"Wormtail, I need somebody with brains, somebody whose loyalty has never wavered, and you, unfortunately, fulfill neither requirement."
"What are we doing here? Has something gone wrong?"
"Oh no, Ron," came Fred's voice, very sarcastically. "No, this is exactly where we wanted to end up."
"We didn't give it to him because he's a Muggle!" said Fred indignantly.
"No, we gave it to him because he's a great bullying git," said George. "Isn't he, Harry?"
"Yeah, he is, Mr. Weasley," said Harry earnestly.
"That's not the point!" raged Mr. Weasley.
"House-elves is not supposed to have fun, Harry Potter," said Winky, firmly. "House-elves does what they is told."
Harry saw that they didn't look remotely beautiful now. On the contrary, their faces were elongating into sharp, cruel-beaked bird heads, and long, scaly wings were bursting from their shoulders--
"And that, boys," yelled Mr. Weasley over the tumult of the crowd below, "is why you should never go for looks alone!"
"He didn't care how frightened she'd been, or how upset she was--it was like she wasn't even human!"
"Well, she's not," said Ron.
"Do us a favor, Perce," said Bill, yawning, "and shut up."
"Your father thinks very highly of Mad-Eye Moody," said Mrs. Weasley sternly.
"Yeah, well, Dad collects plugs, doesn't he?" said Fred quietly as Mrs. Weasley left the room. "Birds of a feather..."
"You're JOKING!" said Fred Weasley loudly. The tension that had filled the Hall ever since Moody's arrival suddenly broke.
Nearly everyone laughed, and Dumbledore chuckled appreciatively. "I am not joking, Mr. Weasley," he said, "though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar..."
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat loudly.
"Er--but maybe this is not the time...no..." said Dumbledore, "where was I?"
"People have died, though!" said Hermione in a worried voice as they walked through a door concealed behind a tapestry and started up another, narrower staircase.
"Yeah," said Fred airily, "but that was years ago, wasn't it? Anyway, where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
"What-what are you doing?" said Professor McGonagall, her eyes following the bouncing ferret's progress through the air.
"Teaching," said Moody.
"Teach-Moody, is that a student?"
"Yep," said Moody.
"No!" cried Professor McGonagall, running down the stairs and pulling out her wand; a moment later, with a loud snapping noise, Draco Malfoy had reappeared, lying in a heap on the floor with his sleek blond hair all over his now brilliantly pink face. He got to his feet, wincing.
"Moody, we never use Transfiguration as a punishment!" said professor McGonagall weakly. "Surely Professor Dumbledore told you that?"
"He might've mentioned it, yeah," said Moody, scratching his chin unconcernedly, "but I thought a good sharp shock-"
"We give detentions, Moody!"
"Yeh'll do wha' yer told," he growled, "or I'll be takin' a leaf outta Professor Moody's book...I hear yeh made a good ferret, Malfoy."
The Gryffindors roared with laughter. Malfoy flushed with anger, but apparently the memory of Moody's punishment was still sufficiently painful to stop him from retorting. Harry, Ron, and Hermione returned to the castle at the end of the lesson in high spirits; seeing Hagrid put down Malfoy was particularly satisfying, especially because Malfoy had done his very best to get Hagrid sacked the previous year.
"You!" he said, staring at Moody as though unsure he was really seeing him.
"Me," said Moody grimly. "And unless you've got anything to say to Potter, Karkaroff, you might want to move. You're blocking the doorway."
"I'm not stupid, you know."
"You're doing a really good impression of it," Harry snapped.
"Jus' thought she'd like ter see 'em," shrugged Hagrid, still gazing, enraptured, at the dragons.
"Really romantic date, Hagrid," said Charlie, shaking his head.
Harry knew Ron was about to apologize and suddenly he found he didn't need to hear it. "It's okay," he said, before Ron could get the words out. "Forget it."
"No," said Ron, "I shouldn't've-"
"Forget it," Harry said. Ron grinned nervously at him, and Harry grinned back.
Hermione burst into tears.
"There's nothing to cry about!" Harry told her, bewildered.
"You two are so stupid!" she shouted, stamping her foot on the ground, tears splashing down her front. Then, before either of them could stop her, she had given both of them a hug and dashed away, now positively howling.
"Barking mad," said Ron, shaking his head.
The American government wants to pass a law that allows them to censor our websites and internet. That means that if they don't approve of a website they can shut it down and no one can say anything about it.
A government-controlled internet...What a horrifying idea! Imagine the government controlling where we get our information, and what information we get...
When Frank Obaldistone refuses to follow his father's footsteps as a merchant, he is practically disowned and sent to live with his Uncle and cousins in the ancient and crumbling Obaldistone hall. Things soon spiral out of control when he is falsely accused of highway robbery and his villainous cousin Rashleigh steals important papers from Frank's father and intends to stir up trouble in Scotland. And before poor Frank knows it, he's mixed up with "the Scottish Robin Hood", Rob Roy MacGregor...
Simply put, I loved this book!
There was mystery, adventure, great characters, and great dialogue.
The blunt, yet charming Diana "Die" Vernon was one of my favorite characters (she's no damsel in distress) and I thought Rashleigh was a despicable villain indeed. He could have given Jane Austen's Wickham a run for his money. And Frank was a pretty proactive hero, too.
I couldn't put it down! (though, admittedly, chapters 24 and 25 were a mite slow.) It was also a very funny book--if you get old-fashioned humour, which I do.
As I said, there was a lot of mysteries, mostly involving Diana, which were cleared up satisfactorily at the end (the very end, mind.)
Also, the final chapter was thrilling!
(The Scottish accents were pretty easy to understand, though I do recommend that you get a copy with a good glossary.)
It wasn't a perfect book, but I really enjoyed it and I'll definitely be reading more of Mr. Scott's works.
Warning: Reading this book will cause you to say everything in a Scottish accent.
Favorite Line: He snatched my cravat...and twisted it (in the zeal of his restitution) around my neck with such suffocating energy as made me think that he had not only been...a substitute of the jailor, but moreover had taken lessons as an apprentice of the hangman.
Objectionable Content: Uses of the Lord's name in vain, some uses of the H-word, and a few uses of the D-word.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
2. What are you reading right now?
Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott, Save the Cat! Strikes Back by Blake Snyder (the first book being one that every writer should read), and The Oxford Book of English Verse.
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke.
4. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells.
5. Do you have an e-reader?
Heavens, no! I loathe e-readers with a passion. Some technology scares me, and it scares me even more when they mess around with books.
But e-readers can be good for some people, though...
6. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I used to read at least five at a time, but over the past year I've started to just focus on one or two books at a time.
7. Can you read on the bus?
Yes. And in the car. I hear a lot of people get carsick when they do this, but I've never had that problem.
8. Favorite place to read?
On my couch next to the wide, bay window. Particularly when it rains or during a sunset.
9. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Yes--thus earning me the ire of every book-lover out there. (They're small dog-ears.)
10. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
I just make little marks to indicate my favorite quotes, but I don't write in them.
11. What makes you love a book?
Character arcs and lots of great emotional struggles. Oh, and battles.
12. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I absolutely love it.
13. Favorite genre?
Fantasy! What else?
14. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I feel justified, but I won't ever post negative reviews because it's just sort of...negative. I'll talk about it with my friends and family, or just warn them to not read it.
15. Favorite Poet?
I hate horror, yet I love Edgar Allen Poe. I also love Wadsworth and Tennyson.
16. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Seven is the highest I allow myself to go.
17. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
Only if I don't like it will I return it unread, which is sort of often. 18. Favorite fictional character?
19. Favorite fictional villain?
Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He's the most interesting villain I've ever come across. I despise him and yet I can't help but pity him.
But if we're talking about giving an award to "Most Despicable Villain in Literature" then I'd have to say Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events.
20. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I'm currently reading. Or The Hounds of The Mórrígan by Pat O'Shea. Or the first two Ranger's Apprentice books (first two are great, but I don't like the rest of the series.)
21. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
A month. (Shame!)
22. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Not to bash The Hunger Games (it's not that I disapprove of it or anything) but I couldn't get past the first chapter. Dystopian novels are not my thing.
For all you fans--good for you, it's just not my cup of tea, so to speak.
23. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
I'm not easily distracted while I'm reading. I could be stuck in a noisy room and still be able to read. But I can be distracted if there's a repetitive noise going on, like a buzzing sound or a faucet dripping.
24. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Lord of the Rings. Didn't see that coming, did you? :)
25. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Inkheart. Dustfinger was great, but the movie made it look like a magic kiddie movie, and not the Fantasy Epic it is.
26. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Swear words, fake religions in Fantasy, or just general bad content. Or if a book's too weird (why I stopped reading the Vampirates series.)
27. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I'm not a neat person, but books are the only things I manage to keep tidy.
28. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
If I like it, I keep it. If I hate it I'll be giving it away to the first person I can. But that isn't usual as I never buy a book I hate.
Picture by Brittney Lee
"Hermione's right, you just need a good defense. You can call us as witnesses-"
"I'm sure I've read about a case of hipogriff-baiting," said Hermione thoughtfully, "where the hipogriff got off. I'll look it up for you, Hagrid, and see exactly what happened."
Hagrid howled still the more loudly. Harry and Hermione looked at Ron to help them.
"Er--shall I make a cup of tea?" said Ron.
Harry stared at him.
"It's what my mum does whenever someone's upset," Ron muttered, shrugging.
"Gryffindor leads by eighty points to zero, and look at that Firebolt go! Potter's really putting it through its paces now, see it turn--Chang's Comet is just no match for it, the Firebolt's precision-balance is really noticeable in these long-"
"JORDAN! ARE YOU BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE FIREBOLTS? GET ON WITH THE COMMENTARY!"
"Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?" said Malfoy. "And he's supposed to be our teacher!"
Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first--SMACK! She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again.
"Don't you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul--you evil-"
"Hermione," said Ron weakly, as he tried to grab her hand as she swung it back.
"Get off, Ron!"
Black started to laugh, a horrible, mirthless laugh that filled the whole room. "Voldemort, teach me tricks?" he said. Pettigrew flinched as though Black had brandished a whip at him. "What, scared to hear your old master's name?" said Black. "I don't blame you, Peter. His lot aren't very happy with you, are they?"
"No!" Pettigrew had fallen to his knees as though Harry's nod had been his own death sentence. He shuffled forward on his knees, groveling, his hands clasped in front of him as though praying. "Sirius--it's me...it's Peter...your friend...you wouldn't..."
Black kicked out and Pettigrew recoiled. "There's enough filth on my robes without you touching them," said Black.
"If we manage that without being seen, it'll be a miracle!"
"Well, we've got to try, haven't we?" said Harry.
"It didn't make any difference," said Harry bitterly. "Pettigrew got away."
"Didn't make any difference?" said Dumbledore quietly. "It made all the difference in the world, Harry. You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate."
"You know, Harry, in a way, you did see your father last night...You found him inside yourself."
"He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of wizard prison and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though...keep up with my news...check if I'm happy..."
A Summary of Every Movie I Saw This Year and My Thoughts
Kung Fu Panda 2: For me, the best animated movie to come out this year. An excellent sequel that adds much more to the first one. Also, it's absolutely hilarious.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: An epic ending. They could have hardly finished it better. War Horse: A movie like this only comes once in a blue moon. An amazing, breathtaking film that had both heart and soul. Fantastic. Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides: Classic Pirates. Jack was as hilarious as ever, but for me it was Philip that made the movie. Loads of fun.
17 Miracles: A fantastic film about a group of pioneers on the Mormon Trail, and the hardships they faced. It's a powerful movie that is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. One you need to watch twice to appreciate, though.
Atlas Shrugged Part 1: Anyone who considers themselves American has to watch this film. Not only is it powerfully pro-Capitalism, but the cinematography was splendid and the story superb. Some bad acting occasionally, but other than than that, very well done.
The Adventures of Tintin: Funny and entertaining with some emotion thrown in, but the pacing was off and there was no tension. It should have been an amazing movie--it had all the ingredients--but it just fell flat.
Soul Surfer: The most inspirational, feel-good movie of the year. There was some bad acting (especially where Carrie Underwood was concerned) and a slightly Disney-fied ending, but other than that it was really good.
Thor: Let's face it--Thor is corny at times and has lots of plot holes. And yet we love it! Why? Because it's so gosh-darn hilarious. Even when it's trying to be "epic" it comes off as hysterical. That aside, Chris Hemsworth is a really good actor.
The Eagle: A little slow at times. But it's very historically acurate and there's some good acting thrown in at times. And the final scene was very well-done and wonderful.
Captain America: It was really, really good five minutes in. But my theory is this--the original screenwriter died after writing the first five minutes and was replaced by a guy who didn't know what he was doing. Bad CGI, and the movie's ending was one of the worst I've seen. But I loved those first five minutes.
The Help: Dirty. I walked out on this one.
Iconic Movie Moments of 2011:
Baby Po and Inner Peace
The Battle of Hogwarts
The British and the German free Joey
Dagny's realization; "Who is John Galt?"
Haddock remembers everything
Winner: Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2
Runner-Up: Blackbeard from Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides (Sorry, Blackbeard, but you still get beat by an animated peacock)
Best Magical Transformation: Syrena from Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides
Best Special Effects: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Best New Character:
Winner: Philip from Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides
Runner-Up: Emilie from War Horse Honorable Mention: Darcy from Thor
Mermaids by Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides)
Lily's Theme by Alexandre Desplat (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".