Monday, July 23, 2007

Thank you, J.K. Rowling

I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in less than 24 hours, and it was fabulous. It was so much more than I expected, and I expected a lot. I loved how the stories were woven together, and how well the small details from previous books fit into this one. I will definitely be reading it again before the end of the summer, it's a phenomenal story. All of the time spent re-reading the previous books before this one was released was well worth it, and I know I appreciate this book so much more for having those details fresh.

So thank you J.K. Rowling for giving us this fabulous world to delve into, and nicely rounding out the story of the majority of the characters. It was a fulfilling end.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Something more important than anything else I've ever posted

I will preface this post by saying that I find it despicable that people can still act this way. I find it so hard to comprehend how someone could so despise another human being just because he or she is different from them. I truly feel that this is the greatest flaw in human beings, and the main reason horrible things happen in our world.


Dear friend,

I just learned about a case of segregation-era oppression happening today in Jena, Louisiana. I signed onto's campaign for justice in Jena, and wanted to invite you to do the same.

Go to the official website to find out more

Last fall in Jena, the day after two Black high school students sat beneath the "white tree" on their campus, nooses were hung from the tree. When the superintendent dismissed the nooses as a "prank," more Black students sat under the tree in protest. The District Attorney then came to the school accompanied by the town's police and demanded that the students end their protest, telling them, "I can be your best friend or your worst enemy... I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen."

A series of white-on-black incidents of violence followed, and the DA did nothing. But when a white student was beaten up in a schoolyard fight, the DA responded by charging six black students with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

It's a story that reads like one from the Jim Crow era, when judges, lawyers and all-white juries used the justice system to keep blacks in "their place." But it's happening today. The families of these young men are fighting back, but the story has gotten minimal press. Together, we can make sure their story is told and that the Governor of Louisiana intervenes and provides justice for the Jena 6. It starts now. Please join me:

Go to the official website to see what you can do

The noose-hanging incident and the DA's visit to the school set the stage for everything that followed. Racial tension escalated over the next couple of months, and on November 30, the main academic building of Jena High School was burned down in an unsolved fire. Later the same weekend, a black student was beaten up by white students at a party. The next day, black students at a convenience store were threatened by a young white man with a shotgun. They wrestled the gun from him and ran away. While no charges were filed against the white man, the students were later arrested for the theft of the gun.

That Monday at school, a white student, who had been a vocal supporter of the students who hung the nooses, taunted the black student who was beaten up at the off-campus party and allegedly called several black students "nigger." After lunch, he was knocked down, punched and kicked by black students. He was taken to the hospital, but was released and was well enough to go to a social event that evening.

Six Black Jena High students, Robert Bailey (17), Theo Shaw (17), Carwin Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17), Mychal Bell (16) and an unidentified minor, were expelled from school, arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder. The first trial ended last month, and Mychal Bell, who has been in prison since December, was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery (both felonies) by an all-white jury in a trial where his public defender called no witnesses. During his trial, Mychal's parents were ordered not to speak to the media and the court prohibited protests from taking place near the courtroom or where the judge could see them.

Mychal is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st, and could go to jail for 22 years. Theo Shaw's trial is next. He will finally make bail this week.

The Jena Six are lucky to have parents and loved ones who are fighting tooth and nail to free them. They have been threatened but they are standing strong. We know that if the families have to go it alone, their sons will be a long time coming home. But if we act now, we can make a difference.

Join me in demanding that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco get involved to make sure that justice is served for Mychal Bell, and that DA Reed Walters drop the charges against the 5 boys who have not yet gone to trial.

Official website -


Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter Book #7 Predictions

Ok, so there are lots of things that have been going through my mind about what might happen in Book #7. From re-reading all of the books over the course of a month, it becomes very apparent how much foreshadowing J.K. Rowling does books ahead of time. Therefore, I am racking my brain to figure out what events have been hinted at but have not yet occurred. Sorry for any Harry Potter related mis-spellings, I don't have a book on me to look them up.

Harry: Harry will not die. It doesn't seem like it would make any sense with all of the work she's put into the character. If he dies I will be completely shocked. I bet he will use Dumbledore's pensieve to help him accomplish his task, however. I also bet that his chosen profession will either be auror, professor, or Quidditch player, depending on how vanquishing Voldemort goes.

Ron and Hermione: I also think it unlikely that they will both die. I think there's a chance that one of them will at least be attacked and almost killed...but at most one will die, and I'm betting on neither. But I am also betting on injuries for both. Also, I expect that Hermione will be a lot of the brains behind finding the Horcruxes.

Complete Theory #1 on who will Die: At least 1 Weasley will die. Although Mr. Weasley talks in book #6 about how half of their family owes Harry their lives, which may imply that the other half will in the end as well, I think they are such major characters and so close to Harry that it is unlikely that they will all survive. My first inclination is that it will be Ginny. Also, nothing has happened yet with the fact that Mrs. Weasley's greatest fear is the death of her family members and Harry (see via the Boggart in book #5). I also suspect that Draco may be killed by Voldemort or at least punished for not killing Dumbledore himself. Either Draco or Snape will surely die by the end of the book to satisfy the vengeance everyone feels toward the killers of Dumbledore.

Complete Theory #2 on who will Die: Throughout the series Harry consistently loses the adults that have acted like parents to him: his actual parents, Sirius, and Dumbledore. He even states so himself at the end of book #6. However, in book #6 he erroneously states that he's lost every parent figure he's still had. He does still have Mr. and Mrs. Weasley though, and to some extent he has Hagrid. I therefore suspect that at least one of the Weasley parents will die in book #7. I mostly think it will be Mrs. Weasley who is killed while trying to save someone else, especially since all of her family was killed the last time Voldemort was alive. This all also relates to the fact that nothing has happened yet about Mrs. Weasley's boggart. If only Mrs. Weasley does and not Mr. Weasley, then the 2nd death will probably be a member of the order...probably Lupin because he hasn't been looking well and Fenrir Greyback will know he's in the order now that he fought at Hogwarts in book #6, and he and Tonks are finally together despite him saying it won't work. Poor Lupin, he might even get killed by non-Death eaters who fear he's with Voldemort just because he's a werewolf. :(

Dating: Obviously Ron & Hermione will finally get all of that figured out, and from the end of book #6 it looks like Neville and Luna will be together as well. If Ginny survives until the end, she and Harry will be re-united.

Horcruxes: The locket that RAB (Regulus Black) stole from the cave is at Grimold Place. I assume that Harry will not realize this until at least halfway through the book, unless he forces Kreacher to tell him of anything like it in the house. Another Horcux may be hidden at Hogwarts, which could have been a reason for Voldemort to visit Dumbledore to request a teaching position. He only needed to enter the building to hide it, maybe in the Room of Requirement?

House Elves: They will be put to use somehow by Harry, and Hermione will somehow secure freedom for at least one of them in the end. Harry will probably grudgingly need to use Kreacher at least once, and Kreacher will probably betray him at some point.

Magical Creatures: Throughout the books, every creature discussed in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Care of Magical Creatures has come up again. It's a great way to explain to the reader what a creature is early on, and then just reference it at an exciting point in the book. I haven't had time to note if any creatures haven't been seen that were mentioned...but I bet that most things that they meet they will have heard about at school already, even in passing. I also bet the pixies will somehow be utilized (or at least I hope they will be).

Wormtail: He still owes Harry for saving his life, and this may be the only reason Harry is able to kill Lord Voldemort. That silver hand he was given at the end of book #4 is going to have to be special in some way; Voldemort says he hopes he will be a better wizard, so perhaps it increases his magic abilities or decreases his clumsiness. If so, it will give him the power to help kill Lord Voldemort because he was never really loyal to him anyway.

Other Ideas:
I have an inkling that Voldemort or Death Eaters may show up wherever Harry is the second he comes of age, as Dumbledore's enchantment will wear off at that point (assuming it is still in effect now that he is dead, which I am unsure of).

I hope that Harry will use his ability to speak Parseltongue in some way that allows him to gain advantage on his enemies, or even to eavesdrop. I also hope that Harry will become better at occlumency because it drives me crazy that he still hasn't bothered.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix

Some co-workers and I attended the opening night of Harry Potter on July 10, despite a 9AM meeting the next morning. It was an interesting experience...but I'm glad I did it no matter how I feel about the movie. I've had a week now to think about how I feel on the movie, and I'm still disgruntled.

OK, so the book dragged on a bit, I understand that. I also understand that things get cut for movies. But that's no excuse to try to re-write the entire story when making the movie. I have no problem with changes that enhance the story or adapt it to the movie format, as many things that happen in books are ill-suited to film. But why was every scene very different? Why were characters changed? Why was there such a focus on Umbridge to the point that Ron and Hermione don't even seem like main characters? Why were all of my favorite scenes ruined?

And the biggest question of all: why did someone decide that the movie didn't need to flow, and that cutting from scene to scene with no explanation was a good idea?

I have 2 main issues that stem from these questions. The first issue is that many changes from the book were less creative and interesting than how Rowling did it. The second issue is that much of the movie would have been impossible to understand or follow if I hadn't read the book, which I can say because people with me who had not read the book were lost by the end.

On the positive side, I think the acting was superb, the shooting was excellent, and the scenes were well laid out. It's just a shame they couldn't find a way to make those scenes flow better. Although I think there were many excellent shots, it did feel a bit like one giant montage.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Harry Potter Oddities

While re-reading all of the Harry Potter books over the last month, I've noticed little things here and there that don't quite mesh up. Some of them are not listed here because J.K. Rowling explains them away on her website. Although I did not do a thorough search there for the ones below, I don't think they've been addressed:

Book 2: Percy docks points from Griffindor when Ron and Harry exit a girls bathroom (Moaning Myrtle's)
Book 5: Hermione points out to Malfoy that prefects can't take points away from houses

Book ?(multiple): Harry references when he first met Draco on the Hogwarts train
Book 1: Harry first meets Draco at the robe store

Book 6: The library fails Hermione for "the first time" when looking for Horcruxes
Book 4: The library actually fails Hermione for the first time when trying to figure out how Harry can breathe under water

I'm not quite done re-reading Book 6, so I will edit this post (with a note) if I realize any more oddities.