Book Review: The House of Silk

Hey, lovelies. It’s been awhile! Because lots of you said on Instagram that you would like to see more book reviews, I’m making good on that. This is the first in my new book review series. Basically, whenever I read a good book, I am going to share it with you.

I will always keep spoilers to a minimum and will mark a paragraph that has any spoilers in it. 

That being said, let’s talk about…

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz 

The House of Silk is a Sherlock Holmes novel. The problem with being a Sherlockian is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is no longer, how should I say this? No longer able to produce content. My mom bought me this book because she is a saint.

Whenever I get my hands on a book with Sherlock as a character, I have to read it. It’s the law.

A friend of mine has always recommended Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty to me but I have refused to read it. Why? I have this grudge about justifying wrongdoing and glorifying villains. And that is what I thought Moriarty would be about. However after reading The House of Silk I think I may have been wrong.

I went into this book mostly blind, with no certain expectations. The book more than exceeded in proving itself worthy.

The Story

As I have mentioned, the book is about Sherlock Holmes and his companion, John Watson. It takes place after John married Mary Morstan and vacated Baker Street but before the Reichenbach Falls, where we meet Prof. James Moriarty.

The case Watson chronicles is one that he did not make known to the public. He did not publish the adventure due to the delicacy of the crime and the characters involved.

While the case brought to Holmes and Watson starts out seemingly straightforward (an English aristocrat being menaced by an American criminal) it slowly takes us deeper into a monstrous web of crime.

There are actually two mysteries in this book, connected by an invisible thread. One starts out the book and slowly fades into the background. The second becomes more prominent and takes up most of the investigation. Not much is revealed until the end of the book but there is plenty in the middle to keep the reader hooked.

The story gets everywhere. It seems messy at first, with loose ends and unanswered questions, but this is a red herring. Horowitz and Holmes both know how the mystery will eventually connect. They simply do not let the reader and Watson know much about it.

My Thoughts

I liked the mystery well enough to keep reading. But it wasn’t until page 142 that I really got invested. If you end up reading the book, you’ll know why. 

At said page, the stakes get raised. No longer are we solving a mystery for the sake of it. A certain detective’s life is at stake.

Buddy, if you mess with Sherlock you mess with John Watson and I. You don’t want to mess John Watson and I. We love Holmes too much.

Horowitz writes Holmes & Co. perfectly. Sherlock is not an unfeeling machine but he isn’t a hyper goofball either (I’m looking at you, CBS’s Elementary.) He is a man of the mind, with a manic personality and a heightened sense of justice. 

Watson is of course, the loyal companion. Not an idiot. Not a bumbling fool. But not a genius either. He is a common man with a sense of adventure and a good moral compass. 

Detective Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes both make several appearances in the book as well. And Horowitz got them spot on too. Mycroft, the pompous big brother. Lestrade, the ever long suffering babysitter.

There are several twists in the book that had me yelling “WHAT?!” but they mostly came at the end of the book. It’s not a slow burn or anything but the real good stuff is at the end. Trust me though, it is well worth waiting for.

I will say, this book deals with some heavy topics. But Horowitz goes about it in the way he should: delicately. Guys, if you ever have to write in some dark stuff into your work, this is how you should do it.

Let’s face reality; the world is full of monsters and perversions. And sometimes those realities make their way into stories. I’ve read books and seen movies who incorporate these dark sides of humanity but do one of two things. Either they make light of it and make it seem okay or they are too blunt and unfeeling about it. Neither are okay. 


Horowitz never names the issues outright. He knows the reader is smart enough to figure out what is happening in the House of Silk. He isn’t graphic and doesn’t use any inappropriate lingo. Holmes unveils the House of Silk for what it is… “a house of ill repute.” He makes it known what certain men of power are doing to the street children of London. Holmes makes it clear he finds these crimes horrendous but he does not draw it out or speak about it more than is necessary. This type of crime is not for entertainment. It is serious and should be treated as such.

The Long and Short of It

Great book. Amazing. I couldn’t predict all of it, many reveals took me by surprise. The book is tactful, clever, and mysterious. 

Despite my past judgements on the book, Moriarty will soon be in my TBR. I trust Horowitz with Conan’s characters and I can’t wait to read more. I do not believe he is justifying Moriarty, more like…showing the man behind the monster.

Would love to see Horowitz write more Holmes novels!

Have you read this book? Or are you planning to read it now? Would love to know your thoughts!

Cultivating the Curious Mind

Before the New Year, I decided to renew my attitude, business, and life. I wanted to be productive but still rest and have peace of mind that my efforts weren’t for nothing. Who doesn’t want to feel that way?

When I started implementing this new mindset of mine, however, I never realized how slow the transition and results would come. There has definitely been a large change in how I spend, manage, and use my time but the progress has unveiled itself minutely. So minutely, in fact, I couldn’t see it while I was living it.

Skipping the details on how I got here, I’m here. Blogging again. Renewed.

Knowing me, you may be confused. Scarlett? Skipping details? I know, I know, I am Miss Long Winded Story Teller. It is most unusual of me to limit my elaboration.

I do this simple telling now because I wish to communicate to you. No metaphors, analogies, or special motifs. I am here to tell you something you need to know.

When I started this business, I had a problem with identifying my target audience. If you take a business class or follow a business planning template, you will always be advised to describe your ideal customer. When I did this in the past, I always detailed a customer that was like me…bookish, storytelling, and a little geeky. Most of my customers are like that, to be honest (you know who you are).

But since this renewal, I have finally identified who my business most affects. Who’s lives I might actually touch and change with what I do. I have a new mission statement that will now be the foundation of all of my products, blogs, Insta posts, and professional interactions.

My new mission is exactly this: to cultivate curious minds with positivity and living literature.

Curious minds like yours and mine are eager to learn and experience. This is a good thing…generally. When your mind yearns to learn, you begin to actively seek knowledge. When your body longs to go places and try new things, you step outside of your normal activities to do so.

This can be great for you mental, physical, and spiritual health…if you are learning and experiencing positivity.

Curious minds are attracted to any new information, good or bad. When a curious mind discovers new information that is healthy and created with good intentions, it feeds more than just your mind. It can inspire you and even change your life for the better. But when a curious mind discovers new information that is harmful or ill, it can affect you negatively.

Even if a curious mind identifies harmful information as negative, the curiosity inside asks why it is bad. Negativity is just as interesting as positivity, if not more so. A curious mind wants to understand why something is evil, how it originated, and initiates thought that dwells upon the harmful subject.

Having fallen victim to the exact process I have described, I propose a way to divert or curious attentions from negativity and on to positivity. That solution is this: living literature.

Lately, whenever I find my mind wandering aimlessly, a time when my mind is at high risk of discovering negative information, I do one thing. I read. And I don’t just read any book (because books can promote negativity too), I read a living book. Usually Tolkien, Lewis, Austen, or Rowling.

Living literature feeds curiosity while affirming positivity. However, it is not my goal to say “Here is a living novel. Go read it, you’ll feel better.” Forcing others into reading literature, no matter how wonderful, can have a backfiring affect. It creates a begrudging spirit that is more likely to dwell on, guess what? Negativity.

The key is to excite the curiosity before you put a living book into a curious mine’s hand. Make the mind want for the positivity. Do not force submission from a mind. Instead appeal to it with what it already enjoys.

It is my goal to do this through my business. I want my products to fall into the hands of curious minds and spark their curiosity to seek living literature.

Want to start the process of cultivating positive thought? Here is a tip: identify what you already enjoy and apply it to your reading. Love art? Check out some book illustrations. Into fashion? Look up some book inspired outfits. There is always a way to connect your interests to living literature. The rewards might not be immediate, especially it you have little interest in reading of it you have previously enjoyed…er…non-living books. Give it some time. Dedicate yourself. Give yourself a chance to love and explore living literature.

Cultivate Your Mind With Positivity

Get your curiosity set on the right track by signing up for Scarlett Mc’s email list.

No spam, no irritating messages, just updates on new blogs that promote positivity and living literature and first looks at bookish product.

Unlocking Sherlock

I used to attend a homeschool co-op. My teacher gave us these little surveys to fill out on each subject. I was going through my old school papers and found this;

If you can’t read my tenth grade handwriting it says;

The most important event in all of world history is when to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sat all alone in his small optometry office and first thought of Sherlock Holmes (or, at the time, Sherrinford Holmes.)

To which my teacher replied;

You might be a little obsessed 🙂

The same teacher gave me a very fancy copy of the Complete Sherlock Holmes as a graduation present.

It is safe to assume from what you have read, that I am completely in love with Sherlock Holmes.

However, the problem with loving classic literature means that it is probable that your favorite author has long been retired. Meaning that the 56 short stories and the four novels that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about Sherlock are all I am ever going to get from him. 

And that is why I picked up Lock and Key by Ridley Pearson. 

The book had been sitting on the living room bookshelf for about two years…my mistake. I finally picked it up. To be perfectly honest, the back cover synopsis of the book did not truly reflect what the book actually was.

My first impression of its description led me to believe it was set in Victorian London, told from the perspective of Moriarty’s brother. If you have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem, you would know that Dr. John Watson tells us a little about Moriarty’s brother. 

But this is not the case. From reading Lock and Key, I deduce that Ridley Pearson is not a true Sherlockian. I can tell he has not studied the as books intimately as I have nor has an all consuming love for all things Doyle as I do.

However, that does not mean the book itself is bad.

The Lock and Key series is based on the modernization of Sherlock Holmes in his youth. The main idea Pearson has however is not about Sherlock. It is based on Sherlock’s arch enemy, James Moriarty and told from the perspective of his sister.

Before I get too far into the characters or plot, I first want to address the use of “modernization.” 

I know most classic lit lovers shy away from the word as if it were a rattlesnake. And I totally understand that. It is a risky move to take. Personally though, I usually enjoy modernization tropes. BBC Sherlock is my favorite TV show and it literally seems to pluck Sherlock & Co. from the Victorian era into modern day society. 

While Ridley Pearson does not execute this idea as well as BBC Sherlock does, I am of the opinion that he does it well enough.

The main characters are of course Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, and they are accompanied by James’s little sister, Moria. 

Original characters (OCs) can be another risk to put in a retelling. I often times enjoy OCs but I am also their harshest critic. Moria Moriarty is…an okay OC. But I feel that the story Ridley Pearson created could have been told without her. 

And there is the issue of her name…Moria. 

Parents don’t just go from naming their first kid James and then their second Moria. James is a common name and Moria obviously is not. In BBC Sherlock there is an OC named Eros who is Sherlock’s sister. But her name is perfectly fine. We got Mycroft and Sherlock, some weirdo names, and Eros fits in perfectly. Moria, however, sticks out from James like a sore thumb.

However I do commend Pearson for making Moria a good narrator but also a distinct side character. She isn’t as logical as Sherlock nor as intelligent as James. But she does own her own skill sets, such as her curiosity.

When I first read Pearson’s description of Sherlock, I laughed out loud because he totally watches the BBC show…I mean, shocking blue eyes, high cheek bones, pale skin…? Sorry, that isn’t Sherlock, that is Benedict Cumberbatch.

I enjoy Pearson’s young Sherlock over the young Sherlock in the movie Young Sherlock Holmes. One fact that many people don’t know is that Sherlock isn’t Spock. He’s not a Vulcan nor a computer. While Sherlock may call love “human error” or show contempt at sentiment, he does not remain immune to human feeling. Pearson recognizes this and allows Sherlock the freedom to laugh, joke, and tease as he pleases. Except when he gets “in the zone.” When Sherlock is in the heat of deduction, solving a problem, or thinking around a situation, he does not revert to his human whims. 

I understand that it is hard to nail James Moriarty’s character on the head. We get little dialogue from him in The Final Problem and soon after, bye, bye, Jimmie. There are many different takes on Moriarty, and Pearson’s own works.

It isn’t spectacular, but it works. 

James is changeable. He has a moral compass and he knows what is right but he puts more stock into power and what he wants. Throughout the series he switches between being on the enemy’s side and being on Sherlock’s side. 

From the very beginning, he does not want to be Sherlock’s friend. They are roommates together at Baskerville Academy and while Sherlock attempts a companionship with James, the latter blatantly refuses the offer. Later, James does admit that he and Sherlock are friends. And still later, they become sworn enemies.

I wasn’t especially into the plot…secret societies have never really been my thing. And I don’t think it went entirely well with Sherlock and James as a whole. However, the scenes and situations in themselves where perfect. Pearson only needed a different overall concept. 

What kept me reading was the one liners, the quips that Sherlock made passive aggressively to tell James how stupid he was. Or James calling Sherlock “Sherlost.” And all the banter…priceless.

My biggest disappointment was the exclusion of any other canon characters. The only attachment to Doyle’s original books where Sherlock and James. No John Watson, no Irene Adler, no Henry Knight, no Dr. Mortimer, no Sebastian Moran…none of them were included! 

I kept turning pages hoping John would come in as a new exchange student in Baskerville Academy, or something…but no!

Mycroft was mentioned ONCE. Sherlock names him as his older brother who has been his legal guardian since their parents died.

I did hope that Mycroft might come in when Sherlock got expelled from Baskerville. I mean, Mycroft would be MAD. He’d be furious with his little brother for getting kicked out of an expensive prep school. But he doesn’t even cameo.

And when Sherlock is supposed to be in London but actually stays in Boston? Sherlock never says how he did that. Because if I know Mycroft Holmes, he would be after his brother like the Hound of the Baskervilles. I mean, that is Mycroft, an overly protective, condescending big brother. But no, Sherlock doesn’t even say he tricked Mycroft into letting him stay in Boston.

All in all, the series is worth a read if you just need more Sherlock. I certainly did. And if you aren’t a huge Sherlockian, you might enjoy the series. But it could have been better if Pearson had done a bit more research or loved the original stories a bit more. 

Being YOU In 2021

It’s the new year and time to put down some goals. Work out more, loose weight, sharpen brain, blah, blah, blah. Why are all these “New Years Resolutions” all so stereotypical? Because our so-called “culture” has told us that every year we need to strive to be better than who we are and become what society wants us to be.

When in fact, starting a new year should be about WHO WE ARE and WHO WE ARE BECOMING. Society says I should be a skinny waisted feminist with 5,000 Instagram followers who conforms to the “new normal.” And a lot of girls out there’s New Year Resolutions will be based on becoming that. But that has nothing to do with who I am now.

Right now, I am a amateur writer, a growing artist, a new blogger, a dedicated Christian, and a girl with a new interest in politics. Society says I should change everything about who I am to become what they want me to be. When in reality I should take who I am and become even more ME.

Get ready, 2021, you’re getting more ME.

I’m going to share my New Year’s goals and how you can make your own based on who you are NOW and how you want to become even more YOU.

MY 2021 GOALS ~


  • Keep desk and room organized
  • Get driver’s license 
  • Save more
  • Support more local businesses 
  • Go to bed on time


  • Write a short story (new, Woodland Whisperer, fanfic) every week
  • Develop book idea (😉)
  • Start writing book when Camp NaNoWriMo starts
  • Study more classic literature 
  • Memorize more poetry 


  • Work on landscape and scene art
  • Create planner sticker sets
  • Create new bookmarks as often as possible
  • Take more art classes on Skillshare


  • Stick to blog schedule (Post every Monday and every other Thursday)
  • Make website more user friendly
  • Make Instagram more consist
  • Share more poetry 
  • Add Woodland Whisperer page


  • Start a prayer journal
  • Take more notes during sermons
  • Daily devotion, prayer, quiet time and poetry
  • Start doing more evening studies


  • Start a website (separate from business…no politics in business!) for political purposes
  • Listen to more podcasts from Prager U, Will Witt, etc.
  • Study the Constitution in depth

Your goals will obviously be different from mine. Why? Because you are a different person! You are totally unique! You may be in a different stage of life than I am, you have different experiences than I do, and you are so perfectly YOU. 

Here is how to do more you, boo.

  1. Know Who You Are

Before you can know who you are becoming, you must first be sure of who you are. Take some time to meditate on this, search scripture, take some reflection time. Who are you? What do you love to do? 

This not only makes a great start for New Years goals but is also great for mental and spiritual health. When you define who you are, remind yourself everyday. Put it on a post it note and stick it in your mirror. Let it be the first thing you tell yourself. 

Every morning, I wake up and tell myself; I am a talented and creative Christian girl who loves her family and friends. I am blessed of God, I am called to bless others, I am who God says I am and I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. And then I make my morning cuppa and do my devotion and poetry reading. 

Doing something like this every morning will honestly give you a great start. I promise.

2. Think of 2022 You

Or 2023 or 2024…I don’t know how far you are planning ahead. Where do you want to be? Not WHO you want to be, because you should never be anything but yourself, but WHERE you want to be.

Write out your perfect day. What does it look like? Chances are, your perfect day isn’t getting 100 likes in your post or having the paparazzi follow you. It will probably end up much more simple than that. That’s good, much more healthy.

My perfect day is that I wake up in the morning with my clothes already set out, no clutter on my floor or desk, and slip into my cozy house slippers. Boom, I already have goals. Set out clothes before bedtime, keep room and desk organized, and buy a good pair of house slippers. 


In my “perfect day” afternoons, I would like to drive myself to the park or to Tree of Life (shout out to Tree of Life (@treeoflife), my favorite coffee shop) and work on my latest book. Now we have more goals. Get driver’s license, save up for a Chromebook, and support more local businesses. And of course, keep writing.

So envision your personal perfect day. Don’t think of what others want you to do but what you think your healthy, relaxing day looks like.

Write out the goals that will help you to make that day possible.

3. Think Of What You Aren’t Doing

What could you be working on? What things in your busy life are you forgetting? I find that for me, that thing is usually setting aside time to relax and study the Word or read poetry. To relax without agenda but with purpose. 

What are you missing that you could work on. Sometimes this can be hard to pinpoint because it takes a little bit if self realization. If you don’t know what you are missing, keep an eye out. If you just go throughout your day just paying attention to what you AREN’T doing, you are sure to find it.

However, while doing this, it is important to stay positive. Don’t beat yourself up just because you aren’t doing something. Stay positive. You are going to work on it, you will improve it, and it will be fine! After all, that’s why you are discovering that missing piece in the first place.

4. Be Consistent

Everyone who makes New Years Resolutions forgets them eventually. We are human. We fall short of our own expectations all the time. The thing is that if you forget your goals, don’t throw the list in the bin. 

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Keep on going, no matter the failing. That’s what life is all about.

30 Day Bookstagram Positivity Challenge

I practically grew up on #bookstagram. Believe me, I know what it is and I could define it if asked. However I am not here to make it a dictionary term. What bookstagram is and what it is meant to be are two different things at the present time.

My mother, @heathermaccreates, started her Instagram account back in 2012. Since then she has gained a following in the thousands and has loyal customers. She has shared her bookstagram journey with me and included me in all her favorite books, posts, quotes, art, and so on.

I have only joined the bookstagtam community recently but I have grown up around it. My mom used to wear a “#bookstagram made my buy it” shirt almost every other day, believe me I grew up with it.

However, the bookstagram I thought I knew then is nothing like the bookstagram I have come to know now.

When I was younger I used to be able to scroll down my mother’s Instagram feed and read all the great book synopsis’s and reviews. The comments were enjoyable and full of cool discussion and respectful debate.

Now however if you look up #bookstagram, there are descriptions of negativity, condemning any opinion in a book that diverges from the readers own. Comments are practically screaming arguments. People tag other bookstagramers only to criticize them.

What happened?

Here is what happened. Micro-aggressions happened.

A micro-aggression is when someone says something they think and someone else disagrees and attacks them for it. 

An example? A bookstagramer says they enjoyed the main character’s point of view. Someone comments “The main character describes the female lead as incompetent! The book had a pro-male agenda and was sexist”. The rest of the comment thread goes back in forth on what the bookstagramers believed and what was wrong with them if they enjoyed or hated the book, whether the book was sexist, racist, or homophobic, and what the author had done that made the book not worthy of reading.

As readers, we choose what we read. We choose what we enjoy in a story and we choose what we hate as well. We choose what we take out of the book, and we choose what we leave behind.

That is what reading is all about!

If a reader chooses to share their experience with a book on bookstagram, it is not to promote their own personal supremacy. It is so that they can share their thoughts with people like them. Other readers.

No matter what colour, gender, race, creed, or religion, we all have one thing in common. We are readers! We love a good story. We all cry when our favorite character dies, we all have to put the book down at the big plot twists, we all have the same emotional trauma after we finish a book, and we all have the same ecstasy when we start a new one.

Can’t we talk about how great it is that we are all readers? That we love the written word? That we couldn’t survive without it?

Let’s make bookstagram a positive place again. 

I’ve created a 30 Day Bookstagram Positivity Challenge and I encourage you to try it out. It is simple to do and I hope you will take the first steps to making #bookstagram a better place.

Boxing Day At Baker Street

I take real pride in calling myself a true Sherlockian. And when writing this Christmas Sherlock fanfic, I studied how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote John Watson’s writing about his and Holmes’ adventures. I have done my best to replicate this and stay TRUE to the characters as Doyle wrote them. I hope you enjoy this light hearted story! 💛

In all my days of knowing Sherlock Holmes, I have perceived many things. His need for order in all things is both his strength and his weakness (though he would never willingly acknowledge the fault.) His calculating and organized mind is at all times active. 

Like a high speed mechanical device, the many cogs and gears are always turning, keeping the machine alive and working. I, who have been his companion for many a year, often have the opportunity to observe this thinking rotary. Holmes himself calls his brain “an attic” in which he keeps “the tools which may help him in doing his work” and “all in the most perfect order.” However, in my small observations, his brain, which he takes such pride in, has never been so.

As I have said to Holmes many times before, a mortal man cannot rightly decide what he is and is not to know. “It’s not our place,” I say. Yet Holmes chooses to forgo my words and might comment that he is no “mortal man.” 

And on another and more prevalent note, Holme’s mind is anything other than “perfect order.” He values order, yes, and does his best to keep it. But, as is our modern society, order cannot always be kept. And when the inevitability of disorder comes knocking on the door of 221B Baker Street, the place where Holmes and I reside, the former is nothing short of unnerved (I here add “in the best sense of the word” in respect for my friend’s pride.)

Christmas time at Baker Street was a jolly one for those of us who participated. Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Baker Street, made a roast beef to put Her Majesty’s cooks to shame. The honorable lady (Mrs. Hudson that is, not The Queen) also accompanied me to place a tasteful bouquet on the grave of my late wife, Mary.

All the while, however, Holmes remained in the rooms we shared.

“It is unadulterated foolishness, Watson,” Holmes told me, “To celebrate nothing.”

“Nothing?” I exclaimed. “By Jove, Holmes, Christmas is far from celebrating nothing! Christmas is for the human ability of joy and co-existence. The birth of Christ for His sake!

He raised a sharp eyebrow as a bemused smile began to play on his lips. “As I sad, nothing.”

I was aware of Holmes’ frankly blasphemous thoughts on religion, particularly the one I and the whole of modern England shared. I opened my mouth to defend either the holiday, Christianity, or myself (I had not then decided which) but Holmes spoke before I could. He was rather good at that.

“You are a Christian, Watson, are you not? Then as a Christian attempting to acknowledge this manufactured holiday known as Christmas, you are indeed celebrating nothing. In those days when pagans were the majority, did they not too deck their houses with the evergreen botanicals, such as holly and ivy? I believe these were to keep away the imagined ‘evil spirits.’ And you tell me you do as they did in the name of God? Show me the logic behind this, for I am quite certain that there is none. I do not say I will join in these festivities of religion in which no physical evidence has been produced, for I am no man of faith, but if you feel the need to justify your standing of a Christian who celebrates a pagan Christmas, by all means attempt to prove me wrong.”

I did not retaliate in anger, as many other God fearing Englishmen would have if spoken to by the offensive and disagreeable man before me. I did not roll my eyes, I did not steal a breath, I did not steady my nerves. 

Rather than showing these signs of irritation, I chose to laugh.

Holmes was thoroughly taken aback by my reaction. His head turned sideways slightly and his eyes seemed to take in every feature of my face, pondering the meaning behind my jovial attitude. I recognized the signs of confusion that I often saw when I assisted him in his works of detection and deduction. 

“Why, Holmes,” I said merrily, “You forget that you have told me the exact same speech every year since I first came to Baker Street! My good man, show me the logic in that.” 

“If I have made such an error, which I doubt, it is only because I do not find the memories priority.”

“Or it is because you dislike what I have to say next.”

“And pray tell me what that should be?”

“The same speech in which I have responded, and perfected, I might take the liberty of adding, to your pessimistic diatribe every year in this season.”

I paused and then continued, “It is true that the traditions of Christmas are rooted in less than holy places. I know the history that you have taken the time to explain to me so thoroughly. But allow me to give you a lesson now. Tradition and religion…these are man made and often times artifice. However, even you acknowledge the beauty that God has bestowed upon mankind. I recall you once said to me that “our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to rest in the flowers” and that “it is only goodness which gives extras, and that we have much to hope.” You know there is some higher power, Holmes, do not deny it. And you know that in this world of chaos and ill will there are still those who sew and reap good and praiseworthy values. Mankind is a folly kind, indeed. But on this day, we might folly in a better sort. We might extend a hand to those less fortunate than ourselves and gift that which our very flawed and human hearts lead us to give. There are aspects of beauty in that, no? Why there is even logic enough for you in these things! Now, I’ll allow you to display if you have changed at all in the past year, since the last time I gave you this same lecture. A single remark will do, Holmes. Not one? I thought not. Happy Christmas, good friend.”

And turning away to spare Holmes the slight humiliation of me seeing him at a loss at how to counter, I walked from the room. 

I shall leave him a Boxing Day present by his door tomorrow, I thought with an amused smile in my head.

That night, Mrs. Hudson, myself, and the Misses Hawkins and Hooper, two respectable ladies who shared the flat opposite 221 B, sat in the parlor playing a round of Whist. Miss Hawkins headed the conversation the majority of the time, commenting every so often on the number of Penny Posts she had received from young and eligible men. This was endurable, but only just.

Mrs. Hudson and Miss Hooper were much more versed in polite conversation and the evening had been modestly enjoyable. Though it occurred to me how much more lively the evening might have been had my friend Holmes been there with his uncivil tongue and unpopular ideals. I managed to turn my snigger at the thought into a small cough. 

My mind must have somehow summoned him, because just after the idea had crossed my mind, the devil came through the sitting-room door. 

“My cap, Watson!” He cried, dashing about this way and that. 

“Holmes!” I declared. “Come, sit and join us!”

The three other ladies nodded in agreement with me and invited him to the table in their soft, feminine voices.

Holmes did not seem to hear us. “My cap, it is here somewhere. Watson, find my cap!” 

“Why do you need your deerstalker, fellow? Are you going out?”


“Man, it is freezing outside!”

“That statement would conclude as to why I need my cap! Aha!” He exclaimed with a laugh as he ducked under the table where we had been playing our card game (making the ladies present cry out in surprise.) He came out as soon as he had gone under, however, and brandished his deerstalker cap with a flourish. “Success!” 

He looked at me and at the company I kept, seeing them for the first time. “Ah, people.” 

And with that last statement, he left the room quicker than one could utter “Elementary.”

I apologized for his conduct as I often found myself doing. Mrs. Hudson, who knew Holmes almost as well as I, excused my apology with a smile. Miss Hawkins however asked, “You don’t suppose he’s going caroling?”

I quickly excuse myself from the room as to hide my laughter at the mental image of Sherlock Holmes singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

I had no plans for Boxing Day. After whatever exertions I had taken on Christmas Day, I often found myself staying inside on the holiday, reading the Strand and enjoying multiple cups of tea. Holmes, whom I had seen the previous night leave the flat with such flurry, had not made an appearance to me since then. And that was most strange seeing as he did so like to torment me on the pointlessness of Boxing Day.

Last year  I had participated in the work of the church in making poor boxes. Mrs. Hudson volunteered her time annually and I thought I might do the same. Holmes immensely enjoyed quoting one of Dickens’ rude misers whenever entering my presence.

Reflecting on this, it was strange that he was not in my view. Had he rushed off on a case? This was uncharacteristic seeing as he wanted for my assistance whether or not I was inconvenienced or not. More often the former than the latter.

I tried to pay the matter little heed. Holmes was as unpredictable as the criminal classes he worked against. 

I spent the hours reading a title which turned out to be easily forgotten and in a few episodes of polite conversation. I was just about to think about luncheon when I heard the front door’s knocker alert me to the presence of a visitor. 

Curious to see if Holmes had spent the whole night away from Baker Street, I opened the door expecting to see the detective. Alas I was mistaken…though not so very much. 

A different genius child stood at the doorstep. I recognized the boy as Wiggins,  a street urchin who was occasionally employed by Holmes. 

He must be here for work, I thought when contemplating the boy’s motives. 

“Is Mister Holmes here, sir?” Wiggins asked, pulling off his wool flat cap and smiling in a way I had not been accustomed to associate with him. 

“No…leastwise, I don’t believe he is.”

“I just wanted to thank him again, sir.” The boy said, excited.

“Thank him?” I inquired. “Whatever for, lad?” 

“For the oranges and half crowns, sir! My family will feast today! Give him my thanks, please, sir?” And in his energetic state, he ran onto the street, kicking up snow as he went and whistling a Christmas tune. 

I stood for a moment, looking down at the place Wiggins had been only moment ago. Then amused realization began to slowly creep up my person. 

Sherlock Holmes…giving gifts to homeless children on Boxing Day? Had my yearly tirade finally made an impression? 

I deduced that Holmes must have been out all night finding the members of his so-called “Baker Street Irregulars” and gifting them with oranges and half crowns. And the reason I had not seen him this morning was consequence of his late evening endeavors. Might he be asleep in his rooms? Or was he still out tracking down those lesser fortunate than himself?

I recalled him saying to me in the case of the Mazarin Stone, “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.” 

Maybe so, Holmes, old friend, I thought, shutting the door against the chilly holiday air, But a heart is in there somewhere as well.

NOTE: This story is NOT a licensed work. The author does not own any copywrite, trademarks and/or license. Absolutely all trademarks, licenses and copyrights are the sole property of the authors and/or publishers. All of this writers works and stories are “fan made”, and are NOT to be assumed as being licensed and/or official work. The production of this story is not intended to mislead or to confuse consumers. No infringement on the publisher/author’s name and trademark are intended. This product is purposed for Fan Fiction only.

The Gift of Family In Harry Potter

“I-don’t-want-“ said Percy thickly, as the twins forced the jumper over his head, knocking his glasses askew.

“And you’re not sitting with the prefects today, either,” said George, “Christmas is a time for family.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I love the holiday season. Not only are the aesthetics and tastes of the season wonderful, but the spirit I feel during this time of the year is so uplifting. 

Family and gathering are a big icon of the holiday. And seeing as it’s the most wonderful time of the year, I might share a bit of how important family is through one of my favorite mediums…Harry Potter.

From the Weasley’s to the Dursley’s to the Potter’s, families of all shapes and sizes appear in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Family is an important aspect of the Wizarding World and I would like to take the time to delve into why. 

Harry Potter’s own family are gone. His mother and father died protecting him from Lord Voldemort. Just from this one example, so much context becomes available.

I feel like every reader will look at the Potter’s example of family and see the obvious – parents giving their life so that their son may live. But let me take the liberty of pointing out the maybe not-so-obvious; Voldemort’s lack of understanding of that love.

Think for a moment. Dumbledore knew exactly what Lily Potter’s sacrifice meant. He explains it all to Harry in the Philosopher’s Stone

“Your mother died to save you. If there’s one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mothers for you leaves it’s own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who left us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Dumbledore knows this because he understands the magic of love and family.

Common wizards don’t know of this kind of magic. And that makes sense. But Dumbledore isn’t ordinary. He’s a great wizard. But Voldemort is a great wizard too. Dumbledore and Voldemort are two sides of the same coin, I often think. They are alike yet so very different.

Voldemort, who does not respect nor care for these values, dared to kill Lily and James. If he had any brains at all, he would have known that if he wanted to kill Harry, he couldn’t kill his parents. It’s that simple. If he had any knowledge of the magic of love, he would not risk such strong protection being transferred to his target.

But Voldemort is unable to recognize this. He does not know or understand what a family is and the love it can hold. He killed his own father and grandparents and tore apart countless families.

He corrupted himself into blindness. 

Is this a metaphor for what so many people are doing every day? So many of us humans disregard family, friends, love, and ethics, slowly at first and then steadily on, until we know longer recognize what these aspects of life truly mean. 

A large portion of this holiday spirit and season is meant to be shared with family. It’s one of the joys of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas. However, I know a lot of people don’t feel this way. Many begrudgingly go to family Christmases and sit far away from their annoying relations as possible and stare at their phone in a shadowy corner. 

A simple act like, say, not wanting to wear your Mum’s Christmas sweater could mean so much more. 

Percy Weasley knew all the comforts of home. He had many brother’s and sisters, and a Mum and Dad who cared for him. But he became accustomed to these things. He lost sight of why they were important. 

Before I get into this, there are two examples from the Goblet of Fire I’d like to quote. Remember, at this time, Bill and Charlie are home for the Quidditch World Cup and don’t come home often. Percy no longer sees Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny every day at Hogwarts either. It is a rare thing for the whole family to be home together at once.

Just then a door on the second landing opened, and a face poked out wearing hourn-rimmed glasses and a very annoyed expression.

“Hi, Percy,” said Harry. 

“Oh hello, Harry,” said Percy. “ I was wondering who wad making all that noise. I’m trying to work in here, you know-I’ve got a report to finish for the office-and it’s rather difficult to concentrate when people keep thundering up and down the stairs.”

“We’re not thundering, said Ron irritably. “We’re walking. Sorry if we disturbed the top-secret workings of the Ministry of Magic.”

“What are you working on?” said Harry.

“A report for the Department of International Magical Cooperation,” said Percy smugly. “We’re trying to standardize cauldron thickness. Some of these foreign imports are just a shade too thin-leakages have been increasing at a rate of almost three percent a year-“

The second example comes a few pages later;

Bill and Charlie both had their wands out, and were making two battered old tables fly high above the lawn, smashing into each other, each attempting to knock the others out of air. Fred and George cheering, Ginny was laughing, and Hermione was hovering near the hedge apparently torn between amusement and anxiety.

Bills table caught Charlie’s with a huge bang and knocked one of its legs off. There was a clatter from overhead, and they all looked up to see Percy‘s head poking out of window on the second floor.

“Will you keep it down?!” he bellowed.

“Sorry, Percy,” said Bill, grinning. “How’re the cauldron bottoms coming on?”

“Very badly,” said Percy peevishly, and he slammed the window shut.

Percy had a disregard for family right from the start. It wasn’t so obvious in the Philosopher’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets but it is there. And it gets steadily worse as time advances. 

The biggest red flag that a lot of people don’t recognize is in the Goblet of Fire. When Percy comes of age, he gets a job at the Ministry of Magic. Then he slowly starts disobeying his father and mother, spends time locked in his room, and comes home late. Ron puts it this way;

“I don’t think he’d come home if Dad didn’t make him.”

I’ve seen first hand how estrangement works and J.K. Rowling’s representation of it is uncanny. It makes me wonder if she hasn’t experienced it too. 

Percy has turned of age and things appear to be alright to his parents. To Molly and Arthur, he is just ambitious and has big plans for his future. That may even be what Percy thinks too. But in reality he is just a child wanting to do what he wants, when he wants to, and doesn’t want any parental guidance, control, or authority. He uses the Ministry of Magic, Mr. Crouch, and his job as an excuse to exercise his new of-age privileges. 

And then, in the next book, he is estranged. He breaks his parents trust, wanting to go his own way, and wastes years. Years that he will regret.

Percy eventually reconciled with his family, hours before his brother is murdered. Percy threw away time pursuing things that were unimportant and self indulgent, when he could have spent a little more time with his brother, Fred.

I wonder how many times after the Battle of Hogwarts that Percy cried over the time he lost with his brother? I can imagine his thoughts;

If only I came home from work a little earlier to eat dinner with him and the family.

If only I hadn’t shamed him and his practical jokes.

If only I had played Exploding Snap with him when he asked me that one time.

If only I hadn’t left him behind and come back too late.

Percy made a choice and he payed the price.

I know it seems like a bit of a jump from murderous Lord Voldemort to nerdy Percy Weasley but then again…it wasn’t that big a jump after all. If a thing like disrespecting family and misunderstanding love can take one person from being a Percy to being a Voldemort…why risk it?

Thus, we ask again, why is family so important? Because family in Harry Potter is often used synonymously with love. Love is the main theme in Harry Potter and Rowling repetitively uses family as a motif to demonstrate this theme.

And I understand it can be hard to love your family sometimes. We’re only human. Or maybe you’re not a Percy. Maybe you’re a Fred. Maybe you’re on the receiving end of of hate and disappointment. I cannot give any comfort or answer to such dilemmas than this;

Life is a story. Love is an adventure. Family is a home. To have all three at once is a gift. The greatest gift. A truly precious and fragile gift. Don’t waste what you have, what you’ve been given. See the value in the simple things. They may seem small but they’re not. Nothing simple is ever small. Life isn’t small, love isn’t small, and family isn’t small.

Care for these gifts and they will care for you in return.

5 Books Murder Mystery Fans Will Die For

It was a dark and stormy night. Rain pounded against the windows and the whistle of wind could be heard echoing against the chilled walls of the house. You walked down the dark hallway, an odd shape in your hands and a mysterious glint in your eye. You reached out, touching the doorknob, turning it slowly but with purpose. The door made a great creeeeeek opening. Your footsteps, light but powerful, crossed the threshold. You arrived at your destination, unsheathe the item in your hands, smile madly and-

Sit down to read your Agatha Christie.

Little does a reader know when they will become devoted to a genre. And if you are like myself, mystery is your cup of tea. You start when you are younger, Encyclopedia Brown and the Boxcar Children. You graduate to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Then you finally enter Sir Arthur Conan Doyl and Agatha Christie, amongst other literary and homicidal classics. 

As always, your tastes grow and your shelf space shrinks. As does your murderous TBR. You can fill it up again with these novels you probably haven’t read yet.

Devil In The White City

While a classic whodunnit is thrilling, Devil In The White City by Eric Lawson makes you aware of the Murderer’s every move, motive, and thought. The book takes you deep into the psyche of H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer and the owner of the murder hotel. It is so rare for me to come across a piece of non fiction that I enjoy, but Eric Lawson pulls it off perfectly in Devil In The White City (and In the Garden of Beasts, another great historical novel.) This novel is a real nail biter and I recommend it only if you have a stomach that can handle detailed murder.

Flavia De Luce

WARNING! The Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley is not yet complete and Bradley one to two years to write the continuations. However the eleven books that are full of gore, pigtails, chemistry, and tea tide a dedicated reader over nicely. Flavia De Luce is not a normal eleven year old, no not even close! She is a skilled sociopathic chemist detective with braces to top it all off. She has a nasty habit of finding dead bodies and getting on her older sisters nerves. Both the murders and the humor are on point and are sure to satisfy your morbid itch.

13 Suspicious Incidents

Mini mysteries are the best and so is Lemony Snicket…and the two combined are just what the pathologist ordered. File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket is a collection of short story mysteries that the reader can solve and then turn to the back of the book to check of your analysis is correct. True to Snicket’s signature dry, morbid humor and satire, 13 Suspicious Incidents will tickle your funny bone and is appropriate for all ages.

Baker Street Irregulars

Sherlock Holmes is the icon of mysteries. John Watson too has the spotlight now and again. But (if you have read the books) do you remember the Baker Street Irregulars, Sherlock’s eyes and ears all over London streets? Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin chronicle Holmes and the Irregulars many cases. These children have a nose for crime and an observant mind and assist Sherlock in his most trying cases. If you like mystery with lots of action, this is the series for you.

Murder Most Unladylike 

Let me take a moment to list these genius titles; Murder Most Unladylike, Arsenic For Tea, Jolly Foul Play. The Wells and Wong series by Robin Stevens is both playful and murderous. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are two best friends who attend boarding school and solve the many crimes they wander across in their spare time. There are many lovable characters, fun mysteries, and many cups of tea…always a great combination.

There are those who love cozy mysteries, horrific mysteries, and suspenseful mysteries. But I bet my deerstalker that all armchair detectives will love these novels.

A Brief History of The Murder Mystery

Murder is the epitome of crime. Crime scenes are bloody, gruesome, and not a place most would willingly step into. Real life killings appall any decent person.

So why are we so obsessed with murder mysteries? What makes murder in literature more attractive than in real life? What captures the mind when reading crime as opposed to seeing it?

I used to think it was the fiction that made a murder mystery appealing. The crime was made up and therefore acceptable. I loved trying to race Sherlock, Nancy, and Hercule to the conclusion and I thought that is why so many love the dark genre.

It wasn’t until I watched the Lucy Worsley documentary A Very British Murder that I really understood where the murder mystery begun and how it morphed it’s way into the bestselling lists.

The-New-Taste-for-Blood owned by Amazon

Back in the late Regency/early Georgian era, murder was rare. Most criminals were petty thieves. Breaking and entering, pick pocketing, and fraud were everyday occurrences. One couldn’t go a month without being on some end of one of these crimes. Back then, these matters were less than entertaining. Why would you read about a pickpocket after you had just been robbed?

Murder was not a primary concern. Most civilians did not dwell on the idea. Not because it was disturbing but because murder had not been publicized to them.

Just like today, media had a great influence on the commonwealth’s minds. Newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets were the main forms of entertainment. You could read about the latest gossip, last week’s hanging, and the out of country fashions. These were the topics on people’s minds. That is what they talked about with their friends.

The press didn’t find need to report murder thus the commonwealth’s minds didn’t occupy it.

This precept changed radically with the killing of a family. The Marrs were a respectable family, all found dead in their home by their maid, Margaret. The young couple, their baby son, and the apprentice who lived with them, were brutally killed, mercilessly and without motive.

This story was unlike anything the public had ever seen. It had mystery, treachery, gruesomeness, and the most important of all…entertainment. 

The murder house was opened to the public. All stations of people were admitted and could even see the bodies laid out. 

Today, this is unimaginable. Strangers cannot traipse through crime scenes. And why would any one want to see dead bodies, heads bashed in, throats cut? People actually paid to visit the crime scene. Why? Out of fear, curiosity, and a want to assist in looking for clues.

Are these not the same reasons we open a mystery book? To experience shivers, to answer questions, and most importantly, to become detectives. The public response to the Marr’s murders was less of fascination with the murder than with that of the story.

The press soon discovered that this murder mystery made their newspapers sell like hot cakes. The blurred lines of fiction and fact reported in articles were full of drama, enigma, and murder.

Many historians believe this to have been a result of mob mentality. Everyone else was rushing to the crime scene, why not do it too? I do not think this as so. If this first fascination with murder mystery had been a mere fad it would not have survived the test of time. But it has. In fact, it has thrived!

You and I know the invigorating feeling a good murder can induce. Fictionalized or not, a story captivates. Add in a genre that you have never read before, and a wretched one at that…it’s a recipe for success.

The Ratcliff Murders were the first seedlings of what was to grow into a murder phenomenon. Detectives, who had never been seen before, were officially sent out to investigate crime. Homicide was now a legitimate fear, as well as a legitimate form of entertainment. Victims and their murderers would become characters in their own stories. Penny Dreadfuls would begin to appear. These short stories were printed in newspapers and magazines, written specially for these new murder lovers.

Nowadays we would cringe at these stories. They are called penny dreadfuls for a reason. Buy a horrific mystery for cheap! For the lower class in the nineteenth century, whom reading was becoming more and more common, these penny dreadfuls were delightful. The genres we call horror, thriller, and mystery were all smashed into a few short pages. Every single paragraph was vivid and over dramatic.

Everyone loved it.

Being apart of a real life crime, cruel and inhumane, must be an exciting experience…unless your the body of course. But not everyone is called (or has the stomach) to be a detective. Yet one ,ay still experience the “detective fever,” as Wilkie Collins puts it in The Moonstone, …in the pages of a book.

A reader can feel the chills of fear, satisfy their appetite for adventure, and solve a murder or two all from their own bed.

What more could a person want?

I am dead excited for Murder Mystery month! Not literally dead…it was just an expression. Monday, October 5, 2020, my blog series “Murder, Mystery, and Meaning” will be posted! The thought that murder mysteries, one of the best genres, can contain value and even positivity makes me giddy with joy! I’m dying to share the series with you! Again, I’m not actually dying…

What is your favorite murder mystery? Whether you prefer a series or a certain detective, you have to have a favorite. My favorite is Sherlock Holmes…no wait Flavia de Luce! No, Lord Peter Whimsey. Wait! Father Brown! I suppose you can have multiple favorites?

The Surprising Truth About Harry Potter Part Two

There are two wolves. A black wolf and a white wolf. Which one wins?

This simple phrase was drilled into me by my mother before I ever read Harry Potter. But the series demonstrates the philosophical analogy better than any novel I have ever read.

Before diving into this, if you have not read the first post in “The Surprising Truth About Harry Potter” series, I suggest you go back real quick and take a look at the first installment.

Good and evil are classic elements to good stories. As they should be. They are real and ever present in life outside of a book, so the concepts are instantly relatable.

Harry Potter is a good guy, side by side with Luke Skywalker and Samwise- oh, I mean, er, Frodo Baggins. Voldemort is a bad guy, in the same lineup as the Emperor and Sauroman.

These characters are always against each other. Books upon books are dedicated to the ultimate fights between good and evil. More often than not, good wins in the end.

But why?

2019 Leaky Con with (from left to right) Heather Mac, Russel W. Dalton, and Scarlett Mc.

I had the pleasure to attend the 2019 Leaky Con in Dallas, Texas. There, I went to a seminar titled “Horcruxes Not Hallows” by Russel W. Dalton, professor of religious education at the Brite Divinity School. I was able to listen to his views on why Harry triumphed over Voldemort in the end.

It was slightly more complicated than “good beats evil” and “love always wins”, although those words are valid. No, there is a real, logical, explanation.

I believe I am safe to say Remus Lupin fans (shout out to my fellow Lupin lovers!) had a real emotional roller coaster ride reading the end of Half Blood Prince and the beginning of Deathly Hallows. Remus is thoroughly depressed in these sections and makes all the wrong choices. I have never EVER been more disappointed in Lupin and more proud of Harry than when after Harry used Expelliarmus against Stan Shunpike;

“Harry, the time for disarming is past! These people are trying to capture and kill you! At least Stun if you aren’t prepared to kill!

“We were hundreds of feet up! Stan’s not himself and if I Stunned him, he’d have died the same as if I use Avada Kedavra! Expelliarmus saved me from Voldemort two years ago,” Harry added defiantly. Lupin was reminding him of the sneering Hufflepuff Zacharias Smith, who jeered at Harry for wanting to teach Dumbledore‘s Army how to disarm.

“Yes, Harry,” said Lupin with painful restraint, “and a great number of Death Eaters witnessed that happening. Forgive me, but it was a very unusual move then under eminent threat of death. Repeating it tonight in front of Death Eaters who either witnessed or heard about the first occasion was close to suicidal!”

“So you think I should’ve killed Stan Shunpike?” Said Harry angrily.

Of course not,” said Lupin, “but the Death Eaters-frankly most people-would’ve expected you to attack back! Expelliarmus is a useful spell, Harry, but the Death Eaters seem to think it is your signature move and I urge you not to let it become so!”

Lupin was making Harry feel idiotic, and yet there was still a grain of defiance inside him.“I won’t blast people out of my way just because they’re there,” said Harry. “That’s Voldemort’s job.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Remus’ views have never been more askew than they are now and Harry’s have never been more on point.
Notice how Remus repeatedly uses the words Death Eaters. Death Eaters,Death Eaters, Death Eaters. That’s all he seems to care about. But Harry doesn’t refer to them once, he specifically says Stan Shunpike.

Harry is constantly seeing people as they are (save for Severus Snape, but he doesn’t put on the best persona now does he?) He sees Remus not as a bloodthirsty werewolf, but as his old Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Thus, he sees Stan not as a threat but as the Knight Bus conductor under the Imperious Curse.

Remus believes that the most important thing is survival. Harry believes that the most important thing is mercy.

In the “Horcruxes Not Hallows” seminar, Dalton brings up the motives of Harry and Voldemort. I admit to being confused. What did he mean what were their motives? Harry needed to get the Horcruxes while Voldemort sought after the Hallows.

But Dalton went on to reveal something I had never thought of before.

Why didn’t Harry go after the Hallows, same as Voldemort? If Harry had beat Voldemort to them, he could have easily defeated Voldemort and the Death Eaters with the Invisibility Cloak, Resurrection Stone, and Elder Wand. Dumbledore had even given him everything he needed to find them (Tales of Beedle the Bard and the golden Snitch) and Harry already had one! With all three, Harry would be unstoppable.
Or, Voldemort could have gone after the Horcruxes himself, keeping them safe from threat. He kept Nagini with him at all times, but that was as a last resort to keep himself alive once he learn that the Golden Trio were destroying the pieces of his soul he had hidden.

By retrieving the Horcruxes, Harry was securing that Voldemort could be defeated, yet in the final battle, Harry gives, not Voldemort, but Tom Riddle a chance of redemption until the very end.

“But before you try to kill me, I advise you to think about what you’ve done… think and try for some remorse, Riddle…”

“What is this?” Of all the things that Harry had said to him, beyond any revelation or taunt, nothing had shocked Voldemort like this. Harry saw his pupils contract to thin slits, saw skin around his eyes whiten.

“It’s your last chance,” said Harry, “it’s all you’ve got left…I’ve seen what you’ll be otherwise…be a man…try…try for some remorse…”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Media nowadays does not think twice before allowing the hero to kill the bad guy. David Yates, the director of the movie adaptation of the Deathly Hallows, talked about how the movies portrayed the last battle.

So, I always wanted to get it out of the Great Hall, away from an audience, so the sequence became much more about a boy facing down this nemesis, this demon that had haunted him right throughout his childhood. This is the figure that had killed his parents. 

David Yates

Really, Yates? Is that really what it is about? Because last time I checked, Harry only sought after revenge once, when he heard falsehoods that Sirius Black had betrayed his mother and father. And when given the chance to kill Sirius…he didn’t.

This is because Harry has never wanted revenge. Slytherins want revenge, not Gryffindors. Gryffindors want justice not revenge.

Justice is not judgement. Judgement results in Voldemort killing Harry’s parents and would have resulted in Harry killing Voldemort if Harry believed in human’s ability to judge others.

Human anger does not produce righteousness. Anyone who listens to the world’s ideas on morals is deceived. Justice comes from a power higher than our own. I believe Harry knows that.

And Harry offered justice to Tom in their last stance. If Voldemort had seen the error of his ways, he would have been sparred. Harry gave him opportunity until the last spell.

Going back to the Harry and Remus’ row, Remus says that Disarming should not be Harry’s go to move. And yet, fans like us know that Expelliarmus is Harry’s signature spell.

By using Expelliarmus, Harry gave Voldemort the chance to use any other spell than Avada Kadavra. If Voldemort had not used the killing curse, he would not have perished. His curse rebounded upon him. He could have saved himself.

But he didn’t.

Harry Potter isn’t purely about good vs evil. It is about the choices each side makes. About how Harry had mercy until the very end.

We live in a world of retaliation. When someone wrongs another, it becomes perfectly acceptable to seek revenge. Everyday there is more evidence of the battle of humans. Not good vs evil, as it should be, but hate vs hate, discontentment vs discontentment. No problem had ever been solved in such a way.
While other characters like Remus and even Molly Weasley fall into this very human way of acting, Harry does not.

While the hearts may be true, it is the actions we take that determine who we are.

There are two wolves. A white wolf and a black wolf. Which one wins?

Whichever one you feed.