Friday, November 30, 2018

Heroes of Hufflepuff

I've had a conversation with one of my best friends at multiple times about how all the major heroes of Harry Potter seem to be from Gryffindor. In honor of "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald" coming out recently, I wanted to highlight a few heroes from the yellow house. Upcoming minor spoilers if you haven't seen the new movie.


Newt Scamander
Obviously our quirky magizoologist had to be on this list. Twice so far we've had adventures from our nutty Hogwarts drop out. We've far from seen the last of Grindewald, but in his first encounter he was able to subdue Graves/Grindewald and take him into custody. We know from "The Philosopher's Stone" that Dumbledore is the one who defeats Grindewald in the end, but I'm getting the sense that Newt will continue to play a vital part in his defeat. Not only that but he wants to do it in the most humane way possible.


Cedric Diggory
He may not have gotten the spotlight very much, but from the book and a half we know about him, we know Cedric was a good young man. He graciously accepted his win against Gryffindor in "The Prisoner of Azkaban" (and even tried to make a do-over happen). And then the next year when he and Harry were competing against each other for the Triwizard Cup. He showed dignity and loyalty to his school throughout the whole thing, even though he could have been mad at Harry like the others. In the end, he helped Harry win the Tournament, even though he didn't survive the trip home himself.


Nymphadora Tonks
We weren't introduced to Tonks until the Wizarding War was underway, but she showed more bravery than many Gryffindors. After she married Remus, she still put her life on the line to protect the Wizarding World, the Muggle World, and her son. Her sacrifice ended up being ultimate, being one of those lost in the Battle of Hogwarts, alongside her husband. I think it's safe to assume that her legacy was carried on by her metamorphmagus Hufflepuff son, Teddy.



Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, etc.
Despite being critical of Harry in "The Chamber of Secrets" and "The Goblet of Fire", the Hufflepuffs of Harry's year were loyal and kind people who always seemed to be there for him. We also had a fair number of them join Dumbledore's Army during "The Order of the Phoenix" and while none of them were enlisted to fight at the Ministry of Magic, they stayed to help with other DA members during the following battles at Hogwarts.


Pomona Sprout
Professor Sprout was the Head of Hufflepuff house and Herbology professor during Harry's education. She seemed to hang out more in the background for many of Hogwarts's major events. However, she stood out to help particularly during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts, standing up to Voldemort and Death Eaters, often just with her magical plants.


Wayne 
Bonus points for the hero of the play "Puffs". The parody play follows seven years at an unnamed British school of magic. The Puffs tend to hang out in the background compared to the other houses, but our hero Wayne is more of a hero than he realizes, even if it's just for making me happy to be a Hufflepuff. Bottom line: next time you're in NYC, get tickets for Puffs.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

5 Times the Doctor Directly Influenced History


The Doctor has been traveling through time and space (and our TVs) for 55 years now. Not counting spin-off material, that gives us 284 adventures that we know about (as of today). He's gone to the creation of the Earth ("The Runaway Bride") to the end of the universe ("Utopia") and he's influenced history (both in the past and future history), but there's only a handful of times that he's influenced historical Real World events.


Man's Discovery of Fire ("An Unearthly Child")
After accidentally traveling to the Stone Age, the First Doctor, his daughter, and their unwilling companions (Ian and Barbara) get caught in the middle of a tribal feud. In order to gain their trust, Ian makes fire for them. Teaching the tribe to make fire wins them enough points that they're able to leave in the TARDIS (even though it takes them a while to actually return to present-day London).


The Destruction of the Dinosaurs ("Earthshock")
The Fifth Doctor and his TARDIS team (Adric, Tegan, and Nyssa) end up in the middle of a 26th Century Cyberman plan, which includes an explosive freighter crashing into Earth, to prevent an anti-Cyberman alliance. The Doctor's team manages to change the freighter's course... into the past. Before Adric can stop it, it crashes into the Earth, killing him and (as they've travelled millions of years into the past) the dinosaurs as well.


Mount Vesuvius ("The Fires of Pompeii")
In an attempt to show Ancient Rome to Donna, the Tenth Doctor ends up taking her to Pompeii, the day before its destruction. They got flipped around, due to some oracles and a missing TARDIS, they ended up in the middle of an alien plot. In order to stop the Pyroviles from conquering the world, but the Doctor has to cause Vesuvius's eruption, sacrificing Pompeii to save the world.


Vincent van Gogh's Paintings ("Vincent and the Doctor")
Following a possible alien to the 1890s, the Eleventh Doctor and Amy meet Vincent. As they befriend Vincent, they track down the alien. Along the way, they learn of Vincent's depression (which will eventually lead to his suicide) and they drop hints along the way of paintings that Vincent will do. These paintings may have very well happened without the Doctor and Amy's interference, but in this version of events the Doctor and Amy lead Vincent to the sunflowers ("Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers") and the church ("The Church at Auvers").


Rosa Parks ("Rosa")
SPOILER ALERT FOR CURRENT SEASON
Trying to get her brand new TARDIS team back to 2018, the Thirteenth Doctor ends up in 1955 Alabama right before Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat. A time traveling racist comes back from Stormcage Containment Facility (same place River Song was imprisoned, FYI) and tries to rewrite history to stop the end of segregation and all the progression that came since. However, as they stop the time racist, the Doctor and her companions realize that (by taking up seats on the bus) they helped make history happen.

What did I miss guys? What historical figures and events did you enjoy from the Doctor's adventures? What events would you like to see?

Friday, November 16, 2018

My Favorite Harry Potter Movie Yet!



Y'all. Mind is blown.

Image result for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
I had previously enjoyed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them back in 2016 when it came out. I thought it was super fun to see the Wizarding World Universe in a different time period and a different continent. I enjoyed Eddie Redmayne's debut as Newt Scamander and overall I thought it was a fun film.
I was looking forward to the sequel, The Grimes of Grindelwald, but didn't think that I would like it as much as I did, or that it would tie together to the books and movies as it ended up doing. Please be warned that minor spoilers are ahead!

The Good

  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. Given that Newt doesn't make an appearance in any of the Harry Potter novels, I didn't know what to make of his character, but Eddie is the perfect Newt. His quirky personality traits and ticks are endearing and it's impossible for me to dislike the actor or the character. Depth and whimsy don't often go together, but they do in Eddie's portrayal of Newt.
  • Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore. Jude is easily my favorite Dumbledore out of the three actors that have played the role. With Crimes of Grindelwald we begin to see aspects of Albus's personality and past that add depth and layers to an already complex and deep character. I can't wait to see Jude continue to play this iconic role as we learn more about Albus, his family, his past, and his interactions and connection to Grindelwald.
  • Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. Johnny's gift of playing a variety of characters and roles continues to amaze me, and he is a fantastic villain in this story.
  • Balance of humor, action, and magic. JK Rowling is just as talented a screenwriter as she is a novelist. The movie was very well balanced between the serious and the humorous, with plenty of magic, surprises, and plot twists that surprised everyone in the theater right up until the very end. When a movie leaves my mind reeling for more than 24 hours after I've seen it, I know that it's a good one, and I'm still processing what I saw on Thursday night!
  • The plot twist at the end. Like I said. I'm still processing it and may need to see a therapist to fully unpack everything that happened.

What I Didn't Like
  • Honestly there's not too much to put here, however, there are some inconsistencies with the film as compared to canon and what is found in the books and in references on Pottermore that didn't sit well with me as I watched
    • Apparating into Hogwarts -- the trailer and the movie feature a handful of ministry officials that apparate directly onto the Hogwarts grounds. Any careful student of the Harry Potter novels knows that it is impossible to do so. It does seem to be inconsistent with canon and isn't really explained.
    • Minerva McGonagall as a teacher at Hogwarts -- Professor McGonagall wouldn't have been old enough to teach at Hogwarts during the events of Crimes of Grindelwald, so WHY is she in the movie? It seems to be a pretty blatant anachronism, and I can't identify her critical connection to the plot. Unless it's to come in film #3? Or there's another Minerva McGonagall that teaches at Hogwarts?
Image result for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hogwarts
Overall, this is an easy recommendation for any Harry Potter fan. Anachronisms and inconsistencies in canon set aside, this is easily my favorite film from the Wizarding World universe. I can't wait for the sequels!

And I may need to go see this one again....any takers?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Voldemort and Satan

Luna Lovegood: [My father and I] believe you, by the way. That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back, and you fought him, and the Ministry and the Prophet are conspiring against you and Dumbledore.

Harry Potter: Thanks. Seems you're about the only ones that do.

Luna Lovegood: I don't think that's true. But I suppose that's how he wants you to feel.

Harry Potter: What do you mean?

Luna Lovegood: Well if I were You-Know-Who, I'd want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it's just you alone you're not as much of a threat.

Like many people I've had my critiques of the Harry Potter movies over the years, but this was one added part that I liked (at least I don't remember it being in the book). As if being an angsty teenager isn't enough, Harry had the Ministry of Magic and the Daily Prophet fighting against him for a year. This was only a few months in and he was already feeling worn. While it wasn't necessarily in the book, I'm sure Voldemort would revel in the lack of faith Harry seemed to have in his own cause at this point. After all, loneliness is powerful.

How many times do you get discouraged in life? Lonely? Sad? While it's not necessarily Satan's end game, discouragement and loneliness certainly makes it easier. If I feel lonely, it makes it easier for Satan to tempt and corrupt and discourage.

"He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27)

But the scriptures teach us that we're not alone. Instead, we've got evidence that we have countless allies cheering us on, supporting us, and fighting for us.

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2 Kings 6:16-17)

Next time you feel lonely, remember that you're not alone. Don't get discouraged. Don't give up. Hang onto your faith.

Followers