Tag Archives: harry potter

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Just last night, one of my book lover friends posted a photo of her copy of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The book has been on my wishlist since news of it came out some time back.

On my way home from work today, I thought I’d go look at the bookstore if it was available. Turns out it was, and without second thought, I got it.

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

I was lucky. Many of the books were reserved beforehand, and it wasn’t even on display at the store. Luckily, I asked one of the sales ladies, and she pointed me to the customer service section of the store. The books were still in boxes!

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Socerer’s is undoubtedly beautiful. The story is familiar, like a friend you’ve known for a very long time and see often. Yet this is the first time that the story has been fully illustrated. The Scholastic versions have an illustration per chapter, but this one has one on almost every page. While I have my ideas on how people and places in the Potterverse appear, Jim Kay’s illustrations offer a fresh perspective on the story.

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The artwork is breathtaking, but it’s the details that got to me. There were these small things that made me go “A ha!” because it was so clever I can’t help but think if it had been in the book or not. The chapter about Diagon Alley made the place more real, as well as the illustrations of Hogwarts. I loved the cheekiness of some of the drawings, particularly on pages 20 and 21. And I swear that the illustration on page 24 is a nod to a very popular board game. Blooey says it’s “a gift that keeps on giving”, and I can’t help but agree.

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One of the cooler parts of the illustrations were the portraits of the characters. Not everyone was portrayed though, but the ones that are there are very striking. Dumbledore is one of them, and when I saw his page I literally got chills.

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I also liked the pages that were ‘excerpts’ from other books in the Potterverse. Dragon eggs and a guide to trolls are there, as well as various landscape illustrations of Hogwarts.

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Copies of this are available in Fully Booked and National Bookstore. So far, it seems that only the US version is available here. I bought this for P1,690 (or something like that) at the National Bookstore Cubao. I heard it’s already out of stock in Fully Booked. So many eager Potterheads.

I can’t wait for Chamber of Secrets!

P.S. Do check out Blooey’s giddy report about her copy!

P.P.S. Here is an interview with Jim Kay at the Pottermore website, plus more illustrations!

Harry Potter is a trademark of J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement intended.

Filipino Friday (2): Kids and Books

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This week’s Filipino Friday question is something close to my heart. Well, it is books so that’s a given, but it’s also about children’s books (which I’d include young adult fiction).

What were your favorite books as a kid or while you were growing up? Do you still read children’s books? If you could give your younger self a book to read, what would it be?

Difficult, difficult question. I had a lot of favorite books when I was a kid. Every weekend my parents would let me buy one toy or book, and my godmother/aunt would give me books every birthday and Christmas. Not to mention the people I could borrow books from: other aunts and uncles, friends, the library.

I suppose if I had to trim it down, my favorite books would be the works of Enid Blyton, my Lolo’s big book of stories, the Nancy Drew series and Sweet Valley Twins. Enid Blyton was the first British writer I’ve ever read, so at a young age I was already aware of pixies and brownies and lorries and bobbies. Her stories were those of mischievous kids and other-world beings that spoke of grand adventures, treasure hunts and mysteries.

Nancy Drew, of course, is a classic. To a young girl, she embodied the “girl power” kind of mantra. Because Nancy goes out and solves mysteries, fights bad guys and always wins in the end. The Sweet Valley series gave me glimpse into a world very different from my own. Middle school (or in my case, Intermediate) for me didn’t have cliques or bullies or cheering squads. Girls and boys don’t date (but crushes are all right) and we were still kids by Pinoy standards, but in Sweet Valley, twelve seems so mature.

The book my grandpa had was one he brought home from the time he studied in the U.S. It’s a very thick book filled with hundreds of stories: some fairy tales, some excerpts from other works, some adaptations and the like. Unfortunately, someone borrowed it and lost it, which breaks my heart.

Ok, I’ll stop at these because if I don’t, this post will reach a thousand words. ๐Ÿ˜›

Young Adult Books
Couple of YA books that I have, still fairly new. The rest I’ve got stashed back in Zamables.

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This Book Life: 34th Manila International Book Fair

I deliberately skipped the Manila International Book Fair for the main reason that my finances will not support the foray into book heaven (or hell, whichever you prefer). Aklatan proved to be friendly to the wallet, as I concentrated on getting only two books and the ebook bundle, but I feared that MIBF was fiercer.

I ended up going there yesterday before lunch just so I could make the cut-off for the Harry Potter raffle. I was an hour late meeting my friend Ching (and I got reprimanded for it), and it was raining like hell. Not to mention that the MoA area was crowded: probably thousands of people were there for different events: MIBF, Best of Anime, the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, the SM 3-Day Sale… chaos.

Luckily, the line for tickets were short. I used my student discount, and once I was in, I made a beeline for the National Bookstore section. With the crowd, I was waffling on getting a copy of the new Harry Potters, but at the last minute I did, and I got a raffle ticket. Ching got one as well, and she also got a poster (which she later gave to me! Weee!). There were a lot of collectibles and Harry Potter memorabilia too, though I wasn’t really able to see them *sad face*

Times like these I wish I stayed more active in the HP community.

Potterheads
Potterheads surround the booth

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Inside Pottermore

Yesterday, my “owl from Hogwarts” arrived, informing me that I can now log in and experience Pottermore. I immediately dived in to exploring the site.

When the news of Pottermore first came out, it was said to release ebook and audiobook versions of the Harry Potter series. Furthermore, it will include additional content and information about the series and allow its members to participate in an interactive reading experiences. However, you don’t just “read” but you explore the Potterverse.

As its on its beta version, there’s not much to do now as you glide along the Philosphere’s Stone. Most of the excitement happens as Harry enters Diagon Alley for the first time, and up until he gets sorted.

New information from J.K. Rowling
What’s interesting in Pottermore is that Rowling released information about the people, places and things of the Potterverse. In the “Philosopher’s Stone”, she included detailed information about Professor Minerva McGonagall. Now, I love McG, and I think she’s the most bad-ass of all the professors (aside from Snape, who is bad-ass in a different way). Reading her story makes me love her more, and reinforces the fact that Dame Maggie Smith was the best choice to portray her.

Rowling also included info on Quirrell, and some background information on the real Nicholas Famel and the story of the “real” Philosopher’s stone. The latter two should be familiar to many as it’s a topic that was discussed in science classes.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.
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Booking Through Thursday: Anticipation

Booking Through Thursday:

Whatโ€™s the last book you were really EXCITED to read? And, were you excited about it in advance? Or did the excitement bloom while you were reading it? Are there any books youโ€™re excited about right NOW?

The last book I remember being very, very excited to read that I was ready to bargain with my aunt if I could buy her copy, was “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. I never managed to pre-order it, or even get in line for any events for it, but I wanted an early copy so badly. My aunt said she was getting one and I begged her to let me read it as soon as she got it, even before she could read it.

I remember reading the last few chapters while we were in a party at her home. No one could talk to me because I was so busy reading. I was waiting for the book even before it came out. I was a fan of the series from the beginning, and I eagerly waited for the next book as soon as I finished the last.

Right now, I don’t think I’m looking forward to reading anything. If J.K. Rowling’s going to be releasing anything new (even if it’s not in Potterverse), I’d gladly read it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Endings (Not a review)

For some people I know, the Harry Potter series ended with the release of the last book. After all, that’s where it all started, it seemed right to consider it as the end.

However — and you can correct me if I’m wrong — there has never been a book to movie adaptation that’s as massive or influential as Harry Potter. Sure there are other movie series and other adaptations that can be considered epic. I already said my piece about this when the first of Deathly Hallows came out, and I stand by it.

Then again, I don’t think there’s a series that went on for as long, had nearly all the cast same from the get go and had the book author deeply involved with the movie’s creation and production as J.K. Rowling was. Not to mention how intense the fans are. Take the Starkids for one: they made a fan musical, wrote songs and made Darren Criss (in)famous long before he joined Glee all for the love of Harry Potter. Wizard rock became a new genre, and there are several conventions all over the world celebrating everything Potter. But I digress, I’m supposed to be talking about what I think of the movie.

I didn’t rush to the cinemas during the first day to watch it, even though I wanted to. Oddly enough, very few of my friends watched it on the first day, so my social networks weren’t jammed with HP feeds (something which I was grateful for). Of course, one of my co-workers had seen it and knowing that I was a fan too, chatted with me about it.

Like many fans, I felt that this was the real end to Harry Potter. The movies have become so much a part of it for me. While I can easily visualize a different Harry, Ron, and Hermionie when I read the book, it was also very easy for me to imagine Dan, Emma, Rupert and everyone else as the characters they effectively portray.

From this point on, I shall be yapping about the movie and my thoughts, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want spoilers, do not continue.

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It’s finally November, and I’ve seen the Deathly Hallows…

Thursday night, I rushed to SM Marikina to meet Den and watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”. She invited me a few weeks ago to this advanced screening and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. However, by some sneaky twist of Fate, local cinemas decided to show the movie a day early, ahead of the rest of the world. Considering that the Philippines is already ahead of the U.S. and other western countries, thus making our November 19 showing way ahead, they went and released it on November 18, making my advanced tickets just plain tickets. Oh well, it’s for a good cause… but it grates.

Still, it couldn’t dim the excitemet bubbling within me. I was babbling and very nearly dancing while we waited for the ushers to let us in. Once inside the theater, I made a mad rush for the topmost row, which afforded a great, non-nauseating view of the screen.

Since it was a special screening, we had the National Anthem before the previews were shown. Halfway through it, a representative from the St. Camillus College Seminary said a few words. Everyone seemed to know someone, so the atmosphere felt like a sort of school gathering of sorts.

Then, the dark clouds that seems to be a trademark of the more recent Harry Potter movies rolled on screen. I grabbed Den’s hand, and sat back for a long ride.

The Fast and the Furious
It’s always a big frustration for any reader when a book they so enjoyed is adapted on screen. I often feel that while anything is possible with film these days, they are also limited to the time a film is shown. As much as I love Harry Potter, I probably won’t be able to sit for anything more than three hours for a film. I suppose if they faithfully adapted the book, it would be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, II, III, IV…” and so on until the story finishes.

The movie is wonderfully crafted, I’d say that. Technology has improved so much since the first Harry Potter that the special effects don’t seem so special anymore. Instead, the real actors merge seamlessly with the computer animation, making the scenes more believable and realistic.

Props to the cast as well. Hagrid sums it all up in his line at the start: “I brought you here sixteen years ago, it seems right that I take you away.” (Or something to that effect) What makes Harry Potter different from any movie that has gone for so long is that the cast from the start of the movie is the same cast at the end. Sure there were some changes, like Sir Michael Gambon taking over Dumbledore’s role due to the untimely demise of Richard Harris (from Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but everyone essentially grew up in this epic film series.

It is also interesting to note that the cast has, in a way, acted in every kind of film. Harry Potter is a film set in a fantasy world, but it has a wide range of elements that let the cast be funny, scared, dramatic in various scenes. I’ve seen people laugh, cry and be scared while watching Harry Potter movies, so if the casts’ acting chops haven’t been well polished by the end of the series, I don’t know what to call it.

I enjoyed myself, definitely. While I wouldn’t say that the movie was brilliant and would win awards (except maybe for the soundtrack), it was a culmination of so many things in the last ten or twelve years. It doesn’t remove the fact that there are, however, many little things I could nitpick on, and I’m positive that it would be a rather long list.

Be warned, spoilers ahead.


Nitpicking
There’s the scene at the start where Dudley says he doesn’t think Harry is a “waste of space” and gives him tea as a sort of peace offering. How about Harry’s birthday? Where was the animosity between Harry and Scrimgeour? How about the fact that Voldemort’s name is jinxed and using it breaks all protective enchantments? Let’s not forget Kreacher’s back story, which for me is a rather crucial part in the book. Non-readers won’t really notice it, but we certainly did. One of the most captivating parts of the book is how J.K. Rowling made everyone human, no matter how powerful or different they seem.

I don’t know if the director and scriptwriters believe that 1) readers will take it for granted that “Oh, I already know that it happens” or 2) those who didn’t read won’t care and won’t wonder. Well, number one is definitely off the mark.

I did like the treatment of Hermionie’s parents leaving for Australia. It was clever and fast and very effective. I did wonder about the trio leaving and it seems that Lupin knew that they were planning something.

I teared up when Hedwig died. I very nearly bawled when Dobby died. I was amused by Ron, and at the same time found him very manly in some parts. The Harry-Hermionie kiss was hot, and seriously, if Ron and Hermionie’s kiss is anything less than that, I’d be really mad.

Best surprise of the entire movie? The telling of “The Tale of Three Brothers”. I didn’t expect them to show the story in it’s entirety, more like Hermionie or Ron just giving a quick run down. It’s a brilliantly done by Swedish director Ben Hibon.

There’s still so much I’d want to rant and rave about, which I’ll probably add later on. On the whole, the movie was a good watch. Like I said, it wasn’t spectacular, but similar to the last three Harry Potter movies, it is more of an accompaniment for the book. It will be able to stand on it’s own if the audience didn’t read the book, but it wasn’t as magical as the first few movies.

July is still so far away.

Wizard Madness

If there’s anything I’d go crazy about, it’s Harry Potter. While I haven’t gone all rabid like some fans have, I still am rather ga-ga over the franchise. Crushing on Ron, impatiently waiting for the last two movies to see the much awaited Ron-Hermionie kiss (I have a feeling that this is the pairing people are waiting for, more than Harry and Ginny, whose romance, IMO, is very lackluster).

Warner has officially released ten (or so?) TV ads for the movie in their official YouTube. I watched all of them in less than five minutes and I was dancing in my seat. Slashfilm also posted a video courtesy of Yahoo on some quick, behind-the-scenes look at the Deathly Hallows.

You can see various scenes that weren’t in the previously released clips. Knowing that half of them won’t be seen until next year is making me pretty angsty, but I can wait. Impatiently.

Slashfilm also mentioned in this article that the Harry Potter franchise is quite possibly the most epic movie in the history of entertainment. While we can’t argue that the Star Wars franchise is also big, it doesn’t have the continuity of HP. For one, there are eight movies all in all. Two, the people in the movies are pretty much the same people from Day 1 (with the exception of the late Sir Richard Harris). Lastly, the movies are open-ended, making each one connected to the other, thus making it “a perfect circle”. I can’t help but agree.

November 19 is coming very soon.

PS. Sorry, I’m too lazy to find the links. Will edit later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Half-Blood Prince thoughts

I saw “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” twice: once with my siblings, and once with my friends. I re-read the book a few days before, just to refresh my memory with the story (not that I’m quite unfamiliar with it haha).

There were many liberties taken with the how the movie was made, as with the previous ones. Some things were changed to fit the movie’s flow and make away with heavy explanations, like how it was Luna who discovered Harry on the train instead of Tonks.

There were also the addition of scenes that weren’t in the book, but fit well in the movie by setting a tone that shows how serious The Deathly Hallows will be. Also, there are scenes added that may not be in the The Half-Blood Prince but will be in DH, like the opening scene at Diagon Alley and when Snape was talking to Dumbledore in the tower.

I enjoyed the banter and humor of the movie, but felt that the action was a bit dull, and everything after the scene where Harry got the memory was rather anti-climactic. I suddenly lost all interest in watching it and wanted to have more of the humorous moments. I wanted to see more of Ron (the part where he ate all the chocolates up to the part where he was at the hospital wing is among my favorites), more Quidditch, more of the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezies. But I suppose that can’t be.

The movie wasn’t quite what I expected, and I wasn’t that at all thrilled with the latter part of the movie. Dumbledore’s death was sort of “meh,” and I was far more moved when Slughorn said a few words for Aragog (must be the mountain shot). I did like, however, the part where McGonagall lifted her wand to cast Lumos, then everyone did the same.

On the whole, I did enjoy the movie, despite my nitpicking. I did think that for a moment, I was watching “Lord of the Rings” when they went to get the locket.