Tag Archives: harry potter

Emotional and Non-Spoilery Reflections on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

I never thought there were so many Harry Potter fans in this forgotten corner of the world! We don’t do midnight book releases or midnight movie premieres, and I’ve never been to a premiere showing of any Harry Potter movies. Before today, that is. And, Merlin’s pants! What an experience it was!

See, after Deathly Hallows and Beedle the Bard came out, some talk began creeping up in my internet HP haunts – questioning whether Harry Potter would stay alive much longer. It was actually a pretty difficult concept for me to grasp because until 4 years ago I had never met an HP fan in the flesh as they say (and I’ve been reading the books for about 11 years now, I think). And even then it was but one friend and I only heard or read about real life HP fun. Harry Potter was always something that was happening inside my head (to use the words from the books). It didn’t mean that it wasn’t real, but it wasn’t truly alive either. Until today, that is. Today I realised that Harry Potter is still very much alive, even in this place.

I went to the premiere showing not expecting much apart from watching the movie, and I was sort of blown away by all the good emotions! Clapping started even before the movie, because someone had the most brilliant idea to sum up what this movie is to HP fans who are obviously in the theatre. Now, it could’ve been a disaster, but it must’ve been a true fan who made that cartoon, because hit right on the mark! – It said that this movie isn’t about finding out who lived or who died or how they managed to pull it off, because the people watching it read the books multiple times, it’s about celebrating the series we love and visualising our favourite moments (and frowning at the things that are done wrong in the movie…).

The rest was brilliant too! Actually, I can’t be sure about the movie itself until I have seen it at least two more times (but it can only change between brilliant and awesome or any other such word), but the celebration was amazing! One could’ve thought that we were watching a live performance – there was so much clapping at all the best book moments (and all the best moments that were not in the book). I think, it started with THE Ron and Hermione’s kiss, and after that ovations would erupt like every five minutes. There also was so much laughter! Having cried pretty much all through the second part of DH when I read it for the first time, I expected to cry watching the movie too. But the experiences were polar opposites. Now I come to think of it, I guess, reading Deathly Hallows indeed felt like the end for me – I mean, how much longer could Harry’s life have been sustained inside me alone? However, today, in real life, I saw that he was living in so many other people! He won’t disappear anywhere any time soon, I should think. I’m not so sad that the movies are done, I’m just happy that I got to experience something like this and that I found out how much alive Harry Potter still is! True, perhaps, Harry won’t be blasting his way out of Gringott’s and such so much any more during events like midnight book releases and movie premieres, but knowing Harry, I think, he likes the quiet of reading the books on a rainy day or discussions how awesome Neville is over a cup of tea.

Realising that this is probably not very coherent (but I want to preserve the emotions of the premiere experience),

Noodle.

BFFs on Screen and in Print

*** Spoiler Alert! This post includes spoilers for last week’s Glee and Lie To Me season finale, and includes details about some other older films and books***

I wanted to think about something beautiful tonight, so I turned on the part of the latest Glee episode where Kurt confesses to Blaine that he thought Blaine wanted to ask him out and not that strange guy from the store, and then Blaine admits that he only pretends he knows what he’s doing. And I thought how nice their friendship was, that they were both able to tell things to each other that were obviously difficult to admit or say out loud. Then I suddenly realised that in most of the books I read and films or shows I watch, my favourite thing about them are the beautiful friendships. So, I decided to count ten of my favourite fictional friendships (some of them with some delightful angst and romantic undertones). In no particular order, because, really, how can you put a number on friendship?

Harry and Hermione (from Harry Potter books, by JK Rowling). I think, it’s beautiful in its simplicity, for the lack of a better way to put it. I mean, people both in the books and in the fandom always think there’s more to it, but I think, that if it wasn’t pointed out to them in Goblet of Fire by the Daily Prophet, Harry and Hermione would have never even thought of it, and I love how little the whole deal affected their relationship. Because there honestly is just that – true friendship.

Harry and Sally (from film When Harry Met Sally). This is one of those with romantic undertones which actually become the main colour of the relationship in the end. This one has the cuteness I love in the situation when totally opposite people become friends. It’s so fun to watch how they clash at first and gradually actually become attached to those annoying details.

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (from Sherlock Holmes stories and numerous screen adaptations). This was actually the very first fictional friendship that stood out to me in my life. It might not seem like an equal partnership at first glance; Holmes is definitely a dominating personality, but it’s Doctor Watson who tells the stories, so it’s really his voice we hear. They may not express their feelings or anything like that, but each knows that the other would save his life.

Cal Lightman and Gillian Foster (TV series Lie To Me). Now, this one has some serious romantic angst going on and it’s a huge part of this friendship’s charm: you can see two best friends and business partners, who seemingly are also very much in love (well, at least now we know for sure that this is true on Lightman’s part), and apparently don’t quite know what to do about that.

Kurt and Blaine (TV series Glee). Well, I already pretty much covered that in the beginning of this post. At first it seemed that this was going to be a sort of mentor-student relationship, but I guess now it’s clear that both of these boys are pretty clueless about how to handle romance and stuff – and I like that the writers decided to point that out, it gives new tones to the relationship. They both have a lot to learn and I can’t wait to see how this relationship develops.

At this point I notice the apparent lack of female-female friendships in my list, but none really come to mind, so if anyone knows any books, films or TV series featuring a beautiful friendship between female characters, let me know, I’d love to check them out.

Drey and Dan (from film Half Nelson). This one falls into the category of highly questionable morals, being a friendship (for the lack of a better word) between a drug-addicted teacher and one of his female students who is somehow connected to a gang or something. However, I love this film from an artistic point and it’s all about the friendship.

Daniel and Karen (from film Love Actually). The beauty of this one is not very ‘visible’ but that’s a big part of why I like it so much. In the beginning of the film, Daniel calls Karen, because he literally has nobody else to talk to. It seems that they’re completely honest and tell each other everything.

Emma and Mr Knightley (from Emma, by Jane Austen). Again, this evolves from friendship to love, but it’s the bickering unaware-of-stronger-feelings stage of it that I love most.

Abby Sciuto and Jethro Gibbs (TV series NCIS). This isn’t your conventional frienship, it’s actually more of a father-daughter relationship, but it wins in cuteness.

And I also just realise now that all the friendships in this list are pairs. That’s not to say that I don’t think a wonderful thing is possible among more than two people. But when you take more than two friends, every two you take have slightly different dynamics.

Rory and Lane (TV series Gilmore Girls). Finally! Two girls best friends. Best friends since kindergarten, they may fight sometimes, but ultimately they can trust each other no matter what. And I like that they are just always sort of there, together, no need to make a deal out of it.

Christmas in November?

Can anyone tell me where November has gone? I remember what happened in September, what was up in October, but I can’t figure out this month. I mean, it’s not like I participated in NaNoWriMo (total admiration to those who are doing it, though!) or worked a lot on my thesis project. I just had midterms… Wait. Six midterms in three weeks. Um… That must be how November passed me by. And I’m actually very glad that it’s pretty much over, though, ’cause I had the worst case of seasonal depression in my life and, as a result, a lot of very gloomy ideas to write about. The only positive side about it is that I used all will power that I had to study for those midterms and couldn’t be bothered to do much else, writing included. That’s actually the reason of the fairly random nature of this post – I don’t want to linger on those depressive thoughts anymore. That’s what my mum always tells me, and she knows this stuff: when it’s not any serious issues one should deal with or a simple case of ‘I miss sunshine!’, it’s best to look for alternative means to bring light into one’s life. Like playing Darren Criss singing ‘Teenage Dream’ over and over, or watching ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, or solving differential equations (to each their own, and I pick all of the above).

I think, US folks are pretty smart because they have Halloween and Thanksgiving – two nice holidays to brighten their autumn, and what do we have in this corner of the world? Just All Saints Day to start November with when we commemorate everyone who died since, like, forever. I mean, I understand that it’s important, it’s just that I personally always get too invested in these things, so to speak. Add the darkness and some wayward virus which decides to latch onto me and what you get is not a pretty sight.

However, I think, it’s kind of amazing how quickly I got over the November glooms. My theory is that it’s something to do with snow we’ve been getting little by little since yesterday. I woke up today and everything was white. And there’s just nothing quite like walking in undisturbed snow or being surrounded by trees gingerly holding the white fluff on their branches. Did I mention that I love snow?

I also love that now November is pretty much over, I can start officially waiting for Christmas. I’m going to watch Love Actually for the first time this season which is how I mark the start of “my Christmas season”. Do you do anything special to start “your Christmas season”?

Wondering why this a little cacophonous jazz stuff is making me feel better as well,

Noodle.

Choices, Anyone? (Couple of Thoughts on ‘My Sister’s Keeper’)

So that’s midterm time for you. I haven’t had time for anything but studying or staring at a fixed point in front of me, my brain fried from the excessive information intake, for three weeks or so… Actually, that’s not entirely true. I found time to read a book. Actually, I couldn’t help it. It sort of happened – I love when people say that something “sort of happened” or something like that – I always find it kind of funny, how can something just happen, but then it happens to me and I totally understand. So, here’s what happened.

I was really distraught after one particularly nasty midterm and decided to do some shopping therapy. So I went into a book shop. I know, not exactly your usual choice for shopping therapy, but that’s what I felt like doing at the time. I had my eye on a few books for some time, but it was something unexpected that caught my eye. Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper. Paperback, original English version (I don’t read original versions much, except for Harry Potter and Jane Austen, but I somehow didn’t felt like reading a translation of this one). Of course, I’d heard about the book (and the movie), I knew that it was about a girl who has cancer or something. I opened it and read the first page… And anyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled should stop reading here (yeah, a Harry Potter fan habit). Proceed at your own risk.

So, I read the Prologue. There this girl is telling how she once tried to kill her sister, but their dad came in and stopped her (by the way, anyone who’s read this book – which sister’s memory do you think the Prologue is? ‘Cause I’m rather confused). That got me. I don’t exactly why. Or maybe I know. It was the dad. I like when there’s a nice / interesting dad / father figure in a story. I bought it. And that’s how it happened. I took it out on the bus home and had to tear myself from it every time I needed to do something like work, eat or study. I finished it about 36 hours after I bought it, at 2 a.m. The feverish haste I was reading it, drinking in every word, reminded me of how I used to read Harry Potter books as they were just coming out. My Sister’s Keeper is pretty much nothing like Harry Potter, of course, but they seem to have had the same sucking-in effect on me.

Actually, now I come to think about it, there’s also a theme both stories explore – the theme of choices. They are so different about the way they deal with it, and I love it in both stories. In Harry Potter, everything depends on Harry’s mother choosing to die for him and later Harry chooses to die and by doing so saves everyone. In My Sister’s Keeper, Anna is fighting for the right of choosing to stop saving her sister (though everything turns out to be rather more complicated than that), but in the end she doesn’t get that choice anyway – fate (or whatever) takes it away from her, and her organs are used to save her sister. When I finished the book, I was really frustrated about that. My mum always says that you do what your heart tells you (or what you can or whatever) and in the end everything works out just as it should, and I guess I agree (from my limited life experience), but it just sucks when that “should” is not in your favour, or in this case, not in Anna’s favour.

Part of the reason why I was so annoyed with the ending, I think, was that all throughout the book I didn’t like Kate (the sick sister) very much. And then it occurred to me that up until the Epilogue we don’t actually get to hear Kate’s point of view. Even though the book sort of focuses on her illness, all of it (apart from the aforementioned Epilogue) is told from other people’s point of view. I think that’s kind of brilliant decision made by the author, actually – that everyone seems so focused on this girl, but they don’t really pay attention to what her needs are, just what her illness needs, so to speak.

It’s been a while since any book has gripped me so much that I actually want to talk about it in detail, only for that I need to reread it again.

Missing high-school lit class,

Noodle.

Dreams, Goals and Quantum Physics

Funny things those dreams. They say a dream without a goal isn’t worth anything, but I think I may have to disagree – to a certain extent at least. I’ve loved dreaming since ever I can remember. And most of the time, those dreams are just dreams. Dreams of impossible things, stories happening to other people. Or are they really impossible? And what does Quantum Physics have to do with this?

There was once this brilliant mathematician named Hugh Everett. He chose to try and work out some of the most puzzling things in Quantum Mechanics. He wanted to figure out the problem of measuring the state of a quantum particle which, until measured is in superposition of two states, but when a scientist decides to measure it, he always gets one of the positions. The most well-known example is Schroedinger’s cat: if we have a cat in a box, we don’t know whether it’s alive or dead until we open the box, and Schroedinger proposed that until we do so, the cat is BOTH alive and dead, but once the box is opened we can only see a dead cat OR a living cat. Everett proposed that at the point when we measure the state of a particle (or open the box with the cat) is where the universe (or rather its wave function, but never mind that) splits and we get two universes existing parallel. Similarly, whenever we have to pick one from a few options, every choice makes a parallel universe. What we get is an infinite number of worlds. And if there is an infinite number of them, then everything must happen at least once. So when you dream or think of something, somewhere sometime in the multiverse it exists. And how cool is that? Say, I dream that I am a witch and I just got my letter from Hogwarts, then somewhere sometime a version of me is probably getting her letter and setting off from Platform 9 and ¾ (why yes, I’m geeky – and proud).

However, while I find “tapping” into parallel worlds cool on its own, it probably doesn’t have any substantial benefit. But there is one other thing which I realised just a couple of days ago and which, to me, validates all the time I’ve spent dreaming. I was thinking about what I dreamed of when I was a kid. First of all, when I was a kid I dreamed that I would never have to grow up, which I guess just shows that I had a very nice childhood (thank you, Mum and Dad!). When I was about 12, I really liked history and I started dreaming of how cool it would be to become a scientist and find out why dinosaurs became extinct. Later on, my interest in dinosaurs faded, and I went through a phase of dreaming of becoming a designer. However, three days in an art school were enough to convince me that I didn’t really want to be an artist. All the while, however, I continued to enjoy studying science and, while my favourite subject changed, the dream of becoming a scientist remained. When the time came to decide what I want to study at university, without thinking too much, I knew that I wanted to be a scientist (no other possibilities worth considering even occurred to me) and I naturally went for the subjects I enjoyed at school the most. And the thing I realised the other day is that, hey, I AM studying biophysics (which combines all of my favourite subjects) to become a scientist! I’m even already doing research and stuff. How cool is that? The dream that I’ve had since I was 12 years old is actually coming true!

So, my point is that as long as you have some will and are ready to work a bit for something, you never know when one of your dreams will become a goal and with some effort even come true.

Still dreaming on, I am

Noodle.

Imaginary Idols

I have a couple of things to confess tonight. First, I love many books and many movies and way too many TV shows. Second, I love making lists. To-do lists, pro/con lists, and the like (it’s how I keep the hang on my life and free my mind from having to remind myself constantly about things I have to do). However, not usually lists of my favourite things, mostly because I tend to change my mind about them so often and other times I can’t even decide. Also, lately, thinking about grad schools and what I would like to do in the future has led me to think about people I admire. Rather strange jump, but what can I do – my mind sometimes works on its own. Anyway, all these things need to be connected, and they will do just that in the form of a list of fictional female characters that I admire the most from books, movies and TV. I know I know – admiring a fictional character may be dangerous, as fiction is, well, not real and that can lead one to do stupid things. But I think I have a tight enough grip on reality and over my life I’ve been forced to dethrone so many real people I admired. So often I choose fictional heroes, because I can imagine them as I want and they can’t disappoint me. I’ve chosen female characters tonight, because I’m, well, a girl, but finding female role models has always been hard for me for some reason. I could count many intelligent and cool men I admire, both fictional and real, but coming up with admirable women is way more difficult.

Disclaimer: just like pretty much all lists of favourite things that I make this is by no means definitive or final list. I can remember someone I’ve forgotten or change my mind as soon as I’m done writing this.

#10 Margarita (Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakhov)

She was the first fictional woman that ever left an impression to me. Sure, her relationship with her lover may be a little dysfunctional, but I love that for once it’s the woman who saves her loved one, and not the other way around, even though I do love a good save-the-princess story, but I admire and want to be a sort of woman who can fight.

#9 Matty Crompton (Angels and Insects, the movie, but she shouldn’t be that different in the book)

Disregarding some weirdness and stuff, what I find is a great scientific mind and enough courage to pursue it.

#8 Katherine Watson (Mona Lisa Smile, movie).

I always admire a good teacher, also someone working to get to her goal as long as it takes and not afraid to live in an unconventional sort of way.

#7 Elisabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)

Cliché, I know, but I can’t help it (even though she isn’t my favourite character in the book). I mean, she’s THE Lizzy admired by pretty much every girl who reads Pride and Prejudice. Although, admittedly, she’s prejudiced and somewhat too proud.

#6 Sophie Deveraux (Leverage, TV)

So she’s a criminal, but she’s one of the good guys. She’s excellent at getting people to do what she wants (something I’d like to do sometimes too).

#5 Gillian Foster (Lie To Me, TV)

She’s good at what she does, and how cool is it – seeing so many things just listening and observing people. If it wasn’t for her, the Lightman Group would be working out of a cardboard box. I also love the naive and happy side about her (I have that too and I hope it doesn’t disappear).

#4 Hermione Granger (Harry Potter books, by JK Rowling)

I used to deny my being in so many ways just like her, but coming to think of it – she’s clever, she’s brave, and she’s got a heart even bigger than her brain, which is saying something. And after she works out her thing with sticking to the rules so much, she’s almost too close to perfect.

#3 Trinity (The Matrix movies)

She cracked, well, I don’t know what exactly, but Neo sounded seriously impressed. She’s also courageous. She can jump over buildings. And she looks way cool in black leather.

#2 Irena Adler (from Sherlock Holmes stories, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

The woman outsmarted Sherlock Holmes himself! If I could do that, my life would be complete.

#1 River Song (Doctor Who, TV)

What can I say – the woman is just cool. She has smarts, she has spunk. She can get out of prison. She is an archaeology professor (when I was in fifth grade, I wanted to be an archaeologist, too). She has this mystery thing working really well. She helped the Doctor save the world. And she graffitted the oldest rock in the universe. ‘Nuff said.

Now, who have I forgotten?