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# Torchwood — Since I'm completely crap at predicting plot twists in advance, I should probably stop speculating, but looking at Jack's arc, I can't help wondering what the endgame is. spoilers for ep.7 )


Is it Saturday already?


# Finally saw the last HP movie with my sister, and while unlike THBP it wasn't completely terrible, even somewhat touching occasionally, I can't say I was very impressed either. It's hard to tell after eight months, but I think I liked the first part better. Or maybe I was just in a better mood at the time? I'm aware that a film necessarily follows different laws than a book, but what I simply don't understand is how someone can read DH and apparently come to the conclusion that Dumbledore's story is some kind of filler or afterthought that might just as well be left out. Then again, they already managed to to miss the point by a mile with THBP, where the title of the book might at least have given them a clue, so that's nothing new....

Is this sheer stupidity though, or are TPTB just incredibly cynical regarding the intelligence of the average movie goer?

Or is this me being weird? But especially since TGoF I remember coming out of every movie thinking how much smaller, how much less they were than the books in the ways that really counted. A central part of Harry's growing-up process in DH is that he goes through this crisis of trust regarding Dumbledore, but in the end can understand that Dumbledore was only a man, brilliant in some ways and flawed in others; that often the world isn't as black and white as the eleven year old boy who first came to Hogwarts believed. And it's an important part of the King's Cross chapter that Dumbledore isn't just the wise, mysterious (if somewhat eccentric) mentor figure any longer, but also a man who asks Harry's forgiveness, and who has deep and lasting regrets about the mistakes the arrogant, brilliant boy he was had made, tempted by power and grand dreams.

I didn't hate the part with Snape's memories, although Alan Rickman never was the Snape I saw after reading the books and the discrepancy never jared quite as badly as in this movie, but there were still so many important details missing, like the fact that Dumbledore's reason for making Snape promise to kill him wasn't his concern about Voldemort's trust in Snape, but that he didn't want a frightened teenage boy to become a murderer on his behalf. It's an important part of his characterisation that despite his determination to win the war and all the sacrifices he was prepared to make he did care about things like that, and to change that is, IMO, a problematic decision. I really do love the whole conversation between Dumbledore and Snape in the book because it offers a glimpse at them not filtered through Harry's eyes and shows the level of trust and respect that had developed between them over the years despite everything, and the movie didn't really manage to convey that either.

Or why exactly Lilly in the end broke off her friendship with Severus. These things matter more than extra minutes of CGI battle and the endlessly drawn-out killing of Nagini, which barely takes up two paragraphs in the book...

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Went to see the HP movie with my sister after an advent market visit and a Glühmost, and I don't think it's only due to the pleasant buzz of the first alcoholic drink I've had in something like half a year that I have to take back a lot of my preemptive bitching.

I absolutely loved the beginning. They really caught the mood of the book, the darkness and seriousness of the threat, which I was so afraid the wouldn't. Loved the growing-up theme, Hermione oblivating her parents, Harry in the Dursleys' empty house; the chase, the twins, Ron and Harry in the field at night, the wedding. The scene in Malfoy manor was also brilliant. Admittedly this is at least partly projecting the knowledge of the books on the film, but looking at Snape in that scene it becomes really obvious what and how much Dumbledore asked of him.

The rest was still more than adequate, even if it also—necessarily, I guess—felt a bit flatter than the book and tended to drag a bit, because as far as I'm concerned Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe can't really carry the story on their own for such long spans of time. Maybe it's partly because neither of them matched the picture/idea of the characters I had in my mind after reading the books, but I could never get over the feeling that both Harry and Hermione were completely miscast. Acting-wise, Rupert Grint is the only one from the trio I can imagine seeing (or wanting to see) in another movie. This said, I really liked the dance scene. It was lovely, and conveyed perfectly that Harry and Hermione really have a sort of sibling relationship, without Harry having to spell it out later on.

And the animation for the Tale of the Three Brothers was just gorgeous. I'm not sure it actually fit into the movie, but still gorgeous.

The main flaw of the last movie is already noticeable in this one though, even if (so far) it is still less prominent. Maybe they decided to tell all of Dumbledore's story in the second part, but if there's one thing I wasn't happy with, it's that the movie once again focused only on the relationship triangle of the trio and almost completely erased Dumbledore's story beyond supplying the absolutely necessary factual information. Which is more than they did in THBP, where 'supplying the necessary information' was reduced to Snape's out-of-nowhere declaration at the end of the movie, but still. DH is not just Harry's story, it's also very much Dumbledore's. It's about Harry questioning Dumbledore, his own relationship with him, his affection and trust, his feeling of betrayal, and the fact that in the end he can accept and forgive and understand. There's a reason for the King's Cross chapter. Snape may have the most interesting arc over the course of the books, but DH turned Dumbledore into perhaps the most complex character overall. I started to reread the the first volume and there's this bit, right at the beginning, when McGonagall asks Dumbledore if he can't do something about Harry's scar, and Dumbledore tells her, no, and even if he could, he wouldn't, because 'scars can come in useful'. It's not the kind of thing one notices at the beginning of the series, but looking back after DH, I thought, holy shit. This man is looking at year-old baby that just lost his parents and is already planning the next battle in the war because he knows it'll come and that he'll have to fight it.

I think what people tend to forget when they complain that Harry is 'chosen' and gets too much special treatment is that he's 'chosen' in a way that shocks even Snape when he learns all the facts.

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Still alive and rather better, as in, I can actually move and use my right arm again unless I'm trying to lift it above shoulder level. Tired and lethargic though, my stomach isn't happy with the medication, and M. sends me home a lot to rest the arm while I still can, which makes me feel guilty and useless.

I'm also going to see a physiotherapist friend of Ch.'s at a disgustingly early hour in the morning on Friday before work. *sigh* This whole thing really couldn't have happened at a less opportune time. I'm starting to rethink using the bike when it gets dark this early.

~ ~ ~


Decided I'm going to watch the HP movie with my sister after all. Everyone seems to rather like it, and it's only the first part, so. I'm still extremely sceptic though, after they failed so badly with the last one, essentially completely gutting the story. I'm not the woobifying apologist kind of Snape fan, but I think his arc is fascinating, and erasing all of his childhood also erased, at least in the movie-verse, the parallels between his and Harry's (as well as Tom Riddle's) stories. Having Snape dramatically declare out of absolutely nowhere that he is the half-blood prince at the end of the film was extremely pointless bordering on the ridiculous.

I guess I am, at least as far as fandom is concerned, the odd person who absolutely and without reservations loved DH. I loved the complicated moral ambiguity of Dumbledore's and Snape's arcs, the conclusion of Harry's story, the King's Cross chapter is maybe my favourite thing in the whole series, and I simply don't trust the people who—intentionally or not—sacrificed everything that was fascinating and complex about THBP in favour of teenage romance and yet more teenage romance to handle this well. I don't really trust the actors, either.

It's strange, I haven't really thought about the HP books for a while, but now I'm almost tempted to reread them (*), especially after spending so much time writing about death in DW and TW. I still vividly remember watching The Lazarus Experiment and being rather bored with it, because the accept-your-mortality-or-else! message seemed a little repetitive after I'd just finished DH. I wasn't watching DW very attentively at the time, and didn't really notice just how pervasive the theme was and certainly couldn't know how much more pervasive it would become in the later seasons, but looking back I still kind of wonder about that. There were these two temporarily overlapping pop culture phenomena, and in different ways they're both very concerned with death and the acceptance of mortality. It's more relentless in DW, because the world of HP includes at least a vague idea of an afterlife and love is a force that can not only redeem someone, but also effectively defeat death, whereas DW is much less idealistic, and love, while it still functions as an important counter-weight to the death-theme, is also much more complicated and nowhere near the kind of central driving-force it is in HP. Essentially, in HP love wins, in DW death does.

Is this death/mortality motive actually an incredibly common trope that somehow I managed to miss because I read/watch the wrong books/shows? Coincidence? Influence? Or am I simply too obsessed with death and it isn't actually as strong a theme as I think it is?



(*) Actually I am rereading the first volume right now—in Russian, which I realise is a bit beside the point since there certainly isn't any lack of Russian authors, but it caught my eye a (longish, way before I was ready) while ago in a bookstore and I bought it on a whim, because at the time it seemed a good way to start since it's easy reading and I already know the story...

solitary_summer: (Default)
Talking with B. was nice, but the HP movie was incredibly dreary. Half-way through I caught myself thinking that maybe CoE had spoiled me for anything less dramatic, but B. completely agreed, so it clearly wasn't that. I don't know how it's even possible to so utterly suck the life and meaning out of a book. The first two thirds or maybe three fourths were almost exclusively about teenage romance (and please tell me that Ginny didn't tie Harry's shoelaces in the book, wtf, is this shit supposed to be romantic?) to the point that I almost asked B. whether the whole horcrux thing had already been in the last film. Almost nothing about the consequences of Harry using the book. No pacing whatsoever, no dramatic build-up, just one random scene after the other. I don't remember THBP too well, but some parts definitely left an impression, and I certainly didn't expect to laugh when the Inferi showed up. And I guess we weren't the only ones looking at each other and making Gollum jokes at this point? And could you make Dumbledore's death any less dramatic and meaningful?

That the kids aren't the best actors is nothing new (although I seem to remember I've seen them all act better, too), but whatever did the director do to get such complete non-performances out of actors like Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter? Both look like they were mostly closing their eyes and thinking of the pay-check. Then again what do you do with lines like 'I am the half-blood prince, ta-daaa' when they come out of nothing like that?

The best part of the movie is mind-numbingly boring, and the rest is completely ridiculous. (Except for Luna. Luna is still awesome.) I've really no idea what went wrong there, because I found the OotP movie fairly decent, maybe my favourite after Cuarón's PoA.

Am I the only one who imagined Slughorn completely different?

Also, broomstick placement. *sigh* Once you see it, you can never unsee it again.

In conclusion, avoid.

solitary_summer: (Default)





I really don't like Sundays. )


Also, on a less whiny note,

a few more thoughts about the Dumbledore outing. )


And I really must grab DH back from my mother and re-read it now. :)


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For real?

I kind of really, really doubt the 'would have told you years ago' part, because even (especially!) after the books had become so hugely popular, her publishers (particularly the American ones) would probably have begged, pleaded, bribed and just about done anything to keep her not only from putting this into the books more explicitly, but also from revealing it in interviews, and following fandom as closely as she obviously did, she must have known that there would have been a largely favourable reaction to a gay character from everyone except the more conservative subset of readers, or maybe more precisely, their parents, but with two movies to come, it's still rather awesome...
solitary_summer: (Default)
::closes book::

::breathes again::


Brief DH first reaction comment; no specific spoilers )





ETA: Major spoiler in comments!
solitary_summer: (Default)

Hm. I think for once I actually do have a goal for next year... For this to be, if at all possible, the last Christmas season in retail. Seriously. I know no job is perfect, but I think I need a change in annoyances. I want to be able to have leisure before Christmas again, go to advent markets, take my time in choosing presents for people, want to be enthusiastic about baking Weihnachtskekse again... instead of telling god knows how many people that, no, we don't have this book any longer, and no, I don't know if, or when, I'm going to have it in stock again, until I want to scream and bang my head against the next wall. If I never hear the word Sudoku again... ::sigh:: Not going to happen.

I really hope that 1) I'll be able to maintain the determination, and, more importantly, 2) will actually find something at least reasonably interesting and aggravating in all new and exciting ways . Anyway, the search starts after I'll have revived from Christmas.

Harry Potter: GoF )

[BTW, there's a rather funny parody of the movie here, if you haven't seen it already.]


The not-really-a-rant about Buffy will have to wait, it got too long and rambly already to finish tonight... Which really begs the question why it always has to take me forever to sort out my thoughts and put them into words...


Random, unrelated thought of the day... It's curious. Between zoos and television you think you're a little jaded, you've seen it... well, not all, but a lot of things. Even strange things, or in this case, strange animals, are not all that strange.

But sometimes you still get something of that profound sense of alienation that early explorers must have felt when they first set foot on a strange land and saw things that not only they hadn't seen before, but never even heard of before. And you understand how the legends came about, the to our eyes odd-looking drawings, the descriptions that struggle to find an object of comparison to describe something they had no real frame of reference for. I channel surfed into a program about fruit bats this evening and to see a whole (flock? swarm? what's the correct term?), thousands of the of them, flying in the bright day, the light shimmering through their semi-transparent wings... it was a weird sight, because my brain wanted to see birds in this sky dark with flying... animals, then kept bringing up images of those flying dinosaurs, and refused to connect this with our nocturnal bats...

Or maybe I'm really, really weird.
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God, I'm tired. Sick & so very tired of working six days/week, the heat is killing me, I can't find the energy to do anything when I'm not at work, the apartment's a mess, I need a haircut, even though strangely enough people say I should grow them out again. And just when I thought I at least wouldn't have to drive out to the horse this week, Ch. calls me and she's been kicked by one of the horses on the paddock and could I...? ::sigh:: Barely managed a morning run today. Left work at 4, had pizza. Made cold coffee.


More thoughts about HBP...

Snape, mostly. Spoilers. Duh )

solitary_summer: (Default)

Hu. Fandom wanks wars already. Kind of fun, kind of annoying, really.

Will people ever stop whining? I'm not so much bothered by the emotional investment in a fictional universe and fictional characters (I've always hated the 'get a live' & 'it's only fiction' arguments), but by the utter inability and unwillingness to see something for what it is, to even try to understand an author's, or character's motivation, to try and look at something from a point of view other than one's own, or, god forbid, to question one's own perception. To make a difference between 'I don't like this', and 'OMG this sucks JKR is an evil bitch!'. This is an attitude I really hate when I encounter it in 'real life', so I can't help being a little irritated, even if it's 'only' fandom. So a certain character isn't what you expected (s)he'd be. Deal. Walk away. Write fanfiction about your version, whatever. But for god's sake, quit complaining that this isn't how the character, the relationship, the situation were 'supposed' to be, if only the author wasn't too stupid to see your vision.

IMO part of the problem with the HP fandom is adults over-analysing a (series of) book(s) never meant to be analysed on so many levels, in such detail. And really, since when is a novel supposed to be an ethical treatise, and in what world do these people live where everything is just and balanced, people are always nice, kind, unprejudiced and generally reasonable, no one ever acts stupid, everyone gets an even chance, evil is immediately punished, & so on, & so forth, to demand that this should happen in fiction? So the Potter-verse isn't perfect, but life itself has rarely known to be fair - if it were, a lot of religions would suddenly be going out of business.



Eh. End of rant. Going to bed now.


[ETA: I think I'm physically, or rather mentally, incapable of ranting. Fifteen minutes later, and I'm already faintly embarrassed for posting this at all, beat myself up for over-simplifying matters, for making summary judgements, for not looking at the issue from about ten different sides... ::emphatic headdesk::]
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Hm. *yawn* This getting up at six for morning runs messes up my inner clock, sleeping patterns & time schedule. Tired, tired, tired, always too early.

Mon: Ran (58 mins, no break), work, nothing much of interest happened.

Tue: Ran (40 mins, 20 mins; ducks still asleep on the stone rim of the fountain); work; met U. and her boyfriend in what turned out to be a SM cafè. Not that I minded, the cafè part was perfectly normal anyway, but I still kinda wonder wonder why they invited me there (unless it was to see if I'd be shocked), because I don't really want to think too hard about their sex life, much less be part of it. Or perhaps I'm being paranoid. Then I was given a tour and we (accidentally - I hope) walked in on someone's bondage session. Um. Which was somewhat embarrassing, (alright, I admit it) a bit of a turn on, but mostly really surreal, this being U., who I mostly know from work and sure as hell never pictured in the same room with a naked, moaning woman being tied up by someone looking vaguely like Hermann Nitsch. Ah well.

[Feel free to laugh.]

Wed: Hot. Visited the horse at the clinic. Got a haircut. Saw Prisoner of Azkaban with my sister and her somewhat less enthusiastic boyfriend.

Loved it. )

Thunderstorms, downpour, hail.

Thu: Dragged myself out of bed early, despite really not wanting to, ran (66 mins, no break; beautiful: after all the rain & sun, lush flowers, roses, waterlilies in the fountains...), visited the horse, listlessly watched M.'s PotC DVD, and sadly this is another of those movies you should avoid re-watching. Partly cleaned the flat.


Ate a lot of strawberries.

Re-reading the Iliad and still want to say something about Troy, if I ever can find the time & energy. Vaguely want to see it again, perhaps in English, although if I'm almost certain I'd regret it and whatever enjoyment I had would be spoiled.
solitary_summer: (abarat. tower)

Might as well post it... :: shrugs :: I’m not in the mood today for any deeper & more personal reflections anyway.

[Where this came from… when I’m bored occasionally I lurk on fandom_wank, because it tends to be faintly amusing and just like those talks shows allows you the (most likely misguided) self-indulgent belief that your life is normal and sane by comparison.

No way I’m getting actively involved in this debate, but you can only read so much fangirlish whining about how JKR doesn’t properly appreciate the characters she herself created...]

Harry Potter, racism, fascism and morality in art )

To conclude, even though I realise that art is always a highly emotional subject, I wish people would grow up and get over the notion that an artist owes them anything beyond whatever product they chose to pay for.
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... because this is all I'm fit for when I come home from work these days... I can only hope my brain will make a re-appearance once Christmas is over...


Some thoughts upon re-reading HP:OotP… long and rambling. )

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Can I get any more lethargic? Words don't make sentences, much less sense. :: sigh :: What will go next, what will I allow to slip away?

A few day ago I started to do [livejournal.com profile] czaria's meme for lack of anything more interesting, but didn't get further than the second question: 9 things you look forward to ...and I couldn't think of any. at. all, except for the most prosaic, like having a whole weekend off. Now this can't be normal or healthy by any standards and put what apparently were my delusions about getting a grip on my life in perspective again.

I mean, what kind of life is this?

.:@:.:@:.:@:.


''Draco made his voice self-consciously off-hand. ''Well, now we've sorted out the minor domestic problem of Mrs P. trying to poison Neville because she was convinced he was having an affair with the vicar, then yes, everything's fine. But I must say, Hermione, next time you do a thaumaturlurgical audit of any premises of mine, it'd cause a lot fewer problems all round if you were thorough enough to actually mention little details like *necromantic rites, desecrated graveyards and stolen skeletal remains* in your final report.'' '' )

.:@:.:@:.:@:.


quiz thingy... )
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finishing reading TOotP, totally fucked up my schedule in the process, but well. i wanted to pass it on to my sister before leaving for vacation, too...

some first thoughts... in a rush, because i've still an apartment to clean, a bag to finish packing and a flight to catch at 7 am tomorrow...

HP5 spoilers )

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