Friday, July 26, 2019

Review - Tower of Dawn

Original Title: Tower of Dawn
Series: Throne of Glass, #5
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 5th, 2017

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
*THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*
This may be the fastest I’ve ever read a book in the Throne of Glass series. The reason it took me so long to get to it was that the whole book was about Chaol, and he has never been a favourite of mine. However, the promise to see Yrene Towers back, and to travel and visit other places created by Sarah J. Maas, ended up convincing me. And I could not give it less than the five stars it deserves. It was fantastic, in every sense of the word. 

The whole book was a breath of fresh air, after five instalments written to knock the air out of you, and give you shivers. It was very engaging, and definitely less intense than the previous books, with a smaller cast of characters, although equally captivating, and wonderful enough that I didn’t even miss Aelin, or Rowan, or Manon, or anyone who, at the same time, is in the other side of the world, engaged in the events that take place in Empire of Storms. Sarah J. Maas’ narration, as always, is more than great. She has an incredible style, it’s both strong and poetic, and her sentences are impactful, even when they are very simple, something that happened in all the previous books in the series. As for the representation, I’ve seen a lot of other readers making a huge deal about how, in the other books, there’s so little diversity in the cast of characters. I honestly don’t care about that, as long as the story is good and engaging, and the representation isn’t offensive. But here, Sarah J. Maas did her job, and I don’t think anyone can complain. There are strong female characters, people of colour, LGBT couples, and, of course, a hero with a disability. And the best part is that the author didn’t do this for the sake of it, or as fan service, because all these characters have their own personality, beyond those features that would make them, precisely, diverse. They are not there just because. The author makes sure that every single one has a purpose. 

The worldbuilding in Tower of Dawn is incredible, not only because of the details and the vivid descriptions, but because we get to visit a part of the map that, so far, has only been mentioned a couple of times. I was so invested in the story and the details of the world, that I couldn’t stop reading. Antica, with its court and sovereigns, made me think of Ancient Egypt and the pharaonic courts, and, truth be told, I liked a setting in which there’s no slavery or forced servitude, as servants, in the palace, get paid for their work, and the healers in the Torre Cesme both use their gifts for free, and take orders from no one. Not even the khagan has authority over them, and I loved that. As for the place they live in, the Torre itself, I found it fascinating, especially the library, and the Womb, with the pools, and the bells left thereby each healer who ever went there. But my favourite, of all places in this book, is the Eridun aerie, with the rukhin, and their lifestyle, so free and amazing, flying across mountains and going where the wind takes them… *sigh* I want to be there too, have my own ruk, and soar over the lands, going on adventures with Borte, Sartaq and Nesryn.

I thought that the whole recovery process Chaol had to go through would be boring to read, but, surprisingly, I ended up enjoying it. It’s so well done, and clearly, it entailed a lot of research for Sarah J. Maas. But she was able to take the real medical process from our own world to a fantasy setting, and she did it smoothly. Not only that, but Chaol’s feelings during the whole thing are so well depicted! The hopelessness, the depression that takes over him and how he feels, thinking that, as he needs help for nearly everything, is absorbing Nesryn’s life, and at the same time, he knows nothing of the people he loves and had to left behind, like Dorian, who is practically his brother. He still has pride, and although his bad mood is annoying at times, it’s perfectly understandable. It’s realistic.

I absolutely loved Yrene! I already liked her in the novella she appeared in, back in The Assassin’s Blade, and I was excited to see her again. She’s everything I love in a female character. She is strong, and determined, and although she’s not a warrior the same way Aelin or Nesryn are, she has her own personality and passion, and deserves this whole book for herself. Just as it happened with Elide in the previous books, Yrene’s strength isn’t exactly physical, but she proves that she doesn’t need to wield a blade to be a badass and that she’s as much a heroine as the rest of the characters. I love that she doesn’t let anything stop her from reaching her goals, and crossed mountains and seas to honour her unique talent and put it to good use, after the terrible fate her mother met at the hands of the king when she was a child. But besides that, healing is her passion and her life. She loves what she does, and she’s committed with life, because, although she could have made the choice of not healing a man from Adarlan, she understood that he needed her, and didn’t place the blame on him, deciding not to deny her help to those in need, and always remembering the chance to live given by the stranger that saved her and taught her self-defence back in Innish, that was none other than Aelin herself, back in her days as Celaena Sardothien. The only thing that I just have to mention, is that, if Yrene and Chaol could actually see each other’s memories and thoughts during the healing process, how is it that she didn’t recognize Aelin, as she was sitting with Rowan during that scene inside Chaol’s head?

I honestly didn’t think I’d like the romance between Chaol and Yrene, but I did! And very much. It made so much sense, and it’s so well written! And the best part is that they help and support each other, and they are better people when they are together. The healing goes both ways, because Chaol stops being so resentful and starts moving forward, physically and emotionally, finding hope and meaning once again, while she is able to make peace with her past and embrace her future. They both see each other at their worst. They learn not to judge one another on a first impression, past pain, and the things they know by hearsay. They peer into each other’s memories and feelings, and see both their strengths and weaknesses. They clash and disagree at first, of course. Anyone would in their situation. But they get to know each other, and their love is, for that, believable. To give you an idea of how much I loved this, in the previous books, if Chaol had died, I wouldn’t have cared. But when he almost died in this one, I was really scared for him, and heartbroken for Yrene. She loves him so much that she agreed to pay an unknown price to save him, tying is life to hers, and that took me back to Greek mythology, as it reminded me to myth of Philemon and Baucis, an old couple that loved each other so deeply that, upon helping the gods and them granting them whichever they asked for, they asked for them both to die at the same time, so they wouldn’t have to be separated. And that goes beyond mere romance. That is love, and there’s no other way around it. 

“Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,” he said. “It never was. And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.” He brushed away the tear that slipped down her cheek.
“I wanted to heal you,” she breathed.
“You did,” he said, smiling. “Yrene, in every way that truly matters … You did.”


*crying silent tears* Good that Chaol could understand that.

Back when I read Empire of Storms, I was annoyed by the so very graphic sex scenes, and although this book has them too (I knew they were coming the moment they said they were going to the oasis), they were better in the way that they were romantic, more focused on feelings than in physical sensations, and that made them more bearable. All the love stories in this book are beautiful, and lust has nothing to with it (well, partially). I mean, Chaol falls in love with Yrene, right? It happens after we are told how beautiful she is, with the inevitable mention of her body, her curves, her dresses, her hair, and every physical aspect she has in her favour. But when it comes to Nesryn and Sartaq’s story, it’s different. 

Before Tower of Dawn, I wasn’t a big fan of Nesryn. But I’m glad she got her own story, and we could get to know her through her own eyes, and not through Chaol’s perception. She’s deep and layered, and a warrior with all that it means. She’s brave, and strong, but also has this tender heart, with a profound love for her family, and for Antica and its people, that we barely get to see before this book. I personally never liked the idea of her and Chaol, simply because they didn’t fit together as more than just friends. There is not enough chemistry between them for that, and the proof is that, during the whole book, they spend most of their time apart, with other people, and they don’t miss each other. Yes, they slept together several times, but it never led to love, and I’m glad it didn’t. Nesryn can stand on her own, and doesn’t deserve to be anyone’s consolation prize. Chaol briefly saw a chance with her after he lost Aelin, but Nesryn is not there for that. She won’t be anyone’s second choice. And I love her for that. 

I loved her relationship with Sartaq, and I was happy when she was able to find not only someone to love, but her own identity. I loved their flights together, and the openness, and how much they came to love each other through going where no one could judge them (and also, that she got her own ruk at the end). I loved everything about the rukhin, the Eridun aerie, and the family he has outside the palace, where he is more comfortable and at ease. I absolutely loved the scene in which Nesryn sings, it’s incredibly beautiful. And that is exactly what I mean. The potential Nesryn has that make her so much more than just a warrior. She’s strong and sharp as a blade, fast as the arrows she fires. But she also has this side that makes her sing the old songs from the land of her parents with such deep, raw emotion, and that makes Sartaq fall deeper in love with her. In this scene, there’s no lust. Not a mention of her body, of her breasts, or anything about her physical appearance, because it’s not what matters in their relationship. Sartaq admired Nesryn long before he met her face to face, and their bond is deep because they share so much more than the physical pull to each other that is the mark of other love stories in the series. 

I almost die when the stygian spiders took Sartaq, the whole thing was heart-stopping. I couldn’t stop reading. I needed to keep turning the pages. It was amazing, and Falkan’s intervention as a wolf, and later as a spider itself, was great. If you paid attention in The Assassin’s Blade, you will know that Falkan is there, in the souk of Xandria, although he doesn’t mention his name, and tells Celaena about the price he paid for the Spidersilk. I like that Lysandra was mentioned as his only living relative, because, if Falkan had appeared out of nowhere in the next book and claimed to be Lysandra’s uncle, it would have felt forced, and out of place. But like this, it’s perfectly done. It fits, that is what matters.

Oh, and by the way, I really liked Borte, her attitude and her badassery, and how she is always there for her family. If it wasn’t for her, they would have died, but she’s not afraid, and I loved when set the webs on fire, like a statement that nobody messes with the rukhin without paying for it. She has a lot of potential to make a great character, and I hope there’s more about her in the next book.

And the plot twists. Oh, my God, the plot twists. I have to talk about them.

They were terrible slaps in the face, and I swear, I didn’t see any of them coming. Not one. I was so distracted by the other plot points that I did not stop to think twice about the hints, and clues. And the best part is that all of them make sense! You wouldn’t think I’d have to mention that, but, oh, dear God! I’ve read my share of books in which the supposed plot twist just fell flat, or didn’t make any sense, but with this book, I ended up staring at the page like dumbfounded, completely stunned. And I honestly love when that happens. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you write plot twists. 

Oh, my God, the Valg Queen! I did not see that coming and it was like being hit in the head with a hammer. It left me utterly and completely speechless. But that explains so much about Maeve, and how she did all the things she did. Sarah J. Maas did a great job adding all the details that would have been clues, had we paid attention to them, like Doranelle being so secretive and hidden, and the owl Maeve keeps at her side at all times. And the Valg being parasites! I honestly didn’t think they would appear in this book, but everything has new meaning now, especially the role of healers as warriors on their own account, without wielding swords, but being equally vital for the war effort. Maeve is definitely one of the best villains I’ve ever read, and she’s more powerful and terrible than it seemed. She’s literally a demon, and knowing it made me see Erawan and the king of Adarlan as mere infants, their actions as child’s play. The Valg are terrible not only because of what they do to the body and mind of the people they use as hosts, but also because they force them to make the most terrible decisions, in order to prevent something worse. Look at the king! He had to have the healers killed because they would be used as chess pieces in the demons’ game. I mean, how do you make such a decision? How can destroying lives and tearing apart families be the lesser of two evils? And yet, here we are. At war with an otherworldly force. This has gone beyond one kingdom against another, and now it is a war between realms. Between light and dark.

And Duva being possessed the whole time! Being Tumelun’s killer! I mean… I would have never guessed it. Sarah J. Maas did a masterful job distracting me from her, because I completely discarded her. A young princess, married off for convenience, pregnant, and with a sweet look on her face… I did not give her a second thought, just like everybody else did. I mean, even Renia –Hasar’s lover– would have been a more likely suspect! But no, it was Duva the whole time! An unparalleled surprise it was, and greatly done. My applause to Sarah J. Maas. 

Phew! This was such a great book! And I honestly smiled at the last scene, with the newlyweds, the chance for Yrene to learn who was the stranger that gave her the note she treasures, and with the whole army ready to go and fight, the ships loaded with soldiers, and the rukhin flying above… It promises epicness, and I can’t wait to see how this continues. I hope it’s more, or as amazing, as this book!


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Review - More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Original Title: More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops
Series: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, #2
Author: Jen Campbell 
Published: April 18th, 2013

Publisher: Constable and Robinson
I really don't know what to say about all the stupid people recorded in this book, except that they made me laugh, and a A LOT. Because one thing is having a kid saying things like this:
When I grow up, I’m going to be a book ninja.
Mummy … have we gone back in time?! (upon entering a really old, antique bookstore)
- Suggesting the bookseller to protect the books in her basement with a trained dragon.

That's perfectly acceptable. Children are hilarious, and have the best, widest imagination.

But another, completely different thing, is having an adult saying stuff like:
I only like books that I can really believe happened, you know? Like Twilight.
Do you have audiobooks on sign language?
If I buy this book, can I transfer it onto my friend’s Kindle?
My son’s getting married next week. Do you have a book to help me make sure it doesn’t rain on his big day? Some incantations or something?
Where’s your true fiction section?

*face palm* People like this make me scared of asking "how much stupider can it get?", because they seem to be taking it as a challenge. 

But they made me laugh, and that's enough for me.


Review - Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Original Title: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops
Series: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, #1
Author: Jen Campbell 
Published: April 5th, 2012

Publisher: Constable and Robinson

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein. 

And, oh my God, he was right.
This made me laugh out loud.

Never a book before led me to so many face palms! And all I could think of was that we don't even need to make up this kind of things, because people actually say stuff like that. Reality exceeds fiction, indeed.

***

Sorry for the long absence, guys. I'm in a reading slump and these two books are a nice way to break through it. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Review - The Crimes of Grindelwald

Ok, here we are… and what to say? 
Let’s start with the basics. Did I like this movie? Yes, I did. Was it what I was expecting? No, it wasn’t. The Crimes of Grindelwald is, by all aspects, a transition movie. I was kind of hoping it would be as the first one, so enchanting, engaging, and amazing, and in the end, well… it wasn’t. I couldn’t love it as I was expecting to. I repeat, I liked it, and I was able to see many aspects in which it’s been underrated. Although, I think we all know JK Rowling is better than this. 

The first thing I thought as I left the theatre is that the movie didn’t include as many fantastic beasts as I would have liked to see. There was barely a scene inside the suitcase! And the second was that I could have totally removed Newt from the story, and it would have made very little difference in the plot. And I don’t think I should ever be left thinking something like that. But still, there’s a lot of details and things I noticed, and I have A TON to say, so sit back, relax, and get ready for a million-year long review, in which, obviously, I will leave things unsaid. I can’t possible analyse every single thing, and it’s long enough as it is. So, thank you, in advance, to those that will stay that long, I really appreciate it. Oh, and this will be SPOILERY, so if you don’t want to know what happens, this is your chance to leave. BYE.

First of all, something small but worth noticing. There’s these little details scattered here and there I just couldn’t help seeing, that made me so incredibly happy, and that any Potterhead can recognize, like when, as Newt and Leta walk around in the Ministry of Magic, we can see owls flying around; Arthur Weasley explains this to Harry at one point, telling him that they used to have owls for internal communication, but ended up changing to memorandums because of the mess they made. Or later, when Newt and Jacob are about to use the portkey to go to France, and Jacob has no idea what will happen, but we see that thing that is nothing more than a dirty old bucket, and we already know. That is honestly so great. I feel both situations as a high-five from Rowling and the whole Potter team that fed our dreams for so long, and I just love them, because I feel even more a part of this amazing world. 

As for the movies to come, I’m excited with the chance to meet the wizarding communities from other parts of the world, other than the British and the American ones. Five movies, five continents, is my guess. Oh, and it may sound very simple, but I really appreciate that every single main character in this story is an adult, which gives way to a lot more possibilities than if they were kids or teenagers. Unlike with the Harry Potter series, we are not discovering this world, but fully living it. These people can use magic outside school, and have more experience than if they were still students, so there’s so much more of it ahead!


Ok, this guy.
Because it’s always nice to see Newt Artemis Fido Scamander popping out of his suitcase.

Nothing can make me love Newt any less than I do. Nothing. In any case, I’ll just love him more. He’s so unique, and interesting! He could totally get along with Hagrid and Charlie Weasley. He’s a genuine good man, and I love how everything around him is a reflection of his personality and his interests. The screenplay describes his apartment in London as “a spartan bachelor residence”, which is exactly what most things about him say. His worn clothes, his old suitcase, his barely combed hair… Everything. He’s not very concerned by his looks, nor cares a lot about what people may think of him, which is especially noticeable in the contrast with his brother, who has a certain image to maintain as an Auror for the Ministry. To really get to know Newt, you need to gain his trust, look past his physical look, and go to his basement, or inside his suitcase, because there is where his life is. Not in plain sight. Newt is a simple guy, fully devoted to what he loves the most, and is not afraid of the world’s judgement for it. He cares and loves his creatures like they are family, and I guess no one can blame Bunty, his assistant, for being hopelessly in love with him. She’s crazy about creatures, like him, and gets to see the real Newt, living his passion and being himself at all times. What’s not to love there?

By the way, I found especially funny that the Spellbound magazine mentioned Newt as a “beast tamer”, because that shows how little they care about his work. If they did, they would know that is not what he does, because that implies he uses force, which could never be true. It’s rather about caring to understand them, to get to know their true nature and find out what they are, in despite of society’s prejudice. Plus, let’s be honest, anyone who has seen the nifflers knows that there’s no possible taming there.

I really love how happy he is when he sees his friends again. He’s not close with a lot of people, showing emotion is not easy for him, and when he sees Jacob and Queenie in his living room, he even manages to hug Jacob, which is a huge breakthrough. But his face… Eddie Redmayne has very expressive eyes, and he can say a lot without a word, which is only the tip of the iceberg of what makes him one of greatest actors alive. Newt realizes one second later that, if Queenie and Jacob are there, Tina must be too, but his expression instantly drops when she’s not, and you can read disappointment all over his face, as he tries to act as if it’s no big deal. And later, when Queenie explains to him that Tina is seeing someone else after the article mislead her, he rapidly blinks and avoids eye contact, letting us see clearly what the screenplay describes as “the atmosphere tainted by Tina’s absence”. He loves his friends, but he can’t deny he wanted to see Tina. He missed her and had no idea she may be hurting for something he never meant to do. It makes me want to hug him, and the list that actors that had that effect on me at some point is very short. And later, when he reads the postcard Queenie left behind, his eyes widen at the sight of Tina’s name, and that is purely an acting choice. It’s not on the screenplay.

As for Tina
She now looks very different, in every sense of the word. Hair, clothes, posture… I love that trench coat, by the way, which, as I had the opportunity to read, it’s not black, but deep blue. My guess is that she would have looked like this in the first movie, had Newt met her when she was still an Auror. The screenplay says she is “more elegant and confident than in New York but carrying private sadness”, and, if I remember correctly, she has only one or two smiles in the entire movie. Her whole darkened aspect now fully says Auror, unlike everything she wore in the previous movie, and we can see better her true personality and courage. She has now the chance to prove who she really is, what she can do, the true reach of her strength (like if duelling Grindelwald wasn’t enough). She’s still a badass, and fiercely loyal to herself, and to MACUSA. I love when she slams Theseus into the chair and ties him up so they can keep going, because that’s the real Tina! Nobody messes with her.
 
It’s funny because they’ll all be family one day. But this is what I mean, this is the Tina I want to keep getting to know. The smart, brave, badass Auror that is also a selfless, sweet, lovable girl with a big heart. Because she can be all those things, and the balance is perfectly shown, when, more often than not, they seem to be like water and oil in fiction (at least with female characters). And now that she lost her sister, she will fight with all her strength and skills to save her. I can’t wait to see that. The only thing I missed about her was her being irritating, and nagging Newt like she did when she first met him. 

Newt and Tina’s relationship didn’t get very far in this movie, but I love them even more, if that’s possible. I have to tell you, guys, I love when Newt tries to find her in Paris, and upon Kama’s tentative description, he instinctively calls her beautiful.
 
It seems minor, but it is something I haven’t seen in so long! In my experience, the world has forgotten that calling someone beautiful instead of hot is also valid. We are women, not cups of coffee, for God’s sake! And in my perspective, the term has shifted into something so demanding that borders pain, that requires a lot of sacrifices, and apparently, has become synonymous with physical perfection, to the point that it has more value than the person you are. That is why I love this. Newt didn’t fall in love with Tina because of how she looks, but for the person she is. For the brave, caring woman she can be if given the opportunity to show it, and only after seeing that, he recognized she’s also beautiful on the outside. 

Tina doesn’t know that, of course. At first, it’s very noticeable how, as she thinks him engaged, she tries to distance herself from him, adopting this fully professional attitude and barely talking to him, calling him Mr. Scamander instead of Newt, and trying to pretend nothing ever happened between them. Which, in a certain way, is true. At most there was hope, and tender feelings. We know that they exchanged letters, but not what they said. The screenplay tells us that “each has thought of the other daily for a year”, but, clearly, he wasn’t there to give her his book in person, as he said he would, because they only meet again in Paris and she’s already read it.
Once he clarifies things, stating that he’s not the one getting married, things instantly change between them, as they both try to say what they’ve been meaning to since they were reunited. It’s impossibly sweet. The fact that he carries her picture in his pocket surprises and moves Tina, because when she thought he had forgotten her after playing with her heart, in fact he had been thinking of her the whole time. There’s acting choices in this scene too, and they’re perfect. For one, Tina is incredibly touched, and as Newt rambles on an on, she’s doesn’t stop looking at him in awe, and even bites her lip, like not believing such cuteness and awkwardness all together in one guy. And as for Newt, although the screenplay says nothing, we can see how he drops his wand as he tries to speak, gets all nervous and stutters… Like I have said before, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston are both the perfect casting choice for these two.

Newt telling Tina she has eyes like a salamander is utterly priceless. It can’t get more authentic than that. That is Newt Scamander, ladies and gentlemen! Jacob had previously tried to dissuade him from using that as a compliment, and told him what to tell her: that he missed her, that he went to Paris because she was there… And all those things may be true –because they are–, but they are nothing but platitudes. Any other guy could say that. But this is Newt we are talking about. He’s unique. That compliment has his personal signature, as I can’t imagine anyone else saying something like that. Tina simply has to admit she will never, ever meet anyone like Newt!
The way they look at each other says it all. You don’t hear every day that your eyes are like light in darkness, magical, unforgettable. She understands what he means and finds it endearing, because she knows what his creatures mean to him, that they are his life, and he loves them more than anything. This is a couple worth rooting for, because what I see is this relationship helping them become their best version, which is more than I can say about most of the romances I know. They both are better people when they are together. And look how. Tina didn’t smile a lot before Newt, sunk by the weight of her mistakes, and her strong commitment with duty and justice, taking action even when it wasn’t her place to do so. She hung on the balance, on the verge of losing everything, and was almost forgotten by the world, until she met him, and things started to change. And Newt, although naturally caring, is shy, and not good in dealing with people, but he’s making the effort because there’s someone he cares enough as to at least try to. Breaking through his awkwardness to talk to people in general is never easy for him, but he’s doing his best when it comes to Tina. He is willing to do what makes him uncomfortable for her. And if that is not blooming love, then I don’t know what it is. In a film and literary world in which, apparently, romances can’t work without constant lust, or without unnecessary drama that overcomplicates everything, this is beautiful, and strongly meaningful, in its simplicity.

Alright, moving on. I’d like to briefly talk about Theseus Scamander, Newt’s older brother.
This is a character I never expected to see here. By the way, Eddie Redmayne and Callum Turner could totally be brothers in real life, as they are so physically similar. From my perspective, I see Theseus as everything Newt should do, or what everyone expected Newt to become. He’s like the conventional, respectable Scamander Newt will never be. I find funny that one of the brothers is named after an animal (or a scientist, if you go for Newton), and the other, after a mythical beast slayer. It shows how different they are, and moreover, it’s like practically expected from Theseus to be a hero. He is mentioned as a war hero in the first movie, and I really want to know more about that. Oh, and also, I’d love to know more about their parents! They are not mentioned at all, but the book says that their mother was a hippogriff breeder, and she was the one that made Newt interested in magical creatures in the first place. I also want to know more about Theseus and Leta’s relationship. What happened there that Leta ended up preferring Theseus and broke Newt’s heart? Because, upon seeing the Spellbound picture, it is clear why they would confuse Leta with his fiancĂ©e, in the way she leans on him, how proud she looks, how she smiles… No one would deduce she’s not going to marry him, but his brother. It’s an honest mistake. 

I need to talk about Leta Lestrange for a minute.
What a character. Wow. I only appreciated her complexity with a second look. She has JK Rowling’s trademark, as I came here ready to hate her, and in the end, I couldn’t. Everything about her already predisposes us for it, starting with her last name. Lestrange is not exactly any last name, as it is heavy with darkness, attached to character we can’t but hate. Also, seeing her in Slytherin robes, and cursing a Gryffindor girl, immediately creates a bad reputation. Plus, before that, we only knew Leta as the cause of Newt’s broken heart, and as Tina’s rival. But she’s overall deeper than that. In general, Leta’s character is presented as a beautiful, pureblood witch that’s about to honour that by marrying someone of her same status. She seems to have it all. But her external appearance is a sham. She glows like a jewel, but in reality, she’s weak as the flame in a candle, secretly fragile and guilt-ridden for the secrets she carries. 

I understood and loved her early friendship with Newt in school. Before him, we see her bullied and feared, with everybody thinking her weird and wicked without even considering her history, the tale she never told anyone, and that never let her be free. She had genuine reasons to be like that. Think about it! Since she was born, she never knew happiness. Her father never even wanted her, much less loved her, and her mother didn’t live long enough for it. But Newt –just as he always does with his creatures– decided to understand her before judging her. He talked to her when no one else did. He let her in his world without questioning her, sharing what made him happy. Just like that baby raven he was nursing when she found him in Hogwarts, Leta was hurting and couldn’t handle it on her own, and needed a friendly hand, a gesture that didn’t say hate but love. Something she never had. Newt didn’t ask questions, and genuinely cared for her, and wanted to be her friend even in her dark times, after an entire life in which she felt as nothing but a burden for everyone. No wonder she would love him. And all this is what makes me think that, when she said I love you, it was for Newt, because we can see why. We don’t know enough about her relationship with Theseus to think otherwise, to see why she ended up engaged to him instead of Newt. Reputation, perhaps? We don’t know for sure, and I don’t think we ever will now. But I liked the fact that she, even with everything that happened to her, could gather her strength for one last fight. Yes, she paid for her mistakes. But she died a hero, defending those she loved the most. 

As for the contrast between Leta and Tina, I’d like to briefly compare them to see how different they are. I once referred to Tina as someone who could easily get lost in a crowd, because of her clothes and her look in general. And although she still can, it’s not the same. She looks different and her mixing in the crowd is now a requirement of her job, not an inevitable consequence of her circumstances, like it used to be. And Leta, well… She always wears these detailed, elegant designs, with expensive, rich-coloured fabrics, and deep necklines, and it’s more like a striking, sexy look. This woman doesn’t go unnoticed in any possible way. If she’s is in the room, you will see her. She’s beautiful and elegant, attractive in an obvious kind of way, while Tina is more of a sweet, caring woman with a low profile, who took care of her family when she had to, and gives everything out for others. Sounds familiar?
Just like with Newt, to get to know Tina, you need to honestly care. Her beauty is less dazzling, but still worth noticing. But Leta, at least, had genuine reasons to be a taker. She never had anything, and when she could, she tried to have as much as possible. We should not see her as the villain because of that. 

Ok, let’s move on. 

In my previous review I said the Wizarding World was ahead of its time, and it is, in many ways. Except for that ridiculous rule they have in the American community. 
I agree with Newt. It’s absurd. Queenie wants to rebel against that, and tries to protect Jacob in the previous movie, standing before him, trying to shield him from Madame Picquery’s sight, so he wouldn’t have to be obliviated. She really loves him, and although it was wrong to take him to London under a spell, she did it because she knew he would never go on his own. Queenie is definitely different in this movie, and you can see it in her costumes already. The girl with the perfect hair, and in pink, silky dresses, was left behind, replaced by a stronger figure in tweed and overall darker tones. 
I was not expecting that twist in her character, but I guess her outfits were the first clue. She doesn’t even smile much, and everything about her says internal struggle. There’s not much to say about her and Jacob, as they are barely together in this one, although Jacob tries to find her in Paris during the whole story. He truly loves her, and doesn’t want to lose her, but neither wants anything bad happening to her because of him. I can’t wait to see the part Jacob will play in this whole mess. He’s not a wizard, after all, but he won’t stop until he gets Queenie back, and I’m excited to see what will happen. Plus, I love his friendship with Newt, and how he’s slowly warming up to the magic around him. It’s very funny to see him as he tries to help Newt with his people skills, especially when he fails in speaking to Tina as he should. He’s still the comic relief, but in a realistic kind of way, as the foreigner in this world of magic he’s just starting to know a little better, unlike Newt, whose funny parts come mostly from his personality traits. But Queenie… I’m afraid we lost her to the other side. At least for now. Which gives me the opportunity to talk about this guy we call Gellert Grindelwald.
I got to tell you, that final speech is captivating, in the way that he encourages his followers to violence without using it. He shows them who the real villains are, and how it is in their hands to put a stop to them, ending wars, and suffering, if they just take the power for themselves. Notice that not for himself alone, as Voldemort wants, but for the whole wizard kind. A power he thinks, is rightfully theirs. An attractive concept, isn’t it? However, he makes them prove their loyalty by literally walking through fire. You don’t just take his side. Only his true followers can walk through his flames and come out alive on the other side. If you doubt, you burn. That way, he ensures that there’s no double-cross, no second thoughts. Just pure loyalty. And I’ve never, ever seen something like that. He’s different from any other villain I’ve ever known, because his weapon is not fear. He’s like the human version of the Mirror of Erised!

As he masqueraded as Mr. Graves, he took some liberties that clearly hid something behind, that were not simply his job. The perfect example is sentencing Newt and Tina to death like that, without reliable evidence, after Newt’s creatures gave him the perfect scapegoat to state his claim that the damages in New York were caused by a beast. I personally think that, given how Newt and Tina are, he knew they would never take his side. There was no weakness there he could exploit. His motives come from the conviction that wizards should be the superior race, because of their power, and his claim gains him fanatics all over the world. One can see why this idea would tempt them, but Newt and Tina are not ambitious like that (besides that they could see right through his shady plan). Grindelwald’s followers are not like Voldemort’s Death Eaters, and he doesn’t gather them the same way. Look at the way he used to get Credence to cooperate, and how he snagged Queenie. He doesn’t use force, or threats. He appeals to their hearts, and uses promises as his weapon. Credence has magic, even if rotten and uncontrollable, and can be very strong. It’s useful for him to have him by his side. By giving him a wand and revealing his name (true or not), he is both answering his most pressing question, and granting his greatest wish. Don’t tell me that is not a smart move. But since that is not very detailed, I can’t say more. I just have one single question: is Credence really Aurelius Dumbledore, or that is just who Grindelwald needs him to be for his plans, for the time being? It wouldn’t be the first time he creates a bait like that, after all. If Albus finds out he has another sibling, he won’t let him end up like Ariana, her death being his lifelong torture. Grindelwald knows it. And like this, Credence works as the perfect shield, because as far as he is with him, Dumbledore won’t dare attack. It’s brilliant.

As for Queenie, well… if there’s something Grindelwald proved he’s good at, is at exploiting the pain of others, but smoothly enough as for them not to notice. My point is that, to gain her and Credence, Grindelwald attacked their vulnerability with honey-coated promises, making them act on their own free will. Queenie has a big heart, and her only wish is to be free to love whoever she wants. One would think that couldn’t be used for evil. But Grindelwald talks to Queenie’s feelings and purity, and actually gives her a choice. And this is what I mean. It’s like having the chance to step into the Mirror of Erised after seeing what you want the most. You have to be made of stone not to fall for that. 

What I don’t think Grindelwald knows so far is that Queenie is a Legilimens, and she should do as she has been so far, keeping that to herself. It can make her a huge difference in his game, and if he finds out, he won’t let her go so easy.

And finally, Nagini. Another thing I never saw coming.

She’s a Maledictus, which is like the dark version of being an animagus, because she doesn’t have control over her transformations. It’s a blood curse, and apparently, that makes her a circus freak, because she doesn’t have a wand, meaning that she will never be a part of the regular wizarding society (if she ever was). She can control it for now, but she will eventually find her transformations more difficult, finally ending her days as a snake, unable to transform back. And that is a wildly interesting concept that raises a lot of questions. It’s interesting to get to see this, since Voldemort, besides everything he did, was a collector of unique things, and that is why he picked the objects he did to be his Horcruxes. Not ordinary things, but things with an immense historical value, that were one of a kind: Slytherin’s locket, Hufflepuff’s cup, Ravenclaw’s diadem… Unrepeatable treasures, with a huge meaning. We already know where and how Nagini will eventually end, but in the Harry Potter series there’s not much about it, besides that it’s not a regular snake, and Voldemort needs it to survive until he can have his own body. We don’t know where he got her from, and in general, she poses a blank canvas, that Rowling can fill the way she thinks best, giving her a past and a personality, before the inevitable happens. It’s an opportunity that is there for the taking, and I hope it leads somewhere interesting. My theory is that she will ultimately turn into a snake, to never transform back, because of a broken heart, as she is in love with Credence, but we’ll see.

***

I think that’s it. Thank you so much for all those who stayed this long, I know this must have been exhausting. I appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart. Please leave your comments below, and again, thank you.

‘till next time!


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Review - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The day has finally arrived. 
Today is the day I’m going to finally review this wonderful story!
This has been long overdue, but I don’t want to hold back my words anymore, just because it’s not a proper novel. I read the screenplay, though, and I have a lot to say about it. This is my favourite fictional world ever, and that means, I won’t shut up. And it shouldn’t surprise you. So, if you haven’t read the screenplay, or seen the movie, just go away, ok? This will be spoilery. And long, very long. But you already know I do that, so let’s go.

I have to say it, it is weird to go to see a movie that takes place in the Wizarding World, without having read a book first. I don’t know what to expect when I sit there to watch, but it is both strange and familiar at the same time. And this sums up my feelings after it, in one picture. I’m both these guys.


The fact that this isn’t the adaptation of a novel can be a good thing; we don’t see what someone cut and interpreted, but instead, we see directly what JK Rowling wrote and imagined. The book is the movie. And besides the utterly lovable characters, I really like the Easter eggs they scattered here and there, like the many creatures that are not mentioned, only shown, but still, any self-respectable Potterhead can recognize them: the billywig, the nundu, the fwooper, the diricawl, and of course, that pilfering niffler. I loved that they saw and took some of the golden opportunities given by this world, deciding to show fantasy creatures that are not the traditional ones, like dragons, or unicorns, choosing originality instead. Well done!

There’s something I really, really value, that is constant in everything JK Rowling wrote about the Wizarding World. Things are very clear in her head, because, here, the important thing is WHO YOU ARE. Not how you look like, or what you have. And I can sustain this. For example, take president Seraphina Picquery, and let’s get realistic for a second: in our world, racism and sexism are current problems, no one can deny they are ever-present issues. But the Wizarding World, already in the ‘20s, is light years ahead, with a powerful Minister of Magic who is both female, and a woman of colour! The real question is, why this has to stay fictional? Although that’s entirely another day’s topic, that doesn’t concern us in this review. My point is that Rowling barely describes her characters’ physical look in the screenplay, because again, what matters is who they are as people, their talents and capacity, their passion, their convictions, their actions, and the decisions that define their role in the story she’s trying to tell. It would be good if, even for a moment, we stop and think about that. 

And based on this, think how behind muggles are in comparison! While the wizarding community values all those things I mentioned, and doesn’t care about skin colour, sex, or nationality, when it comes to positions of power, or the well-being of their people, muggles go centuries behind them in their mentality. Literally. At the beginning of the movie, we see Mary Lou Barebone saying this:

. . . this great city sparkles with the jewels of man’s invention! Movie theaters, automobiles, the wireless, electric lights—all dazzle and bewitch us!

It’s funny that she is talking about progress, when, in fact, she is a walking contradiction. She and her followers are named the Second Salemers, and do things like they did no less than three full centuries ago from their time, still paranoid, looking for witch marks in people’s bodies, and hunting them to figuratively burn them at the stake. Even her kids dress similarly to the way they did in the 17th century, and get beaten up at the minimum slip in their conduct. So much for progress, right? All this while the Wizarding World is concerned by more pressing matters and shows superiority not only in their magic, but in the little, more evident things that muggles could also try from time to time. They find Mary Lou’s attempts even kind of funny, like just annoying background noise. True is that Mary Lou had a point, something was definitely off, wreaking havoc in the city and disappearing without a trace. Not even the obliviation after what Tina did to her could get the idea out of her head. But how on Earth she thought she could fight such a destructive force with just her speeches and pamphlets, it baffles my mind. 

But let’s go to the best part.

Ok, Newt Artemis Fido Scamander… *sigh* 
Yeah. I adore him. Can’t pretend that I don’t. I love Newt for many things, and Eddie Redmayne deserves an award solely for the expression in his eyes through this whole story. He’s the perfect casting choice for Newt, and you can’t argue with me on that. I really love how well he shows us the difference between Newt around people, and Newt with his creatures. He’s shy, and awkward, he doesn’t speak a lot, and most of the time he avoids eye contact. He’s not exactly what we would call ‘a people’s person’, being permanently uncomfortable around others. But inside his case, he transforms, he talks to his creatures as if they were family, all his awkwardness disappears, and even his whole body posture changes. His world, his life, are inside his suitcase. There, he smiles almost permanently, most of the time with that sheer, pure loving expression in his eyes, especially when he strokes Frank’s head, and tells Jacob about how he found him in Egypt, and decided to save him. I love how free and active he is when he’s in his element, as he goes from one creature to another, feeding them, healing them, and explaining them, everything with a perfectly visible passion. He has a big heart and defends all forms of life. I love how he’s not very worried when, later, he says “I annoy people”, because dealing with people isn’t really something he cares about, he’s always more comfortable with animals, that is what he really loves to do, and won’t apologize for it. He’s authentic. He doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not. And for that, I love him even more (oh, and by the way, his face when he first enters the American Ministry of Magic is priceless).

And Tina…! 
Porpentina Esther Goldstein, Ilvermorny Thunderbird, natural badass, and an Auror for MACUSA, with a penchant for justice. She could easily be a Gryffindor. I love her, utterly and completely –especially when she nags Newt–, and I see a lot of potential in her character. She’s just a normal girl, who goes to work every day, and does the best she can with what she’s got (doesn’t get more relatable than that, right?). At first, I noticed her looks, with her short hair, not so neatly done as Queenie’s, the minimum of make-up, and of course, her clothes. Always in gray and white, she’s not a remarkable figure, and if I walked next to her on the street, I would barely notice her. She’s the kind of person that easily gets lost in a crowd. Her coat looks old and worn, even oversized, as she was degraded from Auror to the almost forgotten Wand Permit Office, which can tell us that they let her stay in the Ministry almost out of pity after her scandal; hers is an office that doesn’t actually need people, it’s dark and in the lower levels, the typing machines do the work all on their own, and she’s alone; and besides, the name tag on Tina’s desk says Queenie Goldstein, meaning that not even Tina herself cares enough about what she does. She has genuine reasons to be bitter. She barely smiles, in the entire movie, but when she does, her face lights up; I’m over the clouds because she always smiles around Newt, who, more than once, gets caught up in that, unable to stop staring at her. But still, I love how she never stops being loyal to herself, to her profession as a security force, and her commitment with justice, protecting the city and its people, wizards or not. I’m very happy JK Rowling decided to write Tina as an Auror from the start, giving her a chance to show her bravery and badassery, like a true Thunderbird. She defies authority in the name of justice. She even duelled Grindelwald himself, and being the first one to attack, for crying out loud! We should never forget that. 

The difference between the Goldstein sisters is perfectly visible; they are both very well written and portrayed, since you can see that from their attitudes to their costumes, and you don’t have to look further than their sleeping attires.
I think that says it all. While Tina is more of a practical girl, and perhaps less easy-going, because as the older sister she had to take the reins of their family after their parents’ death, Queenie is a happy, flirty girl, not to mention beautiful, always smiling, and being sweet with everyone. Having Tina and Queenie in the same room, it is very clear which of them will immediately attract the attention, leaving the other in the shadows. But Tina has wits, inner strength, and her own type of beauty, perhaps less dazzling than Queenie’s, but there nonetheless. And even when the world doesn’t really notice her, Newt does, and I can totally see where their connection lies, something that fails in most of the romances I’ve seen or read. They are both very similar, as Tina had with Credence the same attitude Newt had with his thunderbird, Frank. They both saw them chained up, unfairly suffering and being mistreated, and decided to act on it, no matter the consequences. Doing the right thing is important to them, more than anything else, and they have the same attitude towards defending life and protecting the innocent.

As for dear Queenie… Let’s face it, guys. More often than not, the happy, pretty blond girl in stories is also the dumb, shallow one. But Queenie Goldstein not only breaks that rule; she destroys it. 
Being a Legilimens, she can perceive people for who they really are, and she can’t be fooled. Unlike in other worlds I’ve seen and read, here being pretty doesn’t mean being a slut, or a selfish brat, the same way being sweet, loving and caring, it's not synonymous with being silly, and unaware of the world around you. I know it sounds evident, but many books and movies miss that! Queenie has courage, and a great inner strength, and not everyone knows what she can do with her mind, which is great, because it allows her to see people’s real intentions. And her relationship with Jacob is the sweetest thing ever.

Truth be told, Jacob Kowalski is not an Adonis, and not your typical love interest. He’s just a regular muggle guy with a heart of gold, a difficult life, and the dream to make people happy with food. He stumbles upon the Wizarding World by accident, and just like us, he’s fascinated and wants to be a part of it. Jacob is all of us, and proves that you don’t have to have magic to be a part of a fantastic story, getting to be Newt’s friend and sidekick. I’m happy that, for the first time, a muggle can be so important for the development of a story set in this world. He’s there as the comic relief, most of the time, but his character has a purpose, and is utterly lovable. Queenie falls in love with him for who he is as a person, for the interests they share, and not for his physical appearance, breaking the concept that, sadly, is strongly installed in fiction: that the blond, giggly, gorgeous girl won’t look twice to a guy who isn’t nearly as attractive as she is, and that the man without the perfect body and the sparkling blue eyes is not worthy of a decent romance, nor can love a beautiful woman without being rejected, and his part is only the one of the goofy, hopelessly in love village idiot, who, obviously, doesn’t stand a chance. 

We already saw this in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, even if briefly, in Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s relationship. Mrs. Weasley thinks she’s going to abandon him because he’s no longer so handsome, after Fenrir Greyback attacks him, but Fleur gets angry with her, proving that she’s not as vain as everyone thinks, and that she really loves Bill, and will love him no matter what, being ready to stay with him through thick and thin. That is the kind of healthy relationship that should be seen more often in fiction. Romance and love based on who people really are, in their personalities, interests and talents, and less focused on being insanely beautiful, or rich, or any other less important thing, that, at the end of the day, isn’t key to be happy.

But back to Newt and Tina! I love their relationship, and I root for them, even when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the book), already tell us how their story will eventually end: “Now retired, he lives in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their pet Kneazles: Hoppy, Milly, and Mauler.” But this doesn’t make me any less excited! Giving actual faces to these two names, along with well-defined personalities, is utterly priceless. And this is what I meant before. Here, Porpentina is just a name, we don’t know who she is, where she came from, how she met Newt… There’s nothing, except a great opportunity to be creative. And I love JK Rowling for taking it to make her a badass from day one, writing her as an Auror, of all magical professions. 

Both Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston do a great job with their characters, to the point that I can’t think of anyone else better suited to be Newt and Tina. I love them, and I love how they portray them by making acting choices, and adding things to their performance that go beyond what it is in the screenplay, and that are personal to each of them (like when Newt places his wand between his teeth). I love that JK Rowling decided to give them a story all of their own, and honestly, my favourite scenes in this movie are both the dinner in the Goldsteins’ apartment, and the farewell at the docks.

The first one, because, well, the magic in everyday life and how natural it feels, for starters; I love how they just flick their wands and cook, and settle the table, and everything. But besides that, the tension! Even when Queenie and Jacob get along almost immediately, and make the others uncomfortable, we still get to see Newt enchanted with the little home and the sisters, and Tina’s attitude in a different role, other than the Auror who arrested him. She wasn’t obligated to give him a place to stay, nor anything, for that matter, but she acted showing her good heart, and that she cares. The glances they exchange across the table as the others talk, and especially when Tina stands up and says “Okay, you guys can bunk in here.”, are what I mean. The screenplay says nothing about Newt and Tina looking at each other fondly, or surprised, or anything. The actors added that, and they totally let me see the start of their relationship, without a single word. Just a look.
Those eyebrows, Newt...

*snap back to reality*

Sorry.

Anyway, later on, when she turns him in after what happened in Central Park, and Graves questions him about the Obscurus, Newt answers his questions looking at Tina, who is standing right behind him, because he cares more about her knowing that both he and his creatures are innocent, than the law itself. It’s important for him that Tina knows he didn’t betray her. And, like any self-respecting Hufflepuff, he’s loyal to the end, because he doesn’t hold a grudge, and stays to save Tina in the death potion room, instead of running away without her, choosing to look at her directly in the eyes –something unusual in him–, and getting her to trust him in despite of her fear (and her sass).


And the scene in the docks, well… *sigh* It’s been long since I saw something so sweet and heart-warming. Newt and Tina are adorably awkward in this one, but there’s noticeable changes, things that weren’t there at the start of the story. For example, Tina’s clothing. She’s still in white, gray and black, but her clothes are now becoming, and fit her perfectly; she’s wearing high heel boots, and a trench coat, her hair is done, she smiles more, and in every possible way she looks more refined and pretty than she did at the beginning of the movie, mostly because she’s an Auror again. And she has someone to thank that for. I love Newt in this scene, because he’s awkward, and shy, and his words don’t come out as he would like them in front of Tina, but she doesn’t mind, because she’s as embarrassed as him, expectant, and almost moved to tears. And what I love the most, is this:

Newt gazes at Tina—awkwardly affectionate. He gently reaches forward and touches her hair. Lingering for a moment, they stare into each other’s eyes.

This, in my opinion, is a lesson for storytelling in general. In a film and literary world in which a romantic relationship, apparently, can’t be told without the characters constantly lusting after each other, to the disgusting point (and you know I’m not exaggerating), this is a breath of fresh air. The way they look at each other, so intensely, told me everything I needed to know. 


It was a good thing they didn’t kiss. This relationship wouldn’t be so sweet if it were rushed. Because even when he says nothing, and only breaks his awkwardness to sweetly stroke her hair, you can tell what they are thinking. You know that Tina is wishing he wouldn’t have to leave, and Newt even stops on the gangplank, fighting his wish to get back with her instead of boarding the ship, after somehow promising to see her again. I love his dawning realization, when he says that people change, and that he changed, after Tina mentions Leta Lestrange, who is, as we later find out, Tina’s complete opposite. He wasn’t even thinking of Leta –anymore–, as Tina mentioning her takes him by surprise.

It’s simple, and beautiful. It’s two people who found each other and discovered the other wasn’t what they thought they would be (something that sums up the concept of the fantastic beasts, in general). The gap between their duties and their passions is very notorious in both of them, especially with Tina, as she spends the whole movie doing what she thinks is right, instead of what her position in MACUSA demands from her. And that is the start that leads someone to be a hero. Breaking the rules and standing up for what you believe in.

Finally, a word on villains and victims. Gellert Grindelwad a.k.a Mr. Graves, is one power-hungry, smooth-talking villain. His most effective weapon are his promises, because he gets what he wants through saying the right word at the right time (unlike He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named).

Tom Riddle is more of a strong, fearsome kind of villain, who seeks power over everything else, but is also secretly afraid of the things he doesn’t understand, that did everything he did for his wish for immortality, and his fear of death. Grindelwald’s motivation, for what we know at this point, it’s far from that, and gets people to cooperate by promising things. My point is that Grindelwald’s weapon is not fear. Let’s think about that for a second. He generates fanatism without threats, as he gathered some of the followers we know so far through the promise to end their suffering in a society that doesn’t understand them, and by giving them the chance to choose. “For the greater good”, he says. Voldemort’s Death Eaters don’t think this way. But since Grindelwald has a bigger role in the next movie, I’ll talk further about him in that review.

And Credence… The poor boy.
I definitely want to know more about him, his background, how he ended up with that crazy Mary Lou Barebone… There’s a lot of potential there. Most of the time, he appears to be an absent-minded push-over, as he follows Mary Lou around, says yes to everything, and gives away her pamphlets. He wants to be a part of the Wizarding World to escape his miserable life, and that is what Graves uses to his advantage. And honestly, who could blame him? We ourselves are that kid in the cupboard too, sometimes, waiting for someone to come and tell us we are wizards, and then take us to this wonderful place. Credence is relatable that way. As for him being the Obscurial, I figured it out by half of the movie, I was not fooled there. However, I find the whole concept of the Obscurus extremely interesting. A dark, uncontrollable power, like rotten magic, that comes from wizards and witches supressing their power at an early age, and that eventually kills them. Is that what Ariana Dumbledore was going to become, eventually, hadn’t she died so young? *suspenseful silence*. 

And it’s not for supporting Grindelwald, but Credence really is a miracle. How could he survive that long with that inside of him? Can it be removed? Can it be turned into a positive force, through helping him handle that power? So many questions!

But we do know one thing, and that is that, if you are familiar with Rowling’s style, you know that she will distract you, getting you into thinking you are aware of everything, when in fact you were looking in the wrong direction the whole time. It’s undeniable that Rowling is a master in distracting you from the hints, including them when your attention is elsewhere, and in the end slapping you in the face with the truth. No writer I’ve ever read does this better than her. 

*sigh*

Let’s face it, people. No one can create an entire world inside one simple suitcase and take you in a unique adventure, the way JK Rowling does. She’s the Queen of Magic for a reason, and Fantastic Beasts, in a way or another, sums up everything I love in fiction. I will never stop loving this world. It’s definitely the best, most fleshed-out fantasy world I’ve ever had the luck to find, and it will never stop fascinating me. This shows the power imagination has, and what a talented, passionate writer can do, as it makes you feel this world is very real, and at grasp, right there in front of you. Not to mention that it always feels like coming home. *sob*

I can’t wait to know how this story will continue, and I hope it only gets better and better.