Saturday, 30 November 2013

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows



What stands out in book 7:

* The Dursleys have a heart after all (sort of)
* Harry comes of age and is now no longer protected by the spell that his mother bestowed on him when she died to save him.
* The second war really gets going in this book. Many lives are lost for the cause.
* House elves show their devotion to good vs evil in the end.
* We see how far the characters have come in their magical ability by the remarkable spells they are able to perform
* A view of the life and family of Albus Dumbledore including unknown tragedies that he endured.
* The REAL life of Severus Snape
* Love between Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione (although if you're any sort of fan, you would have guessed this long ago)
* And last but not least the incredible display of love, loyalty and outstanding courage against mind-boggling enormous odds.

Readers beware. The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling's spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart--such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong. Fear not, you will find no spoilers in our review--to tell the plot would ruin the journey, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling's fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not offer one small suggestion before you embark on your final adventure with Harry--bring plenty of tissues.


A spectacular finish to a phenomenal series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a bittersweet read for fans. Enjoy.



Friday, 29 November 2013

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

It is Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Voldemort's sinister forces amass and a spirit of gloom and fear sweeps the land, it becomes more and more clear to Harry that he will soon have to confront his destiny. But is he up to the challenges ahead of him?

In her darkest and most breathtaking adventure yet, J.K. Rowling skilfully begins to unravel the complex web she has woven, as we discover more of the truth about Harry, Dumbledore, Snape and, of course, He Who Must Not Be Named.

What stands out in book 6:

* The introduction of the Horcrux.
* Molly Weasley asking Arthur Weasley about his "dearest ambition." Rowling has always been great at revealing little intriguing bits about her characters at a time, and Arthur’s answer "to find out how airplanes stay up" reminds us about his obsession with Muggles.
* Harry's private lessons with Dumbledore, and more time spent with the fascinating and dangerous pensieve, arguably one of Rowling’s most ingenious inventions.
* Fred and George Weasley’s Joke Shop, and the slogan: "Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-Who? You Should Be Worrying About U-NO-POO--the Constipation Sensation That's Gripping the Nation!"
* Luna's Quidditch commentary. Rowling created scores of Luna Lovegood fans with hilarious and bizarre commentary from the most unlikely Quidditch commentator.
* The effects of Felix Felicis.
* We get a fascinating view of the history of Tom Riddle.
* The major question of the book: Whose side is Snape really on?


Book 6 is a lot darker than the other books in the series. It is heartbreaking but funny as the characters start to fall in love with each other. I really like this book! Enjoy! :)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix


The magic and mystery continues in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is desperate to get back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his world upside down ...

This is a gripping and electrifying new novel, full of suspense, secrets, and - of course - magic, from the incomparable J.K. Rowling. 

 Poor Harry. It's a tough year, this one.

When he thinks the Ministry of Magic is going to expel him from Hogwarts for prohibited use of magic he is desperate to go back to school. When he gets there and discovers the dreadful Professor Umbridge he'd rather be somewhere else. And if he only had his OWLS to think about at school he might just about manage, but there's so much else going on. I disliked the chapters that Harry and the others spent in Number 12 Grimmauld Place I found that plot wasn't going anywhere.
And most of it is going on at a personal level. For a start, Harry suddenly seems to be the object of public contempt and derision in an attack spearheaded by the Daily Prophet newspaper. As we all know, what you read in a newspaper must be true, so most of the students at Hogwarts now doubt the truth of Harry's assertion that Voldemort is back. Professor Dumbledore doesn't seem to want to support Harry. In fact, Professor Dumbledore won't even look Harry in the eye any more. What has Harry done to offend the professor?

Mind you, Professor Dumbledore has problems of his own. The Daily Prophet is waging a bit of a personal war against him too, and worse, the Ministry of Magic seems to be critical of him. That's why the dreadful Professor Umbridge appears at Hogwarts. She is the Minister of Magic's right hand woman, and is also the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. As she relentlessly increases her power and influence at the school, Professor Dumbledore's authority apparently diminishes. Actually, with Professor Umbridge it is hard to say whether she is For or Against the Dark Arts.

Harry raised the sharp black quill, then realised what was missing.
'You haven't given me any ink,' he said.
'Oh, you won't need ink,' said Professor Umbridge, with the merest suggestion of a laugh in her voice.
Harry placed the point of the quill on the paper and wrote: I must not tell lies.
He let out a gasp of pain. The words had appeared on the parchment in what appeared to be shining red ink. At the same time, the words had appeared on the back of Harry's right hand, cut into his skin as though traced there by a scalpel - yet even as he stared at the shining cut, the skin healed over again, leaving the place where it had been slightly redder than before but quite smooth.

Harry looked round at Umbridge. She was watching him, her wide, toadlike mouth stretched in a smile.  I really hate Umbridge, she is evil and a really nasty piece of work!

And where are Harry's friends through all these trials? Well, Hagrid's not around and nobody seems to know where he is. That's a worry. Ron and Hermione are there, but they have been made prefects, and while Harry isn't exactly jealous, it takes a bit of an effort to be pleased for them. Then there's Cho Chang. Harry still goes a bit weak at the knees whenever she comes within range, but he is a bit of a novice when it comes to understanding girls.





Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these: however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march.

With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.

What stands out in Book Four for me:
* Hermione's disgust at the reception for the veela (Bulgarian National Team Mascots) at the Quidditch World Cup. Rowling's fourth book addresses issues about growing up--the dynamic between the boys and girls at Hogwarts starts to change. Nowhere is this more plain than the hilarious scene in which magical cheerleaders nearly convince Harry and Ron to jump from the stands to impress them.
* Viktor Krum's crush on Hermione--and Ron's objection to it.
* Malfoy's "Potter Stinks" badge.
* Hermione's creation of S.P.E.W., the intolerant bigotry of the Death Eaters, and the danger of the Triwizard Tournament. Add in the changing dynamics between girls and boys at Hogwarts, and suddenly Rowling's fourth book has a weight and seriousness not as present in early books in the series. Candy and tickle spells are left behind as the students tackle darker, more serious issues and take on larger responsibilities, including the knowledge of illegal curses.
* We encounter death in this book the likes we haven't seen before (R.I.P. Cedric Diggory)
* We get a glimpse of the friendship and absolute loyalty that is shown to Harry by Ron and Hermione (after Ron throws his little hissy fit of course and comes to his senses.)

Have fun! xx

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

The Tenant of Wildfell Hal is one of few nineteenth-century novels to address alcoholism, psychological abuse, violence and the inequality of women's property rights. In a powerful psychological narrative, Anne Brontë tells the strange tale of the disintegration of the marriage of Helen Graham, the mysterious tenant of Wildfell Hall.

When it was first published in 1848, Anne Brontë's second novel was attacked by the spectator for its 'morbid love of the coarse, if not the brutal'. In her defence, Anne stated that she 'wished tot ell the truth, for truth always conveys its own moral to those who are able to receive it'.

Anne Brontë challenges the reader, proving that she is a novelist in her own right and not just of interest as the youngest sister of the better known authors Charlotte and Emily.

This is my second favourite Bronte novel.

Friday, 15 November 2013

BBC Sherlock (TV)

Co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as his loyal friend, Doctor John Watson. Rupert Graves plays Inspector Lestrade.

The iconic details from Conan Doyle's original books remain – they live at the same address of 221b Baker Street, have the same names and, somewhere out there, Moriarty is waiting for them.

Steven Moffat says: "Conan Doyle's stories were never about frock coats and gas light; they're about brilliant detection, dreadful villains and blood-curdling crimes – and frankly, to hell with the crinoline. Other detectives have cases, Sherlock Holmes has adventures, and that's what matters."


I love this show and I know I am late to the Sherlock party but I watched Series one and two online and now I am hooked on it and maybe a bit in love with Benedict Cumberbatch!


I highly recommend Sherlock to everybody. Enjoy!! 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Sunday 2013

The United Kingdom national ceremony is held in London at the Cenotaph on Whitehall and, since 2002, also at the Women's Memorial. Wreaths are laid by Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Kent, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry of Wales, the Prime Minister, leaders of major political parties and former Prime Ministers, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Commonwealth High Commissioners and representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets and the civilian services. Two minutes' silence is held at 11 a.m., before the laying of the wreaths. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent. This silence is marked by the firing of a field gun on Horse Guards Parade to begin and end the silence, followed by Royal Marines buglers sounding Last Post.

The event consists mainly of an extensive march past, with army bands playing live music, each year following the list of the Traditional Music of Remembrance.

Other members of the British Royal Family watch from the balcony of the Foreign Office.

After the ceremony, a parade of veterans, organised by the Royal British Legion, marches past the Cenotaph, each section of which lays a wreath as it passes.

Never Forget the men who died in conflict.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bonfire Night 2013

In Great Britain, Bonfire Night is associated with the tradition of celebrating Guy Fawkes' arrest on 5th November. The modern festival is, therefore, on 5th November, although some commercially-driven events are held at a weekend near to the correct date, to maximise attendance. Bonfire night's sectarian significance has generally been lost: it is now usually just a night of revelry with a bonfire and fireworks. Celebrations are held throughout Great Britain, in parts of Northern Ireland, and in some other parts of the Commonwealth.


Parkin Cake is a sticky cake containing a mix of oatmeal, ginger, treacle and syrup which is eaten on Bofire Night.  Other foods include marshmallows toasted on the fire.


Have fun, everyone!! :)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can't wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn't if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There's an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school...


I really like that we took a break from the Voldemort plotline, and got a better look at Harry's parent's past. It added to his character arc in such a unique way, because this is the first book that I have felt like Harry was able to be well and truly happy. Knowing even just these small parts of his past (and things like why his father was nicknamed prongs-- fab!) seemed to add pieces to his own identity, enough to change his entire demeanor. And I was so happy for him, finally having Sirius and Lupin to look to as proper family--people who he knows really care about him. I love that part on the last page where Harry tells the Dursleys about Sirius, saying, "He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of Wizard prison and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though . . . keep up with my news . . .check if I'm happy . . ."


A few other things I liked are the Marauder's Map--which is fantastic! I want one. I love the time-turner part, it is brilliant and made the latter part of the book into very suspenseful reading.  Enjoy!! :)