Animagus at 10 Downing street?

Many of us love the company of one or more cats, especially if we are not, like Hagrid, allergic. Larry the cat, though, I suspect, may beLarry the Cat on Twitter: "“If you're over 40 you can now get your booster jab 3 months after your second dose of vaccine. Please book today and the NHS will look more than he seems, and that is because Larry lives at 10 Downing Street, the home of the Prime Minster. Larry, a shelter cat, has lived at the Prime Minister’s residence since 2011, and, unlike presidential pets that leave the White House with changes in administration, this handsome fellow has stayed through with each new government. Adopted when David Cameron was in office, and bestowed with the title “Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office,” Larry now has his own book,  has a children’s book, has met numerous heads of state, and is on Twitter (@Number 10cat).

Personally, I am curious as to whether or not Larry is an actual cat. He does seem quite spry for his age and capable of a variety of amazing feats (like sticking around in politics). Is it possible that, instead of relying on a magical portrait to communicate with the Muggle Prime Minster, that the Ministry of Magic has installed someone “closer to the ground”? Inquiring minds want to know, so perhaps some nosy Rita Skeeter type will get the scoop. Or maybe this is one for the Quibbler. In any case, Larry seems like a government official that it’s easy to support, unless, of course, one is a cat. Check out Larry in action here! Wait, is he reading a map?

Film News for Hunger Games Prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Planned for 2023 Thanksgiving Release

As we knew they would be, the Hollywood Gamemakers are hard at work on the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s brilliant Hunger Games prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It really is a remarkable novel. If you need a refresher, check out mine and our Headmaster‘s thoughts from its release in 2020, as well as a run-down of connections to the original trilogy. If you have not read the novel, you have time before the film’s planned 2023 release. If you have read it, you are probably wondering how the filmmakers will deal with the main character, the young up-and-comer Coriolanus Snow, as well as some of the complex and fascinating Machiavellian themes.The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Suzanne Collins).png Of course the movie business loves unpleasant protagonists, from the Joker to Venom, so they are doubtless planning another humongous blockbuster, once again without the slightest indication that they understand the irony of these splashy productions that hit theaters during the Thanksgiving season. The film is still in the early stages, with little known except that the director will once again be Francis Lawrence, and that other production staff and writers (including Collins) involved with the previous films will be joining this one.  No casting has been announced, but I would love to start taking suggestions. If you have ideas about who should play the deviously charming Snow, the talented (and also devious) Lucy Gray Baird, the hapless optimist Sejanus,  the horrifying Dr. Gaul, or any other of the fascinating characters, let’s start discussing those now, before the Hollywood people invariably make choices that make us scratch our heads. What are your expectations for what will, sadly, always be called “the fifth Hunger Games movie”?

 

Celebrate Sir Terry Pratchett’s Birthday with New Editions!

Since I first discovered that Sir Terry Pratchett shared a birthday with a family member (who is also a big fan), I think of theAbout Sir Terry - Sir Terry Pratchett beloved and belated author every year on April 28. Today, which would have been Sir Terry’s seventy-fourth birthday, is the first official Terry Pratchett Day, which will be celebrated this year with new editions of his novels, beginning with six of his fabulous Discworld books, the ones in the “Witches” series plus one stand-alone. If  you have never experienced the joy and madness that is Discworld, these books are a great place to begin. Discworld often has connections to another wizarding world, although the Unseen University is probably less enticing than Hogwarts if one were choosing an institution of magical education.  Rincewind, Pratchett’s endearingly failed “Wizzard,” undoubtedly flunked his OWLS, but he is good value as entertainment!

Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe JLords and Ladies Paperback 2022ugulum, along with Small Gods, are all getting splendid new covers, released today. This summer will see new-cover releases for the Wizards series, and, appropriately, on October 27 the Death series, WILL ALL BE RELEASED (I am rather partial to Pratchett’s cat-loving fellow in the long black robe, capital letters and all). That group will include the wonderful Hogfather. Next year will see the release of the City Watch novels and several others. So, if you love Discworld and need an excuse to buy new editions, or if you want to share this wonderful series with someone else, this is a good time to gift yourself or a loved one in honor of Sir Terry on his birthday! If you are not yet a fan of the fantastic world that travels through space on the back of a turtle (really!), and you need a place to start, you can begin at the beginning with The Colour of Magic, but Discworld is the sort of place you can just drop into from anywhere, so I highly recommend the re-working of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lords and Ladies, which is in the series being released today. Happy Terry Pratchett Day!

Secrets of Dumbledore: Predictions Fulfilled and Promise for the Future

Last month, I posted my thoughts, predictions, and bizarre guesses about Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore based on the Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore - New Poster and Trailerseries of character posters that had just been released. At long last, the film has had its American release, and I am happy to offer my thoughts on the this, the third installment in the Fantastic Beasts collection. Be warned, in the interest of being un-influenced, I have not read the reviews or comments that have been posted here already, and there will be spoilers galore after the jump as we take a look at the film’s positive and negative aspects, the ways in which my poster insights were incredibly accurate (as well as some that were completely off base), and some predictions for the story to come based on what we’ve seen this time around. This review may be as wild, over-stuffed, and blatantly dangerous as Newt’s fabulous case, so proceed with caution to our latest adventure in the Wizarding World. [Read more…]

Always Winter and Never Christmas? Some Thoughts on Snow, Springtime, and Fantasy Literature

According to the calendar, the vernal equinox is coming soon, March 20. The Auditors of Time just decreed that we must all surrender an hour of our lives (they do promise to give it back in the fall), and I’ve already heard spring peepers singing for all they are worth. However, we currently are having a snowstorm here in western North Carolina, so those poor peepers are, as my dad would say, now “peepingReal-Life 'Narnia' inspired author | ITALY Magazine through glass,” and the single digit temperature and sub-zero windchill are enough to make a person look twice at the calendar to see if spring is around the corner or on another continent. As I frequently point out to my fellow residents of the mountains during this time of year, “Appalachian Spring” is not just a musical composition; it is a specific species of cruel joke. It’s rather like that feeling when, well before the end of the book or film, our heroes have slain the monster and we, savvy story-consumers that we are, know that the monster is NOT in fact dead, or the monster has a baby, a mate, a scary parent, or a whole monster army in reserve. Thus, the howling winds outside and the freshly cut daffodils inside (I cut them just before the snow) have reminded me of some thoughts I have long been pondering about the way seasons, particularly winter and spring, work in fantasy literature and how the treatment of those seasons is often an indication of the worldviews of authors and of the directions their tales will take.

So join me after the jump as we ponder some fantastic thoughts and decide if “winter is coming” or if, in fact, “This is no thaw. This is spring.”

[Read more…]