Tag Archive | harry potter

So Long As We Believe, The Story Will Live On

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

 

There are hundreds upon hundreds of reasons for one to fall in love with the world and characters J.K. Rowling created in the Harry Potter series, the afore mentioned being among them. For me, these are the stories that opened my mind to the wonderful world of books, novels and novellas, making them very near and dear to my heart. Before that, I viewed books as little more than educational tools for teachers, or accumulators of dust bent on triggering my allergies every moment of the day. Upon discovering the school of witchcraft and wizardry, filled with students who almost never seem to attend actual classes after the first book, my views were completely transformed.

At least a few tears were shed as the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga came to an end. None of us wanted to believe that the stories would ever end. We all wanted to believe that someday, we would find ourselves under the sorting hat, shifting anxiously on the stool as we waited to be sorted into our desired house, and then be thrown into a life altering adventure as will no doubt ensue. Those books kept that dream alive,  despite the fact that we all knew it could be nothing more than a dream, but the great thing about dreams is that if they’re strong enough, they can create possibilities from the impossible. And that’s exactly what has happened.

Harry-Potter-Cursed-ChildIf you haven’t heard the news by now, you’d better have a seat. Are you sitting? Good, because it was recently made public that there is indeed going to be an eighth Harry Potter book. When I first hear about it, I was speechless. J.K. Rowling had made it quite clear that The Deathly Hallows was going to be the end, and that anything that happens afterwards is entirely up to our own imagination. So then why the change of heart?

Looking into it a bit more closely, I discovered that, although it is technically the eighth harry potter book, it’s not actually a continuation of the series. The book is actually based on the script for a two part play written by Jack Thorne, based on a story by J.K. Rowling. In other words, the script is going to be published in book form, but in the end it’s still a play script, and therefore not an actual sequel. Still, can’t say I’m not excited to see where this new adventure will take us.

Based on what we know so far, it takes place after the epilogue of the seventh book, whichlandscape-1445606246-harry-potter-epilogue1 depicted Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny waiving goodbye to their children as they were boarding the infamous Hogwarts Express, preparing for the start of their very own adventure. It focuses on Harry, now an Auror working for the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus Severus Potter, who not only has to deal with being a Hogwarts freshman, but also coming to terms with the fact that he walks in the shadow of the schools greatest legacy. It’s a blend of past and present, and being a harry potter story, you know there will be plenty of moments that will tug on the heartstrings.

You can find more information on both the upcoming Harry Potter play and book at www.pottermore.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the eighth installment! Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

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Reading vs. Watching: What Exactly Are We Comparing?

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

Greeting Fellow BookNerds,

I often see people get themselves all worked up with excitement when they learn that one of their all time favourite books is going to be made into a movie – myself included, of course –  and just as often, I watch as those same people who went into the theatre with such high expectations, came out looking not unlike a cartoon character with a thundering cloud hanging over their heads, as the image of the story they had in their heads didn’t come out quite the way they hoped it would on the big screen.

It’s in our nature to compare things. After all, how else can we determine what is good, what is bad, what is better, what is worse. We do it to figure out what food we would rather eat, what clothes we would prefer to wear, and my personal favourite, what books are more worth our time reading than others. Just like anything else, however, making comparisons has its ups and its downs, based primarily on the context in which they are being made.

Harry Potter Books

When I first got into reading the harry potter books back in grade school, it felt as though my brain was giving birth to my imagination for the first time. I developed a deep attachment to the series, and when I found out that they were being made into films, I just knew I had to see every single one of them. Why, you ask? Well, the only thing better than reading a book for the first time is getting to experience it all over again, but in a very different way. Unlike books, movies cater to all of the senses; synchronizing music and moods to tug on our heartstrings, playing with colours and special effects to keep our eyes glued to the screen, creating masterful scripts that tell us so much, while at the same time saying so little, and fitting actors into the roles they were seemingly born to play. Such is the beauty of films, which differs greatly from the beauty many of us find in books.

Authors struggle tirelessly to create stories using their native language, which the readers can then create images from that are unique to their own interpretation of the words. No two people will perceive a story the exact same way, which is what makes reading such a personal, internalized experience. What’s more, most books are created by a single individual, making them solely responsible for creating the characters, the dialogue, the setting… basically, everything, unlike in movies where you have hundreds of people working to bring the story to life.

Another striking dissimilarity between the reading and movie viewing experience is that books are not designed to be enjoyed in a single sitting, whereas movies are. Unless you’re a ridiculously fast reader capable of zipping through seven hundred pages in less than an hour as if it was nothing, then it’s going to take you a few days to get to the end. This is especially true for those readers out there who, like me, need time to visualize what they have just read before they can continue… perhaps that’s just me 😛

Group of boring people watching movie in cinema

Movies, on the other hand, are typically a two to three hour experience, and you can choose to enjoy them alone or with 200 other people crammed inside a dark room which smells of popcorn and is occasionally lit by a smart phone that someone just couldn’t bother to turn off for the sake of everyone who is sitting behind them. If movies were to be made any longer, the audience would get bored, feeling as though the story is being drawn out longer than necessary, not to mention the increasing soreness in our backside from sitting for such a long period of time. When you’re reading books, you can stop and start whenever you want, but with movies, we tend to want to sit down and watch it to the end before diverting our attention to anything else.

Now, we come to the unique scenario of book to movie adaptations. The thing with movies that are based on books is that they always seem to miss the mark. In other words, they fail to meet the expectations of everyone who see’s it, because as mentioned before, we all have a tendency to interpret the same book in very different ways, meaning we will all be going into the movie theatre with very different expectations. There is also the added pressure on directors and the crew to make the movie as true to the book as possible, but this isn’t always feasible, especially when dealing with a book which has managed to throw the laws of physics entirely out the window. But they do their best, and some of them have turned out rather brilliantly.

The Fault In Our Stars

My favourite book to movie adaption to date has been The Fault In Our Stars, a beautiful story about a girl with lung cancer finding love in the unlikeliest of places, and discovering that “some infinities are bigger than other infinities”. In my eyes, the movie was a brilliant interpretation of what I am certain will someday become a classic novel, but I am certain there are others out there who found it to be unbearable. Why? Well, I’m sure there are many reasons, but every time I hear someone start to rant about every little thing they changed in the movie, or how the actors they chose weren’t good enough, or how they could have done this or that to make it more believable, I just feel like telling them one thing: why are you comparing two things that weren’t meant to be compared?

The story might be the same, but the purpose and the means by which they are executed are just so different. It would be like comparing music videos to musicals. Just because they both have a music component to them, that doesn’t make them any more comparable. Now that I’ve had my say on the matter, I would love to hear what you guys think. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs facebook page, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Happy Birthday J. K. Rowling!

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

I don’t normally go out of my way to make a fuss about the birthdays of people I only know through their work, and who I will probably never even get the chance to meet in person, but when it’s the author of one of the first books I ever read . . .  well, there’s an exception to every rule ^_^

Happy-Birthday-Jo-jkrowling-24182470-500-273

Today, July 31st,  marks the 48th birthday of fantasy, magic, and most recently, crime solving author J. K. Rowling, whose fame is not only well deserved, but well earned. She managed to create an entire fictional world full of characters we have come to know and love, and in some cases miss come the end of the series. Just so her fans would not be too down in the dumps without their Harry Potter adventures, she created the Pottermore website so that they could visually and interactively relive the experience they could only read about before!

In order to break away from the genre she had come to be known by, Rowling published a novel called The Casual Vacancy, a novel which was targeted more towards the adult audience as it touched on themes ranging from politics to drugs, prostitution, and even rape. Although it could not fill the void that most of her fans felt after having read The Deathly Hallows, it still did remarkably well, showing readers everywhere that just because you’re good at one genre, that doesn’t mean you can’t give something new a try.

Most recently, it was discovered that Rowling had, in fact, published yet another novel, only it wasn’t until months later that anyone even knew she had been the one who wrote it! Assuming the pen name Robert Gailbraith, she published a novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling, a mystery crime novel which starts off with the a supermodel committing suicide.  The novel did not do all that well when it first hit the shelves, but once it was revealed that this literary work was actually the work of non other than J. K. Rowling, I imagine it became quite popular.

We can only hope that she will continue to bless us with her writing talents for many years to come, not matter what other pseudonyms she assumes or genres she dabbles in. There may never be another Harry Potter, but so long as the her pen continues to move, and her fingers continue to glide across her keyboard, the legend shall continue to live on.

 

Happy Birthday J. K. Rowling!

 

What are your favorite moments from the Harry Potter series? Let me know in the comments below, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Mourning the Loss of Harry Potter Actor Richard Griffiths: Gone But Never Forgotten

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

Movies have this way of immortalizing people, capturing them in a collage of their lifetime which can be looped over and over again. It is this film immortalization, sadly, which makes it all the more difficult to accept it when one of those people finally meets their mortal end.

According to the BBC newspaper, as well as a multitude of posts on my Facebook home feed, British actor Richard Griffiths passed away today of heart complications.

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Richard Griffiths (1947 ~ 2013)

People are most familiar with his work in the Harry Potter series, playing the role of Harry Potter’s uncle, Vernon Dursley. He played the part like no one else could, capturing the very essence of that rich, spoiled, arrogant, wizard prejudiced uncle who wanted nothing more than to squash the magic out of his nephew. When I saw him in the first movie, I was surprised and pleased to see that the man stepping into that characters shoes looked almost identical to what I had imagined. Just goes to show that for every role, there is an actor who was born to play it.

Richard Griffiths lived a fulfilling career, acting in a wide range of roles from King George in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, to Magistrate Phillipse in Sleepy Hollow, and even the voice of Jeltz on Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. On top of his success, he has won various awards, and has the kind of face that anyone would recognize at a glance.

His passing is a great loss, for his talents were unique and unmatched by anyone else. I tip my hat to this man, and offer my condolences to the family and friends he left behind.

Here is a video of him and fellow harry potter actor Daniel Radcliffe on Entertainment Daily News:

Richard played a pretty big role in Daniel’s life, which is evident from what he was quoted having said in The Guardian:

“In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys’, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease […] Seven years later we embarked on Equus together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humour made it a joy. In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence. I am proud to say I knew him.”

Daniel Radcliffe, The Guardian

He was loved by those who knew him, and loved by those who didn’t. That is not only the mark of a truly amazing actor, but also the mark of a great man.

That is all for today. Feel free to leave your thoughts and stories about Mr. Griffiths in the comments, and as always, happy reading.

May he rest in peace.

BookNerd

Harry Potter: From Books to Musicals

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

The Harry Potter books are the reason I became so absorbed in the literary world. I read the first one back in grade four, when a friend of mine lent it to me. Before I started reading it, I thought it was just one of those passing fads that everyone was into only because everyone else happened to be reading them. Still, I decided to give it a shot anyway. Worst case scenario, I spend a few day reading it, decide I don’t like it, and I move on to better things. Well, let’s just say that by the time I put down that book, I was a muggle who yearned to take the train to Hogwarts and be sorted into the Ravenclaw house. 

shield_rav  I own every book, as well as every movie, and I’ve read and watched them all several times over. Once both series had ended, I went through a Harry Potter withdrawal of sorts. It’s always sad when a story ends, especially when you can think of hundreds of other characters or plot lines that could have been introduced to keep the series going. Thankfully, every good series leaves behind it a devoted fan following to pick up where they leave off, and some of the things they come up with are mind-blowingly awesome.

Another friend of mine, about a year or so ago, introduced me to a video on YouTube called A Very Potter Musical. Just like the Harry Potter books, at first I thought it sounded silly. I mean, I musical about wizards? I still think it sounds rather absurd, but I can assure you that this is must see for both fans and non-fans of Harry Potter alike. I should warn you, thought, that the content is not meant for younger audiences, as it does contain swearing and sexual innuendos. Aside from that, it is an entertaining compilation of a few of the Harry Potter books, put on by StarKid, and accompanied by some really catchy tunes. Here is a clip from the first Act of A Very Potter Musical:

I spent many a day in the library, studying for exams while playing this musical over and over again in the background. After a while, I wanted to mix things up a little bit and play something new in my study background. That’s when I discovered that there was, in fact,  a second musical! A Very Potter Sequel is done in a similar manner, mixing a bunch of the different story lines together and acting them out in a musical fashion. I found it to be just as good as the first, possibly even better. Here is a clip from the first Act of A Very Potter sequel:

Two amazing musicals, put on by a group of amazing actors, bringing the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry back to life, and it doesn’t end here. They put together a third, and final, installment of this musical series, called A Very Potter Senior Year. I have yet to see it myself, but as exam time is just around the corner, I have a pretty good feeling that every time I think about the concept of reflected appraisal within the context of interpersonal communication, I’ll be hearing harry singing in my head at the same time.

I would like to give my personal thanks to all of the actors of Starkid productions for putting on what has to be one of the most entertaining and enjoyable musicals I have ever been exposed to. You did my first and favourite book series justice, and even though this is the last installment of the harry potter musical series, I will continue to follow your work to see what you guys come up with next.

That’s all for today. Until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Thoughts from Aboard Via Rail

Hello All!

I was glad to see that so many people found my Writing Tips from yesterdays post to be useful. To pass the time for the next four hours as I travel by train to Ottawa, I decided to continue that train of thought (pun intended) by focusing on some of the places where some of the greatest novels were written, and what it was that inspired the ideas behind these literary masterpieces.

Travel Writing

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The witches and wizards we have all come to know and love came into being aboard a train traveling to London, England. I don’t thin it could have been written any other way. It only took about four hours on a train for the dark haired, bespectacled wizard to take shape, and the world that he was soon to be thrown into.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

This fantasy series was an interesting one, as it was not only written during and following World War 2, but it wasn’t even written in the order that it was meant to be read. Many of the tales are a reflection of what took place in his own life, combined with his initial inspiration sparked by the illustrations, which were cobbled together before the series was given life.

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

This twelve book series seems like like your average fantasy series, but there is actually more to it than that. This series was heavily influenced by the work of Ayn Rand, who took a more philosophical approach to her books. Goodkind was more or less intent on presenting certain human and philosophical themes in the guise of a fantasy adventure, exploring certain human dilemmas and emotional situations to give an in depth look into the human experience.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

This is yet another series that was written during the turmoil brought about during World War II, beginning with the newly rejuvenated The Hobbit. This is one of those series that has undergone extensive analysis, from the various themes to its many origins, all in the hopes to get inside the authors mind. The completion of his was slow going, since he was in the midst of his career as a university examiner. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what you end up doing in life; there is always time to write an epic tale. The Lord of the Rings portion of the series was written a few years later, the chapters of which were sent back and forth between himself and his son, Christopher, who at the time was away serving with the Royal Air Force.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

This work is a classic, with a rich history of being both an amazing novel, and a mischief maker. H.G. Wells wrote this story in response to multiple historical events, resulting in a projected scenario of what would become of humanity if it were to fall prey to an alien race. The main event to spark the idea for this novel was actually in 1894, when Mars had fallen into a position in the sky where you could actually see it, which led to the speculation of the possibility of life existing on the surface of Mars. Wells has a history of making certain predictions in his writing, most of them revealing worst case scenario’s such as aerial bombings, gas warfare, advanced lazer-based weaponry, and even robots.  Through his writing, Wells revealed a side of humanity that was not exactly positive, but which provoked deep philosophical discussions about human nature and how it reacts to threats of an unknown nature.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Only these two authors could take such a serious and complex concept and turn it into a comedy that is both entertaining and insightful. The idea of this story is that of the Four Horsemen – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – coming down to earth in order to pass judgement on the human race, and the attempts of and angel and a demon to stop this from happening, having become quite comfortable living among humans. All of this is coming to pass due to the birth of the Anti-Christ, or the son of Satan, who must decide between living a life of good or evil. You can see from the topic that this is a tale based, if only loosely, on different religious prophecies, revealed in a humorous fashion reminiscent of Monty Python. Gaiman and Pratchett had known each other for some time, and it seemed like a mutual agreement to set forth in making a collaborative novel, and they continuously swapped parts during the writing process so that they both contributed equally to all of the different characters.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Normally I wouldn’t bother giving mention to this series, but knowing that there exists a rather large following, it seemed only fair that I put my own feeling s about the series aside and give it some time in the spotlight.  This was the first book Meyer had ever written, and it is essentially the embodiment of almost every girls’ fantasy; falling in love with a handsome, yet feared and misunderstood vampire. She claims that the main premise for the novel came to her in a dream, subconsciously witnessing the romantic tale of a vampire falling in love with a human, while at the same time trying not to kill her. It resembles the tale of Romeo and Juliet, the idea being that the romance is forbidden by both sides, and it ends up leading to a greater conflict than they initially thought. The concept of human and vampire romance is nothing new, if I learned anything from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still, Meyer has started up the vampire craze all over again, both on paper and on the big screen.

These are only to name a few, but there are hundreds more authors who stumbled across an idea in all different manner’s of places, times and situations. Since I enjoyed doing this so much, I have now decided to start yet another weekly segment, with the intention of presenting a book every week which was written under unique or interesting circumstances, and also including where their inspiration came from.

As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, I would be most happy to read them from the comments below. Happy reading everyone!

Cheers 🙂