Welcome to the third installation of the “Self Defense at Hogwarts” series! In this article, I’ve interviewed the professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Oreyn Fox. Not only did I find out that he used to be a chaser when he was a student here, but that he now has an affinity for brooms. But, despite this interesting tidbit of information, and a lovely blend of tea from Istanbul, we managed to uncover some important facts of the ethics of self-defense, and finding the root cause of the issue rather than just facing the situation as it comes.
Rae Katana: So, Professor Fox, first of all, I’d like to ask you very broadly, in your experience at this school, what would you suggest for a student who is in a violent situation with another student where they may need to use self defense?
Professor Fox: Well lass, in an ideal world there wouldn’t be a need to defend yourself against another student. Unfortunately children tend to get a wee bit out of hand. As I often say in many of my classes, ‘A wizard or witch is only as good as what they know, not what they can do,’ and I rather feel that that is something that applies even in this situation. There are a great many variables that come in to play when it comes time to defend. However, if I had to choose the most important, I’d say it would have to be compassion. Let me ask you lass, why is the attacker attacking? What can be done to resolve the issue, to truly understand. Aye, simple self-defense, while important, just merely treats the problem, it doesn’t resolve it does it? But to know and to understand, or even to care a wee bit to put forth a little effort can have some of the most profound impacts.
Rae Katana: I appreciate your importance on getting to the root of the issue. It is likely true that there is usually a bigger issue than a random attack. As we saw in the interview with Professor Gothly, we know the first mode of action is to find a Professor, prefect or Head of House to help resolve the issue. We have also been told of some ways for practical defense. So, I’d like to focus more on the path you are heading down, as how to resolve the root issue. Do you have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?
Professor Fox: Things aren’t always so simple lass. I can’t say there is a right answer. It’s a bit of a take it as it comes bit. It’s a matter of trying to understand another. I’m sure many would give an answer to do this spell or to try this maneuver. And while those are all well and good, it’s that compassion that one shares with another life form that ultimately binds us to others. If the answer were to simply eliminate, I’m afraid there wouldn’t be much left in this world, rOH HO! No you might find it a rather lonely place. Often the case too, is an enemy today, turns to be your best friend tomorrow, simply because you bothered to open your heart just a wee bit. Things aren’t always so simple lass. I can’t say there is a right answer. It’s a bit of a take it as it comes bit. It’s a matter of trying to understand another. I’m sure many would give an answer to do this spell or to try this maneuver. And while those are all well and good, it’s that compassion that one shares with another life form that ultimately binds us to others. If the answer were to simply eliminate, I’m afraid there wouldn’t be much left in this world, rOH HO! No you might find it a rather lonely place. Often the case too, is an enemy today, turns to be your best friend tomorrow, simply because you bothered to open your heart just a wee bit. “Hmm, we teach young wizard and witches here at Hogwarts Miss Katana, not warriors. There are a great many dangers it’s true. Much more than you;ll ever face in a single lifetime and the greatest tool that any one person can hope to have is their mind. So I’m sad to say I don’t have an answer that is so clear and so black and white lass. Would be a much more peaceful world if I did however.
Rae Katana: That is all very true. I appreciate you being honest with us about this and not answering what you think people would want to hear. Despite this deep-seated truth, there are cases where we need to defend ourselves or our friends – as you teach us in class every week. If a situation comes up where there is no alternative but to fight, flight, or fright, do you have any suggestions?
Professor Fox: Suggestions? Well paying attention in ma class is a good start, rOH HO! Rather true though. I base my lessons around the concept of having compassion for others. And you’ll find that often applies to more than just other wizards and witches.. Anyroad, I believe that is a question each individual should ask themselves. There will come a time when each student here is no longer at Hogwarts And there wont always be some old fool of a wizard caterwauling on in lecture.
Rae Katana: I have noticed that about your classes, even today for instance, when you taught about Werewolves and someone mentioned they can be very mean – you made sure to remind that this is not always the case. So, Professor, you have done a great job of teaching us defensives and offensive spells in dueling club, and have taught DADA for many years. But it is quite clear in the rules that we are not to use this information outside of the classrooms. But, isn’t the purpose of learning these things to know how to defend ourselves against dark magic, and isn’t dark magic any magic cast with the intent to harm another? If this is all true, wouldn’t it be the case that bullying is the most common opportunity we would have to use these skills? What are your thoughts on this?
Professor Fox: That isn’t entirely true. Mere intent doesn’t make something dark. Say if I intended to sacrifice a unicorn to prolong my life, in an attempt to do good. Would that still be the Dark Arts? The answer is yes. I hope, Miss Katana that you never face even the smallest sliver of the dark things out there. The Dark Arts is classified into various categories, a lecture on that is more proper in my class of course. No testing the skills you learn here in the face of a bully is missing my point lass. Do you know what the best wand is?
Rae Katana: Hm, testing isn’t really what I mean. I guess the question could have been reworded. I’m not speaking of using the skills you teach to defeat the bully, but rather to defend yourself from them using only offensive measures. As far as wands, doesn’t that depend on the user?
Professor Fox: Perhaps, perhaps not. Once you find the answer to that lass, You’ll be well on your way to calling yourself a proper witch if I do say so maself.
Rae Katana: Thank you for your time and considerate input, Professor. That is all for today.