Webcrawl Wednesday, Travel Nostalgia edition

So the WB Studio tour post is coming along, surely but slooowly. And that mainly because I keep getting distracted by the awesomeness that is fandom. And also my Europe trip. /sighs/ Europe, tu me manques! In the meantime, have some links!

Via Brainpicker, here’s the amazing John Cleese on the 5 factors that make your life more creative.

So much good stuff in the Huffington Post’s round-up of 25 articles that should be required reading for women.

For all our ongoing talk about rape, rape culture and how we need to prevent both, here’s a big thing that isn’t talked about near enough: The Awful Lie That’s Been Told About Men Since Pretty Much The Dawn Of Time, via Upworthy.

In light of the ever-more-precarious state of bookstores today, especially smaller, more independent businesses, I thought I’d highlight this NYT article on how libraries are adapting to the new literary landscape.

Via my buddy R, a nice article from the Hindu about the idiocy of global university rankings: Comparing Harvard Apples With JNU oranges.

I need to get something off my chest: WIZARDS WEAR ROBES! IT SAYS SO IN THE BOOKS! That said, I love love love this amazing graphic showing Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Draco in the clothes of their future professions.

… and that’s all, folks! Happy Wednesday!

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Webcrawl Wednesdays: Blessed brown envelope edition

So the brown envelope containing the documentation for my upcoming trip to France finally arrived today! I’m super excited… but not so much that I forgot that today is Wednesday! So, without further ado, I present Webcrawl Wednesdays!

 

In honour of my trip to France, via @brainpicker, here is an excellent map of European stereotypes.

This, right here, is the coolest thing ever, and this man is my hero: The Analogue Blogger of Liberia.

This deserves a post all on its own, but until I have the time and the spoons for said post, here is an excellent piece on how the humanities are considered lesser even, and maybe especially, in the geek community: Geekery and the Humanities

In related news, The Guardian has a depressing, and sadly unsurprising, article on how Hermione Granger’s character in the Harry Potter movies became more “beautiful” and less bad-ass as the series progressed. (H/T Anuja!)

Finally, from the department of fluff: I’m in the mood for something French, and there’s nothing more francais than fashion: 20 Examples of Great Fashion Illustration, via Gala Darling

Project Potter Part One: The Magic Begins

OK, so since Marcus (my laptop) ate the first draft of the review I had for y’all, here’s take two.

Here’s my intro post for this series: I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good.

Okay. It’s been a while since I read the series, although with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone the time frame’s much shorter because I did my thesis on it. Which was fun, in its way, but as Lit students know, the quickest way to ruin the joy of something is to have to study it. So in a way this is really the first time in years that I’m rereading the books.

It feels a little silly to put a spoiler warning on a book that’s been out thirteen years, but just in case any of the people reading this post have been living under a rock the past decade and a half- there will be SPOILERS for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in this review. Please proceed with caution.

Continue reading

I solemnly swear I am up to no good…

 

(Please note that this post contains SPOILERS for the first Deathly Hallows film. Proceed with caution!)

So J.K. Rowling’s recent announcement sent me off on a little trip down memory lane, about what HP fandom has meant to me… and a little project I’ve got planned for this summer.

Thirteen years ago, the British Council was a very different place. The childrens’ book section was a cozy little nook tucked away in one corner, with kid-size furniture and brightly coloured walls. It was one of my favourite places, and every week or so I begged my mother to take me there so I could pick up another of my beloved Enid Blytons or Roald Dahls.

On one of those trips I stumbled on an unassuming little book tucked away in a bottom shelf; it was a book by an author I’d never read before, with an old-fashioned steam train on the front and a man in a funny-looking suit on the back. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the cover said. Time was running out and someone had already checked out the copy of Roald Dahl’s Matilda I wanted, so I decided to give this book a try. What could it hurt?

To this day, I’m grateful to whoever it was that took out that last copy of Matilda. Because once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I read the book, then I read it again. And again. And again, unto the point where my mother bought me my own copy just so I wouldn’t keep checking it out of the library. A copy that is currently being held together by cello tape and prayers on account of how many times I read it. As they say in Tamil, padichu padichu kizhichen, literally.

And so began an obsession that spanned the better part of my adolescence. I bought every single book on the first day and devoured it post-haste. I spent hours debating the smallest minutiae with my equally Potter-obsessed friends. I read (and wrote) reams of fan fiction, both good and bad. I watched the movies and spent hours dissecting them (or trashing them, depending.) I scoured the internet for news, spoilers, anything to do with my beloved Harry.

At least, that’s how it was until book five. And then with book six, I don’t know. The magic just… disappeared. I read it, but only once, and it’s stayed on my bookshelf ever since. Ditto the seventh, which I only bought out of some kind of fannish devotion; I haven’t actually read it more than once. A far cry from my more involved days in fandom; my first three HP books have been cellotaped to within an inch of their lives, and the fourth had to be rebound because I cracked the binding from having read it so much. Five is in okay shape; six and seven look like I bought them yesterday.

And so life went on; I found other fandoms, other things to fangirl over. DC Comics, Superman, Batman, Numb3rs, White Collar. I made friends, read fanfic, obsessed over the canon. And I figured my love for Harry Potter was like a first crush; all-consuming passion that fades away into sweet memories over time.

But then a funny thing happened. I got talked into a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. And I went. And everything came flooding back. Why I loved this world, these characters. I gasped when the Death Eaters attacked Bill and Fleur’s wedding, bit my lip when the Trio snuck into the Ministry, cried when Dobby died. And just like that, it was like I was nine and discovering a whole new world.

Of course, grad school meant I only had time for the odd bit of HP fanfiction; for another, doing your Master’s thesis on Harry Potter means the last thing you want to see after the damned thing is done is your source material.

But now that I’ve had sufficient time to recover, I’m taking on a project I meant to start months ago: rereading the Harry Potter series. I’m excited; it’s going to be fun reading some of my favourite books with a more adult perspective; not to mention that it should get me good and excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which releases next month.

I’m going to be reviewing each book as I go. Hopefully going back to the source material will remind me of just why I love these books so much, and help me enjoy fandom as much as I once did.