Category Archives: Books

Boys Over (Blood-Spattered) Flowers

Anger frequently plays a major role in conflict, especially violent conflict.  In one of my favorite stories of all time, Boys Over Flowers, almost every conflict that occurs throughout the story is driven by one character’s inability to express his anger in ways that do not involve assaulting people and/or punching walls.   Continue reading

Penny Dreadful and The Exorcist: Demons Are So Clingy

I am about to discuss an extremely creepy topic during a thunderstorm, in a dark room.  (Why is the room dark? Oh, wouldn’t you like to know, Theoretical Reader, wouldn’t you like to know!) This week I am blending two different stories that share a conflict: possession.  No, not that possession; I’m referring to the one that involves either extreme psychological phenomena or non-corporal-but-sentient-beings, depending on whether or not the characters believe in ghosts, demons, and/or spirits.  In Penny Dreadful and The Exorcist*, characters become actors in deadly conflicts that turn their bodies and minds into war zones.

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Cersei Lannister’s Realist Point of View

There is no new episode of Game of Thrones this week, and since I’ve been re-reading the books I thought this would be a good time to start tackling the many, many conflicts in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and A Game of Thrones, the tv-show based on the books, A Game of Thrones. As long as you’ve read the first book or season the first season of the tv series, I won’t be spoiling anything.

Many people have pointed out the similarities between Realist Theory and the plot of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire (take a look at Where in the books/tv show specifically, do we see examples of Realist Theory? After reviewing Cersei’s thoughts  while re-reading the first book, I saw parallels between her worldview and Realist Theory’s description of human behavior. Realist Theory should not be confused as referring to a “realistic” view of the world. Like any theory, it has both strengths and weaknesses when it comes to explaining politics and human behavior. Just because Cersei appears to have come out…ahead… of Ned so far does not mean that her Realist worldview is a successful way to understand the world she lives in.

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Harry Potter and the Price of Peace

In conflict resolution, we learn that peace and justice are not always compatible. Post-conflict reconciliation is a major focus within the field of conflict resolution, and it is probably one of the most challenging goals to achieve. When learning about different processes of reconciliation, and how difficult it can be for people who have spent years immersed in violence to resume a normal life, my thoughts turned to the epilogue of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The death of Voldemort would not have been enough to bring a long-term peace to the wizarding world. Only a transformation of relationships among the former enemies could. The fact that Draco and his family were given a chance to participate equally in the post-conflict world, that he could acknowledge Harry and his friends without any display of aggression, and Hermione’s refusal to poison the relationships of the next generation, all provide evidence that the transformation of relationships has occurred.

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