Saturday, December 22, 2007

Items good and bad

1) The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray is officially out in four days. Woo hoo!

2) I have just purchased the Labyrinth Soundtrack and it is fabulous. When I hear a song, I can see exactly what's happening in the movie, even though it's been years since I last saw it. Labyrinth is the best movie ever made, and no one will ever convince me otherwise. Jim Hensen, Goblins, Jennifer Connelly, and David Bowie in tight pants! You can't go wrong.

3) Today at the library I noticed two young boys, around 5 and 8 years old, sitting in the children's section. They were just sitting there looking sad and incredibly bored. So I went over to talk with them. And apparently their Dad had ditched them to go and do something on the adult side of the library. So I asked them if they would like to look at some books while they were waiting, and they said no. And I said, "Well, you look bored. I'll go find you some books and you guys can look at the pictures." So I found some picture books, brought them back to them. And they didn't even open them. They sat there for 45 minutes, completely bored, with an entire children's department of books surrounding them. It was so frustrating, because I don't want to force books on unwilling kids, but I mean really, what is this world coming to??? Obviously their parents don't read to them at all. If my parents had ditched me at a library at that age (or any age) I would've been in heaven.

4) I noticed that SB over at Digital Diamonds has attempted to read God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and found it... lacking. I read this book a few months ago, but just never got around to posting about it. Basically, although I agree with the sentiment behind the book whole-heartedly, I have to say that it is a spectacularly badly-written book. First of all, it's a tough slog at times because he uses a lot of big complicated words. Sometimes it's good to add a new word to your vocabulary, but there are other times when it is completely unnecessary. Hitchens may think he sounds intelligent, but really all he's done is make his book inaccessible to normal people. People who don't have the patience to wade through his overly-complex prose. If you want to convince people of your point of view, then you should probably try to speak to them on their level.

Secondly, and more importantly, he meanders. He starts out the book well with a well-organized introduction. And each chapter seems to start out fairly well, with a clear direction of where he wants to end up. After that's where it all falls to pieces. He meanders of topic, goes into various asides, and often ends the chapter in a completely different place than where you thought you were headed at the beginning. If I had turned in essays like that in university, I would've gotten a C-plus, at the most. I don't know a lot about him, but I think I read somewhere that the guy's a journalist. For someone who is supposed to write for a living, he sure doesn't appear to have had much practice.

Really, the book in general is a pretty big disappointment. It promises so much with it's bold controversial title, and then just ends up being barely mediocre. Sad, sad, sad.

5) Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My cat is weird

George is kind of a weird cat. Avery sleeps in normal kitty places, like in her kitty bed or curled up on the couch. George is another story.

George Plays Dead
This is George, momentarily disturbed mid-nap by my camera's flash. He really does sleep like this. On his back, legs in the air, usually in the middle of the floor somewhere.

George Zonked

George Still Zonked
These two pictures display George in his other preferred sleeping position: Face down, usually on top of my desk or my stereo. I've never seen another cat do this, with one possible exception.

In other news, I saw The Golden Compass last night. And I thought it was pretty good. Maybe a bit slow in the middle, but good. I was worried cuz I'd read a bunch of bad reviews. People were saying that the end was terrible because there was no climax. Of course there was one, but it obviously didn't tie up all the loose ends because it's the first part of a trilogy. The book was like that too. If you didn't go on to read the second and third books, then the first one was really unsatisfying. A lot has to get set up in the first book for the other two to work. Interestingly enough, the movie ended in an earlier place than the first book. But I think I agree with the way they did it. Because in the book, it was like you got two climaxes. The first one (where the movie ended) and then the second one later. And they're saving the second one for the beginning of the first movie. And that's fine. Good acting from Dakota Richards, the girl who plays Lyra, and Nicole Kidman who plays a very good (bad) Mrs. Coulter. Didn't get to see too much of Daniel Craig. I guess I'll just have to wait for the next Bond movie.

I've also just finished reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It was quite good. The book is absolutely huge. In fact, I'd say the length is on par with the fifth Harry Potter book. But it really is deceptive, because probably about a third or more of the book is made up of drawings. It's a really neat book, because it's like a novel/graphic novel in one. But the pictures almost work like a film sequence. And film is a very important theme throughout the book. So it was a good read, and for you librarians out there, don't be fooled or put off by the thickness of the book. The book is actually quite short, I read it in a couple of evenings, and I would feel comfortable recommending it to a good third grade reader.

I also finished reading Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and have moved on to its sequel Inkspell. And while I was at The Golden Compass, I saw a preview for Inkheart the movie. And I think I have a new crush on Brendan Fraser. I also just re-watched Mrs. Winterbourne which isn't a great movie in my opinion, but it just reminded me of how cute Brendan Fraser can be. Anyway, Inkheart is slated for release in March 2008, and I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

*blush*

So I went home for lunch today...

And discovered that I had been wearing my shirt inside-out all morning. And no one said anything. Now it could be that no one noticed, because it was chilly in the basement this morning, so I wore a sweater to do storytime. That would have covered up the attractive white tag sticking out the side. But it wasn't buttoned up, so it probably flapped open a bit during the Hokey Pokey. Luckily my copious amounts of hair camouflaged the wonky collar.

But I was stilly pretty embarrassed.

I've never actually done something like that before. I mean, how could I not notice all morning? Yes, I got up late and dressed in a hurry. And I hadn't finished planning for my morning storytime so I had to rush right away and do that, and then launch immediately into storytime. But still.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most organized or 'together' person in the world, but this was bad even for me. So has anyone else done something equally silly? That maybe you could share? And then I wouldn't feel quite so dumb?

Friday, November 23, 2007

More silliness

*Sigh* Not again.

And this just after an attempt to ban a book in my own library system. A mother was angry because her 8-year-old read an 'inappropriate' graphic novel that was shelved and labeled as young adult. So maybe you should tell your 8-year-old child to stick to the juvenile section instead of trying to yank an entire series of graphic novels off the young adult shelves. Ever think of that, hmmmm?

So, according to a recent news article (thanks for the link Garden Girl), a Catholic School Board in Ontario has yanked Philip Pullman's Golden Compass trilogy from its school's shelves due to all the atheist controversy swirling around it.

First of all, it is my personal belief that it is almost NEVER acceptable to remove any book from library shelves. I do realize that because I work in a public library, it's a little easier for me to say that. I'm supposed to be a neutral party, promoting no one point of view over another (let's please not get into whether it's actually possible for a librarian to be completely neutral). A Catholic School Board however, by its very nature, is already biased. So when they come across a book that promotes atheism, I can see how it might draw some negative attention.

But does the Golden Compass trilogy promote atheism? Oh yeah, absolutely. I read and loved those books, and one of the reasons I loved them was because they were so critical of Christianity. I mean, they basically turn the Christian Creation Myth on its head. And I loved that because I've always found Christianity to be horribly misogynistic, what with the whole thing about Eve being the mother of all sin. And Pullman turned it around and basically said that original sin is good. Eve's a HERO for eating the fruit of knowledge. And I think that's fabulous. And the bad guys in this story were members of a religious organization which was basically a thinly disguised version of the Catholic Church. So I can see why Catholics might be upset.

But the thing to remember here, is that we're not talking about adults reading these books, but children. I was 23 when I first read these books. So yeah, I got all the biblical references and I knew exactly where Pullman was coming from. But a kid? Even a teen? I think maybe an older, thoughtful teen would pick up on the atheist sentiment, but otherwise I think most kids are going to read this book as an awesome adventure fantasy novel. Because that's exactly what it is.

When I was in Gr. 3, I read the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. And I fell in love with them. I thought they were awesome. At that time, I went to the Anglican Church almost every Sunday, and I was fairly familiar with the story of Jesus. But did I get any of the Christian allegory?? Of course not. I just thought they were really good books. The parellels of Aslan allowing himself to be sacrificed on the stone table to save Edmund and Jesus allowing himself to be crucified to save humanity is something that only became obvious to me when I re-read the books when I was a lot older. Kids just aren't looking for these things, and they don't really care either.

The funny thing is, Philip Pullman absolutely hates the Chronicles of Narnia, seeing them as these horrible tools to indoctrinate children to Christianity at a young age. But I think he's being kind of silly. It didn't work on me. And I think if anyone, including Philip Pullman, thinks that the Golden Compass is going to churn out a whole generation of atheists, then they're dreaming.

Kids will, for the most part, just read it as a story. But I think the Catholic School Board has probably done the exact opposite of what they intended by removing the books from its shelves. Cuz now kids KNOW that there's something wrong with the books, something that adults don't want them to know. Now they're going to be curious. What's up with this book? And many more kids, who might not have picked up the book otherwise, are going to want to have a look. And they're going to be able to get ahold of it whether or not the silly Catholic School Board has it on its shelves or not.

And that basically sums up what I think of the whole thing:
Attempted Censorship = Silliness

Get a life peoples.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A mild blow to the ego



I gotta admit, I'm a little disappointed. I mean, I have always really hated people who obfuscate their prose with big words and jargon just to sound smart and well-read. Remember those papers you had to read in university where you had to get the dictionary out for every other word? I really don't think that people have to write unintelligibly to write intelligently.

However, I must admit, as much as I love reading it, Children's and YA lit probably isn't the best thing for expanding my vocabulary. So I'm thinking of trying something that was actually intended for an adult audience.

*Gulp*

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Hate Hotmail

Okay, is it just me, or does the new hotmail suck? And that's not a rhetorical question, because I really could be overlooking something which would prove that Microsoft really doesn't hate me. So if anybody knows something I don't, please share.

Complaint #1: I cannot figure out how to edit my forwards. You could before. And I like to do that, especially the ones that have been around a lot and have collected all those lists of e-mail addresses at the top which you have to scroll through before you get to the funny picture/video/joke at the bottom. But it doesn't let me now, and I don't know what to do. I actually sent a complaint to microsoft about this one, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Complaint #2: I have been having trouble with their picture uploading tool. Maybe it's just my computer, but I click on upload picture, select the picture, and it looks like it's going to attach, but then it kicks me back to my e-mail, and there's nothing attached. Super, super frustrating.

Complaint #3: I tried for 20 minutes this morning to send an e-mail, and couldn't because their freaking server was too busy. Now I have tried to log on to hotmail before and had it say that the server was too busy. That's fine. But once you're in there, you should be able to send stuff. Otherwise, what's the point? And I've never been unable to send stuff before they did the upgrade.

Personally, the old hotmail was working just fine for me, thank you very much. I don't know why people have to go and change things and then there's all these stupid bugs. Anyway, I'm quickly running out of patience. I think I hear gmail calling me.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Post-Election Blues

I have lived in three different constituencies in this province, and not once has the candidate I voted for won in either a federal or provincial election.

I'm starting to feel like maybe I'm a jinx.

I thought for sure this election would be different. This riding was expected by everyone to stay the same as last election. But no, in an unexpected upset, the guy I voted for lost by an extremely narrow margin. So I'd like to apologize, cuz it's my fault. I voted for him, therefore he couldn't win.

I know I'm being silly, but I can't help being slightly depressed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scary Movies

So tonight is Halloween. Definitely my favourite time of year. Candy packaged into little bite-sized pieces. Costume parties. Pumpkin-carving. And scary movies. In the days leading up to Halloween, there's always tons of horror movies on TV. And I used to really enjoy them, but I gotta say, I think I'm losing my tolerance for them.

When I was a kid, my parents were pretty lenient when it came to what movies or TV I watched, but I still wasn't allowed to watch horror movies until I was about 12. In fact, for one of my birthday parties, my friends and I snuck out and rented The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, watched it after my parents went to bed, and secretly returned it the next day. I'm not really sure it was worth it, because the fear of what would happen if we got caught was way worse than anything the movie dished out. In fact, those types of movies, the ones with psychotic killers in silly masks jumping out from behind doors wielding chainsaws and knives, just weren't ever that scary to me. For one of my later sleepovers, we rented Clownhouse, and while my friends were shaking in their boots, I thought it was just the dumbest thing I'd ever seen. Three escaped mental patients happen across some circus clowns, kill them, steal their costumes, and then proceed to torment three young brothers who happen to be home alone, one of whom happens to have a phobia of clowns. Really? Uh huh.

Now the movies that I really enjoy and that also really get to me are the ones that have supernatural elements in them. I'm not sure why this is, because whether you're being chased by a murderous psychopath or a murderous ghost, it all amounts to the same thing, doesn't it? But maybe it's because, with a psychopath, you can take some precautions. Lock the door. Don't answer the phone. Don't go down to the creepy dark basement by yourself with a dim flashlight as your only weapon YOU FUCKING IDIOT! (Ho ho, I bet that gets me an R rating.) But with ghosts, there's nothing you can do. They can go through walls and doors, they can get into your mind, and they can't be killed (although it seems like some of the psychopaths are impossible to kill as well *cough*Michael Myers*cough*).

Which brings me to the current state of affairs. I'm not sure I can handle creepy ghostly horror movies anymore. They FREAK ME OUT. The last couple of horror movies I watched were really bad experiences. The first of these incidences was the night my sister and I went and saw The Ring. I'm not sure why that night was so bad, but maybe it's because we really didn't know what we were getting into. Neither of us had seen the previews, although I admit that we at least knew that it was supposed to be some sort of horror movie.

Well. It was good, really good, but scary, really scary. Those images that were in the movie (the movie within the movie I mean, the movie that's supposed to kill you), the imagery was just really disturbing. And the girl with the black hair combed over her face crawling out of the well. I still get shivers thinking about it. You know that scene when Naomi Watts has just finished watching the movie and her mouth is open and there's this stunned look of horror on her face? That's pretty much how K and I looked at the end of the movie. Completely shell-shocked. On shaking legs we went out to the car, promptly drove to the nearest video store where we rented a whole bunch of cartoons. We then went back to my apartment and stayed up to watch all of those cartoons in an effort to erase the terrifying images that had been imprinted on our brains. It did not work. K spent the night at my apartment with me. We kept all the lights on, and I still did not sleep a wink. I, in fact, did not sleep well for a week.

That experience cured me of wanting to go and see any horror movies for quite some time. Then, a couple of years later, K was in E-Town visiting with me, and we got it into our heads that we should go and see The Amityville Horror. We just don't learn, do we? We payed almost twenty dollars each to get in. Then the movie started, and we immediately realized we'd made a mistake. We were alternately covering our ears, covering our eyes, or grabbing each other in terror. You know that scene where the babysitter is locked in the closet with the dead girl and she sticks her finger in the bullet hole in the girl's forehead? I just about died. Halfway through the movie we decided that we should probably remove ourselves from the theatre before we injured ourselves or someone else. I imagine the entire audience breathed a collective sigh of relief as we exited. We felt kind of silly afterwards, because it was just a movie, and we'd basically wasted fourty bucks. But obviously, K and I just can't handle scary movies.

Having said that, there are some scary movies that I've enjoyed like The Others (that one was really fun as one of the girls I was sitting with threw her popcorn into the air at one of the scary parts and it went everywhere), or The Sixth Sense. But these aren't really scary, just a slightly creepy. And no really disturbing imagery. In fact, I'd say that it's the gory details that get to me, except that I think The Shining has some pretty graphic details in it, what with the blood gushing everywhere and the dead woman in the bathtub, but that's another horror movie I don't mind watching. In fact, the only connecting factor I can come up with between horror movies I enjoy and horror movies that terrify me is... my sister.

I don't know what it is. Maybe we feed off each other's fear creating some sort of energy of terror that engulfs us both. Whatever the reason, I know who I will NOT be watching my next horror film with. Ya hear that K?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bad Movies

Here are, in no particular order, three of the worst movies I've ever seen:

Mr. Wrong: This movie is wrong. Poor Ellen. I have liked Bill Pullman in other movies, but this was just so un-funny. I spent the last half of the movie cringing.

Godzilla (1998): I like Matthew Broderick, so I tried hard to like this movie, but it's usually a bad sign when you want the monster to win. Seriously, if the monster had come up on land and chomped all the people, the movie would have been improved 100%. I have rarely been so tempted to leave the theatre in the middle of a film.

Down to Earth: This is one of those movies where all the funny parts were in the previews, except that even the funny parts weren't that funny. I didn't even crack a smile. It was just tedious. Once again, I seriously considered leaving halfway through the film. But I just kept saying to myself, "It's Chris Rock! Surely this gets funnier?". But, alas, it did not.

I'm pretty forgiving of movies. So if I hate something, it's usually really, really bad.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Night-time Entertainment

Why, when I dream, am I never wearing any pants?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Angel Gene

There is the most adorable five-year-old boy that comes to my story times. He is always cheerful and enthusiastic about everything. We're doing play dough for craft time? Wonderful! I love play dough! A book about cats? Wonderful! I think kitties are so cute! He gets totally into all the songs and stories. And I swear to you, I've never seen the kid frown. Not even for a second, not once. He's also really polite, both with adults and other children. He has a little brother who is about 3, and it's the same thing. Just absolutely ecstatic to be alive in the world.

This, to me, is amazing. I mean, everybody has bad days, wrong-side-of-the-bed days, can't-do-anything-right days. I know I only see them once a week, but they've been coming to storytime for over a year now, and even my other storytime favourites have a meltdown now and again. But not these kids. I have basically come to regard their mother with awe. I have been tempted to ask her, "How have you brainwashed these Stepford children into being complete angels, and can you teach me how to do it?" (Yes, I know I don't have kids, but if I ever do, this knowledge will be invaluable.)

And then today, they brought their baby sister along with them. She is about one I would guess. Sitting up, crawling, but not yet walking. And she was exactly the same. Completely happy. Her mom took her out of her stroller, set her down on the floor in the middle of a bunch of strange kids and parents, and then went to help her boys with the craft. And this baby didn't even bat an eyelash. She grabbed a nearby ball and started playing catch with the closest adult. Smiling and laughing.

A one-year-old is too little to be bribed, cajoled or disciplined. Which leads me to believe that the mom has not done anything to make her kids this way. This is their natural state of being. They are genetically prone to be angelic. I think that geneticists everywhere might be interested in isolating and studying this amazing genetic phenomenon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's not rocket science people...

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Miscellaneous

Ho hum. So Harper made his throne speech. The Bloc and NDP have already said that they will vote against the Harper government, so the Liberals have the balance of power. Any guesses as to what they'll do? In his speech, Harper indicated that he would like the Canadian troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2011, and that there was no way that Canada could honour their Kyoto commitment, two issues that the Liberals have been pestering the conservatives about constantly. But I suspect that the Liberals will end up supporting the government. Because they know that if there's an election now, they will get their asses kicked, and then we'd be stuck with a majority conservative government for at least 4 years. I've gotta admit, right here, I'm NOT a fan of the conservatives. But in a way, I wish the Liberals would vote against the government. At least they'd be honouring their principles. And it just seems like everyone out there is just out to get in power or stay in power. Whatever it takes. They flip flop on everything. I would like the political parties out there to say "This is what we believe." And then stick to that, whether or not they do or don't get elected. Because otherwise, what's the point? If all the parties out there will change their policies and principles at the drop of a hat just to stay in power, or have a better chance of getting in power, then does it really matter who we elect? They all become the same. I can really understand why voter turnouts are getting to be so low in this country. I think I myself have come down with a major case of apathy.

In other news, I have once again been too nice and accomodating, and now I have WAY too much on my plate. It's just really tough for me to say no to people. If I've said yes to one person, then it just doesn't seem fair for me to say no to another. And now I've just got a ton of stuff going on at work. For example, I am doing a database presentation for another library's staff workshop, and I have done this presentation before, got all the handouts already, so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal time commitment-wise, except that they went and CHANGED THE DATABASE INTERFACE so that nothing, NOTHING in my handouts applies anymore. So I have to rewrite my whole damn presentation. Generally speaking, I actually do well under pressure. In university, I couldn't even work on an assignment until the situation started to get desperate. I wrote some of my best essays the night before, and I have always been notorious for last-minute exam cramming. But I'm only good until the pressure reaches a certain point. If the pressure gets too hot, something's gotta give. And I feel like I'm at that point right now. There's that barely controlled feeling of panic in my stomach, like I'm in the water and my head's about to go under for the third and final time. At this point I either a)completely lose it and start yelling at someone ("Get someone else to write you a reference, I have a f@#$ing newsletter to finish here!") or b)get sick and end up cancelling a whole bunch of stuff until I feel better. Wish me luck.

And finally, in complete denial of my situation and in a display of pure procrastination not seen since my library school days, I have been doing a lot of reading. In particular I would like to say that Shannon Hale is AWESOME! I read The Princess Academy, and thought okay, that was pretty good. And the I read the Goose Girl, and thought, this lady rocks! It might be partially because I have always been very fond of the fairytale The Goose Girl. Very gory. With the horse head nailed to the gate. And even though I'm sure it's been 20 years since I read that story, I still remember what the horse head says to her: "If your mother only knew / her heart would surely break in two". And the ending, where the imposter gets the punishment that she suggests for the real princess: to be placed in a barrel spiked with nails and rolled through the streets behind two horses. I mean, how gruesome a death is that? Another of my favourite fairy tales which doesn't get told very often is The Tinderbox. With the dogs with the huge eyes who go to the palace and steal away the princess every night. Or, does anyone remember the one about the princess on the glass hill? And the knight who was able to ride his horse up the hill got to marry her? Anyone remember that one? So how about you? Any favourite fairy tales out there?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Harry Potter 7 Review

Hey y'all. I am back from vacation. I have been MIA for three weeks, and it's been wonderful. I was actually in Kelowna for one of those three weeks, but mostly I've just been relaxing, doing some reading. And I finally finished re-reading Harry Potter 7. I just didn't get around to it until now, cuz I was super-busy at work, and I also had to wait for the rest of my family to read it before I got it back (all of them are fans, but none of them were willing to buy their own copy - cheapskates.) But I finally did, and although it's been 2 months since it came out, I suddenly feel like talking about it. So for those of you who haven't read it yet, please stop reading right now, I beg of you. Don't ruin it for yourselves. And for those of you who would actually like to read my thoughts, please click and drag. I just wanted to make sure that I didn't give anyone any accidental spoilers.


So, I really, really, really loved the final book. It was awesome. As I said, I just finished re-reading it, and I have to admit, I cried. I cried really hard. I cried even harder than I did the first time I read it, and I think it's because I wasn't racing ahead to find out what happens in the end, so this time I could savour the tragedy of it all.

So, how about that Snape guy? As I've said before, I love Severus Snape, and I was quite pleased to see that every one of my predictions about him turned out to be true. I find the whole Snape/Lily story deliciously romantic and unbearably tragic. So Snape really was on the side of good... but was he actually a good person? J.K. Rowling has said herself that she doesn't really consider Snape a hero. Without Lily, I think it's fairly safe to say that Snape would have grown up an unrepentent Death Eater. And even with her influence, that is still the path he chose while at Hogwarts. It was only when faced with Lily's death that Snape was able to make the choice that would have won him her love if only he could have made it when he was younger. And it was all for Lily. Snape never cared for Harry. In Harry he only saw his old rival, James. This is illustrated in this scene (which by the way, I love) when Snape gets upset after Dumbledore tells him that Harry must die:
"But this is touching, Severus," said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
"For him?" shouted Snape. "Expecto patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: she landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.
I love those last two lines. After all this time? Always. Can't you just see an anguished Alan Rickman growling out that last word? They'd better put that part in the movie. But, back to my point, Snape never cared one bit for Harry. And that brings me to another one of my favourite scenes. While Snape lies dying and Harry comes face to face with him for the first time since that night on the tower:
Harry took off the Invisibility Cloak and looked down upon the man he hated, whose widening black eyes found Harry as he tried to speak. Harry bent over him; and Snape seized the front of his robes and pulled him close.
...
"Look...at...me..." he whispered.
The green eyes found the black but after a second something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, black and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.
I cried and cried the first time I read that scene, because Harry has his mother's eyes, and you know that when Snape tells Harry to look at him, it's not for Snape to see Harry, but for Snape to see Lily's eyes one last time. It's really romantic, and really tragic, and also vaguely creepy all at once.

But even though Snape never did care for Harry, and he never would have changed sides if it hadn't been for Lily's death, I actually do think that, in the end, Snape was a better person. At one point in one of Snape's memories when he's talking to Dumbledore, Dumbledore asks him, "How many men and women have you watched die?" and Snape replies, "Lately, only those whom I could not save". This shows that Snape really has changed. He cares about people dying. And Dumbledore himself has one of the best quotes in the books regarding Snape: "You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon..." I love, love that quote. Snape couldn't make the right choice when he was a boy at Hogwarts. But as a man, Snape turned out to be just as brave and good as anyone in Gryffindor. And I also loved the fact that Harry named one of his kids after him: "Albus Severus...you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew".

So besides Snape, there were of course loads of other awesome parts in the book. I loved the fact that Ron came back and ending up saving Harry and destroying the first horcrux. I mean, really, Ron's been rather useless up until now. He hasn't got the brains and skill of Hermione or Harry's nerve. He was always just kind of there. Of course I know he was a good friend to Harry (most of the time) and supportive, and he helped out here and there. But I'm really glad he kind of got to shine in this book a bit. And it also kind of finally laid to rest all those underlying feelings of inferiority he had. The Horcrux basically showed Ron his worst fear: that he really was nothing in comparison to Harry and that Hermione would always love Harry better. And Ron had to get past that in order to destroy it. My favourite quote from the scene:
"You've sort of made up for it tonight," said Harry. "Getting the sword. Finishing off the Horcrux. Saving my life."
"That makes me sound a lot cooler than I was," Ron mumbled.
"Stuff like that always sounds cooler than it really was," said Harry. "I've been trying to tell you that for years."
I think that quote should be in the movie too.

And speaking of Horcruxes, I also liked the fact that a different person destroyed each horcrux: Harry destroyed the diary, Dumbledore destroyed Gaunt's ring, Ron destroyed the locket, Hermione destroyed the cup, it was technically Crabbe who destroyed Ravenclaw's diadem since he cast the Fiendfyre, and Neville destroyed the snake. I think it kind of said something about it not being up to one person. One person on his or her own maybe wouldn't have succeeded, but everyone did their own part (wittingly or not).

And that reminds me of another part of the book, which was not so good, but was admittedly necessary. The deaths. The many, many deaths that took place throughout the book. So whose death was most tragic? Dobby? Fred? Tonks? Lupin? Do you know whose death shocked me the most? Hedwig's. I mean, I know she was just an owl, but it was just that I had never even considered the fact that Hedwig might die. She was Harry's owl, his pet, and I just assumed she was always going to be there. When she died so suddenly like that in the beginning, I seriously felt like Rowling had violated some sort of trust. And I remember thinking, "If Hedwig can die, then anyone's fair game." And after that, the death's just didn't affect me as much. Maybe it was just because there were so many, and the fact that I was expecting people to die, but their deaths just didn't affect me as profoundly. I think Sirius's death and Dumbledore's death affected me more because they were one, single, horrible death at the end of the book and it was really shocking. But by the end of the Deathly Hallows, I think I was just sort of numb. I did not predict Dobby's death, or Fred Weasley's death. But I knew, as soon as Lupin made Harry his son's godfather, I knew that Tonks and Lupin were doomed. And Tonks was one of my favourite characters, so I thought that was sad.

And then there was, of course, Harry's death. Oh man, did I cry and cry all through that. Especially that last walk through the woods. There is one thing that I was thinking about though. When Harry uses the Resurrection Stone, he brings back his mother, his father, Sirius and Lupin. But he doesn't bring back Dumbledore. The whole book he's been wishing to talk to Dumbledore, but then when he has the chance to bring him back, he doesn't. At first I thought that was weird, but then I remembered that Harry was, at that point, feeling terribly betrayed by Dumbledore. He felt that Dumbledore never really cared about him, but was just using him. So I guess that's why Harry didn't want to talk to him. And what about that crazy scene in King's Cross? With the crying baby? Was that the piece of Voldemort's soul that was attached to Harry? Anyway, it was a little weird.

But the ending was really good I thought. It was great that Neville was the one who killed the final horcrux. I always thought that he should have a big role to play since he was the other boy the prophecy could have indicated. But I was disappointed that he didn't get to do in Bellatrix and avenge his parents. And how about that? Mrs. Weasley? "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" I actually gasped out loud when I read that line. In a way it's kind of cool, because she finally got to show what she was made of, that underneath the dumpy housewife exterior she's a really talented witch. And it also showed how protective she was of her children. But I was just really surprised.

And did anyone else totally not get the whole Elder wand bit? At least one other person I talked to didn't understand that part. Harry was going on about how Draco Malfoy was the real master of the Elder wand, and I was like, WTF? However, my sister explained it to me after she'd read the book, so I am no longer confused. Basically, although Snape was the one who killed Dumbledore, Draco was the one who disarmed him first. So Dumbledore's wand (the Elder wand), changed its allegiance to Draco that night, even though Draco never even so much as touched it after he had disarmed Dumbledore. Then in the escape from Malfoy mansion, Harry wrestles Draco's own wand out of his hands. So Draco's wand changed its allegiance to Harry. And in the last fight, the Elder wand somehow knew that Harry had disarmed Draco and changed its allegiance to Harry. And I do like the fact that Harry used Expelliarmus in the duel, and that it was Voldemort's own deflected killing curse that did the job in the end. I knew it had to be like that.

Another thing I just wanted to touch on was the whole theme of death throughout the series. Specifically, people's attitudes towards death. Voldemort's main goal (besides taking over the world) was to avoid death at all costs. His very name, Vol-de-mort, means "flight from death" in French. Dumbledore also sought to conquer death, not through horcruxes, but rather through the Hallows. Dumbledore himself wonders if he was any better than Voldemort by seeking out the Hallows. But I think he was better than Voldemort because he sought the hallows not to extend his own life, but rather to bring back those that he loved. And I love the fact that what Dumbledore actually saw in the Mirror of Erised way back in book one, was actually the same thing that Harry saw: His family. Dumbledore wanted more than anything to have his mother and sister back again. In the end though, it was actually the person who did not seek to avoid death, but actually sought death out, who was able to unite the three hallows. Because Harry was willing to die, he was the only one who could safely possess the hallows. And that brings me to another interesting point: Some people have speculated that Harry might be somehow related to Voldemort. And if you think about it, they're right, although it's a very distant connection. Harry is obviously related to the Peverell brothers, as he has inherited the cloak of the third brother. But the Resurrection Stone belonged to the Gaunts. So, if the ring was handed down through the family as the cloak was, then Voldemort was related to Harry, not through Slytherin, but through the Peverells.

Finally, I thought I would point out a small "oops" that I caught in the book. Did anyone else catch this? When Ron, Hermione and Harry leave the wedding, they stop in a coffee shop and then end up in a duel with Death Eaters. They decide they need to wipe their memories. "I've never done a Memory Charm" says Ron. "Nor have I," says Hermione, "but I know the theory" (139). But that can't be true because Hermione has already told them that she put a memory charm on her parents: "I've also modified my parents' memories...Assuming I survive our hunt for the Horcruxes, I'll find Mum and Dad and lift the enchantment. If I don't - well, I think I've cast a good enough charm to keep them safe and happy" (84). Aaaah well. Even someone as talented as J.K. Rowling can't be perfect all of the time.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I always knew I should've been a Vulcan

You Are Incredibly Logical

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic
You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.
A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My kitties are in love

My kitties fight and fight and fight and fight all the time.

And then I come home and catch them like this:



Awwww. I guess they really do love each other after all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Adieu, Bête Bleue

So over the weekend, I went to Saskatoon and did a little shopping.

Car shopping that is.

And I am now the proud owner of a slightly used, dark blue, Honda CR-V. I really wanted a Toyota Rav 4, because I once drove one of those for work and liked it, and my cousin has one which I tried out in Edmonton at Easter. And I test-drove a very nice silver one. But I surprised myself and went for the Honda. It's a bit bigger than I ideally would have liked. But smoooooth. Standard transmission, of course.

So no more bête bleue. In many ways, I am going to miss the little guy. He techincally belongs to my Dad, so that's where he is right now. I don't know what Dad's going to do with him, but I hope that he will be spiffed up and sold to a deserving but poor college student who will need something like la bête: a cute little car to run around the city in, with 4x4 for those pesky January snowstorms, small enough that you could parallel park downtown blind-folded, but big enough that you could still fit five skinny people in a pinch.

So now I must move on and make some new memories. I'm currently trying to decide on a name for my new mode of transportation. This beast is also blue, but there can only be one bête bleue. Any suggestions? Here are a couple of visual aids to help you make a decision:


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ghost?

The library is haunted.

My children's program room is in the basement of the old library, which was built in 1912. And I know what you must be thinking, but the room has a lot of windows and is actually quite cheery. And despite the fact that it's an ancient building, I've never felt uncomfortable down there, or thought that it was creepy.

So my assistant K and I were down there going through the old filing cabinet (which, by the way, has an annoying habit of locking itself. No one knows where the key is, but sometimes it miraculously unlocks itself and allows you to get in it. Still have not figured this out.) We had just finished a program about half an hour before, and we had shut the stereo off (or so we thought). And so we were just sitting there, when all of a sudden the stereo comes on. By itself. We were a little surprised. And we were even more surprised when we realized that the song it started playing was not Track 1 on the CD, but Track 2. And then it played Track 7. So I went to check it out and found that it was on Random. K and I were sure we had turned it off, and we were also positive that neither one of us had set it to Random.

Very strange.

So I went upstairs to tell everyone about it, and they were all like, "Oh, it's just Carmichael." Carmichael is apparently the resident ghost of whom I was unaware of up until now. I guess the alarm on the children's desk goes off by itself sometimes when there's not anyone there and no books nearby that could have set it off. And Carmichael doesn't refer to anyone in particular, it's just a name they gave it. And now whenever anything weird happens, they all just blame Carmichael.

I'm not really sure what to make of it. When it comes to ghosts, I'm kind of on the fence belief-wise. I've never had anything happen to me that would make me a firm believer. But I've also heard enough stories from other people that I respect, including my maternal grandmother, that I don't want to dismiss it entirely out of hand. Sometimes I'd like to think it's real, and other times (like when I'm in bed after foolishly watching a scary movie or reading a ghost story) when I'd really prefer to think that it's just all made up.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The End of Harry Potter

I just finished the last Harry Potter book this morning. And it was wonderful. I'm still in that dream-like state you get in after the end of a really good book, the state where Harry's world still feels more real to me than my own. And I'm reluctant to leave that world. It's so sad to know that it's all over.

My predictions were, on the whole, pretty good. Although not everything turned out the way I thought it would. Still, I was dead right about one thing, wasn't I? So permit me to say: Told you so.

Right now, I think I'm going to go and read it again (or at least read until my sister comes back and demands I hand over the book to her so she can finish it), and postpone the crashing in of reality for just one more afternoon.

*************************
Well, it's a couple of hours later, my sister has left with the book, and reality has arrived. I feel very weird. I have been depressed after the end of a book before, I have felt emotionally drained before. But I have never felt so completely without purpose. I literally did not know what to do with myself. I sat on the couch and stared. I had been looking forward to it for so long, and now it's over... And I don't know anyone else who's finished reading the book yet, so I can't even go over the gory details. I think I will do a couple of posts about the book, but I'm going to wait a bit until everyone's read it, so I won't do any spoilers. And I think I'm going to have to read it again, especially that last bit, because it all got very complicated, and I'm not sure I understood everything. So if anyone reads this and wants to dish about the book, let me know. In the meantime, I have found that listening to the podcasts over at mugglenet.com has helped quite a bit. In one of the podcasts, they mention that the bookstore they're in has set up a Harry Potter Help Line. And laugh if you want, but considering how I feel, I would not be surprised if the end of Harry Potter sets off an epidemic of clinical depression.

Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity, now that the whole book thing is out of the way, to bitch about the new movie. I'm feeling quite bitchy right now actually, and I think it's just one of the symptoms of the Potter withdrawal that I'll be going through over the next little while.

So I thought the movie sucked.

Oh, all right, it didn't suck. I actually quite enjoyed most of it. And I liked it even better the second time I watched it. And even better the third. And the good thing about this movie is, so far every time I've watched, I've caught something new, something I hadn't noticed on previous viewings.

From what I can tell, it's mostly the people who've read the books who have a problem with the movie. My mom hasn't read them, and she thought the movie was good. But you take the longest book and make it into the shortest movie, and something's gotta give, right?

So let's first talk about what went right. Luna Lovegood. I thought she was awesome in this movie. Her scenes were well-written, and I think you actually got to know her quite well in the movie. Dolores Umbridge. She was perfect. You really, really wanted to kill her in the movie. She's so evil, and so creepy too, all dressed in pink with kittens on her walls, and then torturing children for the fun of it.

So here's what I think sucked about the movie. I really think that they didn't put enough emphasis on the importance of the prophesy. I don't think it was clear why Voldemort wanted it, and I don't think there was the same sense of shock when Harry finally finds out about his destiny. I mean, I think we all knew what was coming, that Harry would end up facing Voldemort someday, but in the book I think we felt more of what Harry's feeling, that he has to face Voldemort, that it's inevitable.

I also felt that the scene at the end where Harry is talking to Dumbledore about Sirius' death and the prophecy, was all wrong. I loved the scene in OOTP when Harry went around smashing stuff in Dumbledore's office and yelling at him. I mean, Dumbledore has been ignoring him all year, he just saw his Godfather killed, Harry feels that it's his fault that Sirius died, and now he's just also discovered that he is the one who has to kill Voldemort. And in the movie he just sits there, looking a bit glum. Come on people. He should be showing a bit more emotion than that. And speaking of emotion, can we talk about Dumbledore's? Or rather, his lack of it? He supposed to love Harry almost like a son. And that's why he hasn't told him about the prophecy. In the movie, Dumbledore says, "I cared about you too much", but it doesn't seem like he cares at all. Let's compare that to the book, shall we?
"I feel I owe you another explanation, Harry," said Dumbledore hesitantly. "You may, perhaps, have wondered why I never chose you as a prefect? I must confess...that I rather thought...you had enough responsibility to be going on with."
Harry looked up at him and saw a tear trickling down Dumbledore's face into his long silver beard.
I love that part in the book. But in the movie, I just don't see the empathy, the caring. And I don't think we've seen it in any of the last three movies. Richard Harris was Dumbledore. Michael Gambon just doesn't capture it. And I'm not saying it's the actor's fault. It's the fault of the writers and directors as well. The new Dumbledore captures some of the power of Dumbledore, I thought the battle scene between him and Voldemort was quite well done, but that's all he is. Power. The real Dumbledore we know and love from the books cares about people a great deal. And he is also a very fun person, with a quirky sense of humour he exhibits often. The Dumbledore I know, for example, would never yell at students, "Don't you have studying you should be doing?". And he would never, ever, lose his temper in front of a student. I hated that scene in the GOF movie, when he grabs the front of Harry's shirt and yells at him "Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?". Dumbledore can be extremely grave and serious when he has to be, but he has never been so angry that he loses control of himself.

Oh, and what about Harry and Cho? That kiss??? Like, how unnatural is it to kiss someone and not touch them anywhere else? I mean, they don't have to grope each other, but just even resting their hands on each other's shoulders or back would have made it better. And then in the movie, it's Cho who betrays Dumbledore's Army to Umbridge. Now I actually didn't have a problem with that. A movie just can't have as many characters as a book can, cuz it's too hard for people to keep track. It would have taken quite a bit of extra time to introduce Marietta, Cho's friend. Hermione mentions, after Harry and Cho's kiss, that Cho is upset because Umbridge has been threatening to sack her mother from the Ministry of Magic. If they'd left that as the reason that Cho crumbled under pressure, then it would have been okay. They could've had a scene where Cho says, "Please don't be mad at me Harry! They were threatening to sack my mum!" and then Harry would say, "Ron's Dad worked at the ministry too. And he didn't rat us out." There. End of story. Cho should've been stronger, but she wasn't, because she cared about her mum more than she cared about Harry or the Army. You wouldn't hate her, but you would understand why Harry was a little pissed. But oh no, they just had to bring veritaserum into it. Snape mentions that Umbridge used the last of his veritaserum interrogating Cho, and then Harry, Ron and Hermione all look at each other horrified, because they realize that they've been angry at Cho when she didn't have a choice. But we know that Harry and Cho can't get back together again because he's got to get together with Ginny in the next one. And so Harry ends up looking like a jerk. And that sucks.

Anyway, those are the main reasons why I had trouble with this movie. I think 3 and 4 are better made. Let's hope they do better with the 6th one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter: Final Predictions

So Snape is really good, and Harry may or may not be a horcrux. But what else is going to happen in Deathly Hallows?

Basically, Harry has to go and hunt down the horcruxes, destroy them, and then kill Voldemort. There are supposed to be 6 horcruxes. Harry destroyed the first one, Riddle's diary, and Dumbledore took care of Gaunt's ring. That leaves four which Dumbledore has theorized include the following:
Horcrux #3: Slytherin's Locket
Horcrux #4: Hufflepuff's cup
Horcrux #5: Something of Ravenclaw's or Gryffindor's
Horcrux #6: Nagini the snake

Of course this list may not be quite correct. For example, the first one, Slytherin's locket, may have already been destroyed. The mysterious RAB may have already done some of Harry's work for him, as indicated in the note he left in the fake horcrux:
"To the Dark Lord:
I know I will be dead long before you read this
but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can.
I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more.
RAB" (HBP 569)
The identity of RAB is almost certainly Regulus Black, Sirius' younger brother who was a Death Eater. According to Sirius, Regulus "got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It's a lifetime of service or death" (OOTP 104). Lupin remembers that "Sirius's brother Regulus only managed a few days" (HBP 103) before he was killed. So were those few days enough to steal the horcrux and destroy it? Assuming, of course, that RAB is actually dead. No one ever says whether they saw Regulus' body, or if he just disappeared. In any case, I suspect that Harry will find the locket at 12 Grimmauld Place. One of the objects found in the cabinet they were cleaning out there was "a heavy locket none of them could open" (OOTP 108) and Slytherin's locket is described as "a heavy gold locket" (HBP 196).

I have also wondered about the last horcrux, supposedly Nagini the snake. Dumbledore thinks that this may be where Voldemort has recently chosen to hide the last seventh of his soul since he failed to create the last horcrux on the night of Harry's death... or did he? If you buy into the Harry-is-a-horcrux theory, then does that mean Nagini is actually the seventh horcrux, and Voldemort's soul has been divided into eight? Or was Dumbledore mistaken and is Nagini not a horcrux at all? Another thing to consider is that Voldemort knows that one of his horcruxes has been destroyed. Dumbledore tells Harry that "When Voldemort discovered that the diary had been mutilated and robbed of all its powers, I am told that his anger was terrible to behold" (HBP 474). For Voldemort, the idea of having his soul divided into the magical number seven was very important. So, if he knew that now there were only six pieces of his soul left, would he then try to create another horcrux? Or would that still be considered dividing it into pieces of eight, even if one piece was destroyed, and therefore less magical? There may yet be some changes to the list of horcruxes.

As for where Harry will go, I mentioned that the locket will most likely be found in 12 Grimmauld Place, the house which Harry now owns. Harry has also mentioned that he will be going to Godric's Hollow, the place where his parents last home was. I have often wondered about the name, Godric's Hollow, Godric Gryffindor. And we don't know much about Harry's father's family, other than that they were pure-bloods. Could Harry be the heir of Gryffindor? It would kind of make sense, that the heir of Slytherin and the heir of Gryffindor have a final showdown, so many centuries after the first rift between their houses occurred.

And of course Harry will go back to Hogwarts. He has said that he won't, and maybe he won't go back for classes, but I think at least one of the horcruxes will be hidden there. Dumbledore has remarked that "Voldemort was, I believe, more attached to this school than he has ever been to a person. Hogwarts was where he had been happiest; the first and only place he had felt at home....the castle is a stronghold of ancient magic. Undoubtedly Voldemort had penetrated many more of its secrets than most of the students who pass through the place, but he may have felt that there were still mysteries to unravel, stores of magic to tap" (HBP 403).

There is another possible hiding place that I thought of, though I got it from looking off of one of the cover illustrations for the new book, so it's kind of cheating. In the picture, Ron, Hermione and Harry are tumbling through a circular opening into what looks like a mound of treasure. Could Voldemort have hidden one of his horcruxes in a vault in Gringott's? It sounds horribly obvious, but there it is.

So we know Ron and Hermione will be accompanying Harry, but who else will make an appearance in the book? Obviously, Luna will be back. And Ginny as well. I think Harry made a mistake in breaking up with her at the end of Book 6, because they love each other, and that is Harry's strength. He shouldn't be trying to distance himself from his friends, even if his intention is to protect them. And of course, Neville, who will have a huge role to play. He is, of course, the other boy to whom the prophecy may have referred to at one point, causing some people to speculate that he really is the chosen one and it will be him that has to kill Voldemort in the end. I don't know about that, but I do think that a confrontation between Neville and Bellatrix Lestrange is inevitable. He will avenge the torture of his parents, or die trying. Another character who may possibly return is Victor Krum. If he does, I foresee a potential love triangle between Ron, Hermione and Victor, which may finally force some feelings out into the open.

And what of Sirius? He's supposed to be dead, and Dumbledore has told Harry several times that there is no spell that can bring back the dead... but the purpose of the mysterious archway into which Sirius fell has never been explained. I think there's a possibility that we will see Sirius again. And Dumbledore? Once again, I have to say that I do think Snape really did kill him. But I also note that Dumbledore has been strongly associated with the phoenix throughout. When the phoenix dies, it bursts into flames, and is then reborn again from the ashes. At Dumbledore's funeral, his casket is engulfed in flames. I'm not saying that there'll be a baby Dumbledore wandering around in Book 7, but I think maybe, in some form, we will hear from him again. [and I must put in a little note here to thank my Dad who pointed out to me the association between Dumbledore and the phoenix]. And even if Dumbledore doesn't come back, there's always his brother. Moody points him out in a picture of the Order of the Phoenix: "That's Dumbledore's brother Aberforth, only time I ever met him, strange bloke" (OOTP 158). If Aberforth is still alive, and strange bloke or not, if he's even half as talented as his brother, he may be able to help Harry out in some way.

And the bad guys? Cuz they'll be there as well. Harry's old nemesis Draco Malfoy will be back again. I think that he will redeem himself and end up saving Harry's life or something. And I think Draco will also survive. He'll be one of the ones to carry on after the final battle's done. Severus Snape will also have an important role to play. Harry's going to try and kill him, but I think Severus may end up saving Harry as well. I also think Snape is going probably going to be one of the ones to kick it. Harry will finally hear his story and find out that Snape is on his side, and then Snape's going to die. And then there's also Peter Pettigrew. He's going to have an important role to play, possibly in the final battle. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry decides to spare Pettigrew's life. Dumbledore says, "Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. When one wizard saves another wizard's life, it creates a certain bond between them... and I'm much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter. This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me... the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life" (POA 311). So I think that Pettigrew may also end up dying for Harry, to make up for the fact that he betrayed Harry's father.

So, what about the final battle? How will it all end? Will Harry die?

Right from the beginning, before we even know about the prophecy, Harry's fate is already looking grim. In the first book, when Harry encounters Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, Firenze the centaur intervenes and saves Harry's life. Firenze is then rebuked by the other centaurs: "Remember Firenze, we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?" (PS 187). Then when Firenze leaves Harry, he says to him "Good luck, Harry Potter...The planets have been read wrongly before now, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those times." (189). It's possible the centaurs have merely read what the prophecy says, that Harry will one day have to face Voldemort. But they're not sounding very hopeful, are they? Harry himself says later on, "Bane thinks Firenze should have let Voldemort kill me...I suppose that's written in the stars as well" (190). So what do the centaurs see? Can they see Harry's death? If so, is it possible, as Firenze says, that they may be wrong?

The prophecy isn't much help either. It says "either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives". Now that doesn't necessarily mean that Harry will die, but it doesn't mean he'll live either. Either must die, so one of them's got to. But it doesn't say anything about one of them surviving for sure.

If you believe that Harry's a horcrux, then his chances of survival go down even further. One thing that we know for sure is that all the horcruxes must be destroyed before someone kills Voldemort. If he is killed and even one horcrux still exists, then it will be the same thing all over again as the night he tried to kill Harry. So, let's look at the possible scenarios:
Scenario #1: Harry realizes he's a horcrux and decides to kill himself, or has someone else kill him. Then someone else will have to finish off Voldemort for him. The most popular contender for this position is Neville Longbottom, as he is the other boy who could have been the chosen one. I personally don't think this will work. First of all, Neville could have been the chosen one, but he wasn't "marked" as Harry was. Harry is the chosen one, and it's GOT to be him and Voldemort in the end. Nothing else makes sense.
Scenario #2: Harry and Voldemort kill each other at exactly the same time, so Voldemort and his final horcrux are both destroyed. It's possible, but I think it's pretty unlikely.
Scenario #3: Harry realizes he's a horcrux, but someone figures out a way to destroy the bit of Voldemort's soul without killing Harry. This one I like pretty well. Though when you look at what's happened to the other horcruxes, I'm thinking it's going to be difficult to destroy the soul without also destroying the vessel. Riddles diary got pierced with the fang of a basilisk. And I don't know what Dumbledore did to Gaunt's ring, but it ended up with a huge crack down the middle. Still, it's possible, and this way Harry still gets to face Voldemort in the end.

And how will Harry get rid of Voldemort? Voldemort is the most powerful wizard on earth now that Dumbledore's gone. Dumbledore himself says that "Without his Horcruxes, Voldemort will be a mortal man with a maimed and diminished soul. Never forget, though, that while his soul may be damaged beyond repair, his brain and his magical power remain intact. It will take uncommon skill and power to kill a wizard like Voldemort, even without his Horcruxes" (HBP 475). Harry is fairly talented, especially in Defence Against the Dark Arts, but he can't hope to defeat Voldemort in a regular wizard's duel. Dumbledore has said to Harry again and again that it will be his ability to love, his ability to feel emotion that will help him the most. Dumbledore tells Harry that "the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength" (OOTP 726). At one point, Dumbledore mentions something about a special room in the Department of Mysteries: "There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from posession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you." (OOTP 743). When Harry and the others were in the Department of Mysteries and they were in the room with the revolving doors, there was one door that none of them could open. Could this be the mysterious locked room, the one that holds the power of love? And if so, will Harry be able to somehow use this force against Voldemort? Something else which may come to play an important role is the fact that Harry's blood now runs through Voldemort's veins. When Harry tells Dumbledore that Voldemort said "my blood would make him stronger than if he'd used someone else's...He said the protection my - my mother left in me - he'd have it, too. And he was right - he could touch me without hurting himself, he touched my face. For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes."(GOF 604) What the significance of this is, I cannot say.

And I also cannot say if Harry will survive. Even if he's not a horcrux, there's no guarantee. And if he doesn't, I won't necessarily mind, as long as she does it right. I've read children's books before where one of the main characters dies, most recently Ptolemy's Gate. And in that one it was excruciatingly sad, but at the same time, it was inevitable and felt, somehow, right. In any case, I'm sure I will cry, even if Harry doesn't die, cuz it will all be over.

So, those are my last predictions. Anyone else?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is Harry a Horcrux?

I've really gone back and forth on this question. And I think it's because I'm a little bit biased, simply because if Harry is a Horcrux, I really hate what it does to his chances of survival. And I do want Harry to live. But whether or not I want Harry to be a Horcrux is completely beside the point. So let's take a look at the facts, shall we?

It all comes down to the night that Voldemort tried to kill Harry. Harry's mother dies trying to protect Harry, and in Voldemort's words: "My curse was deflected by the woman's foolish sacrifice, and it rebounded upon me." (GOF 566) Harry is left with a small scar on his forehead, but is otherwise unharmed. The scar, however, has proved to be much more than skin deep. It serves as a link between Harry and Lord Voldemort, a link that has never been satisfactorily explained.

From the beginning, Harry could sense through the scar when Lord Voldemort was near. Eventually the scar also began to hurt when Voldemort was angry. Dumbledore tells Harry "It is my belief that your scar hurts both when Lord Voldemort is near you, and when he is feeling a particularly strong surge of hatred.... Because you and he are connected by the curse that failed. That is no ordinary scar" (GOF 521). No ordinary scar indeed. The connection becomes even deeper after the Dark Lord regains his body, and in Order of the Phoenix, Harry begins to sense a range of emotions from the Dark Lord, as well as sharing Voldemort's thoughts and visions. Snape tells Harry that "The curse that failed to kill you seems to have forged some kind of connection between you and the Dark Lord... when your mind is most relaxed and vulnerable - when you are asleep, for instance - you are sharing the Dark Lord's thoughts and emotions" (OOTP 469). Perhaps the most disturbing instance of this occurs when Harry witnesses the attempted murder of Arthur Weasley. He sees the attack as if he himself were the snake biting Mr. Weasley.
Snape has an explanation for this as well: "You seem to have visited the snake's mind because that was where the Dark Lord was at that particular moment... He was possessing the snake at the time and so you dreamed you were inside it, too" (OOTP 470). Later on in Dumbledore's office, Harry experiences a disturbing urge to attack Dumbledore: "At once, Harry's scar burned white-hot, as though the old wound had burst open again - and unbidden, unwanted, but terrifyingly strong, there rose within Harry a hatred so powerful he felt, for that instant, he would like nothing better than to strike - to bite - to sink his fangs into the man before him -" (OOTP 419). Harry later says "it was like something rose up inside me, like there's a snake inside me" (OOTP 425). Is there something inside Harry, some evil thing fighting to get out?

It would definitely seem to support the Horcrux theory. Except that in Half-Blood Prince, the scar abruptly stops hurting and Harry can no longer sense anything from Voldemort. Dumbledore explains that "Lord Voldemort has finally realised the dangerous access to his thoughts and feelings you have been enjoying. It appears that he is now emplying Occlumency against you" (HBP 61). If the thoughts and feelings had been coming from within Harry, from a piece of Voldemort's soul, then Voldemort employing Occlumency wouldn't stop them. So there's no evidence to support that Harry has a horcrux inside him. And if you really want to believe that, then I suggest you stop reading here. Because that's not the end of the story.

While the emotions Harry was feeling were coming from outside himself, it is the connection between him and Lord Voldemort itself that is allowing those emotions to reach him. When Dumbledore is talking to Harry about the Horcruxes, one possibility he suggests is that Nagini the snake is a horcrux. He bases this on the fact that the snake's behaviour is rather strange and that Voldemort "seems to have an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth" (HBP 473). This seems to suggest that the Horcrux would create a connection between Voldemort and the snake that would allow him to control her more. Sound familiar?

The other part we're forgetting is that Harry is not just experiencing Voldemort's thoughts and emotions. He has also inherited some of his abilities. In second year, Harry discovers that he is a parselmouth. He can talk to snakes, an ability that Voldemort was well-known for. Harry wonders why he has this ability in common with Voldemort in this telling conversation with Dumbledore:
"You can speak Parseltongue, Harry, because Lord Voldemort - who is the last remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin - can speak Parseltongue. Unless I'm much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I'm sure..."
"Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?" Harry said, thunderstruck.
"It certainly seems so." (COS 245)
Voldemort put a bit of himself in me... Sounds like a horcrux to me. It is one thing to have a connection to someone else's mind, it is quite another to transfer your in-born abilities to them.

So let's, for now, assume that Harry is a Horcrux. How did it happen? As Dumbledore indicates above, Voldemort surely did not intend to make Harry a Horcrux. But he did intend to make one that night: "if my calculations are correct, Voldemort was still at least one Horcrux short of his goal of six when he entered your parents' house with the intention of killing you....I am sure that he was intending to make his final Horcrux with your death" (HBP 473). So how is a Horcrux actually made? Slughorn explains to Riddle that "Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: he would encase the torn portion...There is a spell" (HBP 465). So to create a Horcrux, one must first kill someone, then encase the torn part of the soul inside an object using a spell. Without knowing more about the spell, it's really hard to say if the procedure could have happened by accident. Is the spell something that you set up ahead of time, and then at the moment of killing set into motion? And then there is the larger glitch in this little theory: to set up a Horcrux, you have to kill. Dumbledore thinks that Voldemort was going to use Harry's death, NOT the death of his mother or father, to create the final Horcrux. But Harry didn't die that night. No death = No Horcrux. Or is it possible that merely the intent of killing Harry was enough to rip Voldemort's soul? Again, without knowing more about how the spell works, it's hard to say.

Another question to consider here is why doesn't Voldemort realise that Harry is a Horcrux? He obviously doesn't know that Harry is a Horcrux because he keeps trying to do him in, and surely he wouldn't do that if he knew. We do know that Voldemort cannot sense Horcruxes after they have been separated from his body. Harry asks Dumbledore that exact question:
"Does Voldemort know when a Horcrux is destroyed sir? Can he feel it?"
"I believe not. I believe that Voldemort is now so immersed in evil, and these crucial parts of himself have been detached for so long, he does not feel as we do." (HBP 474)
But would Voldemort feel it when a Horcrux has been newly created? Would he not feel his soul being torn and sealed away? Would he not realise that the spell had been performed? One could argue that in the shock of the rebounding curse and him losing his body, Voldemort could have overlooked the fact that another piece of his soul was missing. Or perhaps he realised it was missing, but thought the spell had gone as planned and went into the intended object, and not Harry. Or maybe he does realise that Harry's a horcrux and is simply willing to sacrifice a bit of his soul in order to be rid of his prophesied nemesis.

Another question to consider is if a piece of Voldemort's soul could actually reside comfortably in Harry's body. In Order of the Phoenix Voldemort takes possesion of Harry's body. But he cannot remain because Harry begins to think of the people he loves. As Dumbledore says, "That power [to love] also saved you from posession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests." (OOTP 743). If Voldemort couldn't stand to stay in Harry's body, then how could a piece of his soul?

In Order of the Phoenix, after Harry has the dream about the snake attacking Mr. Weasley, there is an odd little scene where Dumbledore consults some of his instruments. We don't hear the question Dumbledore asks, but a serpent made of smoke appears:
"Naturally, naturally," murmured Dumbledore apparently to himself, still observing the stream of smoke without the slightest sign of surprise. "But in essence divided?"
Harry could make neither head nor tail of this question. The smoke serpent, however, split itself instantly into two snakes, both coiling and undulating in the dark air. With a look of grim satisfaction, Dubledore gave the instrument another gentle tap with his wand: the clinking noise slowed and died and the smoke serpents grew faint, became a formless haze and vanished." (OOTP 416)
I really wish that I understood this part better, because I think it's key to understanding the nature of Harry's connection with Voldemort. Two serpents, in essence divided. Does Dumbledore mean that Harry and Voldemort are divided, even though they were sharing the mind of the snake? Or does he mean that Voldemort is divided, one part of his soul in his own body, the other residing in Harry's? Does it support or contradict the theory of Harry as a Horcrux?

Which brings me to my next question: If Harry is a Horcrux, then why doesn't Dumbledore tell him? Surely Dumbledore would know. After the snake attack on Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley remarks that "Dumbledore seems almost to have been waiting for Harry to see something like this" (OOTP 434). Dumbledore seems to understand what the connection between Harry and Voldemort means. But he never mentions the possibility that Harry is a Horcrux. And after the end of Order of the Phoenix he said he was done protecting Harry. But maybe he has his reasons. Maybe it's not about protecting Harry, but just realising that this is something that Harry needs to find out on his own and come to accept.

So, final word. Is Harry a Horcrux? Well, there are some fairly large holes in the theory, as I have pointed out above. And yet there is strong evidence that would support it. The connection between Harry and Voldemort has never been adequately explained otherwise. But I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced. What do you all think?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape

The new Harry Potter book will be out on July 21st, and of course everyone is speculating on the contents of the seventh and final book. In fact, if you do a search on the Internet, you will come across hundreds of predictions about how the story of our favourite myopic hero will end. And so, being completely obsessed by Harry Potter myself, I couldn't await the arrival of the end without writing down my own predictions for the seventh and final book. I don't claim to be an expert, despite having read all of the first six books at least three times. I know there's still stuff I've missed. I mean, my God, there are people who've written books trying to predict the contents of Deathly Hallows, and I'm probably not going to be as thorough as they were. Before you read on, please be aware that I will be revealing key plot elements in the series that may ruin your enjoyment of the books if you have not yet read all of them. You've been warned.

Now, I had originally planned to write about several aspects of the HP Books, but I realized my post was getting absolutely ginormous, so for this first post, I'm limiting myself to one topic (which is quite long enough as it is, thank you very much). I will do other topics in other posts later on this week. Maybe. If I have time. If there's nothing good on TV. So, to the first topic, one that, after the ending of the last book, is probably on the top of everyone's mind:

Snape: Whose Side Is He On Anyway?

I have to admit something here: I love Snape. That's right. In fact, I think he's a sexy beast. The potions master we all love to hate is probably my absolute favourite character in the whole series. His true loyalties have been in doubt since the very beginning. Time and again, Snape has fallen under suspicion only to be found innocent in the end. He treats Harry horribly, but has also saved his life. Our feelings about him have gone up and down like a yo-yo on a string. And then came the end of the sixth book, and two words have once again forced us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about him. Avada Kedavra. Is that the final word? Has Snape finally shown his true colours?

The short answer is no, Snape is not evil, but...it's also more complicated than that.

Let's go back to that night at the top of the astronomy tower where Harry watched Snape murder Dumbledore. It's hard to believe it actually happened, and one possible theory is that it didn't. Somehow Dumbledore survived and Snape only made it appear that he'd killed Dumbledore, thereby fooling the three Death Eaters, saving Draco and Dumbledore from death and keeping his own cover. That would be lovely, wouldn't it? But I don't think it's true. First of all, Dumbledore would've had to survive not only the Avada Kedavra curse, but then the additional fall of hundreds of feet from the top of the tower to the ground below. That's a tall order, even for Dumbledore. Second of all, even if Snape and Dumbledore had been able to fake Dumbledore's death, they had no warning and therefore no time. McGonagall later says "I don't think he knew they were there before Filius told him, I don't think he knew they were coming" (HBP 575). Although they both knew that Draco was trying to kill Dumbledore, Draco would not tell Snape exactly what he was up to, and I believe this caused them to underestimate Draco's abilities. Dumbledore disarmed and completely helpless was probably not what Snape expected to see when he got to the top of the tower. Finally, after Dumbledore falls from the tower, the Body-Bind Curse is lifted from Harry, and Harry knows "that it could have happened only because its caster was dead" (HBP 568). There is no doubt in my mind that Dumbledore is dead. But how could Snape have killed Dumbledore and still be on the same side?

The thing is, Snape was in a very difficult position. When he made the Unbreakable Vow, Snape promised three things: to watch over Draco, protect him from harm, and, if it seems Draco will fail, to carry out the deed that Draco was ordered to perform (HBP 41). Snape is faced with either fulfilling his promise, and killing Dumbledore, or else dying himself. Now, if Snape had chosen to die himself rather than kill Dumbledore, it may have shown a noble spirit, but a lack of intelligence. In addition to Draco, there were three other Death Eaters plus the werewolf at the top of the tower. If Snape had died, those four would have been quite willing to finish the job and probably more than a match for Dumbledore in his weakened state. Snape's death would have then been entirely without purpose. Snape really did the only thing he could. By killing Dumbledore, he fulfilled the vow, kept his cover and ensured that at least one of them was still alive at the end of the day.

Secondly, not only did Snape not have a choice, but I believe that Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him. If Snape was a good little spy and told Dumbledore about the Unbreakable Vow, then Dumbledore would have seen the situation just as Snape did. At one point Harry hears Dumbledore begging Snape:
"Severus...
The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading....
Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.
"Severus... please..." (HBP 556).
Harry thinks that Dumbledore is pleading for mercy, but that just doesn't sound like Dumbledore to me. Dumbledore wasn't afraid of death. He himself has said that "to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure"(PS 215). I think that Dumbledore was in fact pleading with Severus to kill him. The revulsion and hatred that Harry sees on Snape's face may just have been that Snape was angry with Dumbledore for making him do it. Earlier on, in fact, Hagrid overhears a conversation between Snape and Dumbledore:
"I jus' heard Snape sayin' Dumbledore took too much fer granted an' maybe he - Snape - didn' wan' ter do it any more....it sounded like Snape was feelin' a bit overworked, tha's all - anyway, Dumbledore told him flat out he'd agreed ter do it an' that was all there was to it. Pretty firm with him. An' then he said summat abou' Snape makin' investigations in his house, in Slytherin." (HBP 380).
Now it's possible that Dumbledore was only talking about Snape's work as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. But it's also possible that Snape was upset that Dumbledore had told Snape to kill him, should it prove necessary. I realise this is a bit of a leap, but there is some evidence that I think gives it some weight. First of all, the way Dumbledore had been telling Harry absolutely everything about Voldemort, holding nothing back. It's almost as if he knew that he wouldn't be around for much longer. And finally, the fact that Dumbledore gave Snape the Defence Against the Dark Arts position. No teacher that had that position has lasted more than a year at Hogwarts. Dumbledore knew about the curse, and yet gave it to Snape anyway. He must have known Snape would have to leave at the end of the year.

But is that indeed what really happened? Snape may not have had a choice about killing Dumbledore, but how do we really know where his true loyalties lie? Dumbledore is the only one who seems to actually trust Severus. Several times Harry asks him how he knows Snape is on their side, and Dumbledore refuses to answer. Everyone else only trusts Snape because Dumbledore does, and they trust Dumbledore's judgement. As Lupin says, "Dumbledore trusts Severus, and that ought to be good enough for all of us....It comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore's judgement. I do; therefore, I trust Severus" (HBP 311). But Snape is an accomplished Occlumens: "The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so can utter falsehoods in his presence without detection" (OOTP 469). Dumbledore is himself skilled at Legilimency: "I am a sufficiently accomplished Legilimens myself to know when I am being lied to" (OOTP 733). But suffice to say that if Snape can lie to Lord Voldemort and get away with it, he can also lie to Dumbledore. Dumbledore, however, isn't stupid. He knows he can't tell if Severus is lying, and so must have some other reason for trusting him. As McGonagall says, "He always hinted that he had an iron-clad reason for trusting Snape...Dumbledore told me explicitly that Snape's repentance was absolutely genuine" (HBP 574). Dumbledore therefore seems to know something about Snape that no one else does, something that would convince him that Snape was really on their side.

We know that Snape was, indeed, a Death Eater at one point in his life. And it is here that it becomes critical to establish a time line. We learned from Trelawney that it was actually Severus Snape who heard the first part of the prophecy that night at the Hog's Head Inn and told Voldemort what he had learned. At this time, Snape was also seeking a position at the school on Voldemort's orders so that he could spy on Albus Dumbledore. According to Dumbledore, "He was still in Lord Voldemort's employ on the night he heard the first half of Professor Trelawney's prophecy" (HBP 512). However, in one of Dumbledore's memories, he also says that "Severus Snape...rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort's downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk" (513). So Snape was still on Lord Voldemort's side when he heard the prophecy, but became a double agent at some point between then, and the night of the attack on Harry. It is also known that Harry's parents knew that Voldemort was after them: "Dumbledore had a number of useful spies. One of them tipped him off" (POA 152). It is my belief that Snape was the useful spy in question and that he was the one who told Dumbledore that Voldemort was after the Potters. It was at this point that Snape changed sides and when Snape shared this information, Dumbledore knew that he could trust him. One can only imagine the wrath of Lord Voldemort if he ever finds out that Snape attempted to save the Potters. But what could have motivated Snape to betray his master?

Dumbledore says that Snape "had no possible way of knowing - which boy Voldemort would hunt from then onwards, or that the parents he would destroy in his murderous quest were people that Professor Snape knew, that they were your mother and father....You have no idea of the remorse Professor Snape felt when he realised how Lord Voldemort had interpreted the prophecy, Harry. I believe it to be the greatest regret of his life and the reason that he returned" (HBP 512, 513). Harry of course does not believe this, and with good reason: Snape hated his father, and it is very unlikely that Snape would have felt very sad about his death. However, James once saved Snape's life, and "When one wizard saves another wizard's life, it creates a certain bond between them" (POA 311). The exact nature of this bond is not clear, but may have motivated Snape, at least in part, to attempt to save James' life in turn. But I believe that is only half of it. Snape's true motivation comes not from Harry's father, but Harry's mother. I believe that Snape was secretly in love with Lily Evans. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of textual evidence for this. Just more of a feeling I get reading between the lines. The only interaction we see between Snape and Lily is in one of Snape's memories. James and Sirius are bullying Snape when Lily comes up to them and tells them to leave him alone. Snape's response is to say "I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her" (OOTP 571). But I don't think this was indicative of his true feelings. For starters, Snape was already hanging around with a group of future Death Eaters who would not have accepted Snape liking a Muggle-born. Secondly, Lily kind of emasculated Snape by standing up for him. Silly though it is, I think a lot of guys would have been at least minorly annoyed at being rescued by a girl. We know that both Snape and Lily were good at potions, so maybe they bonded over the fumes of a hot cauldron. Whether Snape's love was ever reciprocated by Lily, I couldn't say. But we do know the end result: Lily didn't end up with Snape, she ended up with James, Snape's nemesis. That's gotta hurt. It could partially explain why Snape's so crabby all of the time, and also why he hates Harry so much. Harry is a constant reminder of Snape's broken heart. I also think that Dumbledore knew Snape loved Lily, and it is why he continued to refuse to tell Harry why Snape could be trusted, even after Harry found out it was Snape who heard the prophecy:
"Professor...how can you be sure Snape's on our side?"
Dumbledore did not speak for a moment; he looked as though he was trying to make up his mind about something. At last he said, "I am sure. I trust Severus Snape completely" (HBP 513).
Harry would have found the idea of Snape and his mother disturbing at the very least, and Snape would have been furious that Harry knew something so personal about him.

So those are my thoughts. I could be completely wrong of course, and if you think I am, feel free to call me out. We'll know soon enough. And if that's the case, I shall promptly delete this post and deny all knowledge of ever having written it. Ha. Of course if I'm right, you'll never hear the end of it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I was hoping for X-rated



Well, hell. Maybe I need to start swearing a bit more.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pirates

I just saw Pirates of the Caribbean 3. And I think I liked it. I'm not going to give anything away for those who haven't seen it yet. But I have heard from some people that it was completely over the top, overdone, and about 2 hours too long. And I don't think it was. It did have its ridiculous moments (I rolled my eyes at least twice), and there was so much double-crossing it was hard to keep track of who was on what side at any given time (though it was still doable, unlike the first Mission Impossible, where after the movie I just sat there saying, "huh?"), and the ending was kind of sad. And I didn't really think that Captain Jack Sparrow was as charming this time around. But oh my god I love Orlando Bloom. I thought last movie Johnny Depp kind of overshadowed him, but gorgeous Will Turner was back and better than ever this time. Anyway, I liked the movie (though it still can't compare to the first Pirates). And it's left me feeling a bit odd. I feel a bit sad and let down, but I also have a fierce urge to begin work on an epic novel about backstabbing pirates. And I have an odd craving for rum. I hate rum.

Yo ho ho.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Warning: Extreme Cuteness Ahead!

So my mom and dad got a new puppy. They're hoping that the new pup will encourage our very old Husky to stick around home. She's been running to the neighbours to hang out with their dog, so she would probably like a little companionship.

The puppy is eight weeks old, female, and half border-cross collie and half labrador. She looks more like a lab than a collie right now, being mostly black and short haired. She has a bit of white on her paws, chest, and a tiny little soul patch on her chin.

She's very cute, very sweet... and a little bad. She likes to nip feet and hands, but she is only a puppy so hopefully with a little training that will stop when she's older. It's cute now, but... (oooh. I said I'd stop with the ellipses, didn't I? Okay, no more.)

After due consideration, my sister and I decided to name her Mokey, after my favourite fraggle. Without further ado, here's some photos of our little pup:









Okay, everybody say it with me: Aaaaawwwwwwwwww!

Now for more animal cuteness. My sister's cat Nan has an interesting relationship with his food. He loves it. But he doesn't just love it, he loves it. Please note that in this video, he is not getting a treat, those are his regular everyday kibbles, and we did not starve him beforehand. This is the way he eats all the time. Notice the way he caresses the side of the food dish: