Finished Lord of the Rings! At last!

An era has ended for me, for I have just finished the Lord of the Rings! That’s right, after about half a year of on/off reading, I have finally got to the end of those devilishly hard-to-read books.

Why did it take so long? I really don’t know. The truth is that the Lord of the Rings are excellent books, excellently written and following an excellent storyline. And when you consider to wealth of background detail which has gone into these stories, you’d be hard placed not to find someone who would not be amazed. However I think that the reason it took me so long to get through these books was that, despite being amazing, they took a lot of concentration to get into the words, to take in the story, which meant that I could only really read a few pages at a time. Another thing that added some 2 months to the process, was the fact that at the back of the last book is the Appendices. These are 100 pages of background information to the Lord of the Rings, half of which is good, a quarter is ok and the last quarter is incredibly boring.

Now, most of my thoughts were ‘How is this book the same or different to the films’. Well the answer varied. At some points Peter Jackson’s films followed the book to the word wheras at other points it differed intensly with scenes being dropped out or put in. Mostly this was for the better however there were a few occasions when it was not (see old posts).

I would defiantly recommend these books to anyone who loves reading, reading fantasy and reading fantasy for months on end.

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

CIMG9143There are many books in the world where one read simply doesn’t do them justice. There are some books that have to be read, if not over and over again, at least more than once. Three of these such books are Northern Light, the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass, or ‘His Dark Materials’ if you want to sound fancy.

Northern Lights focuses around the young girl Lyra, who lives in a world parallel to our own. This world has many differences. The North is ruled by a kingdom of vicious, talking Ice Bears whilst the skies are roamed by clans of witches. However the main difference is that people’s souls walk beside them in animal forms known as Dæmons. Lyra lives in the stately; Jordan College where she has been left by her uncle Asriel when her parents were killed in an airship accident. However her care-free life is destroyed one day when, hiding in a cupboard in the strictly out-of-bounds retiring room, she saves her uncle from an attempt to kill him by poison. Soon she is whisked away from Jordan College by the evil Mrs Coulter (who turns out to be Lyra’s real mother whilst Lord Asriel is her father) and then rescued by the boat-dwelling Gyptians who take her with them on a mission to the North to recover children stolen by ‘The Gobblers’.

This for me was a great book with a brilliant storyline and superb writing style. The first chapter stood out the most for being brilliantly written and subtly (see what I did there) revealing tiny details which become vital throughout the rest of the trilogy.

I particularly like how Pullman has subtly modified everything about our lives to create Lyra’s parallel universe, from Geography, place names, language, fashion, religion and knowledge of science.

This first book was the basis for the movie ‘The Golden Compass’. But don’t get me started on that. I hated that film, and I mean HATED it.

COMING SOON! I review the next in the trilogy; The Subtle Knife.

The PenPal Magazine

At school I am currently undertaking the ASDAN CoPE qualification.

To complete this you have to undertake several tasks and challenges which you can undertake in any way you can. Here is the latest task I have been given:

“You have two weeks to publish and book or magazine of at least 6 pages, which costs £2 per copy. However you have no money to pay for it to be printed.”

To complete this challenge I created a magazine called ‘The PenPal Magazine’, and sold black and white copies (which I printed out for free at school).

The magazine is full of previous blog articles which can all be found on this blog. Now I have done this task I would like to share my magazine with everyone, so you can read it as well.

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Harry Potter Studio Tours

Yesterday I got the pleasure of visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tours. It is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. The whole place was packed with sets, costumes, props and even interviews with the creators and actors of Harry Potter. In this article I will be running you through some of the best bits about my visit.

To start off (after the half hour wait to get in) you watch a few introduction videos, which tell you a bit about what you are going to see. You then go into one of the most highly anticipated sets. The Great Hall.

Just seeing this amazing and recognisable set is magic in itself, but there was also a great number of character’s costumes lining the walls.

Next you go into a huge room with a display of the different props and sets that were used. Among them were Hagrid’s hut, Hogwarts Gate, The Burrow Kitchen, The Gringotts cart, Harry Potter’s Dormitory, Tom Riddle’s Diary and many other wonders.

Also here was the set of Dumbledore’s Office. This was another example of the immense work and effort that went into the Harry Potter films. Every single memory bottle was hand labelled, and every book was leather bound individually.

Next was an outside area where we could view some of the outdoor sets including Privet Drive, The Knight Bus and The Hogwarts Covered Bridge.

The Last section of the tours shows us the other areas of creating Harry Potter. Here we say how the electronic props were made as well as the effort that has gone into designing and building the sets. Last of all we came to the Hogwarts model. This is a massive 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts. It has been used on the first six films (Deathly Hallows Part 2 was computerised) and has been made to minuscule detail. Every window has lights, every door handle was individually sculptured and even the weather vain was hand made out of bronze.

So that was the end of my tour. If any of you Potter fans haven’t seen it yet then what are you waiting for?

My top 5 Harry Potter Characters

Today I will be rounding up all the Harry Potter characters and choosing my favourite five.

5. Scabior

Although a rather minor character in the books I feel that his increased role in the last two films created a recognisable follower of Voldemort.

Scabior takes on the role of the leader of the Snatchers in the last two films and is the one who captures Harry, Ron and Hermione before leading them to Malfoy Manor. In the last film he can be seen during the battle of Hogwarts where he plummets to his death when the Covered bridge collapses.

4. Hagrid

Where would we be without this old fellow? Although slightly mad sometimes and supporting a worrying obsession with magical creatures, Hagrid has always been a sanctum for Harry, and plays a vital role in most of the stories.

3. Minerva Mcgonagall

I suppose the reason I like the character of Minerva Mcgonagall, is because she (after Dumbledore) is the main figure of authority within Hogwarts. She plays a big part in both the films and books but doing just enough to remain as a sideline character.

Her role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was significantly increased and she was seen in many scenes commanding the forces that were defending Hogwarts.

2. Lucius Malfoy

What is there to say about Lucius Malfoy! The Rich Death Eater, one minute striding in and out of the ministry, the next minute torturing Muggles. During his first appearances he portrayed such an image of grandeur and power until the last films where he was taken prisoner in his own house, scared of his own master.

1. Bellatrix Lestrange

And last but not least Bellatrix Lestrange.

This slightly mad and devoted follower of Voldemort appears in the last 4 books and last 4 films. I have to admit that when I saw he portrayal in the fifth film, I wasn’t that impressed however after the sixth, seventh and eighth films I was in no doubt.

She’s in no doubt my favourite character just for the bizarity of her actions and the lengths to which she will go to impress Voldemort. And of course her downfall during the battle of Hogwarts.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

I may confess that I spend too much time watching films over and over again, and rarely straying out from a select few. However recently I have engaged myself with the award winning, Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The stories are set on the mystical land of Middle-Earth, a place ruled by the evil tyrant Sauron.

The stories mainly focus on young Frodo Baggins, a hobbit who is on a quest to destroy the one ring; the source of Sauron’s power and therefore rid Middle-Earth of Sauron forever.

Along the way he meets loads of people such as Gandalf the Grey (played by Ian McKellen) and the evil creature Gollum (voiced by Andy Serkis).

I would whole-heartedly recommend these films to anybody in need of something to watch, as I have really enjoyed them.

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