I had initially posted this first, but realized you have to scroll through the spoiler-review to see it! SO, I am reposting it now:
This post is my spoiler-free collection of all my initial reactions to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. My previous post is my in-depth (aka LONG) post with spoilers.
If if you haven’t read (or seen!) Cursed Child yet, steer clear of my other post. But here is my list of the (vague) reactions that I could actually remember having throughout:
“Holy crap, WHAT?!”
“Omg this kid is annoying.”
“Aww this kid is alright.”
“Aww they don’t like each other?!”
“Oh man…this is what they’re doing?”
“Of all the characters to bring back…Weird choice.”
“Ughhhh stupid kids!”
“[insert name of character here] is around still YAY!”
“[insert name of character here] died??”
“They have to fix this…this needs to be fixed…fix this NOW.”
“No. No. Don’t trust this one.”
“Ummmmm excuse me that’s not how [insert potion/spell] works…”
“Sometimes this just feels like a Drarry (Jr) fanfic…”
“I really wish this could’ve been a movie…”
–End of Part 1–
“Okay, where could they really go from here…”
“Ahhhhh [insert character]!” (both good and bad forms of “Ahhhh”😛 )
“I’m really liking this half much more.”
“How the hell do they do this on a stage?! I gotta see this!”
“So…I’m still not clear on who the Cursed Child is…”
“Oh wait…I think I…wait do I know? I’m not…sure…Is it? OHHHH okay.”
“I’m not sure how I feel about this…”
“Does this even make sense?”
“I guess that was alright.”
“THE END?! I want more!”
–End of Part 2–
If you prefer a more visible representation of my feelings, reactions and opinions, I created this from a collection of memes:
That generally sums it up!
If you want a more in-depth – spoiler-filled – post, wait for my next one!
***This post contains SPOILERS for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ***
Note: Also, please excuse any typos because I haven’t had a chance for a second read through yet
It has been a few days now since I finished reading “The Eighth Story” – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
For anyone who – somehow – happens to not be in the know, this is not a novel, it is a play/scriptbook based on the actual stage play that is being put on currently in London, England.
Sadly, I am not able to travel to England any time soon, and even if I could, the play is sold out well into next year! So, thank Dumbledore (!), JK Rowling and co. decided to release the play as a book format.
I know this has some people disappointed because:
(1) Why is it a play and not a book or movie to begin with?
(2) If it’s being released as a book, why not a proper novel?
(3) JK Rowling didn’t actually write the play herself. She collaborated with the playwright, Jack Thorne, and director, John Tiffany, to create this piece of work. Don’t be alarmed, it is her story, she just didn’t actually write the play.
One of my biggest concerns, aside from the obvious trauma of having characters I know and love either butchered or go off in a direction I didn’t want them to, was that if someone else is writing the actual dialogue, would they get too wrapped up in their image of them based, in large part now, on the movie versions?
If I ever got to ask JK Rowling one question (though I have a few!), the one that always comes back to me is if she found her own writing being swayed by the film representations – i.e. by the time the Deathly Hallows book was released, there had already been four movies, with two Dumbledores. Most people who read the books before the movies felt that Richard Harris was Dumbledore, the Dumbledore they grew up with, the one that was in their head. Then Michael Gambon took over and brought a certain…intensity…shall we say (Potterheads know what I’m referring to…😛 ). Was her own Dumbledore ever influenced by the one that she saw coming from Michael Gambon?
I highly doubt it because she has very clear and concise ideas about her stories and characters, but does the same hold true when someone else, who is taking her lead, but who is not the original creator, goes ahead with the story?
This brings me to one of the issues I had with Cursed Child. But before I get into that, let me tell you what I thought overall!
So…How Did I Like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
A lot of people have asked me how the book was, but truthfully, I feel like I can’t give a proper answer without giving away some of the story, somehow.
I remember hearing recently, either one of the actors or writers, said something along the same lines – you really can’t discuss it without giving something away, and I completely understood that while reading it.
The little blurb about Albus Severus and Harry on the book jacket really is about as vague as you can be without spilling something.
My general – vague, spoiler-free – response to people has been similar to:
“It’s…interesting. It isn’t what I expected, even though I didn’t know WHAT to expect, and at times it made my insides feel uncomfortable. There are things that are not going to sit well with people, but, for the most part, they’re still the characters we love, so you do get into it and want to see where it goes.”
But since I warned of spoilers already, I’m going for it a bit more in-depth here:
***SPOILERS BE AHEAD***
The entire premise of Cursed Child is based on time travel and messing with timelines which I, personally, am not comfortable with because it usually goes horribly awry and confuses my brain (*cough*XMen*cough).
I was really worried they were going to screw up the timeline and just leave it be and say “Oh well! Alternate timeline!”, as has been a theme of late (*cough*XMenAgain*cough*StarTrekToo*cough*), but thankfully, through a simple shield spell, things were rectified.
The whole first part of the play, though, my chest had a constant constriction of anxiety, worrying about this exact thing. Also, I’m not going to lie, I really disliked Harry Potter’s son Albus Severus. He was all the whiny, emo, angst of Harry in Order of the Phoenix, with hardly any of the reason to be.
Maybe had we watched him grow from eleven to fifteen, as we did Harry, I would be more sympathetic. If we’d seen some of his struggles of being sorted into Slytherin (gasp! Called it!), rather than brief snippets that just mush together until they reach the time they need to be at for the story, I may have understood his pain more, but from where I was, he was just coming off as a brat.
It doesn’t help that we’ve all, essentially, grown up with Harry, so seeing his son treat him so shoddily (how dare you treat his attempt to reach out by giving you his blanket from Lily with such disrespect!!), didn’t sit well with me at all.
His reasons for going back into the past (to save Cedric because he thinks his dad should have/should help Amos Diggory who comes to ask him to do so) were very rooted in this teen-angst too, so the first half really was a bit, for lack of a better word, “meh” to me.
BUT Part 2 sure did pick up, and even though I feel like I need another read or two to see how I actually feel about this (that is to say, if I can accept it as canon), I did end feeling satisfied and wanting more.
What Didn’t I Like?
I’ll start with the negatives first and then build to the positives…
Ron was too goofy/too like movie-Ron
As much as I loved seeing the trio, and Ginny and Draco, among others, all back and, for the most part, just as I know them, I felt like Ron was used as way too much comic relief.
I think Rupert Grint did a fantastic job as Ron in the movies (honestly, can you really read Ron saying “Bloody hell!” without thinking of Rupert Grint now?), but they really did Ron’s character so little justice in the movies.
In the books, Ron has his hilarious moments, but he’s also a very brave and strong character when he needs to be. The movies, kind of, stripped that away from him, making him the silly, comic relief best friend and the play has just continued that. I don’t think there was a single scene where Ron wasn’t doing something that was just ridiculous, and that was a bit disappointing.
Ginny also didn’t do very much
Now Ginny is where I and a lot of other HP fans diverge because I actually liked movie-Ginny. I thought Bonnie Wright played a sweet, but still tough Ginny, one who I could see really cared about Harry all the way through. Many people have said they found her too weak and meek, but I never saw that… but I did see that in the play Ginny a bit.
I just feel like aside from berating Harry for being a bad father, or comforting him after a bad dream, she didn’t actually get to do very much. Same goes for their other two children, James and Lily, which leads me to my next point…
Not enough of the side characters
This really isn’t something I should complain about given which characters did show up (more on that later!), but I really missed seeing Luna, Neville and the Weasleys. Part of me feels like this is the downside of doing this as a play, you can only have a limited number in your company, which means you have to really make bold choices about who to keep in and who to cut out (or in Neville’s case, just mention and never show).
I think I was most upset that Luna was not only not seen, but never even mentioned in the play, and worse than her, neither was George! Time and again, it is said that Ron “runs a joke shop,” but it seems to me… it’s his brother’s joke shop…a brother they never once mention. I’d have really liked to know how George was coping, after the traumatic loss of Fred, all these years later.
Same goes for Teddy Lupin. There was no mentions of Harry’s godson in the least…
I understand the limitations of time, actors, space and money, but these were definite areas where the play was lacking. One of the reasons I started reading the Harry Potter books to begin with was because I got a taste for how many supporting characters there were in the movies and just how intricate the backstories were and I wanted to know more. Cursed Child spends 99% of the time with Albus (annoying) and Scorpius (sweet), which leaves a lot to be desired.
With a name like Albus Severus, could I have really expected anything less than angst from this child? I might be a little hard on this character, and might change my mind upon another reading, but my gut reaction from the first read through was that he just grated on my nerves.
Time Travel angle
As I mentioned already, this didn’t sit well with me as the main impetus for the plot, but they managed to correct it and I suppose it was fun to see the alternate realities once you know that everything is back to normal. Still, as I was reading it, I did worry if it would screw up everything I knew and loved.
As a person, she was very annoying. I knew from the get-go that there was something off about her and that she’d have to turn out to be the evildoer. For me, it was like when you’re watching an episode of Law & Order and everyone is struggling to figure out who the criminal is, and they just happen to have a big name guest star, so in the first five minutes you point to the TV and say “It’s him/her” and lo and behold…it is!
She rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning, which I suppose means the writers were doing their job and my judge of character is pretty good, but I just didn’t like her as a character… Towards the end when her big secret and motivations come out it was a bit better (her big “I am Lord Voldemort”-esque moment), but I feel like she could have accomplished what she wanted to do in another way.
Canon or Fanfic?
Am I the only one that felt like I was reading FanFic at times?
Not just any fanfic, very clear Drarry fanfic… (And then in the end ASP/SM don’t even actually end up together, so it was a cop out fanfic?) I have never been one for the Drarry pairing, I always felt like those two really did just hate each other, but you could completely see that Albus and Scorpius were in love with each other (or at least would be in time), but the way it was all written seemed so very hokey and fanfic-like.
The second alternate reality and big climactic twist also read as a bit fanfic-like – especially the climactic twist. The Voldie/Bella people (are there any?!) must be really happy though…😛
Polyjuice Potion use
This is just a nerdy, nitpicky moment but – Polyjuice Potion takes a MONTH to brew, so to have AS, Scorpius and Delphi use that wasn’t really sensible. I convinced myself (and my niece corroborated with me😛 ) that Delphi was shifty and maybe just had a bunch of it lying around. BUT then Albus mentions it again later when they want Harry to masquerade as Voldemort, that he is “good at Polyjuicing” — good or not Albus Severus, you can’t make a one-month potion in 5 minutes! (Just like Josh Groban can’t have his pizza in five minutes!)
What Did I Like?
Right from his first scene, I literally thought “I like this kid!” I like that he was nerdy and a bit insecure, the complete antithesis of his father. Speaking of, I liked the depth of his relationship – or lack thereof – with Draco. I actually cared more about their relationship and seeing it through than I did Albus and Harry’s.
When Part 2 starts with Scorpius alone, and Albus not existing, I was actually happier because I found Albus was holding the story down, and when Scorpius was given his time to shine it was much more interesting.
Of the newbies, he’s the clear favourite!
I didn’t expect McGonagall to be there at all much less to be there so much. She is one of my favourite characters and that only grew even more as I read this play. When she scolded – Minister for Magic – Hermione, that was pretty fantastic.
I was worried we wouldn’t see any of her and that she’d passed on from her job as Headmistress by this point. I was so glad she was back!
The time in the “Voldemort and Valor” universe
Much like the Star Trek Mirror, Mirror universe, these scenes gave us a look into a bleak alternate reality, which I enjoyed seeing – not least of all because MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER LIIIIIVES!
My niece actually said to me when she got to that part, “Were you happy? Were you happy to see Snape was alive?” and I was, I genuinely was, my heart literally skipped a beat when “Professor Snape” was mentioned and I was in jittery excitement all the way through the scenes where he interacts with Scorpius.
I know there will be some people who hate those scenes because they might think Snape acts out of character or that having Snape actually continue to be on the Order/Dumbledore’s side would be unrealistic, but I think this all comes back around to the “Great Snape Debate.” If anything, this will only make the debate even more interesting for years to come…
I like it because it really helps those of us in the pro-Snape camp by showing that, yeah, it started with Lily, but maybe it’s also possible he actually realized the error of his ways. That’s the Snape I’ve always believed in, so it was very nice to see.
My response to my niece when she asked me was that I was so, so happy, but I also was slightly nervous that he’d be a bad guy in this universe. It would have corroborated people’s theories that he really didn’t give a hoot aside from his love/obsession with Lily and needing to alleviate his guilt. The fact that it went my way, I was thrilled.😀
And I won’t lie, as I was reading it (specifically the patronus part), I thought: “Is this cheesy? This might be cheesy… I don’t really care, I love it!” – so when it comes to Snape’s part in the play, sorry, I’m not really objective.😛
For example, Scorpius’ line: “Thank you for being my light in the darkness” was…yes…quite cheesy, but because he said it to Snape, I just took it all starry-eyed.😛 My reaction to it was literally: “Aww, that was SO cheesy,” but I still liked it.
Draco with the Trio
Having Draco spend some quality time with the trio (and even Ginny) was nice. This is another part that might come off as out-of-character, but with 20+ years to consider his life and then losing his wife, it’s not hard to believe Draco did some soul searching and became a new, and better, man.
I particularly enjoyed the small foray into his “small talk” with Harry about what he wished he could have done with his life. It was nice to see that Draco, deep down, was just an insecure kid, and even still an insecure adult/dad.
Harry and his parents
This is an odd thing to “like” because it was very sad, but having older-Harry actually present at the time of his parents’ deaths packed a huge emotional punch. That was sad to read and I’m sure would be even sadder to see.
Things I am unsure of and/or still have questions about…
Cedric the Death Eater
I am a proud (now) Hufflepuff and I have a very hard time believing that a Hufflepuff would become a Death Eater – especially just because he was humiliated or embarrassed. I’m sure there was more to it than this and maybe there are some bad-wizard Hufflepuffs around (though it’s the one house known to have the lowest percentage of dark wizards), but I just can’t believe it.
Voldemort and Bellatrix sitting in a tree…? o_o
I am definitely not one to disregard the obvious fact that Voldemort and Bellatrix had a…thing…of some sort…going, but them actually having a KID?!
I was so thrown by this momentarily and didn’t believe it, that I was caught up in that theory from earlier in the book about the time turner being used to go back and get someone impregnated just so Voldemort would have an heir later… I couldn’t fathom that this was meant to have taken place in the stories we already know/canon (And unless JKR can outright say she always planned this or can explain it… I may never be able to!)
But clearly that made no sense whatsoever and it was just the fact that Voldie and Bella (ew ew ew ew) knocked boots at some point… (ewwww).
I wasn’t really sold on this, even though I think it is an interesting little twist, mostly because I couldn’t figure out when she had 9 months out-of-action when we didn’t see her around, BUT then I read a few theories online saying, if you actually look carefully, there is actually more than enough time for her to be pregnant and have a kid between Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows. If you disregard her showing up – looking very un-pregnant – at the Burrow and when Dumbledore is killed in the Half-Blood Prince movie, there’s a good chance she was pregnant all throughout HBP.
Some people speculate she was pregnant when she and Narcissa went to see Snape at Spinner’s End because she mentions that if she had “sons” she’d be happy to give them up to The Dark Lord… why would she say it like that and not as “if I had a son/child” when she doesn’t have any kids? Alternately, she could have either already had Delphi or known she’s having a daughter (soon) because she only mentions if she had “sons” and not daughters/a daughter…
If she was pregnant at that point (summer of 1996), Delphi could have even been born in early 1997…which would make her the right age (“early twenties” as she says at one point) AND movie-Bella could have even been present for Dumbledore’s death (but not the Burrow destruction, unless she was just hiding it really well under that corset!).
So…the possibilities date-wise are there, but there’s the whole other conundrum of Voldemort being unable to love.
But then again…who said he ever loved Bella, really.
I imagine this will also bring up a lot of questions from children who either read the play or go to see it with their parents. It’d be easy to get around if they didn’t mention Bellatrix’s husband, but Delphi does mention Rodolphus is the one who corroborates whose kid she is/the prophecy (that I didn’t fully understand, to be honest). I’m sure there will be more than a few “But if Rodolphus and Bellatrix were married, how is she Voldemort’s daughter?” questions…
Questions that I will deflect onto parents when asked them from school children (or hope their parents have already explain…somehow.😛 )
See above. Didn’t really get where it came from. Did I miss something?
Why did Harry suddenly have his Voldemort connection back? Clearly Delphi has been around for 20+ years herself, so if it’s all because of her, why didn’t Harry feel all this much earlier? Where’s she been this whole time? Why’d she only start pestering Albus Severus when he was 14/15? Why not befriend him when he was 5 as his “invisible friend” and wreak some havoc? (She would have only been 13/14 herself at the point, but I’m sure she, as a Riddle-Lestrange, would’ve been smart and evil enough to get this done! Hm, I may be a Hufflepuff, but I do have the ability to think up dark things… Maybe Death-Eater-Cedric isn’t so unreasonable a thought after all!)
The cover of the book
I still don’t quite get who that is on there and what it represents. Is it Albus Severus? Is it Delphi? Is it Albus Severus sitting in a nest made by Delphi? (The wings, I assume, represent her).
Who IS The Cursed Child?
I figure this seems obvious – it’s Delphi, right?
But it really could be any of the children the play focuses on!
It could be Albus Severus – cursed because of his connection to his father, his sorting into Slytherin, his screw-ups and his attraction to a pure-evil woman.
It could be Scorpius – cursed because of his name, his father and the loss of his mother (and his own screw-ups, though he worked a lot harder than Albus to fix them).
But it’s most likely Delphi… because, come on, her parents. Yuck. Lol.
(A friend of mine suggested she even thought it was Harry as she was reading Part 1).
Anyhow, in the end, as I told my cousin when she said she’s afraid to read it in case it ruins the world for her, I find it’s still okay with me because if I need be, I can still disregard it.😛
I would like to see the play though because I can’t even fathom how they did the effects for it! I hope they either put it in theatres or bring it here at some point. My brother and sister have both said they think they’d have a hard time with it because they’re so used to the movie actors, and though I had originally said “as long as they do the characters justice I’ll be fine with it” – that’s when I had seen who’s playing Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco and was satisfied… Now that I know who else is in the play… it might be a bit harder for me to let go and see them as the characters (Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith are exceptionally hard to replace…sorry…)
So that’s that for me on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
I stumbled on a writing prompt today that seemed interesting:
Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had a choice, would you rename yourself?
As you might be able to tell from my blog’s address, my first name is:
Growing up, I thought Pamela was a fairly common name – I mean, everyone knew of Pamela Anderson.
When I was a child, she was on Home Improvement and Baywatch. Thankfully, by the time she moved onto her more wild ways when I was a bit older, I was pretty much solidified as the Pamela everyone around me knew and I managed to escape any stigma of my name being connected solely with her.
Still, I was sure it was a common name because even one of my sister’s friends is named Pamela! Not only that, on I Love Lucy, in the episode “Lucy Writes a Play” – Lucy’s play is entitled The Perils of Pamela!
My personal favourite pop-culture-Pamela-association
The Pamela that I have taken to and taken on as my pseudonym (i.e. username) in many places, is Poison Ivy from Batman.
Pamela Isley has a much better relationship with plants than I do… But I still enjoy sharing her name.
In the Batman comics, Batman the Animated Series and (terrible) live-action movie, Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy was actually born, Pamela Lillian Isley. Unfortunately, in the most recent Batman incarnation, the (amazing!) TV show, Gotham, the young version of Poison Ivy was actually renamed as “Ivy Pepper,” which, believe me, did not sit well with this Pamela!
Popularity of Pamela’s
So, with all of these “Pamela”s running around all over the place, you’d think it’s a common name too, right?
Well guess what! According to the site NameBerry.com, which ranks the popularity of baby names in the United States, Pamela was ranked 906th in terms of popularity and actually peaked at its most popular in 1953 when it was ranked #10!
In the last 63 years, Pamela has been on a downward slope and hasn’t managed to make it back into the top 10 – heck, it hasn’t cracked the top 100 since the 1970s!
In the year I was born (oh, be prepared to be horrified with shock at how old I am…) – 1986 – the name Pamela was the 138th most popular name in the United States.
As some of of you may recall from my ode to my lovely true North, strong and free last Canada Day, I am not American – but chances are, our statistics on popular names are not that far off.
So how exactly did my parents come up with PAMELA as my name when it wasn’t exactly the most popular name around in the preceding 30 years?
First we need to backtrack a second and look at my full name. Aside from my first name, my blog address also contains two letters – “JP.”
Now, this could mean I have SUCH an affinity for Jurassic Park that I decided to tag it onto my name, but realistically, these are my last two initials.
For privacy’s sake, I decided not to put my entire name, but wanted to represent it somehow and for privacy’s sake, again, I will not reveal my last name, but my middle name is the cute, short and sweet: JOY!
Hey, it’s me!
My brother’s name rhymes with it and at twelve years old, he decided he wanted his baby sister to have a name that rhymed with his. My parents humoured him enough to let that be my middle name, but, as the story goes, they were eager to have my initials be: PJ.
That’s right. I, Pamela Joy, am named after Prince John of Disney’s Robin Hood.
Many of my friends and family already know this story, but for anyone else reading this — my parents were apparently so amused by Little John calling Prince John “PJ” that they decided they wanted to name me something so I could have those initials too.
The funniest part about this isn’t that I’m named after a bratty, lion prince… but that, for pretty much most of the last 30 years, my family have never really used the nickname “PJ” for me!
To most everyone, I am “Pam,” “Bill” (yes, that’s right), “Bail” or “Bailey.” The only people who continue to call me PJ are my uncle and my sister’s/my friend – who uses it just because it irritated him so much that I have a built-in nickname that no one uses… but even he vacillates between the Bill-Bail-Bailey trifecta too after all these years.
From the stories I’ve heard, I wasn’t always a Pamela. For a while, before I was born, my parents were actually thinking to name me Patricia, but then that fell through when someone else they knew had a baby just shortly before I was born and she became Patricia.
I have to say, I don’t see myself as a Patricia (and, ironically, we have a Patricia in our family now, so that would’ve been odd if there were two of us!).
I’ve never really considered what I’d change my name to if I ever did… I have lots of names I love, but none that I would take on myself. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to change my name.
As noted above, I’ve taken on SO many nicknames and pseudonyms over the years that there never was a reason for me to change my name…
…And to be honest, with my last name, I actually have one of THE best names in the history of names – sorry everyone else, but your names pale in comparison to mine! Anyone who knows my last name would likely agree – I have a perfect name for if I ever got famous, I would never need to change it!
So, to my fellow Pamela’s, kudos to us, for rocking the 906th most popular name!
And to expectant couples looking to name their baby girls something that they won’t hear everywhere these days (Taylor…Olivia…Jessica…Madison…), give Pamela a shot!
Doesn’t it seem almost silly to be so heartbroken over the passing of someone you didn’t actually know?
But then, that’s what actors do, isn’t it?
They work hard to make characters and connections that feel so real, so that you can’t help but be moved, sad, or, yes, even heartbroken by their performances and when they inevitably pass away…
Alan Rickman was a brilliant actor. He had the most ridiculously amazing voice, and played the most unique and eccentric characters.
I just thought yesterday (when it was Orlando Bloom’s birthday) that the next actor I would make a little collage of on their birthday to post on Instagram would be Alan Rickman, next month, on his 70th. I had no idea I’d be posting one today for a very different reason.
Interestingly, he had first wanted to be a graphic designer, and initially went to school for that, but, shortly after he finished school, left that behind to pursue acting – and thank goodness for us that he did.
His first big break, and, arguably, what he was known for most from the 80s straight up until the 2000s, was Die Hard, where he played the German terrorist, Hans Gruber (above, top row, middle).
Now, he is most well-known to people for his 8-movie stint as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series (above, top row, right).
Snape was what turned me into being an Alan Rickman fan (and Harry Potter fan too).
I had seen him in one movie previous to this series, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
I saw this in the movie theatre, at the age of 4. For whatever reason, my family thought taking me with them to see that was a good idea (probably because you can’t just leave a four year old home alone!). All I really remembered after the fact was being scared of the decrepit old witch lady, who I thought was going to burst out of random places at any moment.
Doesn’t matter how entertaining and hammy Alan Rickman was in this movie, that scary lady scarred me! (Searching pictures just now brought it all back!)
But then fast forward a few years…
My sister posits that because of this viewing, Alan Rickman’s voice was tucked away in my subconscious for years, until finally, as a teen, I saw the first three Harry Potters, then Dogma (soon after followed by Die Hard, Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest, and the rest of the Harry Potters, leading up to today where I have now seen 26 of his movies and 1 TV Movie).
My sister’s gift to me one day, Robin Hood – which she just reminded me she got for free at Best Buy. She just wanted to make sure I knew, for sure, where this all started.😛
And suddenly, it unlocked something and I was smitten.
Hard to believe, but there was actually a time when I was a bit embarrassed by my crush on Snape… That clearly passed.
To say he’s one of my favourite actors would probably be a huge understatement. I waited at his TIFF premieres (Snow Cake, A Promise) in the hopes of meeting him, and had my hopes dashed. Luckily, just when I had given up hope, in 2014 at the A Little Chaos premiere (which he directed and starred in), he turned up, he signed an autograph for me, he listened to me squeal on and on about what a fan I am and he smiled at me.
TIFF 2014 – I’ve had a lot of celebrity encounters, but I don’t think any of them ever left me with quite such a huge smile on my face.
So even though I can’t deny that my heart is indeed broken over this news, I feel so, so blessed to have met Alan Rickman, even if just briefly. That few seconds of him listening to me squeal (using my marker to sign autographs) and shooting me the quickest smile will be cemented in my mind forever as one of my favourite memories.
And though my mind is with my fellow fans, his friends and his family, it is most of all with his wife and partner of over 50 years, Rima Horton. As amazing of an actor as he was, the fact that he stayed with the same partner since he was 19 really says volumes, doesn’t it? How often, especially among celebrities, do you hear that?
As sad as I am, because he was one of my favourite actors, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for her, so my thoughts and prayers are most completely with her.
With all that said, there’s definitely something to be said about the emotions you feel when someone you adore and admire – someone you don’t even personally know – passes away.
As my question at the beginning says, it actually CAN seem a little silly or crazy, but the truth is, in as much as you’re mourning the person, or how you saw them, you’re mourning the feelings they brought out in you – the sentimentality, nostalgia, pure joy, what have you.
You might not have ever even met the person, you can’t claim to be anything to them – aside from a fan – but they’ve still impacted your life, and maybe even in a very big way. Nothing can change whatever part they played in your life, so you will mourn that just as much as you would for someone you do know or see often.
So, no, I really don’t think it’s silly, I think the pain and sadness is very real. I can’t help but think of one of my favourite quotes by Dumbledore:
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
So, thank you Alan Rickman, for the years of entertainment and happiness you have given me, and will continue to through your wonderful films.
You will always have a special place in my heart.
21 Feb 1992, Paris, France — British actor Alan Rickman — Image by © Didier Olivrй/Corbis
One of my writing prompts this week was to discuss some of my favorite quotes.
I, of course, have reasons why they are my favourites, but I decided to write those down in my personal journal.
Even though I didn’t want to go into great detail here on my reasons and opinions, I did want to share them somehow, so I am posting them for all of you to consider and contemplate too. If you have any opinions or comments on them or if you have any of your own favorite quotes that you would like to share and recommend, please do in the comments!
I would just like to note that I did not make or design any of these images. If you notice one of your personal graphics or designs – here, or anywhere else on my blog – please let me know so I can give you proper credit!
First things first, to everyone who has already made it into 2016:
Happy New Year!
And to everyone – like me – who has a few hours to go, yet:
Happy soon-to-be New Year!
I pulled another writing prompt out of my hat, bag and it’s an interesting one that I have been contemplating for a while now.
“If you could meet any fictional character, who would you choose?”
The answer seems like it would be a pretty simple one coming from me.
He who is known as “The Love of My Life #1” aka Obi-Wan Kenobi, as played by my favourite actor, the wonderful Ewan McGregor.
Pretty much everyone who knows me or has ever met me, knows that Obi-Wan Kenobi is my favourite Star Wars character. This love all started back when I was 12 years old, and I saw Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Yes, many (MANY) people hate that movie – along with all the prequels – but I was lucky enough to be at the exact right age to enjoy it, and came out of the movie with the most massive crush on Obi-Wan, which continues on until now, almost 20 years later.
So… my answer is Obi-Wan, right? Plain and simple
Well, no. Not quite.
As wonderful as meeting Obi-Wan would be, it seems unlikely that I could convince such a stand-up and dedicated Jedi to marry me, so… that probably would not turn out that well for me.😛 I do love Obi-Wan as a character, as a Jedi and an all-round amazing guy, but I feel like meeting him wouldn’t add to my life as much as meeting some other fictional characters would.
With my obvious choice out of the running, who else would I chose?
There are lots of possibilities, such as the other two in my trifecta of crushes – or as I call them, “My Guys” – Legolas or Severus Snape?
Legolas doesn’t seem like he’d be the chatty type and I’d probably just irritate him with all my questions (…and staring).
Snape… would be interesting. It would be fascinating to pick his brain and get more insight into his motivations, but this is a worrisome for me too. I have a very clear idea of the Severus Snape I want to believe in my head. I think the reason people still continue to debate Snape’s goodness versus evilness even now, 8 years after the final Harry Potter was released, is because – despite his penchant for wearing black all the time – he’s such a grey character.
For me, my fondness for Snape is, easily, borne out of my long-standing crush on the actor who played him, Alan Rickman. Having re-read the books this year (I am in the midst of re-reading The Half Blood Prince, and, ironically, it’s also on TV at this very moment!), though, I can see that Snape is not always the misunderstood, damaged character who deserves our sympathy as portrayed as in the movies… In the movies, he’s mysterious, picks on Harry here and there, and in the end has a tragic tale, but in the books he bullies not only Harry, but his friends, often. He shows such blatant favouritism towards Malfoy, which makes you wonder about his allegiances.
But at the same time, I don’t think he really is as “evil” as people want to believe. Petty, yes; spiteful, sure, but I do believe he changed somewhere along the way, and came to see the error of his ways as a youth.
For these reasons, it would be interesting to meet Severus Snape, to have a proper conversation and get some real answers, but if he turned out to actually still be as misguided as he was in his youth and hate Muggles and Muggle-Borns, then that’d be a problem. It’d be an even bigger problem if he was damaged from his childhood and played on my sympathies (See my post: How Tom Hiddleston Helped Me Better Understand Unhealthy Relationships for more on why this would be a bad thing!). Or worst of all, if book-Snape came to life to meet me, and he didn’t look like Alan Rickman, but instead looked more like, oh, I don’t know… Adam Driver.
*Insert Grimace-Face Here* I’ve heard the comparisons, but honestly don’t see it aside from the nose and black hair… But Adam Driver probably IS closer to book-Snape than Alan Rickman is (in age and looks). Meeting his version of Snape would likely kill my crush forever…😛
Okay, we’ve now passed the No’s and have one Maybe. Is there ANYONE I would definitely agree to meet amongst fictional characters?
Why yes, yes there is!
I narrowed it down to three characters – one Star Wars, one Harry Potter and one Doctor Who.
Recently, I rewatched The Empire Strikes Back (after seeing the new movie). Nowadays, it’s rare that I ever watch anything without playing on my phone or doing something else at the same time, but I actually put everything aside and paid close attention. It’s not like I haven’t seen the movie, I’ve seen it HUNDREDS of times, but I was just riveted, and particularly when Yoda was teaching Luke about The Force on Dagobah.
My entire life, I’ve listened to Yoda’s words of wisdom and taken them in to a degree: “Yeah, yeah, there is no try… But obviously there IS because you have to TRY to succeed,” I’d refute, in my head, but in truth, for the first time, his words made perfect sense. The end result, whether you “try” or not, is that you did something or you didn’t.
Listening to Yoda more carefully, it hit me that if I could meet a fictional character, this wise little sage is the one to meet. I’m still at a place in my life where I could use advice and I think I’m finally at an age where I am willing to actually listen to it more thoughtfully than I ever have in the past.
Yoda could provide me the wisdom of over 900 years, and help me to do something I’ve always struggled with – think outside the box.
Speaking of thinking outside the box, there is no character I could think of, in any movie, TV show or book, who thinks so outside the box and freely as Luna Lovegood.
When I first read the Potter books, I don’t think I appreciated just how wonderful Luna actually is, but as I’ve gotten older, she’s become one of my favourite characters. I love how she doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her, she holds to her ideals – no matter what anyone else has to say, and she stays true to herself.
A conversation with her would probably be equal parts ridiculous and enlightening. Over the last few years, I feel like I lost a part of my creativity that I had so much more as a teen (thus being why I started these writing prompts to begin with), and someone like Luna, who thinks so differently from me, would be a great inspiration.
Who better to make you see things you had never considered, than someone who sees them so clearly?
Alternate to Luna in terms of Harry Potter characters, Dumbledore was my other choice, because he was another one who always seems to have keen insights. At the same time, Dumbledore has a tendency to infuriate me with his riddles and secrets, so I decided against him.
The Eleventh Doctor:
I have not been a Doctor Who fan for nearly as long as I’ve been a Star Wars fan (my whole life) or even Harry Potter fan (10 years now), but The Eleventh Doctor, as played by Matt Smith, fast became my favourite. Now that I have watched six different incarnations of The Doctor, I feel like I can say that with more authority, too.
I know some girls really liked the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors because they were “good looking” and were disappointed by the Twelfth Doctor because he was older. I found that incredibly shallow and a stupid reason to be disappointed. Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has been amazing in all his own ways. The only reason I didn’t choose him over Eleven is because… well, I feel like he’d be a bit more crotchety and mean, and I would rather talk to someone who might give me a rousing speech and inspiration in a nicer way!
The Eleventh Doctor always has a sense of fun and adventure that would be great to experience. On top of that, along with him, comes the TARDIS! That’s almost like meeting a whole other person. And if you’re going to meet a fictional character, who better than one that can travel all of time and space?
Even if it was a short visit, The Doctor seems to have infinite knowledge and would impact the life of anyone he met, which is yet another good reason to meet him.
So there we have it – my choices for fictional characters I’d most like to meet. Of course, if the character was stuck in the real world long-term and that meant a Jedi could renounce the whole “I can’t get married” business, forget everyone I just said- OBI-WAN IS IT!😛
Happy New Year to all! All the best in 2016!
Edited to add (01/01/16): I discussed this topic with my sister after posting and she came up with two brilliant answers – Batman (as long as she could know his identity and talk to him about it) and Indiana Jones.
Indiana Jones is a perfect answer no matter what the circumstances. Even if you only have a five minute chat, he’s so knowledgable, it would be sure to be a good one. Kudos to my sister on that answer!
Well, it’s been a very long time – that seems to be how I always start my posts!
Lately, I’ve been feeling like my brain is, well, turning to mush.
Years ago – when I was in University – I could juggle reading multiple books for school – while still reading books for fun, writing numerous essays for different courses, I would draw in my spare time and STILL have time to upkeep a blog (in those days, it was a LiveJournal – that tells you how old I am, doesn’t it?)
Now, I still manage to get in some readings – at least one book a month – but my other creative sides have been, sadly, lacking.
And so, in an attempt to help my mind stay fresh, I decided to search up some writing prompts, to get me writing at least a little bit more. Maybe if I actually have some prompts to get me thinking, I might actually visit this blog more often and get my brain going.
Today’s prompt that I picked out of my hat (it’s actually a bag) was:
According to my ongoing list on GoodReads, I have read 224 books. This includes some favourites from my childhood and graphic novels, but most of them are novels that I have read from age 13 onwards.
Putting these in order by my rating, the top 5 books (which I have given a 5/5 star rating to) are:
(1) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came along, Half-Blood Prince (HBP) was both my most-read Harry Potter book, and my most-read book in general. To this day when someone asks me which one of the seven books is my favourite, it’s always a toss-up between the 4th – Goblet of Fire – and this one.
Ironically, I have been re-reading the Harry Potter books for this entire year and have just reached HBP again. Truly, it has been so long since I have read it and since I last did the movie versions have clouded up my head, so I can’t remember all of the specific details that I so loved. I am actually really looking forward to re-reading it, but at the same time, worry that I may have built it up in my memory! Thankfully, Goblet of Fire was just as amazing as I remembered, so I’m sure HBP will be too.
Even though I don’t remember all of the details that were different between the book and the movie or even why I loved it enough to read it about three times in one year, I do recall one part that always stuck out to me – seeing Tom Riddle’s past and his parents.
Merope Gaunt’s sad tale was something I really wish they had kept in the movie, and I am fairly sure is what made it one of my favourites. It’s always interesting to me to see the motivations behind the actions of certain characters and the more complex they are, the more interesting it is to me. After all, let’s not forget that Severus Snape is my favourite of the Harry Potter characters, and who’s more complex than him?
With that in mind, it might also seem appropriate that Half-Blood Prince would be my favourite because of Snape since (SPOILER-ALERT, even though it’s been ten years) it’s named after him, but it actually doesn’t have much to do with him (in fact, Order of the Phoenix is my least favourite – it just took me about 15 weeks to re-read! – and it, arguably, has some of the most interesting Snape scenes).
I honestly think it was the beginning of the Horcrux search and the look at Voldemort’s past that really caught my attention most of all.
I am eager to see what I think about it after this re-read, 8-10 years later!
(2) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Number the Stars was a book I read in elementary school, probably in about Grade 4 and one that has haunted me for my entire life. I know for a fact I’ve at least read it twice and intended to again as an adult, but truth be told, I haven’t have the courage to read it again yet because I remember how sad it made me the first times around.
Lois Lowry is well-known for The Giver – which I also really liked and only just about two years ago – but this book was, for me, one the most important books I’ve read in my life. The reason for this isn’t so much because of how it was written, or like others, when I read it in my life, but because of the subject matter.
Number the Stars was, essentially, my introduction to World War II. I have family very interested in History, I went on to study History myself, and goodness knows, I hold a special reverence in my heart for those soldiers who fought in WWII to keep the world safe – and I can trace this back to this book.
When you’re in grade 4, you’re 9 years old, you don’t know much outside of your friends, family and school, but when I read this book, I realized how terrible the world could be, but how wonderful the good people in the world could be too.
I still remember very clearly when I read it for the second time and I got to a particularly poignant part, coming downstairs and bawling to my siblings. I had already read it, I knew what happened, but the reality that things like what I was reading in this book actually did happen, that’s a lot for a nine-year-old!
About 15 years later, I read another book centered on World War II that made me think and cry just as much. That was The Book Thief. They are two different stories, in two different places, but reading The Book Thief did take me back to Number the Stars, and I do think, had I not read one as a child, I would not have been able to appreciate the other as much as an adult.
(3) Animal Farm by George Orwell
The concept of Animal Farm sounds a bit ridiculous and when my sister first told me about it, I did, in fact, think it was ridiculous. When I saw how short it was, though, I actually decided to give it a chance.
Animal Farm was firstly important because it taught me about a topic that I really didn’t have a ton of information on before I read it. Much like concepts from the above book – World Wars, the Holocaust, Hitler – Communism was just some scary term that I’d heard around as a child, but I didn’t actually know what it meant. (In fact, until I was about eight or nine, I thought Hitler was some large, mythical, scary monster. Only later did I find out he was a smaller, more human, scary monster).
Not only did Animal Farm teach me about things around the world that I didn’t, otherwise, know about, I read it when I was in my teens – I’d say around 15-16 years old, so it was a point of pride for me. I’d read a well-known classic, I understood it, I learned from it – and, guess what? I didn’t read it because I had to in school, I read it in the summer!
[Yes, this is where you yell to me that I am a nerd, and I accept that]
So, on top of what I learned from it – and the entertaining fact that it was played out by animals – it, along with other books like Dracula and Of Mice and Men, holds a special place in my heart because it made me feel well-read and encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and read more (and increasingly challenging) books.
(4) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expuery
I initially thought to read The Little Prince because I wanted to read a whole book in French and heard that it was one that many people read. Before I got to reading it in French (note: I still haven’t), I decided to read it in English – and I fell in love.
Almost exactly 7 years ago this weekend, I read this book. At that point in my life I was going through some massive difficulties – the first real trials and hardships I’d faced in my life, I’d say. The Little Prince helped me to put my circumstances into perspective and actually made me look at the world, love and life differently.
A few weeks after I read it, I bought it. I haven’t actually read it since, but I do feel like it’s probably one of those books that you learn unique things from depending on where you are in your life when you read it. Perhaps I’ll give it another shot now that I am in a very different place and mindset and see how I feel about it. Maybe I’ll learn completely new lessons or perhaps it’ll reinforce what I already learned.
(5) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
(Note: The fifth one was actually Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but as I already have one Harry Potter book represented on the list, I went to the next one)
Memoirs of a Geisha was another “point of pride” book for me because I read it while I was in University, in the summer between my first and second year (or possibly, second and third year, now that I think about it). I was glad to be able to keep up reading for pleasure, and reading books that were well-known as “classics.”
One special thing about Memoirs of a Geisha was that it was one of the first books to teach me that YES, books are better than the movie versions 90% of the time! Up until this point, I was completely on board with (my sister’s favourite phrase when it comes to reading): “If there’s a movie, why even bother reading the book?” But the movie Memoirs of a Geisha, though colourful and beautifully made, was nowhere near as complete and touching as the book was for me.
Memoirs of a Geisha was another book that challenged me to read outside of my comfort zone. In my teens, I was first stuck on only Star Wars books, then I slowly made my way into classics, and by this point, I was in University studying History, so I started to branch out into Historical Fiction. Most interestingly, though, I gravitated towards Historical Fiction that was not tied to the History I studied in school. I rarely studied East Asia – it wasn’t until my fourth year that I did, but I loved stories about women in Japan and China (my next 5/5 after Memoirs of a Geisha on my GoodReads list was actually China Dolls by Lisa See – whose books I’ve loved for many years now).
I also learned in reading this book, that I not love Historical Fiction, but I really like stories about women’s experiences in different countries across the world. Sometimes I am drawn back to places and times I studied in school (i.e. I do love Biblical Fiction and one of my favourite books I read this year was Gods & Kings by Lynn Austin, the first in her Chronicles of the Kings series, which I hope to continue soon), but I am always trying to branch out to other areas, times and places as well.
So far this year, I have yet to give any books 5/5, but there have been a few that I’ve really liked (namely the one above). I am currently reading The Light Between the Oceans, and if that one doesn’t get five stars from me, then I guess we’ll have to wait until 2016 to see what new favourites are ahead!
What are some of your favourite books and recommendations for me? Leave some suggestions and answers in the comments below!