(1939-11-10) The Nature of the Soul
Details for The Nature of the Soul
Summary: After meeting Anthony at the infirmary, Madeline asks some surprisingly serious questions about magical theory.
Date: Monday November 10th, 1939
Location: Infirmary
Related: Transfiguration Practice

In between classes, Madeline makes her way into the infirmary, seeking out Madame Spleen. She soon finds herself seat on the edge of one of the cots that line the walls of the room. "No, ma'am, I feel fine - just a bit of a headache," the girl assures her. "It's not as bad as it was, you know, a few weeks ago…" when Madeline was a frequent visitor, complaining of headaches and stomach aches.

"Well. I'll get you something and see if that helps," the woman reassures Madeline, turning to fetch the appropriate potion.

Anthony is emerging from seeing her himself. He's got a slight grimace as he holds his hand out, and admits, "Writers cramp. Just had a charm for it."

"Writer's cramp?" Madeline asks, sounding surprised. "You can make your hands hurt from writing too much?" She lets out a quiet giggle. "You ever tried working a field for a day? That'll make your hands hurt!"

Anthony says, "It was absolutely murderous. I couldn't _move_ my hand!"

"But… just from writing?" Madeline asks incredulously. She quirks her lips to the side in amusement.

Madame Spleen returns with a potion, which she offers over to Madeline. "Drink it all down - then we'll have you stay just a few minutes to make sure everything's right as rain."

"Yes ma'am," Madeline answers promptly, accepting the vial of potion, and downing it with a grimace. As soon as she has, she starts digging around in her bag, finding a peppermint which she tosses in her mouth before offering one to Anthony as well.

Anthony says, "Um, I _might_ have possibly been writing an awful lot. I've been having some theories.."

"Theories about what?" Madeline asks, still holding out a peppermint towards Anthony. "Do you know about the vanishing spell?"

Anthony takes the peppermint, "Oh? About souls. And yes. Yes, I do. What about it?"

"Oh, souls?" Madeline asks curiously, before adding urgently. "Do people really use the vanishing spell to make animals… go away? Where do they go?"

Anthony hesitates, and then says, slowly, "They cease being. And it is theoretically possible to do so to an animal, but it would be immoral."

"So… they die," Madeline answers. It obviously doesn't sit well with her. "Noalan Eibon says you can't use it on people, though. He said it doesn't work on anything, umm… I can't remember the word. Anything really smart. Do you think Mischief is too smart for the spell?"

Anthony considers this, "Probably."

Well that's an obvious relief to Madeline. She knows that you can be hurt by magic, but at least you have a chance to try to fix things. If Mischief just got disappeared, though… How do you fix that?

"So, ummm, what were you thinking about souls?" she asks curiously.

Anthony says, "Mmm, it's based on my reading of Magical History, Magical Theory, and Ancient Runes. Did you know the Egyptians didn't think the Soul was just one thing?"

"You were saying about that to uncle Perry, right?" Madeline says, sounding a little uncertain. "Something about love and Egyptian soul… stuff. I remember something about that."

Anthony says, "Exactly. Look… we think of the soul as just one thing… but they didn't There was the Ba, and the Ka, and…. well… it gets a little complex."

"So you think so, too - you think we're wrong about the soul being just one piece? Hey - if someone changes your memories, it doesn't change who you are, right? You can't just re-write someone?" Madeline asks, as her mind meanders through the various disturbing magical thoughts she's had lately.

Anthony says, "Ah…. alright… um… You're getting confused. The basic model says we are the composite of Mind, and Spirit, and Soul, you see. I think the soul is more complex than that, though."

"Well, of course I'm confused. It's confusing. And I'm twelve," Madeline points out. She does look interested, though. "When we die, though, our soul goes to heaven, right?" That's what she's been taught anyways, and she doesn't seem to doubt this for a moment given the blithe way she announces it. "And the mind's what Obliviators can change, right, but that doesn't change the soul, and the soul's what's really you - but what's the spirit, then?"

Anthony gives a little shrug, "I don't know. Maybe." He takes a pause, "Okay… if someone is… controlled." Ah. An unforgiveable curse reference. "… their mind remains untouched. And clearly their soul is untouched. But the link between spirit and body is broken. Is the theory, anyway." He pauses, "And I really don't know about the heaven bit. I'm a wizard, not a theologian. Maybe. Or maybe your Heart is weighed against a feather…. or if you die in Battle the Allfather takes you to Valhalla."

"…why would our hearts get weighed against a feather?" Madeline asks, before letting out a quiet laugh. "That's silly. And Valhalla's just stories." The bit about the spirit, though, that is an interesting thought, and Madeline's features scrunch up as she thinks. "So… without spirit, we can't act? Dark wizards can take over your spirit and make you do what they want?" she muses. "And without a spirit… your mind would still work, but you just wouldn't be able to… do anything? You'd be stuck?"

Anthony gives a grim little nod, "You've not studied the Unforgiveable Curses yet, then?"

Madeline shakes her head. "Not really. I mean, I know about them. There's three. The killing curse, the torture curse, and the one you're talking about. Imperius. And if you use any of them, the Aurors like Rena catch you and send you to Azkaban prison forever." And that's about all she knows.

Anthony gives a wry smile, "Something like that. Yes. I think the Cr… the cruciatus…." Why the stutter there, one wonders. "… applies pain directly to spirit, soul or mind."

Madeline scoots closer to Anthony, to wrap one arm around him. She knows why. "But no one knows which?" she asks. "They won't hurt you again," she adds quietly. "No way."

Anthony gives a faint smile, "Hope not. Wouldn't recommend it. And no… nobody is positive. The thing is, Cruciatus isn't really studied. I mean, one can't. Study the Dark Arts, I mean."

"But… if someone studied how it works, then couldn't that help us find a way to stop it? To protect ourselves better?" Madeline muses in a thoughtful tone. "Hey - do animals have a mind, and soul, and spirit too? And if they don't - does that mean we can't use the unforgivables on them?"

Anthony says, "Well, the theory is that the non-sentient beasts have a mind and a spirit, but no soul. Sentient creatures, like Centaurs, have all three."

"Sentient! That's the word. Do you think Mischief is sentient? Does she have a soul? She's awful smart." Because that's how one measures a soul, apparently.

Anthony gives a little shrug, "Honestly, I don't know. That's an area I've not really studied. I think they cover it in NEWT Care of Magical Creatures."

"Oh. That's a long ways off," Madeline remarks. She's silent and thoughtful for a few moments before asking, "But it is the mind the Obliviators change, right? I'd think memories would be part of your mind."

Anthony nods, "Yes. Yes. That's the theory." He smiles, faintly, "You know, most people don't really care about the philosophical theory of magic. You're a strange little girl, Maddy."

"It's interesting. I wanna know how it all works," Madeline insists. "And I'm not little, you know! I'm twelve!" Yes. Just a moment ago that number was proof that she was little enough that confusion was justified. Now it's proof of… the exact opposite?

Twelve year olds.

Anthony says, very solemnly, "Well, when you work it out, let me know?"

Madeline giggles. "You'll figure it out before me, I bet," she answers. She goes thoughtful again, musing more solemnly, "You need all three to really make you, right? Mind, soul, and spirit. So I guess… if the Oblivators change your memory, they're changing you mind, and they really are changing you a little bit. But you're still mostly you, still? I mean, even if they changed all your memories, your soul and spirit would all be the same… Everyone's souls and spirits are different, right? Unique to them?"

She gives Anthony a puzzled look as se adds, "People don't find this interesting?"

Anthony gives a cheerful nod, "And that's assuming the standard model is correct. I'm not sure it is. But I think its understanding of the Soul is oversimplified. Anyway… yes."

"…I don't like the idea of Obliviators changing my mind," Madeline finally decides. "It's real creepy - them changing a piece of you like that. We don't have to study that magic at school, do we? If there's a spell I don't like, and I don't want to learn it, am I allowed to say I don't wanna or you think I'd get in trouble?"

Anthony says, "You'd get into trouble. But no… no, we don't learn that here. You learn it at the Ministry, if you go into that line of work."

"I don't think I will," Madeline asserts. "It's probably good not everyone learns that sort of thing, though." She's silent for a moment before asking, "How much trouble?"

Anthony says, "A few points, I think. Ask your Head of House? I suspect if you could make a strong moral argument, you might get away with just five, or something, but it'd probably be more."

"Oh, well, if it's just points…" Madeline doesn't care much about points. "I could earn that back just by participating in class."

Anthony says, "Well… I wouldn't let someone hear you say 'just' points."

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "I think the whole house knows I think there's loads of things more important than points." She pauses a moment before adding quietly, "Points are nice, though. I sure like earning them." She just doesn't care much about losing them.

Anthony says, "Well, you can always ask as a hypothetical. But I'd expect a damn good reason for not learning a set spell on moral reasons."

"Well. I don't like the vanishing spell but it's okay as long as it's only used on rocks and such," Madeline answers in a thoughtful tone.

"How's your headache then, Miss Evans? Hands aren't still bothering you are they, Mister Rowle?" Madame Spleen asks, approaching the pair.

"Oh, much better, Madame Spleen," Madeline answers politely. "Thank you. I think it's all gone now."

Anthony shakes his head, "Thanks. Back to normal, thank you Madame Spleen!" He stands, "Come on, Evans. Lets take the hint!"

Madeline nods, popping up to her feet, though she stays near Anthony still. "Is there a book about that Egyptian soul stuff?" she asks as they turn to go.

Anthony gives a little nod, "I can give you a list. It helps if you can read it in the original, but there's some decent stuff in translation in the library!"

"In the original? What does it matter if you're reading a copy or not?" Madeline asks - completely misunderstanding his meaning.

Anthony laughs softly, "Because a translation means you're getting what the translator thought it said, rather than what the writer said. There's a lot to be said for being able to read ancient documents in the language they were written in."

"OH. …oh, I only read English!" Madeline protests, letting out a quiet giggle. "But I'm learning to speak German!" she asserts cheerfully. "And I'm gonna learn Mermish, too. You'll see! Dunno about Egyptian, though. Don't know that I'll use that a lot."

Because Mermish she's gonna use all the time.

Anthony says, "Well, I'm doing Ancient Runes. Really, I should get around to learning Old Norse."

"I don't know a lick of that, either," Madeline remarks. "Will it be tricky for you to learn Mermish is suppose to be hard. Do you know any Mermish? Do you know someone who knows Mermish? I really need to find a teacher."

Anthony says, "I don't know any of the non-human languages, actually. Maybe I should pick some up. A Gobbledigook history of the Goblin Revolts would be fascinating, I'm sure."

Madeline considers this idea. "It probably would," she finally agrees. "But I dunno that I'm gonna learn Gobbledigook just for that. But if you did, you could tell me about it! All the good parts!"

Anthony laughs, "I'll bear it in mind. After Old Norse, maybe."

He pauses, "And Irish Gaelic. I want to be able to talk to Eibhlin in her own language."

"English isn't her own language?" Madeline says in a musing tone. "Well - you'll have to teach me a few things!" she suggests eagerly. "Like hello, and how've you been, and most importantly…" She pauses, looking around conspiratorially as if the check that someone is eavesdropping on them, "'Look out behind you there's a monster!' You'll have to teach me that."

Anthony bursts out laughing, "Of course, Maddy! Of course! I _hate_ to think of the circumstances that would be useful in!" Presumably if a monster is behind you.

"It's terribly useful. It's one of the most fun things ever to shout. You haven't tried it yet?" Madeline asks, grinning at Anthony.

Anthony admits, very solemnly, "I've not had the pleasure. What happens if one day there _is_ a monster behind someone, and they don't believe you, because you've kept yelling it?"

"Well, if there was really a monster behind someone, I'd know what kind," Madeline answers cheerfully. And obviously that would make the shout more believable! Right?

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