Can JK Rowling Just Stop?

Can J.K. Rowling just stop? I know that it’s impossible for her to do so, but seriously, can Anonymous not take away her twitter account or something.

Now, I’m not for censorship, by any stretch of the imagination. I do, however, understand the theory of Death of the Author.

For those who didn’t study literature in college, death of the author is the idea/theory presented by French literary critic Roland Barthes. He argues that literary criticism shouldn’t incorporate the intentions and biographical context of the author when interpreting a text. This is a basic explanation, and I’m not going to get into a debate about this. Nor, will I give an overview of the problems with this ideal. Cause nobody cares and nobody got time for that.

For the sake of argument, after this past week, J.K. Rowling is no longer the author of Harry Potter. It belongs to all of us, as this tweet from @RileyJayDennis tells me here.

All jokes aside. Some may be wondering what’s going on with J.K. Rowling or how to handle the recent upset with a favorite book series.

First off, I’m not going to tell you what to think because I can’t. Contrary to popular belief, I have not mastered mind control. I’m also not going to get into the debate about transgender because I think transgender people should be loved and respected and accepted into all aspects of life and if you don’t then I don’t care. The second reason to not get into the debate is because I’m not an expert on gender theory. There are people out there who know more, so I’m going to let them talk instead of me.

Yes, I’m giving homework the horror.

Here are a list of books on gender theory and transgender by people that are way more knowledgeable in this area:

  • Undoing Gender by Judith Butler (really anything by Judith Butler is amazing)!!
  • The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
  • Second Skins: the Body Narratives of Transexuality by Jay Prosser
  • Transgender History by Susan Stryker
  • Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal by J. Jack Halberstam

Keeping with being upfront, I totally stole this list from a friend of mine who studies gender theory and knows way more than me.

What I want to talk about is how does this affect Harry Potter? Now, do I completely agree with Barthes death of the author idea. No, I do think that the author’s intentions and biographical details can lead to some insight. However, I do not think that this negates what the reader themselves get from the text as well. Basically, it’s a spectrum. As are all things in life.

I vividly remember when I received the first 4 Harry Potter books. My sister has scoliosis which required surgery to correct. My parents, grandma, sister, and I went to Dallas for her surgery; my grandpa was going to meet us later in the week. It was Wednesday evening, my sister had her surgery the Tuesday before, the Ronald McDonald House that we were staying at just finished bingo night. My grandparents said they had an early Christmas gift for me; my grandma joked that she had to hide it from grandpa so he wouldn’t read them before I did.

The gift was the box set of the first four Harry Potter novels. Mind you, this was 2001, and Harry and his friends were just starting to become household names. Only a few days prior did the first movie came out. I had already read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone but had yet to get my hands on the second book. Who could’ve known the impact this series had on me as I grew up?

Those first lines still bring a smile to my face: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” To say I devoured these books would be an understatement.

When anything seemed out of control or I was sad or angry, Harry, Hermione, and Ron were always there for me. I went to all the midnight movie releases and midnight book releases (back when that was a thing, gosh, how times have changed). I had Hogwarts robes, wands, textbooks, any Harry Potter item I could get my hands on, I did.

As I stated before, I don’t want to speak about a topic that I am not as versed in as others are; in that same vein, I don’t want to speak for transgender people or any other minority group. This is my feelings on Rowling’s recent tweets.

Nothing she says can take away my love of those books. Yes, she wrote them and I can be forever grateful to her for that. But I will not stand by and say what she is doing is right or is being an ally because it isn’t. I am of the belief that once art, any creative outlet, is out to the public, the public can take from it what they will. These books belong to me, just as much as they belong to her, or to any of the other millions of fans out in the world. She cannot take away my love of these characters, the nights I stayed up after reading the books trying to figure out what was going to happen, the days on end I went on message boards and discussed and debated the intricate details of these books, or all the times I waited outside the theater with people who I did not know when I walked in but by the end of the night, you couldn’t not be friends. All of these are my memories of joy and love and heartache and a growing imagination. She cannot take my past from me.

I know others have different feelings on the matter. That’s okay. I can tell you that in the future, I will not be supporting her (as much as I can. I do want to see the rest of the Fantastic Beasts movies, but I’ll probably wait either until it won’t go towards their opening weekend or when it’s streaming. My reluctance to see the movie is not just because of this but it did push me over the edge). I will still have my Harry Potter books and my office will still have Harry Potter decorations.

Trans women are women. Even if the creator doesn’t remember one of the most important lessons from Harry Potter, then I sure do: Nobody deserves to live their life in a closet.

Is Albus Dumbledore Good?

“Why do you hate Dumbledore? He’s like one of the main reasons Harry beat Voldemort.” Is he really though? How Dumbledore acts go so far as to make me question why he was sorted into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin.

Yes, I hate Dumbledore. For many reasons, so hold on to your hats, make sure you grab your wands, as we board this Knight Bus of a ride (I could not help myself). Dumbledore’s thoughts and attitudes in his teenage years and growing up leave a lot to be desired for someone who is supposedly the savior of the wizarding world. When we learn about Dumbledore’s past it’s from the questionable Rita Skeeter, but Dumbledore confirms most of it in the King’s Cross Limbo scene in the latter half of Deathly Hallows. There is also Aberforth’s attitude towards his older brother leaves us with nothing else but to confirm that more in likely (however much we hate to admit it) Skeeter was right about Dumbledore (probably a teensy bit embellished to sell more books). Of course, I am of the opinion that you cannot judge someone of past mistakes or for the ignorance of youth as long as that person learns from those mistakes. Here’s the thing, I don’t think Dumbledore learned from his mistakes and ignorances. He still pursues ambition in his profession at school, with rising up the ranks to become headmaster of Hogwarts. As a person who grew up around teachers, and continues to this day, (my brother-in-law is in his Ph.D. for public school administration and recently was promoted to an Assistant Principal position), you have to have the ambition to rise up and become headmaster of an entire school. Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, believe that ambition is a bad thing, as I’m only trying to prove a point about a fictional character.

I will admit that he does decide not to go further in his ambition by turning down the post of Minister of Magic. With the knowledge that with that much power, he will abuse it, which is partly learning from what happened to him as a teenager. Does that automatically mean he fully learned from his younger years? He avoids the “iron throne,” the embodiment of his vice, too much power. Yet, he still has a copious amount of power for a school headmaster. Dumbledore literally manipulates and connives people to do his bidding throughout the entire series. He has more power by being the puppet master than the actual puppet and that is demonstrated through:

  • Not revealing that Harry is a Horcrux
  • Ignoring the prophecy about Harry until it became important/Harry and co. broke into the Ministry and heard it
  • LEAVING SIRIUS BLACK IN AZKABAN (this one kills me more than anything else, my poor baby)
  • Snape acting as a double (triple?) agent with no one ever knowing
  • Not revealing anything about Horcruxes…again until it became imperative
  • Not revealing anything about Tom Riddle’s history

These are only the big examples that catch my eye, as I am sure there are many small examples of him slightly steering (or outright steering) the characters to do what needs to be done. Of course, if some of these examples didn’t happen then the whole story would’ve gone differently. It’s the butterfly effect. But it’s also humans being humans.

Dumbledore grew up being the golden son. He was beloved by his parents. At school, he was the best in his class and many assumed he would accomplish many great things in his life. When his mother died and he went back home, he befriended Gellert Grindelwald, and they began their plans for world domination. It was “for the common good” they argued. Yes, those plans fell away, once his sister died (from whose hand we do not know). So, it stands to reason without Arianna dying, Dumbledore would’ve gone on to be the co-dictator with Grindelwald. He would be remembered as one of the darkest wizards of the age.

The parts that Snape, Harry, and many others play in Dumbledore’s plans to defeat Voldemort it’s not hard to see how he would’ve taken over. Arianna had to die to make the story work. It’s also hard to imagine how the story would’ve done if Harry grew up with anyone but the Dursley’s.

Okay, let’s be honest. Minerva McGonagall would’ve raised Harry in a manner that he would be loved, know right from wrong, and would be a bit more competent.

And come on, this would totally McGonagall and baby Harry whenever he was in trouble.

Now, Slytherin House is not a “bad” or “dark” house. It has had many dark wizards in it, but other houses had dark wizards as well. Correlation does not equal causation. Slytherin house is about ambition, cunning (which does have the positive connotation of using both preparation and cleverness to achieve goals), determined, and leadership. The examples above all fall into at least one of these traits.

All of this makes me wonder if Dumbledore, like Harry, was one of the people who asked to be sorted into Gryffindor. We know choice is taken into account with Harry, but not with Neville who argued with the hat for almost five minutes until the hat ignored him and sorted him into Gryffindor. Yet, would Dumbledore have been as afraid of Slytherin or his ambition and determination as an eleven-year-old? I think not. Yes, we are told that there are many dark wizards that come from Slytherin, but that was when Harry and his classmates were in school. Dumbledore was in Hogwarts before Deatheaters or Voldemort. How many dark wizards was Slytherin churning out before them? And if they were truly spitting out that many dark wizards I would hope someone would do something about it with this new generation. If that’s the first time they’ve dealt with it, that would be over 100 years of Slytherin having a disproportionate number of dark wizards, which seems ridiculous.

Taking the time period and the fact that not many students can choose which house to go into, this would leave with the same conclusion, Dumbledore should’ve been sorted into Slytherin, not Gryffindor. The only reason I can figure Rowling placed in him Gryffindor is to have that in common with Harry. In the end, a combination of our choices, the traits we value, or the traits we have that place us in our Hogwarts house.

Side note: I still don’t like Dumbledore. I’m sorry, but there’s no good reason to have a child of abuse stay in the abusive home.

Find Heroes in Smaller Places

As I am rewatching the first season of Game of Thrones, I am struck by the scenes after Ned is taken prisoner by King Joffrey. In particular, the scene with Sansa and Septa Mordane. It’s not a long scene; there is only a line exchanged each before they are interrupted by Lannister soldiers. Then Septa Mordane tells Sansa to run and bar the door, to not let anyone in unless she knows them.

Does this help Sansa getaway? Unfortunately not, as the Hound (Sandor Clegane) finds her and takes her to the King and Cersei; however, Mordane’s intent was for Sansa to be saved. I’m struck by this by the fact that most people tend to focus on Syrio saving Arya, and that women are still only typically praised when they are doing something grand. I do want to be clear that Syrio saving Arya is a good thing, a great thing, and does deserve the honor that people bestow on him. But why is it we don’t focus on the woman who tries to save the young child she grew up teaching?

People are more inclined to focus on the awe-inspiring actions of others. Mostly because those are the ones we see, the ones the media want us to see. The ordinary actions of most men and women are looked over as non-important, as only the people who are there to keep the household and hearth warm. We overlook their actions as unimportant because they are not grand or earth-shattering.

Yes, the ones who go off the war and stand up and yell can be great people, and some are deserving of our respect and loyalty, but more often than not we are left empty-handed by them at the end of the day.

Sadly, most people who are like this are women. Not always, of course, but we do tend to forget the silent strength that women have used over the centuries due to an imposing patriarchial system.

Syrio’s sacrifice for Arya is a great scene and brings up an often quoted phrase:

Now, I’m more moved by Septa Mordane protecting Sansa. A strict woman, who has taught this young girl (who can be a typical pre-teen girl) since she was young, decides to save her. Like a mother protecting her child. Septa Mordane will not be remembered by anyone, nor will her name be written down in any books, like so many women before her. So, it’s up to us to remember those women like the Septa, the women who may not roar like a mighty lion or snarl like a terrifying wolf, but the ones who stand up and say firmly this is my place, you will not move me.

A Sober Reality

If you haven’t talked with me lately, then you probably haven’t heard me ramble on and on about the Netflix show One Day at a Time. One, stop reading this IMMEDIATELY and go watch the show, then come back and read this.

I only started watching this show at the beginning of the New Year. I was bored and saw it as an option. I’ve been looking for a comedy show to watch lately and this fit the ticket. I was ecstatic that there was a TV show featuring a Latino family being a regular American family. The shows focus on Penelope Alvarez, who is recently separated from her husband, her two kids, Elena and Alex, and her mother, Lydia (played by the lovely Rita Moreno). There is also Schneider, the overly wealthy, man-child, the landlord who adopted them as his family. They are American-Cuban, and Lydia makes sure nobody forgets the Cuban fact.

Yet, the show is not only about a regular Latino family, it’s also a show that delves into issues that are important and need to be talked about.

Penelope is a veteran dealing with PTSD. Her daughter comes out as gay in the first season. They delve into topics of racism, toxic masculinity, citizenship, deportation, mental health issues, and many other important topics. There is a non-binary character, Syd, Elena’s girlfriend, that comes in in season 2, like this is how progressive the show is. (In season 3, there is an episode where Syd and Elena are trying to come up with a gender-neutral term for Elena to call Syd, since she’s non-binary, and it’s amazing)!!

They don’t shy away from uncomfortable topics that happen in life. And while all of these topics deserve to be talked about, the on that will be the focus of this post one is alcoholism.

Schneider is not the typical trope of a wealthy man-child who doesn’t learn anything. When Elena talks about social justice movements, he listens. He acts like an uncle/father combo with Alex and volunteers to take him to his baseball games. Lydia and Schneider are adorable with their dancing and cooking, as she immediately loves him like a son. Most importantly, Schneider is a shoulder to cry on for Penelope when school, children, and PTSD become too much, and soon becomes her best friend. Yet, one area that season 3 goes into is the fact that Schneider falls off the wagon. He was sober for eight years, but when his dad comes to town to visit, he falls back into old ways. As someone who was raised wealthy, he never had any real parents around, was raised by nannies, and finds peace at the bottom of the bottle. Not justifying his actions of white privilege, but it helps to makes sense. Along with making sense why he adopts the Alvarez’s as his family because he never had one.

Something Penelope tells him after the family finds out he was drinking, is “don’t quit before the miracle happens.” This was something that he told her earlier in the show.

This saying has been in my head for the past couple of days. “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” When I google search the phrase, the search results pop up with AA sites, alcoholism recovery, etc. For those who don’t know, both of my parents are recovering alcoholics (I don’t know how many years, but I do know they both are over 30 years sober).

I never heard this phrase before. One of the few memories I have of going to AA meetings with my parents was the saying “it works if you work it, so work it” at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, which is a reference to the 12 step program. Thankfully, I don’t have horror stories about alcohol affecting my life growing up. My parents have both been sober way before I came onto the scene, and neither of them fell back into the bottle the whole time I have been alive. Yet, in the past couple of years, since I’ve become older and able to understand, I have heard stories from my parents about alcohol and their time being drunk and going through recovery. It’s not pretty. Nothing picture-perfect about it. I doubt when they first started the road to recovery, they would expect to one day have thirty years sobriety. At the time, it was all just getting through one day and then the next, and the day after that too.

One Day at a Time decides to show how addiction is a lifelong illness and that it doesn’t go away. How it affects you the rest of your life and affects those closest to you.

The beauty they show with Schneider and the family is that while Penelope is furious her son had to see Schneider like that, she still does love him. He knows he messed up, so much so that he goes and takes his sobriety chip out of the Alvarez museum (he placed it in there earlier in the season). He is terrified of losing his family and that is what they are his family, as he states “You’re never gonna trust me again. You know the first time you asked me to take Alex to his baseball games was one of the proudest moments of my life. Nobody ever asks the addict to do that kind of stuff. But you did. You’re the only one who’s ever trusted me, Pen.”

Yet, they don’t let him lose his family or lose Penelope, his best friend! She tells him that she’s not giving up on him, no one in the family is, and that he doesn’t have to do it alone. This is the important part. Trying to go through recovery of any addiction alone is next to impossible. Having the people who love you and care about you around you helps remember why you need to do this. The next scene they show is Penelope with Schneider at an AA meeting.

Don’t quit before the miracle happens. Sometimes those miracles are not spiritual, God-like, life-changing ones. Typically, the miracles are these little moments of love and kindness shown to us by those who know us and still decide to love us.

Is the Future Going to Be All Girl?!

As most people know, a year and a half ago Jodie Whittaker was announced as the new Doctor in Doctor Who. She started her first season last fall, which has been an exciting, glorious, and beautiful ride to watch, as a long time fan and someone who firmly believes this is a great trajectory for the show, I’m pleased with how it has turned out so far. (I’m upset that the next season will not air until 2020, the injustice)!

What some may not know about, is that there is another Sherlock Holmes adaptation that came out last year. If you haven’t caught on yet, this adaptation stars a female Sherlock Holmes. I know! Shocking?!

[Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor saying oh brilliant once she realizes she’s a woman]

Yes, it quite simply is absolutely brilliant!!

However, this is different than previous incarnations of Sherlock Holmes because not only is Sherlock a woman but it is also set in Tokyo, Japan. (Yes, they speak Japanese in the show, but there are subtitles, sit down). In my less than humble opinion, this is probably the best adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

First off, there is Sherlock (aka Sara Shelly Futaba) played by Yuko Takeuchi. She, of course, is a consulting detective for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police working to help solve crimes with the help of her “Watson:” Dr. Wato Tachibana (Wato-san) played by Shihori Kanjiya.

The accompanying characters in Sherlock and Wato’s life are Mrs. Hatano (Mrs. Hudson), Inspector Gentaro Reimon (Lestrade), Kento Futaba (Mycroft), and of course, Moriarty (who I will not reveal, mwahahaha; I mean come on, it’s the fun of watching the show).

I know what some people may be thinking: “Really, another Sherlock Holmes!?! Aren’t there enough already?” The simple answer is no. The slightly longer answer is, no and this is better not only due to the fact that Sherlock is a woman but the fact that it does justice to the books and is set in Tokyo, Japan with an all-Asian cast (I will be repeating this quite a bit; I apologize in advance…but not really sorry).

[insert gif of the master saying: is the future going to be all girl?!]

Second, Sherlock is still a genius but is more like someone who doesn’t recognize social cues. In certain episodes, Wato has to remind her or chase after he to remove her shoes before entering someone’s house (a cultural practice in most of Asia). Yet, her rudeness is a quirk, instead of encompassing her entire character. Yet, she keeps with the introverted self and sensory overload anxiety. While she is still the smartest person in the room, they also have the rest of the cast be present and have their own strengths/smarts. Sherlock respects the two police officers she works with, even if she will never show it. Wato is given the chance to not soften but more compliment Sherlock’s mannerisms, where Sherlock is brash, Wato is more tactful (as an example).

Along with probably the first series to have Kento (Mycroft) and Sherlock love each other as siblings. He suggests that Wato move in with Sherlock (after the hotel burns down) not out of a need to spy on his sister, but because he doesn’t want her to be alone. He actually acts like a big brother, which is refreshing to see in general in shows. There is also present throughout the first season the idea that Sherlock can have relationships with others and not only Watson. She is allowed to have a loving brother, a motherly landlady, and two police officers that she does respect as friends all in her life.

Most people always marvel at the fact that Sherlock has this character arc. He/She no longer only cares about himself, he cares for (and in some cases; definitely in this case) loves Watson. Not that it isn’t something important, but I appreciate the fact that they write Wato as her own person. They have her go job hunting, date, and go to counseling (which they do an amazing job showing the importance of recovery from mental illness). They give Wato her own arc in the first season as well that will challenge her in future seasons as well. I find that an annoyance in much of BBC’s Sherlock is that Watson always acts so in awe of Sherlock in every. single. scene.

Before I have an angry mob after me, I want to say: I do like the BBC Sherlock. Do I like it as much as I did when it first aired? That would be a resounding no. As much of Steven Moffat’s writing tends to be, he tries to be more flashy with little plot, many plot holes, and most of the time, he never takes the time to explain anything (I’m looking at the season 2 finale and Sherlock’s “death”). I think the BBC Sherlock became too much like a superhero instead of a regular person. Yes, Sherlock Holmes is a regular person, don’t all faint at once. S/He has quirks, but s/he is in no way a superhero or a highly functioning psychopath (I truly hate that line). As Justin Charity states “Sherlock, in particular, rendered the detective’s supposedly careful deduction as exhaustive, orgasmic belittlement; his insights so illegible that their illegibility becomes the show’s main joke” (“Rehabbing the World’s Greatest Detective”).

Sherlock and Wato are both presented as their own characters who complement each other with their own strengths and weakness. Most importantly we are given, an obliviously Asian cast, where both males and females show emotion. Many times when the male suspects where arrested they cried the same amount of tears as women; they break down when their loved one was gone, and that is not something shown a lot on American television.

My last thought on this series, that is a touch spoiler-ish. They allow Sherlock to be human. As I said, Sherlock is a regular human, just like the next person. In this show, she reads and observes and is cultured is all. As usual, there comes a case where Sherlock is framed and a character says: “She always reveled in tragedy.” Yet, when she kills a man to save all of Tokyo, millions of people, she is utterly destroyed (along with the fact that she then realizes she failed to protect Wato).

As someone who has grown up in the aftermath of most feminist movements (minus the fourth wave, which we are living through at the moment), I am ecstatic that this show exists. Not just as someone who is a feminist, but also, for the fact that this is an all Asian cast (yes, I know I already mentioned that, but it bears repeating). In the current climate, I sometimes am saddened by how people react; however, then I find this show that shines some hope that the future will be okay. As the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) says in response to the Master asking if the future is going to be all girl: “We can only hope!”

Fantastic Beasts the Review and Questions!

I have dawdled in writing the review for Fantastic Beats the Crimes of Grindelwald due to the fact that I needed time to process and digest everything. Even though it has been almost a month since I first saw it, and I’ve seen it since then, I still have way more questions than answers to this movie and what’s going on with the franchise in general.

So, I will attempt to answer some of these questions that I posit, and please feel free to add your own proposed answers.

1. What are Grindelwald’s crimes?

The most obvious questions are in the actual title. In the first 10 to 15 minutes, we see Grindelwald break out of prison (kill some of the Aurors while breaking out of prison), and then, he kills the family in Paris, France. Other than that, what crimes has he committed? I assumed, wrongly, that the audience would be told of the apparently treasonous actions that cause the entire Wizarding World to look for him in these first two movies. Except, we are not. I mean the main reason he is able to convince those people to follow him in the end, including the auror who had just killed one of his followers, is the way he twists the Aurors and ministries of magic actions to make him look more favorable; they are the evil ones for going after him and his followers for wanting freedom. If I hadn’t yet been informed of what’s so horrible about Grindelwald, I may have been tempted to join. Anyways, I hope they inform us what his crimes in the past are in future movies.

2. Nagini as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

Before the second full trailer was released (when Credence says Nagini’s name in reference to Claudia Kim), I had been informed by numerous theories that Claudia Kim’s character would be Nagini. There was also the slight chance that these theories were wrong, but alas, I went forward with this in the back of my mind. Since I had the time before the trailer to be annoyed that a minority woman (a woman from Indonesia; Nagini herself not the actress who is South Korean) would turn into a beast and stay that way forever, I decided to have the benefit of the doubt while watching the movie. I would wait until the movie premiered to leave my comments. Now, I want to say that I have nothing against Claudia Kim for anything to do with her character or how she was written; she is playing a role, and I understand that. I’m annoyed that her character had literally no lines, except to say Credence’s name over and over again, “I’m with your son,” and to not go with Grindelwald; she was mostly a prop. She even leaned extremely close to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. At the basic level, MPDG is a girl who is vivacious and quirky (somewhere in the movie the main male character will say “she’s not like other girls”), whose main purpose is to inspire a greater appreciation for life in the male character. Of course, Nagini doesn’t match this exactly, as she is demure and quite shy, but other than that her role is to inspire Credence to be and do better. I’m not saying J.K. Rowling did anything wrong per se, YET, but I do hope she writes the next script to include more from this character. Especially, due to the fact, that Nagini eventually becomes one of Voldemort’s greatest allies and that is an interesting character arc.

3. What did they do with my wonderful, amazing Queenie?

I have thought about this for ages and talked with others about Queenie going over to the dark side. (I also know many people keep asking how she couldn’t read his mind, and my response to that: do you really think that Grindelwald is not an accomplished in occlumency)? So, Queenie decides to join Grindelwald because she wants to marry Jacob and in America, they can’t even be friends, let alone marry. Grindelwald convinces her to join because he will allow this. I highly doubt he would, but that’s not what I’m caring about right now. I do see people’s point (okay, really it’s one of my best friend’s points, who we will call Percival) that the combination of her mental health and desperation to marry Jacob would convince her to go to his side; however, I think my problem with that is the fact that it happened one movie too soon. I think they could have done this differently and quite better. They could’ve planted more ideas about her mental health and desperation in the first one or should’ve waited until the third one. Either way, I’m annoyed that they’ve taken a genuinely good character and had her go to Grindelwald’s side because of desperation. This may be coming off too negative to women who want to be married, and that is not my intent. I may not fully understand because marriage has never been that high of an ideal for me. I’m also open to people pointing out in the first movie where they see the projection of Queenie going to the dark side.

4. Aurelius Dumbledore?

What?!?! Please, I NEED THE THIRD MOVIE?!?! I have serious problems with this that are not only timeline-wise, but that is where we will start. Kendra and Percival Dumbledore have three kids: Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana. When Ariana was six, she was attacked by 3 muggle boys who witnessed her doing magic. As far as the audience knows, we are only given that she was “attacked.” There is no mention of what this attack entails; however, Percival, rightly enraged, goes after them and is sentenced to Azkaban. This attack took place in 1891, so we’ll assume that he was sentenced in late ’91 or early in 1892. Afterward, the Dumbledore’s re-settle in Godric’s Hallow where Kendra keeps Ariana locked in the house and in one of her fits (Ariana is totally an Obscurial, fight me), Ariana’s magic kills her mother. Kendra’s murder happens soon after Albus completes his education, so he’s around 17. This would have Kendra’s death be sometime in 1898. Credence had to have been born around the early 1900s (the Harry Potter wikia places his birth in 1901, but I think that’s too early. Since, the baby that Leta switched him with was around his age and she was about 8-10 years old on that trip to America, it would put his birth sometime between 1904 to 1907, maybe 1908 at the absolute latest). Either way, there is no absolute way for Kendra or Percival to have birthed another son. There are two other options for Credence to be Aurelius Dumbledore: he is a cousin of an unknown Dumbledore relation or he is Aberforth’s son. I don’t yet have any evidence for either of these plausibilities, they are just me trying to fit with what is given in this movie. Yet, why would Grindelwald say “brother?” And what better way to get someone to come to your side than tell them you can give them their greatest desire, which he does with both Credence and Queenie. I don’t believe that Credence is a Dumbledore because we were given so much backstory on Albus Dumbeldore’s life in Deathly Hallows that it feels too much retcon for me to buy into that, plus I like to think they are luring us into a false sense of knowledge with telling us Credence’s past so soon. We shall see what happens in the next movies though (I’m seeing a pattern here).

5. Why have Leta Lestrange?

Before anyone blasts me with hateful comments, I have nothing against Leta or Zoe Kravitz. I love both the actress and character, which is why I’m sad that they killed her off after only being in one movie. She plays a great role of this balancing act she’s doing between the two Scamander brothers, and she has this tragic backstory that’s wonderful to explore with her father’s abuse and the fact that she “killed” her own brother (I don’t think she did. I think Corvus is Credence; I don’t know how, but I do). Yet, we don’t get enough time with her, as she sacrifices her life for the Scamander brothers (yes, she sacrifices her life to both and loves them both in different ways), and that has way too many bad connotations (no, I’m not trying to make everything about race, but still, a black woman sacrifices herself for two white men, really?!?!) Also, with killing off Leta and Credence supposedly not being a Lestrange, then how do we have Rodolphus Lestrange? He is Bellatrix Lestrange’s husband in the Harry Potter books. They say in the movie that Corvus and Leta are the last line of a great French pure-blood family, which means to me that there are no other Lestrange’s out there, so I’m not sure how this will flow with cannon until the next movie is out.

As you can see, many of my answers are left with the same conclusion: we have to wait until the next movie comes out. This is something I’m not pleased about.

Of course, these are not the only questions I have about this movie. Even though I’ve seen it multiple times, each time I’m left with more questions than any actual answers. Hopefully, J.K. Rowling, David Yates, and everyone else at Warner Brothers know what they are doing because I haven’t got a clue, at this point.

Update 8/31/2020: Due to recent events and statements Rowling has made, I’m probably not going to see the next Fantastic Beast movie in theatres. I’ll wait until I can rent it or something.

Team TARDIS, the New Doctor Who Fam

When I heard the announcement that Jodie Whittaker was going to take over as the next Doctor on Doctor Who, my first reaction was

with a ton of crying (from such happy tears), and my second reaction was

I have been waiting for a female Doctor before I even knew what Doctor Who was, so pretty much my entire life. I couldn’t be more eager about the prospect of a female taking over this iconic role, and I was thrilled that the person taking over was Jodie Whittaker (who is an absolutely amazing actress and completely gorgeous, but that second one is beside the point).

While I meant to do a review after the first episode of the season, and then continue throughout the whole season, I forgot. After the third episode aired, I decided that doing a review of the entire season would be better instead.

For those of you who don’t want to read a lot (because this will probably be 1000 words minimum), here is a quick and dirty review:

  • I LOVE Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor
  • The 13th Doctor is a complete dork
  • The Doctor’s childlike wonder is adorable
  • Graham and Ryan are “my boys”
  • While some episodes were a touch slow, overall, I loved this season

For those who want a slightly longer review, here we go!

The Characters/Cast:

I have to say all of the actors, Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, and Bradley Walsh were amazing. I love that the Doctor has three friends (companions) this season, instead of the typical one. I find this refreshing as it truly breaks away from the idea that the Doctor shouldn’t travel alone. The audience is introduced to this new side of the Doctor, as well. A Doctor who is not only a woman but someone who immediately wants to be accepted and desires friends. She is the typical kindergartener who picks someone from her class and says to her parents “I like this person. They’re my new best friend!”

This is literally thirty seconds after she meets Yaz.

I think this season with these four people has a different feel than in previous incarnations because they are all together and trying to make sense of what’s going on and how they can be a part of this amazing world the Doctor invites them into.

I’m super ecstatic that this is the first time since MARTHA “BADASS” JONES that we have minorities as the Doctor’s companions, which is too long of a wait for me. I am super happy that Mandip Gill, I’m assuming her family is from Pakistan, and Tosin Cole, an African British man, are part of the main cast. I do love Bradley Walsh and his character, Graham, but I’m so glad to see more diversity on a show that has one of their main themes be diversity. They all bring something different and unique to the show that I truly love. Again, it has been a long time since I have had this much love for some of the Doctor’s companions straight off the bat.

The Episodes: 

As I said before, some of the episodes did fall flat to me at times, but I truly did enjoy this season. This is, of course, my own opinion, but I think many people are still coming off the roller coaster high that Steven Moffat takes us on that this season may have been a bit slow for some people. There is no over-arching theme in this series where there are nuggets left throughout the season for the audience to guess at, which was kind of a letdown, but I did enjoy the fact that each episode was it’s own contained story. (Unlike in season 9, where each episode was a two-parter; I would wait until both were out before watching any). However, they still had the series finale link back to the first episode with the villain Tzim-Sha, who they accidentally sent to a different planet and 3,000 years into the past. Throughout the season, in the background, he’s been working on taking revenge against the Doctor and her companions. Anyway, back to the beginning.

The first episode was brilliant and a wonderful introduction to all the characters and the Doctor herself.

The amazing aspect of this introduction is that she still is the Doctor. The fact that her, (their?), gender changed did not make an iota of difference. They still work on helping people, learning all they can, and making friends in the oddest of ways. A female Doctor is still the Doctor. I also love that they added a different facet to the Doctor that hasn’t been done before by having her engineer her own Sonic Screwdriver, instead of relying on the TARDIS to provide one. They continually have her wear a welder’s helmet and are not shying away from the fact that a woman can still be a mechanic. I never thought I could love a Doctor this quickly, usually, it takes me a few episodes to warm up to them. With Jodie Whittaker though, it was hook, line, and sinker. I loved her the moment she crashed onto the train, and my love for her has only grown.

A few of my favorite episodes: Rosa, Arachnids in the UK, Demons in the Punjab, and The Witchfinders. I am only going to say a little bit about each of these. Rosa was a complete bawl fest for me. That ending scene when they have to be a part of history and do nothing, with Audra Day’s “Rise Up” in the background was beautiful. I think the beauty in that episode lies in the fact that they kept Rosa’s own agency. The Doctor and her friend were not there to change or help anything, but to keep history the same. While Arachnids in the UK may be an interesting choice for me (for anyone who doesn’t know, spiders and I don’t like each other). However, my love for this episode lies in the fact that this is Yasmin and the Doctor are totally in love!!

Plus, at the end of Arachnids, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham all decide they want to continue traveling with the Doctor and it’s so beautiful. Of course, Doctor Who wouldn’t be the same if there wasn’t immense heartbreak, like with Demons in the Punjab. Yaz convinces the Doctor to go back to when her grandmother was younger to discover her secret past. Unfortunately, they land on the day before the Partition of Pakistan and India. Yaz’s grandmother actually had a first husband who was killed by his brother on the day of his wedding. While tragic and heartbreaking, there are some good jokes thrown in that lightens it.

This cutie!! I cannot sometimes with her. And, of course, how can I not love Witchfinders. Witch trials, King James, Yaz being amazin’ (said in a Yorkshire accent), and King James flirting with Ryan. I could go on for hours!


Was this season a complete success? Probably not. Do they still need to work out some kinks with the new characters and storytelling? Yes! Did I still enjoy it immensely? Absolutely! This season had everything I was looking for in Doctor Who. An amazing cast of companions, a Doctor who is childish and heartwarming, and episodes that were engaging to watch. I cannot wait until the New Year’s Eve special or the new season (seriously!? I have to wait until 2020?!?! Is that even a real year?) I think the difficulty of this season was proving that a woman could be the Doctor; hopefully, they can now move away from that and start having meatier storylines. At its core, the Doctor and the Show remain the same:

A Madman (Woman) in a Blue Box exploring the universe!!

All 9 Harry Potter Movies in 6 Days

Seeing all 9 Harry Potter movies (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was also included) in only 6 days is, in one word, exhausting! While I more than enjoyed going back to see all the movies in theatres, in XD might I add, and in a distraction-free environment is amazing. I would definitely do this all over again…although maybe in a few years or ten.

Anyways, the whole event did leave me with a new ranking of the movies, also some complaints, and new ideas/thoughts/scenes I didn’t know before. The main ideas/thoughts I have over the movies/books/characters will be coming in their own blog posts. Here I will have the new order of the movies and why. So, without further ado…

9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I’ve realized that the second book and movie has not moved in their ranking. I don’t know if it’s that it’s the second in the series, which usually have issues with it, or if I just find the whole storyline quite boring. There are some funny and exciting scenes but overall, I am not of fan of this movie.

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Why did the whole movie have to be filmed in that sepia tone overlay?!?!

I understand that the movie has much darker ideas and presence than the previous ones, but the main characters are still 16 years old. As I have recently re-read the book, the whole theme of the novel does have an underlying presence of Voldemort being back, but most of it is actually teenagers acting pretty awkward about crushes and worrying about classes and apparition. The book is way less terrifying and suspenseful than the book. I will always be annoyed that they only included two scenes from Voldemort’s background. How could they delete some of the other scenes; I just don’t understand!?

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I’m utterly shocked that this movie has actually moved up in the rankings. I hated this movie when it first came out, and obviously, it is still low on the list. Part of the reason this one is so low is because of how much they left out of the movie. We don’t have the majority of the last chapter where Dumbledore explains everything to Harry, nor do we have much of Sirius (who is killed at the end), and even though it’s a small scene they cut out the beginning of Snape’s memory to make James look like the offending party (for those who have not read the books, Snape calls Lily “mudblood” and James decided to use Levicorpus). The problem with this movie is they tried to fit a 766 page (870 for the U.S. edition) into a 2 hour and 22-minute movie. The longest book and one of the shortest movies.

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

First off, great first scene of Frank, the caretaker, Voldemort, Wormtail, and Barty Crouch Jr. I was slightly unimpressed with this beginning scene once I saw Deathly Hallows Part 1 when they did the story of the Three Brothers. Overall, I still thought they did a good job of telling the story of the Riddles. I will never forgive them for this scene:

Why did they feel the need to have Beauxbatons and Durmstrang as non-co-ed? This is one area where I can’t help but feel shows how sexist Hollywood can still be, as both schools in the books have boys attend Beauxbatons and girls attend Durmstrang. The only reason I can think that they separated them in the movie is for aesthetics…you know because there are no men in France. I’m also still upset we didn’t get to see a sphinx.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This was truly a faithful adaptation of the novel, which I greatly appreciated as a child. However, as an adult, I would have liked to see some more originality in the Chris Columbus’ directing. The only reason this one is so much higher is that the storyline does keep me engaged, unlike the second one.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The movie was great! I cried buckets of tears the first time and all the times after it. Yet, the scene at the end when Voldemort is killed is not correct. I have heard all the arguments for why it works, and I will still say that was not the way to have him killed. Not only is he supposed to die a muggle death, as it states in the book, but also, having him break away into flakes of skin doesn’t mean that he’s gone. We all know he’s gone, of course, but people in the wizarding world need to see the physical body to truly believe that this is the end. I’m also still trying to figure out to this day why they couldn’t have actors who were 20-25. Harry’s parents were 21 YEARS OLD WHEN THEY DIED. They should not be looking like they are in their 40s/50s which is how the actors they have look. I”m not saying anything bad about their acting capabilities, but this has bothered me since the beginning and will until I die.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

I know most people refer to this movie as the angsty camping trip, however, I would really like to know how they would be acting when their world is taken over by a dictator, they are supposed to find these objects to destroy, not be found, and they are only 17 years old. I know for a fact that I would have a mental breakdown. They do a great job of showing how difficult and frustrating it is to find Horcruxes. After re-reading the 6th book, and seeing all these movies back to back I find it truly difficult to be on Ron’s side anymore. I can’t believe I would ever say that in my life.

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Most people rag on this movie and probably have it at the bottom of their list. It was pretty close to the bottom of mine too, except once I re-watched it, I found how much I did love the adaptation. I thought Alfonso Cuaron’s directing upheld the important parts of the novel while still being his own work. The only aspect I have issues with is Michael Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore, which may also be that I really loved Richard Harris so much. The storyline was fun and engaging to follow with the added bonus of having Sirius Black in it.

1.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I know, technically, this is not a “Harry Potter” movie, but as it is set in the wizarding world, I’m still counting it. This movie had all the elements I wanted it to have when dealing with a sequel of sorts. I found while watching it again that this movie gives me all the same feelings and emotions I felt whenever I read the books that I don’t really have when watching the other movies.

A few last thoughts to think over that did not fit in the above sections. I will always be annoyed at the adaptations of Ron and Ginny. I feel like they made Ron too dumb and Ginny too simpering. They do not give any sort of justice to James, and they don’t show nearly enough of Snape’s tormenting of other students, which always leaves me to have to explain to others why I’m not a fan of Snape.

Anyways, I’m so happy that I was able to experience all of these movies again on the big screen. What do you like/dislike about the Harry Potter movies? Tell me in the comment section below.

The Whole School Knows, but the Government is Left in the Dark

For the past couple of days, I have been seeing the Harry Potter movies in theatres (which has been AMAZING!), yet, I have realized that this is the first time I have actually sat and watched the movies with absolutely no distractions in a couple of years. I have rewatched the movies since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out in the summer of 2011; however, when I’m watching them they are typically background noise while I did housework, prep for classes, or did my own homework (when I was in school). Anyways, with having the ability to watch all 9 movies (Harry Potter plus Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) I have noticed ideas, moments, and even some random side items that have no relevance to the story.

For those who don’t know Harry Potter (aka anyone who does not spend 5 minutes around me),

in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hogwarts is the host of the Triwizard Tournament with two other schools competing. Okay, we all know the story and if you don’t then go to your local library and check it out and then come back here!

In OotP, everything should be different now that Voldemort’s back, and yet, Harry is scavenging for news by secretly listening to the muggle news and scrounging for newspapers in garbage cans. The letters he receives from friends have barely any information: “We can’t say much about you-know-what, obviously. . . .” “We’ve been told not to say anything important in case our letters go astray. . . .” “We’re quite busy but I can’t give you details here. . . .”  (OotP, 8). The Daily Prophet is obviously shutting things down on the whole Voldemort’s back idea because why report the truth. No, much better to live in fear and worry while the most dangerous wizard is gaining followers and making plans for domination. You know, it’s shocking that the Ministry was infiltrated by Death Eaters. 

Moving right along, Harry does go back to Hogwarts but is met with a less than stellar welcoming. Most people at Hogwarts don’t believe a word he says about Voldemort being back. Why would they when the Prophet (and by extension the Ministry) can just think for them. One of the students who doesn’t believe Harry is Seamus. I understand the fact that some people are doubtful of Voldemort’s return. It means admitting that war is on the horizon and there’s nothing anyone could do to stop that. The fact that Seamus doesn’t believe him though has made me wonder what Seamus really thinks of Harry, along with the other students at Hogwarts. Seamus has been living in the Gryffindor dormitory with Harry for four years and is a friend, yet, now he doesn’t believe him. 

I also have annoyance about all of this when this is not the first time that Harry has come up against Voldemort by himself. In his first year, he went down the trap door and came face to face with Voldemort for the first time since he was a baby. Second year, he saved Ginny Weasley and defeated Voldemort (in the form of Tom Riddle). And in both instances, there was no one to confirm these events either.  

They never doubt or question Harry when he goes up against Voldemort and defeats him, prevents him from regaining a corporeal form, but they do when he reveals that Voldemort has a body and is back. This time there is something to worry about. There is a fear attached to this event that was not previously present at the others. Again, completely understandable. If the situation didn’t involve someone who has faced Voldemort previously and has never been that much of a liar or attention seeker, along with a man who is one of the greatest wizards of all time, defeated Grindelwald, and has an Order of Merlin First Class. You know, nothing important. 

My own prejudices against Dumbledore withstanding, the fact remains that it is not only fear of Voldemort that keeps the government from believing that He is back. Most, if not all, of these problems, can lay at the feet of one Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic from 1990-1996 (he actually becomes M.o.M. a year before Harry starts at Hogwarts and his term, of course, ends after Order of the Phoenix). However, Fudge was not the first choice for M.o.M. after Millicent Bagnold but Albus Dumbledore. Most people who have read the books know why Dumbledore refused the post of M.o.M., and the movies do not do justice to explaining this. At the end of Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore finally tells Harry everything about Harry and Voldemort and their connection and about Dumbledore himself. 

Dumbledore knew that his ambition for power was his weakness. When he became friends with Gellert Grindelwald and they began plotting domination over all he had yet to grow up to the man we see in the books. After Grindelwald fled, after the death of Ariana Dumbledore, Albus knew that he was ill-suited for any type of power that was more than a headmaster at a school. 

“But you’d have been better, much better, than Fudge or Scrimgeour!” burst out Harry.
“Would I?” asked Dumbledore heavily. “I am not so sure. I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation. It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well. “I was safer at Hogwarts. . . . 
Deathly Hallows, 717-18

Of course, Fudge does not know this in OotP, and he believes that Dumbledore wants to take over.

“Fudge is frightened of him, you see,” said Tonks sadly.
“Frightened of Dumbledore?” said Harry incredulously.
“Frightened of what he’s up to,” said Mr. Weasley. “You see, Fudge thinks Dumbledore’s plotting to overthrow him. He thinks Dumbledore wants to be Minister of Magic.”
“But Dumbledore doesn’t want —”
“Of course he doesn’t,” said Mr. Weasley. “He’s never wanted the Minister’s job, even though a lot of people wanted him to take it when Millicent Bagnold retired. Fudge came to power instead, but he’s never quite forgotten how much popular support Dumbledore had, even though Dumbledore never applied for the job.”
Order of the Phoenix, 93

I think if it were not for Grindelwald, then Dumbledore would have taken over, so I guess we have Grindelwald to thank for that depending on if you think Dumbledore should’ve been Minister or not. I’m in the “not” camp. 

In the end, it is not any one thing that keeps the public from believing that Voldemort has returned. Of course, the fear of Voldemort’s return is present for most of the wizarding world, but for the upper government officials, their fear is not only that but a loss of power, a fear of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore who has always been more popular than they ever were. 

A/N: Any dates came from the characters fact file on Pottermore. Gifs were all from Giphy. J.K. Rowling obviously is the author of the Harry Potter books. Order of the Phoenix, 2003, Scholastic. Deathly Hallows, 2007, Scholastic.