Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Harry Potter Tattoos and a Call for Opinions!

When I got my first tattoo, everyone kept insisting that tattoos are addicting and once you get one, you won't be able to stop. I assured each person who gave me this piece of advice that I wasn't going to get more tattoos. I might get one more someday, but it wouldn't become an addiction where I end up with a sleeve. And hey, it looks like I was right! Of course, I currently have two tattoos and am planning my third. I have never gotten a tattoo without a minimum of 1 year of thought into it, so the third won't be emblazoned on my body anytime soon.

When I was back in high school, I never expected to get any tattoos at all. Anytime I ever thought of typical tattoo ideas, I instantly realized that if I got any of them, I would regret it someday. I like to make a point of living my life without regrets, so it was pretty easy to discount the idea of ever getting any tattoos. All of a sudden, I wasn't just a huge Harry Potter nerd, but had become integrated into something more than just a fandom. I had joined a real community. And not even with other regular fans, but I became more interested in and involved in the world of Wizard Rock. That's when I realized I wanted a way to show the world just how much this all meant to me. The thought of getting a tattoo was renewed in my mind and, for the first time, it actually sounded like an awesome idea. About 2-3 years later, I had my first tattoo.

Hogwarts Crest

This tattoo is a full-color version of the Hogwarts Crest. I spent a good year and a half searching through all of the versions of the crest I could find. One in particular (which I've seen tattoos of on other people) make the Ravenclaw eagle look like a choked chicken. And I've never understood why anyone would want that tattoo'd on their bodies. But to each their own! I ended up landing on a crest where the animals are simple, but still look good, and the shape of it actually matches the shape of my own back. So that's pretty rad, if you ask me.

I have been questioned pretty regularly about my reasons for getting the Hogwarts Crest. Sometimes it's in the context of, "Why would you get something from a kid's book? I mean, seriously... you know you're going to regret that some day." Other times I get, "But you're such a Hufflepuff, Dinah! Why get the Hogwarts Crest instead of the Hufflepuff Crest?" I respond similarly to each of these inquiries. I explain that one of the most important lessons I learned from the Harry Potter Series is the idea I like to refer to as Interhouse Solidarity. Every human being (Wizard or Muggle) is an individual and unique. Some people fit into different categories (in this case, the four Houses of Hogwarts), but as the Sorting Hat said, we need to put aside our differences and work together if we are to succeed in life and as a species. When it comes down to it, I am wholeheartedly a Hufflepuff, but I feel like it is more important to accept my differences and those of everyone around me. If we can get past all of that and work together on anything, big or small, the world will be a better place.

Deathly Hallows

My second tattoo is my Deathly Hallows symbol with the words "All is well" across the side. In the bottom right corner of the triangle, it is colored yellow against the black of the rest of the design. Quite frequently, people just straight up think this tattoo is neato. A lot of the time, people don't recognize the symbol and just see that it says "All is well", which they can relate to. I also have grown accustomed to strangers stopping me to compliment me in a simple "I like your Harry Potter tattoo" fashion, and then they immediately walk on.

I'm especially proud of this tattoo because I managed to encompass a few different ideas into a single, simple tattoo. Let's start with the obvious part, the Deathly Hallows symbol. Yes, it does show my love for HP, etc. However, it's the meaning of the Deathly Hallows that really tugs at my heartstrings. He who possesses all three Hallows is said to be the Master of Death. But what are each of the Hallows and what do they represent? There's the Elder Wand, which grants unmatched power. There is the Resurrection Stone, which grants the bearer the ability to call forth those who are dead. And finally the Invisibility Cloak, which is pretty self-explanatory. The quest for the Deathly Hallows is an alchemical quest. The famed results of pursuing Alchemy are the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life as referenced in the first book in the series. However, the Deathly Hallows and the goal of mastering Death himself is exactly in this vein. The first and only person ever known to possess all the Hallows at once is Harry himself who has transformed just as the Philosopher's Stone turns lead into gold. He understood the power of life, death, and sacrificing oneself for others. He understood that to be a Master of Death, he had to embrace Death with no fear in his heart and only love. This is the understanding I wish to maintain always.

The corner of the triangle (representing the Invisibility Cloak) I made yellow because I had to get some little piece of extra Hufflepuff in my life. While I didn't want to exclude the other Houses by getting just a Hufflepuff Crest, getting this small badge of additional pride by integrating it seamlessly into my Deathly Hallows symbol seemed the perfect solution. And I put it on the Invisibility Cloak, because if I were to possess one of the Hallows, that would be the one I desired.

Finally, the words "All is well". This is a present tense version of the last three words in the entire series, at the end of the Epilogue. The exact words in the book are, "All was well." And I love it. However, I wanted to increase the feeling of urgency and pull this line into the present. I sometimes get extremely frazzled and stressed out. Whenever this happens, I force myself to take a deep breath, look at my tattoo, and tell myself that all is well and everything will work out. Sometimes things suck, but those sucky times pass as long as you maintain the right attitude.

My Next Tattoo

The reason I'm giving this detailed run-down of each of my tattoos is because I am in the midst of consideration regarding my third tattoo. I've wanted to get a tattoo that helps represent Wizard Rock in some way for quite a while now. I could never quite figure out what it would be. Maybe the Wizrocklopedia W, but that felt too narrow, I had never found any lyrics that felt right for a tattoo, and I'm no musician and would feel weird with any kind of stylized musical symbol (stylized in an HP sort of way). There was a time when I would go through any number of ideas, marking each of them off as something that just wouldn't work for me. Eventually, I gave up and simply stopped thinking about it.

And suddenly it hit me. There are some lyrics from a Wrock song that not only speak to me on a personal level, but they would bring that love of Wizard Rock and what it means to me into physical reality. The song is 'Up To You' by Riddle TM. The problem is, I have two pieces of this song that I like and cannot decide between. Please note that I have not made any final decisions on how the lines will be broken, etc. on either of these options.

Option 1: Who You'll Be
"There's no more prophecy / So think of who you'll be / 'Cause now it's all up to you"

This one is a little more clearly HP-related with mention of the Prophecy. But it's a great quote/line about how we have the power to direct our own lives and determine our own destinies.

Option 2: Don't Be Scared
"Just carry on / And don't be scared / 'Cause it's up to you"

This is more general and has a similar take regarding taking control of our own lives, but it has a twist. One of the main things preventing us (ME!) from realizing our hopes and dreams is the fear that we will fail. We need to forget that fear and carry on with our lives, doing what we can to improve ourselves and our lives.

So now I have a favor to ask. Let me know which quote you think suits me more! Which one do you like better? Feel free to add comments explaining your thought process. I'm just excited to get some input before I proceed further with my design process!


  1. Hey Diane. I was glad to read your explainations of your tattoos. I would've thought you to be Ravenclaw, but Hufflepuff is better suited for you. Your reasoning for choosing which Deathly Hallow you would choose reminds me of Hermione's choice for the Invisibility Cloak. As for which option to go with I'm not sure. Where are you going to put the tattoo? Have you thought about some how combining the two like you did with the Deathly Hallow's symbol? But if you're only for asking for one, then...I like both.

  2. I think they both sound cool, but since I havn't heard the band I wouldn't want to make and suggestions.. I think it does also depend where you want to get it done.

    I have a couple tattoo's I regret (and getting removed) and a couple I love... and location has a lot to do with that!