High Arts: A Midsummer Night’s Dream- In British Sign Language

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dream- In British Sign Language
Performed by: Deafinitely Theatre
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: The Globe Theatre, England
When: 3 June 2014

“Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A unique experience that is great for those open minded people, regardless of whether you can understand British Sign Language or not!

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

Random News: Hermione and Ron Debate UPDATE

Hi everyone,

I’ve finally managed to get hold of the Wanderlust Magazine guest edited by Emma Watson. Inside this edition of Wanderlust is an interview between Emma Watson and JK Rowling. Following a controversially titled article in The Sunday Times — “JK admits Harry should have wed Hermione” — the news spread like wild fire.  Here’s the excerpt that has been circling the internet following this article in The Sunday Times:

JK Rowling: “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”

Emma Watson: “Ah.”

JK Rowling: “I know, I’m sorry. I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

Emma Watson: “I don’t know. I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.

(Source)

The problem is that although the excerpt from the interview indicated that Rowling regretted Hermione and Ron’s relationship, this could easily be misleading without the rest of the interview.In addition to the excerpt above, JK Rowling also says:

JK Rowling: “It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it…I’m, not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was to much fundamental incompatibility. I can’t believe we are saying all of this – this is Potter heresy!”
    …
JK Rowling: “Oh, maybe she and Ron will be alright with a bit of counseling, you know. I wonder what happens at wizard marriage counselling. They’ll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical.”
    …
JK Rowling: “Just like her creator, she has a real weakness for a funny man. These uptight girls, they do like them funny…It’s such a relief from being so intense yourself – you need someone who takes life, or appears to take life, a little more light heartedly.”

While the entire interview suggests that JK Rowling may have questioned Hermione and Ron’s relationship, when taken in it’s entirety, it isn’t clear whether JK would actually have written things differently. I do wonder if things would have been very different had JK Rowling written the entire series prior to publishing the works considering she admits that she wrote Hermione and Ron’s relationship as a “form of wish fulfillment” and for “very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility.”

Furthermore, the claim that JK admitted that Harry should have wed Hermione as per The Sunday Times news article and several other articles with the same title (e.g., Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Mail) this seems to have really been taken out of context. In the interview, JK Rowling says:

JK Rowling: “In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit and I’ll tell you something very strange. When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent!…”

Although, JK Rowling appears to have considered the possibility of Hermione and Harry may have been a better fit and that she felt chemistry between the characters, this doesn’t exactly say that she thought they should get married. Hermione could quite have easily met someone else better suited in the future that was neither Ron nor Harry.

You can read the full article by purchasing a copy of the Wanderlust Maganise guest edited by Emma Watson as I did here. Alternatively, a full copy of the interview transcript is available on hyperble here.

What do you think of the interview between JK Rowling and Emma Watson? And, do you think JK Rowling would write Hermione & Ron together if she could have a do over? Let us know in the comments!

Book Review: Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)

Book Title:  Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bargudo

This was his soul made flesh, the truth of him laid bare in the blazing sun, shorn of mystery and shadow. This was the truth behind the handsome face and the miraculous powers, the truth that was the dead and empty space between the stars, a wasteland peopled by frightened monsters.
Alina Starkov, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Final Verdict: A fast read with characters that have great chemistry. Perhaps a little too light on the fantasy content though.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Random News: Hermione and Ron Debate

Hello Lovely Readers,

As you have not doubt seen by now, there has been quiet a ruckus raised over some comments that JK Rowling has said about the relationship of Hermione and Ron. Below are just a handful of examples of the story, just click to see each one.

I highly suggest you check a couple of these out, even though they almost all say the same thing. What is important is what is missing from these reports. While there are actual quotes from Rowling (being interviewed by Emma Watson who portrayed Hermione in the films) saying that she made a mistake with Hermione and Ron ending up together, there are no actual quotes saying that Hermione should have been with Harry instead (like so many of the articles are saying). While the full interview has not been released yet (it will be in Wonderland magazine where Watson is a guest editor), and there may be more that Rowling said, so far the evidence of this second sentiment hasn’t been proved.

Now this is a topic Frances and I have discussed on many occasions, and I know I have rather strong opinions on the ending of the Harry Potter Series. One of my biggest complaints was about the couples, and that everyone ended up with whoever was essentially their High School sweetheart. Now in bygone eras, this was certainly more the case, but honestly it is very rare now to see people in lasting relationships from high school, while marriages and kids happen, so to do divorces. So I have complaints about all the main couples. However, I have always had an issue with Hermione and Ron ending up together, and I am happy to hear Rowling’s explanation.

Rowling in the articles admits that she let a wish/vision from the beginning of the series cloud her judgment, and with time and space from the project she can see the mismatch. At the very least she admits they would need marriage counseling. I think that is rather brave of her to say that she made a mistake, and the reason behind it makes her even more human, at least to my eyes. As someone who would love to do more creative writing, I understand that sometimes time and space are needed, and those were in really short supply for Rowling by the end of the series, as publishers and fans demanded an ending.

One other thing that I think this whole brouhaha shows is the dangers of epilogues. Once an author has released their story out into the world, it is hopefully read by readers. Some of these people will love the story, but for very different reasons, and they will interpret it very different. After the story ends, the readers usually have opinions about what happens, or what should happen with the characters and plot after. The trouble with epilogues is that they confine this imagining. While Rowling wanted to leave us all with the knowledge that the great war had actually changed things, and that people were able to move on, she also severely restricted the fans. An epilogue that is close to the end of the story in time is easier, it adds fewer constraints to the characters lives after the main story. However, by setting the epilogue 19 years in the future, all readers (those who honor the epilogue, which I do not) then have a set point in 19 years where the characters end up. This is a lot harder for readers and fans, especially when they disagree with the author about things (especially romantic pairings). I think if Rowling had set the epilogue only a year or two later after the defeat of Voldemort, and Hermione and Ron were dating, that would have been fine, as there is no constraint for how long that relationship has to last (which is useful for those who dislike the pairing).

So I thought I would also add briefly why this pairing has always bothered me and my thoughts on Hermione and Harry. My main issue with the Harry Potter Series has always been that I haven’t ever really liked Ron. I know this is rather shocking to some, but I have never liked him, and I especially didn’t like how he treated his friends. In almost every book there is a point where Ron stops talking to one of his friends, usually Hermione (although notably Harry in the fifth book). Ron has trouble taking other people’s feelings into consideration, and is prone to extreme jealousy, and when that flares will say some really hurtful things. For me personally I also have trouble with his attitude towards school, but I am a bit like Hermione about learning. However, there is never anything that Ron really seems to become passionate about, except maybe the Chudley Cannons. But every other character seems to find something that they find interesting and seek to better themselves in that area and most of them try to find jobs in those areas (Harry with Defense Against the Dark Arts and Quidditch, Neville with herbology, Luna with mystical/made up creatures, the twins with their joke shop, etc.). He never seems to grow up.

So with Ron being my least favorite character and Hermione being one of my favorites (and the one I identified with most) I was never going to like them together. While I enjoy some opposites attract stories, it just doesn’t feel like it would last or work here. Hermione is one of the brightest witches and love learning for the sake of learning, and only passably knows quidditch. However, Ron seems allergic to book learning and seems only to come alive when talking about qudditch. Which combined leaves me wondering what they talk about. Hermione, I can imagine listening about qudditch, but nothing in Ron’s previous behaviors lends itself to being happy for Hermione for her future accolades and awards, nor can I see him pretending to be interested in what she is saying about something she recently read. Most of all I remember when Ron walked out on Harry and Hermione, and I can’t imagine that Hermione would be able to forget that. If he walked away when the whole world was at stake, what is to say he wouldn’t walk away again? How can a relationship last through the aftermath of a war, the burying of friends and loved ones, a young marriage, kids and separate careers, and yet these two have trouble even talking/being around each other for a full school year?

Now as for Harry and Hermione, I have always said that I think Hermione was a better friend to Harry in all the books than Ron was. There were times where Harry and Hermione were mad at each other, but in the end they both understood why the other one had done what they did, and they were willing to admit they were wrong. When things get tough, they band together (think fourth and seventh books). Harry will at least pretend to be interested in what Hermione is saying and try to follow her example for learning. Hermione also tries to follow Harry’s example and relax a bit. Most of all they give each other the emotional support they need, whether that is keeping Harry’s ego in check, or building up Hermione’s (honestly I loved the awkward dance in the second to last movie because it was just a nice friendship moment to get Hermione to smile again) . In the end when Harry tries to sacrifice himself, Hermione understands and tries to immediately offer what support she can. Does that mean I want them to end up together, not really. I don’t think any of them needs to end up with people we know. There are plenty of witches and wizards out there, and plenty of muggles as well. Buzzfeed has a great collection of reasons why they would be a better couple, but in the end I think this just proves they are just great friends.

What do you guys think about all of this? Do you agree with JK Rowling’s new statements? Who would you have liked to see be paired up at the end?

Until next time,

See the update on the Hermione and Ron relationship debate here.

TV Series Review: Sleepy Hollow (Season 1)

TV Series Title: Sleepy Hollow
Season: Season 1
Year: 2013

“Polygraph Technician: “Tell me about the Horseman. Would you admit cutting off his head, yes or no?”
Ichabod Crane: “No. First I shot him, then he rose back up. Beheading him seemed the next logical step.”
Sleepy Hollow (2013)

Final Verdict: What’s not to like? There’s time travel, witches, demons, a headless horseman who’s packing automatic weapons, comedy, and romance.   

For the full review, and the trailer for the TV series, click the TV series title above.

TV Series Review: Witches of East End (2013)

TV Series Title: Witches of East End
Season: Season 1
Year: 2013

I’ve given birth to [Ingrid and Freya] and watched them die a dozen times, and neither of them’s ever lived past 30” Joanna Beauchamp in Witches of East End

Final Verdict: Once you get past the melodrama, Witches of East End will definitely capture your interest. The mystery surrounding the Beauchamp woman is intriguing, and the magic, although nothing new, is just what you want in a TV show about witches.

For the full review, and the trailer for the TV series, click the TV series title above.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Movie Title: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence

Notable Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Stanely Tucci, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer

President Snow: “Her entire species must be eradicated.
Plutarch Heavensbee: Her species, sir?
President Snow: The other victors. Because of her, they all pose a threat. Because of her, they all think they are invincible.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Final Verdict: I enjoyed the movie and I’d watch it again and again. The purpose of the movie, and the book itself, is to prepare the path for Mockingjay, however. Consequently, there’s a little too much setting up and not enough action.

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.

What did you think of the movie? Did it live up to your expectations?

Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Movie Title: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Director: Harold Zwart

Notable Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemim West, Robert Sheehan, Jonathon Rhys Meyers

“You have an incredible gift and we need you…I need you” Jace Wayland in City of Bones

Final Verdict: Unless you want to turn watching the movie into a drinking game, or just like making fun of bad movies, avoid this movie, especially if you want to read the book series without spoilers!

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.

**Additionally, at the bottom of the review, there is a link to a hidden page where we discuss our thoughts about the ending for those of you who have already seen the movie and aren’t concerned about spoilers**

Movie Trailer: Vampire Academy

Hi everyone,

The trailer for the upcoming release of Vampire Academy has been released (see above). The film is based on a six-book series written by Richelle Mead. The movie follows Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir (half human, half vampire) as she attends the Vampire Academy. The Vampire Academy trains Rose to protect the Moroi (peaceful, mortal vampires) from the Strigoi (bloodthirsty, immortal vampires). I haven’t read the books so I don’t know whether the movie trailer is in keeping with the book,although it seems to be. I’m not blown away by the trailer, in fact, I’m worried that there isn’t much of a plot to the movie based on the trailer, other than high-school drama that is. Plus, there’s also a love triangle, which I’m so bored of reading/watching in young adult, fantasy fiction, it’s like it’s mandatory and yet, how often does this actually happen in real life? It seems like another Twilight-esque movie so I may wait to see this movie when it’s free on TV, just in case.

What do you think about the movie trailer? Are you planning to see the movie?

Also, what do you think about love triangles in movies?

Happy reading,

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

Movie Title: Mirror Mirror
Director: Tarsem Singh
Notable Stars: Lilly Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean

“Ten years passed, and Snow White grew older and blossomed. But the kingdom fell into an icy despair, and the queen realized that if she wanted to remain the most beautiful woman in all the land… well… Snow would have to do what snow does best. Snow would have to fall.” The Queen in Mirror Mirror

Final Verdict: A funny adaptation of a classic tale that families will really enjoy.

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.