Friday Favorites

Tonight, the mister and I are going to do something fun. We’re heading up to Denver for  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in concert with the Colorado Symphony!

Harry Potter

#PuffPride #Hufflepuff4life

Can you tell that I’m just a little bit excited? We’ve had tickets for this for months. We got great seats too! So in honor of going to watch one of my favorite movies with a live symphony, I’ve decided to devote this week’s Friday Favorites to my favorite Harry Potter characters.

Harry Potter

5. Fleur Delacour

Harry Potter

Fleur Delacour via Pottermore

“What do I care how ‘e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I have to admit, for a long time I had a severe dislike for Fleur. I thought she was vain and snobbish. The mister and I were talking about side characters one day and we got into a conversation about Fleur. He insisted that there was more to her than I was giving credit to, and after going back to reread the books, I realized that he was right.

If you’ve never read the books, you might not understand that Fleur wasn’t the only girl among the Triwizard Champions because she came from an all-girl school. Beaubatons and Durmstrang were both co-ed schools. So, just as Cedric was chosen over all of the boys and girls at Hogwarts, so Fleur and Viktor were chosen.

In the later books, she showed just how worthy she was of being chosen, through her skill and bravery. When Bill was disfigured, she proved her devotion and loyalty and when I read through that part, Molly wasn’t the only one who was moved! After taking a closer look at Fleur, she became one of my favorite characters.

4. Minerva McGonagall

Harry Potter

Minerva McGonagall via Pottermore

“… Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, ‘It unscrews the other way.’”  ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Let’s talk about the badass that is Professor Minerva McGonagall. In Order of the Phoenix, she not only stood up to Umbridge and made things difficult for her, she also took four stunning spells to the chest. And survived! This one is prickly, strict, kind, smart, strong, and well, she’s pretty damn amazing.

3. Neville Longbottom

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Neville Longbottom via Pottermore

“Well, my gran brought me up and she’s a witch… but the family thought I was all Muggle for ages.”  – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

“I’ll join you when Hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s Silencing Charms seemed unable to hold.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I loved Neville Longbottom from the moment he first lost his toad until he proved to be a total BAMF in Deathly Hallows. The fact that he could have been the chosen one, and that his story arcs in similar ways to Harry’s is an important part of the books that a lot of people overlook. This poor, shy boy whose parents suffered horribly at the hands of Voldemort’s followers is easily one of the most engaging and relatable characters for me.

2. Fred and George Weasley

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Fred and George Weasley via Pottermore

“You haven’t got a letter on yours,” George observed. “I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid-we know we’re called Gred and Forge.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Who doesn’t love Gred and Forge? I mean Fred and George. This two wise-cracking, joke playing twins are such a wonderful addition to the series. They are irreverent and even in the darkest moments of the series they were able to infuse tense situations with levity. As a device for humor, J.K. was at her best when she developed Fred and George.

1. Ron Weasley

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Ron Weasley via Pottermore

“Rubbish,” said Hermione. “You’ve read his books — look at all those amazing things he’s done —”  “He says he’s done,” Ron muttered. —J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Ron Weasley is the unsung hero of the entire series. From day one on the train until the very last page, he is Harry’s greatest support. He is a partner in crime, and while some might say he is just a sidekick, that’s the whole point to him! Everyone has worth, whether they are “the chosen one”, the “smartest witch of her age”, or the sixth son in a family of seven children. For me, Ron is the most well-rounded character in the series. He isn’t the smartest, he isn’t the bravest, he isn’t the most loyal, he isn’t the best Quidditch player, he isn’t the funniest guy in school (though he is pretty funny). But of all the characters in the series, he is the most real.

His struggles with feeling overlooked, unheard, unimportant…these are things that real people struggle with on a daily basis. That he is able to face them and come to terms with them makes him a real hero for me.

Here are just a few other things about Ron that put it into better words than I can!

Why Weasley is Our King

The chapter that made us fall in love with… Ron Weasley

What about Harry Potter?

Well, there wouldn’t be a series without a Harry Potter, right? But despite the series being about Harry in general, Harry isn’t really my favorite character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Harry. Especially when he’s being sassy Harry:

Harry Potter

But for me, the series is not just about Harry Potter. It’s an entire world, with a wide, diverse range of characters to relate to aside from the hero of the story.

Harry Potter

Who is your favorite Harry Potter character? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Favorites

It’s Black Friday, which for most people means they are out storming the stores. Luckily, I have most of my Christmas shopping already completed. So that means I get to stay home, relax, go get my nails done around noon, and then come home and play games for the rest of the day. Maybe we’ll even pop in one of my all-time favorite movies!

Since I talked about books last week I decided to make a return to movies this week. But instead of discussing series, I thought I would take a look at stand-alone movies. A few might be part of series or franchise, but you could watch any one of them and not be confused by their plot on its own.

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Special Mentions: Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

These two movies are both fantastic, but they do not make my list of favorites. Instead, they are the mister’s all-time favorite movies. He couldn’t decide between them. I love that my husband enjoys musicals as much as I do!

A great many songs on our playlists come from movies that we both enjoy. And yes, we have songs from both of these soundtracks. Favorite songs from these include Time Warp and Dentist!

5. Moana

Favorite Movies

This movie also made my list of movies we saw in 2016. It is a fantastically made tale of a Polynesian princess who must return the stolen heart of a goddess in order to save her people. I’ve noticed that there is a shift lately. A lot of movies coming out are relying more on their story than a forced love story. This is SO encouraging. So many of the love stories out there feel contrived. Not having a romance in this movie made it that much more enjoyable. Other movies that have done this lately are Thor: Ragnarok and Sing. If you really think about it, it is very difficult to find a movie out there that doesn’t have some kind of romance angle.

Moana doesn’t just make me happy with its lack of a romance. Its visuals are stunning, and the music. Oh, the music! Some of the best songs from a Disney movie I’ve ever heard.

4. The Princess Bride

Favorite Movies

Who doesn’t love The Princess Bride? Seriously, tell me, because I’ve never met anyone who didn’t. We recently went to see this movie in the theater for its 30th Anniversary. Damn does that make me feel old. I remember when it came out in theaters the first time!

It was so neat to watch it on the big screen with a bunch of other people who could recite it line for line. You know we were all chanting along to “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya..”

True love, sword fights, giants, betrayal, miracles, and RoUS’s. What more could you want in a movie?

3.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Favorite Movies

Another movie from the 2016 list. What can I say? 2016 was a great year for movies! You all know by now that I have an obsession with the Harry Potter universe. So it goes without saying that I would want to see Fantastic Beasts. What I didn’t expect was to have it become one of my favorite movies ever. I know that it will eventually be a part of a series, but for the moment, it remains a stand-alone movie, so I don’t mind including it here.

The scenes in the suitcase where you get to see all the animals are just amazing, and  Jacob is such a sweet, and tragic figure. I always cry my eyes out during the umbrella scene!

2. Wonder Woman

Favorite Movies

OMG. Wonder Woman. This movie took my breath away! It very nearly displaced my all-time favorite movie. The only thing keeping my number one in its spot is nostalgia, I think. Because this movie just crushed it. And to see Robin Wright (from Princess Bride above) again was really cool. I loved that they put in an easter egg regarding Chief. Look it up! This movie renewed my love of comic book movies and made me excited for Justice League. I really hope she gets a sequel.

1. The Fifth Element

Favorite Movies

I can’t believe this movie turned 20 this year. I watch it a lot, and it has held up really well over the years. A space epic set in a future where we finally have flying cars, but also immense amounts of pollution and incredibly tall buildings, the story follows a retired military man who is pulled back into service to save the world by rescuing a set of stones. The cast is phenomenal, and it is both action-packed and hilarious.

This is one of Bruce Willis’ finest films. As for the writer and director, Luc Besson, this was definitely his best work in my opinion. I had such high hopes for Valerian after finding out he was the writer and director, only to be severely disappointed (I actually fell asleep at one point during that movie. In the theater.) Still, The Fifth Element stands head and shoulders above any other movie for me, excepting the other four on this list.

What are your all-time favorite movies? Comment below!


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Friday Favorites

Woohoo! It’s Friday! Last week I talked movies, but who is ready to celebrate the arrival of the weekend with a good book? That’s right, I’m going to be talking about books today. My list of favorites this week is not just about my favorite books, it’s about my favorite fiction book series.

Book Series

What do I mean by book series?

To clarify, I consider a series to be three or more books written by the same author and following the story of the same set of characters. There are a lot of great series out there, and some truly fantastic authors. Some of the books on my list might be familiar, as they are wildly popular. Others are not as well known and might give you the chance to read something interesting and new.

Special Mention: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book Series

Available here: http://amzn.to/2zN5t6R

I can’t talk about my favorite fiction series without including these wonderful books. They are incredibly rich in storytelling and world building. They barely miss getting onto my list of top five series. The reason for this is that they tend to be a bit dry in reading. That’s not to say they are not enjoyable! They are the epitome of high fantasy, and they will always have a place on my bookshelf.

Books in this series: The Hobbit (standalone), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. There are a few other works by J.R.R. Tolkien that pertain to the series as well, but they are companions of the world, rather than strictly part of the tale told in the series.

5. The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell

Book Series

These books follow the tale of Uthred, son of Uthred. He is a Saxon kidnapped and raised by the Danes and these books follow his life, his loves, and his battles as he tries to regain the land stolen from him by his uncle. In the telling of Uthred’s story, Bernard Cornwell also tells the story of Alfred the Great, who succeeded in uniting a previously fractured England. Classed as historical fiction, these books immerse you in a world from long ago, when pagans were clawing to retain their hold in an increasingly Christian world. Cornwell paints vivid pictures of the battles he describes and leaves his readers eager for the next story every time a book is completed.

Books in this series: The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, The Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, The Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm, and The Flame Bearer

4. The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

Book Series

The Sookie Stackhouse Series are the books that True Blood was (loosely) based off. Well, the first season or two stayed pretty close, but the show quickly veered off the books. Not that the show wasn’t great. I did love it! But I had to treat the books as separate because they just became so different.

These books are supernatural and detective stories. They aren’t difficult reading, but they are a lot of fun. They follow the life and adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic barmaid in Lousiana, and her entanglements with vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies, and witches. What’s not to love?

Books in this series: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and Gone, Dead in the Family, Dead Reckoning, Deadlocked, and Dead Ever After. There is also an alphabetically ordered farewell to all of the characters in After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, and a guide to the universe with The Sookie Stackhouse Companion.

3.  The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

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I put off reading the Wheel of Time for a long time. This was mostly because I could never find all of them at any library. And I certainly wasn’t going to buy them, if I couldn’t tell if I would like them! Enter Audible.com. Instead of reading these books, I have listened to them and am still listening to them. They are just incredible. The story is difficult to describe, it is very intricate. The stories mostly follow a young farm boy and two other boys from his village, as well as several strong and stubborn women as they attempt to save the world. That was another reason I was hesitant to get into these books because no one I asked could really tell me a concrete idea of what they were about. “You just have to read them.” Well, now I understand why.

Books in this series: New Spring (Prequel), The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter’s Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light.

2. The Dragoncrown War Cycle by Michael A. Stackpole

Book Series

I still remember when my brother lent me these books. I just recently got my own copies of each of them to put on my bookshelf, though I’ve read them all several times. This series is beautifully written high fantasy that invests you in all of the characters in the very first book. Like most fantasy, there is an evil villain bent on ruling the world, but this nasty character uses the reanimated dead in whole new ways to work her plans. I also really enjoyed the different take on elves that Michael Stackpole introduces with these books.

Books in this series: The Dark Glory War, Fortress Draconis, When Dragons Rage, and The Grand Crusade.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Book Series

Oh, Harry Potter. You had to know this would be on the list. I am such a Potterhead. Always wishing that the Wizarding World was a real thing. I like to think if it was, then I would have been a witch.  Though most everyone knows the premise, in case you don’t, I’ll summarize.

This series follows young Harry Potter as he is thrust into a world of magic where he attends a school for witches and wizards, makes friends, and saves the world from He Who Must Not Be Named. I don’t care if these books are supposed to be for kids. Hate on me if you like, but I’ll never stop loving these books. Ever.

Books in this series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

What is your favorite book series? Comment below!


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