On Romance (in The Half Blood Prince)

One more note after watching Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince.  The emphasis on relationships really got me thinking about Romance, and what it is exactly.

Romance is most visible in a relationship at the beginning, and generally, as the committment of two people continues, romance must either be rekindled or constantly remembered for the relationship to retain its vigor. But what exactly is romance?

I’m sure some scientist could chemically explain what it is – but those who have ever had a crush, or who have started going out with someone and are leading up to the first kiss know that Romance is something overpowering at times, and often effects our thinking (irrationally at times) and leads us to do unusual things.  Good or bad.  It is a feeling, a thought, and the actions that come from it.  It is the flowers you bought, or the cabinet you built, or the poem you wrote, and which you would never have done except for that One Person.  No one else would deserve such hard work, such devotion, such love and attention.

While I’m not sure exactly “what” Romance is – other than the effects of it, I think that I do know what leads to it.  For romance to exist, there must be an Unknown thing.  I will refer to as Unknown alone.  This Unknown makes pursuit of it exciting.  I think that is why in Adolescence, Romance is so intense.  Basically, because you know almost nothing, and yet you are expected to act like you know everything.  This dichotamy creates enormous flames (relationships), but often die out when the Unknown becomes known.  When you don’t know something, you create an idea of what you don’t know, and so that Unknown becomes a perfectly realize being (perfect meaning that the Unknown merely becomes what you need it to be).  Once known, the reality is often not parallel with the fantasy, and disappointment results, and is often an insurmountable barrier for those who want to love the fantasy more than the reality.

So how does this play out in a long term relationship?  How can a long term relationship even have romance, or exist, when the two people are committed but are beginning to know everything about each other?

I have an easy answer – though I don’t think people realize that it is easy.  Us humans are complicated, and we never truly reveal all of ourselves to another, even when we think we have.  We are finite and thus, are not able to give all of ourselves at once.  Our memories are not all with us at all points of time, and things come to us throughout relationships.  There is always more Unknown to discover.  Not only that, but what do people who are committed do when they “Think” (though it is not really true) that they know everything about each other?  Easy!  Romance is not Love.  Love is something bigger than romance because, as I’ve talked about already, romance is something that happens because of the Unknown.  Once romance ends, there is the Love.  And if we look to the scriptures, we see the workings of Love.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Love is what results when we walk beyond the forests of romance.  There is a clearing, and where things are known for the good and for the bad, and there we find the need for kindness, patience, humility, and longsuffering.  Often what people are rather than what they are Unknown, is a bit ugly and is still being worked on, but beyond that, is Love.  So the committed lover is free to love the other forever, when the other is Unknown or known, because the two are constantly becoming one.  Isn’t that neat?  I think so.

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9 thoughts on “On Romance (in The Half Blood Prince)

  1. Declaring this love (unconditional love) for a person that you share romance with and knowing that same love is returned is an amazing experience! But maybe since “we never truly reveal all of ourselves to another” the romance never ends (because the unknown remains). Because of that maybe romance continually propels this unconditional, everlasting love. I don’t like the idea of romance ever ending. Everlasting romance would be ideal. But, I don’t know how many couples would say the romance of their early relationship remained. . . I dont know, but I am young . . . I look forward to finding out what happens. . .

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    1. The reason that “Romance” changes when you progress in the relationship, is because so much of the Unknown was revealed at the beginning of the relationship. It will never be like that moment of self disclosure and discovery of the other every again. But there is romance, in the appreciation of the little details that you get to collect after you’ve received the whole of the other. Like a fine coffee, there is always a little more to appreciate, or something new to discover, and even more experiences and places to enjoy the goodness of that coffee. Some people just consume (coffee, another person, etc.) blindly without realizing that the potential to discover another person is infinite, but it is a finer experience, requiring a deeper appreciation of small details, but greater joys. I think that our culture actually misses out on the depth that relationships give, because they throw out relationships just when they should be appreciated and worked on most. Romance never ends, but we think it does because we are arrogant and proud. That is why we need to humble ourselves and realize that we don’t know EVERYTHING, and that often, the things we could throw away, need more time. And another person, who is the object of our love, and who we have committed to, deserves nothing less than an eternity of discovery whih is romance leads to deeper love.

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  2. There are three kinds of love, I think in Greek or Latin called Agape, Philia, and Eros. It’s good to have Agape which is a love we get from God which I would describe as having a quality of compassion, emphathy. You may even feel it for a stranger. Philia is a friendship love and Eros is that which you feel a sexual attraction to the loved one. In order to have a happy marriage for the long term, you need all three whereas in friend ship you only need two. So at times when it might seem the romantic feeling is fading, you can ask God to give you Agape love and the rest will all come back!

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    1. True. Agape is the unconditional love that goes beyond the easy love that our pop culture doles out (which is really just “having fun” together, rather than becoming one together – it is a more selfish pursuit). CS Lewis has a book called the Four Loves where he really delves into love, and I’ve read a bit of it. He goes into the Greek types of love, which is very interesting, and very enlightening.

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  3. Your fourth paragraph was so perfect in explanation. To branch off of this by thinking about my own past, it’s so hard to understand the role the Unknown plays unless you experience heartbreak at least once in your life. I think dating plays an important role in understanding relationships, and preparing for marriage. However, it can be so dangerous, and it’s hard to tell when you’re getting more harm out of a relationship than good. I have had a lot of appreciation for parents (as much as one can before one actually becomes a parent) living as a Christian youth, because I have a sense of right and wrong, and although I’m not perfect, I witness the blindness of kids who reject all knowledge of good things and destroy themselves in the process, and try not to be like that. I pity the parents who have to witness that, and try to sympathize so I can remember it when I’m facing hard choices. I would never want to hurt my mom or grandparents in that way. But, I still constantly worry if I’m making the right ones every time I’m in a relationship, whether with a Christian or not, because it can teach so many good lessons, yet it can go bad so easily, and requires a lot of attention to be kept on the right track.

    I’d like to see more how this relates to Harry Potter. Were you thinking of Harry and Ginny?

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    1. Three is such a tension there. The potential to hurt someone is so large in young relationships because both people are inexperienced and don’t know what to do, or what to expect. Often it is in those first disasterous relationships that we forge out our standards for who we are really seeking and what terms the courting will take. All this out of what is often a painful process that I sometimes think would be mediated better if parents weren’t so hands off with their parenting. While you can’t stop someone from making the wrong decisions, and people need to experience pain to learn to avoid it, the talk of Wisdom needs to be given, and the boundaries still need to be held to. It is my hope that more and more parents show they care by holding in tension trust and boundary, Wisdom and a careful loving but firm voice.

      As for Harry Potter, this was all I could think about while watching Harry and his pals figure out the strangeness of infatuation and love in the last movie. I didn’t want to give too much away, so I grappled with the idea, but I think if you watch the movie again after reading this blog, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

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