Clara (serpentclara) wrote,

Cliché Rant: Occlumency Made Easy: the Mind Vault

Originally posted at potter_cliche

My last entry dealt with the most common clichés present in Dark and rebellious!Harry fanfics (I reject the independent!Harry term used by many authors because I think Harry is independent in the books. Have you read OotP? May I suggest instead ... nonconformist!Harry?). This time I'm shooting another plot bunny I've seen far too often in this kind of stories: supposedly simplified Occlumency techniques.

It goes like this: Harry buys a book about Occlumency and realises Snape has been teaching it all wrong. Following the directions in the book – as if they would sell how-to books about such an obscure branch of magic at Flourish & Blotts – he spends days in meditation as he 'sorts' his memories into the compartments of an imaginary trunk, or else builds walls and castles in his mind, then adds guard dogs or snakes to the courtyard of his mind (but where is that exactly?).

Where do people get these ideas? Dumbledore needs a Pensieve to organise his memories. And it is made clear in OotP that the concept of Occlumency is based on distancing yourself from your emotions and being able to turn them off at will rather than building physical or magical protections around your mind – if that were feasible, anyway. In her HBP interview, JK Rowling confirmed that Occlumency is the ability to disconnect your emotions and that it's an ability Harry does not have.

So excuse me for hitting my head against the wall in exasperation next time I read about Harry exploring his mind and locking away select memories in an imaginary trunk or fortress.

I have only one thing to say to these authors: have you ever tried to organise your mind this way? No? I suggest you do. Good luck!
Tags: meta
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