Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Life and Love of Severus Snape

This is another Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows SPOLIER. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I've always known from book 1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, that there is something more to Severus Snape other than his hatred for James Potter. He was an enigma since. By the 6th book, I had a hunch that he was Dumbledore's mole. In the 7th and last installment, I was surprised to know his motivtaion to succumb into Dumbledore's plans and orders.

And I thought that Remus Lupin's character was so romantic.

Snape was the uber lover of Lily Evans. Sadly, his pasison for the Dark Arts cost him his own loss. But then, Lily's son lived. Redemption came seventeen years after.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows : In Memoriam

WARNING! If you have not read the book yet, please, do not scroll any further. This post contains spoilers.

I got my copy of the 7th Harry Potter book from the Scholastic warehouse in Pasig City on Saturday, July 21, 2007. I was there as early as 7.30 a.m. I was far away from the hub of activities that littered bookstores in celebration of its world wide release. There was a different feel of getting the book in the warehouse. Besides, I really didn't feel like sharing it yet with friends who are, like me, Potterrites. I wanted to relish the last book all to myself in peace and quiet. And I did. That is why I'm giving it a second reading.

For the mean time, please, allow me to grieve for these fallen warriors of wizarding Britain.

Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.Your toughness and "constant vigilance" will always be remembered.

Fred Weasley. I wonder what your funeral would have been like. There would have been tears of, course, but there would have been more laughter.

Remus Lupin. I fell for you the first time you appeared in shabby, tatered clothes, sleeping in a compartment at Hogwarts Express. You were one of the best teachers Harry Potter ever had at Hogwarts.

Nymphadora Tonks Lupin. Just when motherhood is going to give you one of life's best gifts, you died with your hsuband in battle. I will miss the pink bubble gum hair, the clumsiness and the passion you had for seeking what you think Lupin deserves.

Dobby, Free Elf. For the many rescue operations you lent Harry, you are one of his heroes!

Hedwig, the Owl. Fly free to an uncaged land.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Book Review : Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

One more day. Just one more day of waiting and I wll have my copy of the last Harry Potter book. I am beyond excited!

To ease up the thrill and anxiety of finally reading the final series, I've searched online for news of the book. I fotunately found an advanced book review in the Herald Tribune . In another news, it is said that this angered Rowling. Oh, what can she do? She has, after all, created a cult following by creating Harry Potter.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter Phenomenon

I'm swept far and away by the Harry Potter mania that besieged the online world, as well as the real one. My personal blog, The Coffee Goddess, is ranked 23rd in Pinoy Tob Blogs because of my spoiler posts on the seventh Harry Potter book. I didn't quite expect it, really.

It was not my intention to ride on the book's popularity simply because, I'm a fan. And fans do that - rant and rave and rage over what they are so avid about.

Anyhoo, I've written a review of the movie which will find a published space in the school website this week or the next. Below is the full article.

The Movie Only a Potterite Would Love
By Zarah Gagatiga, GS LRC Coordinator

“What movie did we just watch?”

Such were the words of my dear clueless hubby as soon as the credits of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix rolled up the silver screen. I was pretty pleased to have seen it on its first showing day, but he did not share my delight. For the next ten minutes, he ranted out loud while I raved inside. The fifth Harry Potter film fell short of his expectations. I had a hunch all along that it is not a movie that will stand on its own.

I’m a fan of JK Rowling and her created universe so the angst ridden scenes of Dan Radcliffe, the gloom and the doom that bathed the movie from start to finish, and the exciting but short lived battle of the wizards were visual companions that connected me once again with the book. For one who has read the HP series many times over, the experience is utter satisfaction. This is where my hubby and I draw the line.

There were scenes in the movie that needed no explanation because I was fully aware of its dramatic and fictional background. On the other hand, the ones that director David Yates emphasized and tweaked a bit made me see perspectives I didn’t find in the book.

For example, Luna Lovegood is to me, only another quirky character that Rowling used for texturing. It was a barefoot Luna in the forbidden forest and her red sneakers tied to an archway that did me in. Seeing her come alive in the movie made me realize how essential she was for Harry to cope with the trauma of Cedric Diggory’s death and that of Sirius Black’s too. Sure, he has good friends like Ron and Hermione, but neither has first hand experience with death. This is very telling of what it is like in real life. Our peers may share our deepest sorrows, they may offer support and give us space to overcome the painful process of accepting a loss, but we all need to see one who’s been there and done that. Luna lends this to Harry. Rowling used her as a literary and artistic device to prepare Harry for whatever life will bring him in the next installments.

Another example is Dumbledore’s anxiety that evaded me in the book. I’ve always taken the Hogwarts Headmaster as calm and collected; always in control and larger than life. In the movie, I felt his greatness as well as his vulnerability.

Michael Gambon as a remorseful Dumblodore touched me to the core. He regret protecting Harry too much from the evils that Voldermort could wage. No matter how powerful a wizard he is, he could only do so much for the boy who lived. As a parent, I often find myself in the same predicament. There are battles that my own children will fight in their lifetime. Their joys and pains are mine to bear too. I, however, need to let them go and see how they can pick themselves up when they fall in facing their own Death Eaters and Umbridges of this world. Indeed, love moves us to do great things. It likewise renders us helpless and weak.

Then, there is Ginny Weasley. Yates deftly portrayed a hopeful Ginny, wistfully looking at the object of her childhood romance. She stays there at the background though, waiting and giving Harry and herself all the time to find themselves and be. It is so Jane Austen and I love it!

This sense of control and restraint presented by Yates through Ginny is a stab at youth’s tendency to be impulsive and reckless. It is during the teenage years when tensions between opposites – good and evil, conformity and rebellion, dependence and autonomy, to name a few, clash with in the teenager’s psyche. Oh, the growing pains that goes with adolescence. Harry struggles and this was made palpable in the movie. Yates extended this aspect of growing up by offering us a glimpse of how Ginny was managing all this time.

On the technical aspect, I wished for a snappy plot development and a lengthier battle of the wizards in the end. A professional dancer choreographed the manner in which wizards and witches brandish a wand to cast spells, hexes, jinxes and curses. Those scenes ended as soon as it begun.

The attempt at black comedy was obvious with Imelda Staunton as vehicle. She was an effective embellishment. The rest of the British actors were fantastic as usual, but their thespic talents did not offer salvation for a boring and dragging middle part. The scriptwriters, however, could have spent more time enunciating the importance of Harry knowing the prophecy. This is a key plot that carries Harry and friends till the sixth book. And if my guess is right, readers will hear and know more of it until the seventh book.

If you have not seen the movie yet, I encourage you to read the book first or, read the book after seeing the movie. Otherwise, you’ll end up asking the same question like my hubby. Worse, you might fall asleep on your way to Hogwarts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Butch Dalisay @ National Chidlren's Book Day 2007

The National Children's Book Day was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines yesterday, July 17, 2007. The usual ceremony of awarding the Salanga and Alcala prizes were, of course, the highlight of the day. New titles of books by eight publishing houses were presented to the interest and delight of the audience. There were more than twenty titles released and some will be launched in 2007, so people in the industry are happy about this continued, if not, rapid growth of children's book publishing today.

It was Butch Dalisay who graced the occasion. Sharing his reading experiences as a child, he attributed a well stocked library and a very good reading program to his life long love for books and reading.

He remembers with fondness, the Rizal Provincial Library, the public library that satiated his reading appetite. That library is still alive today and can be found in a relatively new building in Pasig City's local government area.

With books and reading, Mr. Dalisay saw a world that is bigger and grander than his own. This prompted him to know more, to learn more and to become more of the boy he used to be. He is continuously learning, even to this day when he has received all possible literary award in the country and overseas.

At the end of his speech, he encouraged schools and libraries for more reading contests other than talent and sports contest that seem to be all too popular to the growing Filipino child. For writers and publishers, stories that matter and help readers become better Filipinos. What exactly is "Filipino" means so much in this day and age. Indeed, this is a far greater challenge.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Reading Idols

As a way of celebrating National Children's Book Day on Tuesday, July 17, 2007, our GS LRC launched an activity that would promote and model the reading habit among our students. Dubbed as the READING IDOL, we would feature members of the school community and their reading habits.

The first to take center stage is none other than our school director, Fr. Johnny Go SJ. His reading habits and choice of reading materials are as dynamic as his personality. Read the full interview from our school website here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Perks of the Job

Who ever said that being a school librarian is uneventful? Think again. With these perks, I'm glad I'm here in this profession!

Free movie pass. Ateneo Law School is sponsoring a special, private screening of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix on Saturday, July 14, 2007 at Greenbelt 3. Show starts at 11.30 a.m.

Harry Potter Party invite on July 14, 2007 at McDonald's Greenbelt. There will be games, activities and lots of book readings and discussions on the six books and the coming 7th Harry Potter on July 21, 2007.

Bookmark to use for the 7th Harry Potter book. Where are the Horcruxes? Who ends up with whom? Is Snape really evil? Will Harry die? Burning questions that need answers!

Harry Potter sticker. Hmm...Where to stick? On my mew Mac Notebook?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

National Conference on Children's Literature for Children

The UP Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will be sponsoring the first-ever Pambansang Kumperensiya sa Panitikang Pambata (National Conference on Literature for Children) with the theme "Tungo sa Gintong Panahon ng Panitikang Pambata" (Towards the Golden Age of Literature for Children) on July 25-27, 2007 at the Claro M. Recto Hall, Faculty Center, UP Diliman.

The national conference will feature paper presentations by both established and young literary critics, creative writers, and visual artists for children led by renowned UP scholar Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu. Topics include interpretation and interpellation of Filipino aesthetics, historical and regional narratologies, educational and informational praxes, the culture of reading, media, diaspora, sexual politics, folklore, ethnography, peace talks, and poverty and revolution, – all in relation to literary production for children.

Keynote speech will be delivered by critic and National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario. The said conference will also feature workshop talks by illustrator Jose Miguel Tejido, Adarna House publisher Ani Rosa Almario, and renowned writer for children Prof. Rene O. Villanueva. For inquiries about conference fees, reservations and the like, contact Dr. Eugene Y. Evasco (eugene.evasco@gmail.com) and/or Prof. Will P. Ortiz ( bilogangbuwan@gmail.com). You may also contact 9244899.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The State of Philippine Children's Literature

There is this article in PCIJ on the state of children's literature in the country. Read it here. I'm very much aware of how dismal it is. The landscape and environment has not changed in the past ten years.

I'd rather dwell on the many ways and initiatives that organizations and civic groups put up every year for the development of children's literature.

I hope someone from PBBY gets to invite the writer of the article. There is hope. Then, maybe, she would write of better things about the industry.
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