First the Queen's Jubilee and now World Youth Day. What is it about large celebratory gatherings that makes one feel so good?
The Pope is in Toronto and it seems that everybody is Catholic this week. I cannot help but be moved by the throngs of cheering, singing young people in the streets of Toronto, or by the Pope disembarking from his plane on his own power (for the first time in years) and his obvious affection for the youth of this world. I'm also proud of how my old hometown is welcoming these visitors with open arms; screw the Olympics, the coverage that Toronto's received in the world's press has been nothing but lauditory, and this should provide a boost to Toronto's economy and tourist industry for years to come.
The last sentiment is probably a bit merchantile. The World Youth Day is about celebration and joy. And though the Catholic Church and I disagree on a number of issues (including birth control), right now this doesn't matter. The debates can come later. We'll complain about traffic jams and crammed streetcars later. Right now, let's just party.
There's been a debate on Gryffindor Tower over how Ron Weasley would react, in the Harry Potter books and their fan fiction, if he discovered that his sister, Ginny, and his best friend Harry, were falling in love with each other.
The tendency in fan fiction would have Ron freak out. This builds from his youthful immaturity, and the sense that he doesn't see his little sister as a young woman. Others believe that he'd be very flattered to have his best friend and his sister falling in love, but he'd be concerned for Ginny given Harry's dangerous life.
I don't have a little sister. However, I've married into a large family. The Weasleys are a large family, and I think Harry might face something like this:
"Harry! Where have you been? It's past midnight!" Ron got up from one of the plush seats in front of the common room fireplace.
Harry staggered through the portrait hole, too tired to question what Ron was doing in the common room at this late hour. "Detention. Snape. Pickled slugs."
Ron clapped Harry on the shoulder. "You poor man. Snape's a slavedriver. Here, sit yourself down. Care for a butterbeer?"
Harry blinked. In a flash, he was in one of the plush chairs, his legs propped before the fire. Ron was pressing a cool bottle into his hands. "Have a sip. Let's talk."
Harry was still trying to get his head around how to remove the lid from the butterbeer bottle. "Blasted twist-off caps-- Talk? What about?"
"You and my sister."
Harry choked on the butterbeer.
"Shave and a hair-cut." The portrait pulled aside, and the twins entered the common room. "Hello, Ron."
"Hey, Fred! Hey George! He's right here."
Harry stared. "Didn't you two leave Hogwarts last year?"
"Yeah," said Fred, positioning himself to the left of Harry. "But when Ron wrote to us, we came right over."
"We thought we'd have a talk about you and our little sister," said George, now positioned on Harry's right.
"Ron tells me that you and Ginny are getting very close," said a voice behind and above Harry.
Harry looked up. "Percy?!"
"Hello, Harry," said Percy. "I think you should know that while we Weasley brothers fight a lot, there's one thing that we do agree on."
"All the time," said Charlie, coming down the steps from the boys dormitory.
"You're supposed to be in Romania!" Harry shrieked.
"I picked him up on my way in," said Bill, following behind. Harry now found himself encircled.
"So," said Ron, smiling brightly. "Our sister."
"Tell me, Harry," said George. "Do you like your kneecaps?"
"We actually like the idea of you and our sister getting together," said Ron.
"We like you, Harry," said Fred. "We all do."
"Even me," said Percy. "But Ginny is still our sister."
"And you're the Boy Who Lived," said Charlie.
"There can be a lot of pressure on the Boy Who Lived," said Bill. "But that's nothing of what would face the Boy Who Made Our Sister Cry."
"Tell me, Harry," said Fred. "Do you like your fingernails?"
"I'm not saying that you'd hurt Ginny," said Ron.
"But in case there's any possibility," said George.
"Once Ginny got through with you," said Fred.
"You'd face us," said Percy.
"And then," said Charlie.
"We'd turn you over to our mother," said Bill.
Screaming wordlessly, Harry bolted from the chair. The portrait barely managed to open itself before Harry ploughed through.
The Weasley brothers stared after him.
"Do you think we came on to strong?" said Fred.
"Naah," said Ron.