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 The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)

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Mercy Williams
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PostSubject: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:30 am

Mercy hung back after class. It was her last class of the day, so she didn't have anywhere else to be, and there was something that had been bugging her for quite some time. She waited for the rest of the class to leave, then approached Jake somewhat hesitantly, hoping he wasn't busy.

"Um, Jake? Do you have a minute? There's something I wanted to ask you."

Over the summer, and while doing homework during the school year, something kept bothering her about her textbook. The book covered several jinxes and a couple hexes, but when it gave an overview of jinxes and hexes, it classified them as "dark magic," albeit minor and moderate level respectively. Wasn't the class supposed to be Defense Against the Dark Arts? So why would the class teach students to use dark magic? It didn't seem right.

But looking at the jinxes and hexes provided in the book, she was also confused as to why they were considered "dark." Mostly they were just basic things like knocking people backward, or locking their legs together. A lot of them were just practical things to do in a fight--they weren't bad. She didn't understand. "Dark" had always been synonymous with "evil" in her mind, but these spells weren't evil, or even particularly harmful.

Even so, she felt uncomfortable with the idea of using spells that were considered dark magic. She didn't think that was the right way to fight, despite not seeing what was so wrong about the spells themselves. If they were dark, that meant she wasn't supposed to use them--otherwise she was no better than a bad guy, according to the stories she grew up with. So she felt she needed to say something.

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Jake Newbury
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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:10 pm

As class finished up for the day, Jake moved to his desk and started to tidy up. He was, in his own mind, quite the approachable professor, but nobody had ever really taken him up on it -- not for a very long time, at least. He wondered if he was growing too old, or perhaps too 'uncool' to be the kind of professor people brought their worries to him. But, he'd decided long ago, that this wasn't something he needed to worry about.

If people needed help, Jake was more than confident that they knew he was there.

That evening, he was free, which meant an unusual space for him to be able to feed his children himself, put them to bed himself, and then finally kick back after both of them were asleep, and simply relax. It was a rare occasion for Jake to be able to do such things, but knowing that kind of an evening was coming had put the single father in a happy place. It was, after all, the simple things in life that got you through the day.

Packing up his bag, Jake had not noticed the small first year who'd stayed back until he heard his name being spoken softly and he looked up. Little Mercy stood before him, and Jake couldn't help but smile at the Gryffindor witch as she asked him if he had time to spare for her. "Of course!" Jake said, without thinking about it for a moment. Moving from behind his desk, Jake moved to the front, and leaned against it, looking to the young witch for an explanation.

But, to be sure she knew he had time, Jake added. "How can I help you? Is it class work? Or, something else?" Jake asked, showing that if it was either one of those topics, they were both a-okay with him.

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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:59 pm

"Um, well...sort of both," Mercy replied. "I had a question about the class, or, well, really about the subject itself, and it's been bugging me for a while, ever since I started reading the textbook..." She took a breath and composed her thoughts, trying to figure out how to word what she was trying to say.

"Anyway, I guess I'm just a bit confused. A bunch of the defensive spells in the book are jinxes and hexes, but the book says that those are classified as dark magic. So, I thought we were defending against dark magic, and I just don't really understand why we're expected to use it? I mean, if dark magic is bad, aren't we supposed to avoid it? Because I think if dark magic is what the bad guys use, then we should find a different way to fight them that's more honorable, otherwise we can't really claim to be the good guys."

She didn't know if she was making sense, but she felt good speaking her mind and getting it out into the open. She was taking a stand for what she believed was right. Though it seemed far-fetched, she decided if Hogwarts ever did try to make her turn to the dark arts, she would remain firm in her convictions, and start a rebellion or something. It was the Gryffindor thing to do. She waited for Jake's reply, her chin set in a firm, determined line, her gaze unwavering as she looked him in the eye as if challenging him to try swaying her from her beliefs.

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Jake Newbury
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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:17 pm

Hearing that the problem was both personal and to do with the lesson, Jake nodded to show that he understood, before letting the young witch explain herself fully. Children, Jake found, often found it easier to just keep going, until they'd fully fleshed out the problem that they had. This way, you didn't form their ideas for them, and you could get a full grasp of the situation before you answered it.

Honour, it seemed, and the problem of right and wrong were what were troubling Mercy in that moment, so Jake gave the witch a small smile.

"You're right, my lesson is about defending yourself against Dark Magic." Jake responded to the witch, giving a small pause. "However, sometimes you have to be able to use what is deemed to be 'Dark Magic' in order to look after yourself. For example, the Knockback Jinx is deemed to be a Dark Magic spell, however, if I were to use it to, say, knock you out of the way of a boulder crushing you, could you consider that spell to still be Dark Magic?" Jake asked, raising his eyebrow at the young witch to see what she would come up with in response to the question.

"What I think you are struggling with is that the term Dark Magic means that it is inherently bad. This, in my personal opinion, is not so. Dark Magic can be used to do good things, and therefore it is not the spell itself that we should categorise the spell by, but instead the action the spell is making. If you save someone with Dark Magic, or you do good things with the aid of Dark Magic, at no cost to those around you, surely that means you're okay to use it?" Jake prompted, once again waiting to see how the young Gryffindor witch would reply to all of this information.

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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:55 pm

"Well," Mercy started in response to Jake's first question, trying to gather her thoughts. "No, but...technically the spell is still dark, even if you're using it for a good purpose. Aren't there any other ways of doing the same thing?"

She frowned as he continued his explanation. His words made sense, but something still didn't sit right with her. The ethics were too complicated for her liking. In her mind, she had two lists: Good and Bad. Dark Magic was Bad. Saving people was Good. Using Dark Magic to save people? She hadn't thought about it before. She didn't know what to do with that. If there was a better way, where she could save people but avoid using Dark Magic, then she'd take that option without thinking--she wouldn't have to deal with this dilemma. But somehow, she had a feeling that maybe there wasn't another option.

In her mind, all the choices she imagined encountering were very clear cut. She would either do the right thing or the wrong thing, and she was determined to choose the right thing. She always thought it would be obvious which was which. This situation was very frustrating.

"I guess, but...why is it called Dark Magic, then, if it's not always bad?" she asked. Maybe it would make more sense if it turned out to be a problem with labeling and defining things. Maybe what other people called Dark Magic wasn't the same thing as what she imagined Dark Magic to be. She hoped that was the case, it would make things much less confusing.

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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:59 pm

"Technically, they are Dark Magic, yes." Jake replied to the witch, because her point was quite right. "And, yes, there are other spells you could use that would give you a similar or same result. However, avoiding Dark Magic on principal does not make someone a good person. Whilst, also, using only Dark Magic dosn't make someone an inherently bad person, either."

Once again, the witch had a question that was not easy to answer, and Jake paused for a few moments, thinking through his answer before he continued, after all, the words he was about to speak were going to be ones that would lead Mercy to a decision, one way or another.

"Dark Magic is, fundamentally, based on spells that are used to hurt, control or cause death to the target on which the magic is being used." Jake explained, trying to give it to Mercy slowly so that she could digest. "They're labelled as Dark because that would be how most people would use them, to case others to suffer. However, just because something has the potential to make you suffer, it does not mean that it always will.

"The studies of Dark Magic are very complicated, because they are based on the ethical principals of a number of wizards. A consensus, I suppose. So, whilst the spells are considered bad on the whole, and labelled Dark, it does not mean they always are." Jake finished, hoping this would, in some way, answer the question that had been posed to him by the young witch.

"I think, Mercy, that what you need to understand first is that there is never a definitive answer to these kind of questions. A spell is neither good nor bad, it's not necessarily Dark or Light, either. It is the user of the spells that is good or bad." Jake explained, before thinking of something.

"You know I'm an Auror, okay?" Jake continued, looking to the girl for a confirmation before he continued. "So, I would imagine that you think that from this information I would be considered a good person?" He asked, once again waiting for her answer before he continued on.

"If I told you that I have used the Imperius Curse -- the spell that allows me to control someone's actions entirely, and make them do as I wish them to do -- a number of times, how would you feel?" Jake asked, before adding, because he knew this was a higher level spell. "This spell is called an Unforgivable spell. It's one of the worst branches of magic in our world. But, I used this spell to save the lives of many people, by stopping the criminals from hurting people. Does that make me a bad person for using Dark Magic?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:25 pm

Mercy contemplated the professor's words, her brows furrowed in concentration as she tried to make sense of this new perspective. She cocked her head as he explained how spells came to be considered Dark. She hadn't thought about it before. She just assumed the Dark Magic was its own branch of magic that always existed--a natural part of the universe. But no, people decided what was called Dark and what wasn't. With this new information taken into account, she felt her confusion slowly begin to dissipate. "Dark equals bad" wasn't actually a law, it was just something that people believed.

She was still uncertain. Never one to easily let go of her opinions, she wanted to cling fast to her old arguments, lest she feel like she was betraying herself. She felt guilty when she changed her mind, especially about something so important.

She nodded to confirm that yes, she knew he was an auror. She nodded again, automatically, when he asked if that made him a good person. Aurors fought bad guys, of course they were good people. Her brow scrunched in confusion at the words "Imperius Curse"--it sounded vaguely familiar, but she had no idea what it was. As he continued his explanation, her eyes widened in understanding. It was one of the darkest curses in existence.

He asked if he was a bad person, and Mercy immediately blurted, "No!" Jake wasn't a bad person. He was nice. He was one of the good guys--that much had been obvious from the moment she'd met him. But then she frowned.

But he used an Unforgivable Curse...several times. For some reason, that didn't seem as bad as it should have. He did it to save people. Rules can be broken if it's to save people--heroes do that all the time in stories.

She came to a decision. Saving people was the most important thing. Dark Magic...well, it could be bad, but only because it could be used to hurt people. If you didn't use it to hurt people, then you weren't a bad person. Spells, she realized, were like any other weapon. In stories about knights, the bad knight and the good knight both used swords to fight each other. The swords didn't make them good or bad, their morals did. Another thought suddenly occurred to her, like a lightbulb going off in her head.

"If Dark Magic can be used to help people...can't light magic also be used to hurt people? I mean, when you think of dangerous or harmful things, you don't think about, say, chairs, because most people just use chairs for sitting. But if I really wanted to, I could hurt someone with a chair. I could hit them with it, or throw it at them. So that means..." She trailed off. She wasn't actually sure what it meant.

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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:20 pm

The blurted assurance that he wasn't a bad person for using Dark Magic brought a small smile to Jake's lips. He knew he was not a bad person, it came with the pride of his job. He worked against the evil of the world, and he would keep doing so for as long as he was able to do so. Mercy, however, was obviously quite sure of her opinion, even if she knew only a little bit.

The point he was trying to make, though, was coming through, and Jake was glad to see the young witch was able to understand the situation completely. It might have taken time, but she was seeing things in less of a Black and White kind of manner. That, in Jake's view, was a good thing. A step forward.

It was Mercy's question of whether Light magic could be used to hurt people that made Jake sober slightly in that moment. He nodded after a moment. "It can, yes. For example..." Jake paused, thinking of a spell that wouldn't be too horrific if he gave an example. "You know the tickling charm? It is supposed to be fun? Make people laugh?" He prompted, waiting for her to agree before he continued.

"If I put you under the tickling charm for five minutes, you'd probably get a stitch, but it would still be funny to us, I would imagine. If I did it for ten... well, it will probably start to hurt, or cause... some people to wet themselves." He said, trying not to look too amused with this idea. "But, if I did it for an hour? Two?" Jake prompted, seeing if Mercy could follow the logic.

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PostSubject: Re: The Good, the Bad, and the Dark (Jake)   Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:03 am

Mercy's eyes widened as she realized how much damage a tickling charm could do if used maliciously. She'd never considered it before--she never would have thought of it. She let out a quiet "Oh."

And now came the question of what she would do with this new revelation. She had all the information she needed to make a decision, but what did she need to decide? Only one question came to mind.

What was she going to do about it? Actions were the most important things, in her opinion. The real reason she'd come here in the first place was to clarify what course of action she would have to take based on her principles regarding the given circumstances. Now that she understood the circumstances, what did her principles obligate her to do?

Magic was a weapon. It wasn't good or bad--everything depended on how the magic was used. If you did good things, your magic was good. If you did bad things, your magic was bad. Only the people who used the magic determined whether it was good or bad, based on what kind of people they were. Just like any other weapon, in the hands of a good person, it could be used to save people, and in the hands of a bad person, it could be used to hurt people.

So all she needed to do was make sure she was a good person, and that she used her magic to save people. She could use any of the magic at her disposal, as long as she was doing the right thing.

A tension was released from her mind. She felt good again, now that everything was clear. There was nothing wrong with learning Dark Magic in Defense Against the Dark Arts class, as long as you used it to defend people from bad guys, and didn't become a bad guy yourself. She decided she was in no danger of becoming a bad guy, so everything was okay.

"I understand now," she said to Jake. "Thank you!"

And with her mind made up, she turned to go, feeling much lighter than before.

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