Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Character Sketch: James Potter

     Sometimes to understand a child, one might need to understand the parent. That was most definitely Harry Potter's case when he started to learn about his father. James Potter can be considered a plethora characteristics both good and bad. We never actually meet James Potter until book five (The Order of The Phoenix) and even then that was in a biased memory from Professor Snape. So, during books one through four, Harry first grows up having no idea who his father is and then overnight (literally) is told that his dad is a hero in the wizarding world. For a lonely orphan, that can be the best description a child can get about his parent.

     As the books progress, Harry begins to delve deeper and deeper into who his father was. Upon meeting his godfather, Sirius Black and Professor Lupin, James' oldest and closest friends, Harry discovers who his father was in a much closer sense. James Potter was a Pureblood wizard from a large and lively family. He was somewhat spoiled, very intelligent and a troublemaker of the highest extreme, However, his trouble doesn't always com from malicious intent (that's what Harry is led to believe in the beginning), but rather to help others when no one else will. 

     However, not everyone is a fan of James Potter. While James was a good friend, he was a terrible adversary especially toward Severus Snape. When Harry was younger, Snape oftentimes told him how his arrogance, stubbornness and disregard for the rules came from his own father. How James ruined his life and made it miserable. Of course, Harry doesn't believe it until he gets a cold dose of reality when he discovers 'Snape's worst memory' is of James and his friends hazing and bullying Snape when they were at school together. 

      As a reader who (at the time) hated Snape, I both loved and hated the chapter. It was nice seeing the snarky professor get owned when he was a student. Yet, it also confirmed that everything Snape said about James was true; he was arrogant, self-centered, uncontrollable and a bully. Snape is the way that he is toward Harry because of James' treatment of him in school. However, what was hardest for Harry to believe was that his own mother hated James. For years he thought they had this wonderful perfect love story, but it turned out to be so much more complex. 

     Harry is comforted by Lupin and Sirius afterwards when they tell him that his father did settle down, left Snape alone and eventually Lily did fall madly in love with him. James finally decided to grow up and realize that there were worse and more evil enemies out in the world then the ones he had at school. James Potter did die sacrificing himself for his wife and his baby and became Harry's greatest inspiration for overcoming the growing darkness in his troubled life. 

     While I wouldn't say that James Potter is a controversial character, fans have had a lot of fun discussing his character as a student. Some people think he's terrible, but I simply say that he was a regular teenager who had a lot of growing up to do. The best thing about the character of James Potter is that he is only seen through memory and perception. And yet what we do mange to see was a flawed, but very brave (or reckless) boy who developed into an extraordinary man who defied fear and hate, even if it meant losing his life. Maybe James saw elements of his younger bullying self in the evil he was fighting and realized how prejudiced and cruelty can be the beginning of personal destruction. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Women, A History: Anne Bradstreet - Domestic Poet

Anne Bradstreet
Domestic Poet

      Like most Puritan women of her time, Anne Bradstreet was probably expected to fulfill the only duties women were expected to perform. Marry well and have children. Of which she did both. However, Anne Bradstreet was the first women to ever break beyond the boundaries of her societal expectations and become the first recognized female poet in North America. Drawing inspiration from her family life as a wife and mother, Anne wrote about her family, her love of nature, her faith and the happiness and hardships in her life. There was sensitivity, but strength in Anne's poems and she had an uncanny ability to speak to all people on all levels, not just with women.

     Born Anne Dudley in Northampton, England 1612, Anne grew up in a wealthy family where she was highly educated. She married Simon Bradstreet when she was sixteen and with him left England and sailed to Massachusetts. Anne and Simon had eight children of which seven of them manged to live to adulthood (a rarity back then). Simon Bradstreet was influential in the building of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was governor from 1679-1686 and from 1689-1692. 

     Anne's poetry ranged from humorously sweet to suddenly dark and heartbreaking. The death of her child, her grandchildren and her daughter in law all impacted her greatly and more than once her faith was shaken. As a Puritan women she was expected to keep her feelings and private opinions to herself and to never speak of them out loud. Anne's poetry was her internal expression of her thoughts of her life as a wife and mother, as a women who loved God, but also as a person who struggled with loss and grief. You can view all of Anne's works here.

     Oddly enough, Anne never intended to be published. Women were not considered intelligent enough to understand the intellectual mind and for a women to even write about anything was unheard of. However, Anne's brother in law took her works and had them published without her knowing. Afterwards, Anne's poetry become the sound of the new America. While Anne may have broken several gender barriers, women still had a long way to go before they obtained social equality. Anne's insight on life as told through a homemaker and a Christian continues to inspire people today and is why she considered one of the most influential writers of the early American period. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.
 ~J. Robert Moskin

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Jon Snow: Bastard, Savior, King

    Some of my favorite stories have one common character theme, the savior or better yet, the unlikely savior. It's a theme that's seen in characters such as Harry Potter, Aslan the Lion, Gandalf, Katniss Everdeen and many others. The savior character is oftentimes an outsider or misunderstood person who is selfless and sacrificial. At first they can be cut off from the world, but overtime they begin to see the world through other people's eyes. They usually don't conform to society and spend a good deal of time befriending others who may seem unwanted.

      At some point in the story the savior character must make a monumental decision that will make or break him/her in the eyes of their friends and enemies. That decision leads to their death. Sometimes it's by betrayal of their own people or choosing to lay down their lives. However, by mercy or fate, the savior lives and becomes stronger and more powerful than ever before. 

     While Game of Thrones has many good heroes, none can come close to Jon Snow, the nameless bastard son who becomes the King of the North. Christianity and Game of Thrones may not exactly run hand in hand together, but there is no denying that Jon Snow has been the quintessential Jesus Christ character in the whole series. 

     Growing up unwanted and unloved, Jon learned how to reach out to outsiders from an early age. He befriends Samwell Tarley which wins him loyalty and respect from the men and boys who formerly hated him. His undeniable courage is seen by the wildling people and especially by Mance Rayder who takes Jon under his wing when he is taken by the people. After Jon's experience with the wildlings, he understands that these are a people that want to left alone in peace to live their lives. However, he must make the decision to stand with his brothers of the Night Watch or to defend the wildling people.

     Jon's rise to leadership is a well written coming of age. His experiences in battles, negotiations and ability to see beyond the exterior brought him from an unsure boy to a confident man. In times of extreme fear and danger, Jon rose to become a leader that the Night Watch needed, but his opinions of the wildlings would eventually cause his untimely death by the men who swore their allegiance to him. 

     When Jon is miraculously brought back to life by the priestess Mellisandre he wastes no time in regaining the justice that was taken away from him. He is finally reunited with Sansa who has spent years in physical and psychological abuse, but has gained extraordinary wisdom and insight. Together the two of them fight Sansa's diabolical husband and reclaim their home, Winterfell, even though it meant the cost of their younger brother, Rickon.  

     By the end of season 6, we discover that Jon has been more than a bastard his whole life. There is a mystery that only he himself must uncover and those answers will alter the course of who he is forever. I definitely consider Jon Snow one of the best examples of the Christlike/savior characters in fiction. His virtues and principles that are rooted in deep morality and generosity that coinside with intense bravery and honor. Jon Snow would willingly sacrifice himself if it means to protect the ones he loves and even to better the world he lives in.

     His life as an outsider in his father's home taught him the importance of understanding the pain of others and never to judge by difference but rather by character. Is Jon Snow perfect? Absolutely not! He can be stubborn, unyielding and argumentative. However, the flaws of his own nature are what drives him to better than what people expect of him. 

     As Jon Snow grows in the story, he comes to the understanding that oftentimes loyalty and honor are not enough to survive in a world filled with coldness and hate. Yet, as a child of the North, Jon Snow has been forged by the cold winter winds and battle, betrayal, love and loss created a leader that is stuff of any fantasy. And the hardships and trials of his life were the crucible that made a bastard child a king and the unwanted son an unlikely savior. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Phoenix update

     Hey, just a little update on my Cinderella story, The Phoenix. I was doing really well with the writing and updating until the crazy time in August! I haven't stopped the story though! Hopefully I'll get a new chapter posted up by the end of next week and this time from Lord Lucien's POV. There is still so much in the story to explore and I want to thank people who have taken the time to read and enjoy it! That means a lot to me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hollywood Whoredom

Note: This is something that has been bothering me for two months and I've wanted to write about it. The fact that it's been posted the day after the election is purely coincidental and has no bearing on my personal, political beliefs. The words I had been wanting to write for weeks finally came to me last night. My problem with this issue is not with liberals in general, but  rather the Hollywood elite that just happens to be made up of liberals. 

     Ok, many of you who read this may not understand the video, the people in it or what’s being done, but the abortion comment, made by actor Rob Lowe is the reason behind this said rant. (If you don't want to watch the whole video go to 1:26 to hear Lowe's comment).

    First off, Ann Coulter is a heavily conservative author who is well known for her biting, off handed, hateful and sometimes downright cruel comments towards liberals. So, you can imagine she is not well liked in the liberal community.

    The event is a popular Hollywood event on Comedy Central called ‘The Comedy Central Roast’ where a celebrity is chosen to allow him/herself to be made fun of by friends and peers in front of a live audience. This year it was former Brat Packer, Rob Lowe, as the honoree. However, it's not just the honoree that gets the roasting, the roasters all take a jab at one another. In all essence a lot of what was said among all of them was hysterical and I loved a great deal of it, but when it came to Ann Coulter, they were downright slanderous as you can tell from the video.

     I actually didn't watch the program, but I read about it in the numerous articles that were published afterwards. And I was really shocked and almost sickened at the fact that these people were even allowed to get away with some of things that they were saying to Coulter (and that video is the edited version; some of the worse stuff was cut out). Ann Coulter's roasting was actually headline news for weeks.

     Now, I don’t agree with Ann Coulter, but seriously, many of them (mostly the men) were completely out of line. There is a fine line between having fun with someone and downright disrespecting them. On top of that, all of these jokes were written out for them and they had the choice to say no, but didn’t. Therefore, it most definitely reinforces their extreme dislike for Coulter. I actually watched Cinderella the next morning to remind me that there is still humanity in the world.

      That being said.....

       Ann Coulter could afford to ten, eleven, twelve steps back and reevaluate her beliefs. She's not the best representative for the Conservative party. She claims to be a Christian as well, but her lack of compassion would suggest otherwise. Yet, this post is not about Ann Coulter.

     It was Rob Lowe’s comment on abortion that really sent me through the roof.

     While the joke might have been for uber-conservative Ann Coulter, anyone who looks her up will realize that she’s not pro-life at all. She believes in abortion in the case of rape, so therefore, she would be riding the liberal, pro-choice side. Basically, that comment went beyond the obvious hatred to Ann Coulter and hit the face of pro-lifers. It ceased to be funny and became a public political statement. And the room full of liberals just cheered for it.

       Say what you want about someone, but leave the politics out of it. Abortion is no joke at all. It's a serious and controversial issue. And to use it as a joke for a liberal Hollywood event was an all-time fail. The writer should have been ashamed of himself. There's freedom of speech yes, but there should also be respect for other people's beliefs. With Ann Coulter supporting abortion in the case of rape, the joke missed the intended mark and humiliated right-to-lifers and their own political stance. 

     Well, if Ann Coulter did one thing she managed to unite misogyny and said-feminism in a liberal dominated night of "Hollywood Whoredom" (Celebrities who do or say anything for money, regardless of what it is or the consequences). I'm not defending Ann Coulter or the awful things that she has said and has continued to say (she's horrifically anti-Semitic. That doesn't win her any love from me), but this event made the liberals of Hollywood, especially (supposed Conservative) Rob Lowe, look like a bunch of rich schoolyard bullies that push people down to get their way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Another Period Drama Tag

     Rachel at A Girl's Place has tagged me for another Period Drama Tag! Thank You! 

1. What's your favourite Period Drama movie?

2. What's your favourite Period Drama series?

3. Which Period Drama do you dislike the most?
     - I really can't think of one right now. 
4. Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit?

5. Your favourite Period Drama dresses? 

6. Who's your favourite Period Drama character? (Okay, pick at least five)

     - Beryl Ballard from Upstairs, Downstairs (2010), Lady Cora Crawley from Downton Abbey, Sister Julienne from Call The Midwife, Merlin from BBC Merlin and Ross Poldark from Poldark (2015).

7. If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you do on? (Pick a Period Drama dress)

     - Queen Victoria's coronation ball gown from The Young Victoria. I love the yellow and the roses!

8. What's your favourite Jane Austen movie?

9. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife?

10. Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse or Marian of Knighton?

     - Jenny Lee from Call The Midwife

11. Which couple of a Period Drama do you like the most? (Pick at least four)

     - Tom and Barbara from Call The Midwife, John and Anna Bates from Downton Abbey, Spargo and Beryl from Upstairs, Downstairs (2010) and William and Barbara Spooner Willberforce from Amazing Grace

12. At least, which Period Drama villian do you like the most?

     - Vaisey of Nottingham from BBC Robin Hood.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Netflix's "The Crown" as told through Instagram

(Three posts in one day. That's a record!)

"He's Never Far"

I was looking for a particular song from Nest Entertainment's Animated Hero Classics when I came across this music video that is from a different series, called Living Scriptures which is Mormon based. While I don't believe with Mormon doctrine, this song is absolutely captivating and holds true to all Christian ideology.

It's now a favorite!

Little Things #16

     1.) Gooey, chocolaty cookies: The only way cookies should be made.

     2.) I miss the Olympics: Especially since Rio was so good!

     3.) I love Winnie the Pooh: Doesn't everyone???

     4.) Big, beautiful cities: To visit, not to live.

     5.) I love chocolate strawberries: Classic dessert, snack, meal....

     6.) I'm nice to everyone: Probably more than most people deserve.

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