Monday, October 19, 2020

Heroes of Ravenclaw

While on my second clinical rotation recently I inadvertently got everyone taking the Pottermore sorting quiz. I’m a loyal Hufflepuff, so I’ve wanted houses outside of Gryffindor to get their due respect. To that end, I’ve written about heroes from Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Now it’s time for Ravenclaw’s turn.

Luna Lovegood

Though not introduced until the second half of the series, Luna became an indispensable part of the team. She was instrumental in getting Harry's true account published in The Order of the Phoenix, she fought at the Ministry of Magic, and after being held captive for months she fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. If anyone thinks Luna shouldn’t be top of this list, you need to re-read the story again.

Moaning Myrtle

In a way the most heroic thing Myrtle did was NOT ratting out the trio as they brewed the Polyjuice Potion in The Chamber of Secrets. However, she also gave them critical information that kept the trio moving forward; she gave them the final clue about the Chamber’s location and she helped Harry figure out the golden egg. RIP Myrtle Warren, but at least your afterlife was well spent… although she did align herself with Malfoy at one point too...

The Grey Lady

Another Ravenclaw that made some mistakes in life, but played an important role in the downfall of Voldemort. While he was at Hogwarts, the Grey Lady (known in life as Helena Ravenclaw) was tricked by Tom Riddle into telling him where her mother’s lost diadem was. But in the end, she was the one who told Harry where it was so that he could use the information to defeat Voldemort.

Mr. Ollivander

He may not have fought, but he was another that gave Harry vital information for his quest to defeat Voldemort. After being tortured for information about Harry’s wand and the Elder Wand, Garrick Ollivander was rescued and he taught Harry crucial wandlore that enabled him to defeat Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts.

Professor Flitwick

Though small in size, Flitwick was a mighty Charms master. When things started getting out of hand in the second half of the series, Flitwick fought against Umbridge and Death Eaters. And in The Deathly Hallows he and other professors went out of their way to protect students from the Carrows. 

DA Members

Several Ravenclaws joined Dumbledore’s Army during The Order of the Phoenix. Some were less trustworthy, like Cho’s friend Marietta. However, there were plenty like Padma Patil, Michael Corner, and Terry Boot who stuck with the DA until the end and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. Of those three, only Padma was confirmed to have survived the final battle.

Who is your favorite Ravenclaw? Which house do you claim? And finally, are you as impatient for the third Fantastic Beasts as I am?

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Creature Feature - K9

Over almost 60 years, Doctor Who has featured plenty of iconic companions. Most fans of the modern era of Doctor Who will probably think of Rose, Amy, or Donna. But there are only a couple who bridge the gap between classic and modern Who. One of them is K9. 

He’s more than just a robot dog. Always polite and friendly, he calls all of the Doctor’s associates “master” or “mistress” (except Mr. Smith). He’s got ears like satellites, a nose with a blaster, and an adorably wagging metal tail. He’s shown himself to be capable of interfacing with any other piece of technology, even at a distance. 

There have been four versions of K9 in Doctor Who (not counting spin-off material). Like the Doctor, each version of K9 have some differences, but they share the common features mentioned above. 

K9 Mark I - This original version was created by Dr. Marius in the distant future. After the Fourth Doctor defeated the Swarm, he and Leela were gifted K9. He stayed with the Doctor until she decided to stay on Gallifrey after the Sontaran attack. 

K9 Mark II - The Doctor claimed you have built this K9 while Mark I was still around. He traveled with the Doctor and Romana as they searched for the Key to Time. His travels continued as the Doctor and Romana got stuck in E-Space. He finally opted to stay behind with Romana when the Doctor left E-Space. 

K9 Mark III - This model of K9 was sent to Sarah Jane Smith after she’d left the TARDIS. So in December 1978 she met him and he stayed around for her adventures for decades. He showed up in “The Five Doctors” living at her place. He ended up sacrificing himself in 2007 so that he could save Sarah Jane, the Doctor, Rose, and Mickey. 

K9 Mark IV - The latest K9 (as far as we know) was left with Sarah Jane after Mark III was destroyed. He joined her on her adventures with Maria, Luke, Clyde, and Rani. He stabilized a black hole and helped the Doctor find the lost Earth. Eventually he moved away to university with Luke, where he stayed until the end of the Sarah Jane Adventures.

Not much is known about what happened to the last K9 after the end of Sarah Jane's spin-off. Earlier this year during lockdown, it was revealed that he went with Ace after Sarah Jane’s funeral. Maybe someday we’ll see K9 again. As far as we know, Mark I, Mark II, and Mark IV are still around. So anything is possible. Maybe K9’s return will bring us the return of Leela, Romana, and/or Ace. I suppose anything is possible when you’re working with this good dog.

Monday, October 12, 2020

35 Pics to Make You Smile

 You ever had a blah day? 

You ever have a blah day when you're supposed to write a post for a blog? 

Well, here's the result: 35 pics to make you smile from someone who was having a blah day.

I'm pretty sure this is how most listicle sites started. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Not Out of the Woods

Into the Woods was one of the first musicals I ever saw; the moment I heard Cinderella sing "I wish", I knew I was hooked on Broadway shows. Lots of other other works have worked to upend traditional tales (Once Upon a Time, Shrek, Wicked, several books by Jon Scieszka), but none has done it with as much grace, art, and finesse as Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.

I'm incredibly impressed with some of the lessons that Into the Woods has taught me: 

  • Though it's fearful, though it's deep, though it's dark, and though you may lose the path ... you can't just act, you have to listen. You can't just act, you have to think.
  • Nice is different than good.
  • Sometimes the things you most wish for are not to be touched.
  • If you know what you want, you go and you find it and you get it.
  • There are big, tall, terrible, awesome, scary, wonderful giants in the sky!
Certainly there are some outstanding lessons not only from Into the Woods, but also from going into the woods. 

I geocache. It's a thing, okay? I search for containers hidden in the woods, and I do this as a way to cope with stresses and pressures of life. (Click this link for more on how geocaching saved my life.) This weekend, I went to find a new geocache, somewhere deep in the woods, in an area I was not familiar with. Thank goodness for GPS, because I was traipsing around the forest looking for a tiny container. When it was time to go, I couldn't find my way out of the woods. I knew the general direction, but the GPS kept bouncing around. And even though I could physically see where I was in the woods, I just couldn't figure out how to get back. I could feel my anxiety rising, and so I decided to take a moment to breathe, to pray, and to just enjoy my time in the woods. I meditated and practiced mindfulness and did some pondering. I literally thought, "The woods are just trees. The trees are just wood." 

I was stuck in the woods, but I had my wits about me. After some wandering, I saw the trail, but there was about 40 feet of really thick underbrush and foliage blocking my way. So instead, I just kept following the path of the trail, but on the wrong side of the underbrush. Right as I could feel myself getting frustrated and a bit hopeless, I said a prayer. I thought, "What am I doing here, I'm in the wrong story!" But I kept moving, and about 40 feet ahead I found an exit. It wasn't the entrance I used to get into the woods, but that didn't matter. I also ran into a branch, got some cuts and scrapes, and was itchy from the bug bites, but none of that mattered. What mattered was that I was back on the trail and on my way home.

Some things I learned from my time going into the woods:

  • I might get scratched and cut and torn up along the way, but the end result is worth it.
  • Sometimes I need to sit and take a breather so I don’t panic.
  • Just keep going. The goal right now is just beyond my reach, but I can reach it.
  • The way out is not always the way in.
  • I need to pray more.
  • The introspection during that time helped since. I feel like I turned a corner in the woods. I got lost, but I found myself. Okay, that's cheesy, but it's true. I used to identify with Cinderella, that what I want most of all is to know what I want. Listen, life still hits hard. Life can just really really suck. But though life is fearful, though it's deep, though it's dark, and though you may lose the path, you have to keep going. There is a way out, and it's just up ahead. 

    And maybe that's what woods are for: for those moments in the woods.