Saturday, October 22, 2016

Teddy Lupin (Not Being) in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

It's time to talk about one of the true travesties of Cursed Child: Teddy Lupin doesn't appear in the play. In fact, he's not even mentioned. Not even once. What?

Going into Cursed Child, I was worried about anticipating anything specific from it, including seeing any certain characters. Still, I did think Teddy would likely appear in at least some capacity. I, at the very least, didn't expect him to not even be mentioned.

Of course, he's not the only character who wasn't in the story. Hugo is only mentioned vaguely and isn't even on the platform at the beginning despite being in that scene of Deathly Hallows. That seems strange. It also seems strange that we see so little of Lily and James throughout the play. Then there are the various Weasley cousins. All of these characters should be at Hogwarts for at least some of the story, and I find it hard to believe that they don't have any impact on Albus. They should, at the very least, have as much to do with what's happening as Rose does. Why have such a focus on Rose's rejection of Albus but give us no idea what his relationship with the rest of the family is? The idea that he just doesn't talk to them seems too easy for me.

But that's a different rant. Teddy's not at Hogwarts during the story. That much is true. I would have been okay with him just being mentioned once because of that, but this complete lack of a mention is just ridiculous.

I'm biased; it's true. I love Teddy, and I always want to see more of him. I would have loved the opportunity to get to know his personality and not just have to speculate.

But why were so many people not even mentioned? You can say that the cast was limited because it was a play, but that doesn't mean that some characters should be ignored as if they don't even exist.

I'm bitter about it, if you can't tell.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life Post: Voting and Break

This week has been one of those that's busy, but it's busy with so many small things that it's difficult to talk about them in a post.

I've been to the doctor twice this week. Once to get a TB test and again to get the test read. I also got fingerprinted again. This time it was done digitally, which was remarkably like getting it done with ink except with less mess on my hands afterward. I also got a haircut today, but it was just a trim.

The most noteworthy thing I've probably done so far this week is vote. I went to the courthouse with my sister for early voting back on Monday, so that's one task that I have out of the way. But don't worry, I still get to listen to all of the election coverage that you do until election day, despite having already voted. I'm sure it's going to be loads of fun.

Back towards the beginning of my fall break, I think I mentioned somewhere online that this was the first time I'd had a two week fall break. As it turns out, they feel significantly longer than fall breaks that are only a couple of days long. It's been really nice. It kind of feels like I've been on break forever, which could probably be seen as either a good or a bad thing. Oddly enough, I actually think these weeks are going by slower than the typical school week does. We'll see if that holds true once I'm back at school.

Draco's Relationship with the Golden Trio in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

For all of Cursed Child's faults, there were some aspects of its story that leave room for interesting discussions. Not necessarily in a "this was so great!" way, but interesting discussion nonetheless.

One of those, for me, is Draco's relationship with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and also Ginny throughout the play.

Many Harry Potter fans spent years hoping that Draco would be friends with the Golden Trio by the end of the series (or at least be on his way there), and I know many were disappointed when he wasn't. I wasn't one of the fans waiting for such a thing to happen. To be honest, I never much cared about Draco's fate since I disliked him, and I think it's only now that I'm older that I've begun to understand why the idea was appealing to others. Though I still can't say it's appealing to me. I feel satisfied with the way Draco's story ended in the seventh book.

As I wasn't one of those fans, I do wonder how those fans felt when they read Cursed Child. What they had wanted from the books more or less happened (although quite possibly on a smaller scale than they had hoped for), but it happened in Cursed Child, which...Well, it isn't the Harry Potter series is where I'll leave that thought.

Personally, I found Draco's story within Cursed Child interesting, and I cared about it far more than I remember ever caring about his story in the Harry Potter series. I'd really like to know what sort of communication Harry and Ginny had with Draco (and Astoria before she died) in the years prior to Cursed Child. Their sons were best friends, but I can't figure out if Scorpius and Albus visiting each other's houses during breaks was a thing. Can you imagine Harry sending his son off to spend a week with the Malfoys? It would be strange for everyone involved, and seeing such a thing would no doubt be interesting.

Such a thing wouldn't necessarily mean Draco and Harry had to directly communicate though. They could have done it entirely through their sons, which is what I would assume was happening based on the play. Why go through the trouble of all the awkwardness when you can just tell your son to pass on a message? It's what I would do in their positions, not going to lie.

Cursed Child also raises some interesting questions about Draco as a husband and as a father for me, and I'm exploring each of those to a certain extent in the Harry Potter fanfiction that Cursed Child has inspired me to write. What I'm not really exploring in that fanfiction is Draco's relationship with the other characters, which is probably why I've ended up writing this post.

I kind of liked Draco's relationship with the others in this story. I never thought I'd say that, but I do. It didn't come across as that cheesy to me like so many other parts of Cursed Child did (which is impressive considering the redemption of such characters can often seem unrealistic to me), and the way Draco was portrayed in the play did make it feel like it had been a long time coming. I do, however, wish that the play had explored how Draco's own feelings had changed over time. I get that it wasn't Draco's story, and since this was a play, it would have been even more difficult to get such internal feelings across without adding a lot of time onto the play. Still, I kind of wish for it.

Cursed Child kind of made me want a Draco story about falling in love with Astoria and how his perceptions changed after the war. I think it could be quite compelling based on Cursed Child, and that's not something I would have said prior to reading the play. So I guess that's one thing I can think Cursed Child for along with Scorpius Malfoy's existence.

This is turning into something more than a post about Draco's relationship with the Golden Trio. Ultimately, I think, Cursed Child made me care more about Draco Malfoy than I ever had in the past. I'm not sure what that means about my feelings for him within the actual Harry Potter books, but I'm having a fun time exploring it.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Life Post: Writing, Unit Planning, Kentucky Down Under, Etc.

As it turns out, fall break is shaping up to be somewhat busy. There's a lot I need to get done by the end of fall break, so most of my time has been focusing on that. Some of it is taking longer than I had planned.

I know I've been talking about the Harry Potter fanfiction I'm writing because I'm just so in love with it that I keep gushing about it. However, I took a break from writing it for a few days in order to work on other stuff more. It was only a few days, and I actually did work on my novel over that time, so it wasn't a complete break from writing to do other things. That being said, I started writing the fanfiction again yesterday. I'm still so incredibly excited to be writing it, so at least I haven't burnt out on it yet.

There were two things I was really focusing on when I took my break from writing: my unit plan and getting some stuff together for an application (that I'm gradually talking more about despite telling myself that I wouldn't).

Immediately when school starts back, I'll be teaching my own unit plan. The entire unit is planned, yet I don't feel like it is. I don't feel like it's ready despite having at least a general idea of what is happening each day and a much more detailed idea of what's happening for the first half of the unit. I still feel like there's so much to do, and truthfully, there is. A lot goes into this sort of thing, and I'm sure there are things that I've forgotten that I'll only realize later. This is much more intimidating than just creating individual lesson plans, which was what I had been doing up to that point. Even though I'm pretty much only doing a bunch of those together (and doing everything that goes along with them), I think I'm making myself feel like it's even more intimidating than that. At any rate, I've been spending a lot of time on that and acting like I won't be able to do anything with the unit plan once I'm already teaching the beginning of it (including trying to make every single worksheet and handout before the end of break).

Then, like I said, I'm applying for a job. Let's just leave it there for now. That much isn't shocking since I graduate in December, but I'm going to stay somewhat vague, since this has no guarantee of happening, and I don't want to talk all about something that doesn't happen.

What I will say is that 1. I have to get an FBI background check, and because I messed up the last application, I had to schedule a new fingerprinting appointment for next week, which is great. And 2. I had to get a physical yesterday, which involved peeing in a cup. That was an adventure and one I'd be okay with never having again. I still have to get a TB test, but I have to go back for that next week, since they wouldn't have been able to read it in 48 hours because of the weekend.

Wow, this feels like even more stuff now that I've written it all out, but I'm not actually done. Today my family and I went to Kentucky Down Under, which was a lot of fun. I don't actually think I'm going to talk about it much now because I filmed some stuff there. We got to feed and pet kangaroos though, which was pretty awesome, and I got to pet some horses, one of whom was pressing his face into my stomach and it was wonderful. Oh, and a lorikeet pooped on me, so that was fun.

Overall, I'd say that fall break is going pretty well, even if I still have quite a bit to get done before it's over. Fingers crossed that, when break comes to a close, I'll feel like I've actually accomplished everything that I need to.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Am the Reader Book Tag

The I Am the Reader tag was organized by Penguin Teen to promote the book The Reader by Traci Chee. As far as I'm aware, this was a tour meant for booktube, as that is where I found it after seeing Misty's and Mallory's videos. However, I am going to answer the questions in written form.

The Reader is about a world where no one reads. The main character Sefia discovers a book, an object that she has never heard of before. Because of the themes of The Reader, this tag is meant to celebrate being a reader, which I think is an amazing idea, and despite not having read the book (I'd really like to), I had to participate in this tag.

Choose one word that describes being a reader.

Eye-opening. That's the first word that comes to mind for me. It's incredible how, through books, we can live lives that we would never know otherwise, and I mean this whether we're talking about fiction or nonfiction. There are so many nonfiction books that force you to look at perspectives that you wouldn't have otherwise and to get to know the people whose stories they tell deeply.

What's the very first book you fell in love with?

I've been reading for as long as I can remember, and I'm sure that there were some early books that I loved but can no longer remember. When it comes to those I can remember, I'm not going to surprise anyone by choosing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Through a combination of factors, Harry Potter provided an entirely new reading experience for me.

I know I re-read many books as a kid, but the Harry Potter series was the first time I really discussed a book in depth with others. Doing so forced me to notice things about the story I wouldn't have otherwise, and I think it helped deepen my love for the books.

Hardcover or paperback.

Always paperback. Not only are they easier to read, paperback are almost always cheaper, so they're going to win out every time for me. Not only are hardcovers harder to hold as you read, I often feel like I'm too protective of my hardcovers. Maybe it has something to do with the higher price or just a general feeling that hardcovers are more "valuable"?

For whatever reason, hardcover books feel like something I need to protect. I'm horrified of breaking the spine, and I live in constant fear of damaging them. With paperbacks, however, I love when they come to have a well-read feel to them. It feels special and like a mark of pride for the book.

Not even I fully understand why I have two opposite opinions on the condition of the book based on its format, but I do.

How has reading shaped your identity?

Since I was a kid, I've thought of myself as a book worm. That might have been one of the first labels I even gave myself, and for quite a while, I think it was my defining characteristic in my own mind.

Of course, there's more to my identity than being a reader, but there's no denying that being a reader is a huge part of who I am. Without it, I think I would be an entirely different person.

What book do you read when you need to be comforted?

Nine times out of ten it will be Harry Potter, although I used Harry Potter as a security blanket more frequently when I was younger. Actually, I used to pull out a Harry Potter book during thunderstorms. My grandmother who lived with us used to pull out her rosary to pray during storms, and whether it was growing up with that or genetics, I was incredibly anxious during storms as a kid. At some point, I started playing a game with my sister during storms where we'd open up a Harry Potter book to a random page, read a quote, and the other had to guess who'd said it.

As my sister had never read the books, I did tend to guess correctly more often than she did, but I remember her getting quite competitive about it. I feel like we did that for quite a long time in order to take our minds off storms.

Who taught you to be a reader? (Or did you do it all on your own?)

I didn't do it all on my own, though I can't point out one specific person either. My family read to me before I could read on my own, so they have to be given credit. I also think I had some great teachers in elementary school who encouraged reading and gave us opportunities to read books in class either that we'd chosen on our own or that they'd picked out for us. I found many of the best books I read as a kid because of my teachers, particularly my fourth, sixth, and eighth grade teachers. (Though there were some not so great choices in there too. Let's not talk about the books we had to read in fifth grade. I don't think I enjoyed any of them.)

Describe your dream reading lounge.

There would be books everywhere. Obviously. Ideally, they would be organized in some sort of system that I knew well so that I could easily find what I was looking for, which would be particularly necessary because of how many books there would be (we are talking dreams after all).

Most of the space would be taken up with books with only a small area with a cozy place to sit and read.

One very important aspect: I would want there to be really great lighting. I know warm lighting can seem cozy to a lot of people, but I really don't enjoy it, especially when it takes on a red tinge. (Is anyone cringing? I feel like that's not a popular answer.) I don't want to feel like I'm straining my eyes when I'm trying to read for long stretches of time.

What book changed the way you act or see the world?

I really liked the first part of Mallory's answer to this question in her video. She mentioned that it was hard to pick out specific ways reading had shaped her but that she was sure that most things she'd read had in some way. I feel the same way.

Each book I read shifts my perception of the world ever so slightly. I don't mean that in an "I'm easily swayed by new opinions. I'll believe everything" sort of way. I just mean that each book provides me with a new way of looking at the world, and even if I disagree with everything the book says, it will still have an impact on how I think about the world and therefore have an effect on my identity.

I'm sure some books have had a bigger influence than others. I think it's easier to pick out ways that some nonfiction books have shaped me than many fiction books, but I think that's a matter of perception than it is them actually having a larger influence. (With many nonfiction books, I think what they're trying to say about the world is often up to less interpretation than in fiction, so it's there on the surface, easily seen.)

That's all of the questions. I'm not going to tag anyone specific, but if you'd like to do this tag, then feel free. If you do, please let me know in the comments. I'd love to check out your answers.