Guest Post: The March Family from ‘Little Women’ and The Weasleys

David Martin has been thinking about Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, forgive me for assuming it is because of the new movie adaptation, and left his reflections about the March family and the Weasleys on a comment thread beneath my 2011 post, ‘Little Women and Harry Potter: Jo Rowling is Jo March.‘ With his permission and reformatting, I have bumped it into its own post so that more readers will see it. Enjoy!

Little Women is the story of a family more than it is the story of any one individual. Although the Harry Potter books are mostly about Harry Potter, there is also within them a story about the Weasley family. If we look at the stories of those two families – the Marchs and the Weasleys – there are a number of similarities.

Both families are ruled by the mother.

  • Molly Weasley clearly runs the Wesley family
  • Marmee runs the March family.

Both families have mostly or entirely children of one gender.

  • The Weasleys have six sons and one daughter.
  • The Marchs have four daughters.

Both families take an interest in (and almost adopt) an outsider who then spends a lot of time at their house.

  • The Weasleys take in Harry.
  • The Marchs take in Laurie.

In both family stories, that outsider has lost mother and father and is living with his relatives.

  • Harry lives with the Dursleys
  • Laurie lives with his grandfather.

Both families are poor but kind.

  • The Weasleys take care of Harry.
  • The Marchs give away their Christmas breakfast and perform many other acts of charity.

In both families, some (or one) of the children are (or is) obsessed with making money.

  • For the Weasleys, that would be Fred and George.
  • For the Marchs, that would be Jo.

Both families are in a way elite.

  • The Weasleys are pure blood.
  • The Marchs are part of the intellectual or scholarly elite.

For both families, there is a time when the father is very sick and the mother goes to be with him.

  • When Arthur Weasley is bitten by Nagini in Order, Molly goes to St. Mungo’s hospital to be with him.
  • When Mr. March is taken ill during the Civil War, Marmee goes to the hospital in Washington to be with him.

In both families, the oldest child marries, and that wedding is described in detail.

  • Bill Weasley marries Fleur Delacour.
  • Meg March marries John Brooke.

In both families, when the other children marry, it happens “off-stage.”

  • Ron, Percy, and Ginny marry, but we don’t see those weddings.
  • Amy gets married in Paris. Jo marries sometime in the “Harvest Time” chapter at the end of Little Women. We don’t see any of those wedding.

In both families, one of the children dies.

  • Fred Weasley dies in the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • The chapter entitled “The Valley of the Shadow” describes Beth’s death.

In both families, the youngest child in the family marries the outsider.

  • Ginny Weasley marries Harry. (Maybe that’s why the Weasley family needed a girl?)
  • Amy March marries Laurie.

In both families, one of the children marries a really brainy spouse.

  • Ron Weasley marries Hermione.
  • Jo March marries Professor Bhaer.

In both families, one of the children marries a foreigner.

  • Bill Weasley marries a French woman, Fleur Delacour.
  • Jo March marries a German man, Friedrich Bhaer.

At the end of the stories, we see the extended form of both families.

  • In the epilogue chapter, we see the extended Weasley family putting their children on the Hogwarts express. Ginny’s children are there. Ron’s children are there. Percy is heard, so at least one child of his must be there. Bill’s daughter Victoire is there. So that’s four of the Weasley children and at least seven grandchildren if I’ve counted correctly. And considering the news that James is eager to share about Victoire and Teddy Lupin, maybe the Weasley family will be extending further.
  • In the “Harvest Time” chapter at the end of Little Women, we see the extended March family celebrating together, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and at least five grandchildren if I’ve counted correctly.

For both families it appears that the parents (now grandparents) are alive and well at the end of the story. We are told this explicitly about the Marchs in “Harvest Time” chapter of Little Women. During the epilogue chapter of Harry Potter, Rose is warned that “Granddad Weasley” would never forgive her if she married a pureblood, so clearly Arthur Weasley is still alive. Let’s assume that Molly Weasley is too.

Maybe we should call the series The Weasley Family Saga.

—– David Martin of Hufflepuff

Aurelius and the Philosopher’s Stone

Hat tip, Kelly!

Reading, Writing, Rowling #33: Draco!

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Laurie Beckoff at MuggleNet describes the conversation about the bad boy everybody loves to hate:

In this month’s episode, John and Katy talk with “Hogwarts Professor” Louise Freeman (Mary Baldwin University) and “Bathilda’s Notebook author Beatrice Groves (Oxford University) about the many facets of Draco Malfoy. We consider his literary and film predecessors, whether he’s the cool kid or not, and whether he breaks out of the cardboard villain stereotype. What does J.K. Rowling want us to think about him? Bea reveals surprising connections to both Kipling and the movie The Young Sherlock Holmes.

We also parallel Draco and other villainous characters in the series, like Dudley, to see how they compare as bullies and whether they have redemptive experiences. How do their relationships with their parents affect them? Both have life-changing experiences with evil that influence their actions at the end of the series. Louise explains the importance of parental influence and we consider the degree to which Dudley and Draco both operate as extensions of their larger families. Harry, as an orphan and a stranger to the magical world, has an ability to act independently that his antagonists do not. We look at the arc of the two characters over the whole course of the series and what events have the most profound influence on them. Particularly, Malfoy’s moment in “The Lightning-Struck Tower” gets our full attention, complete with Biblical and Shakespearean allusions.

Is the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child version of Draco the same character? We consider how the parenting, bullying, and friendship themes are carried into the play, and how it influences our understanding of Draco as a character. The Albus and Scorpius friendship might be a reimagining of Harry and Draco’s relationship, with Rose as perhaps the prejudiced bully character. Draco also functions as a symbol – with his cratylic name and dragon/snake references – which we explore in relation to literary allusions as well as the larger themes in the series. Harry’s ability to communicate with snakes, and his use of the Slytherin spell Sectumsempra against Draco, reflect his own ambivalence as his relationship with Draco develops. Should we feel pity for Malfoy, especially during that last year stuck in Malfoy Manor with the Dark Lord? Does Draco demonstrate any regret at the end? You do not want to miss this debate!

Marilyn Manson Not Who You Think?

Strike5 To Be All About Marilyn Manson?

Late last week Satanic rocker Marilyn Manson tweeted that J. K. Rowling had sent him a gift:

I think this is a strong pointer to Strike5 having Marilyn Manson song titles and lyrics as its epigraph and story backdrop the way that Blue Oyster Cult lines and themes were so evident in Career of Evil. Here are my three reasons beyond the gift of red roses, which floral present, unlike Manson fans at Metal Head Zone, I do not think suggests a romantic relationship between Rowling and the Rock Star. She’s a Fat Cops fan, remember? My bet is the roses are just a thank you for permission to use his lyrics in her new book.

Three Reasons Strike5 will be a Marilyn Manson Novel:

(1) The Anton LaVey Connection: We learned in Career of Evil that Jeff Whittaker is a rock star wannabe whose favorite album was by the murderer Charles Manson and whose reading materials were largely restricted to Aleister Crowley texts and The Satanic Bible by American organist Anton LaVey. The LaVey connection is a big deal because Whittaker’s son with Leda Strike is named Switch LaVey Bloom Whittaker. We already have a connection with Marilyn Manson in the Charles Manson album (the living Manson’s name is a combination of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson’s names) but with LaVey we get at the heart of Marilyn Manson’s Satanic beliefs. From the rock star’s wikipedia page:

Manson was a friend of Anton LaVey,[126][127] who even inducted him as a minister in the Church of Satan, although Manson downplayed this. When questioned whether he was a minister in the Church of Satan by Bill O’Reilly, Manson responded with “No, not necessarily. That was something earlier. It was a friend of mine who’s now dead, who was a philosopher that I thought I learned a lot from. And that was a title I was given, so a lot of people made a lot out of it. But it’s not a real job, I didn’t get paid for it.”[128]

As a result, he has been described as “the highest profile Satanist ever” with strong anti-Christian views and social Darwinist leanings.[129]However, Manson himself denies this, and stated the following:

I’m not a misanthrope. I’m not a nihilist. I’m not an atheist. I believe in spirituality, but it really has to come from somewhere else. I learned a long time ago, you can’t try to change the world, you can just try to make something in it. I think that’s my spirituality, it’s putting something into the world. If you take all the basic principles of any religion, it’s usually about creation. There’s also destruction, but creation essentially. I was raised Christian. I went to a Christian school, because my parents wanted me to get a better education. But when I got kicked out I was sent to public school, and got beat up more by the public school kids. But then I’d go to my friend’s Passover and have fun.
— Marilyn Manson[130]

Manson is also familiar with the writings of Aleister Crowley and Friedrich Nietzsche. He quotes Crowley throughout his autobiography, including the Thelemic anthem, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”[131] Crowley’s esoteric subject matter forms an important leitmotif in much of Manson’s early work.

(2) The Tattoos! Rowling recently revealed she has a Solve et Coagula tattoo (or had one temporarily; it’s only been spotted at the Ripple of Hope Award dinner). That was discussed here and its supposed relationship with the Baphomet Satanist idol was dismissed as ridiculous here. Turns out Marilyn Manson also has Solve et Coagula tattoos and one of the Baphomet head as well (see above). From the MansonWiki listing of his many tattoos:

Solve Coagula In January 2014, Manson revealed new tattoos that goes from the back edge of his hands to his wrists. The term originates from Solve et Coagula, an alchemy reference. Roughly translated, it means “Dissolve and join together” or transmutation. The tattoo was done at Will Rise Studio in L.A.
Baphomet On Manson’s 21st birthday, band member and friend Gidget Gein took him to Tattoos By Lou in Miami, Florida to get his first tattoo. At this same session, Gein got a Creepy Crawly Spider tattooed on his wrist. Baphomet became known in the nineteenth century when it was applied to pseudo-historical conspiracy theories elaborating on the suppression of the Templars, and it became associated with a “Sabbatic Goat” image drawn by Eliphas Lévi. The tattoo appears on his upper left arm, under The Lucky Devil.
(3) The Crowley Natal Chart Twitter Header: On 25 January in addition to posting two tweets on her long neglected twitter page (well, neglected since 19 December’s Da Tweet explosion) including one announcing that “Galbraith5” was finished, she changed her twitter page header. It’s an astrological natal chart, one belonging to Anton LaVey, Marilyn Manson, and Jeff Whittaker shared influence, Aleister Crowley.

Mix all that together and I think it’s a good bet that Strike5 will be a nightmare trip into the Satanist rock and roll scene via Jeff Whittaker with a soundtrack provided by the recordings of Marilyn Manson. Serious Striker Joanne Gray has written me to suggest the title of Strike5 could be Manson’s heavy metal 2012 album Born Villain. I suspect we’ll know if that is a bullseye prediction by the end of the month, maybe even this week.

Three quick notes:

  • All of the above, all of it, came to my attention — the roses, the tattoos, the natal chart — through the researches and generosity of Nick Jeffery who sent links to each. A hat tip and a big thank you to Nick!
  • Yes, I think we’re going to learn at last in Strike5 who sent the 50 roses to Strike’s office in Career of Evil. No, I don’t think they were for Robin or from Matt Cunliffe. I wonder if Marilyn Manson opened his card? And of course I get that Born Villain or whatever Strike5 is titled if a Manson themed novel is a lock down parallel with Strike3’s Blue Oyster Cult and one more bit of ring evidence that this is a chiastic seven book series.
  • Is Rowling a Satanist? No, she isn’t. Is she going to enjoy writing about the dangers of the real occult, the madness of popularized rock n’ roll nihilism, as a contrast with the risible supposed dangers of her Hogwarts Saga? Yes, I think she is. [Note to the friend who continues to try and post under a variety of identities on various threads here about Rowling the Satanist: get a new IP address for better luck getting past our filters.]
Let me know what you think!