Character Study: Game of Thrones

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Game of Thrones is a series (both book and TV) filled with fascinating characters. One of my favorite elements of this series is the way the characters change over time. I greatly admire the way George R.R. Martin is able to make readers change how they feel about these people.

Warning: This post does contain spoilers up to A Feast for Crows!

Characters I Love

daenerys-game-of-thronesDaenerys Stormborn

Dany is the reason I began watching Game of Thrones. I remember watching videos on Youtube, and after seeing Dany rise from the ashes with her dragons, I was fascinated. My respect for Dany has only grown as I read the books and watched the series. Dany begins as a rather obedient, pliable character, but as she grows up and comes into her own as khaleesi, Dany becomes an admirable character. I loved watching her go from a trapped victim at her brother’s hands to a strong leader in her own right. Dany also is not a perfect character. She makes mistakes, including trusting the woman who is – in some ways- responsible for Drogo’s death, but she learns from her mistakes and she does not allow them to make her bitter. Dany has also proven herself to be a clever leader. This is probably best evidenced in A Storm of Swords when Dany faces the slavers and ultimately triumphs repeatedly.

Brienne of Tarth

brienneGoTAh, Brienne. I wasn’t sure about this character when she first appeared in season 2, but after reading A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, I find her to be one of the most honorable, intriguing, and sympathetic characters of the series. Brienne’s back-story is quite sad. She is very much aware of the fact that she is not “pretty” and this has caused much distress throughout her life. She has been rejected by suitors, and mocked for her appearance. Plus, the fact that she has always seemed to prefer a sword rather than a needle has caused her even more difficulty in life. Brienne was in love with Renley, and his death nearly destroys her. However, she is convinced by Catelyn to escape Renley’s men. Brienne vows to Catelyn that she will deliver Jaime to King’s Landing and safely return Sansa and Arya to their mother. This journey begins a fascinating to new chapter in Brienne’s life as she and Jaime form an unlikely but heartfelt friendship. The bond between the two of them is utterly intriguing, and I think it brings out the best in both characters. Despite men repeatedly telling Brienne to give up her quest to save the Stark daughters, Brienne refuses, and she ends up journeying with Podrick Payne (Tyrion’s former squire) and one of Renley’s former knights. At the end of A Feast for Crows, Brienne’s fate is hanging in the balance, and if she does not survive, I will certainly be heartbroken. Brienne is one of the most original characters of the series.

Sansa Stark

sansaGoTSansa is another reason I began to watch Game of Thrones. Watching her reaction to Ned’s death broke my heart, and, although I despised Sansa when I began watching season 1 and in the beginning of the first book, I have come to greatly respect her as a character. I was quite furious when I saw Sansa listed as one of the “Least Empowered Women” on this list. That may have been true at the start of the series, but I disagree with its truth as the series goes on. After Ned’s death, Sansa is forced to grow up, and she does so. Sansa proves adept at keeping herself alive, despite remaining as a virtual prisoner in King’s Landing. However, she is not completely compliant as evidenced by this moment. Sansa also proves to be intelligent and a capable leader. I have no doubt if Arya had been in Sansa’s place, she would certainly have provoked Joffrey to kill her. Sansa may not be as physically tough and capable as Arya, but she has her own form of quiet strength. I will admit that some of Sansa’s actions as “Alayne” disappointed me, but I still love Sansa and I have great hopes for her future.

Jaime Lannister

jaimeGoTI struggle with this one….a lot. This is the man who threw Bran out a window. He ambushed Ned and his men in King’s Landing. He has not been known to be a good guy. I mean he loves Cersei, who is kind of evil and just a little bit insane and his sister. So how can I love him?! Well, it has to do with the journey he takes with Brienne. The way she changes him and in some ways inspires him. Ultimately, I think it has to do with the loss of his hand, and how that forces him to become a different man. And I truly believe he has changed from the man he was when he threw Bran out the window. Jaime has begun to care about people beyond Cersei. This is the man who jumped in a bear pit without a sword hand to rescue Brienne, and the man who does everything in his power to keep the vow he made to Catelyn Stark. In Jaime, Martin has created a brilliant character, and I’m falling in love with him.

Honorable Mentions 
Osha (more the TV version)
Ygritte
Sam
Margaery

Characters I Like

Arya Stark arya_GoT

Arya was a character  I loved in the beginning of the series, and I still like her. However, I am not a huge fan of her storyline from A Clash of Kings and onward. While it is often interesting, I find myself having a hard time becoming engaged in her story. I admire her determination though, and if you’re looking for the definition of a survivor, look no further.

Tyrion Lannistertyrion_GoT

Before I read A Storm of Swords, Tyrion would certainly have been placed upon my “Characters I Love” list. However, I still have not been able to reconcile myself to the actions he takes at the end of that book. I understand why he does what he does, but I do admit that it does make me think somewhat less of him. Although, I do think Tywin’s death is certainly necessary to move the plot forward, and I could probably forgive him of that. I struggle with him murdering Shae as I do not think we have ever been shown that she was completely guilty. Shae’s actions were not good, but I do not believe that she deserved to die.

Honorable Mentions 
Robb Stark
Jorah Mormont
Jon Snow
Jaqen

Characters I Despise

Lysa (Tully) Arryn

lysa_GoTAch. I despise her so, so much. I know she has a sad background, but sympathy for that will only get her so far. I even tried to reason that she is just rather crazy and driven mad by her grief, but I still cannot agree with her actions. Lysa could definitely be diagnosed for something. She is extremely paranoid, although there is some justification for that, and she is exceedingly overprotective of her son. Then there is, of course, her obsession with Petyr Baelish. I think Lysa’s actions are understandable, but ultimately, unforgivable. She refuses to support Riverrun and Winterfell, which could have completely changed the course of the war. Also, there is her attempt to murder Sansa out of jealousy. Yes, I will admit I will not miss her.

Cersei (Lannister) Baratheon

cerseiGoTCersei is not a perfect fit as a character I despise. I certainly despise most of the actions Cersei takes, but I also find her to be absolutely fascinating. Cersei and Lysa actually have a few things in common. The biggest reason is certainly the way both women make poor decisions in the name of protecting their children. Also, Cersei, like Lysa, suffers from extreme paranoia. Cersei’s paranoia is rooted in her fear of Tyrion, which is ironic. I hate many of the things Cersei does. She is a schemer, a liar, a murderer, and a manipulator. I abhor the way she threatens Tommen into submission, but Cersei often amuses me. She repeatedly considers herself to be a lioness and Tywin’s best heir. However, her attempts to rule and to gain and keep power have consistently proven to be follies. For example, when she tries to destroy Margaery’s reputation, Cersei begins her own downfall.

Honorable Mentions
Stannis
Edmund Tully

Characters I Abhor

 

Petyr BaelishpetyrGoT

I hate him. Hate. Hate. Hate. Petyr Baelish is a deplorable human being. He is a conniver, a manipulator, and a murderer. He played a crucial role in Ned’s downfall. He seduces Lysa and later murders her. He also has a creepy relationship with Sansa (probably because she reminds him of her mother who he was “in love with”). Supposedly, Petyr’s motivated by his love for Catelyn Stark. However, I do not believe he ever truly loved  Catelyn. If he had loved her he would have wanted her to be happy, and nothing he does ever works towards that idea. Petyr is a bitter man trapped by his jealousy and the grudge he has held because of Catelyn’s rejection.

Joffrey BaratheonjoffreyGoT

If there is a more despicable character than Petyr Baelish it is Joffrey. Joffrey is mindlessly cruel and only gains pleasure from the pain of other people. Joffrey is a horrible character before becoming king (sending the assassin after Bran, for example), but once he becomes king, the power certainly goes to his head. Joffrey thrives on suffering which is evidenced by his treatment not only of Sansa, but of anyone who annoys him, disappoints him, or perhaps just sees him on a bad day. Joffrey, had he lived, would certainly have followed in the mad king’s footsteps.

Honorable Mentions
Melisandre
Gregor Clegane
The Freys

Warning: This post does contain spoilers up to A Feast for Crows!

Game of Thrones is filled with marvelous and horrendous characters, and I could probably have written dozens of posts discussing the amazing cast Martin has created. Because I want people to continue to visit this blog, however, I decided to try to keep my ranting and fangirling short. 

The Definition of a Strong Heroine

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What is a strong heroine? 

hungergamesMany feminists have been thrilled with the recent surge of strong heroines in young adult fiction, such as Katniss in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Tris from the bestselling Divergent series by Veronica Roth, but others have taken a closer look at the current trends and realized an important fact. These strong heroines are not necessarily a celebration of feminine traits and abilities. Carina Chocano acknowledged this in an article in The New York Times saying, “The insistence on “strong female character” is not bad because it aspires to engender respect, it’s bad because it tries to compensate for an existing imbalance by stacking the deck in favor of the female character, by making her better, more deserving, higher-toned, more virtuous and deserving of respect, somehow.” The term strong heroine, unfortunately, seems to now be synonymous with a girl who can also be described as a “kick-ass heroine” and embodies traits that typically have belonged to male heroes. The message is that a heroine’s strength is directly related to her ability to take down twenty full-grown men or something of the sort. However, a strong heroine should not be considered as such simply because she has physical strength and prowess. The definition of a strong heroine needs to broaden in order to represent the many other ways there are for a heroine to be strong. A heroine’s strength needs to also be based on traits like intelligence, empathy, sacrificial love, and the ability to build relationships.

Young adult literature surged in popularity following the success of the Twilight novels by Stephenie Meyer, and the heroines of twilightcoveryoung adult literature have become common names in American households. Also, the heroines of these books have become role models for millions of teen girls. Unsurprisingly, comparisons are commonly made about the popular heroines who inhabit these fictitious worlds. Recently, these comparisons have been simplified into a debate that strives to determine which heroine is the strongest heroine.

The heroine of the Twilight series, Bella Swan, has continued to be a source of contention amongst both fans and critics of the books. Very rarely does one see the name Bella Swan alongside the phrase strong heroine. In fact, many people consider her to be a whiny, pathetic excuse for a heroine. Writer and illustrator Jared Axelrod, however, has a very different opinion. He considers clumsy, quiet Bella to be a strong heroine. His reasoning is simple, “Because [she] controls her own destiny. She makes her own choices, and deals with the obstacles of those choices until she gets what she wants. She does not take no for an answer, she does not submit to authority, and she does not accept the life she’s been handed.” He also notes that she is an example of a “Demeter heroine.” Young adult author Gail Carriger explains this particular type of heroine as follows, “Women in ancient myths often accomplish their quests through the building and maintaining of friendships and family groups. They use networks to complete tasks and engage in their version of the hero’s journey. I think it’s a problem that we often view this type of behavior as weak. We are obsessed with the idea that in order to succeed a hero/heroine must be strong and independent and act alone.”

greekruinsHer theory, named for the Greek goddess, relies on the idea that classic feminine roles and ideals, such as building relationships and using these relationships to complete tasks, can also be considered heroic. Gail Carriger condemns the idea that a heroine must be someone who stands alone isolated from the people around her; she believes that a woman who uses her relationships to better her situation is just as effective as a strong woman who fights physically for a better situation.

Jared Axelrod also relates Bella to this type of heroine, “Bella’s strength comes from her relationships, especially the members of her adopted family.” He believes that Bella’s dedication to traditionally feminine roles is also the reason for much of the dislike regarding her as a character. “Bella is not a traditionally masculine character, like Buffy, who reaches her goals through violence and physical power…Because of this, she often placed in the only other role we have for women, that of the princess who must be saved. But Bella isn’t that character, anymore than she’s a fighter.” Much of the hatred directed at Bella seems to stem from the idea that she is weak. However, if one were to closely examine the decisions that she makes throughout the Twilight series, it would be evident that Bella often makes strong choices. She continually puts the lives of the people she loves above her own, and she repeatedly goes against what others tell her is the right thing to do. Bella is not alone in making decisions like these. Thankfully, there have been young adult writers who have successfully created heroines whose strength is not rooted simply in their physical prowess.

J.K. Rowling has created one of the best examples of this type of heroine. Hermione Granger may be adept with a wand, but her hermione-reading-book-dumbledore-left--large-msg-128978603414strength ultimately lies in her intelligence and her compassion. Hermione is a strong heroine because she is able to find solutions and answers that others cannot. She is also a compassionate and empathetic person which is best illustrated by her fervor to right the injustices of the society she lives in. Also, like Bella, Hermione understands that sacrifice is often an essential element of a heroine and that the relationships one forms are often crucial to success. Writer Sarah Seltzer described one example where Hermione is forced to make a sacrifice in an article for RH Reality Check, “She’s become an orphan by choice, sacrificing her family for the safety of her friends and the world. And that’s the kind of thing that heroes have to do.” Because of the love she feels for her parents, Hermione sacrifices her own relationship with them in order to save their lives. This small act requires no great physical strength, but it exhibits the enormous amount of emotional strength that Hermione has.

goldentrioHowever, Hermione’s intelligence is likely her greatest asset as a heroine. Throughout the Harry Potter series, it is her quick thinking and knowledge that saves the lives of those around her. Laura Hibbard, in an article for The Huffington Post, acknowledged this fact, “In the later books, that [Hermione’s] unapologetic intelligence very obviously saves Harry Potter’s life on more than one occasion.” It could be argued that it is Hermione’s strong magic which gives her strength, but it must be acknowledged that magic, in the world of Harry Potter, is only useful if one has the knowledge of how to use it.

Both Bella and Hermione are important role models for young adult readers. Bella is a prime example of a strong heroine in the vein of a Demeter heroine. She continually uses her relationships to quench her needs, but, at the same time, she does not allow the people around her to control her decisions. Hermione, meanwhile, uses intelligence and empathy to sway the decisions of the people around her, and also to combat the problems that she faces. Both of these characters are shining examples that a woman does not have to be skilled with a sword or a bow in order to be strong.

A recent meme popular with book bloggers asked the bloggers to list and rank who they believed were the strongest young adult heroines. If one was to read these lists, there are several names that appear repeatedly. The first is Katniss, The Hunger Games. Following her are Tris, Divergent, and Rose, Vampire Academy. Calla, Nightshade, and Katsa, Graceling, also make more than one appearance. All of these heroines have three things in common; they are strong physically, adept fighters, and spurn many of the common feminine niceties. In a blog post simply titled “Young Adult Heroines” blogger Foz Meadows stated that many young adult writers seem to fear making their heroines too domestic because it will send an anti-feminist message to teen girls. This is a logical reason which could explain the propensity writers have to make their characters so physically assertive, and it is important to note that all of these physically assertive characters are certainly strong heroines. However, it is time for the definition of a strong heroine to change. A heroine’s strength needs to take into account important traits such as intelligence, empathy, sacrificial love, or the ability to build relationships.

 

More Related Articles:

In Which I Talk About Why Kick-Butt Heroines Annoy Me
“The Hunger Games” vs. “Twilight”
Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship

2012 Wrap-Up & 2013 Challenges

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2012 Wrap-Up

Reading Stats

Total Books Read: 100

Goal: 200

I suffered a major reading slump this year, so I’m not surprised that I fell so far short of my reading goal. After the rough reading year I had, I was really just thrilled to reach 100.

2013 Reading Goal: 125

 

Favorite Books in 2012

Women Heroes of World War II by Kathryn Atwood
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
The Black Sheep’s Redemption by Lynette Eason
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
The Ghost & the Goth by Stacey Kade
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
If I Die by Rachel Vincent
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Perfect Chaos: A Daughter’s Journey to Survive Bipolar, a Mother’s Struggle to Save Her by Cinda & Linea Johnson
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Closed Hearts by Susan K Quinn
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
While He Was Away by Karen Schreck
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz
The Savage Grace by Bree Despain
In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
Everneath by Brodi Ashton

2013 Reading Challenges

 

 

Sequel Reading Challenge

Goal: 20

 

Challenge Page

 

Favorites Rediscovery

favoritesrediscovered_13

Goal: 16

Challenge Page

2013 TBR Pile Challenge

Goal: 11-20 (A Friendly Hug)

 

Challenge Page

 

I’m Not Gonna Give It To You – A Response

I’m Not Gonna Give it to You (or the Evolution of the Blogger-Author)  – By Stasia Ward Kehoe

 A Response

I was completely and utterly inspired to write a response to Stasia Ward Kehoe’s delightfully thoughtful post, so you will all now be forced to read what will surely be my less eloquent response. Enjoy! 

 

Initially, the post title caught my attention. What wasn’t she going to give? So, of course, I then had to read the post for myself, and I found myself admiring it highly. I began nodding along and silently agreeing with the onset of the third paragraph:

“Besides work overload, a big reason for my failures is that I have become uncertain about the blogosphere.  While I adore the online reader-writer community in many ways, I am tired of the “rat race” to glean followers.”

I experienced something very similar last summer, which resulted in me taking a break from blogging to reevaluate. When I came back (around August), I had decided that I had lost sight of my joy for expressing myself through this blog, and, instead, I had become focused on just the numbers. Focusing on the numbers (follower counts, subscribers, daily visitors, post counts, review counts, etc.) will drive you insane. There will always be another blog out there with better numbers, and it can be quite disheartening when you are constantly just looking at numbers. I thought Stasia Ward Kehoe got it especially right with her use of the term “rat race.”

 “The insanity that is arc collecting was achingly illuminated when I attended BEA and saw staff handing out tickets to teen attendees so they wouldn’t just grab as many arcs as they could. I’ve stopped signing up for arcs myself as I feel guilty warehousing books I won’t read for (at best) months.”

I was so disappointed with her characterization of the teen attendees at BEA, but I know such things take place. I understand that ARCs are exciting, shiny things, but can we not have some respect? Thankfully, I have heard that this year’s BEA was better than 2011’s, which makes me happy. But what I really agree with here is her final sentence. When I began book blogging, getting ARCs thrilled me beyond words (and they still do), but I quickly realized that my Net Galley requests, author review requests, and the few print ARCs I received were taking over my reading life. I did not have any time to read the books that were coming out at that time because I was too busy reading things that would be out in six months. My sister also made a very intelligent point. Many times I might get an ARC of a book in a series, but by reading it early I was setting myself up even longer waiting for the sequel (there’s no guarantee that you will get that one early too). I also am extremely picky about the books I keep, and I want finished copies of everything. I have come to a similar conclusion as Ms. Kehoe, ARCs are awesome, but I can wait until the finished copy is released.

So, I have made a “policy decision.” For 2013, there’ll be no book prizes. No more trying to glean followers.  What I’ll be diligently trying to share are industry and craft insights AND will HAPPILY email a personal response to anyone interested in communicating with me directly via the “contact me” link above or HERE.

I’m sure this is the most controversial part of her blog post, and I will admit I do not completely agree with it. I respect her willingness to truly make her blog more about what she writes than what she is giving away, and I think it’s purely her decision to do such a thing. But I disagree with book prizes always equaling an attempt to glean followers. True, giveaways often help to bump up your follower count, but, honestly, I just really like to giveaway may favorite books. That’s why I never make it mandatory that you are a blog follower in order to enter a giveaway. I will admit that in my first year of book blogging, I tried to join tons of different “blog hops” as a way to boost my numbers, but, now that I have decided not to focus on my numbers, I usually just host giveaways as a chance to share the things I love and enjoy.

 

That turned out much longer than I planned, but I was so inspired my her blog post that I had to write something. I respect Stasia Ward Kehoe so much for that post, and her decision not to host giveaways this year. I think it is a very gutsy decision and quite admirable.

 

Stasia Ward Kehoe is the author of Audition, and she blogs here.

Bookish Musings – Blogging Tips – Staying Organized

Blogging Tips & Tricks

When you begin a blog, it is easy to feel excited and upbeat about blogging. Every day you find yourself having brilliant ideas, and it is easy to find the time to write. However, as time goes by and life gets busy, it is easy to find yourself getting behind, but if you want to keep an audience, keeping your blog up to date is a must. So, here are four easy ways to help keep your blog on track.

1. Keep a Calendar

One of the best ways to keep your blog updated regularly is to keep a calendar of posts. I use a large desk calendar that I bought at Target for a dollar, and I have found that a calendar is especially important for keeping track of blog tour, promotional, or interviews posts. I also make a note of any posts that I have typed and scheduled on the blog.

 

2. Schedule Posts

Scheduling posts makes the life of a blogger so much easier. A good blogger tries to post at least two to three times a week, but there are definitely times when it is impossible to access a computer, put together a post, and post it. This is when scheduling comes in handy. I try to keep my blog scheduled at least a week in advance; that way if something comes up, I have a cushion of time to fall back on.

3. Take a Break

Yes, I stressed how important it is to keep your blog updated regularly, but your followers will understand when things come up. For example, I blog, work, and attend college full time. There are definitely times when I struggle to balance things, and there are some times when school has to come first. Generally, I take a weeklong break before or during finals, and my blog has never suffered from it. Also, do not be afraid to take a break when you are in a blogging slump. Taking some time off to reevaluate your life and your blog can help you come back stronger.

 

4. Do Not Compare

Of course, it is always tempting to compare your blog to other blogs, but try to resist this as much as possible. Maybe some bloggers can handle a blog that has a new post every day, some even post more than once a day, but that does not mean you have to. Do what you can do without stressing yourself out completely.

Blogging Tips on the Web

The Story Siren’s Book Blogging Posts
A Beautiful Mess’s Tips for Saving Time
A Book & a Latte’s NaNoWriMo Tips
Book Twirps’s Awesome WordPress Plug-ins

Review Requests: Pros & Cons

When you become a book blogger, you likely have an idea about the process of review requests. Review requests can take two different forms. Either the reviewer can request a book for review from a publisher or author, or an author or publisher can request a review from a blogger. Then there are the “third-party” review request systems such as Net Galley or Eldeweiss. So review requests are they a good thing or a bad thing for a book blogger?

The Pros

1. You are exposed to books/authors that you might not read otherwise.
2. You get an opportunity to read more books than you might otherwise.

The Cons

1. Time. Accepting books for review, reading them, and writing reviews takes a lot of time and effort.
2. Pressure. Perhaps I am the only reviewer who feels this way, but I feel absolutely awful when I accept a book for review, read it, and don’t like it. I feel obligated to review the book, but I hate posting a negative review for something I agreed to promote. It’s a very sticky situation.

Accepting review requests can be a difficult situation for bloggers, and, honestly, each blogger needs to determine where they stand on the issue. I am very grateful to the publishers and authors I have worked with, and, in general, I have had very good experiences. I have had the opportunity to read some amazing books before they are released. A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan and Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini being two of the ones off of the top of my head. However, the pressure to review and complete dozens of review requests can be daunting. Due to the pressure to completing timely reviews and the complexities of posting good or bad reviews, I have become quite selective about accepting the number of review requests I accept. I’d love to review hundreds of different books, but I just do not have the time or energy to do so.

Bookish Musings #6

Bookish Musings is a meme that addresses random bookish topics that are on my mind.
Have your own musings? Leave a link in the comments.

Giveaways!!

We all love giveaways, no? Personally I love not only entering giveaways, but also hosting them. Giving books away is almost as thrilling as winning books. Everyone goes about entering/hosting giveaways in different ways. Sooo…this is a post that is exploring how I feel about various ways of entering and I am also seeking your opinions.

1. How to enter

Comments: Some people have people enter for giveaways via comments on a post, on average I do not mind this system. However when it is required to make multiple comments for any extra entries I think it gets to be a little bit crazy.
Google Forms: Personally, I prefer this option above the rest. It’s just the easiest, cleanest looking choice. I do really like these, very simple both to create and to fill-out.

2. Mandatory entries

Following: Unless it’s for a followers celebration giveaway, I do not think this should be mandatory. I like to follow blogs because I like them, not just because they had one giveaway that interested me. Random fact, I am more likely to follow a blog that does not require following for giveaways.

3. Extra entries

Following: I think asking to follow as an extra entry is perfectly acceptable. That way it is still completely up to the entrant as to whether or not they want to continue following the site.
Tweeting/Linking/Facebooking: All of these are also very cool with me. Personally my favorite is tweeting. It’s really just the easiest for me. I really, really love it when a tweet is provided that can just be copy & pasted! 😀
Blogging: I don’t like to blog about giveaways, simply because I like my posts to just be more substantial. I do not want to fill up my post queue with posts just about several separate giveaways.

Needless to say I am completely grateful for everyone who hosts giveaways, and I am in no way trying to critique them. This is just a random post, about my preferences, and a way to perhaps see how you guys feel. 🙂

Bookish Musings #5

Bookish Musings is a meme that addresses random bookish topics that are on my mind.
Have your own musings? Leave a link in the comments.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2

“I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” It’s hard to believe that the end has come and gone, but what an end it was. Like the crazy fan I am, I went to the midnight premiere with my sister, our best friend, and her mum. We waited in line for three and a half hours in order to get a good seat (we ended up first in line for our showing!)! It was absolutely and completely worth it. Walking out of the theatre afterward, I was unsure how I felt about the film. It was just so big and huge that it was hard to process, not to mention the fact that it was about two-thirty in the morning. Anyhow I had a hard time focusing and creating any cohesive thoughts about it, so I decided to wait until I saw it a second time before writing out how I felt.

The following commentary contains major spoilers for the book & film series.

I will begin by simply acknowledging that the acting of every single person in this film was completely, bloody brilliant!! Everyone took their job and skills to a whole new level. A second thing I want to comment on is just how gorgeously this film, the entire series really, has been shot. It just has such great visual beauty. From the smallest sequences to the landmark places, all of it is just lovely to watch. Also before I began to comment on the things I was not a fan of, I want to make it clear that I adored this movie. It’s a glorious, emotional end to an amazing, fantastical journey.

Biggest Quibbles

01. Fred’s death, or lack thereof
One of my least favorite and most emotionally upsetting deaths over the course of the series is when Fred perishes in the early stages of the Battle at Hogwarts. The only thing I could find comfort in was the way his death is carried out. It is only fitting that he would die with a smile. All that said, I was EXTREMELY disappointed at how his death is not at all shown onscreen. We only get to see his family grieving over his dead body, while emotional, it is just not the same, and it was quite a disappointment.

02. Nagini’s death
I love, love, love the way that Nagini is killed in the books. It is such a huge moment for Neville. Harry has died, it appears Voldemort may have won, and Neville is willing to face Voldemort to do what Harry told him was necessary. It is such a heroic scene. The way they changed the moment in the film makes it feel more like Neville’s just in the right place, right time. It does not seem like such a deliberate act, a choice for Neville.

03. Harry’s return revealed
The scene when everyone gathers in the Great Hall, when Voldemort threatens punishment unless Harry is turned over, and the Slytherins are questioning why he is not, is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE moments in the entire book. The way the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, and the Hufflepuffs all rise to protect him is chilling, in a good way.

“Before Harry could speak, there was a massive movement. The Gryffindors in front of him had risen and stood facing, not Harry, but the Slytherins. Then the Hufflepuffs stood, and almost at the same moment, the Ravenclaws, all of them with their backs to Harry all of them looking toward Pansy instead, and Harry, awestruck and overwhelmed, saw wands emerging everywhere, pulled from beneath cloaks and from under sleeves.” – Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, p. 610

I love the following part as well where McGonagall offers anyone of age the chance to stay and fight.

“Slowly the four tables emptied. The Slytherin table was completely deserted, but a number of older Ravenclaws remained seated while their fellows filed out; even more Hufflepuffs stayed behind, and half of Gryffindor remained in their seats, necessitating Professor McGonagall’s descent from the teachers’ platform to chivvy the underage on their way.” – Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, pps. 610-611

Seeing Hogwarts, well most of it, unite like that is completely and utterly epic. Seeing it on film would have been….it would have been something that is impossible to describe. Unfortunately the scene that ended up in the film is much more underwhelming, although I do love Harry’s confrontation with Snape that was written in for the film. Plus in the film McGonagall orders the Slytherins taken to the dungeons, but in the book they are simply escorted from the castle. Having them taken to the dungeons just seems very out-of-character for her. I really did not like that at all.

4. Harry leaves

When Harry determines that he must die in order for Voldemort to truly become vulnerable, he leaves Hogwarts without telling anyone of his plans. This changes in the film as on his way out he meets Ron & Hermione and discusses it with them. The biggest reason I do not like this is because it takes away the emotional punch the reader/audience would get when Ron & Hermione would really have to discover, shockingly, that Harry has died. Yes, in the film they still must see Harry dead, but it is not a surprise to them and it changes their reaction.

“No!”
“No!”
“Harry! HARRY!”
“Ron’s, Hermione’s, and Ginny’s voices were worse than McGonagall’s; Harry wanted nothing more than to call back…” -Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling p. 730

5. The casting of the patronuses

This ends up being a very brief and minute sequence in the middle of the battle during the film. In the book, however, this scene is quite a touching moment, especially between Harry & Luna, it’s absolutely beautiful.

“That’s right,” said Luna encouragingly, as if they were back in the Room of Requirement and this was simply spell practice for the D.A. “That’s right Harry…come on, think of something happy…”
“Something happy?” he said, his voice cracked.
“We’re all still here,” she whispered, “we’re still fighting. Come on, now…”  -Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling p. 649

6. Snape’s Memories

I think the memory sequences is very nice in the film, but it does not do Lily & Snape’s relationship justice at all. I think, perhaps, if they had included more of the memories from when the two were teens it would have had more of an impact.
Plus the way they tried to make Alan Rickman young just kind of creeps me out at times.

Minor Quibble

I really wish that they had shown Hermione, Luna, and Ginny dueling Bellatrix. I especially do not like the way Bellatrix just freezes or stuns(?) Ginny in the film like she is nothing, when Ginny has been proven as a very capable, powerful witch.

Changes I Loved

1. Neville & Luna <3

I was never happy with how these two ended up in the book. Luna with Dean just did not feel right to me. When I watched Order of the Phoenix, there is just the smallest moment, but for some reason I have adored Luna & Neville ever since!



When Neville pulls her out of the way, saving her, it just gets me. Yes, I know I am strange, but ask my sister, the oddest little things in film/tv attract my attention & love. So the way these two end ‘together’ in the film was a huge plus for me!

02. “The boy who lives…come to die.”

In the book, Voldemort casts Avada Kedavra after simply saying, “the boy who lives.” In the film the, “come to die,” part is tacked on and I really love it. *chills*

03. Harry & Ginny’s mid-battle kiss

These two have really grown on me recently. I really was not sure I liked that they ended up together, but that has definitely changed. I think the kiss is really fitting and it just shows how well the two of them understand each other.

There were other changes that I really liked, but at the moment they are completely slipping my mind. The film really as quite impressive. Helena Bonham Carter, as always, is absolutely brilliant as Bellatrix. The Trio and Alan Rickman are also given some more heavy material to work with here, which is beautiful to see. There were many small/big things that irritated me a bit, but in the great scheme of things, I think the film is quite good. I’m not sure I like it more, or as much, as Deathly Hallows Part 1, which is my favorite film, but it is probably a close second. This is a must see film for anyone who has followed the series and enjoyed it thus far.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Screencaps are from Home of the Nutty.

Bookish Musings #4

Bookish Musings is a meme that addresses random bookish topics that are on my mind.
Have your own musings? Leave a link in the comments.

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover….

Yes, sadly, there are many gems that are hidden by tasteless, lackluster, or just rather ugly covers. Some covers are simply t0o genre-specific and they scare away other readers. Of course there are covers that are absolutely stunning, but the book itself is just not that amazing.

Covers That Turned Me Off
Why? It just looks rather cheesy to me.

Why? It looks like an adult romance novel to me. It took me a long time to realize it was actually a YA book.

Why? It looks like a book for younger girls. I mean the girl is basically a Barbie doll. I would have never have guessed how dark these books could get.

Covers That Drew Me, With Books That Disappointed

Why? This cover is stunning, obviously, but the book just did not live up to it.

Why? Another amazing cover, with a book that was somewhat disappointing.

Lesson that is learned from this? That old saying definitely has merit. Anna and the French Kiss, for example, is one of my all-time favorite books, and I would never have picked it up based on the cover. There are also those books which I immediately pick up based on a pretty cover only to find myself completely disappointed.

I will admit it I am completely cover-biased, but I have been trying to look past covers.

Bookish Musings #3

Bookish Musings is a meme that addresses random bookish topics that are on my mind.
Have your own musings? Leave a link in the comments.

Hype

Ah, hype. You know what it’s like, sometimes there’s this book that you just keep seeing everywhere. A big example in recent years is Twilight. Leading up, and since, the books were made into films there was so much hype surrounding the series. I love Twilight, but I will admit that I got kind of sick of the hype surrounding it. Sometimes hype can just be too much, and this is a good example of that.
Hype can also work to really get a book out there. A few months ago, I was seeing Anna and the French Kiss on blogs all over the place. It was because of all the hype for it that I broke down and decided to read it. I am so glad I did as it has become one of my favorite books ever!
So there are really two types of hype, positive and negative. Both of these can also work for or against a book’s success. Positive hype, like in the case of Twilight, can hurt a book as well as help. Negative hype tends to hurt a book, but at the same time some people will pick up a book and read it just to see why so many people hate it.
I think that hype is useful and positive hype is generally helpful to the success of a book. Usually I do not mind hype, in fact hype for so many books has found me some wonderful reads, but I do think that there are times where it gets to be too much.

How do you feel about hype?