My friends and I began a vlogging team that cataloged the lives of Hogwarts students. Here are the introduction videos for all three of them, myself included. There is also a short film we did as these characters, which I intend to post soon. Enjoy. Me: Tim McFall: Anna Brisbin: What did you think? This was actually […]
Category Archives: Harry Potter
A week from now, I will be standing outside a theatre sporting a batman mask, awaiting the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. Some of you naysayers may ask why get pumped up over this version of the Batman. Honestly, it’s all I ever wanted, and that this version came in film– I am stunned. It’s not that I don’t like Batman from the comics. I love every single type of Batman, down to the Adam West TV reincarnation. I really appreciate Frank Miller’s Batman trilogy and am currently reading some of the New 52 Batman comics (Batman, Batman: Detective Series, Batman and Robin!!!).
But honestly, I honestly appreciate Chris Nolan’s vision of Batman; it has not hindered but rather greatly bolstered Batman’s image in my mind. Why are Nolan’s films so awesome? Let’s review why so that when July 20th comes, we can storm the theatre as wildly as Bane’s cronies.
1.) Film Version
Besides I suppose animated films, we have never had a particularly great Batman film. Mostly because Joel Schmauer is an idiot. And yes, I really do enjoy Batman: The Movie from 1966. It had some fantastically funny actors in it, and the camp is unbelievably– well, it was done on purpose. Turn now to 1997’s Batman and Robin. There’s a huge difference.
Tim Burton’s Batman was pretty decent, but honestly, I haven’t watched it since I was ten. At ten, I thought everything I saw was cinematic gold, and I hated Titanic (except for that one scene, you know, because I was ten). Maybe I didn’t have the best judgement in film.
Nolan did away with camp altogether, focusing instead on the stories being told. This was a trend that has been going on in comic books since the 1970s but never truly translated to film until Batman Begins.
2.) New Bane
Now, I’ll be honest as I am still fairly new to comic books that I had no idea who Bane was. I expected perhaps The Riddler or The Penguin, but boy-howdy, am I glad this guy came along. He not only trumps Batman in brawn but maybe even in brain.
Like everyone else, I researched him and OMG!!!! I don’t want to ruin what might happen, but it could be potentially awesome. I am quite stoked for Tom Hardy too who I have grown to like.
Also, it is a huge improvement from the last cinematic version of Bane.
3.) The Story Ends
Now, this is my favorite point. Supposedly, if Chris Nolan isn’t a jerk liar, the story ends with this movie. Batman’s story ends. Now, that’s not to say we can’t still have a Justice League Movie (please let this happen and base it off of the New 52 comic series!), but as for this trilogy, Batman will come to an end. This interests me so greatly because seemingly, superhero franchises (or franchises in general) never seem to want to end.
These are highly successful films, and I am sure if they made eight of them, I would go see each one as they got progressively worse. Now, the Harry Potter series pulled off an eight-movie stint which still excited me, but we all knew what would happen. The books ended, so the movies ended. But the plethora of Batman stories that could be told would be endless.
But Christopher Nolan promises us a satisfactory end to his unique Batman trilogy. He has worked hard to establish his story in the real world, and I definitely hope the ending stays true to this vision. But another possibility crosses my mind: Batman could die.
If Nolan wanted to, he could kill the Batman. I mean, it’s been done in the comics before. Dick Grayson or Jean-Paul Valley or even Alfred have acted as Batman before, so someone could certainly carry on the mantle for that Justice League movie which will be even far better than the Avengers movie which I loved, but still…
So, at the moment, though Nolan keeps faith with the canon, he also plays with it in all the right places. Honestly, I’m extremely excited.
What do you hope for when the final installment of The Dark Knight trilogy comes to theaters?
I sat down tonight to watch the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because well, I don’t really have work tomorrow, so why not? I meant to watch the other movies and tweet about them as well, but I soon grew tired. Pretty soon, I shall enter the land of Nod but not before sharing these thoughts on the movies, which I announced to the world via tweets!
When Harry needs to talk to Dumbledore so badly, why doesn’t he just use the card from a Choc0late Frog box?
Why did they stop making Bertie Bot’s? Flavors like acid, centipede, earwax, glue, latex, mucous, rotten egg, soap, sulphur, Worcestershire.
Flavors that make Bertie Bot’s worth it: bacon, chicken, cough medicine, pasta, menthol, shampoo. Oh and banana. I like banana.
When Nearly-Headless Nick shows the place where his neck separates: my first experience with gore as a child.
Whoa, almost thought the flying teacher at Hogwarts was Jane Lynch. Craziness.
“We’re on the third floor where we might die immediately. Oh, no! Filch’s Cat!! Let’s risk death, cool?”
Oliver Wood wears a turtle neck. You know it’s freezing in England when everyone wears thick sweaters under their robes.
During Harry’s first Quidditch game, he just sits watchimg the game until the other seeker finds the Snitch, then goes to catch it.
Invisibility cloak: best christmas present ever!
Snape: A student is out of bed? TO THE BATCAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What if you saw someone naked in the mirror or Erised? That would be so awkward.
Detention? Oh no, we have to search out unicorns in the awesome dark forest!
#bestdetentionever # harrypotter
Survives a giant dog, killer chess, and strangling vones. Ghost of voldemort knocks him out for a week. # harrypotterprobz
Maybe I went overboard and annoyed everyone who follows me, but I hope I shed some philosophical light on one of the most culturally significant films of our time. Follow me if you like updates about Harry Potter far too often: https://twitter.com/#!/TheSavagePen
It’s time to talk about YA seriously. We enjoy it secretly, buy it for our Kindles, Nooks, and IPads so no one will see the covers of the books we read, and we deny its quality. We say, “I don’t read YA, but I guess I enjoyed Harry Potter. And the Hunger Games. Oh, and–“
Let’s stop pretending: YA is just another category we can store books. That doesn’t mean YA books are shined up like you’d expect: no, YA books we consider suitable for teens and preteens are full of guts, sex, and gore. Teachers can apparently even be fired for reading YA material to their middle school classes. No that that’s a problem. Books are the one great free place for children anymore, forbidden to see R-rated films or cuss. They can sink into the sordid details of books their parents never expect hold immoral pleasures, those same parents only happy “that they’re reading.”
In my formative years, when I had so much acne my face looked like a red scatter-plot and my voice screeched like a porpoise, I
resented reading YA books. I tackled lengthy Dostoevsky tomes, serialized syntactically-repulsive Charles Dickens works, and sometimes even excerpts of Keats. Now, this all had a profound effect on me, this chasing after philosophical significance in each work I read. I craved classics, and they served both to entertain me and make me look like an under-aged literati. I scoffed at kids who read so-called YA books.
To be honest, anything from The Hunger Games to Ender’s Game to Treasure Island may be flukes. They may entertain more than just young adults simply because they are not meant for young adults. But let me impress upon you an important idea. In publishing, the marketing choice to make something YA usually does not come until the author has a deal.
Because of all of these revelations, when perhaps three weeks ago I was offered the chance to read the Percy Jackson series, I took it. I recently finished the fifth book, having devoured them quickly and rapaciously, even in the midst of exams. Getting hooked on any series when exams approach is as bad an idea as pointing a laser pointer in your own eye. Why are these books so addictive? I’m afraid you’ll have to discover that for yourself. Here is a synopsis of the debut.
After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.
This first installment of Rick Riordan’s best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.
There are five books in the series, and I really enjoyed them. At first, I was annoyed by little things. The meaning of some events were vague, and a lot happened for no reason at all. But as the series progresses, Rick Riordan finds his footing in about the third book, the plotting much smoother, the character motivations much clearer.
I believe it is extremely important to pay attention to YA books because they capture very adult themes while delivering a tight, fast-paced plot. People complain a lot about books either being pointless or too pretentious, and most YA books hit that sweet middle spot.
Like I said before, I have not read many YA books, but I will suggest a few I actually did read.
1.) The Underlander Chronicles
Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games author) first wrote this brilliant, multi-faceted series. Absolutely fell in love with it in the sixth grade. Great action with some quirky twists.
This irresistible first novel tells the story of a quiet boy who embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny — and find his father — in a strange world beneath New York City.
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.
2.) Chronicles of Narnia
Classic books to better get in touch with your childhood imagination.
Narnia is the land of enchantment, glory, nobility–home to the magnificent Aslan, cruel Jadis (the White Queen), heroic Reepicheep, and kind Mr. Tumnus.
3.) Inheritance Cycle
Like dragons? Fair enough. Read this.
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.
4.) The Bartimus Trilogy
Possibly one of my favorite fantasy books growing up. As I begin to delve back into fantasy, I remember why I fell so deeply in love with the genre. This dark and stylized book thrilled me.
Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.” If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.
Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine. In British author Jonathan Stroud’s excellent novel, the first of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the story switches back and forth from Bartimaeus’s first-person point of view to third-person narrative about Nathaniel. Here’s the best part: Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious, with a wit that snaps, crackles, and pops. His dryly sarcastic, irreverent asides spill out into copious footnotes that no one in his or her right mind would skip over. A sophisticated, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, dead-funny book that will leave readers anxious for more.
6.) Perks of Being a Wallflower
Not a fantasy or adventure series like the rest, this too is considered YA. It is beautifully written and will break your heart and make you crack up until you wheeze for air. For even further awesomness, there will soon be a movie of this starring Logan Lehrman and Emma Watson. Count me in!
Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.
Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
If you read any of these books, including the Percy Jackson series, you will come away with a new appreciation for books usually meant for kids. While at 18 I’m supposedly an adult (under the law), I am certainly still in love with imaginative stories that spark my mind and carry me to magical realms.
Since the dawn of typewriters, there has been an evolution in how writers write. Some say that to speed up how fast someone can pen a story will only lead to more bad writing. That can be true, to some extents. Wen u typ rilly quick, u tend 2 mispel words or just sound stuped.
It has been argued that since writers can write faster, they have to think too fast. And they do not pay enough attention to what they’re actually saying. They’re just banging out words, like I do whenever I write a blog post. A robotic writer-churner of words, processing word vomit thirty terabytes per second. How exactly has writing evolved?
We’ve gone from pen-to-paper to type writers to laptops to tablet-sized writing devices. It seems we can write anything and anywhere, so how has that affected the art of writing?
A long, long time ago, the printing press was invented. Before that, the Bible and a few other texts were the only things were read because monks had to devote their lives to transcribing those thousands of pages. Imagine if J.K. Rowling had to write every Harry Potter book by hand for each individual reader. It’s likely she would not have sold as many books.
No one was very literate. All the townspeople relied on the priests to interpret the Bible for them, which of course caused some obvious problems. Church leaders could say things like, “God says to give me all your money and your wives. Seriously, it’s in The Bible.”
There was something else impressive about these books: their ornateness. Some might take more than a year to pen own, perfectly. And then they were filled with incredible illustrations, rewritten every time a book was reprinted.
Then, when the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in around 1440. This exploded literacy because more people could afford books. Bibles and scholarly works were available to more people, so more people began to read. Of course, this lead to the Protestant Reformation and a change of religion, but this isn’t about religion. This is about writing.
Before, storytellers acted orally. A story might be passed down through generations, as was Homer’s Odyssey and the Arabic classic 1001 Nights. But when the printing press came along, writers could get their stories out there which gave rise to what we call today “the novel.” Not only did texts of science, philosophy, and religion bloom, but so did works of fiction such Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The books published were more widely circulated and read by more people.
This increased the flow of ideas, so by the time the 1600s come, everyone is reading books and sharing ideas. This is end of the Renaissance era. Writing is entirely about ideas, so this is important to what I’d like to talk about next. In 1868, the typewriter was born, which revolutionized writing. Before, writers were affected because more people could read what they wrote. But this device made writing available to more people because it was faster and more efficient. Like a mini-printing press at your fingertips. Writers loved typewriters. Even today, a typewriter seems a universal symbol of the ideal age of writing.
Things have changed, but have they changed for the better?
Today, I sometimes take notes in a journal and at other times with my Nook. Soon, I’ll buy a keyboard attachment so without the hassle of carrying a full laptop, I can whip out the device and type away whatever I’d like to. Even in the backseat of a car at night, I can still make notes and write. Amazing, huh? Try to do that with a typewriter. This has also changed WHERE we write (which can certainly affect the story itself), but that is a discussion for Part 2.
Typewriters seemed the natural evolution of recording words, but the next leap changed things forever. Writing words in a digital form. Ala, a word processor. This changes HOW the writer writes, literally. On Microsoft word, if I suddenly don’t like a word, I have to only delete it. But typing on a typewriter, I may have to use white-out or trash a whole sheet and start over again. This forces the writer to do the thinking in his head rather then on the computer. He must compose the perfect sentence first before typing it out, “thinking as he goes” as many computer-users do. Then again, does it not seem easier to type it on an erasable surface such as a computer screen?
Why are some writers obsessed with the old times?
Ernest Hemingway stood beside his typewriter to give him better creativity. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road on his typewriter using a single scroll. E.E. Cummings used his typewriter to accentuate his poetic style in his famous “Grasshopper poem.”
Writing has been inexorably changed! AGHAST!
I can go back now and delete the entire post without having wasted tree’s lives. What madness hath these computers brought upon us?
We can write anywhere and anyhow we want now that we use computers to write instead of paper or a typewriter. Unless you still do write out entire drafts on paper or are nostalgic enough to use a typewriter. Honestly, I usually write poems and short stories first on paper, even sections of the novels I’m working on. But to write an entire novel on paper seems ridiculous, pointless even.
Yet changing the way we write, we change the WAY we write. We write with a different psychology. Because we write faster, we think differently. We are allowed to write much later into the night, so we write differently. Perhaps the ability to write at any time has diminished how much work we actually get done!
What do you think about this evolution in writing? Has the ability to use new writing implements proved helpful or detrimental to our writing processes? Is the future the way to go, or should we fall back upon what has served us in the past? How are you affected by the change in writing tools?
Tune back in soon for an extension of this conversation on the evolution of writing and writers.
What can persuade a man to spend nearly a month reading one novel that is longer than the world encyclopedia five times over? A good story.
This post is part of my genre studies series where we dissect specific genres of books. Fantasy novels set themselves apart by being often incredibly long, sometimes upwards of a thousand pages. But these books need such length for good reason. Think about Tolkein’s works. His Lord of the Rings, planned originally as a sequel to The Hobbit, spanned over 500,000 words. Compare that to the average novel which barely reaches 100,000. The story proved long enough to split into a trilogy, each counting well over 100,000 words. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series reaches over a million words in count.
Fantasy writers need a lot of words to fully convey the world they create. For that reason, fantasy writers are given more leeway over other writers on how long their novels can be. If a story is truly impressive, readers will gladly sit through 700 pages. While not regarded as an epic fantasy, instead as a kid’s fantasy, Harry Potter novels are heralded as “long.” People even brag that they “read all seven Harry Potter novels.” Well, hip-hip-hooray for you. While that boats an impressive 1,084,170 words, other famous fantasy series contain thrice that.
Robert Jordan’s famous fantasy series Wheel of Time, which I have not read, has reached over 3 million words.
Now, I’m not the sort of writer who hails anyone with high word counts as a genius. The tighter and shorter you can make your story, the better. It keeps a good pace for the reader: a tightly plotted novel at 90,000 words can be devoured in one or two days and leave a great impact on the reader. A fantasy novel of great length, however, is not the same beast.
I began considering the place of epic fantasy novels in the literary canon when I picked up the first book of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I know I’m very late in the game considering I was three when the first book was released. His latest installment, the fifth, was released in the past year. A Dance with Dragons was released to very positive reviews and gracious fan reactions. Likely because it was published six years after the fourth book. Imagine: you wait six year to find out what happens next!
And it is no easy thing, waiting to see what happens next, as I quickly found out. I picked up the books after watching the HBO series entitled Game of Thrones which follows the books basically word-for-word with little embellishments. By the end of the series, I could not wait another year to see what happened. I bought a box set of the first four books and got reading. And read I did. Already familiar with the first book’s plot, I plowed through.
What keeps a reader compelled through a 1000 page book is that the author places something on each page to keep you turning those pages. Which means something drastic and exciting on each page. Martin is a master of character development and over the course of a thousand characters, it’s entirely possible. Yet he strives not just to flesh out the main characters (we are allowed to see through a different set of POV characters in each book), he also includes so many knights, sorcerers, and war lords that they’re hard to keep track of. But he makes each one so incredibly unique, you find that it is not actually too hard to keep track of the liturgical family trees and countless minor characters.
Fantasy novels are often derided because of their content. Martin’s work is rife with the usual cliches: dragons, knights, honor, kings, and things that go bump in the night (may the Others take you). But he actualizes those cliches to make them his own. Drawing off medieval history and folklore, he creates something incredibly real, incredibly human, and incredibly cool. I’ve literally never been so excited to read about dragons as I have during the end of Game of Thrones. These longer fantasy epics can incorporate such massive story lines, such a vast band of characters, and so many nuances, that you became insanely invested in the story itself. Now you may see why it would pain anyone to wait six years to find out “what happened next” when production companies shell out sequels to popular franchises, one each year.
The epic fantasy is another book that could get a lot of help from the advent of e-readers. With my Nook, I carry around thousands and thousands of pages at a time, a huge library. Lugging around books that almost reach 2000 pages is cumbersome, but I have the first four books in e-book format along with a few others. Those first four books, if you’re interested, comprise of more than a million words.
Fantasy novels allow us to explore worlds entirely not like our own. Martin’s world is one where treachery and honor relentlessly cut each others’ throats and swords clash and kings rule. We do not live in a world where dragons exist. America is not a place where we “bend the knee” to any king. Yet still in this strange place, the characters are painstakingly human. We can explore fellow people like us take on incredible tasks that we may never face. Yet we still learn something. There will always be a special place in my heart for dragons and centaurs and fairies and wizards.
Because no matter what genre you read, every reader is looking for something “magical.”
My book will probably never be a movie. Right now I’m holding my breath for it to become a book. But once I get an editor and publisher, I doubt many agents will option by movie. Even so, I doubt they’d do anything with the rights other than hold onto them. A lot of authors don’t realize that this is what happens to a lot of books. Some books, people would love to become movies, but some agent bought those rights and is holding out.
Once a book is picked up to get published, and if said book is generating any sort of buzz, you can be sure film agents are looking into making the book as a movie. Sometimes, just because the movie is super popular, an agent or director will option the movie or buy the rights. But not all books are right for the silver screen. There was a recent article on this in TIMES magazine that definitely worth checking out.
Why would some authors not want their books transformed into cinema? Let’s explore that shall we?
When books become movies, the author makes money. Sometimes, lot’s of money. No, not as much money as the producers or actors, but still– lots and lots and lots of money. Take Twilight for example, which significantly bolstered the sales of the novel. While books like Twilight and Harry Potter were popular pre-film-versions, the film sagas dramatically increased their revenue. The newest IT book to be made into a film is The Hunger Games. It will likely make a lot of money because it kicks ass and has a huge fan base.
Another book becoming a movie is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathen Foer, which I happen to have liked. What intrigues me, however, is that the story based on some survivors of 9/11 does not seem like it could be easily transferred to film. There will be probably be significant changes to the plot line, which is fine, but… here’s where we have a problem. Authors are EXTREMELY protective of their darlings. Many understand that in movies, things need to be changed. But some can’t stand the idea of some director they don’t know meddling with the world and character the author created.
Some things are changed merely because they cannot be put onto the big screen. Take American Psycho for example. The book is one of the most disturbing pieces of literature I’ve ever seen and the movie a fun-gory piece of camp, though not exactly a masterpiece. Why? Likely because despite it being gory, they could not include all of the thematic significance expressed in the book. That, and they left out the scene that would be certainly inappropriate to speak of here involving a rat and a woman’s you-kn0w-where. Curious? Read here.
But my book, though I think there are no rats involve, contains similar gut-retching scenes. Scenes that on paper make your skin crawl, but in a film would just be… out of place. I’m not saying it’s anywhere near as bad as The Human Centipede or anything, but it’s still pretty bad. So, for the sake of this argument, let’s compare my book to something that would make a better movie: The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games, if you’re disdainfully ignorant, is about Katniss Everdeen who is forced by her oppressive government to fight-to-the-death 23 other teenagers. Basically, there are kids doing crazy awesome stuff to kill each other. The book isn’t just good because of the fighting, but also because it explores political intrigue and the repercussions of suppressing a people. In this series, there is a real element of horror underlying everything. Scenes that could very easily become film. Also, it’s written in first voice, present tense. Perfect for a film.
Now… my book. It’s not that I wouldn’t like it, but firstly, I’d be super protective of my baby. Secondly, there are just too many static scenes for the screen. On page, there might be a level of tension as Sebastian sits on a psychiatrist’s couch, lying to him. But on screen, it might come across as just talking. Also, maybe there is such thing as too much murder. And maybe my book has it.
Either way, it’d be cool anyways.
What books-turned-movies did you enjoy? Any you didn’t?
I highly suggest you read The Hunger Games and watch the new trailer.
Also, while you’re at it, check out the synopsis for The Savagery of Sebastian Martinelli, my book.