Tag Archives: J.K. Rowling

What I’m watching, reading and have viewed: Part 2

What I’m watching: The Fall

The show that follows a serial killer, and the police investigation that’s trying to catch him.

What’s it about? Gillian Anderson is a MET Detective Superintendent sent to Belfast having been assigned to review the investigation into a single high-profile murder, but who ends up heading the hunt for serial killing Jamie Dornan. You see both her investigation, his daily life, but also the things that do happen in a murder case that you don’t usually see on a TV show – the finding of the body, the heartbreaking call to 999, the simple logistics of attending a crime scene (“stepping plates where applicable”).

Why watch it? It is the latter point – the things you don’t usually see – that have drawn me into the The Fall. In most police procedurals, even those about people whose job it is to collect evidence from a crime scene, there isn’t much evidence of the procedure actually happening, it’s all about the mystery. I do like the pragmatic air this show has in that sense. On the other hand, The Fall is insanely creepy – Jamie Dornan has given me nightmares. Don’t watch if you’re going to be sleeping home alone.

What I’m reading: Harry Potter et le Prisonnier d’Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

It’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban … but in French.

What’s it about? If you actually need to ask what Harry Potter is about, I may have to ask where you have been living for the last decade and a half. Even living under a rock wouldn’t excuse you from not knowing about the phenomenon that is J.K. Rowling’s series about the boy wizard. The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third in the series though, really, you should know that already.

Why read it? The PoA is my favourite of the Harry Potter series – I adore this book. Reading it French then was a no brainer for me, as it would help me to know what is actually happening while trying to negotiate French idioms. (Who knew that to ‘pick’ a lock translates into ‘crocheting’ in French? Not me.) It’s also fun to see how the names and places that are so recognisable in English are changed in French – Snape is now Rouge, Hogwarts is Poudlard, and – my favourite – Hufflepuff transforms to Poufsouffle. A lot of fun.

What I’ve viewed: Wadjda

Watch a young girl negotiate the streets, her school and her home in Riyadh.

What’s it about? The first feature length film to come out of Saudi Arabia, this story follows Wadjda who desperately wants a bicycle so she can race her friend Abdullah, and is told by almost everyone that girls don’t ride bikes. She decides to enter the Quran reading competition in order to win the money that will pay for the beloved green bicycle she has set her eye on.

Why see it? This is such a heart warming and sweet film. All the actors are great, even – especially – the kids, and the story is so engrossing. The film is much more than just a sweet story, though, especially on repeat viewings. For example, in a country that seems to be so restrictive for women there are surprisingly few men in the story – three in fact, and and only one is a main character. It is worth seeing the film to watch how women are complicit in restricting themselves: for example, everyone tells Wadjda that women don’t ride bikes, but the shop sells girls bicycles, and Wadjda is desperately worried her chosen green one will sell. This is one example of a plot that is much deeper when you look past the simple story, and forget some of the pre-conceived ‘facts’ of Saudi Arabia.

Also, Abdullah is adorable. Watch just for the scenes between him and Wadjda.

Where I’m travelling: France. In less than two weeks I’ll be working in the Alps -I’m so excited/nervous!

Have you seen any of these? Does The Fall become even creepier? (I have trouble believing that’s possible!) Let me know.

Reading en Français

Yesterday was my birthday,  and I was given one of the best gifts I have ever received. You know those gifts where it’s obvious that the person both really knows you and has thought about the present they’re giving you – this was one of those.

It was my favourite book Good Omens – in French.

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I didn’t even know they had translated Good Omens!

I love French. I used to be able to speak it quite well but have become rusty, and in about a 5 weeks I’m going to live in France for six months, hoping to get it back up to scratch. In the meantime I’ve been using Duolingo like a fiend to try and remember all the vocab that I have lost.

Reading a book in French will help to prepare me I hope. Unfortunately, Good Omens may be too tricky a translation for me to start off with. Luckily though, my sister bought me the third Harry Potter book (my favourite one!) as well. Best get reading!

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Are these good translations? Do you even like reading translations or do you prefer original works in whatever language you enjoy reading? Let me know.

Day 27: The most surprising plot twist or ending

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

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I know it’s a children’s book, but I have never been more surprised by a plot twist than was the case with PoA. Seriously, after all that build up, the book changed into something else and it all made sense. Even now I’m older I have trouble finding the plot holes. If there is one book I wished I didn’t know the ending so I could go back and read afresh, it’s this one.

Sidenote 1: I feel as if I have been defending my love for Harry Potter needlessly. I love Harry Potter, to me it is near flawless, and I don’t care who knows!

Sidenote 2: And seeing as I’m in America at the moment – Happy Independence Day everyone!

Day 16: Favourite female character

Hermione Granger, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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Yes, a children’s book. But seriously, Hermione Granger is the most amazing character written in the Harry Potter series. She is even more awesome than Dumbledore and McGonagall. A line that was in the film but not in the books describes Hermione’s role in the series perfectly: they would have died without her. On several occasions Hermione saves both Ron and Harry’s lives, as well as other characters. She doesn’t have as many boldly heroic moments as Harry or Ron, rather she saves their lives on a daily basis. It is saying something that the only thing I really didn’t like in the series was that Hermione didn’t get her ‘O’ in her Defence Against the Dark Arts’ OWL. Let’s be honest: she’s awesome. While she may not be quite as good as Harry at DADA, she would have aced that test.

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