21st, 2012, 12:50 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by MasterOfDeath View Post
Lily wasn't just another mother defending her child. Think about WHY Voldemort went after her son in the first place. She defied Voldemort three times! That's what spurred Trelawny to make that prophecy. This wasn't just a random home invasion. Lily joined the Order as did all of them thinking she could possibly be killed.

Of-course you could see it in a twisted way and think of her as irresponsible for having a baby during war time after defying Voldemort so many times and becoming quite a target.

I'm not sure I understand -- why would it make a difference why Voldemort was coming after Harry? It doesn't increase or lessen Lily's sacrificing her life to safe him.

And, having a child during such a terrible time is a sign of hope for the future and, I don't think Lily and James should be seen as irresponsible for having Harry then. They were in love and there were probably times before they went into hiding that they may not have known if they see each other alive again. So, wanting to have a child, IMO, was not a negative thing.


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  #1393  
Old February 21st, 2012, 12:57 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
I don't believe there is any proof that Lily ended the friendship because of peer pressure. She ended it because her so-called friend threw the worst racial abuse in the wizarding world at her, using her as a sop for his anger and frustration.
For me, the issue I have with Lily isn't so much the reason she ended her relationship with Snape. She had every right to do so. However, if someone comes to me and wants to apologize, no matter who they are (and especially in the case of someone I once considered a "best friend" at one point) I think it's only fair to hear them out. Once you've heard what they have to say, then i believe you have every right to close the door on them and end the relationship. Lily didn't do that. When she walked out of the Common Room to speak to him, she had her mind made up. To me, a kind, fair person would have heard him out first, and then made a decision. I got the impression she was already looking for a reason to end her relationship with him, and he gave her one.

Quote:
When it comes to being 100% opposed to something as evil as the DEs, then I think refusing to back down is definitely a plus.
No disagreement here. It would have been a trait that served her well during the war.


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  #1394  
Old February 21st, 2012, 1:08 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
In that situation, wandless, what was the bravest thing she could have done?
Exactly what she did.

Quote:
But that's just it - everyone has to react to their own circumstances, not someone else's. And as Lily had joined the Order, and thrice defied Voldemort, I think it's safe to say that she was courageous in other circumstances.
Right. I'm agreeing with you that what Lily did was brave!

Quote:
Not everyone.
What I mean by everyone having their own individual bravery scale is that my scale is calibrated differently than yours. On you scale Lily might achieve a 10 of 10, on mine she gets more like an 8 of 10 because I think Harry's walk into the forest is a more flat-out-brave act. For the next poster, Lily might rank a 9, for the one after than she might rank a 6.

Everyone interprets "how brave she was by sacrificing herself" by different factors.

Quote:
100% agree, but I tend to think that is debated.
It's definitely debated, especially in these threads, which I find really interesting. Just because you are friends with someone and they have more than friendly feelings towards you, that does not mean you, as their friend, have to return those feelings in kind. Lily didn't have to love Snape just because he loved her. That's not how love works. At least not to me.

Quote:
And all of them are very, very, brave, IMO. It doesn't have to be unique or rare to be something brave, IMO.
There is a subset of mothers who, when faced with a threat to their child, show indifference toward that child's suffering, though. It's not a large portion of society but by no means do 100% of mothers make the choice to sacrifice themselves for their children.

Whether this indifference is born out of a simple lack of love for or lack of bond to that child or because the mother sees the child in some way as having ruined her life or whatever, not all women who bear children are really fit to be "mothers" and not all women who bear children would willingly give up their life for that child.

Lily is obviously not one of these women. She bore her child, loved him and gave her life for him. She did what I'd say the majority of mothers would have done if faced with this situation. And this is a brave thing to do.

Quote:
As Lily was meant to be some sort of reward for a DE, I think he would have captured her and brought her along. Little point in sparing her as a prize and then leaving her at liberty.
Especially when that women left at liberty has the kind of chip on her shoulder Lily would have for Voldemort who had just killed her husband and child. If Voldemort had left Lily alive he'd have to take her back to his death eater hidey-hole simply so he could keep an eye on her.

Quote:
The relationship between the trio was never poisoned by racism and bigotry. Ron and Harry never, ever, ever considered Hermione a "mudblood". They never threw racist insults at her. They never became buddies with people like Malfoy who wanted muggleborns dead. IMO, there's a whole gulf of difference between the two friendships. Hermione behaved differently than Lily. But then again, neither Ron or Harry behaved like Snape.

Hermione would not put up with a so-called friend who threw racist abuse at her. Nor would she support a friend in becoming a thuggish DE. If Ron or Harry had thrown that racist epithet at Hermione, her reaction would have made the canaries look sweet and fluffy. Hermione did not let people push her around. I really don't see what SPEW has to do with the DEs. A rights group and a murderous oppression group? No comparison. Hermione stood firm to her opinions - and I think she would have avoided like the plague any so-called friend who was interested in joining the DEs.
The big difference between Hermione Ron and Harry's friendship and Lily and Snape's friendship is that Lily knew a very different Snape than everyone else did. She knew the little boy who played on the playground with her and told her it didn't matter than she was a muggleborn. She was steeped in Nice-Snape for years before he began to morph into Proto-DE-Snape and she probably couldn't reconcille the Proto-DE face he showed the world at Hogwarts with the one she grew up with.

We've all heard the phrase "Put a frog in boiling water and he'll jump out but put him in cold water and heat it up and he'll stay in there until he boils to death."

Where Snape is concerned, Lily was put in the water when it was cold.


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  #1395  
Old February 21st, 2012, 1:34 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

Lily was brave. It took courage to face Voldemort when he came to kill Harry. It took courage to fight along side the others who were taking a stand against Voldemort. But, so were many, many other witches and wizards of her age group. So, she was in a lot of good company.


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  #1396  
Old February 21st, 2012, 1:39 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
But your options are not mutually exclusive. To be radically brave does not mean you cannot be a typical mother. That most mothers would choose to sacrifice themselves in such a situation does not make the one who actually does so less courageous.
Ultimately all I was trying to say was that I find some unresolved conflicts within the entire philosophy of the series, namely the emphasis on choice as contrasted to the power of love. And I think Lily's sacrifice neatly encapsulates my confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
The majority of mothers are not put in a situation where they have to take a Killing Curse full on in order to save their child. The situation itself would make the occurence rare and therefore notable.
But the detail I'm trying to illuminate is not that Lily chose to stand her ground, it's what we would think of her if she had not chosen to. I'm sure most of us have never even considered that as an option, and seen no point in speculating about what would have happened if she had let Voldemort get on with it. And why? Because she loves Harry, and we know that.

How then can we really attach choice to what transpired? More than a few people have already mentioned that Lily did what most mothers would do in that situation. Unless we are led to conclude that a mother at some point, or even continually, makes a conscious decision to love her children, then what happened was inevitable, simply because Lily is a decent person who must behave decently. She didn't choose to love Harry any more than I choose to love my parents, and yet we say she chose to stand up to Voldemort when she acted in accordance with the love she felt.

In other words, her choice was not a real choice between standing there and not standing there, it was obvious that she would stand there, always and every time, unless for some reason she chose not to. Her agency in that scene is an illusion woven by our desire to attach credit to her actions, when in reality, and in the opinions of several posters I've just read, she did the only thing any of us could stomach reading about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
I think the key is where you inject the word "radically" in front of "brave." I personally don't believe it necessarily has to be there. To me, it doesn't matter how most mothers would react in this situation. If a sociopath comes to murder your child and gives you the chance to step aside and you refuse, IMHO, you are being brave in the truest sense of the word.
My underlying motive here is to wonder why we need to worry about whether it was brave in the first place. I think people are interpreting my comments as some sort of criticism of Lily, but in reality I think it's just a problematic aspect of the text. Lily stood opposed (literally) to what Voldemort wanted. This need not be lauded as the position of brave people! It's the position of everyone who isn't a monster. That her life was on the line was definitely a consequential circumstance, but in its essence, her decision was just to continue to be a good person. Did she choose to be a good person? Did she choose to love Harry? I don't think so. And she didn't choose to be in a life-or-death situation in the first place, so her reaction to it--which is the reaction we all expect and the only one we would ever accept--is hardly a matter of courage versus cowardice, it's a matter of being capable of love and the heavy responsibility that comes along with that. She isn't choosing between "what is right and what is easy," she's choosing between what is automatic and what is abhorrent.


  #1397  
Old February 21st, 2012, 1:58 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
How then can we really attach choice to what transpired? More than a few people have already mentioned that Lily did what most mothers would do in that situation. Unless we are led to conclude that a mother at some point, or even continually, makes a conscious decision to love her children, then what happened was inevitable, simply because Lily is a decent person who must behave decently. She didn't choose to love Harry any more than I choose to love my parents, and yet we say she chose to stand up to Voldemort when she acted in accordance with the love she felt.

She isn't choosing between "what is right and what is easy," she's choosing between what is automatic and what is abhorrent.
I underlined choosing. Yes, I believe she made a choice.

I agree that we as human beings - and characters in books - do not choose our feelings, but we do choose our actions, and we are responsible for our behavior.

For example, if I'm on a low calorie diet, I may have no choice but to feel intense hunger, and perhaps most people would give in to temptation, but the choice to eat is ultimately mine. I believe most people choose to give up their ability to choose, and prefer to blame external circumstances and choose to do what is easy, rather than what is right, or in their best interests in the long run.

Even if the choice appears obvious, that person is still making a decision. Even if it's the one most people would have chosen IMHO. The mere fact that Lily made the same decision that most mothers would make does not mean she didn't make a choice, and the choice she chose was to be brave and not stand aside.


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  #1398  
Old February 21st, 2012, 2:11 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
The mere fact that Lily made the same decision that most mothers would make does not mean she didn't make a choice, and the choice she chose was to be brave and not stand aside.
I'm not going to press the point any further, but in the end I think you're talking about ways we (or any third party) might characterize what she did, not what was actually going on inside her head. I think to say she chose to be brave and not stand aside assumes that not standing aside was an option. It comes down to whether we think Lily capable of considering, even for a moment, letting Voldemort kill her son. Because if she made a choice to do the opposite, she must have. To choose between two options means weighing the costs and benefits, considering the consequences, and making a decision. Not only do I not believe this could occur in the heat of the moment when Lily stood up to Voldemort, I think for it to have happened would have written a much colder Lily than I'm comfortable with.

I submit, again, and finally, that it never would have occurred to her in a million years to stand aside: That the choice was made for her by her very nature as a loving mother, and not by her conscious mind. She did not choose to stand there, she failed to choose not to. And this is, I think, much more to her credit than any form of "choosing to be brave."


  #1399  
Old February 21st, 2012, 2:33 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
To choose between two options means weighing the costs and benefits, considering the consequences, and making a decision. Not only do I not believe this could occur in the heat of the moment when Lily stood up to Voldemort, I think for it to have happened would have written a much colder Lily than I'm comfortable with.
Ah - I see what you're saying. You see it as an automatic response, and not a conscious decision.

Well, on a day to day basis, Lily chose loving actions towards her son. She fed him, clothed him, comforted him, and changed his diapers. She built up a pattern of behavior inside her unconscious, based on her previous choices, so when she had to make a split second decision, she chose to not stand aside.

If you love someone, you will behave in a loving manner towards that person. But - on the flip side, if you don't like someone, does that justify being cruel to them? It explains it, yes. Absolutely. But I don't see it as justification.

In an extreme situation, i think most people follow their habits, and those habits were created from past choices, and I do believe we can make different choices and build different habits and automatic responses, but i also believe it's a challenge.


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Old February 21st, 2012, 4:43 am
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Re: Lily Evans Potter: Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
Ah - I see what you're saying. You see it as an automatic response, and not a conscious decision.

Well, on a day to day basis, Lily chose loving actions towards her son. She fed him, clothed him, comforted him, and changed his diapers. She built up a pattern of behavior inside her unconscious, based on her previous choices, so when she had to make a split second decision, she chose to not stand aside.

If you love someone, you will behave in a loving manner towards that person. But - on the flip side, if you don't like someone, does that justify being cruel to them? It explains it, yes. Absolutely. But I don't see it as justification.

In an extreme situation, i think most people follow their habits, and those habits were created from past choices, and I do believe we can make different choices and build different habits and automatic responses, but i also believe it's a challenge.
Whether the decision was conscious or maternal instinct, Lily still was given a choice to step aside, and she didn't do it. So Harry gained the protection of her love.

Tom Riddle's mother too, had a choice. And she took the opposite course. After his birth she chose to take whatever actions that brought about her death. She gave up. Her love for her child wasn't enough to keep her alive. Lily's love for Harry made her willing to turn down an offer to live. I think that's where we see how courage and love make a difference. Merope felt so sorry for herself that she didn't want to live, even to make a life for Tom. Lily loved Harry so much she didn't think of herself -- again whether it was conscious or instinct, her thoughts were for Harry's protection -- so she died to save him. That's why, IMO, Voldemort couldn't understand that kind of love and the protections it provided.


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