Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This past weekend I went and saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Now, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.  I’ve read every book and seen each movie probably seventeen trillion times.  But when J.K. Rowling announced the trilogy (now a five-party movie series) of Fantastic Beasts, I was skeptical.  I mean, the “book” that the films are based off is basically a novelty item for fans that lists out a bunch of made up magical creatures – there is no plot or story in it.  I wasn’t exactly sure how Rowling could make it into a multi-part movie franchise.  But, being the loyal fan I am, I went to see it.

And, my gosh, what a good plan that was.

The film tells the story of Newt Scamander, magical zoologist and researcher for the Ministry of Magic.  Newt travels from London to America in a quest to release a beast he discovered back into its natural habitat in Arizona (that bit was confusing to me too).  Along his travels, his magical briefcase full of all the beasts he discovers is opened by a muggle (or, as the Americans apparently refer to the, No-Mag) and the beasts are lost in New York.  Newt quickly is joined by said muggle along with an ex-auror and her sister to track the animals down, along with stopping Grindelwald (the Voldemort of the ’40s).  The film has the right amount of action – will make you laugh and cry, it’s such a great film.  You don’t need to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy it.


There I was on July 31, standing outside the book store, rushing in to  get “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”  While it occurs twenty years after the seventh book (it actually starts at the epilogue) and it’s not a novel but a play, I was ecstatic to finally be reading a new Harry Potter story.  So there I was, first in line (it actually kind of was serendipitous…I didn’t camp out or anything, I just showed up expecting loads of other people in line and no one was there), ready to make my purchase, my inner child was squealing.  It felt like I traveled through time back to when the books were being released.  I then raced home and opened my copy, savoring the moment, wondering if this truly would be the last time I’d read a Harry Potter story for the first time.


I haven’t finished “Cursed Child” – I just started the fourth act, I’m savoring it- but so far you can tell J.K. Rowling didn’t write the play completely by herself.  Apparently she helped come up with the idea, but it was really written by Jack Thorne, but it feels a little like a bad fanfic.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible – any Harry Potter is better than none – and it grabs my attention and it’s very fun/easy to ready, it’s just not the usual J.K. Rowling I’d expect.  I mean, in her seven novels, J.K. Rowling thought everything through.  For instance, I read an article once about how Professor Trelawney in HP3 says that if thirteen dine together, the first to rise is the first to die.  Then in later books, there are dinners where thirteen people dine together and the first person to rise was the first to die (Sirius, Dumbledore, and Lupin).  I haven’t actually gone through and checked to see if this is true, but it’s something J.K. Rowling would do: she puts so much minor detail and attention in it, that every time you read it you get something different out of it.  However, “Cursed Child” seems to lack this continuity.

Hermione-Granger-harry-potter-37266338-250-250Not to give anything away, but, for instance, in “Cursed Child” everyone refers to Voldemort as Voldemort.  Everyone.  Not just Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  All the people who, in the books, were too afraid to use his name all of a sudden could use it.  Yes twenty years have past, but in the books twenty years past after Voldemort first vanished after killing Harry’s parents and they still called him “You-Know-Who.”  What’s more, everyone refers to Malfoy as “Draco” (his first name).  It’s so bizarre.  For seven books he was “Malfoy,” and then all of a sudden he’s “Draco.”  There are just moments where I sit back and scratch my head and think, “This isn’t right.”

I will say, though, that I thought reading the play would curb my desire to rush off to London to see the play.  It, however, probably did the opposite: so much action and magic happens in the play, I’m so curious how they perform it on stage.   I mean, to see it performed would be awesome…I hope they film it for those of us who can’t make it to London.

Anyway, I don’t write this to dissuade anyone from reading “Cursed Child.”  It’s great to be back in the wizarding world and checking up on our old friends, but be prepared for it to be different. Let’s hope, though, that this inspires J.K. Rowling (and only J.K. Rowling) to write more Harry Potter books!


Jim Dale

I love Harry Potter.  Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been hooked by the books and secretly hoped my letter to Hogwarts would arrive.  But what’s even more magical are the audiobooks.  Jim Dale, the narrator, brings each character to life and it’s simply spectacular.  I mean, he does so many accents and voices that you’d never believe it was one person.  Indeed, I thought the way they recorded the audiobooks was that he would record each character separately.  So he would spend one day only reading Harry’s lines and then he’d spend another just reading Ron’s lines and they’d splice them together.  But then I found the clip below of a reading Jim Dale did and my gosh he can switch through all of them seamlessly.

If you haven’t heard the audiobooks, they are worth the trip to your local library to check them out.

They Didn’t Think it Through

I recently decided to start rereading the Harry Potter novels.  I suppose the eleven year me is still waiting for his letter from Hogwarts, but the grown up me is fascinated by the way J.K. Rowling crafted these stories and each time I read them the more I learn.

I’m currently in the second book where Harry, Ron, and Hermione take the polyjuice potion to investigate if Malfoy is the heir of Slytherin.  As I was reading this part for the umpteenth time, it occurred to me that Harry, Ron, and Hermione really didn’t think their plan through.  Let’s say hypothetically Malfoy was the heir of Slytherin and confessed to the transformed Harry, Ron, and Hermione, there is nothing they could do with that information.  First, they would have no actual proof but Malfoy’s word, which considering his character traits would probably be inflated.  Also, Malfoy’s confession would’ve been, in his mind, to his friends, so they would have to confess to making a dark (and probably illegal) potion, blowing up a cauldron during Potions as a distraction, breaking into Snape’s office and stealing the ingredients, drugging Crabbe and Goyle, stealing Crabbe and Goyle’s clothes (and hair), and probably a ton other things.

On top of that, the three of them decided to split the potion three ways when they should have split it two ways.  Hermione was intending on transforming into Millicent Bulstrode, but given the fact she wasn’t in Malfoy’s inner gang – at least it wasn’t conveyed to us that Millicent and Malfoy were best of friends – it would have been perhaps a bit suspicious that she would be interrogating Malfoy.  From the book we know that Malfoy’s best friends were Crabbe and Goyle and that he told them everything.  If Hermione (as Millicent) strode in the Slytherin common room with Crabbe and Goyle and started asking Malfoy about the Chamber of Secrets it might of come across fishy.  If they then split the potion two ways and had two of them go in as Crabbe and Goyle, then they probably would have had more time with the potion – remember, they ran out of time when they were interrogating Malfoy.

This whole part of the story seems a bit of waste, but I realize why Rowling needed it for her story: it helps defining the characters’ arcs and it’s a twist and turn in the plot.  It’s just, when you think about it, it’s all rather unnecessary because they characters never consider the fact that they could never prove anything.  In the first Harry Potter book, they were in a similar circumstance when they found out about the sorcerer’s stone, but Harry told Ron and Hermione they couldn’t go to Dumbledore until they found enough proof.  But getting an oral confession from Malfoy while using polyjuice potion probably wouldn’t constitute as evidence.

I told all this to my local librarian whom I often discuss Harry Potter with. She listened to it, nodded, and simply said “And yet after how many times you read the books and saw the movie, you’re now starting to realize it?”  Which is quite a fair point.  I probably have read Harry Potter a thousand times and I’m just realizing this minor flaw.  But still, it’s interesting to wonder.

Harry Potter Plot Hole?

I love Harry Potter.  I’ve been a fan from the beginning, particularly because I think the way J.K. Rowling so fluidly crafted the series is unbelievably great.  I mean, remember in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HP5) when they were emptying out Grimmauld Place and they found a locket that couldn’t be opened, and it turned out to be the horcrux they needed to find in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (HP7).  I mean, she had to plan out the entire seven novels before writing them.

But then I started thinking about how in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (HP6) where Harry tried to get in the Room of Requirement to spy on Malfoy, but he couldn’t because he didn’t know exactly what the room would change into for Malfoy.  Like, in the end of HP5, Malfoy and the Inquisitorial Squad could get into the the D.A. meeting room because Marietta Edgecombe told Umbridge about the meetings and how to get in.

So, why, in HP5 can Dobby the house elf get into the D.A. Room of Requirement when he doesn’t know about the D.A. meetings?  Remember, he got in to put up Christmas decorations for Harry, but Harry never told him what they were using the Room of Requirement for.

Just a brainwave I had, and I wanted to put it out there…

Librarians Always Save the Day

I read this article a week or so ago that claimed it could “ruin” Harry Potter for anyone who read it.  Naturally I read it, becoming horrified by it’s content.  It claimed that the wizarding world of Harry Potter didn’t actually exist within the story, but that Harry was basically mentally unstable and actually, want for better word, a troublemaker (if you’ll recall in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Dursleys used this excuse to explain to Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge where Harry went to school).
Now, I’m not a child psychologist and I’m not sure the person who wrote it is one either, but they claimed that something horrific happened in young Harry’s life so that he invented a world where he was the hero.  So, in this case, the Dursleys were actually Harry’s parents, Dudley was Harry’s brother, and Hogwarts was the mental hospital Harry went for treatment.  Basically the whole story was invented by the sick Harry to make him feel better and feel like a hero even though he was a problem child.

Kind of like telling a kid there’s no Santa Claus, right?

I was somewhat annoyed by it because it sort of made sense.  I mean, I wasn’t going to let that one article ruin my love for these books, but I could see their argument.  But then I went to my local library and had a chat with the Children’s Librarian (the same librarian, if you recall a while back, who helped me understand why Harry Potter is classified as a children’s book when it runs such adult themes (read here)).  I explained to her the article and asked for her thoughts.  She mulled it over and finally said, “It’s an interesting argument, except the narrator is written in a third person limited style.  Their argument would make sense if they were writing in the first person, but the narrator would have to be pretty biased.”

Which makes even more sense.  Basically, if Harry were indeed insane, the narrator would have to feed into that delusion.  But there is no arguable way the narrator does this, since the narrator often tells the reader in the series things Harry himself does not even know.  For instance, let’s look at those scenes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone for my British readers) at the beginning where Harry is a baby and asleep when he first arrives at 4 Privet Drive.  There is a lot that happens between Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid that Harry can’t comprehend because he is a baby.  Or at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Frank Bryce is killed by Voldemort (or, actually, I think Wormtail kills him at Voldemort’s orders): the narrator is providing us with Frank Bryce’s thoughts and feelings and details of his death, something Harry could not know.  The narrator is not written in a way, according to the librarian (and which I agree), that could be justified as being unreliable or biased.  Yes it knows Harry’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions, but it’s not enough to say that Harry and the narrator are the same person.

So, therefore, Hogwarts does exist…in one form or another.



Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!!!

I woke up this morning, opened up Twitter, and saw that J.K. Rowling had announced that she is releasing a new installment into the Harry Potter world, entitled “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”  (!!!!).  Boy did that wake me up (!!!!)

Now this isn’t HP8 (sad face), but a play that will be in London next summer.

Rowling went on to tweet that it is not a prequel, but that she won’t say anything more.  I think, based on that, we can deduce that the cursed child is not Harry.  I think this may be our first taste as Harry as an auror and he runs into a cursed child.  Keep in mind, that all the other titles referred to a minor character or object that kind of impacted the whole book, so there’s a chance the cursed child maybe an object/myth/person that impacts how Harry and his friends go about their adventure. Rowling did tweet out a link to a website for more information, which you can read here.  From this website, I learned that Imogen Heap is working on the music, which got me even more excited.  Now there is no indication if they’ll publish the script after the play runs for the masses to read, but I hope they do because we can’t all get to London…I mean, they did publish her Harvard commencement speech, Very Good Lives, as a book (which you should read, it’s very beautiful and inspiring), so there’s a good chance they’ll make the play a book… Boy, 2016 is starting to be an exciting year: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” 2016 Olympics, USA Presidential Race, hopefully T. Swift’s 6th album, and Anna Kendrick is releasing a book of personal essays (which if you follow her on Twitter, it should be hilarious). Now, if you excuse me, I have to go get tickets to the show and book a flight to London for next summer…

J.K. Rowling Still Blows My Mind

I am a huge Harry Potter fan.  Did I wait for my Hogwarts letter to arrive on my eleventh birthday?  Yes.  Am I kind of mad it still hasn’t arrived yet?  Yes.

I think one of the things I love the most about this series is how much J.K. Rowling thought through and planned these books.  I mean, there’s a scene in the fifth book where Harry, Hermione, Sirius, and the Weasleys find a locket that can’t be opened, which ends up being the Horcrux Harry and his friends need to find in the seventh book.  It’s such a small, minor detail, but she tied it all together.

I had read somewhere that Rowling got a lot of her inspiration for spells and names of the characters in Harry Potter from the Latin language.  Like Lupin’s name came from the Latin word lupus, meaning wolf.  So one day I randomly decided to look up what the name Phineas meant.  I was curious as to why she would give Sirius’s ancestor, Phineas Nigellus Black, that name; was it random or on purpose?  Well, apparently “Phineas” is a Hebrew name meaning “oracle,” and Phineas Nigellus Black was the painting that gave information and advice to Harry when Harry was in 12 Grimmauld Place (or when Phineas Nigellus was in Hermione’s purse in book seven), acting like an oracle.

Then, randomly, I ended up on Google translate, and decide to type in “avada kedavra,” the killing curse.  Now, I was assuming it was going to be Latin for something. Except it’s not. According to Google, it’s Estonian meaning “forbidden curses.” Seriously. J.K. Rowling is familiar with the Estonian language (she might not be, but this lady is so seriously smart and talented, I would not put it past her for knowing Estonian). On a side note, I did read that she came up with the term avada kedavra as a play on “abracadabra” and something about using Greek spellings (I kind of skimmed that part of the article…) but what are the chances it means “forbidden curses” in Estonian when in fact avada kedavra is the most forbidden curse in Harry Potter.  My mind is blown and now I kind of want to have tea with Ms. Rowling and discuss how awesome she is…

If I discover anymore mind blowing facts, as I no doubt probably will, I’ll share.


My sister sent me a link to this video.  And it is awesome.

Someone took clips from Harry Potter and set it to the Friends theme, and it’s amazing how perfect it is because they chose clips that emphasized the characters and their friendship.  The line from the song “So no one told you life was gonna be this way” is the cherry on top because Harry didn’t know his life was going to turn out to be what it was, and it really only got better because his friends were there for him.

So, I move that we make Harry Potter a sitcom or television show.  I mean, a lot must’ve happened in the nineteen years between the Battle of Hogwarts and the Epilogue of book seven that could really be showcase.  Can you imagine nineteen seasons of a Harry Potter show?  I’m in heaven.

The Misunderstood Life of Severus Snape

I saw this video where someone put all of Snape’s scenes from the eight Harry Potter films in chronological order of Snape’s life, so it starts off with him as a young child to his death.  And it’s actually pretty clever and shows Snape in a different light.  Instead of seeing him as a bully or arrogant man as we usually do from Harry’s perspective, we see him fall in love with Lily, Harry’s mom, and lose her to Harry’s dad and then death.  Then you see him risk his life trying to protect Harry and his friends.  Tie a rather moving soundtrack that this person added into all of that and the movie is rather moving.  All this perspective is in the books and films, but it’s split across the entire series, so I would overlooked Snape’s actual intentions and believe that he was not truly protecting Harry.