Potterhead July: Tales of Beedle the Bard and the Power of Stories

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First of all, I would like to thank you to every single person who has contributed a post or commented on a Potterhead July post – you’ve made July truly magical. We have less than a week left until the release of The Cursed Child, and I hope we will all love it as much as we loved the adventures of Harry Potter.

Here’s my own entry for the Potterhead July festival, admittedly several weeks late because I am horribly disorganized and got consumed by Pokemon GO. I also wanted to chance to finish rereading The Tales of Beedle the Bard before I completed this post because I wanted it to be a truly informed and comprehensive discussion on the function of fictional works – both within our real lives and within the world of Harry Potter.

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I remember my initial excitement over The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and how it made me felt closer to Harry Potter’s fantastical world. It felt right that young witches and wizards would also fall asleep to bedtime stories, and that these repeated stories should be more powerful than they seem. After all, isn’t this exactly what happens in real life? I have always loved books about stories, especially the ones that hid truths in plain sight or became more powerful with each telling. The Tale of the Three Brothers will eventually go on to become a fine example of this fact.

The wizarding’s world lack of fictional books prior to the reveal of Beedle the Bard have always struck me as odd. Here was a group of people living amongst the magic we Muggles could only dream of, yet they seemed utterly devoid of fictional imagination. Where was their equivalent for Tolkien, or Jane Austen, or J. K. Rowling? Entire generations of children grew up to be obsessed over Quidditch and love potion, where people poured over gossips penned by Rita Skeeter, yet where were the people in love with fictional universes? Hermione Granger, our resident bookworm, mentions only non-fictional biography or textbooks. Even Gilderoy Lockhart’s wildly fictitious accounts were based on the real life and works of other witches and wizards.

Naturally, the lack of fictional works in the world of Harry Potter had a very obvious explanation: it’s a gap in JKR’s immense world-building. To an avid fantasy reader like myself (and like most readers of Harry Potter), it’s an absence that made the wizarding world less believable – simply because I think a civilisation cannot exist in the absence of stories. Do wizarding folks simply not need fantasy because their life is literally magic? Do they not need grand legend and tales because, for them, Merlin and the philosopher’s stone are real? Somehow, I doubted this. When Tales of Beedle the Bard arrived, it saved me from a wizarding world identity crisis. It’s OK, everyone, they also grew up with stories, they also know of their power.Read More »

Discussion: Why Shipping Is Important To Me

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Divider-ArrowsI have always been a shipper, and will always proudly admit to that. My first reading experience was manga such as Detective Conan – where I began rooting for Shinichi and Ran to get together, even at the tender age of 6. Similarly, I became overly invested in the mysterious and thrilling romance between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. It seems that whenever I care about a work of fiction, my emotional investment lead me to root for these characters and their relationships.Read More »

Discussion: 7 Things Bloggers Should Almost Never Apologize For!

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In my experience, being apologetic over the way you blog is the first step on a fast track towards misery. Ever since I reached my 6 months milestone in blogging, I have been taking a step back and putting things into more perspective. Personally, I want blogging to remain first and foremost a hobby. In the previous months, blogging was increasingly taking a toll on other parts of my life, I have yet to learn time management. I found that the surest way to stop stressing over my hobby was to quit apologizing for imaginary flaws. This is more a post to myself, but I hope that others will find it relatable.Read More »

Discussion: When Your Favourite Book Is Problematic

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If you’ve spent any amount of time reading about reading books on the Internet (as you do!), you’ll know exactly the feeling I’m talking about. That moment when blissful fangirl happiness curdles when someone, somewhere, points out that the book isn’t nearly as perfect as you believe. Even worse, it has problematic elements – whether it be social or cultural. How do you deal with this? Take a deep breath my friend, it’s OK – you’ll get through this, and you’ll still be able to love your book at the end of it.Read More »

There And Back Again: Hobbiton Tour, New Zealand

I haven’t updated the blog in over a week, but I promise I have a good reason for it! I spent the last week in New Zealand visiting friends and family.

While I was there, I finally got to visit the Hobbiton set in Matamata. My partner and I are huge fans of the Lord of the Rings movie (we have rewatched the trilogy every year since we started dating), so it was a delight to visit The Shire. Our tour guide told us that March is one of the best time to visit – as the various flowers and foliage are in still vibrant, yet you miss the summer holiday crowd.

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We booked our tour the day before via the official website. The cost of these tours are $79NZD per adult (as of March 2016). As far as we could tell, the only way to gain access to the site is via these official tours, as you cannot drive directly there.

We chose to drive into Matamata (around 2.5 hours from Auckland) and were collected by bus from the Matamata iSite (tourist information centre). The building itself was modeled to resemble The Green Dragon Inn in Hobbiton!Read More »

Japan Blog Series: 5 Books You Should Read Before Going To Japan

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I am finally back from holiday and fighting the post-holiday blues. I will be slowly catching up on comments – although I caught the Tsum Tsum fever while I was away, so it may take longer than usual 😄 PS Does anyone play it? Add me on LINE, the username is aentee!

Meanwhile, I’d like to give you guys some recommendations of books you should read before or after you go to Japan – just to give you a slice of what the country has to offer! I am still reading some of these books myself, as a way for me to wean off my vacation. Thank goodness for books and their ability to transport you!Read More »

Discussion Post: Who Am I Blogging For?

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In some ways, thus post is a continuation of the one I wrote last week regarding blog posts I enjoyed as a non-blogger. Writing it made me re-evaluate why I started and continue to blog. According to WordPress, this will be my 100th post on the blog, so I wanted to recap and review my own journey as a blogger. As with all my discussion posts, I don’t have a concrete answer – but would love to hear your side of things, too!

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It goes without saying that I blog for myself first and foremost. I initially started this blog as more of a book journal, one that I never expected or wanted anyone to read. It meant that most of what I wrote was book reviews, they were a way for me to keep track of the books I read. It also helped motivated me to read more books – I went from someone who read maybe 2 books a month to a crazed devourer of 4 books a week!Read More »

Discussion: Posts I Loved Reading As A Non Blogger

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Although I began blogging four months ago, it feels a lot longer, and the direction of my blog has changed a little. There are a lot of dialogue floating around about ‘blogging niche’ and ‘finding your target audience’. I’ve always written about things that directly interested me, which I find is increasingly more blogging-related rather than bookish-related. I started wondering if my past self, the non blogger – would even bother reading my blog if she stumbled upon it?

As bloggers, it’s very easy to get caught up in our little circle and forget about other potential audience. Today, I take a step back, for the sake of my past self!Read More »

Discussion: Authorial Intent VS Reader’s Interpretation

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You guessed right, this post is partially inspired by the immature Teen ‘article’ condemning Teen Wolf fanfiction that made its way across twitter yesterday. It’s also an issue that’s crossed my mind in a few times during my recent reads, especially ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell.

This is a question that we as fans debate again and again, whether it’s about a new or ongoing series, whether it’s books or other forms of media. Once an author has placed their book out there into the world, they cannot control how readers react, nor can they stop their fandom from coming up with head canons, from dreaming up subtexts and themes.

As a reader, I used to feel bad about ‘going against’ the author’s wishes. While I accepted that other fans may have different opinions and will always respect them for it, I viewed the canon as ‘law’. My thoughts on the matter has changed a bit lately.Divider-Ice

Characters & Their Development

This is more obvious with series, where characters grow and change with each book (as they should!) When I was younger, I often rolled with it when characters changed – even if it was not in a direction I particularly liked. For example, Harry of Book Five bugged a lot of people, myself included – but I recognised why JKR took him in that direction.

However, there are two recent examples of character development that have bafffled me. Firstly, Chaol of Throne of Glass – and secondly, Theron of Snow Like Ashes. I won’t elaborate on how they have changed, to spare you all spoilers – but I know I’m amongst the majority when I say that they feel like completely different people. Is it still good development when I can’t see HOW they became who they are? Yet, who would understand a character better than their own creator – who spend years in their head space? As fans, are we right to feel disappointed when the characters we love end up unrecognisable? Read More »