Sunday, December 9, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

     My most anticipated movie of 2018 has been completely worth the two year wait! To say that Crimes of Grindelwald was different is an understatement. There is an intense darkness about it that very much sets it apart from the preceding film. There are at least three different storylines being told and are only brought together until the very end. Oh, there's new characters too...quite a few new characters, but all were great and added so much to growing Wizarding World of the 1920's-1930's.

 Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein

     Several months after his escapade in New York City and the capture of Gellert Grindelwald, magizoologist, Newt Scamander has become a literary success with the release of his manuscript, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." However, while Newt has made headlines for his work, he has also caused a great deal of strain on the Ministry of Magic for (what they consider) reckless behavior in New York and revoke his international travel license. His only chance of being able to travel internationally is if he works for the Ministry in his brother's security department. Newt's greatest fear is working for any establishment and turns them down. 

    To add to this stress. Newt's former Hogwarts's professor, Albus Dumbledore has tasked him with finding Credence Barebone, who survived his attack in New York, and also to hunt down Grindelwald who has escaped from the Ministry of Magic. Newt rejects any idea of choosing sides and wants to be left alone to care for his creatures. Yet, he comes to his senses when he finds that Tina Goldstein has been working undercover in Paris, also searching for Credence. If anyone can get Newt to come out of his suitcase, it's Tina. 

    Newly reinstated Macusa Auror, Tina Goldstein, has been in search of young Credence Barebone, still feeling responsible for not being able to save him in New York. Tina manages to track him down in Paris, but she soon finds herself captured in the Paris sewers. She is then is rescued by none other than Newt Scamander. While Tina is happy at Newt's return, she harbors resentment for him after reading an inaccurate magazine article claiming Newt to be engaged to his former best friend. So, Tina sets her feelings aside for Mr. Scamander and sets to work on finding Credence before Grindelwald or anyone else does.

Albus Dumbldore and Gellert Grindelwald

     Known to the Wizarding World as 'The greatest wizard of all time,' Albus Dumbledore is remembered by Harry Potter fans as a wise, grey bearded, 100 something year old Headmaster of Hogwarts School and a man with many secrets. 

     60 years prior to the Boy Who Lived, Albus Dumbledore's story is finally being told. Before becoming the charming elderly headmaster, Albus Dumbledore was the handsome Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, known for his easy going manner, a favorite among the students and a kindly, protective father figure to the lost and lonely. 

      He is also known to be a menace; forever undermining the authority of the Ministry of Magic or any other authority for that matter. Yet, when it comes to Gellert Grindelwald, sometimes having a menace could work in their favor, especially since Dumbledore has quite the past history with Grindelwald. When asked to help fight Grindelwald, Dumbledore says he can't, but doesn't elaborate on why. Believing Dumbledore to be behind Newt Scamander's behavior in New York, subsequent disappearance to Paris, and now his refusal to aid them, the Ministry puts Albus under arrest.

     During his house arrest, Albus contemplates his life decisions and shows a quality to Dumbledore, no one has ever seen. Fear. Fear of his own reckless actions, past mistakes and never truly able to make right with who he has wronged. Although unable to fight Grindelwald himself, Dumbledore has faith that Newt's strength of character will end Grindelwald and finally free him from his guilt ridden past. 

~ ~ ~

     Upon escaping from prison, Gellert Grindelwald wastes no time in gathering his followers to Paris to finally set in place his plan for the uprising of all magical persons. Conniving, but charming, Grindelwald has the ability to manipulate people's weaknesses and gain their trust, by taking advantage of them in their most vulnerable and lowest state. Unlike Voldemort who raged and ruled with terror and fear, Grindelwald uses emotion and even truth to gain support and respect. 

     Believing those of the Wizarding World to be superior to non magic people, Grindelwald holds the non-magic responsible for the downfall of humanity. He shows his followers future visions of a horrific second world war, machines of destruction, rounding up of people to camps and a world wide explosion all waged by the non magic; and if they are not stopped, many will perish in the decades to come. Grindelwald wants all magic kind to know his desire to save the world from possible destruction; but to do so, there must be subjugation and rule over the non-magic and the understanding that he himself can be the last hope for humanity. 

Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski

     After being separated for a time, Queenie the legilimens and Jacob the no-maj reunite and leave America to head to Europe. They arrive in England where relationships between magical and non magic people are permitted and their laws infinitely more progressive. However, when they arrive at Newt's home, it's revealed that Queenie has put Jacob under a powerful love potion with the intent of marrying him. When set free from the potion, Jacob informs Queenie that even thought he loves her and wants to be with her, he can't allow her to thrown her life away.

     Angry at Jacob, Queenie leaves and heads to Paris to find her sister, but gets lost in despair and depression. Without Tina, Queenie is alone and unprotected, but soon finds herself face to face with her former enemy, Gellert Grindelwald. Like always, Grindelwald plays upon Queenie's intense emotional state and leads her to believe that she can be useful to him for the bettering of their world. Queenie must now choose between her former life as a force of peace and goodness or entering Grindelwald's ideology of domination for 'the greater good.'

     Meanwhile, Jacob teams up with Newt to find Tina and hopefully Queenie, but ends up getting more than he bargained for once again. Having to endure a portkey, jailed in the Paris sewers, meeting a wizarding legend, being held hostage in a cemetery and eventually right in the midst of Grindelwald's Paris gathering, Jacob continues to have his best friend's back and aiding him in any way he can while still trying to find the love of his life, whom he fears he may have lost to her own enemy.  

Credence Barebone and Nagini

     Having miraculously survived his obscurial destruction in New York a year before, Credence Barebone has traveled to Europe to discover who he is. It is rumored that he is Corvus Lestrange, a child of a pureblood family thought to be dead, but if found alive, could be the completion of an age old prophecy. While in Paris, Credence befriends Nagini, a side show attraction at a low end wizarding circus. Nagini is a maledictus, she carries a female blood curse that forces her to transform into a beast and in time her animal form as a viscous snake will become permanent. 

     When Credence finds a possible lead to his mother, he and Nagini escape only to meet a dead end and Grindelwald himself. Finally ensnaring the boy he has been searching for, Grindelwald offers Credence a chance to truly know who and what he is. Desperate for any answers at all, Credence follows Grindelwald not knowing what is truly planned for him.

Theseus Scamander and Leta Lestrange

     Theseus Scamander, war hero, head auror of the Ministry of Magic, engaged to Leta Lestrange and overprotective older brother to New Scamander...also a hugger. Theseus is desperate to keep his brother out of trouble and wants Newt to join him at the ministry, working in his division. While Newt balks at the idea of conforming to the establishment, Theseus believes that he can do good for the establishment if given the opportunity by both his superiors and his brother. Ambitious without being power hungry, romantic, but not sentimental, Theseus does not dwell on his life during the war that made him a hero, but focuses on ending Grindelwald before everything he loves is taken away.

     The only bright spot in Theseus' life is his beautiful fiancee, Leta Lestrange. Although gifted with many talents, Leta's whole life has been one of loneliness and neglect. The product of a manipulated marriage that caused bad blood between two families, Leta grew up unwanted by her own family and neglected by most people in her life. At school though, she was befriended by shy New Scamander that showed her kindness when no one else did, shared with her his secret world of magical beasts and understood her when she did not understand herself. 

     Now as an adult, Leta has grown to be an independent Ministry worker and is madly in love with Theseus Scamander, while obviously still harboring affections for Newt. However, Leta is haunted by an old family prophecy that connects to own past wrongs (similar to Dumbledore). Now, to save a young boy's life she must find the courage to confess her wrongs and free herself from her fear and self doubt.

     There is infinitely more that I could write about, but that would require a separate review. This movie was very complex and I had to see it twice to better understand everything that was going on. I appreciated that they continued to build upon Newt's character, by still having him as the charming and awkward animal lover, but also adding his deep dislike of any form of convention. If Newt Scamander proves anything it's that no man is meant to be an island, set apart from the rest of the world. Newt refuses to takes sides in the upcoming battle towards Grindelwald and his sin of remission from the world comes with great sacrifices that finally opens his eyes and makes him choose.  

      Now to end of this master review, take a moment to appreciate the full jewel of this film: 

Jude Law as a ridiculously young and handsome Albus Dumbledore...

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Currently (featuring Newt Scamander...and Theseus)

Newt: Me
 Credence/Obscurial: Life

     Hey everyone. Happy December. 

     Judging by the lone post in November, you can safely assume that I've been rather busy. Well, your assumptions would be correct. (Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all had a good holiday!) My work at the YMCA has been going really well and last month I was given some really long 6-8 hours and working up to five consecutive days. Which is good for me, but definitely tiring! However, the paycheck numbers looked great.

    Then when I'm not working afternoons and nights at the Y, my mom has had me in the soap shop doing...just about everything. November is the family business' busiest time with craft shows every single week and sometimes two shows in one weekend. So, unfortunately the site had to take a backseat while this foreign concept called a busy life has taken over. However, that's what I've wanted too. I hate laying around and having nothing to do and now I have two jobs that benefit both me and others. Certainly not complaining. 

     While the work has been great, other areas of Life have not been. Every year I have to reapply to the company the provides my medication. Usually it's not that bad, but when you're dealing with medication their is always some amount of stress. About a week after I sent off my application, I got a rejection letter telling me that there were a few items on the application missing. I took care of those and in three days I got my medicine. Wonderful. 

    Then the driver's license drama came. My license had to be renewed and so I went into the DMV and renewed it, a month prior to it being expired. Yet it never came. After three weeks I went back twice and asked about it. They said it was never returned to them and the postal service had a record of it being sent out three days after I applied for it. There was a possibility that it may have been accidentally be thrown away. So, the stress level between work and this drama was at an all time high for me. Finally during Thanksgiving week I applied for another license and it came in a couple of days ago. 

     Stress level finally goes down and I can enjoy the holidays.

     Now things have finally slowed down or worked themselves out and I can finally enjoy the holidays as well as start back on the blog again. I'm rather behind on my book and movie reviews! OH! I saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and it was AMMMAZZZING!!!! A movie review is coming up soon. I have no idea how I'm going to do it because there is so much to put in, but I'll try to have it up by this weekend! All I can really say is that it was darker, grittier and infinitely the most complex Wizarding World movie.

     And then there is Theseus Scamander...lets just said I went into this movie expecting to hate him and thinking he was going to be a total jerk, but OMG was I wrong! He's the most enjoyable letdown in any Wizarding World story.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Flashback Friday Post

In which I randomly select a yeara month and a post 
to look back upon

September 8, 2016

Writer's Camp: Days Twelve and Thirteen

     So...I'm a little late with this post, but I'm doing it now. Day Twelve is on "Conquering Writer's Block" and Day Thirteen in "Finding Inspiration," and the two meld quite easily into each other! Writer's block is not fun to deal with at all! You feel like your well of inspiration is completely dried up and you're just waiting for the rains to come again. There is no general way for me to conquer writer's block, but I have three methods that have worked quite well before.

1.) Change the story -- If the story is dry and mundane then change things around. Do the unexpected. Don't just kill someone off though. Send them away and leave the reader guessing and then bring in a new character. Give a backstory on a character or multiple characters and have them all interweave somehow. It's not a crime to change from you're original idea; it's your story!

2.) Read other books -- This isn't plagiarism. You can get a great amount of ideas from reading other people's works. Sometimes a sentence can completely overload with ideas.

3.) Take a break/Work on another project -- Normally I only write one story at a time, but usually I have five or six stories going on in my head. If I've hit writer's block, then going on to another story helps me get fresh and new ideas.

      As for inspiration I find inspiration for stories all around me! Usually, it's from watching movies, listening to music, sleepless nights, driving, taking care of kids, the list is endless. Everyone is different in their writing and how to pursue it and quite frankly, four years in college almost killed my love of writing. I was writing because I had to, not because I wanted to. However, the love is back and I'm enjoying writing my first fiction

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween wraps fear in innocence,
As though it were a slightly sour sweet.
Let terror, then, be turned into a treat…
~Nicholas Gordon

Friday, October 19, 2018

Flashback Friday Post

In which I randomly select a yeara month and a post 
to look back upon

April 5, 2013

     Narnia Fun

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Goodreads Reviews: Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my all time favorite childhood books growing up. Caddie Woodlawn is inspired by the life of Carol Ryrie Brink's grandmother. Caddie Woodlawn is a simple story about an all American girl with a patriotic spirit that stretches far beyond her rural Wisconsin home.

In 1864, Carolina Augusta Woodlawn or just Caddie, was not your ordinary conventional girl. While her sisters spend their time sewing and baking, Caddie would rather hunt, swim, socialize with Indians and anything that doesn't require her to be a lady. Caddie's mother wrings her hands in despair, but her father encourages his once sickly daughter to run wild with her brothers, believing she will one day come into her own.

Caddie's many adventures include hunting with her uncle, almost drowning, getting into fights in school, falling into the ice and catching a cold, learning to mend clocks, helping three motherless boys, an Indian massacre (scare), saving her community and...her cousin from Boston. Along the way, Caddie begins to uncover secrets of her father's past and soon his former life will change the Woodlawn family forever.

I have no idea how many times I've read this book! I've loved this story for years and it's absolutely timeless. Caddie is a sweet and endearing heroine. Certainly not without her flaws, but she has a heart that gives entirely to those who truly need it. While at times she lacks common sense, she is clever and inventive and always willing to take a risk.

The Woodlawn family add a great deal to the story as well. Caddie's relationship with her two brothers is paramount to her growing up and differs very much from her relationship with her sisters. Her mother, while strict and every inch a lady, knows of her daughter's potential not as a lady maybe, but as an influential young woman. And finally Caddie's father who supports his daughter in her life choices and future decisions.

I think every young girl should read this book at some point in their life. Like Little House on The Prairie and Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn is a simple, but comical and lively portrait of a young girl, the family she loved, and her journey from girlhood into womanhood.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Congratulation Jack Brooksbank and Princess Eugenie!

Congratulations to Jack Brookbanks and Princess Eugenie on their wedding! 

Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson.

Jack Brooksbank & Princess Eugenie 

October 12, 2018

St. George's Chapel