Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dear J.K. Rowling

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

Dear J.K. Rowling,

Thank you for so many wonderful years of imagination and childhood. Thank you for creating my best friends. Thank you for believing in yourself and not giving up. Without your persistence, I might never have known such a magical place with such amazing people.

Thank you for capturing my heart between the pages of your books. Thank you for Dobby and Neville and Luna and Hermione and Ron and Harry and Ginny. Thank you for all those characters that taught me it was okay to be smart, weird, curious, funny, to make mistakes, to be wholly myself.

Thank you for adventure and mystery and love and passion. Thank you for everything wrapped into one, where I could escape and enjoy every little detail. Thank you for being so thorough, for knowing which details to pull together, which plot points to drop hints in books long before they are even casually mentioned. Thank you for your brain.

Thank you for all the quotes, for every little potential nugget of gold that can inspire people into action. Thank you for your words, for they helped create a community that prides themselves in loving others and taking action against injustice. Thank you for a real life Dumbledore's Army.

Thank you for your passion project. Thank you for sharing it with us and for allowing it to grow with us, with me. Thank you for so avidly looking out for the little guy. Thank you for your voice; may it be forever a route for others voices.

Thank you for imaging a little boy who lived in a cupboard under the stairs.
You are a brilliant star, may your light never dwindle.
I wish you the happiest of birthdays.

Warmest regards,

Alex
Hufflepuff
Birch wood, dragon heartstring core, 11 3/4", slightly springy


We Have A Winner! (and answers to the giveaway!)

Edit 8/2/16 -- We have a new winner for the bonus surprise giveaway!  

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

Alright! It's time to announce the winner of the giveaway, but first the answers to the trivia questions!


1. What is the name of the starstruck Gryffindor who we meet in the Goblet of Fire film? (Hint: He replaced Colin Creevey... WHY?)
 The only person this could be was the little one named Nigel.  Who knows why they chose to replace Colin but it's a shame. Maybe the actor wasn't available. This kid was just fine, but literally all they had to do was name him Dennis. BAM, everything would have been (sort of) fixed.

2. Which part(s) of her Luna Lovegood costume does Evanna Lynch actually make? Evanna Lynch, master among humans, made her radish earrings, the bracelet that Luna wears to the Slug Club Christmas party, and she drew the concept art for Luna's Gryffindor hat; she wanted it to look like it was eating her head.

3. Why doesn't Daniel Radcliffe wear green contacts in the films? Daniel Radcliffe had, quite unfortunately, an allergic reaction to the contacts, so after one scene of filming they scrapped the green eyes.  Similarly, Emma Watson had buck teeth but she couldn't pronounce things clearly when she was wearing them, so those got scrapped as well.

4. Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Bill Weasley, is related to an actor who plays which character in the films? Domhnall Gleeson is the real life son of Brendan Gleeson actor who plays Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody.

5. The Hogwarts motto is "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus".  What is the english translation? "Never tickle a sleeping dragon."

6. Daniel Radcliffe often used his wand as a drumstick. About how many wands did he brake while filming the series? He broke 80 wands, but I guess that's what happens when you give a kid a stick and expect him(them) to not play with it. ;) 

7. Who is the only person in the series to never have a costume change? Everyone else in the entire series has at least one costume change except Severus Snape.  Alan Rickman only ever wore that fetching black robe attire. Lucky him.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The winner of the $20 Amazon gift card is Christina!



AND there's a bonus winner! Micheline !!! Jaclyn !!! has won a Harry Potter coloring book and some of the book marks I made earlier this month. :D 


Congratulations! I will contact you via email so I can get these prizes to you as soon as possible. Thank you to all who participated in the trivia game; it was great fun reading all your answers. Happy Harry Potter Month to all!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Our Hero: Neville Longbottom

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEVILLE! 


In honor of Neville's birthday, I'm going to share why I love Neville so freaking much! Where to start with Neville? There are so many reasons that Neville is an incredibly important character even if many other characters don't recognize it.  Just the fact that he could have been in Harry's position had Voldemort chose to kill his parents instead of Harry's, is a mark of the kind of wizard Neville is.

Neville is a Gryffindor. The Sorting Hat doesn't make wrong decisions; it puts people where they will flourish.  That means Neville's has courage, chivalry, and determination. And if anyone was still questioning why Neville was sorted into Gryffindor, the sword of Gryffindor puts all that to rest. Dumbledore says it best:"only a true Gryffindor could pull that sword out of the hat."


But way before that, he was proving his awesomeness. I've talked about this a lot, but it will never stop being important. An 11-year-old Neville, who isn't quite sure of himself and definitely doesn't think he's a very capable wizard, stands up to his friends. He is well aware that this might be the reason he has no friends next year, but he tries to stop Harry, Ron and Hermione from sneaking out anyway. That take an awful lot of courage, courage enough to warrant him receiving the 10 points that win Gryffindor the house cup in his first year! Again Dumbledore says it best: "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to your friends."


Let's not forget how incredibly lovable Neville is; he's clumsy and forgetful, but he's genuine. You won't ever find a time when Neville wasn't 100% himself. He got picked on quite a bit when he was younger and don't even get me started on how Snape treated him. ARGGGG. That didn't stop him from being authentic. He doesn't know how to be anyone else.


Neville certainly did not have an easy childhood. His parents are in St. Mungo's; they don't even really know who he is other than a nice boy.  His Gran raised him but she was pretty harsh. Neville talks about his Gran's constant critique and disappointment in him. His family even feared he was a squib at one point. I don't think he had quite a miserable time growing up as Harry, but from the glimpse into his childhood we get, they can't have been easy.  I mean, his uncle tossed him out a window hoping that magic would present itself!  Who does that?


But he's definitely his parent's child. For a long time he had a severe lack of self-worth and self-confidence, and it's because of how he grew up.  I'm sure part of that was living up to his parent's legacy. I think that's the real reason he didn't show signs of magic until the last minute because he didn't believe he could.  But even with all of this learned self-shame, we begin to see signs of the man Neville would become right from the start. He is strong-willed and perseverant, and when people start showing faith in him, he starts to believe that he deserves to be excellent.


"It's high time your grandmother learned to be proud of the grandson she's got, rather than the one she thinks she out to have - particularly after the incident at the ministry" -- McGonagall to Neville, Half-Blood Prince

McGonagall hits it right on the nose. Neville is awesome in his own right, he's surrounded himself with good friends who only want to see him succeed, who don't look at him as incapable, but encourage and allow him to grow and learn and become a great man. His solid foundation in what is good and right help him to be bolder and more outgoing. That's when we get the defiant Neville who, along with Ginny and Luna, runs the DA once Harry, Ron, and Hermione take off.


On side note: Even though it's not in the books, I kind of love the idea that Neville and Luna are are together for a little while. I know they ultimately end up marrying different people but they compliment each other. I imagine their break up would be amicable and that they'd still be friends today. 


I could go on for ages and I know I haven't talked about everything, but I'm going to leave it here. Neville Longbottom is the man that all men should want to be. He is courageous, kind, intelligent, headstrong, passionate, and fiercely loyal. He has his faults and acknowledges them. He is under estimated by his foes and celebrated by his friends and family. He is Neville Longbottom.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Notable Quotable: J.K. Rowling (#128)

Rowling has a way with words, some of them bring me to tears, some make me laugh, and some make me think deeply about the world I live in. Everyone could do with this reminder, especially right now, don't you think?





"We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving. 
     --Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#85)



hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

How did Quirrell add to the overall storyline?

Quirrell did a number of things for the storyline and character development of others. One of the most important things he did, though, was teach Harry that evil doesn't look like big ugly trolls and sour faced aunts. It can look like the most unassuming, kind professor. Appearances can deceive in the grandest of ways.

Qurriell also marked the beginning of Voldemort's attempt to rise again. He was a parasite to Quirrell and it's a testament to either his weak constitution or Voldemort's incredible persuasive voice that  Quirrell allowed Voldemort to possess him in such a weakened state. Quirrell was a unfortunate casualty of Voldemort's greed and obsession, but he entered willingly into that contract and made it possible for Voldemort to get close to Harry again.




Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Notable Quotable: J.K. Rowling (#127)

So many of the quotes from Harry Potter transfer over into the real world. I mean this one right here couldn't be more true, especially right now.  There will always be something, or someone who wants to do evil, but that doesn't mean the good should give up. It means we've got to try twice as hard to put more good in the world. These words, spoken to Harry so long ago resonated with him, as much as anything else helped form who he became.





"It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated... 
     --Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Harry Potter Book Editions

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

One of the things I love most about books is that they look different in different countries and often from hardback to paperback. There can be any different number of printings and editions. I'm going to share with you today my favorite Harry Potter editions.  Let's go!



The American Hardback edition:
This set holds a dear place in my heart. These were the books I used when I first read Harry Potter. The cover art is amazing and there's all sorts of secrets built into each design. They're beautiful.



The UK Hardback edition:
I also really enjoy this set. It's kind of iconic. I know so many people that see these covers when they're picturing the books they've read. I love how different they are from US edition. In fact, I plan on purchasing a copy of one these books in this edition when I'm in London!




15 Year Anniversary US Paperback Box Set:
I love that the spines of these books make up Hogwarts. The covers themselves are also incredibly beautiful. I absolutely especially love Sorcerer's Stone in this edition. I like that Hagrid is front and center on that book. 


Special Edition House Trunk Box Set: 
If you ever wished that you could get all the Harry Potter books in a matching set according to which house you're in, you are in for a treat.  This box set is really cool because the box itself is shaped like a trunk for easy traveling. I am quite partial to the Hufflepuff set, but above is the Gryffindor set. They look beautiful!


Audiobook Edition:
I don't know where these came from, but I love the new audiobook covers. They are simplistic without being dull. Each image has a reason for being mentioned on the covers, and they all impact the story greatly, first time readers just don't know yet. They are sharp!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Discussion: Hagrid vs the Chamber of Secrets

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

I just finished rereading and watching Chamber of Secrets and I can't help but be outraged for Hagrid. This book, possibly more than any other in the series, shows us the tip of the iceberg of the injustice and corruption in the Ministry of Magic.

I just want to take a moment to share/explain how appalled I am at Fudge's actions and the authority in general. 

First, this is the book where we find out exactly why Hagrid isn't allowed to have a wand and why he was expelled.  In an unfortunate set of circumstances, Tom Riddle placed the blame for the Chamber of Secrets being opened on Hagrid. But let's think about this for a minute. We now know that Tom Riddle was the one who actually opened the Chamber of Secrets, so Tom must have been consciously keeping an eye out for a possible scapegoat, should the need arise.  
And unfortunately for Hagrid, he loves animals of all shapes and sizes, regardless of how dangerous the creature could be. He would be a perfect candidate for Tom to shove the blame.  And yes, Hagrid probably shouldn't have been raising an acromantula in the castle, but at that point the spider wasn't even fully grown, so how much damage could it has really caused.

The simple fact that Hagrid got expelled on Tom's word that he saw Hagrid with the monster that had be petrifying and killing people was enough for Hagrid to be expelled is ludicrous! If you recall, Aragog fled to the forrest after Tom caught them, so there's no actual proof of the monster other than one boy's word. We don't know Hagrid's behavioral record, but you can bet it's nowhere near expulsion. 



And for that matter, how would a acromantula have harmed any of the students without leaving puncture marks somewhere, seeing as his venom lies in his fangs, and nowhere do they mention that the victims had puncture wounds. I mean come on people use some common sense!

Isn't it quite convenient that the boy who had just asked to stay at Hogwarts over the summer holiday just so happens to come across the perpetrator that very night. I mean, come on Professor Dippet, I know you're trying to save face and keep the school open, but really you didn't think that was suspicious? Instead, he took Tom at his word, expelled Hagrid, gave Tom an award and the school got to stay open.  This is all swell, but it was at the expense of a 13-year-old boy! I mean, really!?
And that's probably not the first time Hagrid was unjustly blamed for something. Flash forward 50 years and once again, he's getting the brunt of the authorities fears and presumptuousness. After so many attacks, the ministry decides they need to do something to appease the populous, even though they are no closer to figuring out the cause than they were the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened.  So what do they do?  The minister of magic, Cornelius Fudge, personally comes to "visit" Hagrid at his hut.

"Yet again, Cornelius, I tell you that taking Hagrid away will not help in the slightest," said Dumbledore. His blue eyes were full of a fire Harry had never seen before.
"Look at it from my point of view," said Fudge, fidgeting with his bowler. "I'm under a lot of pressure. Got to be seen to be doing something. If it turns out it wasn't Hagrid, he'll be back and no more said. But I've got to take him. Got to. Wouldn't be doing my duty--"
"Take me?" said Hagrid, who was trembling "Take me where?"
"For a short stretch only," said Fudge, not meeting Hagrid's eyes. "Not a punishment, Hagrid, more a precaution. If someone else is caught, you'll be let out with a full apology--"

Oh really, Fudge. That's a great strategy. Can't make any headway on who's behind the attacks? Just blame to same person as last time, even though there is no evidence whatsoever this time, not even a false witness, that he had anything to do with it. It seems that a human's wellbeing is acceptable collateral damage to Fudge.

Rather, Fudge was "under pressure" to do something, so he thought, as Minister of Magic, it was appropriate for him to use his authority to take Hagrid to Azkaban -- the worst kind of prison -- on the premise of "it's just a precaution." A precaution would be putting people in place to keep at Hogwarts to keep an eye on Hagrid as well the kids, to protect the students there.  A precaution would be restricting Hagrid's access to the castle.  A precaution would be questioning him about the series of events.  A precaution is NOT taking someone straight to prisoner without any due process because their prior history.

The Ministry of Magic needs to do better.  And frankly, I'm not upset in the least that Fudge eventually resigns and when all is said and done, Kingsley Shacklebolt becomes the Minister of Magic.

What are your thoughts on the Ministry of Magic and their scapegoats?


Fandom Mashup (#24)

Hosted by Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Micheline has come up with a great idea and I can't pass up the opportunity to participate.  Each week Micheline will pose a unique fiction scenario and I will choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to help me with the situation.  It's going to be quite fun, I can already tell!

Scenario: You've been busy traveling into other realms in your adventurings - which characters are you hoping to run into?

Logan/Wolverine (X-men) - He may act like he couldn't care less about anyone and everyone, he's a big ball of compassion. He's very heavily guarded, but when he decides he cares for someone, he'll do anything and everything to protect them. Plus, he's just so freaking awesome.


Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter) - My best friend forever and ever. He's so kind and generous and brave. He's 100% himself, because he doesn't know how not to be himself.  I'd love to meet him on his ground and hear all about what he likes most. I have a feeling he'd give an amazing tour of Hogwarts.


Leo Valdez (Heroes of Olympus) - Aside from the fact that he's incredibly funny, he also has a bronze dragon, Festus.  I mean, who wouldn't want to meet him! I'd love a ride on Festus and to see Camp Halfblood.  Plus, I'd love to hear all about his adventures outside the books.
Source
Delilah Dirk (Delilah Dirk) - Okay she is one of the most entertain, badass, ne'er-do-well in recent history. She's always on adventures of the Indiana Jones variety and undoubtedly finds herself in trouble. I'd love to go on one of her adventures and live to tell the tale.


Mr. Penumbra (Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore) - He's so strange and weird even his employees don't quite know what to make of him.  I'd love to pick his mysterious mind and learn all about his illusive activities. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Harry Potter Behind the Scenes Trivia (Giveaway!)

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

In honor of Harry Potter Month, I've been rewatching the films and I thought it would be fun to have a behind the scene quiz game. (With a prize! WhoopWhoop!)

BEHIND THE SCENES TRIVIA

Rules are as follows:

  • These facts come from various sources including my brain (it retains all sorts of interesting facts), the Harry Potter Studio Tour audioguide, Buzzfeed articles, and IMDB. I'm aware that these are not all 100% verified source materials, but the facts have all been confirmed by a secondary source (interviews, books, J.K. Rowling herself...)
  • There is a giveaway at the end for a $20 gift card.
  • The giveaway runs July 23 to July 30 at midnight (EST), I'll be announcing the winner on July 31 as we celebrate Harry and Jo's birthdays!
  • Answer the questions to your best ability. Please enter your answers in the rafflecopter so other's can't see them. Don't worry, you don't have to answer them right to win. If need be, guessing will get you an entry. 
  • Please be participating in Harry Potter Month in some fashion, thanks. If you're not currently and you'd like to join, go to Micheline's or Faith's posts about it to find out more. (I think you have until July 24th to sign up. *plugs Hufflepuff because I want friends.*)

I'll provide the answers to the questions when I announce the winner.

Have Fun! ^__^

1. What is the name of the starstruck gryffindor who we meet in the Goblet of Fire film? (Hint: He replaced Colin Creevey... WHY?)

2. Which part(s) of her Luna Lovegood costume does Evanna Lynch actually make?

3. Why doesn't Daniel Radcliffe wear green contacts in the films?

4. Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Bill Weasley, is related to an actor who plays which character in the films?

5. The Hogwarts motto is "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus".  What is the english translation?

6. Daniel Radcliffe often used his wand as a drumstick. About how many wands did he brake while filming the series?

7. Who is the only person in the series to never have a costume change?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hogwarts: A Visual Tour


Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  What a magical place it truly is; I'd like to share with you some of the amazing things I saw there! Every little detail is extraordinary!




HOGSMEADE



THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS

A horseless carriage (there's a thestral there, I just can't see it.)

GRINGOTS




DIAGON ALLEY


TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD
The Fountain of Fair Fortune
The Three Brothers
That's just a little snippet of my adventures at Hogwarts.  I hope that everyone gets to experience it someday!

Friday, July 22, 2016

New Discoveries at Hogwarts

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!


While I was galavanting in the Wizarding World, I learn a bunch of interesting things about the park. It's amazing what people will tell you, if you ask. I wanted to share some of them with you!

1) There are employees walking around in house robes everywhere at Hogwarts, I've always wondered if they were assigned which house they're wearing in order to have an even divide of house robes among the employees.  So I asked one this year.  She said they get to choose the house they're in, so the robes they're wearing reflect the actual houses of the employees. And surprisingly, the house division is pretty even, I saw at least four of each house in my rounds at Hogwarts.  It's pretty awesome that they get to choose!

2) On ride to the airport home (tears for days), our driver was talking about the long lines at Universal on how speed passes are a godsend. None of the main Harry Potter rides have speed pass entrances though. I just assumed it was because they were some of the most popular rides at the park, so there wasn't need to put one in yet. Apparently, that's not it at all. J.K. Rowling herself requested that the Harry Potter rides not have speed passes because she wanted everyone to be able to experience them, whether or not they could afford speed passes. I absolutely love this! She's always thinking always aware, and it's even better because she knows what it's like to not be able to afford things. Bless J.K. Rowling!

3) I don't smoke. I don't like smoking. However, one of the people I went to the Wizarding World with smokes, so she stumbled upon this bit of information. There used to be a smoking zone right outside Hogsmeade at the tail end of the Lost Continent. Universal was fine with that placement and didn't have any reason to change it, but the powers that be, financiers or someone higher up, demanded that the smoking area be moved away from Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.  They did not like the idea of it being so close to where so many kids would be wandering and exploring. (Although, you could argue that all of Universe falls under that category.) Consequently, Universal moved the smoking area further away from anything Harry Potter.  And that's why you won't find one in or near either Harry Potter section at Universal Orlando.

4) When you're in the Hogshead grabbing a firewhiskey or butterbeer at the bar, if you go over to the stairs near the far end of the bar you can hear a housemaid talking to herself upstairs.  She's mumbling about messy guests. It's really quite cool to listen and look for all the little details in the Hogs Head and the Three Broomsticks!

5) I overheard a Hogsmede store owner telling a little girl about some of the interactive wand areas of the park.  She was asking about why some of them didn't work.  He told her that sometimes the magic goes a bit haywire and putters out in certain areas.  She asked him why they didn't have a sign at the particular one we were near.  He told her that they often have to tell guests because when they put signs in the windows, most people don't read them and they look silly waving their wands at nothing.  But he did say he gets to laugh at them for looking ridiculous. It was quite a cute interaction and made me chuckle. Everyone is so good at staying in character!

Notable Quotable: J.K. Rowling (#126)


I love Sirius Black, and I'm still heart-broken by his death.  He wasn't the best father figure in Harry's life, too reckless, but he gave Harry so many nuggets of wisdom.  This is one of my favorites.




"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are. 
     --Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix