Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Which Wizard?

     Merlin, Gandalf, Harry Potter--who's your favorite?  Do you have a favorite?  I like all three, but I will admit that I if I HAD to choose, there would be no hesitation.  My favorite wizard is Merlin.  (NOTE: I can feel the energy from those readers who are thinking, "Why isn't Dumbledore on this list?" And my answer is: I'm trying to keep this simple and the books / films were called Harry Potter, not Albus Dumbledore, otherwise I would put Hermione Granger on the list since I think she could beat Harry in any Wizards' duel anytime if she so chose).  Okay, back on track: Merlin, Gandalf and Harry Potter are three of the most famous, iconic wizards of all time. Questions such as: Who would win--Harry or Merlin  / Gandalf or Harry--have been asked before, but I what I want to know is: of the three, who is the greatest / best wizard ever and why? 

     Now that may sound like a simple question, but it really isn't.  Why?  Because none of these three is a simple, linear character (this is part of why they're so memorable).  I've heard the question, "Who would win: Merlin or Harry Potter?" Bradley James, of the BBC series, Merlin, answered that Merlin would, of course, beat Harry because Potter has to use a wand and Merlin just uses his hand.  Good point--IF Merlin is the wizard as portrayed in that series.  Or if the Merlin involved in the duel is the character from Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave (or the rest of her Merlin trilogy) since he wins more often by using his wits rather than his magic.  Then again, if he's just using his wits, could Merlin win against a wand-wielding Harry?  Of course, the wizard of Arthurian legend has been known (in other incarnations) to use a staff like Gandalf (or more accurately, Gandalf uses a staff like Merlin). There are in fact so many versions of Merlin in literature, film and television that answering "Who would win: Merlin or...?" or "Who is the best wizard ever--Merlin, Potter or Gandalf?" requires the clarification question,"Which Merlin do you mean?"

     All right then, I'll be specific and just focus on the character from the BBC series as he is brilliantly portrayed by Colin Morgan.  Now the question can be answered, right?  Not really.  Are you talking about Merlin in Season One?  Season Three?  Season Five?  He is on a journey and he grows, so he's not the same wizard.

     Similar complications arise with Harry.  The twelve-year-old wizard in The Sorcerer's Stone (or The Philosopher's Stone) is obviously nowhere near as skilled or experienced as the eighteen-year-old who defeats Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows.

     Even talking about Gandalf isn't simple.  Do we mean Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White?

     So having acknowledged these complications, I ask again: Who is your favorite wizard ever and why?

     Five years ago, I would have said, "Merlin from The Crystal Cave," but now, I'd say Colin Morgan's Merlin, Season Four / Season Five.  Yes, I didn't answer the why part.  That'd be a whole other blog.
And just to stir things up a bit: Hermione or Harry--who's really more powerful?  Morgana, Hermione, Morgause, Bellatrix...do you notice that only one of these magical women is portrayed as "good"?  Oh wait! That's another blog too. In the meantime, think about it.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

With Great Power Comes... (2015 Revised Post)

Photo copyright Sean Heavey / Barcroft Media
     There is a saying: "With great power comes great responsibility."  It is a concept that I am trying to get my niece to understand. I have yet to succeed.

     For those who are new to this blog, please permit me to introduce myself.  My name is Keena. Christine asked me awhile back to write some guest blogs for her and I have carried on longer than she expected (although not as consistently as I should have, I must admit).

     Although I am a Faerie, I do not look at all like Tinker Bell. Faeries come in many sizes and kinds.  I am, in human terms, five-foot-four-inches tall, I don't have wings, and I look similar to a human in her mid-thirties.  This enables me to live among humans in a town called Baile Eile without anyone (except a very close friend) knowing that I am a faerie. I minister as an Alternative Medicine Practitioner and an herbalist, and the townspeople accept me as one of their own.  During the time I've lived here, I've come to have great affection for them and love my life here.  I wouldn't want anything to spoil that.  However, my niece, Siobhan, who's only been here for a week, may manage to get us both run out of town!

     Siobhan is my sister's child.  She is sixteen and a half ages old and, overall, she is a fine faerie. I am quite proud of her. She is intelligent, courageous, resourceful and even charming--when she decides to be.  But she still has some growing to do, particularly in the area of considering consequences before acting and in using her power responsibly.  Siobhan was born with the ability to create thunderstorms at will. She likes to create storms when she gets bored and feels in need of a little entertainment. Her mother told her that her "entertainment" might adversely affect others. Still, she stirs up storms whenever she believes she can get away with it.  Actually, I don't really mind that.  I was her age once and I was at least as mischievous and rebellious as she is.  If that were the end of the story, I would say, "Let her have her fun, as long as she chooses her moments judiciously."

     But that's the problem.  Siobhan's judgment needs some fine tuning. She also needs to contol her feelings, especially her pride and indignation--both of which are ever at the ready. Recently, Siobhan encountered a seventeen-year-old human guy, Ewan McAshinagh.  A quite decent young man usually.  I've known him since he was born.  His mother is my closest friend in the human world.  (She knows I'm faerie; he doesn't).  Anyway, Siobhan is rather beautiful so Ewan flirted with her.  Unfortunately, Siobhan doesn't know anything about flirting.  (In our world, she's only just become old enough to be courted).

     Well, Siobhan misinterpreted Ewan's flirting and teasing as condescension and insult.  So she went into default mode, summoned up a thunderstorm (which she can do with a casual squint of her eyes) and hit his bicycle with lightning.  Fortunately (for her, because I would have murdered her in a most painful way had it been otherwise) Ewan wasn't on or near the bike at the time.  Also (again fortunately for her) he didn't know she was the source of the storm and the destruction of his beloved bicycle.  He thought it was all a freak accident.

     Now, Baile Eile is not a very big community so word spread quickly through it.  After hearing the rumors of this lightning-fried bicycle incident, I (as casually as possible) asked Ewan to tell me what happened.  He did and when he mentioned that it happened shortly after he had met this pretty but haughty teenage girl who was new to town and who would't tell him her name, I knew the incident had been no accident.

     So Siobhan and I have since had a conversation about the responsible use of power. Siobhan genuinely had had no thought about hurting Ewan himself...well, not physically.  Her actions were spiteful but not malicious.  Still, anyone who has the ability to create lightning at will, needs to be able to deal with  her anger in a healthy way.  With great power comes great responsibility!

     Oprah once asked, "If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?"  Someone interviewing the cast of the BBC series, Merlin, asked the cast, "If you could have one of Merlin's powers, which one would you want and why?"  So I ask you to consider a similar question:If you could have one magical ability, what would you chose and why?  Then consider: What would you do with that power?  In what ways could you benefit others with it?  Or do you want the power just for your own benefits? What drawbacks would there be to having that power?  What responsibility would you suddenly have to deal with as a result of having that power?

As always, I wish you many blessings!


P.S.  Watch out for thunderstorms--and peeved Faeries!