I wrote a poem for Mother’s Day, so it seems only right that I should do one for Father’s Day as well. For this one, I decided to use the image of Harry’s stag patronus.
Silver light burning bright
Casting off the cloak of night
Chased by haunting soulless shades
Panic rises, courage fades
But a shield of love surrounds
Him and again his hope is found
The one who stood to keep him safe
And looked evil in the face
Whose dying screams are echoing
In thoughts these demons’ visions bring
Will stand and guard him once again
And keep him safe from deep within
His father’s love was never gone
But lives inside him, makes him strong
And charges forth in silver light
As his protector through the night
Here’s a picture I drew of my cat patronus. I’m actually getting pretty attached to it, because despite my allergies, it actually makes a lot of sense. I’ve also discovered that I’m probably not actually allergic to my patronus, because apparently sphynx cats are hypoallergenic. Yeah, it’s not worth the fact that they look like bald, oversized rats. Anyway, patronuses are glowing animal-shaped lights, not real animals. I’ve decided my patronus would be a regular short-haired cat. That, I think, makes for a nice compromise between what Pottermore thinks and what I can get myself to accept.
You can read part 1 here and part 2 here
I dislike cats, but their symbolic associations are spot-on. But I would go further and say that a stranger would never guess those things about me. They’re not surface-level traits. To be perfectly honest, most of the cat symbolism that hit home isn’t an obvious part of my day-to-day life, but the way that I react when things go as badly as they can go. I withdraw. I seek out the people I love most. I find comfort in my own thoughts. I make myself a cup of tea, curl up on the couch, and lose myself in a book. I think. I pray. I take time to process things and decide what I’m going to do. I seek out privacy and alone time, which I need no matter what, but especially during a crisis.
In other words, I react like a cat.
I can think of a dozen animals I like better, but none of them does such a good job of reflecting that part of me I go back to when things don’t go how they should. And I guess that’s what a patronus is: the part of you that shows up to protect the person you normally are.
I have to admit, if I take a step back and look at it critically, the things we generally associate with cats are pretty much spot-on. Cats are somehow solitary and social at the same time, showing affection towards their owners while avoiding strangers, something that I can identify with as what I like to call an “introverted people person”. They’re generally thought of as clever, maybe because they spend so much time curled up quietly, as if they were deep in thought. They’ve been interpreted so many different ways over the course of history, and while they’re common house pets, they’re also the close relatives of dangerous predators. I find that sort of contradiction absolutely fascinating. When I Googled “cat symbolism”, I connected right away with most of what I found: wisdom, adaptability, independence, mystery. I’d probably be happy to have a cat patronus, if I wasn’t allergic to them.
But I don’t know. It’s hard to connect happy memories and inner strength with an animal that makes me sneeze if I so much as go in a room where it’s been.
… is a sphynx cat, according to Pottermore.
I wasn’t thrilled, for reasons that a quiz like this one could never have predicted. I’m allergic to cats. So when I think of them, I don’t think of my happiest memories, I think of the puffy eyes and runny nose they give me. Even as cats go, sphynx cats are kind of ugly, hairless ones. I’ve loved my results on Pottermore quizzes in the past: my Hogwarts house, my wand, even my Ilvermorny house, although those are so vague and unknown that it’s hard to have a strong preference. Patronuses are not vague or unknown. They’re such a big part of the Harry Potter series that I would imagine most fans have wondered or speculated on what their patronus would be.
The Pottermore article – no doubt expecting cases like mine – says it’s not uncommon for witches or wizards to produce “Patronuses in forms that their casters might not expect, for which they have never felt a particular affinity, or (in rare cases) even recognise”. Apparently this is because “a human confronted with inhuman evil, such as the Dementor, must draw upon resources he or she may never have needed, and the Patronus is the awakened secret self that lies dormant until needed, but which must now be brought to light”. So maybe a patronus isn’t supposed to be an animal you like. Maybe it’s more of a secret weapon.
I’m still not particularly happy that Pottermore thinks my patronus is a hairless cat.
You can read the two follow-ups here and here