Category Archives: Gretchen Alice

Final Thoughts

New Harry Potter

Note from Ashley: My post about the Epilogue is still to come next week, which is why I’ve abstained from writing final notes, myself. I get an entire post to wax poetic about the end of this series and the end of this project, so it’s only fair everyone else gets a space, too.

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JENNIE

I’ve had so much fun with this, not only writing my own posts, but getting to read what everyone else thinks about Harry Potter (SPOILER ALERT: you all love it). I’ve enjoyed all the insights everyone has had that I’ve never, ever had in all of my rereads, and the discussions that followed, but my very most favorite thing was getting to see new GIFs I’d never seen before. You guys are good at GIFs, is what I’m saying.

Also, I can’t believe it’s over. Again. Sads. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to be over here in the corner, rereading all the books and pretending Harry Potter is never going to end ever ever. Continue reading

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: “Call me Newt. Only my mother calls me doctor.”

First, here’s the big news that everybody already knows about. We’re getting a movie! Three movies! And at least the first one will be written by J.K.! I am over the moon about this. It’ll be set in the 1920s and will take place in New York. American wizards and witches? Even MORE magical creatures? I CAN’T WAIT.

So J.K. Rowling released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages in 2001 as a charity effort for Comic Relief U.K. They expanded the world without expanding the story and it was a really big deal when the books were released. Someday we will get our Harry Potter Encyclopedia and it will be even better than these.

One of the best parts about this book is that it’s been “vandalized” by Harry and Ron, with a few rare asides from Hermione. We get to see their handwriting, which feels like a gift. Hermione’s is neat and tiny, Ron’s is messy and scrawled, and Harry’s is thin and connected. Harry really does swoop his g’s—just like his mom did—and I can’t think about that without getting emotionally worked up.

About the Author:

Newton Artemis Fido Scamander was born in 1887. His mom sounds like the coolest woman ever, as she bred fancy hippogriffs. Newt worked in the Beast Divison and spent his holidays searching for new and fantastic creatures. He eventually married a woman named Porpentina and I feel like J.K. kind of wrote herself into a hole on that one because she’s gonna have to be in the movie and the only decent way to shorten her name is to call her Tina. But then, she’s a writer who turned the name Hermione into a thing, so maybe she can pull it off. Continue reading

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 22-23: Hallows vs. Horcruxes, Round One

CHAPTER 22: THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

Meanwhile, at the ‘Support Harry Potter’ Party…

Hagrid’s hut stood stoic, with less footprints treading down the path these days. But this night was different. In staggered bursts, students snuck out of their four-post beds and made their way down the path under the cover of darkness. Ginny had suggested the night of the new moon, so there’d be less chance of wandering professors spotting students in the shadows.

Ginny waited in a puffy chair near the entrance to the common room. She was moments away from dozing off, but Neville finally arrived.

“Are you ready to go?” he half-whispered. Neville wasn’t very good at whispering.

“Yes. Shh!” They snuck out the portrait door and quickly made their way to the castle doors. Ginny hadn’t wanted Neville to have to leave by himself. His sneaking skills were about on par with his whispering skills. She didn’t mind, really. Ginny had grown rather grateful for Neville’s friendship over the past few months. Hogwarts was different these days and it was nice to have someone around who understood how she was feeling.

“I wish Luna were here,” said Neville.

“Me, too,” said Ginny.

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 8-9: Far From The Home I Love

Today is an important day. First, the Veronica Mars Movie is being released. Second, it’s pi day. Third, it’s Ashley’s birthday! Go wish her a happy birthday.

CHAPTER 8: THE WEDDING

At the end of The Half-Blood Prince, Harry remembered that there was one last golden day of peace to be enjoyed with the wedding of Bill and Fleur. The hype, the anticipation, the glorious grandeur of a wedding has everyone in a tizzy. The big day has arrived along with guests, decorations, butterflies, and sunshine. Even Fred talks about getting married someday, which should’ve been our first clue.

I am having a hard time putting into words exactly how much I love this chapter because I just really love weddings. Man, these people know how to throw a party. This is even fancier than “swans in your bathtub,” which is pretty darn fancy.

father of the bride swans

“I wanna buy eight hot dogs, and eight hot dog buns to go with them, but nobody sells eight hot dog buns, they only sell twelve, so I am removing the superfluous buns!”

Everyone’s in a great mood, as long as no one mentions Percy to Mrs. Weasley. The whole gang is here! Even Xenophilius Lovegood shows up with Luna. They’re wearing sun colors, which I think is a delightful wedding tradition. Viktor Krum was invited, too, much to Ron’s dismay. Auntie Muriel gets in a few jabs at Harry, who is standing right by her. She doesn’t notice, because Harry gets to spend the day as a ginger. (The Doctor would be so jealous.)

doctor still not ginger

Sorry, buddy.

The wedding itself is lovely. Harry spends most of the ceremony thinking about Ginny. (I wish she’d been able to go on the quest with the trio. Alas, earwax.) Afterwards, Viktor hangs around Harry (a.k.a. Barny) and bemoans the fact that “Vot is the point of being an international Quidditch player if all the good-looking girls are taken?” In addition to stirring up a bit of tension between Ron and Hermione, Vicky is also there to drop two super key pieces of information. One, Grindelwald had a famous symbol he used to indicate his power. Xenophilius sports the symbol on a necklace. Two, Gregorovitch was a wand-maker. Thanks, Vicky! Have a good rest of your life.

Harry sidles up to Elphias Doge and spends some productive time gleaning details about Dumbledore’s life from both Doge and Aunt Muriel. Bathilda Bagshot, author of A History of Magic, might be leaking details about Dumbledore to Rita Skeeter. This can’t be good. The Dumbledores used to live in Godric’s Hollow and we see that Harry’s very complicated relationship with his headmaster will carry on beyond Dumbledore’s death.

The party is interrupted by the lynx Patronus of Kingsley Shackelbolt.

The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.

The wedding smashers trope is perhaps a bit overdone, but like all things wedding, I still love the trope anyway. I thought most often this time around of The Fiddler on the Roof. As a kid, that was probably my first introduction to the idea of destruction following an event so blessed. It came as something of a shock. With Bill and Fleur, it seems inevitable that the golden day of peace would be disrupted and so this is the case. Luckily, we still have these memories to carry us through the sunrises and sunsets of life.

My gosh, I had the biggest crush on Motel as a teen.

Stray Thoughts:

-I am tickled to death by the idea of some young muggle kid getting his hair summoned away from his head. Can’t you just imagine Fred, hidden around some corner, accio-ing away this boy’s ginger curls one by one? The kid would rub the back of his head, look magnificently annoyed, and turn around to see what was going on? And then when he’d let his guard down, Fred would do it again? So funny, right?

-Aunt Muriel and Aunt Marge should probably go and get a cuppa together sometime.

CHAPTER 9: A PLACE TO HIDE

I mean, this whole series should simply be called, “Harry Potter and All The Times He Didn’t Die Because Hermione Granger Was There.” Homegirl packed a clutch with everything they might need in the event of an escape. She’s got a whole mini-library in there, even. I am a notoriously awful over-packer, so I love the idea of this.

Listen, I’m gonna be honest. There’s not a ton that happens in this chapter. Harry, Ron, and Hermione needed to get away from the chaos of the demonstration at the Weasley’s and they had to face some sort of immediate danger. A couple of Death Eaters catch their trail, although they fend off the Death Eaters not quite handily, but effectively. (When I re-read Deathly Hallows, I love to look back at the scenes where they almost get caught and find where they said Voldemort’s name. The whole notion of that is brilliant, really.)

So where can they be safe? Oh yeah, at Harry’s house. Because he owns a house. He’s seventeen and he owns a house. Number Twelve Grimmauld Place is a mess,  but at least it’s safe. The Weasleys are safe, too, much to Ron’s relief. Harry’s scar starts to bother him and he sees into the torture chamber that’s been set up at the Malfoys’ mansion. Draco appears to be doing the torturing, too. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Stray Thoughts:

-I saw a really great tumblr post once that detailed the wand movements of Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the diner scene from the movie. Basically, it said that since Harry had so much combat experience, he used his wand like an extension of himself. Ron and Hermione weren’t at that level yet. I’m not doing it justice and I can’t find it now, of course, but it was really interesting.

-Glad to see that Ron’s making good use of the Deluminator.

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The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 5-6: And We’ll Never Be Owls (owls)

First, a story. When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released in the summer of 2005, I had just started my first year of college. Yes, it was July, but my school was kinda weird. I won’t go into details. I’m like 95% sure that my degree is real. ANYHOW. I didn’t have a car or anything, so I decided that I would walk to the bookstore in the center of town so I could pick up my copy of the book. The bookstore was one of the religious variety, but it was actually super cool with the whole witches and magic and stuff. It was also closer than the Wal-Mart, which was my only other option.  I planned it out so I would get there right at ten when the doors opened. I showed up, slightly out of breath, no more than a goober of a freshman. I paid for the book, which took the entirety of my “fun” money for the month (WORTH IT). I even asked if I could take one of the boxes in which the book came packaged. It’s a sweet box. Every side is plastered in the Harry Potter logo and the vague threat of “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL JULY 16th, 2005.” Now I use the box to store old letters.

So there I was, walking down the street, sweaty hair plastered around my face, carrying a medium-ish box containing what would become one of my most favorite Harry Potter books. A minivan pulled over to the side of the road and the passenger side window rolled down. I froze, desperately trying to recall all of my stranger danger training. Thankfully, it was not some letch offering me candy, but a Molly Weasley-esque mom asking if I wanted a ride “because that box looked heavy.” I weighed my options. It was probably another thirty minutes to walk back to campus and the sooner I got back, the sooner I could start reading. “Eh, what the heck!” I decided. “I’m a grown-up now.” So I clambered into the backseat with their five or six very loud, very round children and gave them directions back to my dorm. They were driving down to Pocatello, ID to visit the husband’s nephew, who had just returned from the army. Oh, but first, we had to stop at McDonald’s to buy hashbrowns so they could hand them out to homeless people on the way down. We went through the drive-thru and they dropped me off at my dorm and at no point did they ask me to be their sister wife. Bullet dodged! I know that all sounds like a bit of a fever dream, but it really happened. So there.

CHAPTER 5: AN EXCESS OF PHLEGM

What time is it? It’s Burrow time! Mrs. Weasley and Tonks are busy with tea and boy talk when Harry and Dumbledore arrive. Dumbledore has to peace out, but Harry gets settled in with a warm meal. They talk about the changes within the ministry and then Arthur gets home from work. They have a system in place to keep dark wizards from infiltrating their home. It’s not so much advanced as it is adorable.

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