The Frivolous Fifty

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Once I found a fifty just laying on the street.

As I walked to the mall, the money called to me.

‘Spend me frivolously, Sean. Buy a Nerf gun or a Lego spaceship. Buy a VHS of Speed 2.Buy a book you like, in a language you don’t speak. Buy shoes that don’t fit. Enough walnuts to fill a bath. Broken mirrors. Chocolate teapots. A scrabble set with the vowels missing. Frivolous!’

I shopped and shopped but nothing was frivolous enough. I threw the fifty to the ground and as I walked away I heard behind me,

‘Ooooh, a fifty!’

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This story originally appeared in Marrying the Animal: One Hundred 100 Word Stories available from Amazon here

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Marrying the Animal

Marrying the Animal

Marrying the Animal: One hundred 100 word stories is on sale now here for Australians and here for Americans and here for Brits or at your local Amazon site if you’re not from these three countries. Some of these stories have featured on this blog (usually from prompts supplied by two very awesome, very talented ladies) but there are a whole lotta others that have I’ve kept to myself until now. 

Buy it, tell your friends to buy it, tell your enemies to buy it, tell their friends to buy it and most of all enjoy it!

Nasa’s New Horizon Probe = Bill Cipher

Is Nasa’s New Horizons probe based on Gravity Falls’ Bill Cipher?

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My ebook, available at Amazon. One hundred 100 Word Stories. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll read the whole thing really quickly. Go buy it now.

Marrying the Animal

 

100 Word TV Review: Gotham: Penguin’s Umbrella

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Finally, a fantastic episode of Gotham. All the elements clicked. There was the end of the MCU being suspicious of Gordon crap, no Catwoman nonsense, a little Bruce Wayne stuff, some good Barbara scenes (what?!), and a nice twist at the end. Cobblepot has gradually become my favourite character and he is played with slimy, pathetic perfection by Robin Lord Taylor.

The parts are fitting together more smoothly now and the show seems more comfortable focusing on Gordon instead of trying to find comic book cameos (i.e. Victor Zsasz seamlessly fitting into the plot). Perhaps this is the tipping point.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

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100 Word TV Review: Doctor Who: Dark Water

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This was a solid beginning to a season finale and a great reintroduction to one of my favourite characters. I had my suspicions about who Missy really was:

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but fell for the robot misdirect and then the Rani misdirect, which is good work from Moffatt who can still keep us guessing.

I feel like this episode will be a little controversial (hopefully not for the sex change regeneration) because I can imagine some kids freaking out about the fate of cremated relatives/pets.

A good start to what is hopefully a good end to a great series of Capaldi’s Doctor Who.

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This isn’t part of the 100 words but this episode put me in mind of this article from the AV Club about death in popular culture. The idea that Danny’s death can be reversed is lovely in story but in the real world, where these things do not happen, it can be hard for people who have been bereaved to see, knowing that they themselves do not have the same chance to see their loved ones again. Read the article. It’s heart breaking and interesting.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

Economy of Storytelling

A lesson from Grant Morrison about economy of storytelling. This is the first page of All Star Superman, a fantastic Superman comic and a classic of the genre. On this first page you get the whole of superman’s origin in four panels and eight words. Nothing is wasted and Morrison relies on the fact that everyone is aware of who Superman is and where he came from without having to recycle the same old scenes of Jor-el and Lana loading baby Kal-el into a spaceship. As much as I love Batman I have reached saturation point with seeing Thomas and Martha Wayne get murdered, especially as Batman has one of the most famous origins that is virtually unchanged 75 years after it was first written. Here, Morrison gives you everything you need to know and then the story (which is insanely good) can begin, unhindered by the past.

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And while we’re talking about All Star Superman I can’t help but put up two gorgeous pages by the immensely talented Frank Quitely.

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I could stare at that moon kiss for hours.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

Happy Birthday Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is 35 years old this week.

It is the most quotable thing outside of the complete works of Shakespeare, and probably more applicable to day to day life.

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And, most importantly:

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

100 Word TV Review: Doctor Who: The Caretaker

 

It’s nice when Doctor Who goes for comedy and nails it as it did with The Caretaker. There is a rich vein of humour to be mined from putting The Doctor in a human situation and having him try to fit in while also trying to thwart some sort of alien plot (see The Lodger).

I’m less enthused by the idea of Courtney joining the TARDIS crew.  Hopefully, the character has some unseen potential and won’t just be an annoying, badly written kid brought in simply to create similarities with the first ever crew of teacher, teacher, student, and Doctor.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

Friday Fictioneers: The Knocker

**Last night I watched the movie Tracks for Audienceseverywhere.net. I woke up this morning, wrote my review of it and decided to try and do a Friday Fictioneers in one sitting. I would look at the picture and then write and just see what came out. Tracks is a movie about a woman who walks from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean (2,700 KM). I think the movie might have lingered, causing me to write something about walking for this Friday Fictioneers. So here is The Knocker, something a little bleak and dark for your delectation.**

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The Knocker walked along the beach. Every ten steps he saw a dying animal. He raised his club and brought it down, smashing the animal’s skull with a single practised motion. He walked. The club, the knocking stick, tapped against his leg as he walked. The tide came in and washed the blood from the tip of the club. The sun, dark in the sky since the Flash, stared down on him like a malevolent, black eye. The Knocker heard the choking groans of something up ahead. He sighed and raised his club.

And walked, bringing death along with him.

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Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

 

100 Word Movie Review – Blackfish

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Blackfish is an incredible documentary that cements a long held opinion of mine that people are dicks. It also proves that the acts of dickish people will turn marine animals into straight-up psycho killers. I’ve never been to SeaWorld and, after viewing this film, never will.

It tells the story of Tilikum, an orca that, because of mistreatment, keeps killing people. The movie is full of interviews of former SeaWorld trainers who open up about some of the shadier elements of the waterpark.

Sometimes hard to watch, it is a shocking indictment of the people who mistreat animals for entertainment.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark

===Orginally appeared on AudiencesEverywhere.net. Go there after you’ve been here and not a second before===

Overview: Archaeologist Indiana Jones races Nazis to discover the Ark of the Covenant. 1981; Lucasfilm/Paramount; Rated PG/PG-13; 115 Minutes

Is There Such a Thing as A Perfect Movie? The short answer is no. The slightly less short answer is yes, and that movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Raiders has been a staple in the Fallon household for as long as I can remember. In terms of building cinematic obsession, for me, it’s up there with the Star Wars Trilogy (the first movie I saw on the cinema was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which my parents took me to for my fourth birthday. Other kids in the cinema ran around like lunatics and I stared at the screen in abject adulation.)

Obtainer of Rare Antiquities: The thing that still appeals to me about Indiana Jones is that he acts like a real person. He gets dirty and sweaty, he has cuts and bruises. He gets his ass handed to him many times throughout the film but keeps fighting. And when he does fight, he often fights dirty. Look at the fight with the massive mechanic. He distracts his opponent then kicks him in the nuts, biting, scratching, throwing sand in the mechanic’s face. It is a world away from James Bond beating up a thug with choreographed precision before straightening his tie and dishing out a quip. It is only out of dumb luck (and a whirring propeller) that he survives that fight and escapes from the air field.

Indiana Jones comes across as a lived-in character. There is no need for an origin story. Everything required to understand him is offered in the epic opening scene. This man is an archaeologist/adventurer. He is capable, he is smart, he’s good with a whip, and he can outrun a boulder. And when the film cuts sharply to him teaching a class of enamoured students, the circle is complete. Teacher by day, adventurer by night. What more do you need to know?

The supporting characters are the same. We are offered some background on Marian but no concrete reason for her to be running a bar in Nepal. Sallah is introduced as the best digger in Egypt, and his friendship with Indy actually strengthens our knowledge of our hero by showing that he has friends all over the world, who we can only assume he’s met on adventures we haven’t seen.

And it continues with the villains. We learn nothing about Belloq and need nothing more than the vile sleaziness (and occasional flashes of likability) that Paul Freeman gives him with his outstanding performance. The Nazis are… Nazis. They’re unrepentant baddies so they’re going to get what’s coming to them.

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It’s Not the Years Honey, It’s the Mileage: This sense of a lived-in world extends to the romance between Marion and Indy. The relationship has happened years before and the chemistry between Ford and Karen Allen speaks volumes more than a clumsy meet-cute or a protracted courtship. They act like people who have been friends before lovers, and even though the love has cooled there is still genuine affection between the pair. However, this romance pales in intensity to that of Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant. Indy’s character is established as a treasure hunter so it makes sense that his first love would be the prize and not the girl. In fact, there are two scenes in which Indy chooses the Ark over Marion (leaving her tied up in the enemy camp and refusing to blow up the Ark in the canyon) and as the film progresses, it quickly becomes apparent that we are actually watching a tragic love triangle between Indy, Belloq, and the Ark.

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Snakes, Why Did It Have to be Snakes? Three people make Raiders what it is. Lawrence Kasdan’s script is as good as it gets. It’s fast, funny, scary, self-deprecating, intense. There is probably an action beat every ten pages and the story drags you along frantically from scene to scene. It’s exhausting trying to keep up. As I discussed earlier, Kasdan gives us everything we need in the first couple of scenes. No time is wasted on anything superfluous. We get a character, a villain, a quest and we’re off to the races.

John Williams’ score is one of his best. The chilling piece that keeps threatening to start every time the Ark appears but only gets going at the very end of the movie is a great example of character/music synergy (another example being the high-pitched discordant sound that plays whenever the Joker is around in The Dark Knight). And, obviously, The Raider’s March is one of the best scores in cinema and instantly recognisable.

But the most important technical contributor to this movie’s success is sound designer, Ben Burtt. His sounds in the opening jungle scenes could lead audiences to think the action was happening in another world. The chirps and animal calls that fill the unseen jungle create an aural space in which danger and adventure lurk around every corner. I can also directly trace my intense fear of snakes to this movie, and it’s not just the sight of them that freaks me out, it is the noise. The snakes hiss and slither and writhe together and the noise (which I later found out was Burtt plunging his hand into a cheese casserole, which I am now also afraid of) is a nauseating mix of wet and alive that permeates the scene and that I half expect to start dripping out of my speakers.

Is Raiders really the perfect movie? No, not really. Its failure of the Bechdel Test is pretty intense and some of the special effects haven’t aged well, and, if we wanted to be Cinema Sins, (i.e. joyless dicks) we could nit-pick all manner of errors but where would the fun in that be? In the end, there probably is no perfect movie but, for me, Raiders is pretty damn close.

Grade: A+

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Marrying the Animal

 

100 Word Movie Review: The Expendables 3

The Expendables 3 is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good film. It is actually pretty awful. The plot makes no sense, the characters are paper-thin, the dialogue is risible and it’s lead actor is barely understandable.

Would I watch it again right now? Hell yeah. Crazy action, crazy dialogue, crazy characters, it’s like watching someone play with action figures. Get a few drinks in you and watch it for Antonio Banderas being awesome, Sly being incomprehensible and Harrison Ford fucking people up from a helicopter that Arnie keeps calling a choppah.

This movie is what it is.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

 

Friday Fictioneers: 21st Century Campfire Story

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So this bro checks his iPhone right, and the killer’s left a tweet. #Yourenext. So this dude freaks and thinks, well, how did this killer dude know where I am and junk, right? He checks his privacy settings. He’s put his location in his profile like an idiot. He goes around the house and locks all the doors and then gets another tweet. #didyoulockthebathroomwindow. The bro is like, damn, I gotta text 911. Then he realises that the killer has dropped a pin. He checks it out with Google Earth. The bro freaks, the tweet came from inside the house.

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Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

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The 100 Word Novel – Forty-Eight: The Newcomers

o-maticThe newcomers came out of the woods. A woman crapped in black sheets supporting the weight of a tall, crooked man who dragged one of his legs and leaned heavily upon the woman. Walking ahead of them was a small figure, a girl with bright red hair that flowed behind her.

The girl wore a man’s coat that was so big it looked as though it was consuming her. She was pointing ahead at the group gathered at the Fort’s gate.

Butler pointed to two of his men, ‘Go and meet them. If they’re sick, terminate them. Do not hesitate.’

Previously on the 100 Word Novel: Introduction to the 100 WORD NOVEL. Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Interlude Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-One Chapter Twenty-Two Chapter Twenty-Three Chapter Twenty-Four Chapter Twenty-Five Chapter Twenty-Six Chapter Twenty-Seven Chapter Twenty-Eight Chapter Twenty-Nine Chapter Thirty Chapter Thirty-One Chapter Thirty-Two Chapter Thirty-Three Chapter Thirty-Four Chapter Thirty-Five Chapter Thirty-Six Chapter Thirty-Seven Chapter Thirty-Eight Chapter Thirty-Nine Chapter Forty Chapter Forty-One Chapter Forty-Two Chapter Forty-Three Chapter Forty-Four Chapter Forty-Five Chapter Forty-Six Chapter Forty-Seven

 

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My ebook, available at Amazon. 

Marrying the Animal

100 Word Music Review: AM by Arctic Monkeys

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Arctic Monkeys’ fifth album AM is a masterpiece. I was madly in love with their first two albums and then went cold with three and four but five has brought me back. It is one of those albums that you find yourself changing your choice of favourite track with each listen. It’s a rocky, ballad-y album about unrequited love. It’s about lying in bed thinking about the person you should have gotten up the guts to talk to. It’s about finding the perfect thing to say an hour after you leave the club/bar/party/etc. It’s an album for your after party.

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My Ebook, available now on Amazon

Marrying the Animal

 

 

100 Word TV Review: Doctor Who: Deep Breath

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Doctor Who is back. Last seen contemplating his kidney colour at Christmas, Peter Capaldi steps into the role proper for his first episode, Deep Breath. Regeneration episodes are hard as the writer needs to introduce the new actor to the viewers and the new doctor to the other characters while also telling a compelling story. Moffat has shown himself capable of doing this (Eleventh Hour was awesome!) and manages to do so again here. Capaldi’s Doctor is angry, crazy, wild, unpredictable, Scottish, angry eyebrow-ed and a little bit of a dick. A great episode that left me hungry for more.

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My Ebook, available now on Amazon

Marrying the Animal

 

 

Currently reading: The Pesthouse by Jim Crace

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Started a new job recently and need to commute to work on the train. Quickly remembered how much reading you can get done on the train and have started plowing through my backed-up Kindle collection. A few days ago I started The Pesthouse by Jim Crace and it’s very good. Very dark, very atmospheric and i’m being made to work  to decipher the plot and setting (It’s the future but how far in the future? Why is everyone getting sick?)

I’ve also read and would recommend Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto and B^F by Ryan North (I cannot recommend this high enough, it was amazing).

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Friday Fictioneers: The Perfect Writer

The Perfect Writer

My grandfather was one of the most prolific authors who ever lived. In ninety years he penned over 300 novels. He wrote constantly but always found time for his family and friends. He never experienced writer’s block, nor did he fall into black moods when the ideas that were so clear in his head did not translate readily onto the page.

My writing career stalled magnificently and I became a block mood 24/7.

I went to his house and stared at a picture of him that hung above his writing desk.

‘One word after another,’ he would say.

Smug bastard.

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Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

My Ebook, available now on Amazon

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Friday Fictioneers: Imagine a House

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Imagine a House

In order to will a house into existence one must first eat a hardy breakfast. The exertion of imagining walls that can hold up ceilings will drain you until you are staring at the reflection of a low-toner photocopy version of your face.

Windows are especially tricky. You can close your eyes, make fists and eat lots of fiber, but the idea of imagining into being a surface that can be seen through will cause nosebleeds and whiten your hair.

Stairs, floors are easy. And creating a house out of nothing is easier than assembling flat-pack furniture. So there’s that.

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Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

My Ebook, available now on Amazon

Marrying the Animal

Mapcrunch Game and the Airport Game

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A game I stumbled upon and am addicted to is The Airport Game on Mapcrunch.

The game is simple. Go to Mapcrunch and press GO. You will be shown the street view of somewhere in the world. The game is to find your way to the nearest airport and thus escape the country.

When I first heard about it I thought it sounded pretty boring but once I got playing it I was hooked. I have only won once and that was when it landed me in Seoul, somewhere that I have lived, and I knew which kind of bus stop would take me to the airport.

Other times I have been dropped in a field in Denmark and presumably starved to death.

For bonus hard mode you can turn off the location name so that you have no idea where you have been dropped.

Have a go and tell me what you think?

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The 100 Word Novel – Forty-Seven: As Peg Lay Dying

1024px-Bleeding_fingerPeg held onto her stomach. Blood seeped through her fingers. Kat was hovering her hands over Peg’s stomach, unsure what to touch or where to put pressure. She kept apologising.

So this is it, thought Peg. She expected more pain from the gunshot, but it just felt as though she had swallowed a fiery whiskey that wouldn’t cool down in her belly.

I always thought I’d die in bed. Or just after my Nobel Prize Speech. Darkness encroached at the edges of her vision.

Someone shouted, ‘There’s people coming out of the woods!’

Peg didn’t care. She closed her eyes.

Previously on the 100 Word Novel: Introduction to the 100 WORD NOVEL. Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Interlude Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-One Chapter Twenty-Two Chapter Twenty-Three Chapter Twenty-Four Chapter Twenty-Five Chapter Twenty-Six Chapter Twenty-Seven Chapter Twenty-Eight Chapter Twenty-Nine Chapter Thirty Chapter Thirty-One Chapter Thirty-Two Chapter Thirty-Three Chapter Thirty-Four Chapter Thirty-Five Chapter Thirty-Six Chapter Thirty-Seven Chapter Thirty-Eight Chapter Thirty-Nine Chapter Forty Chapter Forty-One Chapter Forty-Two Chapter Forty-Three Chapter Forty-Four Chapter Forty-Five Chapter Forty-Six

 

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Harry Potter and the Revolution

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On Tumblr the other day and came across this:

“The basic plot, which cannot be ignored even in the films, is that Harry, Hermione and Ron give up everything for their political struggle. They drop out of high school, they go illegal, defy the government, belong to an underground organization [The Order of the Phoenix], operate out of safe houses and forests and even raid offices of the government and banking offices. This is all done in principled opposition to the Dark Wizard Voldemort and a corrupt bureaucratized government that has been heavily infiltrated with his evil minions. This is revolutionary activity. But the movie version does not present it as such or emphasize these radical aspects of the plot, thereby entirely missing the dramatic sweep and action present in the first half of the last novel.

The novels recognize the importance of alternative media for political struggle. The mainstream press [The Daily Prophet] is shown as unreliable and unprincipled, eventually deteriorating into a fear-mongering propaganda machine for the Voldemort-controlled bureaucracy. For a while the alternative but above ground media [The Quibbler] publishes the real news, but it ceases to print after the daughter of the publisher is kidnapped. In the book, friends of Harry [Lee Jordan, with Fred and George Weasley as frequent guests] start broadcasting the real news from an underground radio station, encrypted with a password. This radio station becomes a critical link for the resistance, which is scattered and weak. Although we are treated to some radio broadcast updates in the movie, they are delivered by a disembodied and professional sounding voice, not our friends the Weasleys. This undermines the important message – a guiding principle behind the media coop – that in a serious situation it becomes necessary to produce your own media and not to rely on ‘professionals’.

The novel makes it clear that in this phase of the struggle the characters romantic lives take a backseat to their political activity, as Harry breaks up with the love of his life [Ginny Weasley] so as to avoid making her a target for Voldemort’s forces, who are known to use torture and kidnapping as tactics. The ‘love triangle’ that becomes the focus of the movie isn’t even really present in the books. In the books, the relationship between Harry and Hermione is totally platonic – Ron is shown as jealous, but the feeling is entirely without foundation. In the book Harry says to Ron: “I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It’s always been like that. I thought you knew” (pg 378, DH US Hardback). This conveys that men and women can be close comrades and friends without being involved romantically. But in the film, Harry and Hermione are shown dancing romantically, and Harry’s line to Ron about his brotherly feeling towards Hermione does not even make it into the film. This completely undermines the important message that jealousy is counter-productive and has toxic effects, which is an important feminist message for young people.”

Love it. I can’t seem to find the original source but it originally appeared on Mugglenet and then was shared around (if anyone can find me a source to credit that would be awesome). Reading this after living in Turkey during the unrest of last summer made it really resonate with me as I saw then the mainstream media feed lies to the people, and saw the young people of Turkey gradually lose faith in their leaders and take to the streets night after night in an effort to take back control of their country.  It was a reading of the books that had gone over my head and really changed the tone of those final books for me. And changed them for the better.

What do you think? Should Rowling be teaching our children about revolution? Is this a mis-reading of a fun fantasy story?

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Marrying the Animal

My ebook, available at Amazon.

 

 

 

Marrying the Animal: On sale now

Marrying the Animal

 

The wait is over!

Marrying the Animal: One hundred 100 word stories is on sale now here for Australians and here for Americans and here for Brits or at your local Amazon site if you’re not from these three countries. Some of these stories have featured on this blog (usually from prompts supplied by two very awesome, very talented ladies) but there are a whole lotta others that have I’ve kept to myself until now. 

Buy it, tell your friends to buy it, tell your enemies to buy it, tell their friends to buy it and most of all enjoy it!

Nearly finished

Two 100 word stories away from finishing my E-book which is a compilation of one hundred 100 word stories, some of which have been on this site, some that are exclusive to the book.

Last two stories to write are the final two stories of The Dire-Man so waiting for the Friday Fictioneers prompt for the first one and then going to just choose a random picture from Flickr to inspire the grand finale. Very exciting stuff which you will be hearing more about when I am spamming this blog with shameless self promotion of the book.

While you wait for the publication of my masterpiece (or one of my masterpieces), here’s some Robyn to tide you over.