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. Continue reading “Potterhead July: Tales of Beedle the Bard and the Power of Stories”

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. Continue reading “Discussion: Why Shipping Is Important To Me”

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. Continue reading “Discussion: When Your Favourite Book Is Problematic”

Discussion: The Integrity of Book Blogging

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Honesty in my reviews and interaction is something I have always strived for as a book blogger. As a community, book bloggers seem to value sincerity above all. With so many factors potentially influencing our opinion of a book, I personally find it easy to lose sight of my own opinion on a book. I’ll be working through my thought processes in this post, and I hope you can help me! Continue reading “Discussion: The Integrity of Book Blogging”

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! Continue reading “Discussion Post: Who Am I Blogging For?”

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?  Continue reading “Discussion: Authorial Intent VS Reader’s Interpretation”

Discussion: How Blogging Changed My Reading Habits

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Book blogging may seem like a harmless little hobby, but all who enters be warned, you will emerge sparkly and different.

Here are some perplexing, at times good, at times terrible changes to my reading schedule, all thanks to blogging.

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1) I’M MORE CRITICAL OF BOOKS

In the blissful days before blogging, if I didn’t like a book, I would breezily move on and promptly forget about all the flaws of my previous reads. Now, I sit there staring at a blank document for an hour, stewing over all of the things that turned me off: character development inconsistences, gaping plot holes, uneven pacing — the whole she-bang.

Whereas I could happily break up with a book silently in the past, I now announce it to the world, and have to examine every aspect of the unhappy relationship in microscopic details. It also means I am more alert shortcomings in books. Gone are the days where I could mindlessly read a novel. Sometimes, I mourn for my lost innocence *dabs eyes* Continue reading “Discussion: How Blogging Changed My Reading Habits”

Discussion: The Key To Beating Writer’s Block – The Book Reviewer’s Edition

Discussion-ReviewBlockBefore I started writing book reviews, a quick browse on Goodreads assured past-me that it would be easy *laughs hysterically* What could be so hard about writing out your own feelings and opinion, after all?

Then I started blogging and was introduced to a new world of pain.  While there were a couple of reviews that came to me very easily; for every one of those, there’s three that took me half of forever to type up. While I’m relatively new, so I only have about 40 reviews under my belt, here are some reasons why I find certain books more difficult to write about!  (Also some suggestions on how to get over the writer’s block, for those who suffer the same predicament)

Continue reading “Discussion: The Key To Beating Writer’s Block – The Book Reviewer’s Edition”

Discussion: When Book Premise Lies, On Unfulfilled Worldbuilding Potentials

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Have you ever had that feeling of pure excitement when you read a book’s summary, only to have your expectations utterly crushed when you discover none of what was promised was delivered in the book?  It makes me want to screech “LIAR” at the book blurb.  More often than not, it happens when I’m reading fantasy/scifi, as I feel they usually fail to deliver fully-realised worldbuilding – often opting to focus on more conventionally marketable plot points.

Warning, unpopular opinion on very well loved series below.  Don’t hate me too much XD Continue reading “Discussion: When Book Premise Lies, On Unfulfilled Worldbuilding Potentials”

Wrap Up Post: August 2015

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August has been an amazing month for me blogging wise. Most of all because I got to join blogging powerhouses Faye, Aimee, and Rashika at The Social Potato!  I am having such a blast, thank you for letting me join in on the Potato Family :D!  You all should follow us there, especially as there’s currently a 2016 releases giveaway at the site!

I will still be at Read at Midnight most days of the week, thank you so much to every single one of you for viewing and commenting on my posts!  You are amazing *showers you in love and puppies*

Continue reading “Wrap Up Post: August 2015”