Saturday, September 13, 2014

ukrainiangirlfriend:

marnla:

Never forget

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS PHOTOSHOOT I LOVE IT

(Source: malfoysmirks)

Friday, September 5, 2014

10 books that have stuck with me.

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag [ten] friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know you’ve tagged them.”

(I was tagged in this meme by typhonatemybaby.)

  • Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling
  • The Lymond Chronicles, by Dorothy Dunnett
  • Onions in the Stew, by Betty McDonald
  • Weetzie Bat, by Francesca Lia Block
  • You Must Go And Win, by Alina Simone
  • Moominvalley in November, by Tove Jansson
  • Underfoot in Show Business, by Helene Hanff
  • Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett
  • My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell
  • The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman

Harry Potter

It’s impossible to tell just how influential HP has been to my generation. I haven’t really been ~in HP fandom~ since I was about 16, but those books were a huge part of my childhood and early teens. I reread the series continuously as each new one was published, and HP was my first online fandom so it eventually set me onto my current career path. As an adult I’ve also come to realise that JKR is a fantastic role model in terms of how she behaves as a public figure, and her political/social awareness.

The Lymond Chronicles

If you’ve been following me on Tumblr for long, you’ll probably have seen me reblog stuff about these books. They’re a six-volume series of dense and multi-layered historical novels about a 16th century Scottish nobleman, written in an incredibly well-informed, witty and sensitive style by a woman who I wish received more recognition from people outside her cult fanbase. Lymond is very much a wish-fulfillment character in that he’s prodigiously talented, exciting, charming and emotionally tormented, but this is complemented by the books’ smart, intricate plotting and a cast of diverse and well-developed supporting characters. Honestly, I could go on about these books all day. THEY ARE SO GOOD.

Onions in the Stew

Not sure how I latched onto this book as a kid, but I must have reread it a million times. It’s the memoir of a woman bringing up her two teenage daughters in the 1940s and ’50s on a small, rainy island near Seattle. I guess I must have identified with it somehow as a child, partly due to the “make do and mend” attitude of being raised by slightly eccentric but very sensible parents without a great deal of money. (I think at the point when I first read Onions in the Stew, it was back when we were still doing things like washing all our laundry in the bath, so possibly I sympathized with those 1940s kids gathering driftwood to heat the house etc.) Whatever my personal reasons were for loving Onions in the Stew as a child, it’s a very engaging and relatable book, meandering around from humorous memoir to instruction manual to oral history of rural life in Washington in the ’40s and ’50s.

Read More

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Some thoughts on Harry Potter as a dystopia.

hellotailor:

Interesting, why do you consider harry potter is a dystopia?

I find it impossible to think of Harry Potter as anything BUT a dystopia. Even Hogwarts itself is a dystopia.

Children are segregated based on a personality test at age 11, and then left to fulfill roles that were set out a thousand years ago, leading to cultural divides that continue for the rest of their lives. The Hogwarts house system is one of the main foundations of the pureblood/muggleborn conflict. And I haven’t even gotten into how Hogwarts is run, how useful it is as a tool for preparing people for adult life, and how dangerous it is to live there.

As for Wizarding Britain at large:

  • There’s no evidence that the Ministry of Magic is organized by anything other than cronyism.
  • The Minister for Magic is not a democratically elected leader.
  • Voldemort easily finds a foothold in mainstream society (even within living memory of his last reign of terror!) and his supporters easily infiltrate the government and implement all sorts of nightmarish and bigoted policies.
  • Azkaban,
  • We rarely see people working to innovate any aspect of wizarding society, with the exception of eccentrics like the Weasley Twins or Luna Lovegood.
  • Wizarding society is so isolated that purebloods find it strange if a witch or wizard takes much interest in muggle culture, even if they are muggleborn.
  • Umbridge is allowed to torture children and spread propaganda at the only major educational institution in the country.
  • There’s a huge amount of discrimination relating to non-human races, particularly House Elf slavery.

I could go on at some length on this topic, but instead I’ll finish with my pet theory: that Wizarding Britain is so fucked up that the rest of the wizarding world has just given up on it.

We know from the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that there are plenty of magical cultures all over the world, but Britain receives NO kind of international help when Voldemort is on the rise or when the Ministry of Magic is in turmoil.

Obviously the “real” explanation is that the Voldemort/Harry/Hogwarts narrative must to be isolated for Harry’s story to be told… but I still quite like the explanation that Wizarding Britain has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Their society has become so warped, so backward and so beholden to irrational beliefs and traditions that other international wizarding powers have decided the situation is unsalvageable.

There’s no point in stepping in to get rid of Voldemort unless he becomes a threat overseas, because another Dark Lord will probably rise up in a few years anyway. And Wizarding Britain seems functionally incapable of defending itself from this threat without the help of Harry and his team of teen sidekicks — who by the end of the series are all suffering from PTSD because they have spent their formative years fighting in a dystopian war.

(P.S. Even if my pet theory ISN’T true, then the international wizarding community must still have SOME reason not to step in and help Britain fight back against Voldemort. Which, in itself, makes the world of Harry Potter seem even more dystopian than before.)

dwbnerd said: I was looking through the Harry potter tag and I saw your theory as to why Harry potter is a dystopia. I must say it is quite interesting. One thing that I did notice is that you pointed out the "house elf slavery" I do remember in the books how the house elves like cleaning. They didn't want payment or freedom. They found pleasure in there work. Creature didn't like Sirius he felt he was betraying his old master. Most elves did like cleaning and working. But the rest of your ideas were great!!!

(Here’s the original post about HP as a dystopia.)

The whole point of Dobby as a character is to prove that while house elves may enjoy housework and servitude (which in itself is somewhat debatable, since they are raised FROM BIRTH to be completely subservient to humans, and be ashamed of owning possessions), they don’t intrinsically “want to be slaves.” Or at least, not all of them do. We know from Kreacher, Dobby and Winky that house elves have a very diverse range of personalities and goals.

The current situation in the wizarding world is that humans can get away with beating, maiming, and probably killing their house elves. Over the centuries, wizarding culture has targeted a vulnerable species of people who like to be helpful and given instructions, and exploited this for human profit while turning those servants into an invisible underclass.

Even if you take house elf culture at face value and assume that every single one of them wants to serve humankind for no pay (which they evidently don’t, because: Dobby), then the wizarding world’s attitude towards them is still completely heinous and feeds into the idea of the HP books as a dystopia. A house elf’s life and work is completely dependent on their masters, which inevitably results in abuse. There is a big different between “wanting to be a servant” and being a slave who can be horribly injured at a moment’s notice, and has been brainwashed into thinking this is their only option in life.

People who grew up in the wizarding world think this is perfectly normal (much like the prejudice against werewolves and part-humans), which is why it takes Hermione, a muggleborn outsider, to confront the inherent abusiveness of how house elves are treated.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Some thoughts on Harry Potter as a dystopia.

Interesting, why do you consider harry potter is a dystopia?

I find it impossible to think of Harry Potter as anything BUT a dystopia. Even Hogwarts itself is a dystopia.

Children are segregated based on a personality test at age 11, and then left to fulfill roles that were set out a thousand years ago, leading to cultural divides that continue for the rest of their lives. The Hogwarts house system is one of the main foundations of the pureblood/muggleborn conflict. And I haven’t even gotten into how Hogwarts is run, how useful it is as a tool for preparing people for adult life, and how dangerous it is to live there.

As for Wizarding Britain at large:

  • There’s no evidence that the Ministry of Magic is organized by anything other than cronyism.
  • The Minister for Magic is not a democratically elected leader.
  • Voldemort easily finds a foothold in mainstream society (even within living memory of his last reign of terror!) and his supporters easily infiltrate the government and implement all sorts of nightmarish and bigoted policies.
  • Azkaban,
  • We rarely see people working to innovate any aspect of wizarding society, with the exception of eccentrics like the Weasley Twins or Luna Lovegood.
  • Wizarding society is so isolated that purebloods find it strange if a witch or wizard takes much interest in muggle culture, even if they are muggleborn.
  • Umbridge is allowed to torture children and spread propaganda at the only major educational institution in the country.
  • There’s a huge amount of discrimination relating to non-human races, particularly House Elf slavery.

I could go on at some length on this topic, but instead I’ll finish with my pet theory: that Wizarding Britain is so fucked up that the rest of the wizarding world has just given up on it.

We know from the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that there are plenty of magical cultures all over the world, but Britain receives NO kind of international help when Voldemort is on the rise or when the Ministry of Magic is in turmoil.

Obviously the “real” explanation is that the Voldemort/Harry/Hogwarts narrative must to be isolated for Harry’s story to be told… but I still quite like the explanation that Wizarding Britain has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Their society has become so warped, so backward and so beholden to irrational beliefs and traditions that other international wizarding powers have decided the situation is unsalvageable.

There’s no point in stepping in to get rid of Voldemort unless he becomes a threat overseas, because another Dark Lord will probably rise up in a few years anyway. And Wizarding Britain seems functionally incapable of defending itself from this threat without the help of Harry and his team of teen sidekicks — who by the end of the series are all suffering from PTSD because they have spent their formative years fighting in a dystopian war.

(P.S. Even if my pet theory ISN’T true, then the international wizarding community must still have SOME reason not to step in and help Britain fight back against Voldemort. Which, in itself, makes the world of Harry Potter seem even more dystopian than before.)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

heythisisbecky:

do you ever wonder what would have happened if the dursleys had actually managed to hide harry’s identity from him until he turned 17

like dumbledore somehow lost track of them when vernon changed jobs or when they moved houses, and for some reason they just couldn’t find them again

and harry potter the boy who lived grew up attending typical schools and his friends knew that sometimes weird shit would happen around him, but they just thought it was a coincidence or that they were imagining it but slowly they all left him and he grew up even more isolated and angry and so he runs away at 16

and meanwhile voldemort knows harry ran away and that he is out there somewhere, vulnerable, but he’s not in the wizarding world, so his death eaters are wreaking havoc trying to find him

and harry obviously has magical talent but he doesn’t know that, but every child in hogwarts does and they’ve learned about him and now know that he’s just out there somewhere, completely unaware of what’s going to happen to him

and some kids it doesn’t bother, but for others like neville and hermione and luna and ron, it’s horrifying to think that this innocent person who should be in their year is going to be hunted down like this

so they decide to go find him before voldemort or the death eaters can

and harry is in a train station on his way to work and is converged upon by about six people who are trying their hardest to not freak out and tell him that he’s a wizard in grave danger, but they know they have such little time

so instead of the wizarding world finding harry at 11, it finds him at 16 and a half when it’s in a much darker, desperate place

i don’t know i just really like the idea of harry potter joining the wizarding world through a bunch of rebellious hogwarts dropouts hiding throughout england and running from enemies he didn’t know he had and learning magic along the way in dark alleys and through street fights

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

chanelleberlin:

lamefuckboy:

yoncehaunted:

*SHOUTING TO THE HEAVENS*

WELL THAT TOOK A FUCKING TURN

Laughing because it’s funny, but also because I feel like nothing has ever illustrated why I hate Snape so clearly.

Sunday, August 24, 2014
redscharlach:

vaporheart-archive:

i think something went wrong

The Ballad of the House of Leg
When Hogwarts was first foundedBy the noble Founders Four,They looked upon their housesAnd they asked: “Do we need more?”
"For some are brave, and some are loyal,As each one of us knows,And some are cunning, some are smart,But some are NONE of those!”
"What shall we do with pupilsWho just haven’t got a clue?Who have no proud distinctive traitsAnd may well smell of poo?”
"Let’s found another house for them:A Hogwarts bargain bin.The entrance code is simple:If they’ve got a leg, they’re in!”
The cryptofascist FoundersGave themselves both praise and plauditThey gave the school the House of LegThen basically ignored it.
Thus left alone, the House of LegBecame a decent placeFor aimless wandering, cups of teaAnd staring into space
The dull and non-distinctive Found a quiet place to land onAnd in times of trouble, Hogwarts alwaysHas its Leg to stand on…

redscharlach:

vaporheart-archive:

i think something went wrong

The Ballad of the House of Leg

When Hogwarts was first founded
By the noble Founders Four,
They looked upon their houses
And they asked: “Do we need more?”

"For some are brave, and some are loyal,
As each one of us knows,
And some are cunning, some are smart,
But some are NONE of those!”

"What shall we do with pupils
Who just haven’t got a clue?
Who have no proud distinctive traits
And may well smell of poo?”

"Let’s found another house for them:
A Hogwarts bargain bin.
The entrance code is simple:
If they’ve got a leg, they’re in!”

The cryptofascist Founders
Gave themselves both praise and plaudit
They gave the school the House of Leg
Then basically ignored it.

Thus left alone, the House of Leg
Became a decent place
For aimless wandering, cups of tea
And staring into space

The dull and non-distinctive
Found a quiet place to land on
And in times of trouble, Hogwarts always
Has its Leg to stand on…

Thursday, August 7, 2014

stem-cell:

deonte-s:

the idea of harry potter not only straddling two worlds between him (the british wizarding world and the british muggle world) but also being met at each end by two entirely different systems of historical dehumanization/subjugation (with harry on one hand being a half-blood in a society built on blood pedigree and on the other hand being black mixed-race in a society built on white supremacy) is at once extremely tragic and extremely compelling narratively

it’s also interesting that either status has a completely negligible effect within the opposite world (i.e. harry’s blood status means nothing in muggle britain and his race means nothing in wizarding britain)

mixed-race harry continues to rise to the top as the most narratively compelling interpretation of the text

(Source: feelknower1993)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Anonymous said: Have you ever considered writing posts on your LJ about the costuming in Harry Potter? I know you mostly write them about recently-released shows/movies, but I'm wondering what kinds of things you would have to say about the HP films.

i assume you mean my blog?? i haven’t posted on livejournal in years. but in answer to your question: i wrote a two-part blog post about costume design and worldbuilding in the HP movies (related to the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie) but i haven’t actually gone through all of the individual films and reviewed them.