Harry Potter and the 30 Day Challenge: Day Three

I don’t know what on Earth I was thinking when I made this the third item on the list. Like, okay, sure. Let’s just start simple, ease ourselves in. Your background with HP and your ranking, both of which you probably know by heart, and then bam! pick only 5 characters of the several hundred and defend why they mean so much to you.

I’m starting this list (which is in no particular order) without knowing how it’s going to end. Come on this journey with me.

Remus John Lupin, werewolf, sometimes known as Moony, one of the four creators of the Marauder’s Map, married to Nymphadora, usually known as Tonks, and I taught you how to produce a Patronus, Harry, which takes the form of a stag. Okay, so yes. As an adult, I can see all the ways in which Lupin failed. He didn’t dare to tell Dumbledore about the map or that Sirius was an Animagus (hella irresponsible), he never had the nerve to tell James and Sirius off for bullying Snape, and his reaction to Tonks’s pregnancy was…less than chivalrous. All facts. You know what else is a fact, though? Humans can fuck up and love imperfectly and still be worthy of our adoration. When it really counted, he possessed all the traits that set Gryffindors apart.

Hermione Granger For years and years, I resisted naming Hermione as one of my favorite characters. It felt boring and predictable for me, a bossy know-it-all with frizzy hair and buck teeth, to idolize her. Plus, she was a main character. How cliché. In refusing to acknowledge the impact that she had on me, however, I think I sort of perceived her as this flawless, stale character (what’s the straitlaced, bookish version of that trope, I wonder…a Maryanne Susan?) and never wholly appreciated how intergral her contributions were to saving the Wizarding World. Know better, do better.

Molly Weasley My feelings about Mama Weasley have followed a pretty conventional trajectory. As a teenager, I was fond of her, but I found her to be overbearing, short-sighted and desperately unfair. As a mom, on the other hand, I loves me some Mollywobbles. From the minute Harry stumbles across her path, she takes up the mantle of protecting him in every way she knows how. She is occasionally blinded by her loving instincts, and she makes many attempts to put the trio off their adventuring, which, in hindsight could have led to the destruction of the Wizarding World, but let’s be real for a sec. Molly was the only adult in this whole mess that questioned the assertion that a group of unqualified teenagers was their best bet against the pressing threat of unknowable evil.

Luna Lovegood Luna is an absolute delight and screw everyone that picked on her. She spoke truth to power at every given opportunity and never let snide comments or derisive looks stand in the way of being exactly who she was and honestly, what is cooler than not caring if you’re cool? Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, Luna girl.

Minerva McGonagall I struggled with this last spot. And not just because I didn’t want to give it to yet another Gryffindor (though that does pain me a bit). I always struggle with rounding out lists because I feel like I’m excluding so many worthy candidates. For example, Ginny is really cool. Harry has finally grown on me. Snape definitely sucks but I still like him for some reason. It was tough to narrow it down, but in the end, I went with McG because she just kills it at everything she does. On the surface, she seems like this stuffy old schoolmarm, but once you get under that prim and proper façade, she is one tough cookie, who knows when rules are meant to be broken. Name a better ride or die. I’ll wait.

I know I left a few fan faves off my list that may appear on your personal list. Tell me who they are!

Harry Potter and the 30 Day Writing Challenge: Day Two

The second item of Harry Potter and the 30 Day Writing Challenge is ranking the books. As someone who has read this series more than 20 times over the course of 20 years, my ranking has morphed and grown along with me, but I think I’ve settled into a definitive order, which goes as follows:

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Look, as I mentioned in my previous post, this book was my introduction to the world of Harry Potter and it pulled me in like no other book had done before. It’s a good book. It’s just hard to place it about any of the other good books in the series.

6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix This book is a tough hang. You are stuck inside the head of a traumatized teenager, and teenagers (even those of the un-traumatized variety) are pretty exhausting. On top of that, Harry and co are under the thumb of Dolores Umbridge, and subjected to her maddeningly unfair tactics. Meanwhile, everyone is grouchy and sniping at one another. There are some amazing character moments (haaaave you met Minerva?) and great story-telling, but this book is stressful af to read.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone This book is delightful and engaging and a letter perfect introduction to the Wizarding World. I don’t think I could find a thing to complain about if I tried. The only reason it doesn’t top the list is that it can’t hang with the complexity of the rest of the series.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows In all reality, this is tied for number 3 in my heart, but that’s not how rankings work. This book contains, in my opinion, the most perfect stretch of writing in the entire series (The Prince’s Tale → The Forest Again → King’s Cross). This one gets better every single time I read it.

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire This one really reads like a mystery novel. The twists and turns flashbacks and ultimate reveal are absolutely delicious. With some tweaking, it could almost be a standalone story, which is wild, since it is also so fundamentally interwoven with the story, as a whole. “Would definitely recommend,” said Dumbledore, calmly.

2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince This used to rank much, much lower on my list. But with time, and deep diving, there is no way I could have it anywhere but here.
Moderately warm take: This is the best book in the series.

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I was always a reader. Beverly Cleary, R L Stine, Ann M Martin, Sharon Creech, Judy Blume, Madeline L’Engle, Louis Sachar, I read and enjoyed nearly everything they put out. But when I first read Prisoner of Azkaban, I would have forsaken them all forever, just for a chance to read it again. This book really has it all. Marvelous and compelling storytelling, beautifully written prose, the establishment of so many key elements of the overarching plot, some of the most oft-quoted lines in the series, and of course, the introduction of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin😍.

That’s my ranking, but your mileage may vary, so if you beg to differ, tell me! I mean, you’d be wrong, but I want to hear nonetheless 😉😚.

Harry Potter and the 30 Day Writing Challenge: Day One

If you’re here, you likely know about Harry Potter and the 30 Day Writing Challenge and if you don’t, you can click right here and read the entire list in all its glory. Today, I’ll be sharing how I got into Harry Potter in the first place. start
‘Twas the summer before I began middle school and I was a fairly lonely kid. Despite having lived in the same place my entire life, I was about to enter a world where I was the “new kid”. For reasons that I never quite figured out, my parents had chosen to send me out of my assigned district for K-5. Students from the elementary school I attended  went to one middle school and students from the elementary school where I should have gone went to another. I was in the district for the latter. So as prepared to begin what would arguably be the most difficult stretch of my childhood, I felt very much like an outsider.
One night, I was sitting at the piano in my grandmother’s house, after a family dinner when my dad handed me a book he had picked up at the store. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I had heard of Harry Potter, but knew very little about it. I had always preferred novels with female protagonists and my snobby ass felt like I was a bit too sophisticated to be reading a kids series about magic.
But I appreciated the gesture and decided to give it a shot. I propped it up on the piano and began to read.
When I was eleven, I had probably never heard the word enraptured but boy, did I feel it. I pulled an all-nighter and finished the book in one fell swoop. About a third of the way into it, I’d realized that it was not the first book in the series, so once I had finished, I began bugging my parents to hook me up with a copy of Sorcerer’s Stone. And by the time I had finished that and re read Chamber (this time with more clarity), Prisoner of Azkaban was about to be released in the US.
Processed with VSCO with j5 presetHowever much I liked Harry Potter before I read Prisoner of Azkaban, it absolutely paled in comparison to how I felt about it after having read it. I’ll save my ravings for the next post, but just be forewarned. I have feelings about POA.
From then on, I consumed any and all Potter-related content that I happened across and 20 years later, I am still doing so, with a rigor that borders on obsession. Sometimes, I wonder how successful I could be if there were a way for me to channel all of the energy I pour into loving this series into something, y’know…productive and/or profitable. If only, right?
Anywho, that’s my Harry Potter origin story. What’s yours?

All Aboard the Scarlet Steam Engine!

Pack your trunk and get your ass to Platform 9¾ because it’s September 1st, y’all! For the month of September, I will be using my most treasured book series to force myself back into the habit of writing every day. Brace yourself for Harry Potter and the 30 Day Writing Challenge! Inspired by a repetitive and error-riddled graphic that was shared in a facebook group to which I belong, I have compiled a list of writing prompts based on the Harry Potter universe, ready to be tackled by any blogger/IGer/or person with a soapbox that knows how to tell a gnarl from a hedgehog. So, find a compartment and flag down that trolley witch (but maybe don’t piss her off…she is deadly with a pumpkin pasty) ; it’s time to go back to Hogwarts!

1567427696445-1Harry Potter and the 30 Day Writing Challenge:
1. How did you get into Harry Potter?
2. Rank the books in the series.
3. Who are your 5 favorite characters?
4. Which Hogwarts house would you belong to?
5. What would be your favorite subject?
6. What extracurricular activities would you join?
7. Favorite spells?
8. Favorite places in the magical world?
9.Coolest magical objects?
10. Favorite magical creature?
11. What would you do after Hogwarts?
12. What would your patronus be?
13. What would your boggart turn into?
14. What would amortentia smell like to you?
15. What would you see in The Mirror of Erised?
16. Which Hallow would you choose?
17. Top 3 HP quotes?
18. Favorite chapter in the series?
19. Hardest death to cope with?
20. Favorite ship (canon or made up)?
21. Thoughts on Snape?
22. Thoughts on the epilogue?
23.Favorite movie?
24. Best performances in the movies?
25. Best movie changes?
26. Most egregious movie changes?
27. Favorite Potter-related media?
28. What spin-off would you like to see?
29. Thoughts on your first reading of the books vs now?
30. How has Harry Potter affected your life?