All posts by Random Thoughts from a Random Girl

Well, I've done it. I've finished my thesis and I'm now waiting for my degree to be conferred. YAY! I currently work in the county library and am waiting for either the Doctor or Gandalf to come whisk me away on an adventure. Also book reviews- I'm too flaky to limit myself to just a few topics!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

*SPOILERS*

 

 

 

 

 

 

*YOU’VE BEEN WARNED*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*SERIOUSLY- THERE BE SPOILERS BELOW*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not a book. It’s a play. I think it’s important to remember that. You won’t get a lot of introspection. That’s difficult to do in a play or movie, but I think it does a good job of showing motivation with the stage direction.

Ron felt underused, but I enjoyed the character development of Draco Malfoy. I liked that he wasn’t just the mean little boy he was in the other books and movies. He does have a soft spot for his wife and son and you see that reflected in his treatment of Scorpius and his eventual thawing toward Harry.

Speaking of Harry, we once again see the anger that he hides so well. He is angry at Dumbledore for putting him in the position he was forced in with Voldemort; he’s angry with Voldemort for killing his parents; he’s angry with his aunt and uncle. Harry’s just an angry person, but justified or not (and he certainly hasn’t dealt with it here) he takes some of that anger out on his son who is forced to live in the his shadow, just as Harry was forced to live in the shadow of his part in bringing about the downfall of Voldemort when he was an infant.

Albus is also an angry person. He is the son of Harry Potter, world famous wizard. That’s a lot to live up to. I don’t envy him. That said, he is very much like his father- a bit of a prick and a brat.

Scorpius, on the other hand, is probably my favorite character here. He is the funny, emotional core. He stabilizes Albus and brings him back down to earth. He’s Ron. I liked seeing the human side of Slytherins as the books and movies didn’t portray them too well. This and the humanizing of Draco where he and Ginny commiserate over the friendship that Harry enjoyed with Hermione and Ron. Harry was lucky in finding those two. I enjoyed the thought that Harry and Draco’s sons became best friends. I also thoroughly enjoyed the idea that Draco’s son and Hermione’s daughter might end up together. The subplot of Scorpius being Voldemort’s felt unnecessary, other than to isolate him from the other children and open him up to Albus. It could be argued, however, that Scorpius is the Cursed Child of the title, being the subject of gossip that he is the child of Voldemort.

I enjoyed this script immensely and would love to get to see the play onstage. My only beef is the under-use of Ron. He’s not given much to do, but pop in and remind people of his continued existence. Also, the under-use of Ron and Hermione’s daughter, Rose, was a problem. She wasn’t really involved with anything. She just popped in every now and then to remind you that Ron and Hermione had a child and then she was gone. I would enjoy seeing more about her relationship with Scorpius. I would love to see the looks on Draco and Ron’s faces if they ever dated.

This script really revolved around Scorpius, for all the hype about Albus. Scorpius may not have moved a lot of the story a long, but he was the one who held it together. If the playwrights did indeed mean for Scorpius to be the focus of the play, then I applaud them. It was refreshing to see things from a Malfoy’s point of view.

 

Elie Wiesel understood the terrible power of silence, the danger of not speaking out against evil, notes Natan Sharansky.

I did not write this, but I wanted to share it because it is important that we remember to speak out about injustice in the world.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/edmundburk377528.html

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, current chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and friend of Wiesel.

Elie Wiesel’s great mission on behalf of Soviet Jews

By Natan Sharansky, op-ed in the Washington Post on July 4

Perhaps better than anyone else of our age, Elie Wiesel grasped the terrible power of silence. He understood that the failure to speak out, about both the horrors of the past and the evils of the present, is one of the most effective ways there is to perpetuate suffering and empower those who inflict it.

Wiesel therefore made it his life’s mission to ensure that silence…

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#BlackLivesMatter

Of course Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. Asian Lives Matter. LGTBQIA Live Matter. Blue Lives Matter. They are all human and by virtue of that fact, they have an inherent dignity. No one can take that away from them. What can happen is that people deny them that dignity. They see their body as all they are, while ignoring the part that makes them a human being: their soul or essence; their humanity. None of these people are diminished by their race, religion, sexual orientation or occupation. None are elevated to unassailable heights because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or occupation, either. Humans are vain, wonderful, flawed, and beautiful, but most of all, they are human; with all the pitfalls and virtues inherent in that word.

We’ve seen far too often what happens when someone looks at another human being and decides they have no worth, no dignity, no value: Death, pain, anger, and an endless spiral of blame. And then the circle of violence begins again. There seems to be no end to the violence we can perpetrate on each other. White on black, black on white, white on white, black on black. Sure, we feel strongly about our stances, values and opinions, but do we really really think those stances, values and opinions are more important than someone’s life? Yes, there are people who think that, but am I alone in hoping they are the very tiny fraction of a minority?

So, how can we get to the place where we can say that ALL lives matter: black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, lesbian, transgender? How do we come to the point where we can look at someone with whom we disagree and say, ‘no, I don’t agree with the things you do or say, but I recognize your right to life’? Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. But are these ‘truths’ truly self-evident? Not if we look at each other as the enemy and think ‘well, better you than me’. Life is short and precious and, for all we know, we’re alone in the universe. So why can’t we see each other as allies, instead of the ‘other’?

The problem? Diversity is hard. What is easy is insulating yourself from the world around you so nothing challenges you. Because challenges are hard. It’s not easy to allow someone who thinks differently from you to stretch your thinking. This goes for everyone. Isolating yourself from anyone who is different is easy. It’s safe. But it’s not right. Finding out someone else’s story forces you to utilize your sympathy and empathy. It challenges those ideas you felt were unassailable and right, no questions asked.

Change can only come when we recognize and honor that humanity in others; when the dirty, barefoot, inadequately fed and clothed child sitting in the slums of whichever Third World country is as deserving of life and liberty as the richest billionaire in the world.

 

The Girls by Emma Cline

The best writers are able to evoke a shared sense of feeling in us. No, we may not have orbited a Manson family-like cult, but we have felt that rush of mutual (we hope) liking; that longing to find a place where we are needed- where no one else but us belongs. Emma Cline does that so well. Though I haven’t felt that longing for friends that threatens to choke you since I was young, I remember. Cline’s words instantly place you, ok, me, back in those years when one is so desperate to belong somewhere, anywhere.

Evie Boyd is sitting in the park when she sees her: the girl who will change everything: she is carefree and confident. Evie is at odds- her parents have split, she’s entering adulthood, she’s at a crossroads and has no one to show her the way. When she meets Suzanne, the girl from earlier, she’s enticed by her certainty of who she is and where she belongs. Evie has had a fight with her best friend and has no one else. Suzanne draw Evie into a family where they seem to accept each other for who they are. Evie wants to community, but more she is drawn to Suzanne.

Told from Evie’s reminiscences, The Girls tells the story of one girl who wants to find a place to be. She thinks she finds that with a family who live in a rundown ranch house, but where everyone seems to belong to each other. She wants that. Even from her older, wiser self, there’s a sense that she’s still looking for that place, that belonging. Cline effectively conjures the feelings of a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood – that moment when she is no longer a child, but not an adult either. That moment when her peers’ opinions matter more than her parents’. That moment when she sees that her parents- once perfect and hers- have feet of clay.

This book is a sucker punch to the gut when you realize you yourself have felt that desperate need to belong, to be seen and valued and desired. More than anything, this novel evoked a sense of that suffocating loneliness. It also tapped back into that feeling from adolescence that you’re alone, invisible, insignificant, not worthy. That’s the thing I really remember about this book: the feeling that you’re not enough- not enough to keep your old friends, to make new ones, to make someone care. While one aspect of The Girls dwelt on the dissolution of Evie’s parents’ marriage, it didn’t really explore Evie’s feelings about that. Instead, she did what I imagine a lot of young girls her age, and what I did at that age, do: run away. Evie’s family is falling apart, so she finds another; one with a charismatic leader who has gathered a group of dissatisfied people, mostly girls to himself. Russell, the leader, tries to draw Evie into his sphere of influence, but she’s mainly there to get close to Suzanne, the one who has drawn her eye.

It has a bit of a modernist feel as far as language goes; a ‘stream of conscious’ feel to the flow.

Emma Cline was able to create a teenage female character who is so real and three dimensional that she could be the teenage girl you know or were. She delves into the thinking and feeling of teenagers so well, it felt at times to read like someone’s diary, very personal and raw.

The best writers are able to evoke a shared sense of feeling in us. No, we may not have orbited a Manson family-like cult, but we have felt that rush of mutual (we hope) liking; that longing to find a place where we are needed- where no one else but us belongs. Emma Cline does that so well. Though I haven’t felt that longing for friends that threatens to choke you since I was young, I remember. Cline’s words instantly place you, ok, me, back in those years when one is so desperate to belong somewhere, anywhere.

Evie Boyd is sitting in the park when she sees her: the girl who will change everything: she is carefree and confident. Evie is at odds- her parents have split, she’s entering adulthood, she’s at a crossroads and has no one to show her the way. When she meets Suzanne, the girl from earlier, she’s enticed by her certainty of who she is and where she belongs. Evie has had a fight with her best friend and has no one else. Suzanne draw Evie into a family where they seem to accept each other for who they are. Evie wants to community, but more she is drawn to Suzanne.

Told from Evie’s reminiscences, The Girls tells the story of one girl who wants to find a place to be. She thinks she finds that with a family who live in a rundown ranch house, but where everyone seems to belong to each other. She wants that. Even from her older, wiser self, there’s a sense that she’s still looking for that place, that belonging. Cline effectively conjures the feelings of a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood – that moment when she is no longer a child, but not an adult either. That moment when her peers’ opinions matter more than her parents’. That moment when she sees that her parents- once perfect and hers- have feet of clay.

This book is a sucker punch to the gut when you realize you yourself have felt that desperate need to belong, to be seen and valued and desired. More than anything, this novel evoked a sense of that suffocating loneliness. It also tapped back into that feeling from adolescence that you’re alone, invisible, insignificant, not worthy. That’s the thing I really remember about this book: the feeling that you’re not enough- not enough to keep your old friends, to make new ones, to make someone care. While one aspect of The Girls dwelt on the dissolution of Evie’s parents’ marriage, it didn’t really explore Evie’s feelings about that. Instead, she did what I imagine a lot of young girls her age, and what I did at that age, do: run away. Evie’s family is falling apart, so she finds another; one with a charismatic leader who has gathered a group of dissatisfied people, mostly girls to himself. Russell, the leader, tries to draw Evie into his sphere of influence, but she’s mainly there to get close to Suzanne, the one who has drawn her eye.

It has a bit of a modernist feel as far as language goes; a ‘stream of conscious’ feel to the flow.

Emma Cline was able to create a teenage female character who is so real and three dimensional that she could be the teenage girl you know or were. She delves into the thinking and feeling of teenagers so well, it felt at times to read like someone’s diary, very personal and raw.

Please, Please, Please #BoycottStarWarsVII

#MoreDiversityPlease !

thenerdsofcolor

All weekend, Disney and Lucasfilm have been prepping audiences around the world for the forthcoming phenomenon that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In addition to running a series of trailers for a trailer to premiere during Monday Night Football on ESPN (of all places), but soon, we’ll all be able to reserve our tickets for that midnight showing (or seven-movie marathon) two months in advance. And the entire galaxy rejoices! Well, not everyone. There’s actually a segment of fandom that is boycotting The Force Awakens.

And you know what? If you’re one of those people who aren’t here for Episode VII, all we have to say is…

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