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My Top 10 Books of 2017

It’s nearly the end of 2017 and, as is customary at this time, I am looking back over my literary year. I can’t say that I’ve read a great deal this year but, having never set a reading goal for myself, I consider every book finished to be a victory in itself. 2017 has been a year of great reading slumps and hard slogs through difficult books. If we’re talking stats, I finished 26 book at this point but, fingers crossed, I’ll get another one out of the way before midnight on December 31st. I managed to read 4 of the 17 books on my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 list. I own less than I did from my 2016 list at this point but, more importantly, I actually one more of them. I guess that’s a step in the right direction. Anyway, as I was looking back over the past 12 months, I was faced with an Instagram prompt that demanded I pick my top 5 books of the year. It wasn’t as tough as I expected. I’ve read a lot of good books this year but only a handful of great ones. Almost exactly 10 as it turns out. What a happy, happy coincidence.

  1. Lincoln in the Bardo¬†by George Saunders : I have to admit that the order of these books is subject to change at any time. I’ve changed my mind even in the few hours between posting a photo of my top 5 to Instagram and starting this post. However, one thing that is never going to change is my number 1. Lincoln in the Bardo is a reading experience unlike any other that I’ve ever had. It’s well written, original and absolutely captivating. There is real emotion at its very core but, thanks to the large cast of characters, has enough light-hearted moments to keep it moving. I loved this book from start to finish and I am really glad that I didn’t listen to my gut and ignore it. Although, if I’m being honest, this book was made for me because of the audiobook. I really do think it’s the definitive way to approach this tale. You get more of a sense of the characters and it really comes to life. I know some people who weren’t happy about the outcome of the Man Booker 2017 but I will always think this was a worthy winner.
  2. First Love by Gwendoline Riley : When I reviewed this book on my blog way back in the first half of the year, I admitted that it had faults. There are some things about the narrative and its scope that just didn’t work for me. However, Gwendoline Riley’s writing is absolutely beautiful. I was stunned from the first word. It’s a tough read about characters that you’ll never really like but the language is something you can’t miss. I nearly read this book cover to cover on a train ride to London. There hasn’t been another book all year that has been so easy to get through.
  3. Norse Mythology¬†by Neil Gaiman : Another book that I “read” as an audiobook but there is something about hearing Neil Gaiman speaking these tales that make them click. These retellings of the classic Norse myths don’t necessarily flow as easily as a Neil Gaiman original but he manages to bring his own sense of charm to the well-known stories. These are a fabulous thing to dip in and out of. He really captures the spirit of the original tales whilst adding a cheeky modern interpretation to some aspects. It’s got things that lovers of both Gaiman and his subject matter will enjoy.¬†
  4. Underground Railroad¬†by Colson Whitehead : Part of me feels unoriginal by putting this in my top 5 considering it’s one of the books of 2017. However, I can’t deny that this is a powerful and incredible read. I don’t think its a flawless read, as I pointed out in my review here on the blog, but Colson Whitehead is a great writer. His unique take on this important aspect of American history is as captivating as it is tragic. I still think he could have taken it a bit further but his ability to create characters that you believe in and care about is astounding. Out of all of my top 5, this is probably the one I’d be least likely to reread but I’m very glad I finally read it.
  5. And Then There Were None¬†by Agatha Christie : This is only as far down the list because it was a rereading and it didn’t seem fair placing it higher. I’m a huge Christie fan and this novel really is one of the best pieces of crime fiction ever written. She crafted such an intricate and surprising narrative within these pages that means it is still entertaining when you know who the killer is. She creates memorable and interesting characters. This is a must read for fans and newbies alike.
  6. The 7th Function of Language¬†by Laurent Binet : One of the books from my Most Anticipated List that actually made the cut. I’m so happy! Despite the fact that this novel took me so fucking long to finish I absolutely adored it. This is the book that almost changed my top 5 after my Instagram post. However, this is such a niche and difficult book that I felt it had to sit just outside the greatest of the year. It’s an incredibly original and well-crafted book that expertly mixed historical fact with fiction. It’s funnier than a book on semiotics really has any right to be. It’s also a dense and fairly intense read. Before I read it, I kinda wanted it to be Roland Barthes meets The Da Vinci Code. Upon reading it, I found it too closely resembled the former at times and often felt like I was sitting back in my second year Literary Criticism seminar. Still, if you have the inclination and are interested in French philosophers and critics, then I’d say give it a go.
  7. The Animators¬†by Kayla Rae Whitaker : Another book on the list has made it into the top 10. Hooray! I did really like this book but, as I mentioned in my review, I had some issues with it. It was Kayla Rae Whitaker’s debut novel and, at times, it felt really obvious. It was an interesting study of two women’s friendship and their passion for the art. The characterisation was incredible and I really like Whitaker’s gritty style of writing. However, there was far too much going on and I just lost it at times. The narrative was crammed to the rafters and it became difficult to engage. I also found the lengthy descriptions of animated sequences, though integral to the plot, rather awkward. The visual nature of the one medium mixing with the descriptive nature of the other didn’t sit well with me. However, this book was exciting enough that I’ll pick up her next book.
  8. New Cemetery¬†by Simon Armitage : The only book of poetry that made it onto the list. I have a difficult and complex relationship with Simon Armitage. Part of me finds him really irritating for a reason I can neither explain nor really understand. The other part appreciates the way he can weave words together. This small collection really was beautiful. If it hadn’t been for the heft price tag, it probably would have been higher on the list. What can I say? I’m trying to be frugal over here.
  9. Autumn by Ali Smith : Don’t really want to say too much about this because I plan on posting my proper review on Wednesday. I only finished this read a couple of days ago but I really enjoyed it. Ali Smith is a wonderfully readable writer, which sounds way worse than it should. She elevates her simple narrative with stunning language and interesting narrative structure. It’s a really deceptive book. It’s high literature posing as lower literature (again that choice of words has all sorts of resonances that I didn’t intend). Unlike the person I saw on Instagram complaining about it, I don’t think it deserved to win the Man Booker but Ali Smith deserves to be recognised for the fucking great talent that she is. My blog isn’t exactly the best place to start but it’s something.
  10. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad : Once again, this is a position not for the book itself but for the audiobook. Not that I have anything against Heart of Darkness. I love it, which is why I was so eager to “read” the story again. It’s a fantastic tale of obsession and the human spirit that deserves its place in literary history. It still wouldn’t have made it into my top 10, however, if it hadn’t been for the Kenneth Branagh Audible exclusive performance. I love Kenny B and his interpretation of this text was amazing. I mean aside from his dodgy female voice at the end.
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Banned Books Week: My Top 15 Banned Books

Today marks the beginning of Banned Books Week; a time where the literary world encourages people to pick up a book that has, at one time or another, been deemed unsuitable for society. There are endless great books that have gone unpublished thanks to various concerns regarding their morality. Most often is is books that are seen to contain dangerous amounts of sexual content, violence, or anti-religious sentiments that keep parents up at night. I’ve always thought the act of banning books is a really stupid one, not least because the majority of criticism is missing the overall point of the novels themselves. Of course, the major issue with saying outright that a book is “dangerous”is that it only increases the reputation of that book. How many people, upon hearing that their parents don’t want them reading something will instantly want to go and read it? A quick way to get people talking about and reading your book is to get it banned. How many people picked up a copy of the god awful Da Vinci Code¬†because of the controversy that surrounded Dan Brown’s novel? His first 3 novels were hardly making headlines and each had fewer than 10,000 copies in their first printings. I’m not saying it was the only thing that made Dan Brown a success but all of the criticism and debate that came from it must have had an effect. So, banning a book doesn’t always get the right result. Especially when those books end up being classic works of literature. It’s weird to think that a lot of my favourite books were once unpublished because people didn’t want society to read them. So, in the hopes of inspiring people to pick up a banned book in honour of this week, I’m presenting my favourite banned books (and a few extras).


1. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

DH Lawrence’s last novel has been the source of much controversy since it was first published privately in 1928. After an initial publication in Britain in 1932, the novel was not available until again until 1960. The story of a love-affair between a high-society married woman and a working-class man was seen as obscene and contained words that were not deemed suitable for publication. It was only after Penguin went to court to argue that the novel was of literary worth that Lady Chatterley¬†was published again. It subsequently sold out. I know a lot people don’t really appreciate Lawrence’s writing these day but this book is definitely worth a read. If only to honour the trouble that people went to nearly 60 years ago to get the damn thing published

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Thanks to it’s questionable content regarding the love affair between an adult man and a young girl in his care, Lolita was banned in several countries after it’s initial release. The book was banned in the UK from 1955 to 1959 on moral grounds. Despite all of the controversy surrounding the book, Nabokov’s novel is not actually as erotic as it has been argued. Certainly not enough to see British customs officials seiing books that were entering the country.
3. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies¬†has been one of my favourite books for years but, according to the¬†American Library Association it is one of the top 10 most banned books in the US. Golding’s cautionary tale of young boys stranded on a deserted island is constantly being called into question because of it’s use of violence, profanity and, in some cases, pro-racist themes. I first read this novel when I was studying for my GCSEs (about 14/15) so I find it impossible to believe anyone seeing it as dangerous. It’s a great novel that still has a lot to say about human nature.

4.¬†The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s tale of a dystopian¬†future ruled over by religious fanatics has, obviously, seen something of a popularity surge recently¬†thanks to the amazing TV adaptation. The novel tells the story of a young woman who is forced into sexual servitude for a couple unable to have children on their¬†own. Parents at a Texan high school demanded that the book be banned thanks to sexual content and the negative portrayal of religion. Far from being a dangerous novel, this is a book that everyone, especially¬†young women, should be encouraged to read. Atwood’s novel is becoming scarily more relevant so if you’ve not read it yet then I implore¬†you to do so.

5. 1984 by George Orwell

I could easily have picked another George Orwell book for this list and, very nearly, did go with Animal Farm¬†instead. Although, arguably 1984 is¬†George Owell’s most famous novel and it¬†is also one of the most challenged books in literary history. The story of a dystopian future in which all human activity is monitored by a totalitarian government has been seen as subversive or ideologically corrupting. It was banned in Russia and the UK and US for years. Orwell’s novel is a must read for anyone who hasn’t already.

6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This novel is such a loved classic that it’s hard to imagine anyone hating it. Of course, this is why we can’t have nice things. Harper Lee’s classic novel tells the story of a white lawyer defending a black man accused of rape. It has been the subject of many challenges in school thanks to its use of racial slurs, profanity and sexual content. As with the other books on this list, To Kill a Mockingbird¬†is a great novel that has a great deal to teach people that aren’t too narrow-minded to see it. Far from being dangerous, Lee has a great to say about racism and the role of race in society. I read this at school at a young age and I’m glad I did. I may not have fully understood it then, I think this is a book children (and adults) everywhere should get to read.

7. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison is an award winning novel. It has won countless literary prizes, including the Pulitzer. It is the heartbreaking story of slavery and racism in the US and the tale of a mother coming to terms with the death of her child. It is a beautifully written and haunting tale of undoubted literary and social worth. However, it is still being challenged for its depictions violence and racism, its sexual contents and for scenes in which bestiality is discussed. This is another book that you should get your hands on as soon as possible. Morrison is a great writer and this novel is one that will stick with you forever. 

8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

It’s widely accepted by most people that Brave New World¬†is a literary classic. Aldous Huxley’s tale shows the dangers of a society that has become too comfortable with artificial¬†comforts. Huxley’s future is far from bright and represents the worst of mankind. As such, it has been banned for its strong language, sexual content and, in Ireland, for its comments against religion. In India, Huxley was even branded as a pornographer. Again, this isn’t the kind of statement that would necessarily stop people wanting to read this book.

9. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Fairly ironically, Ray Bradbury’s cautionary¬†tale about the dangerous of book banning has faced its own controversy. The novel shows a futuristic¬†society that burns all books for being dangerous. In the real world, Ray Bradbury’s book is seen as containing questionable language and themes. In 1953, a school gave their students copies of the book after the, supposedly, obscene words had been blacked out.

10. Tropic Of Cancer by Henry Miller,

What do you associate most with Henry Miller? If you said sex then you’ve obviously heard of Henry Miller. Tropic of Cancer¬†follows a young struggling writer‚Äôs sexual encounters and has, obviously, been banned thanks to its sexual content. The book was first published in France in 1934 and wasn’t allowed to be released in the US until 1961. However. even then, booksellers were faced with lawsuits for selling the book. After the Supreme Court declared the book was not classed as obscene, it¬†was delightfully described by a Pennsylvania judge as ‚Äėan open sewer, a pit of putrefaction, a slimy gathering of all that is rotten in the debris of human depravity‚Äô. I mean if that doesn’t make you want to read this book then I honestly don’t know what will.¬†

11. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Erich Maria Remarque is a German veteran of the First World War and his novel is an¬†unflinching portrayal of the brutality of the conflict.¬†It describes the physical pain and mental stress that German soldiers faced during the war, and the alienation felt by many upon returning home.¬†It was banned in Germany from 1933 and was burned under the Nazi for being unpatriotic. However, Remarque’s work is considered to be one of¬†the greatest portrayals of World War 1 to¬†have been written.

12. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings¬†is Maya Angelou’s¬†¬†about the early years of her life. It is a coming-of-age story that sees Maya grow into a confident young women despite her traumatic life. She depicts her struggles with racism and being sexual assaulted as a young girl. This is an important piece of literature that discusses identity, racism, literacy, and, most importantly, the role of women. However, schools and parents alike have banned the book thanks to its use of profanity, sexual content, and its discussion of religion. The book is, for the most part, critically acclaimed and the most popular of Angelou’s autobiographies.

13. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses¬†is another of those banned books stories that has gone down in literary history. Salman Rushdie’s novel was¬†inspired in part by the life of the Prophet Mohammed. It was such a controversial book that¬†Iran‚Äôs Ayatollah Khomeini placed a fatwa on Rushdie’s head. It also resulted in the death of the Japanese translator and the attempted murder of both an Italian translator¬†and a Norwegian publisher.¬†The book’s publication sparked violent riots across the world and is banned in many Muslim majority countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

14. Ulysses by James Joyce

Now, I tried to read Ulysses a few years ago but only made it the end of the first chapter. Upon finishing the opening I realised that I had no idea what had just happened. I decided, instead of going back to the start, that I would store it away for another day. That day never came. Joyce’s novel is an oft confusing tome of great literary standing. So, I find it difficult to believe that enough people have finished the book in order to find something to complain about but they have. References to masturbation in the novel have meant it has been categorised as obscene and radical. It was banned in both the UK and the US for years. 500 copies of the book were burned in New York. Now, if anything is going to make me finish this damn book it’s going to be avenging those copies that were turned to ash.¬†

15. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

If there’s one thing this list has taught us, it’s that America is a weird place. Salinger’s tale of teenage angst and self-discovery is a staple on high school syllabuses¬†all over the US. It is also the most banned books in American schools. Talk about a weird contrast. Salinger’s tale is full of profanity, violence and sexual content that, supposedly, teenagers shouldn’t be introduced to. Of course, proclaiming¬†a book to be morally questionable is definitely going to stop teenagers trying to read it, right? Right? Now, I can’t claim to love this book but a lot of people around the world adore it. If you’re of the right age then I could potentially see why you would love it but I never got the whole adoration thing. Still, it deserves a place on this list.
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TOP 10 WEN-SDAY – Top 10 Fictional Jobs

Today I was rejected for another job that I really wanted. To be fair, I highly suspected I hadn’t got it even after they spent 4 days longer than they said to contact me. It still sucks though because I thought it would have been a really good fit. I’m getting so used to getting psyched up for interviews and then coming out feeling like shit. I’m sick of job hunting. When I got a promotion at work a year or so ago I nailed the interview. Since then, every interview I’ve had has ended in rejection. So I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion the job I’m most qualified for is the one I know, wholeheartedly, I don’t want to do. Whilst the job that I’m desperate to get is the one that nobody thinks I should be doing. Great. So, I’ve got some thinking to do, which is convenient because a recent Instagram challenge prompt asked me to reveal my dream fictional job. It’s an interesting question. Yes, it won’t help me in my job search but when my current job is so fucking boring I need to pass the time somehow. This prompt happened to fall today which is the first Wednesday of the month. Perfect timing for a hastily put together Top 10 Wen-sday.
Ten: 00-Agent (James Bond)

I know that¬†James Bond¬†is an awful mess of sexism and nonsense these days but I always loved the films as a kid. I think I’ve always been fascinated by spies and secret agents when I was growing up. My favourite episode of¬†Thunderbirds¬†was the one with the secret agents and I was obsessed with Bond’s gadgets. I realise that I wouldn’t be as suave or sophisticated as 007 and I certainly wouldn’t be ordering Martinis when I walked into a bar. However, I’d be pretty happy to drive around in fancy gars with exploding pens in my pocket.

Nine: Paper Salesman (The Office)

I realise that the act of selling paper itself isn’t that dream worthy a job but it would be if you were doing it at either Wernham Hogg or Dunder Mifflin. I’d love to do this job for a short time just to get the chance to work with the characters on both shows. We’d all love to mess around with Tim/Jim and hang out with Dawn/Pam at reception. And, despite their flaws, I’ve have worse bosses than either David Brent or Michael Scott. This could be a breath of fresh air.

Eight: Man in Black (Men in Black)

This job may have more to do with the accompanying Will Smith song than a real desire to do it but I think that’s reason enough. This just feels like a cool job. Wake up, save the world from Alien scum, erase people’s minds, and go home. What a way to spend your day. This would be a job where you would wake up desperate to go to work and look insanely good whilst doing it.

Seven: A Detective (Sherlock Holmes, Poriot, Miss Marple etc)

In real life, I’d probably be shit detective. I’ve watched enough crime dramas and failed to work out who the killer is to know this. I’m probably either too trusting or not trusting enough of people. This wouldn’t work too well. I’d either suspect nobody or everyone. So, in my dream world, I’m a great detective. It’s perfect. You solve crimes and get to be kind of a dick to everyone. Plus, you always get some sort of great accessory that makes you stand out. Hat, moustache, knitting… I wonder what mind would be.

Six: Member of Starfleet (Star Trek)

I don’t even care what job I’d have to do for this to happen. I’d be a red shirt and run the constant risk of sudden death if I had to. Who wouldn’t love the chance to be on the Starship Enterprise? Especially if it was¬†The Next Generation¬†era. Working under Captain Jean-Luc and discussing great things with Data? Sounds like a great day at the office. Then there’s the whole holodeck thing… and we all know, what happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck.

Five: Auror (Harry Potter)

I reckon a lot of people who thought about this kind of list would say that a teacher at Hogwarts would be the best job in the series. However, I would hate it. I’ve already discussed my feelings about the way the school is run so I don’t think I could get on board with it. There would be far too much stress and so much work to do. Then you have to deal with kids. Not just any kids, mind, but magical kids. No, I’d much rather be the next Alastor Moody and go around kicking the arses of bad witches and wizards. Doling out justice with my wand in hand… I can picture that.

Four: Ghostbuster (Ghostbusters)

I’d happily be a part of either the original team or the new, girl-only team. I think the original film is clearly better but there was something about the new one that I loved. Whatever happens, I’d love to get the chance to test out a proton pack and capturing some spirits. I could even get on board with the unflattering jumpsuits.

Three: A Member of International Rescue (Thunderbirds)

I absolutely bloody love Thunderbirds so would love the chance to join the team. I’ve always wanted to be Virgil if I’m honest. Yes, he doesn’t get the glory in the way that Scott does but he’s probably the most important guy on nearly every mission. He carries the bloody supplies to each site and controls every piece of equipment that is needed. The guys a bloody hero but Scott acts like the big I am all the time. Ridiculous. Still, I’d rock the hat and I’d love to have a portrait that has light-up eyes.

Two: Pokemon Trainer (Pokemon)

This may not really count as a job but, in the game at least, you got money for winning matches. I’d love to wander around and catch Pokemon for a living. It’d be difficult but I think I’d get a pretty good team together. Then it’d be on my way to the Gyms to get my hands on the coveted badges. I’m already a proven Pokemon Master using my Gameboy so why not make it official?

One: Jedi (Star Wars)

Okay, I’m not entirely sure that a Jedi even counts a job either but I can’t deny that it’s something I’d love to do. Yes, the whole¬†celibacy¬†thing would be tough but I’d love to learn how to use the force. To travel around the galaxy and stop uprisings and shit. I think I’d be a pretty good General and could proved fairly useful in the Clone Wars. I think I could cope with the pretentious and moral act that I’d have to put on…as long as I could get my hands on a lightsaber. That’s the real draw.

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TOP 10 WEN-SDAY – TOP TEN STAR WARS

Tomorrow is the biggest day in any Star Wars¬†fan’s diary. Yes, May the 4th is upon us all again and, as we started last year, it’s time for our yearly Star Wars¬†Top 10. I have to be honest, I’ve only done 1 of these so far and I was already struggling to find a decent idea here. It didn’t help that I got back late from the cinema. I’ve just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2¬†and I have too many feelings to be able to process this top 10. Still, I’m soldiering on and am ready to right a list of my top moments in the Star Wars films. All the Star Wars¬†films that it. Even the newer ones were up for grabs. That’s probably controversial but, as I’ve said before, all of the newer films have their positives.


Ten: The Jedi Battle РAttack of the Clones

The great moments in the second prequel film were definitely few and far between. However, the huge Jedi battle on Geonosis is just amazing. It’s the first time we really see the sheer force and size of the Jedis before Order 66 destroys them. They are a force to be reckoned with and you can see how they are able to keep the Galaxy in order.

Nine: The Pod Race – The Phantom Menace

The Pod Race gave so much hope early on in this film. It’s such a fantastic sequence that uses CGI in a really good way. You know, unlike the other scenes in the prequels. Ignoring the rest of the film, this sequence is exciting and exhilarating. We see Anakin as the great pilot that Obi Wan always claimed he was. It looks great and it adds a lot to the opening of the new film.

Eight: The Battle of Hoth РThe Empire Strikes Back

This opening battle is bloody brilliant, right? It picks up off straight away after the dramatic tension of A New Hope¬†and takes it to a new ice planet. I mean if nothing else, Hoth is a fucking great place for the series’ first land battle. Then look at the huge AT-ATs against the tiny rebel ships. It’s a great battle with a great background. It showed us that this sequel was ready to start with a bang and keep on going. It is chaotic, energetic and brilliantly set out. A great sequence.

 Seven: The asteroid field РThe Empire Strikes Back

Never tell me the odds of this scene ending up in this top 10. This scene is, quite frankly, a roller-coaster ride. We follow Han Solo as he tries to escape in the Millennium Falcon from the Imperial fleet in the middle of an asteroid field. There’s near misses, snappy dialogue and some great visuals. This scene just works so well and is helped along by John William’s great score. It’s a dramatic moment where you genuinely fear for the safety of our heroes.

 Six: The trash compactor РA New Hope

Not exactly something you’d see as a key moment but this scene is the first to feature out main foursome together for the first time. It’s the moment when we really see the relationships develop and see how the character’s bounce off each other. Add to that the tension and fear. The dialogue is great and the sense of danger is always present. Then we have things popping up all over the place and random trash monsters. It’s a great little scene.

Five: “I love you” “I know” – The Empire Strikes Back

Another memorable and quotable moment. The history of the behind the scenes are now as famous as the words themselves. When Harrison Ford decided he wanted to change the line from “I love you to” to “I know” he really cemented his character’s attitude. Han Solo is the egotistical, frustrating, scruffy-looking Nerf-herder. Yes, he’s lovable but he’s still a rogue. More than any other line in the trilogy, these 3 words sum up exactly who he is. It’s why we all love it so much.

Four: Duel of the Fates РThe Phantom Menace

Before the prequels came along the lightsabre fights we, if we’re honest, really fucking lame. The new films introduced us to what a Jedi battle could really be with this showdown and, boy, did it rewrite the rules. First, we have Darth Maul and his double-ended sword and then we have the Jedi twosome working together. It’s a brilliantly choreographed sequence and is full of tension, excitement and offers an emotional punch in the middle. It’s the best thing about the first film and the prequels. It’s just mesmerising.

Three: The Death Star Attack – A New Hope

Another super iconic scene and such a memorable moment. At the basic level, without this scene the original films wouldn’t have it’s story. I mean if the Death Star hadn’t been destroyed then there wouldn’t be a rebel alliance any more. At the same time, this is the moment when we really see the potential of the force and Luke’s Jedi abilities. There are also the fantastic illusions to WW2 and the aerial dogfights. It feels real yet completely sci-fi at the same time. It’s a game changer.
 
Two: Darth Vader unleashed – Rogue One

I’m not sure if it’s cheating having this moment in my top 10 because it’s from one of the newer films. However, this is the Darth Vader scene we’ve all been waiting for. Darth is one of the greatest villains in cinema history but, when you think about it, there’s little reason for this to be true. In the originals we never see him do anything that terrifying and the Anakin in the prequels doesn’t get beyond killing a few annoying younglings. We needed this scene to show us exactly why the rebels were so fucking afraid of him. It’s a breathtaking scene.

One: The Big Reveal – The Empire Strikes Back

As if there could be any other moment in the number 1 spot. We all remember that moment we first watched the films and saw this moment. It’s number 1 simply because of how iconic it is. Without this, the original films don’t have their emotional core. It’s one of the best lines in the series and it’s one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history. How could I possibly pick anything else?

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Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Saddest deaths in Harry Potter

About a week ago, I came up with a great idea for what to do this month’s Top 10 on. I’d been re-watching the first seasons of Black Mirror¬†and decided that I would rank the episodes from best to worst. I mean it was perfect, 3 seasons plus the Christmas special equalled 10 episodes. Well, thanks to fucking Netflix, the 3rd series of Charlie Brooker’s amazing TV show had more episodes. There are, in fact 13 episodes of Black Mirror¬†to date so doing a Top 10 didn’t seem right. It’d be okay if there were way more than 10 but leaving off 3 seemed unnecessary. “So why didn’t I just do a Top 13?” I hear you cry. Because that wouldn’t rhyme. So, I’ve spent the last hour or so despairing and trying desperately to come up with something else to write about. I’ve found something. It came about after I was taking some Instagram pictures today. I was looking through The Deathly Hallows¬†for a quotation and ended up getting engrossed in the Battle of Hogwarts. I then found myself weeping at moments that I’d forgotten/blocked from my memory. So, in honour of the fallen, I’ve compiled a list of the worst deaths in the Harry Potter series. By the way, I’ve seen some lists that include Lily and James. I find this to be cheating because, though seen in memories or whatever, these don’t actually occur in the book’s narrative.

 Ten: Albus Dumbledore

Now, don’t get me wrong, Albus Dumbledore was a great guy and everything but, when you think about it, his death isn’t really that sad. There’s plenty of build-up in Book 5 and, let’s be honest, he’s already fucking old. Plus, as we find out in Book 7, he planned his death to fuck with Voldemort as much as possible so his death is actually a good thing. He’s pranking his mortal enemy from beyond the grave. Also, he was always kind of a shitty headmaster and a bit suspect. There’s some darkness beneath those eyes I tell ya. Darkness.

Nine: Cedric Diggory

I almost wasn’t going to include Cedric because I think my dislike of¬†Robert Pattinson has had an adverse affect on my opinion of the character. Although, Cedric’s death was the first major “good guy” character to death up to that point (if I remember correctly). He was a student and he was killed because he wanted to share his victory with Harry. He was selfless, brave and intelligent. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and shouldn’t have died. Also, I vividly remember being absolutely destroyed by these scenes when I first read them so I couldn’t ignore it.

Eight: Colin Creevy

Colin may have been a truly annoying character when he first appeared in the books but that doesn’t mean his death is any less sad. He was a young man and wasn’t supposed to be in the battle. He snuck back into Hogwarts to help Harry. Another case of Harry Potter fever causing people to sacrifice themselves in the name of the Boy Who Lived. The moment his body is carried in is just awful.

 Seven: Mad Eye Moody

I love Mad Eye Moody and I feel, after the whole Barty Crouch Jr. thing, that he got kind of a raw deal. He was epic and powerful. Gruff, yes, but the kind of guy you wanted on your side in a fight. So, when he was killed in such a forgettable and insignificant way it just seemed unfair. He was destined for great things and should have gone down fighting an army of Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts. Not on a broomstick carrying a fake Harry Potter.

 Six: Tonks

Tonk’s death is sad, there can be no doubt, but I refuse to put it much higher because SHE DIDN’T NEED TO BE THERE. She was meant to be staying with her new born child. I know she was being noble and fighting the good fight. But she didn’t need to be there. She put her own need to fight before what was best for Teddy. When Lily and James were threatened by Voldemort they took Harry and hid. There was nothing ignoble in that act. Tonks did the opposite and went looking for the forces that were trying to kill her. And she left her son without a mother.

Five: Hedwig

I know there will be those who place Hedwig at number one because, quite frankly, it was a death that hit everybody hard. Hedwig had been Harry’s only companion in the Muggle world since his first year. She had been there for him and died to save his life. I’m a sucker for an honourable, sacrificing death and this was heartbreaking. However, the overall impact on others was less than with the people below. I’m sorry to have to be the one to say it but it’s true.

Four: Remus Lupin

I loved Remus from the moment he first appeared in the books. I’ve had a complicated relationship with him where I couldn’t decided if I wanted him to be my literary father or if I wanted him to do dirty things to me. In fact, I still can’t if I’m honest. It’s fucking weird. Remus was another of those wholly good characters who didn’t deserve to die. Plus, the only reason it happened was for literary mirroring. J K only killed Remus so the whole of the Marauders could die and so Teddy was left without parents. It’s bullshit I tell you. Bullshit. But I’ve had this argument before.

Three: Dobby

Oh my god, the amount of feels that this death caused. Dobby is such an innocent and purely good creature that it was immensely unfair that he was killed in such a horrible way. All he’d ever done was try and help Harry Potter and look what happened. I mean, Harry didn’t even respect Dobby enough if you ask me. I mean, yeah, he gave him his freedom and everything but he kind of stopper giving a shit about Dobby after that. He used Dobby’s help when he needed it but gave little back. Yes, his life with the Malfoy’s wasn’t great but at least he’d have lived through the battle.

Two: Sirius Black

Now, my feelings on Sirius Black are kind of mixed. Part of me loves him because he’s awesome and, you know, Gary Oldman. But the other part realises how terrible a role model he was for Harry. The man had been locked up for 13 years and was still basically his younger self. He was reckless and angry and saw Harry as a new James. As much as we all loved the idea of their happy ending, if the pair had ended up living together in familial bliss it would undoubtedly gone badly. Still, this death was heartbreaking mostly because it was Harry’s fault. If he’d been less of a dickhead and had any common sense he wouldn’t have gone to the Ministry alone. Therefore, Sirius wouldn’t have needed to rescue him and gotten killed. Fuck you, Harry.

One: Fred Weasley

This one’s kind of a given I suppose. Fred was the lovable twin who only ever wanted to make people laugh. It’s horrendously sad in the book to see Percy, who’s been a massive dick for since we met him, fall to pieces when he sees his brother. Plus, as a twin, I think this always had some deeper resonance than the others. The one thing guaranteed to get me in bits is seeing a film/TV show where a twin reacts to the death of their sibling.

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A Song of Ice and Fire, birthday, books, George RR Martin, Harry Potter, J K Rowling, lord of the rings, Roald Dahl, Tolkien, Top 10

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Characters I’d Invite to my Birthday

Just like¬†Ronald Bilius Weasley, I am a March baby. Yes, just as Ron is celebrating his 37th year of his life on this very day, I will be celebrating turning 29 on March 5th. As a younger twin, I’m used to not really giving much of a shit about my birthday. I mean when you’ve spent 29 years sharing congratulations, parties and cakes, you start to feel that the whole thing isn’t really that special. Still, I feel it’s best to honour it in some way so for my monthly top 10 I decided to do a rundown of the fictional characters I’d most like to attend my birthday shindig. Not that it would be a wild affair. Don’t get me wrong, I like to party… but by party, I mean read books.

 Ten: Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

I know that if Gatsby did show up to my party that he’d end up hiding away and being all mysterious. However, I am willing to overlook that if I can get him to help me organise my bash. Of course, I accept that the whole event would then become a horrible metaphor for excess and superficiality but, hey. we all know there ain’t no party like a Gatsby party. He’s thrown quite a few Jazz Age ragers in his time so it would undoubtedly be a party that would go down in history… and I’m okay with that.

Nine: Rob Fleming (High Fidelity)

Rob is becoming another of those characters who constantly pop up on my top 10s. What can I say? I just bloody love this book. However, my reasoning here is for one thing: music selection. I reckon if I gave Rob the challenge to come up with an unforgettable party playlist then it would be the best thing we’d ever heard. It would be balanced and well put together with a mix of great classics, unknown hits, and cheesy pop songs. Ideal.

Eight: Brienne of Tarth (ASOIAF)

Am I just including Brienne on this list as a force of habit? Who can say? Well, I can. Yes, I think I’m just getting used to adding her to every list I possibly can but, also, she’s a bloody great character. I doubt she’d want to come to my party or, indeed, any party she didn’t have to. However, I still believe, wholeheartedly, that Brienne and I would be besties. We wouldn’t be at the heart of the party but we could escape from everyone else and have real talk. Or I could just repeatedly tell her how much of an inspiration she is.

 Seven: Kim Pine (Scott Pilgrim)

Kim is another one of those people who probably wouldn’t appreciate having to come to my party but she is also a character who I’m sure I’d get on with. We’re both super sarcastic, angry, and basically hate everyone. We’d get on like a house on fire and would throw some serious shade at the other guests.

 Six: Gandalf the Grey (The Lord of the Rings)

Yes, Gandalf is super old and kind of angry when he gets riled up. But, I have one word for you: fireworks. Yep, if Gandalf came to your party it may kick start a chain of events that sees you going on the longest and most dangerous journey of your life BUT he’d also treat you to some amazing pyrotechnics.

Five: Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

For one thing, Willy Wonka seems like a guy with a dark sense of humour that I’d really love. For another, he’d definitely have to bring me a present of sweets, right? I mean he might bring enough for the whole gang but as long as I’m getting a box of Wonka Bars then I don’t give a shit. Plus, the Oompa-Loompas could very easily get together and organise a full on song and dance number for me, That’s got to be worth it.

Four: Deadpool 

I think I’d be so bold as to say that Deadpool¬†was my favourite movie of 2016. I say that because I really can’t remember all of the films I watched in 2016. I mean Rogue One came close but Deadpool¬†was the result of a long and arduous wait for the comic book character to get his proper on screen adaptation. Deadpool is insane and, whilst I admit he’s a little unruly, I’d love to see what chaos he brought to the party. Provided (film) Colossus or (comic book) Cable turned up with him to keep him in check we’d be fine.

Three: Hagrid (Harry Potter)

Hagrid is the nicest half-giant you could ever hope to meet and he’s a massive softy. He also seems to love birthdays. He turned up to meet Harry with a home-baked cake and it was just the sweetest thing ever.

Two: Tyrion (ASOIAF)

How can I possibly have a party without including the God of Tits and Wine to the guest list? Tyrion is Westeros’ original badboy. He loves a party and he’d be a great drinking companion. Just as my best friend and I have so many times before, we’d drunkenly talk about books and politics all evening. It’d be messy but, boy, would it be worth it.

One: Oliver Wood (Harry Potter)

I have to invite Oliver Wood. I mean he’s the closest thing I have to a book boyfriend. I’ve loved Oliver Wood since I was a child and, thanks to Sean Biggerstaff, I continue to love him to this day. The decision to make film Oliver a Scot did rather cement the idea that he’s my ideal man. Therefore, Oliver Wood is at my birthday looking all cute and Scottish. I’d listen to him talk about Quidditch plays all evening and never once let him know how bored I was.

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Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, comic book, comic books, films, Harrison Ford, Hugh Jackman, Kenneth Branagh, list, Marvel, Spider-Man, Star Wars, super powers, superhero, Top 10, Wolverine

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Films I’m Looking Forward To This Year

So last week I released my list of books that I’m most looking forward to¬†(probably not) reading this year. So I decided, as it’s that time of the month when I need to create a list of 10 random things, that it was only fair that I put down on e-paper the films that I’m most excited to see this year. It turns out that was really fucking hard. There are a lot of great films coming out and I’m super excited about all of them. Even really surprising ones. I mean, had you asked me this time last year, that I’d be quite looking forward to seeing Michael Keaton star in the story of the founder of McDonalds I’d have thought you were mad. Now, however, I think it looks pretty good. I mean I love Keaton and it stars the internet’s favourite man’s man Nick Offerman. Plus, there was a point when I didn’t think I wanted to see The Social Network¬†but that turned out better than expect. I also, even more shockingly, became fairly interested in the Justice League¬†film. I’m still not ecstatic about the release because the last two films in DC’s arsenal were utter dogshit. I think it’s basically just down to Jason Momoa though. And Batfleck. But, before I get distracted by sexy superheroes, I should present the list… with more than enough sexy superheroes.
Ten: War for the Planet of the Apes

I really enjoyed 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes¬†and I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes¬†back in 2011. The rebooted franchise has created some fantastic pequels so I’m incredibly keen to see what’s coming next.

Nine: Blade Runner 2049

Of course I’m excited about the prospect of Harrison Ford returning to the role of Rick Deckard but there is still a part of me that worries. It’s been a long time. Still, everything we’ve seen so far looks good and gives a positive feeling. Plus, director Denis Villeneuve directed last year’s¬†Arrival¬†which everyone seemed to fucking love. So it’s probably in safe hands.

Eight: Murder on the Orient Express

Probably not going to be top of too many people’s lists but I think I’m going to enjoy this one. It’s Kenneth Branagh directing himself and a shitload of really famous actors to retell the classic Hercule Poirot tale. Yes, we all know who did it but that’s not the point. It’s about watching our favourite Belgian detective work out those “leetle grey cells” to figure it out. And, at this point, I think I’d allow Branagh to play anybody.

 Seven: Alien: Covenant

I know it received mixed reviews but I kinda liked Prometheus. I mean it was a bit of a fucking mess but, for the most part, I think it was a decent film. I get why people were upset though. It was billed as the epic prequel to one of the best films ever made but it didn’t even feature the titular alien creature. So, this year’s follow up should make amends for that if the poster is anything to go by. Really, this could be a retelling of the first Alien film and this would fair better than Prometheus. Plus, you know, Michael Fassbender is fucking weird in this role.

 Six: Logan Lucky

I’m kinda getting sick of Steven Soderbergh telling us he’s retiring and then making another film. Or at least I would be sick of it if it wasn’t for the idea of another Soderbergh film. It’s been 4 years since he made the announcement and now he’s back making a comedy about a robbery duing a NASCAR race. It’s got an interesting and star-studded line-up. What we know about the plot sounds kinda ropey but it’s fucking Soderbergh. How can you ignore it?

Five: Thor: Ragnorak

I know Thor¬†isn’t everyone’s favourite part of the MCU but I’m a massive fan of his first film. I think the second was kind of dodgy but I still have faith in this series. The huge-armed Norse God is back for his third film and, for anyone that knows anything about Norse mythology will know, Ragnorok can only mean trouble. Thankfully, Thor is helped by his pal the Hulk and Marvel’s newest sign-up Doctor Strange. We’ve lost the unnecessary and bland Jane but I’m sure nobody, Natalie Portman included, is crying about that.

Four: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy¬†was a sort of surprisingly huge hit when it came out 3 years ago. It introduced us to the ragtag bunch of people who accidentally get caught up in trying to save the world. Their second film promises much of the things that made the first one great so obviously I’m excited. But, as we’ve learnt by now, Marvel sequels don’t have the greatest track record. I mean, to date, only 1 follow-up manages to equal/improve on the first film: The Winter Soldier. At the worst we have Iron Man 2¬†(happily improved upon with Iron Man 3) but the rest were all just kind of meh. So, I do have a fear that Guardians 2 will just try and replay all of it’s greatest hits without offering up any new material. As much as I love him, I need more than just “I am Groot” but said in a baby voice now.

Three: Spider-Man: Homecoming

If Civil War¬†taught us anything it was that a Marvel controlled Spider-Man¬†film could be the best thing ever. Then the trailer for Homecoming¬†was released and it definitely backed up the claim. Tom Holland looks set to steal Andrew Garfield’s crown as best portrayal of the web-slinger. Still, this is the 3 time in about 15 years that this franchise has been rebooted and it’s the 3 different actor to lend his face to the role. I’m not sure it was necessary and, more worryingly, I feel that Marvel are pushing Tony Stark too much. Maybe his role will work in the film as a whole but, from what we’ve seen so far, this could very easily become the Iron Man show. And that would be an injustice.

Two: Star Wars Episode 8 

Well, duh! Rogue One¬†was the best Star Wars film to be released since the originals and it got me incredibly excited for what’s coming next. The Force Awakens¬†did a great job of bringing us back into the world but left so many things unanswered. This is the time to find out. Plus, it’s directed by Rian Johnson who also did Brick and Looper so we’re in pretty safe hands.¬†¬†

One: Logan

There was really no other choice for the number 1 spot. Logan is a key film this year for so many reasons. Mostly because, after 17 years, Hugh Jackman is finally saying goodbye to the character. It’s so weird to think that he’s been playing the guy for so long. He basically is Wolverine at this point. I can’t imagine anyone else having taken the character this far if Jackman hadn’t got the role. Add to that the fact that it’s the character’s first film to receive an R-rating. Last year’s Deadpool¬†showed us that it’s no bad thing to make comic book movies just for adults so it feels right that Jackman should get to show us what Logan can really do for this final time. The comic book Wolverine was always an incredibly violent character and that’s not really been able to come across in any of the others. We need to see him really letting his anger out. I’m so fucking pumped for this film.

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A Song of Ice and Fire, books, Christmas, comic books, Disney, Eddie Redmayne, ghostbusters, Gilmore Girls, Harry Potter, Kate McKinnon, list, Marvel, Melissa McCarthy, superhero, Top 10, Will Ferrell

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Fictional Characters I’d Invite to Christmas Dinner

It’s so close to Christmas it’s unreal. In 10 days it’ll be Christmas Eve. I think I’ve just about got my presents all sorted but who really knows. I’m not a fan of last minute shopping but I tend to need little stocking fillers as I go through the month. Still, I’m mostly there. As it’s a time of celebration I’m adding a few additional posts this month. Each year I’ve released a Christmas top 10: My Essential Christmas films and My Least Favourite Christmas films. So I’m planning on keeping them as festive as possible but I’m likely to run out of ideas by next week. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I decided to delve into the world of fantasy dinner party and decide who I’d invite to my ultimate Christmas celebration.
Ten: Brienne of Tarth

My main reasoning for including Brienne on this list is simply because it’s kind of a habit to include her on all of fictional character based lists. It’s no secret that she’s my favourite character in both the book and the show. It’s also no secret that I adore Gwendoline Christie. If Brienne came to my Christmas dinner then I’d spend most of the time just starring at her the way Torumund did at Castle Black.

Nine: Belle

Now I’m not talking about the Belle from the upcoming, unnecessary live action Beauty and the Beast¬†as played by the annoying Emma Watson. Nor am I talking about the Belle on the show I’ve tried so hard to enjoy Once Upon a Time. No, I’m talking classic, animated Belle. She’s always been my favourite Disney princess because she loves books as much as I do. There’s nothing I enjoy more than talking about books and it’s something I don’t really get to do too often. So, I’d love nothing more than sitting in a post-Turkey daze and discussing my favourite novels with Belle. Unlike friends, she might appreciate the Romantic era fiction that I recommend to her. Of course, being so fucking cynical, I’d find her hopeless romantic thing quite annoying but it would be something we could happily debate on.

Eight: Holtzmann

Another of my latest character obsessions. Jillian Holtzmann is the greatest thing to come out of the Ghostbusters¬†reboot and Kate McKinnon is such a fantastic performer. I’d love the chance to meet the Holtz but worry that she would make dinner a little awkward. Not that I don’t love awkward moments but, as a perfect host, I’d have to think about my guests. Still, I love her so she’s coming.

 Seven: Rob Fleming (High Fidelity)

High Fidelity¬†is one of my favourite books and films. I love it. You may remember Rob was featured on my list of Top 5 Fictional Husbands. As such, I’d love to invite Rob to my Christmas dinner. I mean we both a predilection for making Top 5/10 lists so we could definitely turn it into an amusing dinner table game. He’d also know the best tunes to play before, during, and after dinner to keep us all in the party mood.

 Six: Leslie Knope

Re-watching Parks and Rec recently gave me an all new appreciation of Leslie Knope and what a great person she is. She champions women, loves her friends, and won’t back down in an argument. She’s the kind of person I pretend to be but much nicer and much more successful. I’d love to sit next to her at Christmas dinner because, not only would we have a great in-depth discussion about all things, I think she’d share my childish love of the holiday.

Five: Thor

Thor is my favourite superhero. I love all of the Norse mythology and his Shakespearean qualities. He’s so dramatic and literal about everything. I have to admit it would be kind of cool to have him at my Christmas dinner just so I could say there was a real-life God there. Kinda cool, no? Plus, the arms are always a plus. He also seems that he’d be fun to have at a party. Asgardians are basically Vikings and they were kind of up for a good time. Also, how great an after dinner game would it be to try and lift Thor’s hammer, Mj√∂lnir? You’ve had all the turkey so now let’s find out whose worthy.

Four: Buddy the Elf

I don’t know about you guys but I always feel that Christmas Day is kind of let down after the endless weeks of lead up. I’m not saying I’ve ever had a terrible Christmas Day but we’re always just so exhausted we end up eating and lounging for the entire day. What we really need is an injection of Christmas spirit. And who has the largest supply of that round here? Buddy’s love for the holiday is contagious and he’d have no trouble getting everyone up around the piano for a sing song. With Buddy at your house, every Christmas can be like the ones you see in every American sitcom’s Christmas special. Plus, you know, the candy.

Three: Tyrion Lannister

Despite everything the Bible tries to tell us, Christmas is basically about excess and over-indulgence. It’s about spending too much money, stuffing your face, drinking too much, and basically letting go. Who embraces these ideas more than anyone? Yes, the self-titled “God of tits and wine”. To re-appropriate Ke$ha for a second, the party don’t start til he walks in.

Two: Newt Scamander

Not only would the addition of Newt to the party mean guaranteed Eddie Redmayne but it would also mean some fantastic stories. Newt has travelled all over the wizarding world and met some of the most amazing creatures. He’d be able to fill the time with so many exciting tales. There’s always a boring lull on Christmas Day when you’re eaten too much but there’s a few hours before Doctor Who¬†is on. Newt would be the perfect person to fill the silence. Hell, if we’re lucky he might even get his Niffler out… which, as I’m writing it down, definitely sounds like a euphemism you might come across in the wizard world. Hey, Newt, how’s about you let my play with your Niffler.

One: Sookie St. James

This is the second time this month that Sookie has been in the number 1 spot of my top 10 list. Maybe she’ll be the new Brienne? Anyway, I think Sookie would be a great person to invite to dinner. Not only would she definitely bring something scrumptious to eat but she’s just such lovely human being. Why would you want to spend this holiday with people who were anything but nice? My only doubt would be the fact that she would clearly be silently judging everything that was being cooked for her. It would take about five seconds of her being in the house before she was “fixing” everything that was being made in the kitchen. Still, what a meal we’d get in the end.

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fucking funny, fucking sweet, Gilmore Girls, Kiefer Sutherland, list, Netflix, reboot, television, Top 10

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Things I Thought After Watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

In my Sunday Rundown a couple of weeks ago I promised to write about the Netflix¬†Gilmore Girls¬†reboot that week. That was mainly because I’d got my dates mixed up and thought this Top 10 Wen-sday was happening then. Still, in lieu of an actual review, which I figured would be both difficult, gushy, hyperbolic, and really fucking long, I’m setting down my strongest feelings regarding the new four episodes. I don’t know when I first got into Gilmore Girls¬†but it was probably when I was 16. I instantly loved it and have rewatched every epsiode more times than I’d care to remember. So when it was announced that Netflix was bringing it back I was ecstatic. Of course, when I binge watched the new episodes as soon as possible I had a few questions. The most important being: WHY WAS THERE NO KIEFER SUTHERLAND CAMEO? I mean how hard would that have been? He’s on Netflix himself. They could have put it in his contract. What else is he doing? We need a Luke Danes/Kiefer Sutherland spin-off where they go fishing and discuss being shit at baseball. Desperately.

Ten: What is the point of the extended muscial sequence?

It went on too long, it wasn’t that funny, and it didn’t add to the story. This sequence basically sums up the vague feeling you get throughout the episodes (especially the second, third, fourth, etc. time through) that things were dragged out without reason. Random snippets appear for no reason other than to add time. If you can’t fill an hour and a half then don’t make a 90 minute episode. It’s that fucking simple.

Nine: Paris obsessing over Tristan is just absurd

After all this time? Fuck that. Paris is a strong woman who has spent the last few years making herself unstoppable. I get that the writers wanted to make her seem vulnerable and emotional behind the mask but this was a fucking shit way to do it. She wouldn’t have reacted to Tristan like this. She wouldn’t have even remembered him. There are plenty of ways to make Paris seem more human but this was just a disgusting one. It was out of character and worked against everything that had happened in previous seasons.

Eight: Emily’s story is perfect

It was always going to be sad to have reunion without Edward Herrmann playing Richard. He was a fabulous presence on the show and his chemistry with Kelly Bishop was amazing. I think the show tried hard to honour his memory but I think it could have gone futher. The funeral scene gave everyone a chance to grieve but it would have been nice for the 3 Gilmore girls to have a nice family goodbye. Sharing happy memories with each other. Still, Emily’s journey through spousal grief was both heartbreaking and enthralling. It felt so real and Kelly Bishop did a great job. I loved everything about Emily’s storyline and think, under the circumstances, that it was the best goodbye we could have wished for Emily.

 Seven: Why does Amy Sherman-Palladino keep dicking over Lane? 

Lane was always hard done by in the later seasons of the show. She never went to a great college and, aside from a small tour with her band, never saw anything but Stars Hollow. She married young and became a mother straight away. She should have been a rock and roll icon but she had to put her dreams on hold for her family. Which gives the message that women can’t have it all. The series ended with Zac being given the chance to go on tour with a huge band and Lane realising she couldn’t join him. It was her dream to go but she was left stuck at home and working in a diner. Then, years later, she’s still a mother and has to limit herself to band practice and playing drums at the secret bar. What the fuck did she ever do to you Amy? She could have been destined for great things. Why couldn’t she be a successful working mother? A great drummer and a caring mother? It’s bullshit.

¬†Six: Rory’s Gilmore Girls book narrative is JK Rowling epilogue levels of cringe

I mean a book about their relationship that Lorelai suggests should be called “Gilmore Girls” and not “the Gilmore Girls”. This whole plot line made me want to vomit. It’s supposed to be a cute in-joke but it’s just super cringey. It’s a cheap and awful way to give Rory’s professional life some purpose. It’s also not the ending for her career-wise that we’ve all been waiting for. One her first day at Chilton, Rory stated that she wanted to see things and write about that. This ending shows that she sees nothing but her own past. She deserved a brighter future.

Five: The wedding was perfection

It’s been a long time coming but A Year in the Life¬†finally gave fans the moment they’ve all been waiting for. It took us a while to get there but we eventually got to see Lorelai marry the man she was supposed to be with. The wedding sequence was utterly beautiful and, I have to admit, the fact that it was set to ‘Reflecting Light’ (the song they danced to at Liz’s wedding) brought tears to my eyes. The whole set-up for the wedding was gorgeous and watching the family run through it at night was heart-warming. This moment was only marred by Lorelai’ s insanely uncharacteristic decision to “do Wild”. It’s not something she would have done. It was too selfish and cowardly a decision. I’m just glad she eventually saw sense.

Four: Lorelai’s beahviour at her father’s funeral is bullshit

The worst thing about the return of a much-loved show after any amount of time is the possibility that a character you know really well starts doing things that are out of character. One of the first pieces of information we got was the revelation that a drunken Lorelai started publicly shaming Richard at his wake. I know the two were never the closest of people and Lorelai was always critical of the way she was raised. However, there is nothing about the seasons that preceded this one that suggested that would be how she honoured her father. I mean the idea that at the spur of the moment she couldn’t think of one even remotely nice thing to say about him, even if it was just to please Emily, is fucking insane. I mean there were moments fro the previous seasons that would have worked. Like the time he helped her escape from a blind date Emiy set up or the time she took him shopping for stationary. The time he came to visit Stars Hollow and they had Chinese takeout. There were countless moments she could have picked. What she wouldn’t have done is stand there, in a drunken haze, and talk about how terrible a father he was. No matter what she thought about her childhood, Lorelai loved her father and, when all is said and done, she is still a Gilmore.

Three: The sequence with the Life and Death Brigade is fucking sensational

I mean just look at it. It’s fucking beautifully shot and is just so fun. The song, one of my favourites on the Across the Universe soundtrack, fits the action perfectly. As soon as I heard it I had one of my creative moments and imagined a whole film scenario in my head that was actually pretty similar. Everything about it was sensational. The signs alerting Rory to their presence. the gorilla masks, the smoke, the steampunk, the tango. I just loved every second of it. It captured the spirit of the group and showed that, even after all these years, people hadn’t really changed that much. Also, the Wizard of Oz ending was sheer perfection.

Two: Logan Logan Logan

I’ve always been a Logan fan. I know his relationship with Rory wasn’t always great but he was much better for her than either Dean or Jess. Yes, yes, Jess fans. I know you’ll all be shouting at me that Jess changed over time and became the perfect man. I just don’t think all that shit he put her through when they were younger was too much to get passed. Now, I hear you continue to cry, her affair with Logan didn’t exactly go anywhere to prove that they are made for each other. It wasn’t ideal but there is undeniable passion and love between the two of them. I get that the creators were pushing the idea that Logan is Rory’s Christopher and Jess is her Luke. However, Logan was always good for Rory. He pushed Rory at a time when she was really discovering who she was and who she wanted to be. He helped her take risks and have some fun. He always believed she could make it and, after he really buckled down to work, became a great husband for her. Just look at all the times he came running to her aid without even thinking. Dean made her feel guilty and Jess just left without telling her. I think we know who the better boyfriend is. I like to think the pair will eventually settle down together and raise their baby as a happy couple. Just because Lorelai couldn’t find happiness with Christopher doesn’t mean Rory can’t end up with Logan.

One: Not enough Sookie

I know that Melissa McCarthy is one of the biggest comedy stars around now and barely had the time to do her tiny cameo. I understand that we’re lucky that we had that small glimpse of her. However, I don’t think Sookie’s absence was explained in the correct way. It just didn’t make sense for her character to abandon the inn that she dreamed of helping Lorelai create for years. It didn’t make sense for her to just leave like that. Also, what about Jackson and the kids? We see Jackson in Star’s Hollow so that means Sookie left her family for god knows how long. It’s just not right. There were plenty of other ways to have explained Sookie not being around. She could have gone on a year long retreat to Asia to learn all about some new cooking technique. Or taken the family on a food tour of Europe to bring back classic dishes to the Dragonfly. Fucking anything other than what actually happened. The shitty story that Amy came up with just meant Sookie’s eventual appearance was marred and, quite frankly, rubbish. I mean Melissa was fabulous as always and the multiple cake stuff was full of feels. However, the chemistry wasn’t there. It felt static and uncomfortable.

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animals, books, Harry Potter, list, pets, Top 10

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Magical Creatures I Would Most Like to Encounter

It’s the start of November and that can only mean two things. Number 1: Christmas shit will start appearing in every shop and adverts will start talking about presents and Turkeys. Number 2: The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them¬†film is coming out in a matter of days. Now, I can’t say that I was too pleased to hear that it would lead to a series of 5 films because it feels like a shameless money grabbing scheme but I am excited about the first one. I have such love for Eddie Redmayne that I can’t wait to see him as Newt Scamander and it’ll be good to expand the wizarding world beyond Harry Potter’s tiny glimpse. I, like every good Potterhead, have my very own copy of the Fantastic Beasts book along with Quidditch Through the Ages¬†and have done since they were first released for Comic Relief way back in 2001. And, just like every other good Potterhead, I spent time devouring the book and wondering which of the magical creatures I’d most like as a pet. In honour of the upcoming film I decided to make it official but, as so many of the creatures are not exactly domesticated, I decided it was only fair to change the rules to creatures I’d like to see the most.

Ten: Unicorn/ Winged Horses

I don’t understand this sudden rise in the number of things you can buy with Unicorns all over them. I know Unicorns have been popular for fucking ages but it seems as though it’s got super serious in the past year or so. It’s not that I don’t like Unicorns or horses in general. I do. I learnt to ride when I was younger and I’d love to do it again. Horses and, by association, unicorns are great but a little bit meh. I mean when I took the Pottermore Patronus test and got a¬†Piebald Mare I was probably as annoyed as Evanna Lynch was about being a salmon. I wanted something exciting and I got a fucking horse. I realise that Unicorns and Winged Horses are magical and great but they feel too normal to get really excited about.

Nine: Kneazle

When I was younger I was obsessed with cats. All I wanted was a cat of my own to cuddle with. I loved all cats but, as cats are massive dicks, the feeling wasn’t mutual. I didn’t get my own cat in the end but my family got a dog instead. It’s amazing how quickly I changed from being a cat person to a dog person but I did. I still think cats are great and adorable these days. However, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that dogs are just better. So if I were in the Wizarding world I wouldn’t be rushing out to buy my very own Kneazle. Especially one so judgemental that I’d be afraid of doing something wrong in case it went off me. I mean I love the idea that it’s like a kitty sat-nav but I’d be too worried it would think I was unsavoury to ever be comfortable owning it.

Eight: Hippogriff

If there’s one thing Buckbeak showed us it’s that, when it likes you, a Hippogriff is a great thing to be around. Who wouldn’t want to fly around on its back like¬†Ruggiero? It’d be a cool mode of transport, certainly, but I feel as though the Hippogriffs are a bit too standoffish. I’m pretty fucking stubborn myself so to come across an animal that’s as difficult to get onside as me would surely spell disaster. I’d rather stick with pets that would love me without me having to put the work in.

 Seven: Fwooper

I realise that owning a Fwooper brings about the risk of insanity thanks to it’s repetitive song but I think it’s worth it if you can own a lime green bird. Since I first read the book, I’ve always loved the idea of owning a really colourful bird and using it’s old feathers as my quill. It’d be fantastic. And those patterned eggs it would lay? Well I’d just Instagram the shit out of them.

 Six: Mooncalves

Why is this so high up the list you ask? Well, I have two words for you: dancing cow. I mean who wouldn’t want to meet this creature when the book makes it sound like a fucking anime character? A dancing cow with a pale grey body, huge bulging eyes, and enormous feet is the kind of character you could imagine cropping up in a children’s film by¬†Studio Ghibli. It would be bloody amazing and I’d certainly be out every full moon to watch it strut its stuff. Plus, magical, silver cow dung that would make my plants grow super quick? Yes please.

Five: Niffler

I have to admit that the only reason this is so high on the list is because of the Pop Vinyl that was released of it to coincide with the release of the film. It’s so fucking cute that I almost bought one as soon as I saw it. It’s a fluffy, molelike creature with a taste for glittery objects. It’s not something I’d want as a pet but, if it’s as cute as the Vinyl figure, then I’d do anything to see one in real life.

Four: Jarvey

I can’t say I’ve ever been bothered by ferrets and would not consider them as worthy pet material. The Jarvey, however, sounds bloody perfect. Though it looks like an overgrown ferret it differs in one respect: it can talk. But only in random, and often rude, rambling streams. I mean can you imagine anything better than a huge ferret that just sits in the corner and swears nonstop? I can’t. I want one.

Three: Puffskein

As we all know, Ron Weasley was the proud owner of a Puffksein when he was younger. Unfortunately, his brother Fred used it for Bludger practice and it was never heard from again. The Puffskein is a popular wizarding pet and there’s a good reason for that. It sounds adorable. Not only is it custard yellow, soft and round but it loves being cuddled and thrown around. It’s like a pet and a toy in one. Plus, it really loves to eat so we already have common ground. I can’t imagine any greater feeling than hanging out with your Puffksein and hearing it make its contented humming noise. At the very least, I’m going to need some sort of film merch plushie to be released.
 
Two: Crup

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m a massive dog person. Love them. I spend most of my time on Instagram watching and liking adorable videos and photos of other people’s puppies. It makes me miss my dog even more and wish I had another one. Dogs are the greatest pets you could have and I can’t imagine that a magical equivalent could be anything but amazing. Especially when you consider the fact that it’s a Jack Russell with a forked tail. Now that’s pretty badass. Plus, it would be really handy for getting rid of unwanted junk around you house because it’ll eat anything. Ideal pet.

One: Phoenix

I mean this one feels almost too obvious and I’m quite ashamed. Who wouldn’t want a Phoenix? I know my feelings on Dumbledore aren’t exactly in line with most people but you have to admit the fact he owns Fawkes is fucking cool. It’s a pet that you’d never have to see die because it would always regenerate. With fire. It’s like the Doctor Who of the pet world. Plus, handy in difficult situations. Phoenix tears to heal. Phoenix song to give courage and put fear into your enemy. It’d be great to have on by your side.

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