Granger Things

ronsspoonMoving swiftly on from the Dark Lord straight on to Supergirl herself, Hermione. At first, she was my absolute favourite character. I loved how she was shown as a goody-goody in conflict with herself, as she realised that the rules aren’t always black and white. It was really quite interesting watching her work out that the world wasn’t so straight forward, it’s not always fair, and you have to find a balance. Using her brain, she found ways around certain rules without breaking her moral code. She justified it to herself which I think is great, and she stuck by those two boys going against her initial value’s countless times. I mean, this is the girl that said being expelled was worse than being killed, come on!

There wasn’t one time she didn’t save their skin by knowing virtually everything there was to know, and the list of useful facts she has in that noggin of hers could be longer than Grawp’s right arm. Most notable for me for the sheer fact that it was so early on, was the first time she created the Polyjuice Potion, so they could sneak in to the Slytherin’s lair. She was wise beyond her years and every caution showed that. Knowing Sirius was taking his role a bit far, she was the only one that could see Black had got a bit too caught up in the past and kept forgetting that Harry wasn’t James. (Molly probably recognised this too, but she wasn’t in early adolescence).

Very much like Luna, she never let her peers calling her a mudblood put her off and she sure showed them! She saved the entire planet, and I mean ENTIRE planet. The V man was genuinely killing the general public with his shenanigans. Her face off with Lestrange showed her growth from the first book and I mean, yeah maybe she was always a bit bossy and quite stubborn but these people are a whole different playing field. This is a former Azkaban inmate! She also punched Draco Malfoy so, yeah, that’s something. I’ll give Rowling her due, she sure knows how to write kick-ass women!

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Say Aloha-mora to Christmassy treats

So now I’ve fallen fully into the Harry Potter badger hole (repping my hufflepuff buds), it’s now opened a whole new world of merchandising. Christmas is 122 days away (!!) and it’s been revealed that Boots, the high street pharmacy and beauty goods shop, are teaming up and bringing out a new Advent Calendar for 2019. I know they have done beauty products in the past, and I also know Harry Potter advent calendars aren’t anything new, but this is about me now so this is what we’re doing.

Contained behind the little doors of Pottery goodness there are such delights as the returning super cool Golden Snitch bath bomb, for those times you want to sneak in to the Prefect’s bathroom, and have yourself a toasty soak. They have been pretty tight lipped about what’s included, but it seems that nail varnishes and an eye mask are must haves so definitely expect them! Every little window will be like your own room of requirement.

The rise of the beauty advent calendar a few years back means you can spend upwards of £175 for the coveted luxury Balmain release, but this spellbinding collection will only set you back £35. It truly is the most magical time of the year!

Its definitely on my wish list, is it on yours?

Edit: I called it alohamora because you open doors like an advent calendar and it’s aloha like hello…its a multi-layered pun, like an onion…a punion

No nose…how does he smell? Like death, actually!

kreacherWell, I have put it off long enough but unfortunately, we have to give the V man some time too. I must admit I was pretty freaked out by all his scenes, and the fact that he didn’t have a proper face tripped me out. He was totally evil to the core. He was pretty much born bad, there didn’t seem to be a catalyst of change and there was certainly no redeeming feature of his personality. This was interesting as all the other characters seemed to understand that sometimes you were good, and at times you were bad, but there was usually a history or a reason. Every time I had to read the words ‘Avada Kedavra’ I sucked in so sharply I was in danger of causing myself a mischief. Haunting stuff. Even the Death Eaters were mostly just obeying from fear, and probably a small bit due to the fact they saw him suspend and kill a teacher, and who am I to judge? I would have let Kreacher ride on my back Yoda-style if he told me too. Unless he did actually have to talk to tell me, because whenever he went to speak he was super high pitched in his delivery and that just made me laugh. I was trying to get the image of the Alpha Doberman from ‘UP’ out of my head and describing it ‘cold and calculating’ and all these other chilling adjectives, weren’t really doing it for me on that front. Terrifying visually, but audibly hilarious. Kind of like that Goat that screams at Taylor Swift songs. No one else find Goats absolutely horrifying to look at? No?

Aside from his voice though, I did find the fact that he was always able to see where Harry was quite a lot scarier than it should have been. It’s that fear of the unknown, when the unknown is constantly hunting you down. The catalyst moment in the final book where he had the genius thought of cursing his own name? Forget about it. Reading Harry utter those words and knowing what it would bring on, or not knowing more to the point, was truly petrifying. It meant that I developed a totally irrational fear of being whipped out of bed by some horrible people, and forced to kill other innocent people with a wand. Got PTSD from the time I read V for Vendetta. I really don’t want to be bald! I didn’t instantly recognise all the things that he was doing towards the end (finding Ollivander etc) or the reasons why, I was a bit slow on the up take there. The clear way Harry spelled it out piece by piece once he had sussed it meant she was obviously expecting some slower people. Granted they would have been a bit younger than I was!

The first big time that he turns up with all his cronies in the graveyard (not creepy at all by the way) during the Tri-Wizard Tournament is a bit menacing and tense, but I was quite bored by the very end of that book continuing on to the next book too. It wasn’t the size of ‘The Order’, it was the content. I didn’t find it all that interesting and read a few things in between as I had to keep putting it down. I have since heard others say the same thing, and at the time I knew I was totally done with it, but it’s still not meant to be taken as a criticism. The Order of the Phoenix was completely necessary for filling in gaps and bridging them all together, it was just a bit hard going. Saying that, I was slightly surprised that he battled him so early on and while I understand that leaving it to the final battle might have felt a bit lingering, I personally would have found that terrifying. Building it up through his Occlumency and then in the final book he catches up with him? Chilling. Thankfully not everyone’s like me.

You Butterbeer-lieve that’s a Lion on her head!

lunafishAs an older reader, there were all these little lessons that I really admired Rowling for writing in. I wasn’t constantly reminding myself that this was aimed at a younger audience *sound of ageing going so fast it actually breaks the sound barrier* but being older than the intended does make you recognise these things. Luna Lovegood was a prime example of this and someone I absolutely loved. She was such an important character in terms of these little lesson I was talking about, and Rowling did a brilliant job of using her to preach diversity without “preaching diversity”. As a child it’s important to understand that some people are different, and you might at first be confused by it, but when you welcome the person and see past it they can be a valued friend. She went way beyond in proving she was an integral part. It was quite clear that even though she wasn’t fazed by the people that didn’t accept her, the fact that she was welcomed by their little team meant a lot. I’m in the process of getting new friends so I can get a mural painted of me, applications will be greatly received.

Luna’s was a story I really would have liked to have learnt more about. The fact that she could see Thestrals for example, always kept me waiting for a little backstory to happen. More than the small snippet we got told of her Mother’s spell going bad. I love a good backstory as an offshoot from the main story! I suppose it just added to her mysterious ways which is probably part of the reason it was kept like that. In true Lovegood fashion always keep them wanting more. On the subject of fashion (smooth transition) her fashion choices were way ahead of her time, her Radish earrings and Lion head wear were just a small step away from Lady Gaga’s meat dress. Quite unfairly she didn’t get nearly as much credit for it. You better believe I’m going to be wearing a Butterbeer cork necklace when I do the movie tour.

I worked out pretty quickly that friendship was a central theme in these books and poor Ron (sorry Roonil Wazlib) always seemed to be getting a raw deal. Ron was always living in the shadow of two of the most famous and altogether smartest students in the whole school. Bless him, he still proved a good few times that he was worth 10 of them. He came back and finally destroyed the Horcrux, he followed spiders into the Forbidden Forest (which is like Indiana Jones going in to the snake pit so yeah, he’s basically Indian Jones) and he stood up for Harry against his own brother (Percy telling him to side with Umbridge). It wasn’t just school, even in the Weasley house he was lagging behind a bit. His brothers were entrepreneurs, and when he was in favour, Percy got treated like he pooped little Knut nuggets. I’ve since read articles outlining how he showed times of being a terrible person, largely because he made Hermione cry a bunch when they were supposed to be friends, but I don’t agree. He was acting like a teenager. A boy trying to make sense of his place between the smartest girl in Hogwarts and ‘the boy who lived’. I don’t think anyone can blame him for making some questionable decisions during his school years. Who didn’t? So he got a bit hangry, realised he hated camping. Big deal! I personally find him the most relatable and to be honest, I would have bailed the minute I realised I had to sleep in a tent in the middle of Winter before I even knew about the food situation, so he lasted way longer than I would have. it’s good to have a realistic character and some moments we can see ourselves in. It was a nice break from the ‘magic’ side of things. And while we’re here, he also never once complained about the fact that he was poor. He instead recognised that his family offered invaluable emotional support growing up instead of financial support. Financial support is helpful at the time, but emotional support is better treasured in the long run. That being said, I couldn’t quite understand why Harry never said to Ron, his most loyal companion, here have some of my huge ridiculous wealth to buy yourself a new robe or a nice broomstick. Ron was repeatedly getting flack for his cruddy clothes and terrible equipment and he never once said “thanks for saving my life AGAIN”. Here you go, here are some new clothes that aren’t hand-me-downs ending up two sizes too small. He instead had to watch as Harry gave his Tri-Wizard Tournament money to his Brothers. I would argue that wasn’t what they needed at the time anyway, and it’s probably the old lady in me sauntering out, but his parents vehemently disagreed with all the things they were doing. It meant they left school and the stress of becoming entrepreneurs as teenagers could have finished them off!

Harry’s attitude towards money in general gets up my nose, by the way. “I value sentimental things over material goods, so you have it, you clearly need it. Do we look small up there from your high horse, Harry? After all this bad luck it was very heart warming to see him and Hermione get together. I did know about this because of several things going round at the time so it wasn’t a shock, but in context it was far more rewarding. It cleared up all that gubbins about him acting out so much at her. He liked her and thought she could never like someone like him. It’s classic pigtail pulling. Will they kiss, won’t they kiss? It’s like Chums on SM:TV Live without cool celebrity cameos like Dane Bowers and Cilla Black (wait Cilla Black…Sirius Black. Hmm) I did love how he didn’t look down on Harry for not knowing what certain things were in the Wizarding World i.e. Quidditch teams and so on, he just took that as an excuse for bonding. There would be the usual ‘you don’t know what…is?’ but I get the feeling that’s also slightly self-deprecating. If even he’s heard of it, he can’t believe that someone else wouldn’t have. It must be pretty sucky when you realise the boy you introduced to Quidditch is the best at that too, for Merlin’s sake. He didn’t complain though, he just took the opportunity to show support. So selfless for a young boy, and that surely more than makes up for those rare whingy moments? That does remind me that he’s responsible for the greatest line in the whole book. I will use ‘why in the name of Merlin’s saggy left…’ as an exclamation for the rest of my natural born days. I’ll be finishing off that sentence with something a bit more colourful, though.

It’s one of defining features of the series that Rowling let others have their day to the point that a lot of the time it was down to others to really save it. Obviously, him relying on the Weasley brothers to help him escape the Dursley’s was a bit of a more menial one, but more importantly was the whole of the Order risking everything to use Polyjuice potion, throwing the Death Eaters off his scent. People are constantly putting their lives on the line for him, which we know later is integral to the overall ending of the series, but they don’t know any of this. They’re just expected to go and risk everything a surprising number of times just because he might be killed by Voldemort. Spoiler…he’s never actually killed by Voldemort! What a waste of time all this is, eh? No, but seriously the Weasley’s lost a lot for him and still put him up on a pedestal. I got the notion he was just slightly entitled. It would have all worked out alright in the end as they all stood to gain from someone taking Voldemort down, but the Weasley’s lost a fair bit in the process it does have to be said.

It’s AriAna, not ArianA

dumblesaur

I would like to start with something a little controversial. I didn’t exactly find Dumbledore as endearing as others do. Sorry. I know some people are very protective over him! The constant ‘this is something I should have told you a while ago’ point that kept coming up started to wear a bit thin, and his motivations behind “helping” Harry got me a bit suspicious. I couldn’t quite work out whether it was because he was a means to an end for the war and violence, and he wasn’t so bothered about the quality of Harry’s life due to the fact he was a ticking time bomb. He asked too much of two largely innocent people, and Harry was left with all the tasks without knowing the truth about his own life. Did he keep it a secret because he was a child and thought it would be too much, or did he keep it a secret because he might not want to be involved anymore? He clearly knew pretty much everything right from the start and so went to any lengths necessary to make sure the plan worked out. This hurt A LOT of people in the process. I understand that technically a lot more people would have been hurt if Voldemort (sorry) wasn’t stopped, so I don’t envy him his moral dilemma. I just obviously didn’t know about this at the time. There was a huge roller-coaster of feelings of towards him that I still haven’t levelled out.

When Dumbledore was being killed I was touched that he used Petrificus Totalus on Harry but went through a varied range of emotions and thoughts on this when more was revealed. At first, Dumbledore was protecting Harry knowing he would try and valiantly stop Snape and he didn’t want harm coming to him. Then I thought ‘well, is it selfishly motivated?’ He obviously didn’t want Harry to hurt Snape knowing what he was doing for him, and all the double-crossing mess that was happening, but then he didn’t want Harry to be hurt either as he is the only one who could have stopped Voldemort. Maybe it was a mixture of everything. The whole plan would have been usurped by just one flick of Harry’s wand and then all that work was for nothing.

I did get more interested in him when his family history started coming in to it, but it took a long time to get there so I wasn’t initially that taken by it all. I also got a bit distracted when I found out his Sister was called Ariana and his Mum was called Kendra and zoned out imagining ‘Keeping Up with The Dumbledores’. I had to snap back in after my brain thought up an episode involving Ariana breaking her curfew to “just go and get a frothy no fat Butterbeer it’s so totally not a big deal” and told Kendra she was fired. This was clearly in a time when ‘literally’ literally meant ‘in a literal sense’ and most of the world, for good reason, had never even heard of the phrase ‘Momager’. J.K. Rowling probably thought that these were mystical, pretty names. And they are! They just conjure The Valley, Ugg’s and Pumpkin Spice instead of locked up and Hollow. Actually, never mind. Let’s continue. The parallels between Harry and Ariana – his time in the cupboard under the stairs, being set upon by Dudley for being different when they found out about his magical powers, and spending his whole life being hidden away due because he was a ‘freak’, was possibly why Dumbledore was in his own way so keen to help him. He felt that he owed something to the Sister he badly mistreated, and this went some way to alleviating his guilt. It also explains his dislike of the Dudley’s and why he always seemed so disdainful of the family whenever he showed up. I can’t deny I was annoyed for a while about him sending Harry back to the Dursleys. He quite clearly knew how he was being treated there. When the reason for that did become apparent though, you’ll be relieved to know I was fine about it. His stoic and calm influence in the face of aggression was something I did always find refreshing. Making enemies seem like fools by refusing to stoop to their level was something I immediately liked about him. It’s a great thing to teach children. All these lessons we’re learning…

Dat Patronus Doe! – Part One…of One Thousand mwahaha

snape's plane

“Can’t believe you’ve never read a Harry Potter book”

“What you haven’t even seen the films?”

“So, you’ve been to both Universal Studios parks and don’t care and I looove Harry Potter and haven’t even been once?!”

“How can you work in a Library without reading Harry Potter?”

These are just a few of the many comments I was subjected to, and I ignored all of them for a REALLY long time. The truth is, I was never interested in Fantasy and Wizards. Even when I was younger I wanted realism and stories I could relate to, which then transitioned into reading about killers and murder and making myself paranoid. “Maybe someone’s been watching my house and then disguised themselves as that postman to kill me, because why wouldn’t they?”. So, at 27 years old, which was 21 years after the first book was published, I started my pilgrimage to Hogwarts. Board the Express guys, it’s going to be a long trip!

With my penchant for fiction I can connect with, I was slightly sceptical about how I would feel, but I was pleasantly surprised on all fronts. I wasn’t expecting it to be relatable in any way, and by the last book I was so tense I flip-flopped between ‘please for the love of all that is hallowed make it stop’ and the emotion that girl felt after watching the last ever Twilight trailer. I joined her in power crying because I would never read a new Harry Potter book again. Up until now I had never cried so much as welled up at a book before, but learning about Snape’s back story in the pensieve was heart-breaking. I will say but one thing (okay, some things):

‘After all this time?’

‘Always’, said Snape.

Nope, still fresh. I know, I know it’s so predictable, but that doesn’t stop the fact that I have to refer to it as the ‘you-know-what’ part because I can’t say it without weeping then shuddering. It was so perfectly timed, and even though I had half figured that the Doe Patronus had to have been Lily , I had absolutely no idea how that would have been possible. Going through a whole series with these characters you no doubt get largely attached, and it’s perfectly normal to cry after finding things out about people that aren’t real, in a universe that doesn’t exist (right guys!). The way MOST of the students (ahem Slytherin) stood up in a ‘Captain my Captain’ moment of dedication nearly got me officially ‘going’. Even though I had stayed virtually spoiler free for as many as 21 years, there’s only so much my HP ignorance shield could keep out. I did accidentally look at the start of the play, and saw within the first line that they all survived. Saying that though, I was under no impression that they would have been killed off anyway. I had seen a lot of Snape inspired paraphernalia and in a way, seeing all the merchandise around kept me reading on. I wanted to find out what they meant (although I did think the ‘you-know-what’ part was only quoted so many times due to Alan Rickman’s sad passing, and didn’t connect anything at all). When it was first revealed he was a villain, I was initially shocked. Even though I generally wasn’t interested in any of the Quidditch moments due to my largely waning interest in sport even in the real world, I remember reading the counter curse he put on the broomstick Harry was riding, and thought that would be a turning point straight away…wrong! He proceeded to act more like a baby than any of the actual children, deducting points from their house and then took out his frustrations on an 11 year old. Way to go Snape, must be so damn proud of yourself for outwitting an 11 year old! It’s even funnier because most of the time, he actually didn’t. Pretty embarrassing. Being totally honest I totally forgot all that the minute Harry dropped in to that milky white substance they call Snape’s ‘memories’. By the way I do still remember that he was only helping Harry for Dumbledore’s sake, he can’t pull the wool over my eyes on that one! I do still remember, Snape, in your time of anguish after Lily’s death you promised you would do anything!

The Prince’s tale chapter was one of the most interesting to me as it showed a lot of parallels between Harry’s pre-magic life and Snape’s Hogwarts life. Both outcasts who were treated badly, and got rightfully angry about it. While we’re at it, I personally think that Harry gets what I’m calling ‘acceptably angry’. Unpopular opinion coming apparently, but even though he may come across as irrational, when you think about it he had lived under stairs, been pretty mistreated by the only people he had left, proceeded to live in misery, then all of a sudden found out he was a Wizard by a giant. And it didn’t get better. He was then told his parents had died because of him, and finally that he was going to have to die to save the world. If you sum it up so bluntly, that teenage boy really didn’t handle it too badly! I’m 28 now and I still cant work out how much juice to use from a double concentrate. Imagine if I had to save the Wizarding World by working out how to get those Horcruxes. The maturity of the other characters also meant that his sudden outbursts of sass didn’t do too much irreparable damage and they all cut him a nice bit of slack.

At first, it’s plain to see that Harry’s rebel behaviour towards Snape irritated him, but later I’m sure he realised that they had commonalities. Probably why he didn’t want Harry to investigate his mind. In my naivety, I had the idea that during the Occlumency lesson he was only scared of Harry knowing he was constantly being made a fool of, but it was a way of shielding him from his love towards Lily. It wasn’t only Harry who was mourning Lily, and they had a bigger connection to each other than either of them knew about. To be fair, I was more upset about the fact that Snape killed Dumbledore than I actually was about Dumbledore dying, and I MIGHT HAVE BEEN WRONG ABOUT SNAPE ALL ALONG AND WHY DID I HAVE TO BET MY LAST GOLD ON HIM WITH THAT LEPRECHAUN!

All of these little things added up and by the end of the series, Snape was by far my favourite. He had to deal with such pesky kids and their pesky behaviour, but he didn’t give up his position even once. I would have blurted the whole thing out in their sorry faces just to shut them up. I do always have a thing for an intimidating character though, so that’s probably why I had been rooting for him all the way. I would just NOT BELIEVE that he was bad. Like a stubborn little mule, I kept going on about it, and by Jove I was right in the end! It paid off…