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Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms



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  #321  
Old November 29th, 2011, 2:48 am
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by merrymarge View Post
Question: Why would Ginny's patronus change to a doe? a horse is a fine, strong animal, just like Ginny herself. We don't know when Snape learned to cast a Patronus. He could have learned after Lily died. Since Dumbledore hadn't seen it, it's possible that Snape learned how to cast one late in life. (Well after he left Hogwarts). As for Hermione, I don't think hers changed either. The otter seems to fit her.
We don't actually know of any patronuses changing except for Tonks's.

Since Severus always loved Lily surely his would have been the silver doe from the time he learned how to cast one, not necessarily copying hers either. Dumbledore might have taught him how when Snape became his spy, and also how to use it as a messenger. I don't think there's any evidence that Dumbledore had never seen Snape's patronus. IMO in TPT Dumbledore was surprised that it was still the silver doe 'after all these years'.


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  #322  
Old November 29th, 2011, 3:40 am
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post
It's an interview quote, but of course now I can't find it!! (Accio-Quote doesn't seem to work for me anymore!!) I don't believe there's any book canon for either of the Potters' patronuses.
Found it!

Quote:
Chely: James patronus is a stag and lilys a doe is that a coincidence?
J.K. Rowling: No, the Patronus often mutates to take the image of the love of one's life (because they so often become the 'happy thought' that generates a Patronus).
http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/...bury-chat.html

The books, however, never directly said what Lily and James' patronuses were.

We also have this scene from Chapter 33 - Prince's Tale - Deathly Hallows:

Quote:
"But this is touching, Severus," said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
"For him?" shouted Snape. "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.
Dumbledore seems to recognize the silver doe as being connected to Snape's love for Lily. The only reason I can think of that would have DD recognize the doe as representing Lily is if her patronus was a doe as well. In the case of other couples, such as Tonks and Lupin, Tonk's patronus changes to represent the man she loves, so there is presidence for it in the books.

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Originally Posted by merrymarge View Post
Question: Why would Ginny's patronus change to a doe? a horse is a fine, strong animal, just like Ginny herself.
Maybe Harry's later changed to a horse? That would make sense to me.


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  #323  
Old November 29th, 2011, 5:10 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
The reason I ask is that I never thought of Lily as having a doe as her original patronus and it kind of offends me for some irrational reason that if it wasn't her patronus's original form that she would be so malliable as to change her form to match her husbands (if it was an intentional change) or her personality so diminished that it would change to a doe on its own. I also, despite the descriptors above, don't think the form of a doe fits my image of Lily. For me does are part of a herd and basically go with the flow and do as their herd commands (like a school of fish, where one goes the rest follow) and have their stag to defend them. That doesn't sound like Lily to me at all. It's clear that she stands up for herself, perhaps goes against the grain being outspoken against Voldemort, is a leader in her own right because she was named head girl... she doesn't seem like a face in the crowd to me and that's what a doe is for me.
I agree that a doe is an odd thing to represent Lily, but I don't think it is meant to be indicative of her personality like an Animagus form would be.

I think the Patronus form represents what a person finds protective, not necessarily their whole personality. I think if Lily's Patronus form morphed from something else because of James's stag Animagus form it would because she found the love she had with him to be the strongest thing she had in her life. Therefore, the doe Patronus would represent love.

It may have always been a doe. The Patronus charm seems to be advanced magic and probably was taught at NEWT level, so she and James may well have known they had a strong love and future together at the time they learned the spell.

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Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
Maybe Harry's later changed to a horse? That would make sense to me.
I think Harry's stayed a stag, not because he didn't love Ginny, but because I think his stag symbolized parental love, and the love of a family. I think those always remained very important things to Harry. It would encompass his love for Ginny, too, but was much broader than romantic love.


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  #324  
Old November 29th, 2011, 5:34 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by OldMotherCrow View Post
I agree that a doe is an odd thing to represent Lily, but I don't think it is meant to be indicative of her personality like an Animagus form would be.

I think the Patronus form represents what a person finds protective, not necessarily their whole personality. I think if Lily's Patronus form morphed from something else because of James's stag Animagus form it would because she found the love she had with him to be the strongest thing she had in her life. Therefore, the doe Patronus would represent love.

It may have always been a doe. The Patronus charm seems to be advanced magic and probably was taught at NEWT level, so she and James may well have known they had a strong love and future together at the time they learned the spell.
Okay, I'm mollified - for the moment =^J I still think a doe is a weak symbol for Lily but I can buy that the doe doesn't represent Lily's personality but her love with and for James. So is that the consensus? That the animagus form is more tied to the person's personality and that the patronus is more changable depending on the experiences and relationships in a person's life? I kind of like that idea but it seems that everyone here is calling the patronus the be-all-end-all animal representation of a person's personality. Or maybe that's what a patronus is until something big enough happens to them to cause the patronus to change?

With that being said, though, what does everyone think Lily's animagus form might have been if it wasn't necessarily tied to her patronus form?

Quote:
I think Harry's stayed a stag, not because he didn't love Ginny, but because I think his stag symbolized parental love, and the love of a family. I think those always remained very important things to Harry. It would encompass his love for Ginny, too, but was much broader than romantic love.
[staff edit]

I don't really consider myself a feminist but it still bothers me a little that it seems that it's the woman's patronus that changes to match her husband or boyfriends'. Granted we only have one concrete example in the books (Tonks) and Lily might have learned to cast a patronus after she and james were a solid couple but I kind of think that if two people fall in love with each other and one has a drago patronus (wouldn't that be awesome??) and one has a koala patronus that BOTH the forms would change to something that defines their relationship or is sort of a half-way point between their patronus forms, though what would be half way between a dragon and a koala is beyond me at the moment.


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Last edited by Alastor; December 6th, 2011 at 9:03 pm. Reason: non ff.
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  #325  
Old November 29th, 2011, 6:04 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
Okay, I'm mollified - for the moment =^J I still think a doe is a weak symbol for Lily but I can buy that the doe doesn't represent Lily's personality but her love with and for James. So is that the consensus? That the animagus form is more tied to the person's personality and that the patronus is more changable depending on the experiences and relationships in a person's life? I kind of like that idea but it seems that everyone here is calling the patronus the be-all-end-all animal representation of a person's personality. Or maybe that's what a patronus is until something big enough happens to them to cause the patronus to change?
I looked at some more of JKR's quotes to get a better idea. I'm not sure the books went into much detail.

Patronus:

Quote:
Emma: What one spell would you like to bring to life and why?

JK: Ooh, there are so many, aren't there? So many. Erm, I think for me there ... the outstanding spell is 'Expecto Patronum', and you know what that does don't you? It creates the Patronus, it creates a kind of spirit guardian in a way. And that's partly because of what it does. It's the protector, and you could protect yourself and other people that you cared about with a Patronus, but it's also because it's such a beautiful spell. you know, the image of the silver Patronus emerging from a wand. I really like that.
http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/...5-itv-coad.htm

Animagus:

Quote:
Does the animal one turns into as an Animagi reflect your personality?

Very well deduced, Narri! I personally would like to think that I would transform into an otter, which is my favorite animal. Imagine how horrible it would be if I turned out to be a cockroach!
http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/...0-aol-chat.htm

The primary purpose of an animagus is to be a protector, and it's created by your happiest feelings. I would think that most people's patronus would represent someone or something they loved, someone or something they felt protected by. I agree that James and Lily most likely learned the patronus charm in their 7th year at the school, when they were dating, and thus in a sense they were similar - a male/stag and a female/doe.

An animagus is a representation of the person themselves. Most wizards do not become an animagus, and the ones who do are supposed to register at the Ministry.


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  #326  
Old November 30th, 2011, 4:55 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
I looked at some more of JKR's quotes to get a better idea. I'm not sure the books went into much detail.
Very cool, thanks for the quotes!

This brings up an interesting point, though: if the patronus takes the form of something you love or feel protected by than analysing the significance and meanings of a patronus form in relation to the caster's personality is a moot point. Whether Ron's patronus is a terrier or not wouldn't reflect his personality it would reflect the fact that somehow or other he feels loved or protected in some way by a dog or that that dog in some way reflects someone or something he (unconsciously??) thinks or finds protective or loving.

Don't you think?

Maybe what we know the characters' patronuses to be should reallly be their animagus forms instead.


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  #327  
Old December 6th, 2011, 9:24 am
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I don't really consider myself a feminist but it still bothers me a little that it seems that it's the woman's patronus that changes to match her husband or boyfriends'. Granted we only have one concrete example in the books (Tonks) and Lily might have learned to cast a patronus after she and james were a solid couple but I kind of think that if two people fall in love with each other and one has a drago patronus (wouldn't that be awesome??) and one has a koala patronus that BOTH the forms would change to something that defines their relationship or is sort of a half-way point between their patronus forms, though what would be half way between a dragon and a koala is beyond me at the moment.
Although I think Snape's patronus changed to match Lily's, I thought about that point as well; it seems rather normal that the women's patronusses change, and I don't like that fact too much, either.
But since Snape's patronus most likely changed to match Lily's as well, perhaps the patronus of the person more deeply in love/with stronger feelings changes?
It may sound wrong, but I think Snape likes Lily in a very obsessives way (and didn't want to end their friendship at all), therefore probably his patronus changed. Tonks' patronus changed, perhaps because she was very sure of wanting to be with Lupin, who, at that point in the story, wasn't sure if he should be in a relationship at all because of the whole werewolf-thing. So Tonks was sure, was in love and wanted to be in love, and perhaps therefore her patronus changed.
...I don't really know why Lily's changed, but perhaps because she finally was able to admit to herself that she was in love with James and felt good about it after resisting him for quite some time.
That's a rather weak point, though, since I guess James was in love with her for a longer time and therefore it should have been his patronus that changed.

I read a theory somewhere that Hermione's patronus, the otter, could also be a hint at her feelings for Ron, since he lives near Ottery St.Catchpole (sorry if I spelled it wrong); I think that's interesting, but perhaps a bit far-fetched.


As to the protection-point - it sounds plausible, somehow, but I don't get why anyone should feel protected/loved by a dog as small as a terrier (if he didn't ever have one as a pet, at least) or an otter or something like that.
I get why you feel protected by large animals like a stag or a lynx, though.
But I myself always thought, the patronus somehow resembles personality traits of oneself that aren't necessarily always visible, but a positive part about oneself and therefore able to protect (even if they have nothing to do with fighting/strength, but rather with positive sides of one's character - like Hermione's otter could resemble couriosity and some kind of playfull- and inventiveness, which are positive character traits but in Hermione's often rather strict attitude towards certain things not visible).
I can't quite express what I mean, but perhaps you understand it nevertheless °:/


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  #328  
Old December 6th, 2011, 3:18 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Alfine View Post
As to the protection-point - it sounds plausible, somehow, but I don't get why anyone should feel protected/loved by a dog as small as a terrier (if he didn't ever have one as a pet, at least) or an otter or something like that.
I get why you feel protected by large animals like a stag or a lynx, though.
But I myself always thought, the patronus somehow resembles personality traits of oneself that aren't necessarily always visible, but a positive part about oneself and therefore able to protect (even if they have nothing to do with fighting/strength, but rather with positive sides of one's character
Patronuses remind me of toys kids sleep with, except on an adult level. Lots of kids feel safe at night, curled up with a Teddy Bear, or perhaps a favorite doll. They give them warm, safe, happy, "I feel loved and protected" feelings. A patronus is a projection of a person - the image of an animal which gives them those same warm, safe, happy, "I feel loved and protected" feelings. Often, those patronuses represent someone the person cares about. And it's the positive feelings which ward off the Dementors, rather than the image itself.


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  #329  
Old December 6th, 2011, 5:29 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Alfine View Post
Although I think Snape's patronus changed to match Lily's, I thought about that point as well; it seems rather normal that the women's patronusses change, and I don't like that fact too much, either.
But since Snape's patronus most likely changed to match Lily's as well, perhaps the patronus of the person more deeply in love/with stronger feelings changes?
It may sound wrong, but I think Snape likes Lily in a very obsessives way (and didn't want to end their friendship at all), therefore probably his patronus changed. Tonks' patronus changed, perhaps because she was very sure of wanting to be with Lupin, who, at that point in the story, wasn't sure if he should be in a relationship at all because of the whole werewolf-thing. So Tonks was sure, was in love and wanted to be in love, and perhaps therefore her patronus changed.

...I don't really know why Lily's changed, but perhaps because she finally was able to admit to herself that she was in love with James and felt good about it after resisting him for quite some time.
That's a rather weak point, though, since I guess James was in love with her for a longer time and therefore it should have been his patronus that changed.
I get where you're coming from but I don't think Lily was more in love with James than James was with her. I think relationships experience and ebb and flow between the partners as to who's in love more at any one moment. It's still sticking point for me that Lily's patronus changed to match James and it just... bothers me. I still think both their patronuses should have changed to something that represented them together or represented the one to the other. I could see Lily's changing to the stag which represents James and James's changing to the doe to represent Lily but to have his stay a stag representing himself and hers a doe representing herself seems a bit... I don't know... self-centered isn't the right word but it's the closest I can get at the moment.

I agree about Snape being sort of obsessed with Lily, though. He does seem the type to become kind of a stalker, lol

Quote:
I read a theory somewhere that Hermione's patronus, the otter, could also be a hint at her feelings for Ron, since he lives near Ottery St.Catchpole (sorry if I spelled it wrong); I think that's interesting, but perhaps a bit far-fetched.
HA!! that's awesome!


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I can't quite express what I mean, but perhaps you understand it nevertheless °:/
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  #330  
Old December 6th, 2011, 9:00 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by shaylee_ann View Post
I suppose it's possible that Snape didn't cast a patronus until after Lily died, but I would be kind of surprised if that was the case. He was very talented at magic (particularly DADA) and I personally would kind of picture him like Harry - very advanced. He probably produced a patronus at an unusually young age. I think his patronus probably changed after Lily died, just like Tonks' changed after GoF.
It's not a forgone conclusion that all advanced students learn to make a patronus. The court seemed very surprised that Harry could make one at all at his age. Lupin also told Harry that patronuses were very advanced magic. Snape's interests lay in a differtent direction - innovative curses, potions, occlumency, etc. He may not have made a patronus at all until he joimed the order of the phoenix. At one point it's mentioned that using patronuses as messengers is one of Dumbledore's innovations. Harry only learned to make a patronus because he needed protection from Dementors (which seems to be it's primary function).


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  #331  
Old December 6th, 2011, 11:47 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Alfine View Post
I read a theory somewhere that Hermione's patronus, the otter, could also be a hint at her feelings for Ron, since he lives near Ottery St.Catchpole (sorry if I spelled it wrong); I think that's interesting, but perhaps a bit far-fetched.

But I myself always thought, the patronus somehow resembles personality traits of oneself that aren't necessarily always visible, but a positive part about oneself and therefore able to protect (even if they have nothing to do with fighting/strength, but rather with positive sides of one's character - like Hermione's otter could resemble couriosity and some kind of playfull- and inventiveness, which are positive character traits but in Hermione's often rather strict attitude towards certain things not visible).
I completely agree with you. I thought that Patronuses were a representation of one's inner nature or character (as with Harry, Hermione, Ron, Lily, Sirius, Luna, Kingsley, Arthur, etc.) or the object of one's desire (Tonks, Snape). I assumed that Lily's Patronus had always been a doe because a doe is a gentle, kind creature much like Lily was a gentle, kind human being. And maybe I'm being naive, but I saw it as a sign of her compatability with James that they had matching Patronuses. I consider Hermione's Patronus to be similar: it represents her clever nature while also reflecting her love for Ron. After all, otters are part of the weasel family.


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  #332  
Old January 4th, 2012, 3:18 am
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

The only ones I was really intrigued with in the books were the 2 stags because of the whole connection with Harry and his parents - I liked all of those parts. I really liked the fact that all the Marauders were out that night in the forest.

The rest were give and take when it came to figuring them - although I know JKR took a lot of time with that. Did she ever publish that encylopeida? That would be the kind of thing that would be interesting to read. I always figure I have them all wrong otherwise - as the stags are the only ones she was explicit about really. The others I couldn't interpret to my satisfaction.


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  #333  
Old January 6th, 2012, 5:06 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by gabriele87 View Post
I assumed that Lily's Patronus had always been a doe because a doe is a gentle, kind creature much like Lily was a gentle, kind human being.
I wouldn't call deer, whether it be a buck/stag or a doe kind creatures - how do we know they're "kind"? Do they give to charities? Volunteer for their kids' school? Kidness is a human emotional characteristic not a behavior of a deer. They are very social animals and rigidly maintain a social heirarchy, much like a wolf pack, and does are known to be just as easily tempted into fights for heirachy as bucks are (sorry, I'm american and i know male deer as bucks not stags). Granted they don't fight with gnashing teeth and claws, more with hoof kicks (it kind of looks like sissy 13-year-old girl fighting) and pushing each other around, but they do keep their heirarchy of dominance/subservience in place with pysical violence.

That doesn't sound like Lily to me, but we, frankly, don't know all that much about her.


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  #334  
Old January 16th, 2012, 7:47 am
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I wouldn't call deer, whether it be a buck/stag or a doe kind creatures - how do we know they're "kind"? Do they give to charities? Volunteer for their kids' school? Kidness is a human emotional characteristic not a behavior of a deer. They are very social animals and rigidly maintain a social heirarchy, much like a wolf pack, and does are known to be just as easily tempted into fights for heirachy as bucks are (sorry, I'm american and i know male deer as bucks not stags). Granted they don't fight with gnashing teeth and claws, more with hoof kicks (it kind of looks like sissy 13-year-old girl fighting) and pushing each other around, but they do keep their heirarchy of dominance/subservience in place with pysical violence.

That doesn't sound like Lily to me, but we, frankly, don't know all that much about her.
It's animal symbolism - there are various cultural references. One's animagus and/or patronus form symbolizes something about themselves. It might have a connection to their personality - i.e. loyalty or courage - but some symboliize things like healing and prophecy as well. I don't think anyone has ever asked Jo specifically, but in interviews, she refers to the animagus and patronus forms interchangably so it appears that the standard would be that it would be the same animal for both generally - with the patronus changing due to trauma, shock, or love creating exceptions to that rule. Examples would be references to both Dumbledore and James regarding their animagus/patronus forms as a phoenix and a stag respectively - though there was no mention of Dumbledore actually being an animagus on page and Harry never saw or heard anyone mention what James' patronus form was. Jo indicates that it would have been the same animal for both. We also see that with McGonagall on page - both her animagus and patronus forms were a cat.

Interestingly, the doe and the stag typically share the same symbolic references - often classified more generally as "deer". Here's an entry from an animal symbolism site -

Deer - Gentleness, Healing, Connection to the Earth and the Forest, Keen Scent, Grace, Swiftness, Being Alert for Any Danger, Psychic Powers, Innocence, Love, Kindness, Sensitivity, Pride, Independence, Purification, Strength, Nobility.

My take would be that Jo simply used the masculine and feminine forms of deer - the stag and the doe - for James and Lily because the symbolism was the same for both. Also, I think it's important to remember that Jo never explicitly stated which of them had their patronus form change. Considering that Lupin revealed that James, Sirius, and Pettigrew did not successfully achieve the animagus transformation until their fifth year - by which point, James already had feelings for Lily - it may be that James' animagus and patronus were influenced by his feelings for Lily from the time he learned how to do both. His feelings were part of him and Jo has implied a connection between the animagus and patronus forms so that makes sense to me.

It's difficult to apply such symbolism to Tonks and Snape's patronus forms because they both changed to exact replications of the person they loved due to their own misery over rejection and loss from what is explained in the text. I don't think the usual standards would apply to them. It would be interesting to know what their original patronus forms were. That would be more revealing, IMO.

Here is the symbolic reference for Ginny's horse patronus.

Horse - The Goddess, the Land, Travel, Power, Freedom, Strength, Movement, Grace, Dignity, Stamina, Endurance, Faithfulness, Journey, Swiftness, Friends, Loyalty, Astral Traveling.

Symbolically, that seems to be compatible with the deer as it is so it seems unlikely to me that Ginny's patronus would change. Particularly considering that Ginny had feelings for Harry that were developing from the time she was a child. It's just something that was always part of her, IMO.


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All posts are my opinions and interpretations based on reading the Harry Potter books and interviews with J.K. Rowling.

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  #335  
Old April 6th, 2012, 8:12 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

Continued from the "Feminism in DH" Thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
I think Lily's Patronus might have been a doe even if she had never fallen in love with James. It is a reasonable representation of HER (just as Minerva's cat seems to be).
I'm curious as to why you think a doe is a reasonable representation of Lily - as I said in the "Feminism" thread I feel like a bear is a more reasonable representation of what kind of person Lily is represented as being in the books: she and Molly represent the absolute best of motherhood and nurturing and those are both descriptors strongly associated with bears, not deer.

As for what her patronus form would have been if she had never married James, I would have given her a stronger symbol, one that represented her strength in standing up for what she believed in and her desire to fight for that belief - not an animal known for running away from everything.


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  #336  
Old April 6th, 2012, 9:33 pm
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
Continued from the "Feminism in DH" Thread:



I'm curious as to why you think a doe is a reasonable representation of Lily - as I said in the "Feminism" thread I feel like a bear is a more reasonable representation of what kind of person Lily is represented as being in the books: she and Molly represent the absolute best of motherhood and nurturing and those are both descriptors strongly associated with bears, not deer.

As for what her patronus form would have been if she had never married James, I would have given her a stronger symbol, one that represented her strength in standing up for what she believed in and her desire to fight for that belief - not an animal known for running away from everything.
Somehow IMO a silver bear wouldn't be nearly as romantic as a silver doe!!


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  #337  
Old April 7th, 2012, 2:54 am
StarryVeil  Female.gif StarryVeil is offline
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I'm curious as to why you think a doe is a reasonable representation of Lily - as I said in the "Feminism" thread I feel like a bear is a more reasonable representation of what kind of person Lily is represented as being in the books: she and Molly represent the absolute best of motherhood and nurturing and those are both descriptors strongly associated with bears, not deer.
But a doe is strongly associated with mothering. Personally, if I were told to give one animal I associate with motherhood, it would be a doe. That's not to say that female bears aren't motherly, though.

Quote:
As for what her patronus form would have been if she had never married James, I would have given her a stronger symbol, one that represented her strength in standing up for what she believed in and her desire to fight for that belief - not an animal known for running away from everything.
I do not think does are weak animals, really. Perhaps physically they are less capable than more predatory animals (which is why they have to keep running away) but they have a gentle strength and perseverance that, IMO, makes them "strong". Or at least, those qualities in a human are very admirable. Plus, I do think Lily is characterized with gentle strength and perseverance.

One thing I liked about the Potters' Patronuses was how closely it resembled their real-life situation. Stags are associated with power, pride, protectiveness and honor and those traits, IMO, fit James perfectly. However, one could say that other animals, such as the lion, symbolize the same. Here, I'd like to point out that, for all their protectiveness and majesty, stags are, ultimately, preys (unlike lions). There is a vulnerability about them that, in the big picture, makes them victims. James's journey seems to be similar. As presented by him becoming an Animagus at fifteen and creating the Marauder's Map, he is a powerful wizard in his own right. However, his powers are not of the ruthless kind. Even in SWM, when he's shown bullying someone, he uses "kiddish" spells like Expelliarmus, Scourgify, and Levicorpus (in contrast to the Sectumsempra he got back). When he steps into the big bad world, he finally becomes a full-fledged victim. Stags always try to protect their herd but, because of their prey status, they often die trying to do so against more aggressive animals. James's last deed is also protection of his family but, ultimately the more ruthless forces bring him down. Plus, until the very end, James is described as "straight-backed and proud" - very stag-like, IMO.

Does are known as symbols of compassion and motherhood - the two most defining characteristics of Lily in the context of the story (as in, there might be other major facets to her personality, but they're not important to the story.) Lily's compassion is passed down to Harry and is what, IMO, DD means when he says Harry's deepest nature is like his mom's (although I'm not fully in agreement with him...but that's a topic for another thread ). Her compassion is what allows her to befriend and see the potential for good in someone like Snape. Lily's pivotal role as a mother is, of course, pretty obvious. Arguably the most important thing she ever did was dying for the son who would grow up to finish Voldemort. Does are, of course, very caring and protective of their young. And, like the stag, they are ultimately victims of more aggressive forces.

There are discrepancies in this imagery, of course. For instance, Lily is not as gentle (she seems to have quite the razor-tongue) and easily spooked as does usually are. Unlike stags, James did not come off as the kind of guy who would not take part in the raising of his children and, overall, wasn't as aloof as stags seem to be. But, on the whole, the Potters' Patronuses worked for me - both, individually and as a couple.


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  #338  
Old April 7th, 2012, 4:47 am
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I'm curious as to why you think a doe is a reasonable representation of Lily - as I said in the "Feminism" thread I feel like a bear is a more reasonable representation of what kind of person Lily is represented as being in the books: she and Molly represent the absolute best of motherhood and nurturing and those are both descriptors strongly associated with bears, not deer.
Molly I can see as a bear, absolutely. Not Lily. She did not fight to protect her offspring as a mother bear would, she just tried to shield him from a predator (and died doing so).

Also, while "deer" may not be associated with mothering, does (the females) certainly are (deer species are uniparental, meaning the offspring are raised exclusively by their mothers and may never even meet their fathers). Does are also noted for their beautiful, gentle eyes.


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  #339  
Old April 7th, 2012, 11:52 am
TreacleTartlet  Female.gif TreacleTartlet is offline
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

Throughout the books one can see how JKR drew from various mythologies, most particulary Celtic mythology. To the Celts the deer,both stag and doe were revered. Several Celtic goddesses are associated with the doe, often shape shifting into one. To the Celts the doe represented protection. As Lily desperately tried to protect Harry from Voldemort by standing in his way; and her sacrifice also formed a protection, I think this is a very suitable creature for Lily to be associated with.


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  #340  
Old April 7th, 2012, 7:55 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
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Re: Significance and Meanings of Patronus Forms

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil View Post
But a doe is strongly associated with mothering. Personally, if I were told to give one animal I associate with motherhood, it would be a doe. That's not to say that female bears aren't motherly, though.
I've never heard of does or deer representing motherhood. I've heard them symbolizing love, kindness, gracefulness, sensitivity, purity of purpose, walking in the light, nimbleness, meekness, meditation, longevity, wealth, swiftness, gentility, alertness, humility, watchfulness, even psychic powers and yes a lot of these descriptors could be attributed to Lily (maybe not meekness...) but I've never seen a deer given the symbolic meaning of motherhood.

Animals I'd associate with mothering way before I thought of a deer include:
Bears, especially polar bears
Kangaroos
Koalas
Elephants
Chimpanzees
Penguins, though it's the fathers that care for the egg so I guess it's more parenting than motherhood

Quote:
I do not think does are weak animals, really. Perhaps physically they are less capable than more predatory animals (which is why they have to keep running away) but they have a gentle strength and perseverance that, IMO, makes them "strong". Or at least, those qualities in a human are very admirable. Plus, I do think Lily is characterized with gentle strength and perseverance.
From what we see of Lily she doesn't seem gentle in her strength, she seems pretty forceful. Gentle strength in a human sense, to me, would mean more subtelty and finesse in her converstations with Snape who is supposed to be her best friend and as many people have pointed out she kind of walks all over him. With James she's not gentle at all, she says exactly what's on her mind and makes no bones about it.

I agree that deer are not really "weak" animals (see my post several back, though that's specifically dealing with calling deer "kind") but in terms of giving someone an animal totem I think there are stronger animal symbols that could represent Lily better in terms of the things we know about her: she a strong mother figure, stands up to others (Snape, James), she's cheeky, she's caring (RE: Petunia's desire to go to Hogwarts). None of those descriptors call up a deer as Lily's penultimate animal symbol to me.

Quote:
One thing I liked about the Potters' Patronuses was how closely it resembled their real-life situation. Stags are associated with power, pride, protectiveness and honor and those traits, IMO, fit James perfectly. However, one could say that other animals, such as the lion, symbolize the same.
From what we know of James I'd agree with his animal totem being a stag even though there is an argument to giving him the lion, though with him being a gryffindor I think that's a little too on the nose.

Quote:
Here, I'd like to point out that, for all their protectiveness and majesty, stags are, ultimately, preys (unlike lions). There is a vulnerability about them that, in the big picture, makes them victims. James's journey seems to be similar.
Meh... I would disagree that James was sort of destined to be prey or a victim. Yes, he does end up becoming a victim of Voldemort but I wouldn't call him Voldemort's prey, I'd call him collateral damage as Voldemort hunted Harry.

Quote:
As presented by him becoming an Animagus at fifteen and creating the Marauder's Map, he is a powerful wizard in his own right. However, his powers are not of the ruthless kind. Even in SWM, when he's shown bullying someone, he uses "kiddish" spells like Expelliarmus, Scourgify, and Levicorpus (in contrast to the Sectumsempra he got back).
But he is also said to use illegal hexes on other students; illegal hexes, to me, indicate that they are in no way "kiddish" or indicative of lighthearted mischief. I'd agree in not calling him ruthless in the sense that he's cruel or lacking compassion (as general character traits) but neither would I call him purely good or never intending harm.

Quote:
When he steps into the big bad world, he finally becomes a full-fledged victim. Stags always try to protect their herd but, because of their prey status, they often die trying to do so against more aggressive animals.
If we're talking the animal and not what the animal symbolically represents I'd point out that bucks/stags protect their herds in order to protect their mating rights from intruding males. They don't protect their herds from stalking predators, only from rival males.

Quote:
Does are known as symbols of compassion and motherhood - the two most defining characteristics of Lily in the context of the story (as in, there might be other major facets to her personality, but they're not important to the story.)
I'd agree with these two descriptors being the most defining traits Lily is given in the books but I totally disagree about these descriptors being attributed to deer (see my first quote reply in this message for descriptors I've found of deer (in a symbolic sense))

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
Molly I can see as a bear, absolutely. Not Lily. She did not fight to protect her offspring as a mother bear would, she just tried to shield him from a predator (and died doing so).
I'm not saying Lily would or wouldn't have a bear patronus because bears would fight to protect their young and Lily didn't (which I disagree with, she just fought verbally instead of physically in the only instance we are shown), I'm saying LIly having a bear patronus makes a lot of sense because bears are symbolically associated with motherhood, nurturing, protectiveness and (as mentioned above about deer) gentle strength. (They are also symbolically associated with dreaming, intuition coupled with instinct, healing, sovereignty and cunning)

Quote:
Does are also noted for their beautiful, gentle eyes.
That's kind of interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacleTartlet View Post
Throughout the books one can see how JKR drew from various mythologies, most particulary Celtic mythology. To the Celts the deer,both stag and doe were revered. Several Celtic goddesses are associated with the doe, often shape shifting into one. To the Celts the doe represented protection. As Lily desperately tried to protect Harry from Voldemort by standing in his way; and her sacrifice also formed a protection, I think this is a very suitable creature for Lily to be associated with.
In the celtic tradition I've heard deer, especially female deer, associated with femininity, subtlety and gracefulness, not motherhood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post
Somehow IMO a silver bear wouldn't be nearly as romantic as a silver doe!!
Oddly enough, I think this might be the most convincing argument.


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