Thursday, December 30, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss

Hello world. I have been MIA for far too long. I apologize my lovelies. I apologize Internet.

But that is not important. There is NOTHING more important right now than Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins which I finished, literally fifteen minutes ago. I was so excited about how amazing it was that I simply had to tell someone. So why not everyone?

I am a huge fan of YA literature. Some people say it's not as refined, that it's for an immature audience but I think that is completely false. YA allows characters to deeply explore the concepts of self-identity and love more than any other genre I know, which is why I love it so much.

Anna and the French Kiss tells the story of Anna Oliphant and the senior year in Paris forced upon her by her miserably fake author father. However, things get interesting as soon as Etienne St. Clair gets involved - the wonderful amazing British American fluent in French heartthrob who despite all his wonder happens to have a very serious girlfriend. One cannot help but be instantly taken in by Etienne. He's witty and clever. That is one of the most remarkable bits of this book. Anna and Etienne, all the characters really, are portrayed so honestly and realistically. It makes them very, very likable. Plus, Anna's head is an absolutely wonderful place to inhabit. She is funny and self-deprecating in a way any girl can relate to. Her anguish and the entire "does he like me" question is agonizing and developed just right. People don't just magically fall in love, even if chemistry is there. It occurs over time and exposure. It just happens. It can't be helped. Even if the guy ends up being your best friend.

Go read this book. It is funny and romantic and uplifting. I simply adore everything about it.

I shall try to update this lovely contraption more frequently. Go read Anna and the Last Kiss in the meantime.

See you around,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In the case of a Doctor Who Emergency

I have recently started watching Doctor Who. It is brilliant. (I feel like that is an understatement.) It just makes me so phenomenally happy.

I'm drawing to the end of season 2 and I am FRIGHTENED. I know something terrible is going to happen. It's making me a bit apprehensive especially since I'm home for break and nobody here understands what I am going on about. I think I will likely call Liz in the event of a Doctor Who emergency. But since I couldn't talk to anybody currently except my poor brother (I think he's going to hit me if he hears me go "But Nicky, I don't want it to happen..." one more time) I decided it would be best to confide in the internet.

Lucky you.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Personal Time

There is a difference between reading for pleasure and reading because your performance dictates you to. I find that the more I concentrate on the tasks that are required for class the less time I have for the activities I truly enjoy.

Several days ago I finally finished this book called Helen of Troy. As the title suggests it was about Helen of Troy... Right? Yeah. It was her point of view about the going-ons of the Trojan War. It wasn't the best book I've ever read but I was determined to finish it mostly because I knew I didn't have time to. In the past three weeks I've read three novels and countless short stories plus finishing that one book. The couple books I had to read for class were good, but I was so much more concerned about that one personal book. It's done now. I guess I can start a new one.

Glutton for punishment? Perhaps.

Yesterday I went to see They Might Be Giants at Lupos in Providence. I drove. I hate highways that have more than three lines. Anything more than that gives me a panic attack. I'm rather partial to 24. The show was overflowing with awesome. I really don't think there is any better way to describe it. I felt giddy. There was a lot of jumping and screaming; maybe squealing is a better adjective... Also Joe and Paul from Harry and the Potters were in attendance. I got really, really fan-girly and kind of freaked out. Zoe and Jen convinced me to go over to say, "Hi!" They were really nice. I'm sure they thought I was completely mental but I'm still glad I went over and said hello. I started talking about ducks in the common... Yup. That happened.

Sometimes, you just need to do something for yourself. For me, it's not writing this reading response for my American Women Writers class, it's watching Felicity at an obscene hour. It's watching 2 hours of youtube videos. It's writing, not because someone's grading you, but just because you want to.

I'm just sitting here, listening to Wizard Wrock. And it's good. It's all good. Maybe later I'll vlog. Or something. Maybe I'll regret it when I'm reading all damn day tomorrow. But personal time is prime time. Dime time. Straight up.

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If only to make myself amiable

Jane Austen knows the way into my heart. Her words present a world so unlike my own; a world of candor and status and courtship. The stories Jane Austen tells are blatantly romantic but it's romance that no one in today's society has the privilege of experiencing. In Jane's time there was so much at stake when it came to love and marriage. One's fortune and happiness could be determined by a fortuitous match. And the likelihood of such a match was determined either on status economically or on the wit, beauty and accomplishments of the young woman in question.

But to me, there is something overwhelmingly romantic about the act of courting in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century. A man was an actual, legitimate gentleman. He had class and was learned and had decorum. A gentleman would gently woo a lady and ask the permission of her father before requesting her hand. It was just so lovely.

In today's society I cannot think of many men as estimable as Mr. Darcy. Oh yes. Pride and Prejudice remains to be one of my favorite love stories but I'm not here to comment on that presently. Though no male lead has ever captured my heart so completely as Fitzwilliam Darcy. No, today I want to talk about Mansfield Park.

I have been slowly reading through the works of Miss Austen and Mansfield Park was my latest completion. All the pieces of Austen's world - the class system, the gentry, the decorum - were all quite present and Fanny Price is an incredibly amiable character. She's such a sweet girl, if not a little too overrun by the desire to appeal solely to what is expected of her. Throughout the story her fear of speaking out of turn keeps her from reflecting on the true character of many to those who could gain and avoid pain through her insight as well as from fulfilling the desire of her own heart. It's characters like Fanny Price that makes me somewhat heartened that I live in the twenty-first century as opposed to Austen's time. Not all women were as lively and headstrong as Elizabeth Bennet. A great too many were meek and well mannered just like Miss Fanny Price.

Regardless of my issues with Price's withdrawal from outspokenness, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It held all my favorite parts of a world long since past with the proper degrees of scandal. A married woman running off with another man is just as scandalous today. Though an elopement is not nearly as bad as it would have been in 1815. Despite her desire to conform with the wishes of those around her, Fanny holds onto her upright morals and avoids the one man whose character she knows is completely foul in order to hold out for the one she truly loves. In this I know her to be admirable.

Until next time,


Friday, August 6, 2010

Resist the Feed

"When the logo’s finished, then we will unveil it. Seven billion people instantly enlightened. Everyone’s rebranded. All the fighting’s over. Say goodbye to conflict. That design’s rejected. There’s no longer language. Only recognition. There’s no longer country. Only corporate colors. Color makes us hungry. Hunger makes us human. Everyone can see it. Everything’s connected." - Neil Cicierega

Imagine a world in which Corporate colors only flew. Where they controlled everything, including education, the food you ate, even the air you breathe. In this world, the earth is dying; overcome by pollution and consumerism. People are in danger and getting sick from the putrid quality of the earth. Their skin is peeling and oozing lesions are growing on their skin. There are riots all over the world and it's our fault. The end draws near and we never did anything to stop it. Technology wins.

This is the setting for M. T. Anderson's novel Feed, in which the planet Earth is in its prime technologically with feeds implanted in nearly every human's skull. The feed allows people to basically have wikipedia inside their mind, as well as a wide array of advertisements. It's kind of like google in your head, ads and all. With that kind of information at their fingertips, humanity shirks their responsibilties to education and the planet and basically allow horrible atrocities to occur through ignorance.

This scares the hell out of me. People, especially in today's society, rely heavily on media influence. We're all on Facebook and MySpace and YouTube. I go on Google multiple times each day. We're flooded by images on the news. We spend hours poring over television shows and movies. But how many of us pick up a book? How many write diligently and thoughtfully? How many have intriguing and pleasant conversations with the people they care about? Not enough. We're all so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we forget there are other people out there and bigger problems than forgetting to update our facebook status.

Now, I'm not knocking technology. I am a big advocate of it. Facebook and YouTube are excellent resources for getting out information and communicating. The YouTube community is one of the tightest knit groups I have ever seen. Certain people really advocate doing good and helping reduce suck in the world, like the Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green. I love the Vlogbrothers. What they and people like them are doing is important. It's a mix of community, comedy, and awareness. I admire their efforts ardently. The entire Nerdfighter community, which I consider myself a member (HOO HAH!) is vital.

However, it worries me that not all people are as clever or brilliant or necessarily as ethical as John and Hank. I worry that people will rely too heavily on technology and through this will be cheated out of important information. Certain things are not meant to be forgotten. This planet of ours is beautiful and awe inspiring but we have to take care of it. I don't want the downfall of Earth and human society to be because of our negligence.

It's never too late to look toward helping the future.

Wow, this entry was really preachy. I sort of apologize, but I sort of don't. Feed, while overwhelmingly interesting and compelling, sort of really freaked me out. And it makes me think. A lot. I want to do something to avert a future like that. I want to resist the feed.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Don't try to deny it. You love it. You thrive on it. It's the best around.

It's the reason you read fantasy novels, obsess over Tolkien and Harry Potter, and honestly, sometimes feel uncomfortable with reality.

Because fiction isn't real and it is unattainable and that makes it better. You always want what you can't have.

But enough of the second person, when I say you, you know I mean I.

I love magic. Now I'm not talking guy pulling a rabbit out of his hat magic. I'm talking YOU SHALL NOT PASS badass Gandalf, Harry Potter versus Voldemort death match magic. The magic that composes the world of my favorite literary escapes. More than once I have secretly sighed and wished, man, if only I had gotten my Hogwarts letter.

And if you're scoffing and saying, as if, you honestly don't know what you're missing.

There's something liberating about the magical realm. It's so simple and seductive. There's some sort of problem which our hero or heroine must solve through magical means and sleuth-like ingenuity. Brilliant.

But what if you could get it? What if Hogwarts was real. And on top of that so was Narnia, and Middle Earth and they were ATTAINABLE. You could go there. Anyone could, if they only knew the way, could get the right tools, or get in with the right people.

Such a dilemma is presented in the novel The Magicians by Lev Grossman. As an avid lover of fantasy, I was wary of this novel. I'll openly admit that I thrive off of young adult literature. It's enjoyable. But this was adult fantasy. It was quite good. First of all, Mr. Grossman writes in a relatable and pleasant prose that is both edgy and hilarious. Secondly, Grossman approaches concepts and ideas that children's literature wouldn't dare. After all, our stories are usually happy endings. The good guys win and our hero lives. There are some casualties along the way but all in all there is a clearly defined victory. In Quentin Coldwater's world this is not necessarily true. What if true power only consumed you? What if your heart's desire actually destroyed you? What if, after all, magic wasn't all it was cracked up to be?

Intriguing, yes?

I recommend this book highly. It's funny, heart-warming, dark and seductive all at the same time. Quite compelling stuff.

Until next time,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

If you want to be a really awful human being...

You should be like Heathcliff.

I have been warned about Wuthering Heights. "Don't read it!" they have said. "You'll hate it." (ambiguous and undefined they! O.o) But I love the Bronte sisters. Their history is tragic and intriguing. Plus I loved Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte was pretty brilliant so I figured I'd give Emily the benefit of the doubt.

OK. The book itself is good. It's well written and the plot is fairly interesting if you're into nineteenth century relationships and the inner workings of courting and property management, which I am. Hey, everyone needs a hobby. But throughout I was absolutely overcome by how appalling the antagonist is. I'm assuming he's the antagonist because he freaking antagonized me.

Heathcliff is awful. Genuinely awful. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities as a literary villain. Usually there is some sort of flaw or tragedy that causes the reader to bemoan the bad guy's state; to at least understand why he is so twisted. This is not true with Heathcliff. He's just purposely vindictive and cruel through the fault of no one else.

It can be argued that he was made this way by Hindley and by society but he had plenty of opportunities to better himself which he shunned. Heathcliff is a selfish and malicious character. Even his love for Catherine is not redeemable. All it does is cause more pain for those around him, including Catherine herself driving her to the brink of health and sanity.

Heathcliff is cruel to those he loves including his own son and the daughter of his precious Catherine. But why? Why does he act that way? All I can imagine is he is so caught up in his own selfish ways that he doesn't care who he hurts. It's just so evil that I literally can't comprehend it. God, I really dislike him.

In conclusion, Wuthering Heights - a thrilling adventure in nineteenth century self-centered ways and cruelty.

Until next time,


Sunday, July 25, 2010


This is not a book. I recognize that. But I was so impressed I felt the need to say something about it.

I'm always impressed when a new idea emerges in a film. In these days there are so many books made into film and remakes of old movies. Inception is stunningly original. It is also chilling. The idea presented by the movie is haunting and interestingly thought provoking.


The whole concept is that a trained individual can infiltrate another's subconscious and manipulate their dreams. The characters of the movie create a dream within a dream within a dream to get to such a deep level of subconsciousness that a foreign thought can be planted and believed by the dreamer. That is inception.

The concept is scary, but brilliant. The film executed the idea in an innovative, visually appealing manner. (Here's to good visual effects!) The idea that your reality is nothing but a dream is rather alarming. What is the world as you know it is nothing but something you created? To live in your own head with only projections of the people you know? That's horrible.

Or is it? Could you live a full life in your own mind?

This taps into varying levels of psychology. People push ideas into their subconscious. Not all the thoughts in our subconscious are bad, but the things are not thoughts we are consciously thinking about. It just inhabits the back of the mind.

It makes me question a lot of the things I dream. But perhaps, that's for another day.

Until next time,


Sunday, July 18, 2010

I want to talk about...


OKAY. Before you start yelling and screaming, hear me out.

It has been a tough couple of years for the vampire literature community. The upsurge of a certain young adult romanticized vampire novel made a legitimate genre slightly unrespectable. Or at the very least, less respectable.

First and foremost, real vamp literature is, for lack of a better word, edgy. Vampires are not cute and sparkly. They are not too humanized. Vampires are mythological creatures and should be respected as so. There is a certain irresistible danger to them; a charm both cunning and desirable. The majesty in vampires is that they are the world's greatest predators. They draw in their prey with eyes and voice, with beauty and grace. Yet they are powerfully violent and virtually indestructible. Their portrayal throughout history has been a combination of hypnotic fascination and fear. Most often, vampires are seen as sexual creatures. It's how they capture their victims. They are sensual, often desensitized to the taboos of the time.

The more accurate depiction of vampire fiction can be seen in many different platforms. In television, the show True Blood shows vampires in an interesting light. They can be caring and human-esque, yet their darker sides always linger, just out of sight. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the original bad ass representation of vamps and humanity's interaction with them. (FYI, I am a HUGE Buffy fan).

But in literature, vamp books run the gambit. But I want to discuss one series in particular - The Anita Blake, vampire hunter novels. I feel like the world Laurell K. Hamilton created captures the essence of what the mythological vamp should be. It reveals a reality much like ours, except the things that go bump in the night exist and are recognized. Vampires are citizens in the United States, and animators bring back the dead to settle insurance claims and finalize wills. The vamps in this world are seductive but also intriguing. They display levels of humanity but the author never lets you forget what they are, be it through the mentioning of their stillness or the power radiating off them. Plus, the books are filled with highly gratifying action sequences littered with plenty of carnage. It shows vampires as bad guys. As Anita says, even if you're undead you can still be a serial killer - just more deadly. But it also depicts vampires in a softer light, as someone cared about, a lover.

Finally, Anita Blake is just an incredibly satisfying heroine. Unlike other vampire novels, Blake isn't a wishy-washy girl, hung up on a vamp, in desperate need of saving. Blake is pretty bad ass. She's a federal marshal who's quick with a gun and even faster with her tongue. Sharp witted, funny, and independent, she makes a great champion. Perhaps that makes all the difference in vampire literature. The vamps are only as good as the humans that surround them.

I like vampire books, despite the hype. I'll read anything Laurell K. Hamilton writes. I liked Anne Rice. I might pick up a couple other books on the way. I've read Dracula knock offs and stories with vamps in varying degrees of horror. Regardless, I'm always drawn back in. It's a subtle fascination I can't avoid and honestly, I really don't want to.

Until next time,


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Crying of Wizards

So. I wasn't quite sure what to do with this blog when I finished my HP quest. I'm not awesome at actually completing tasks so I was shocked I successfully reported all my Harry Potter related feelings. But I did! So I supposed I will continue this in the same fashion I began.

I just finished this book called The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. This is not the type of novel I often read. It was recommended to me by a friend so I sort of ran with it. First of all it's satire. Through that alone I knew I was in for some sort of ride. Satire is often hard to read because you have to get all the subtle hints to understand the work in its entirety and find it amusing. But regardless I actually really liked this book. It goes through culture and chaos touching on the destructive properties of drugs and conspiracy.

The characters are bizarre, bordering on the absurd. There's a scene in the very beginning when Oedipa, the main character, puts every piece of clothing she has in her suitcase on when playing a stripping game only to end up having it all tugged off and engages in the act she was avoiding anyway. Oedipa has an obsession with a possible secret society involving couriers. There are grown men with pedophilic interest in young women. There's a demon involved in explaining how molecules work. It's all pretty intense stuff discovered through either a haze of alcohol induced stupor or glaring clarity of prose. Throughout, it's engaging and interesting.

The book is so appealing to me because it subtly mimics life. There are decisions we make that we wish we could take back in moments of weakness or through poor judgment. We discover things about ourselves and others we wish we never knew. People give their hearts too freely and drink too fast. Some don't listen to the facts, while others listen too closely. Either way, in some form or another there are events occurring we don't always understand. We all have obsessions. There are some secrets. And we've all made mistakes.

The hardest part is understanding that sometimes, there just isn't any going back. Once you reach the brink of insanity you've got to either totter there forever or take the plunge. Frankly, life is insanity most of the time, so you might as well just go with it.

Until next time,


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Well I've done it. It was more of a month as opposed to a week but I am glad for it. I think I did it properly. WARNING. An extreme amount of SPOILERS follow.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is the final book. The culmination. The point where we get all the answers, live through all the tragedies, go on the final adventure and relish in triumph. I don't think I have ever cared about the outcome of a piece of literature as much as I cared about this one. When I say that I love something, I can honestly say I love Harry Potter, not just as a work of fiction but as a piece of my life. I grew up with Harry Potter. I had to wait patiently as J. K. Rowling developed the next installment, sometimes over years. I have never anticipated any book as anxiously as I did this one. And honestly, my excitement with this book has not faded in the least.

There are many things I can talk about in regard to the Hallows. I mean, everything goes down in that last book. Everything. I'll try to be brief.

1. Death. J. K. did not hold back. She let us have it. She started with Hedwig and kept right on going to poor, poor Fred. Let's discuss that for a moment. I feel like Fred's death was the most unfair of all of them. Remus, Tonks, Mad-Eye I sort of saw coming. They almost seemed right. Remus was doomed because he was on of the Marauders. The other two were aurors. Occupational hazard. But Fred? He had just made up with Percy. It was cruel. Very cruel Jo. But, I suppose it had to happen. Representative of sacrifice or some noble metaphor. It doesn't mean I have to like it.

Hedwig was the most shocking because it was the first one. I didn't really expect her to start killing everyone off so rapidly. Dobby was pretty awful. But, I think he died valiantly. A free elf.

2. Magic is Might. The whole regime of Voldemort and his remodeling of the Ministry provides a lot of food for thought. He persecutes Muggle borns and those who ally themselves with Harry and the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort is blind in the way every power hungry dictator is. He can't see that people who are different can be powerful. Voldemort never saw Muggle borns as equals though many could rival him. Hermione is a Muggle born and yet she can do extraordinary magic. It is the same sort of blind persecution that has cropped up throughout history. People fear those who are different. Voldemort doesn't understand that love and friendship are useful and necessary. He is narrow minded, closed.

3. Ron and Hermione. This is one of my favorite parts in the book. It is a long journey to this point. Ron does a lot of growing up and Hermione learns a lot of tolerance. Ron feared Hermione didn't care, that she loved Harry. That bit with the horcrux locket is incredibly eerie. Ron's worst fear was that she didn't want him. But of course, they are made for each other. Their kiss should go down as one of the best kisses in literary history. Romance under the cover of fire, surrounded by basilisk fangs. Bloody brilliant. Let's hear it for house elves!

4. Dumbledore. His past, murky. He, brilliant. I loved learning more about the man whom I so admired as a character. Dumbledore was everything you wanted in a wizard and a teacher - wise, incredibly gifted, compassionate and seemingly omnipresent. I mean, he freaking knew EVERYTHING. But he made mistakes, rash decisions, befriended a seriously dark wizard. These flaws just worked to make him more human and more admirable. He made bad choices just like any other person. Even Dumbledore is not infallible. I just love him even more at the end. He cares so much about Harry. He had such faith in him. He left a lot to chance, but he knew in the end Harry would do the right thing and make the decisions he himself never could.

5. Harry's Death. I sobbed. I sobbed the first time and I did again now. Which is ridiculous since I knew he wasn't really dying. It was more the mood, the dramatic quality of the prose. He believed he was walking to his death. He was so noble and brave. I couldn't help being upset. The thought of losing Harry for a moment is just too much for me. I am clearly way to attached but I like it that way. Rowling is a fantastic writer. She just made me believe it. All of it.

6. The Deathly Hallows. The whole bit with the Elder Wand was awesome. Of COURSE Harry would be the true wielder. C'mon he is Harry Potter. But it does work out brilliantly. Draco disarmed Dumbledore. Harry overtook Draco. Voila Elder Wand! Voldemort's shock is lovely. Even in the end, Voldemort underestimates Harry and the love he has for the people he cares about. He dies for them for God's sake. Their duel, while short, is amazing. I particularly liked the bits where Harry talked and explained things. Voldemort can be really thick for an evil dark wizard. Really, really thick.

7. Severus Snape. Brilliant. This is possibly the most magnificent part of these seven books and I never even saw it coming. He loved her. He loved Lily Evans. But of course he did. Why else would he do all the things he did, sacrifice and risk so much? Love, yet again triumphs in ways Voldemort could not see. Snape's life is so incredibly sad. The only woman he ever loved and she rebuked him. And essentially, he delivered the information that resulted in her death. Plus he had to watch her son run about Hogwarts bearing the striking resemblance to his worst enemy, the individual that stole the woman he cared about most. That's pretty rough. No wonder he was so cranky all the time. He earned it. I daresay I feel a lot of sympathy for Snape at this point. I mean, he could have cut Harry some slack but he did do his best to keep the boy who lived alive so, I guess in the circumstances that's all we can really ask for. The saddest part, I think, is the scene when he dies, where he asks Harry to look at him so he can see Lily's eyes one last time.

And so it ends. Harry having "had enough trouble for a lifetime." So true. Trouble always seemed to find him but that was just his m.o. I'd also like to mention I seriously enjoyed the part where Molly Weasley screamed "NOT MY DAUGHTER YOUR BITCH" at that evil son of a b Bellatrix Lestrange. Also, I had no problems with the Epilogue and don't begrudge any name choices. I thought it was really sweet.

I'm glad I did this. By seriously immersing myself in HP I've had a lot to think about. Harry Potter was never just a book series for me. I remember thinking when I was twelve and thirteen would I still like Harry Potter when I was nineteen or twenty? Well, twenty is fast approaching and I don't see my love of Harry Potter diminishing any time soon. I don't think it ever will. Harry Potter is a way of life, no matter how cliched that sounds. There's a whole world surrounding it and I am fiercely dedicated to keeping that world alive. The books may be over and the movies may be coming to a close but Harry Potter will never die. The magic will never end.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Half-Blood Prince

I should probably wait to write this until tomorrow when I'm a little less wound up and a little less weepy, but to hell with it. Such are the effects of the sixth Harry Potter installment. While The Half-Blood Prince is a brilliant novel through and through, the ending is a bit of a downer. I feel like there is a dementor lurking over me. It's most disconcerting.

What I find most fascinating (and MAJOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW) is that despite the fact that I have read this book multiple times, watched the movie, read the last book and have all the answers to why these events occurred, it doesn't ease the reading. If anything, it makes it more intense and even, dare I say it, slightly more painful.

When reading Book Six I feel several emotions - giddiness, anger, and a deep and terrible sadness. Perhaps inquisitiveness should be thrown in there as well.

Let's just dive right in there shall we?

1. Dumbledore. There's no way to deny it so I just want to get it over with. I was deeply affected by Dumbledore's death. The first time I read it in '05 I sobbed uncontrollably for a good half an hour. And despite the time elapsed it still gets to me. My tears well up a little when I see him hit my Avada Kedavra. I legitimately cried during the funeral. It's partially the sadness of losing such an influential and interesting character, but mostly it's the genius that is J. K. Rowling. Her writing is what does it. Harry's anguish is tangible. And I can't help but relate. I've grown up these past years with Dumbledore too. After six-plus years of his guidance, it didn't surprise me that I was devastated by his death. It was worst of all because it was just when he was truly opening up to Harry. Sharing crucial information and letting us a little deeper inside that brilliant mind. Shame it had to end that way, but as we can see later, there was no other way.

2. Snape. On my first reading in '05 I was FURIOUS with Snape. I could not be convinced otherwise. Snape was a dirty, rotten coward that betrayed everyone including Dumbledore, Harry and his parents. I loathed him. How could he DO such a thing? People muttered things like Dumbledore wouldn't have begged for mercy and he must have had his reasons. After reading the last book, reading the sixth is torturous when it comes to Severus Snape. I am happy to admit I was very wrong about him, but knowing the truth makes the events that occur more difficult to endure. Harry calls him a coward, but Snape was anything but. Everyone denounces him and deems up a betrayer, and yet he was the most loyal of all. More on that later. I have so much to say about Snape but it's gonna have to wait for Book Seven.

In other Snape related news, the Half-Blood Prince. The interaction of the book with Harry and the reveal at the end is brilliant. It sets up such a nice juxtaposition. The book upon which he relied so heavily was penned by the man he comes to hate above all others. It's beautiful.

3. Horcruxes. The splitting of one's soul through murder and encasing the bit in an object. Brilliant stuff. I love how the term horcrux has become iconic. Well, at least to the people who matter. Hahaha... Kind of. Anyway, the whole idea is incredibly disturbing but fits so well. So very well. Voldemort is just so inhuman. Of course he has no soul. I appreciate that Riddle's Diary comes back into play here. It just shows how perfectly constructed Rowling's world is.

4. On a happier note, Couples.

Ron and Hermione. In all the other books there were hints, particularly with the Yule Ball fiasco. But in this one, there is overwhelming evidence. Ron's reaction to Hermione's invitation to Slughorn's party and Harry's musings about the two of them confirm it. Not that it wasn't abundantly clear. I mean, c'mon. They are meant to be together. Then the business with Lavender Brown. I don't blame Hermione for being furious. I would have sent conjured birds after him too. He deserved it. He clearly cared about Hermione and was just going against his better nature. Ron being poisoned was the best thing that ever happened for them. I felt about Ron's near fatal accident the same way I felt in the fourth book about the first task. I wanted to get it over with so things could go back to normal. Besides, Lavender Brown is appalling. Isn't that right Won-Won? Yeesh.

Harry and Ginny. YES! YES! YESYESYES! This is what we needed folks. Harry's jealousy of Dean Thomas was beautiful. Just wonderful in every way. I loved the monster inside threatening to rip Thomas limb from limb. But mostly, I loved Harry's desperate desire to deny it. Ginny or Ron? Harry's arguments with himself (He's my best mate. She's Ron's SISTER!) were highly amusing and enjoyable. One of my favorite portions of the book. So light hearted. It shows that despite being The Chosen One, Harry's still just a sixteen-year-old boy. Even The Chosen One can fall in love. I knew Ron would approve. I mean, Harry's way better than any of the guys Ginny dated and man, she got around...
Though I knew it had to happen, Harry's nobility at the end is heart breaking. The whole "I don't want to lose you, so I can't see you" bit. (Additionally check out the Harry and the Potters song Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas. It's bloody brilliant and hilarious to boot) Oh Harry. Sigh.

5. Felix Felicis. Hilarious. Wonderful. Wish I had some. Man, what I would do with a bottle of felix. Additionally, felix is the Latin root for luck and felicis is related to the world for happiness. Oh, clever Jo. She knows her Latin. See! It's USEFUL. I will never regret taking four years of Latin. Though, nearly two years out of practice and I'm getting a little rusty. I would just like to add that the Felix bit in the film version makes me irreversibly happy.

Finally, slightly unrelated but Luna Lovegood is great and I'm glad Harry takes her to Slughorn's party.

Until next time.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wizard Wrock and the Order of the Phoenix

It was probably wishful thinking to assume I'd finish all seven HP books in a week. I mean, it's certainly possible. I could definitely do it. It would just consist of zero human contact. Unfortunately, life makes that difficult - i.e. socializing, working, going to other states.

My friends are important to me. While often I choose books and work over them, I try to not as much as I can. As I move into week three of my HP extravaganza I have stayed up until five in the morning causing small city shenanigans, gone to a wiz wrock show in Swansea, gone to Washington D.C. and watched the U.S. make it into the next round of the World Cup. While reading is important and HARRY POTTER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, having contact with other people is important too.

Additionally, I feel like the wiz wrock shows make up for it. I'm going to CT tomorrow to see the ROFLCOPTOUR. ALL CAPS is going to be there and I am ridiculously excited. Like, it is seriously ridiculous. I need to calm down. Hahaha... But really.

Anyway, Harry Potter!

The Order of the Phoenix has a LOT going on. It's the longest book (I believe. I could go check but my bookshelf is so far away...) I'll try to contain myself.

1. Harry's angst. Harry talks in CAPS for a FULL PAGE. HE JUST YELLS AT RON AND HERMIONE FOR A FULL PAGE. Needless to say, Mr. Potter is aggravated. I mean, I'd be too if the entire wizarding world turned against me and thought I was a mad attention whore. That's rough. But Harry's unrelenting ANGST is complete throughout the novel. Book 5 is age 15 for Harry. It's like J. K. put all the overwhelming teenage years in one novel. He's not nearly as moody in the rest of them.

2. I HATE DOLORES UMBRIDGE. Oh sweet mother of God. I hate her. No, really. I LOATHE HER SO MUCH. I always find the fifth book the hardest to get through. Even more so than Chambers. It's just because my utter contempt for Umbridge is so intense I have to repeatedly lower the book to keep from screaming. My loathing is vehement and thorough. SHE IS THE MOST AWFUL EXCUSE FOR A WITCH. Umbridge is one of my least favorite literary characters of all time. She's just so evil. I hate her more than Voldemort. At least Voldie is upfront about his darkness. Umbridge tries to cover it up. She tries to be so sweet, so sickeningly so. She reminds me of this teacher I had in high school, who would threaten but do so with a smile. It's creepy and weird and just wrong. Dolores Umbridge deserved to be trampled by centaurs.

3. The D. A. The one good thing about Umbridge is her awfulness leads to the formation of Dumbledore's army, which is my favorite thing about Book 5. I love how Harry rises to the occasion and takes the role of leader. It's the first glimpse of what is yet to come. Additionally, I just like spending more time with Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. Their characters are so great. I love when they get a chance for their stories to be told. Poor Neville. His life sucks so much. I don't know what I would have done if that happened to me. I mean, he is so strong. He is suffers silently. Everyone knows about Harry's plight. But Neville? He never told a soul. And Luna's just cool. "You know you look good when you rock those radish earrings!"

4. Sirius Black. WHY? WHY HARRY WHY? It's not really his fault. It's a lot of people's fault. Snape for being awful to Harry and stopping Occulmency. I do feel badly for Snape though. More on that in Book 7. (As a side note, Occulmency seems scary hard to me. I have such a difficult time clearing my mind. Snape would have hated me...) Snape also goaded Sirius which just pissed me off. Don't DO that! It's not nice. And it makes it harder for me to like you which I DO want to do. Stupid Snape. Harry, for not taking Occulmency seriously and for having a "people-saving-thing." Dumbledore, for not being upfront about the truth. Though, in his defense, he thought he was doing what was best.

5. The Department of Mysteries. The end of this book is so damn cool. Voldemort appears in the Ministry of Magic. Epic Voldie vs Dumbledore battle. We get a glimpse into experimental magic. Sirius has death by drapery. Crazy things go down. But most awesome is the Prophecy. Neither can live while the other survives. Poor Harry. He was doomed from the start. It's all up to our boy.

As miscellaneous blurbs, I hate Bellatrix Lestrange for many reasons. The Longbottoms, Sirius, general evil. Ugh.

The mood sensing of Harry in this book alludes heavily to his being a horcrux bit. Which is fun to examine.

And we see the Locket in this book. The horcrux locket which Kreacher covets.

Oh HP, how I adore you.

Until next time.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things Keep Happening and the Goblet of Fire

I love to read. It is one of my favorite pastimes. In fact, it's pretty much top priority in my life. But sometimes I feel indulgent. Like maybe, I should have a little bit of human interaction. Just a theory, you know? So, HP and the Goblet of Fire took much longer than it would have if I had just holed myself up in my room and read like the hermit I know I can be.

Yet, despite my snail's pace it was, as always, an enjoyable read.

GoF (as I intend to call it) has a lot going on it. First of all it starts out with the Quidditch World Cup and all the Death Eater torturing muggles/Dark Mark shenanigans. That is intense stuff. But the Quidditch bit is great. Viktor Krum and that Wronski Feint (Wonky-Faints). What a guy.

Then there's the whole Triwizard Tournament thing. The tournament itself is fascinating but what happens in between intrigues me even more. The hardest part of that book is when Ron stops talking to Harry. I hate it. I can't stand it. It bothers me. I wish it would stop. I sped through that period just so I could get to the first task (dragons! squee!) and Ron would stop being such a prat. Silly Ron. Harry was just entered in the tournament so he can be a valuable asset to the bring Voldemort back from the almost dead association.

Wait. WHAT?

Exactly. The whole ordeal with Voldie coming back into a corporeal form is a BIG DEAL. The first time I read this a part of me knew it needed to happen but didn't want to accept it. HP goes from happy-go-lucky to all hell breaks loose at the drop of a hat. The Crouch story is crazy. Death Eaters man. I don't even understand how Barty Crouch Sr could even live with himself after all that. Plus, by the end there were so many people being controlled by the Imperius Curse I didn't even know what was what - Barty Crouch, Jr. and Senior, Viktor Krum, Mad-Eye Moody, almost Harry. But Harry don't play that.

Okay, so Voldemort returning from almost death is scary. The visual of the potion turning colors as each vital ingredient (Bone, Flesh, Blood) is alarming and slightly disturbing. Plus the whole evil, baby Voldie is really quite disturbing. (Tom Riddle is a PRIME CANDIDATE for the Evil Baby Orphanage. Is there an EBO for fictitious evil? There should be. Somebody e-mail John Green.) But when Voldemort finally rises and starts gallivanting about, I can't take it. He is such a power hungry, son of a b. I do not approve of the misuse of power, nor of leadership by pure fear and force. Voldemort embodies every evil dictator that has ever walked this fine planet. That makes Voldie pretty damn wicked.

Another awful thing is Cedric Diggory. Oh Cedric. Didn't he realize this was how it was going to end? I mean, Harry is the hero. What did he expect? Poor Cedric. Just a spare. He's just this spare guy. Ahaha. I really shouldn't find it funny but there are just too many HP parodies. Anyway, Cedric's death is a bad one. It's the first one of many. SO MANY. Oh Jo, you break my heart.

Also, there's Neville Longbottom and the Cruciatus Curse. When Neville starts freaking out in Defense Against the Dark Arts, the first time you read, it is not know that his parents were driven insane by Crucio! But on the subsequent reads, his reaction to the spell being cast on that spider is just heartbreaking. Poor Neville. His life is so rough. But more on that soon. Book 5 is just around the corner.

Now, I'd like to add a little ray of sunshine in this tunnel of doom, gloom and evil wizards.

The Yule Ball. I LOVE RON AND HERMIONE. They are both so dumb and this is the first example of their clear infatuation with each other. It is BEAUTIFUL. It just makes me excited for later.

Next, SPEW. Oh Hermione. You love house elves. It's adorable. I appreciate the effort even if it is slightly misplaced.

Finally, Harry giving Fred and George the Triwizard winnings was the best possible thing he could have done. People do need to laugh. They need to remember there is good in this world especially in dark times. That's why humor is so cherished. Well done Harry.

Brace yourself for teenage angst in the next installment of HP and moi.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life and The Prisoner of Azkaban

As so often is the case, life happens. It does not care that you wanted to get more sleep, nor that you wanted to read one Harry Potter book a day. Life tends to be the thing that happens while you are making other plans, as John Lennon so wisely said. Hence, I did not finish The Prisoner of Azkaban when I thought I would.

I find that being employed takes up a lot of my time. I do a lot of running around. Not that I'm complaining. Jobs are good. :)

Additionally, I had to take a brief hour reprieve to watch the season finale of Glee.

In other news, Harry Potter.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

This book is undoubtedly one of my favorite Harry Potter books. It's the calm before the storm. It's the last book before all hell breaks loose. But not only that there's Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Mad love.

Okay. I am a big fan of the Marauders. They are severely romanticized in my brain. Maybe it's from too much fan fiction (WHAT?) but I always imagine them as so clever and dashing, which they were. At least according to Rowling.

But anyway, Sirius. I love Sirius Black. Besides having one of the coolest names in literature he is just an interesting character. He's so smart and so troubled and he only wants to help. In Book Three Black is just a shadowy figure bent on revenge. My favorite chapter is the one toward the end when everyone sorts out what really happened the night the Potters died. I was always rooting for Sirius after that. I mean, he meant well. He really did.

I'm also impressed by the way he put up with Azkaban. Dementors scare the living hell out of me. They are one of the most horrifying literary, mythical, you name it creatures I have ever heard of. I sort of find them synonymous with Ring Wraiths, though they are completely different. I think it's the whole being soulless, billowing robes thing that I find so similar. Nonetheless they frighten me and I hate them.

Though, I am quite fond of the Patronus Charm. Quite groovy. I think my Patronus would be a cat of some kind. I'd like to say a LION or a TIGER or some other BIG CAT. But it'd probably be a house cat. My Precious is the most adorable kitten in the world. I love her.

Speaking of cats, Crookshanks is hella awesome. He helped Sirius all year. I love how some of the cleverest witches and wizards couldn't understand Sirius's dilemma but it took a cat only a few days. Clever Crookshanks.

Next, Remus Lupin. Oh Lupin. Ilovehim. He is just THE BEST! He really is, out of all seven books, my favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He was the only one who actually cared about the students and got the job done. Lupin's kind and helpful. I love Remus Lupin. Can't say it enough. Plus he and Sirius really lucked out in the incredibly awesome names department.

I may have slight fangirl literary crushes on Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. So sue me.

Lupin also brings me back to the Whomping Willow. That tree is just positively fascinating. I mean it causes a lot of problems for our heroes, i.e. nearly killing them and destroying things like coveted broomsticks. But it's just interesting. I guess this is a good time to mention that one o my favorite wiz wrock bands is the Whomping Willows. (House of Awesome FTW!) And it's all because of Lupin's curious little problem that such a tree even exists. A tree that hits back. Lovely.


Hermione is a complete and utter badass in Book Three which makes me far too happy. I love that she slaps Draco. Definitely a highlight of the entire series. He completely deserves it. I love that she walks out of Divination. Trelawney is such a crook. Two actual predictions in a full life, neither of which she actually remembers. I do have to say, her prediction about Pettigrew at the end of Prisoner frightens me every time. It's just so creepy. Maybe it's the movie's influence that makes it worse but nonetheless.

Finally, Hermione travels through time ALL YEAR. Man, I would love a time turner. There really is never enough hours in the day. Think of all the things you could DO. I would go back and read freaking EVERYTHING. Then after that I'd go out with my friends. Then I could do everything I wanted simultaneously. It would be so awesome. I have a time turner. One of the Warner Bros ones modeled after the movie. It is BEAUTIFUL.


Finally, I'd just like to discuss Quidditch. I attend one of the awesome schools that actually has a real live Quidditch team so the sport has a special place in my heart not just because its awesome in HP but because it's awesome in my actual life. You think it's dangerous in the book? You should see two chasers grappling over a soccer ball... It's incredibly alarming.

Mostly I want to discuss the Firebolt. What a broom. Brooms are like cars. The sleeker, the shinier, the faster - the better. Gryffindor winning the Quidditch Cup makes me happy for several reasons. 1. Oliver Wood. He just wanted it so bad. I love that Jo gives it to him. 2. Beating Slytherin/Malfoy. Draco's a git. He deserves nothing awesome. 3. Lee Jordan's commentary. I looked forward to all Quidditch commentary. I was really sad after he left. 4. McGonagall not telling off Jordan for calling Malfoy a curse. I can see her jumping up and down every time. It makes me smile.

This last thing about Quidditch is not in the match for the cup. It's the Ravenclaw game. Harry v Cho Chang. (More about Cho Chang later) Oliver Wood: "HARRY, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN! KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF YOU HAVE TO."

And that, my friends, is the essence of awesome.

See you at the Triwizard Tournament.

Monday, June 7, 2010

AVPM and the Chamber of Secrets

I probably would have finished Book Two a lot sooner but I got incredibly distracted by the wonder that is A Very Potter Musical. I was just taking a quick break from reading. It started with a couple interviews with Darren Criss and Nick Lang. I started watching Act I and before I knew it I was an hour in, so I said to hell with it and watched the rest. It was my third time or so watching but, man, that is the best play. It's so funny. I am SO EXCITED for the sequel.

In other exciting news, I saw the sneak preview for the Deathly Hallows movie Part One. I FREAKED OUT. AHHHHHHH! It is so awesome! There was a lot of running through the woods and Harry and Ginny kissing, ominous Voldemort clips and Ron yelling at Harry. I had a nervy b. I cannot wait to see that movie film. It's gonna be off the hook for real.


Okay. I just finished HP and the Chamber of Secrets.

I have to admit. While, HP is my favorite book series, of all the books the Chamber is my least favorite. Maybe it was because after the awesomeness of the first book the darkness of the second took me by surprise. How was twelve year old me supposed to see that coming? The second book was some good foreshadowing for all the madness to come. Hogwarts always seems to be in an uproar of some crisis or another that threatens its well being. The closest it comes to getting shut down for real is in the second book. Unless you count the Umbridge debacle and then there's the end of the sixth, but more on that later.

Despite the fact that this isn't my most favorite HP novel, it was still a good read. Since I haven't picked it up in so long it just felt nice. Familiar story. Good times.

Additionally, I keep this Harry Potter Happy Birthday balloon I got for my tweflth birthday or something inside the cover of The Chamber. Every time I read it, looking at the balloon just makes me happy. I work at a party store where we sell a lot of mylars and stuff. I need to see how many HP balloons we have. I'm in the market for more.

Okay, first off - Dobby. Oh Dobby. He means well. He really does. I can just see him with his big eyes and floppy ears and his desire to just save Harry Potter. Ron really does say it right. If Dobby didn't stop trying to save Harry he would have killed him. The pudding incident. Closing the gates at King's Cross. The Rogue Bludger. Madness, I daresay. And after all that Harry still sets him free. What a guy. Well, he did deserve it.

That brings me to Lucius Malfoy. He makes me SO ANGRY. While I loathe Draco on general principles I really hate his father. Lucius is just so much worse for whatever reason. I think, while Draco may have some redeemable qualities (which come up much later), Lucius has none. He is just a bad, bad man. He is just so petty and cruel. It's no wonder Draco is the way he is. A majority of our behavior is brought out by the people who parent us. Ugh. Malfoys... Though I do rather like the band Draco and the Malfoys. Their songs are hilarious. My personal favorite is Voldemort is Awesome. Quite catchy.

In regards to foreshadowing I just want to mention Borgin and Burke's - the opal and the vanishing cabinet. Both are mentioned in chapter four and both are vitally important in book six. That tricksy little Malfoy brat.

Also, I would like to briefly discuss enchanted muggle objects. The Ford Anglia is one of my favorite characters. It is an adorable little puppy car that gets turned wild by the Forbidden Forest. That is bloody brilliant. Mr. Weasley's fascination with muggle things is adorable. I wouldn't mind owning a few enchanted objects - just so long as they didn't kill me or anything. As Arthur Weasley says, don't trust anything that thinks if you can't see where it keeps its brain.

Next, Gilderoy Lockhart. I don't hate him. I mean, you can't really. He's annoying but he's not really evil. Lockhart's just... a pompous git. That pretty much sums it up. I love that he blows his own mind up. It's great. He gets exactly what he deserves.


Is it bad that when I read about Justin Finch-Fletchley I think of the wizard wrock band? No, I didn't think so.


Concerning mudbloods: Clearly, labeling a person's skill in magic based on their blood is ridiculous. All the pure-blood, half-blood, dirty blood nonsense is ridiculous. Jo put it there for a reason, I'm guessing. (Again, all speculation.) It's blatant racism. Draco Malfoy and his family are a bunch of prejudiced racists. End of story.

I do love how mad Ron gets about it though. He comes very near murdering Draco. Ah, budding romance.


Basilisks are alarming. I wish I had been more clever when I first read this book. The basilisk clues are relentless. I have nothing against snakes. I even find them kind of cute sometimes, especially adorable little garden snakes. But basilisks cross that line. Them and acromantula. -.- Giant spiders do NOT do it for me. I side with Ron. Not cool and Hagrid is a mad man. Loveable but a mad man when it comes to normal, safe creatures. I do love how they lead up to discovering the chamber. It's so very exciting.

Tom Riddle. Tom Marvolo Riddle. I am Lord Voldemort.
I recall first reading that. That is one of the most important scenes in HP history. It's our first glimpse of the past that is Voldemort. Voldemort's past is vitally important to his defeat. Plus there's the diary - horcrux #1. Though, no one knows it's a horcrux yet. Except Dumbledore. I think he knows. He pretty much always knew what the hell was going on. He just never let us in on the secret. J. K. Rowling's a genius. We all know it.
I am constantly fascinated by Tom Riddle. I like to watch the evolution of Voldemort. He was always bad but why did he have to go so bad? I feel like it didn't have to be that way. He was so smart and handsome in his Hogwarts days. But he was also cunning. Too cunning. And power hungry. What made him that way? Probably his desertion by his family. Likely some deep seated personal issues. But more on that in entries to come. I could do a series psychological evaluation of Voldie. But I'll refrain.... for now.
The end.
Talk to you soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's Harry Potter Week

I try to re-read my Harry Potter books at least once a year. It's a ritual for me. Harry Potter is one of the few book series that have one hundred percent re-read value. No matter how many times I pick up the books I get sucked back in. In the past few years I've been a little lax in my Harry Potter worship in the actual reading department. So this summer, this week, for me anyway, is dedicated to Harry Potter. And that is basically what this blog is about. And if you haven't read HP I suggest not reading on because there will be SPOILERS.

Now, without further ado...


I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

God, I love how that book starts. I opened up to page one with the illustration of baby Harry and THE BOY WHO LIVED staring at me. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive..." The words that launched a thousand dreams and started the awesome. My favorite part is the familiarity of it. I've read those words so many times. It's just a comfort to have my eyes following them on the pages. It feels so comfy. At home, if you will.

Another thing I liked about re-reading, besides the familiarity, were all the little things I noticed. Like how the first thing we hear about Snape is how he looks right into Harry's eyes and how Hagrid avoids why Snape would so immediately dislike Harry. In retrospect, it just means so much more.

The characters have grown so much. I feel like Draco is more of a prat in the first book than ever. I mean, he's always uber annoying and evil-ish but at least it feels more justified later on. The first book he just is an utter tool jerk. There's no good reason for it except that Daddy's an ex-Voldemort fanboy. But of course more of that comes later.

And HOLY CRAP WAS HERMIONE ANNOYING. I love Hermione. I am a big advocate for Hermione. She is smart and clever, which are two things I value. But in book one, whew. Such a know-it-all jerk. When the troll bit finally comes along I was just so HAPPY. Hermione lying to the professors was possibly the best thing that could have happened for her. Loosened up Hermione is a happy Hermione.

And the Dursleys are unbearable. But I always feel that way. Trapping your nephew in a cupboard? You know, if you think about it, it's a wonder no one called DSS on them.

I also have a better appreciation for the actual writing. While it's always been fabulous, it has definitely gotten better and more complex with each book. Re-reading the first just feels like such a lapse into my childhood. I mean it was published in the nineties for the love of God.

I also love the scene in Ollivander's. It's probably because of the movies but I had to read that part aloud. I could hear him saying "Curious, curious." I love how that bit went in the movie. I felt the same way about when Draco introduced himself to Harry on the train. The whole stay away from the bad crowd "I can help with that" bit. Ugh. Draco. The movies do crop up in my head sometimes when I'm reading. It's usually just voices. And sometimes that doesn't hurt. It even helps.

But back to Ollivander's. Wands. So cool. I would love one of those legit Harry Potter wands. Man...

I love the end. That's the one thing that really bugged me about the first movie. They left out some of the enchantments and the enchantments were the BEST PART. They were so well done and clever. Snape's logic potion mix-up is one of my favorite challenges. I like it even more than the wizard chess set. It's just brilliant. I don't know how Hermione does it because I don't think I could have solved it or kept my cool.

Finally, I want to discuss Neville Longbottom. Neville is underappreciated. I remember the first time I read this I think I disregarded him as an awesome but minor character. But he is so great. He helps Ron take down the Slytherin goons at the Quidditch game. And there's the whole standing up to your friends bravery bit. But I love how Jo sets up his gradual importance from the very beginning. My favorite is how he, of all the characters, gets in the boat with Ron, Harry, and Hermione to cross the lake. I don't know if she meant to do that, but I still like it. I've always had a soft spot for Neville. He tries so hard.

Well, that's enough for now. Off to Book Two.