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Unboxing: NYCC Nerd Block

New York Comic Con is coming up in October, but the NYCC exclusive Nerd Block is already here!

The exclusive box was released in limited circulation by Nerd Block and ReedPop.

A limited-edition curated collection of epic NYCC collectibles and gear for serious convention nerds! The Limited Edition NYCC Block contains 10 amazing collectibles as well as an officially licensed T-shirt designed by ShirtPunch. In total, this block has SIX EXCLUSIVES – including an Infinity Gauntlet exclusive! Retail value of over $90, for only $39.99! – NerdBlock

My box was delivered over the weekend while I was out of town, so I asked my boyfriend to stop by my house and pick it up for me. After all, I couldn’t have $90 worth of NYCC merchandise sitting on my doorstep for an entire weekend!

Had I known what was in the box, I probably would have left it for the thieves on purpose.

Here’s what I got:

NYCC T-Shirt

I was hoping that the provided t-shirt would be a NYCC design, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The design is charmingly plain, and the shirt is soft and of good quality. Women’s graphic tees tend to run small, but I found the size (a women’s small) to be a true fit.

Now do I wear this or my favorite geeky tee to Comic Con? Decisions, decisions.

Rating: 5/5 ripped Hulk shirts.

NYCC Pin

I didn’t expect to see a pin in a box full of NYCC exclusives, but okay. I’ll roll with it.

The pin is designed to look like a New York City sewer grate (aka a Ninja Turtle door), and surprisingly enough, it’s extremely sturdy! The addition of a second clasp provides an extra opportunity to stab yourself. Yass!

Rating: 4/5 Spongebob Squarepants band-aids.

Gryffindor Socks

Master has given Meggy Harry Potter socks… Meggy is free!

I love Harry Potter. I love socks. Mix the two together, and I’m officially enthralled.

These Gryffindor socks are incredible cute, but unless you have a child’s shins and calves, the print will stretch and become distorted. They’re a little snug, as well, which is sure to be a huge issue for anyone with large calves.

Rating: 3.5/5 Quidditch goals

Revolution Issue #1

It wouldn’t be a comic convention box without a comic, now would it?

Revolution is a brand new Transformers comic book series by IDW publishing. The cover art looks incredible, and after a quick browse through the actual comic, I’m pleased to say that the interior artwork is stunning as well.

I haven’t paid much attention to Transformers since Michael Bay butchered the series, but I’m excited to dive into this comic none the less!

I’ll be reviewing this comic at a later time, so stay tuned!

Rating: 4/5 Chevy ad placements and Victoria’s Secret models

Glow-in-the-Dark Slimer Dashboard Spring

This dash accessory has the shape of Slimer down, but the ghoul’s eyes are too small, too red, and way too creepy for my taste. It does glow in the dark very well, and the spring is, well, springy.

I’m too terrified of this Slimer to keep it in my own vehicle, but I definitely know my big brother would get a kick out of it! #regift

Rating: 2/5 crossed streams

The Walking Dead projection key chain flashlight

This key chain light is decorated with The Walking Dead‘s logo and projects the series iconic “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” when flashed onto a surface.

It’s a neat little gimmick that is sure to get old quick, but the light is bright enough to act like an actual flashlight when you’re fumbling for something in the dark.

Kind of lame, kind of cool, kind of going on my lanyard.

…For now

Rating: 3/5 chained walker pets

Ninja Turtle Shoelaces

Never have I ever rocked crazy shoelaces, but I’m totally ready to rock these Ninja Turtle ones!

The pattern is cute, the colors are vibrant, and the material seems sturdy enough for shoe laces.

They’re totally tubular, dude!

Rating: 4/5 pepperoni pizzas

Voltron Wallet

I don’t watch Voltron (sorry – I was a 90s baby) but now that I own a Voltron wallet, I guess I have to.

The design is nice, but the wallet itself is nothing special. It’s a standard canvas wallet that nearly anyone can design online. It’s cheaply made, and since there are no clasps (button, VELCRO, magnet) to keep the wallet closed, it awkwardly flops around and exposes your goodies. No bueno.

I don’t think I’ll ever use this – It may as well be a cheap paperweight.

Rating: 2/5 classic 80s cartoons

Infinity Gauntlet

Speaking of paper weights…

Included in the NYCC Nerd Block was an Infinity Gauntlet paperweight.

The gauntlet is adored with infinity crystals, but annoyingly enough, they are not perfectly centered in their designated spot. Even so, the gauntlet is beautiful and well designed.

I shall gaze upon this gauntlet each time I need to be motivated to take over the universe.

Fun fact: apparently you shouldn’t microwave this collectible. Plans ruined.

Rating: 4/5 guardians of the galaxy

Disco Spiral digital print

What the fuck is this shit?

A terrible and strangely imagined digital print of an X-Men villain nobody cares about…and it’s not even autographed!

Say hello to the recycle bin, Spiral. May you be reborn as a Chipotle catering menu.

Rating: 0/5 mutant dance parties

Overall rating: 2/5 ridiculously long panel lines

Disappointment has a name, and it’s Nerdblock.

I purchased the New York Comic Con Nerd Block in hopes of getting my hands on highly coveted exclusive toys and accessories without waiting in line for hours, but nobody in their right mind would ever wait in line for the items I received.

These are the items you definitely would find in the Comic-Con clearance bin, and I paid 50 fucking dollars for them. Some of the items were neat, don’t get me wrong, but I essential paid $50 for $20 worth of low quality merchandise.

I feel incredibly ripped off and deceived. If I could return it all to Nerdblock for a refund, I would.

Never, ever again.

 

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Fan Film Friday: ‘Severus Snape and the Marauders’ (Harry Potter)

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has been enchanting fans since 1997. Over the course of 11 years, we’ve had 7 full books, 8 feature films, short stories, Pottermore and more (ha)! 2016 has been especially magical, with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in April, as well as the highly anticipated theatrical debut of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  coming November 18th. Add Broad strokes Productions fan film, titled Severus Snape and the Marauders, to the list of marvelous 2016 releases that had us holding our wands up in delight!

The story kicks in with James Potter and his marauder pals Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew at the pub celebrating their graduation from Hogwarts and pondering about their futures, including the repercussions of possibly fighting against people they went to school with in the pending war. Conflict arises when Potter’s enemy, Severus Snape, walks into the bar.

This is more than the jock vs. the goth kid: Potter and Snape hate each other!

The script, coupled with what fans know from the books, show that these two men had different ideals about the world and how things should be. The only thing they have in common is that they both love Potter’s squeeze, Lily. Potter foolishly attempts to assert his dominance over Snape by “scaring” him a little. Biting words quickly escalate into a full-fledged wand-wielding row, and later, some fighting mano y mano.

1

One of the things I always adored about the Harry Potter universe was how Rowling managed to make the impossible seem so possible! Even in a world of magic and mystery, the characters and their problems were still relatable to the core. The same can be said for this project, which contained all the witty dialogue and thoughtful character development that one would expect from Rowling herself. The characters were fleshed out and natural, and each character was cast perfectly both in look and demeanor. I especially loved Zachary David’s comical-without-being-over-the-top portrayal of the spineless wimp Peter Pettigrew.

I was entranced by the major battle scene in the film. It was not just action packed, it was visually stunning (no pun intended)! With a brawl with moves that felt like a dance, a sweeping score that would make John Williams proud, and spells visualized via brilliant sparks of color, I could not have been more impressed.

Beautiful sets, effects, and wardrobes also made me feel enveloped by the story.

Members of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff alike can all agree one one thing: Severus Snape and the Marauders is amazing!

I definitely recommend Severus Snape and the Marauders to you, GeekGirl World! Watch it below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

Want more Fan Film Friday fun, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other FFF reviews here!

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Book Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

What it is: an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Play directed by: Jack Thorne

Review:

Some of my happiest childhood memories involve midnight releases of the Harry Potter books. My brothers, parents and I would all go to the book store together and, God bless them, my parents would have to buy four copies of every book since we refused to share. I dressed up as Hermione, Tonks, and Bellatrix for Halloween, a book release, and a movie premiere respectively (the latter earned me concerned looks from theater-goers). At one point, I developed a large, irrational crush on Harry. No, not Daniel Radcliffe. Book Harry. As I type this, I’m rocking a tank top with the Dark Mark on it. I grew up with J.K.Rowling and her beautiful, rich world. Honestly, those books helped shape the person I am today. So, yes, I’m a gigantic Harry Potter fan.

When I heard that there was a new play being written with a whole new story, I was apprehensive. “Harry’s story ended,” I thought, bitterly. “And who tf is Jack Thorne?!”
I felt weirdly protective of Harry Potter, as I’m sure a lot of fans did upon first hearing the news. However, when it was announced that the script would be released, I knew I’d get my grubby hands on it immediately like some sort of crazy person. I missed the excitement and adrenaline rush of starting a new book about the adventures of the Boy Who Lived.

Pardon my nostalgia, but that’s exactly what Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is: a book of memories. Old characters pop up in new and interesting ways, while new characters are introduced and immediately feel like old pals. However, what’s really awesome is that the book (or script, whatever you’d like to call it) doesn’t repeat roles we’ve seen before. Albus isn’t a carbon copy of Harry and Scorpius is nothing like Draco. Both young men have their own voices and we’re reminded of that as the story unfolds.

So! Spoiler free synopsis if you just read the names “Albus” and “Scorpius” and have no idea who I’m talking about. This tale, while inclusive of other plot points, mostly focuses on Albus Potter (Harry’s son) and his struggle to become his own man separate from his father. Scorpius (Draco’s son) is dealing with a similar predicament and the two develop an unexpected friendship. There’s a new threat to the wizarding world and all of the characters band together to defeat it.

One of the most interesting themes of the story is definitely “family”. We see Harry at his most vulnerable, trying desperately to connect with his son, a task that proves almost as difficult as beating Voldemort. Dumbledore once said, “Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young.” Harry and Albus don’t understand each other and, because of my love for Harry, I found myself getting frustrated with his wayward son often.

JUST GIVE HIM A BREAK, ALBUS, GAHD.

While Harry and Albus’s relationship is strained, others have only grown stronger in the past 19 years. Ron and Hermione made me say “relationship goals” out loud more than once. Let’s be honest, theirs is the most underrated love story of all time. When the two of them interact with Harry you’re reminded of the old days and all that the three of them have gone through. You feel like you’ve been friends with them your whole life, and some of us pretty much have.

Opinion: did someone slip Amortentia in my wine? Because I’m totally in love with this book. It’s fresh and new while also maintaining everything that drew fans to the series in the first place.
So, reader, if you’ve been on the fence about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, fear not: it is, dare I say it, magical.

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First Look at the ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ Cast!

The official Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cast portraits were recently unveiled by Pottermore, and spoiler alert, they’re bloody brilliant.

Check out the magical photos below!

Jamie Parker as Harry Potter

Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter

Sam Clemmett as Albus Severus Potter

(Some of) the Potters!

Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley

Noma Dumezweni as Hermoine Granger

Cherrelle Skeete as Rose Granger-Weasley

The Weasleys!

Alex Price as Draco Malfoy

Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy

The Malfoys!

In addition to these glorious photos, Pottermore also released a short behind-the-scenes look at the photoshoot! 

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an upcoming play written by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne. The production will be directed by John Tiffany and will include the musical stylings of Imogen Heap.

The story takes place many years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ended.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. – Pottermore

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens at the Palace Theatre London in July 2016, with preview performances beginning June 7, 2016.

Are you impressed by the cast and costumes? Let us know in the comments!

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Reactions: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Teaser Trailer

So Warner Bros just thought they would tuck us in for bed in America, and wake up our UK friends across the pond with this teaser for the latest movie in the Harry Potter universe.

With J.K. Rowling making her screenwriting debut, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tells the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) a Magizoologist who travels to New York City to meet with an important official at the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). However, American wizarding authorities are soon on the hunt for Newt when creatures from his magical briefcase escape into the city, and threaten the already precarious relationship between American Wizards and No Maj (the American word for Muggles.)

Directed by David Yates, the film stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Jon Voight and Ron Perlman. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to arrive in theaters November 18, 2016.

I’ve long been a Harry Potter fan and I am thrilled to see J.K. Rowling transitioning into screenwriting. You’ll have to watch the video below though, if you want to find out if this teaser trailer excites me enough to explore Magic in America! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

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J.K. Rowling’s Latest Work is a Controversial Splendor


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released later this year on November 18, and in preparation for the big event, J.K. Rowling has released little stories over the past few days about magic in the Americas.

New information about the American wizarding world is undeniably exciting for Potter fans, but not everyone is jumping on board with these magical facts. In fact, many people are in uproar over some of the content, and some have went so far as to call Rowling racist. To garner more insight into why this is, I’ve summarized each of these new stories and their corresponding controversies.

Fourteenth Century-Seventeenth Century

The first installment of these stories is considered one of the most controversial pieces that Rowling has ever written.

It gave us a brief overview of magical life from the fourteenth century to the seventeenth century, zeroing in on Native Americans and their powers, specifically that of skin-walkers (a person who is able to transform into the animal of their choosing). But because skin-walkers are exclusive only to Navajo Indian folklore, many Native Americans accused Rowling of generalizing Indian culture.

Okay, I guess I can understand that.

But the backlash doesn’t end there. Some Native Americans are in uproar because they believe that Rowling is painting Native American culture in a bad light, and they are publicly defending their culture as spiritual, not evil.

While I do understand the concerns of Native Americans, I respectfully disagree with their sentiments. Rowling is in no way saying that Native Americans aren’t spiritual and beautiful. Instead, she is praising their race and culture in this story while trying to respectfully incorporate it into her fantasy world. If anything, this piece could act as a resurgence for Native American culture, as people who have read her work are now going to be Googling Native Americans to learn more. I grew up in the American southwest, where I learned and saw first hand what this amazing civilization and race did before modern times. I’m already fascinated with Native American culture, and Rowling’s piece made me want to research it even more.

I understand where the social justice warriors are coming from with their criticism, but the way I see it you can do one of two things here: call Rowling a racist who has no right to write about a culture that she hasn’t lived around or grew up in, or use her story as a platform to educate the masses about the deeply diverse and fascinating Native American culture.

It’s not fair to say that Rowling, who, like many of us, probably got most of her information about Native Americans online, is a racist.  She used the basic information available to her about skin-walkers and decided to incorporate that into her story, which is perfectly fine. Perhaps another one of the reasons why she received backlash is because she’s essentially calling Medicine Men wizards in this piece, but honestly, if I went to one and they somehow take away the migraines I’ve been dealing with forever, then I’d certainly think that magic was at play.

Seventeenth Century and Beyond

This section details the trials and hardships that were faced during the move from Europe to America, specifically highlighting the tensions between the Natives and Europeans, as well as focusing on the Puritans and their religious beliefs.

Native American history is taken into account once again with the mentioning of human trafficking and slaughter – events that happened because some of the settlers were dicks who thought that they were better than others. She doesn’t distort or lighten these historical facts, but people are upset at her mentioning of it because Rowling, again, took facts and melded it with her fictional world.

Scourers are introduced for first time in this piece. A Scourer is an individual or a group of people who have decided to take justice into their own hands. Unfortunately, as time went on Scourers became increasingly corrupt in their search to seek reward. As a result, the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) was formed to help weed out the Scourers and help protect the wizarding community (especially after the Salem Witch Trials).

Here’s my main issue with this section: MACUSA was formed in 1693. America was not known as the United States of America until our Declaration of Independence in 1776 – that’s nearly a century off. Damn you, damn you Rowling for further screwing up! Now my life is a lie, and I can no longer read your stories! (Read: I will continue to read everything and anything you put in front of me because no one is perfect and mistakes happen. I wouldn’t have even thought twice about this if the date wasn’t mentioned).

Rappaport’s Law

In an already secretive America, witches and wizards seldom mingle outside of their own kind. The president of MACUSA, Emily Rappaport, created a law segregating No-Majs from magic users to help protect their way of life. However, a massive breach was made by the Keeper of Treasure (and Dragot’s daughter), Dorcus Twelvetree. A poor performer of magic, Dorcus was more or less a socialite who became infatuated with a young man named Bartholomew Barebone. Unknown to Dorcus, this young man came from a family of Scourers, and as such had a deep disdain for magic. Bartholomew wooed young Dorcus into telling him the secrets of the MACUSA and Ilvermorny, which led to a sort of new-age witch hunt that harmed the already shaky American wizarding community. Because of all this, Rappaport’s Law was passed, which banned all mingling between wizards and No-Majs; no friendships, marriages, etc.

I found this part to be pretty harmless, but there are some people that are upset because they believe that the fictional magical segregation mirrors the very real racial segregation of America. I understand their concerns – this story takes place in a very tough time for civil rights, afterall. We thankfully have moved on from this era (for the most part), and today we are a country that strives for equality and happiness. But we need to remember that this story is a work of fiction by an author, and fiction will ALWAYS have similarities to reality.

1920s Wizarding America

Rappaport’s Law is still firmly in place in the 1920s, even though many witches and wizards stood with both sides during the Great War of 1914-1918, aiding in the prevention of some loss of life.

MACUSA has relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York City, and it’s been brought to my attention that some folks are displeased with this. What is the problem with it being in New York? Wizards and Witches live in secrecy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t live among us, especially in New York, which is a major world hub. Rowling’s historical timeline ends in the 1920s, but maybe she eventually said fuck it and moved the MACUSA to Las Vegas in the 1990s when the Excalibur opened. It would be a hilarious little tongue in cheek, “hahaha we’re literally right under your nose.” Who knows?

As far as education goes, American wizards have the opportunity to attend Ilvermorny, one of the top wizarding schools in the world. The wizarding world practices the magical equivalent of common core education, but because there were initially no wand makers in the new world, American wizards were falling behind their international peers.

So, in came wand makers and legislation for them.

Wand permits were introduced in the last half of the nineteenth century. Anyone carrying a wand needed a permit so that any mischief that may occur could be controlled. In total there were four wand makers, each coming from different locations and each with their own special abilities. It doesn’t seem that the wand chooses the wizard here in America, though, but rather magic users could buy their wands according to the type of magic they favored ( in order to maximize spells).

We also learned that wizards gave no care for prohibition. They were already on the down low about existing, so why not keep that ‘Gigglewater’ flowing?

This section has one parallel that really stands out here. If you replaced wand permits with gun permits, then you basically have the second amendment. If you own a wand (gun), then you have a permit as to identify ownership in case of death and craziness. Hey, everyone needs accountability.

In conclusion…

To close, these stories are short, and some of them come off as insensitive even. There is no doubt about that.

I can understand the detractor’s points of view on these, but there also seems to be a bit of nit-picking coming through, and for what reason? Because it’s something new, and some people think that Harry Potter was done after book seven? There are so many people, including fans, who are turning their noses up to this new world that J.K. Rowling is taking time to create for us, even though it’s something that a lot of people have been asking for. I remember being one of those people who wondered if she’d do a story set in America, wanting to know if there were wizarding schools outside of Europe.

She’s finally creating these worlds for us, and it’s wonderful and amazing.

I am one of those people who will sit here and defend ANY author I read and admire, primarily because it’s THEIR world, THEIR story, THEIR way. Yes, she is taking some liberties, intertwining history with her wizarding worlds, but that’s what writing is. If you don’t borrow a little from here, a little from there, and put your own twist on things, then there would be no great literature there would be nothing new.

Sit down and read these stories for what they are: a work of fiction.

These stories are something that another person is taking time out of their day and families to create for other people, to give folks a way to escape reality just for a short time and imagine a world that is awesome and fun. No one is telling you to read it or watch the subsequent movies, but it’s wrong to sit here and criticize everything that is written in a piece of fiction. There are far more abhorrent things going on in the world, and frankly it’s a waste of time to sit here and get your knickers in a twist over someone’s writing.

But then again, we are also a world (and country) that bans books because they’re too depressing or include nudity…because READING about someone losing their pants is apparently scandalous.

You’ve heard my thoughts on the controversy, now share yours in the comments!

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‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ Book Release!

Well, it has been nine years since the last Harry Potter book was released, and five since the last movie hit theatres.

This year, all things magical are about to take over the world again because the series will go on for years and years and new generations will find, discover and love it.

Today Pottermore announced that the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1&2, which releases this summer on stage in London, will release simultaneously in script book form. This is especially exciting news since not everyone has the funds and abilities to travel to England, and hell, even if you live in England these tickets are coveted and sold out through March 2017 (I know, I looked already because I’m traveling to Ireland/England this winter and the cheapest tickets I could find were like $2000 American. Big fat nope there).

Also being released will be the rehearsal addition, meaning at the time of first showing, this is what will be said on stage. Through rehearsals and reviews, we can only expect there to be revisions made, and later in the year the Definitive Collector’s Edition will release, which will be the amended and final version.

The rehearsal edition will be available for purchase on July 31, 2016, which is Harry’s birthday of course.

From Pottermore, the premise of the play is as follows:

The eighth story. Nineteen years later.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

You kind of have to wonder where this will eventually lead to, and whether there will be more than just this single book/play to come in the future. Part of me wants to see his son sort into any house other than Slytherin, but on his way to becoming a dark wizard. I think that might be an unpopular opinion, but you never know, I could be nailing it on the head.

October 2016 also sees the release of the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Jim Kay.

2017 is the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK, and to honor this occasion, they will once again be re-releasing the first book, this time Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff themes. The Hogwarts library of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Tales of Beetle the Bard will see new versions, Fantastic which of course is being expanded upon.

THAT’S NOT ALL THOUGH FOLKS! Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them also will be released this year on November 18, 2016 and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Los Angeles opens April 7, 2016.

THAT’S A LOT OF HARRY POTTER FOR ONE YEAR… and then some!

What are you most excited to see from the Harry Potter universe? Let us know in the comments!

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Colonel Brandon, Severus Snape, and the Death of Interesting People

The problem with writing a tribute to an an actor who has passed is that it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the performer from his performances. That’s the double-edged sword of being an actor, though. You’re famous not just for being who you are, but for all the other people you have been. I can only imagine what it’s like to suffer dissociative personality disorder by proxy as you walk down the street and are recognized as someone different every time you turn a corner.

It’s because of this inevitable flux that I’ve had to start this article over and over again all morning. How do you talk about how much you’ll miss a performer without letting the characters dwarf the man who brought them to life? My only answer is that you’ve got to treat a character like a work of art, conceived by a writer but breathed into existence by the one who portrays him.

Alan Rickman, aged 69, died in London on January 14, 2016, on my birthday.

That last part is just so you’ll understand why I might be a little overly sentimental right now. It was hard, sad news to wake up to. Since the story broke my entire facebook feed has been one long continuous stream of tributes, pictures, quotes, and gifs of wands being cast into the air in tribute. There’s something miserable and yet comforting in that.

David Bowie, who also passed away this week at 69, once said, “We’d rather be scared / together than alone,” (Fun fact, that was one of my three senior yearbook quotes). So when something sad happens we often find solace in solidarity. While it pained me to see so many fans sad, it was nice to know I wasn’t going to spend the day having to pretend I wasn’t in mourning because those around me wouldn’t understand why.

So I’m going to tell you something very shocking: Severus Snape in Harry Potter wasn’t the most important role that Alan Rickman ever played.

It wasn’t Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and it wasn’t even Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest.

I know. Blasphemy. But let me try to meet my burden.

I contend that Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility was more important than Alen in Snow Cake, Metatron in Dogma, or Sheriff Nottingham in Robin Hood. Colonel Brandon was an anomaly. He was a good guy. He was the noble, unsullied hero. While his love interest, Marianne, was not immediately taken with him, he was never under suspicion of anything more terrible than being lovelorn and, at the worst, boring. No shady past dogged him, no cynicism plagued him, no snarkiness, no bitterness, no maliciousness, no murderous tendencies. He was a white hat, a phrase used to describe “the good guy,” above reproach. And while troubled and burdened with unrequited love, he was not to be pitied but rooted for.

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His portrayal of Colonel Brandon was delicate, sophisticated, and all too utterly romantic with introspection. Other roles are more famous, but this role is most important because it showcases not just Rickman’s “range”, but his depth and commitment to tenderness as well. Most people can play closed off and crass, malicious or malcontent. But to be able to touch the core of a character and remain open and vulnerable enough to bring an audience to tears simultaneously with sorrow and joy is unique.

Ok… Severus Snape. I know.

I’m supposed to talk about Severus Snape – that’s what everyone’s waiting for. If I’m not going to talk about Hans Gruber, I need to talk about Severus Snape. Anton Mesmer or Rasputin simply won’t do today. A large chunk of my generation and those that followed first got to know Rickman as Snape because of the Harry Potter movies. And let me tell you, that’s not a bad place to see the man ply his craft.

Rickman’s portrayal of Snape wasn’t just great because “Snape’s the best character ever, omg.” It was because Rickman, twenty-some years older than his character, brought his history of fictional villainy into play.

Spoiler alert: Snape was technically a good guy.

While not a white hat by any means, his hat was definitely some shade of grey. But to play a white hat who is playing a black hat who is actually a grey hat who everyone thinks is actually a black hat pretending to be a white hat is…. well, it’s nuanced. Let’s put it this way, if you haven’t read or watched Harry Potter, you probably won’t have any idea what I just said. But know that it’s accurate and it’s definitely a compliment.

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Rickman’s portrayal of Snape was so damned good because the character was already interesting, and Rickman was talented enough not to lose any of the original, singular complexity that J. K. Rowling created. In that way Rickman honored the character of Snape and became beloved by fans.

For eight movies he embodied the mystery of Snape and, in my opinion, never lost Snape’s thread. Perhaps it was because he was one of the few with whom Rowling shared his character’s end fate, but Rickman remained painfully true to his counterpart for a decade. Snape is iconic and Alan Rickman made him so. I’m convinced that any other actor, no matter how ingeniously talented he was, could not have done so.

On the British panel show QI, series 6, episode 11, ‘Films and Fames,’ John Sessions does his excellent impression of Alan Rickman and tells a story about how a child with no filter asked Rickman why “he always played villains.” Rickman replied in his indomitable way, “I don’t play villains. I play very interesting people.”

What made this funny when it first aired but bittersweet now that Rickman has passed is that he was typecast so often as the shadowy villain, or at least “not the hero.” But Rickman’s roles were always intense, and so often our first memories of him was as an antagonist who was more interesting than the hero. In this way Rickman helped to teach us that the “villain” wasn’t always intended to be booed.

Good actors are all around. We all have a favorite performer who strikes us in some way that cannot be rivaled. But Alan Rickman was damned great in my opinion because he never shortchanged a character by going with the flow of being typecast. He never phoned it in, and because of this we don’t just lose “an actor.”

With Rickman gone we suffer the death of untold stories, of unmet interesting people. His former roles live on to pay tribute to the man who created them, but there is also sadness in knowing we won’t be meeting any more.

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Remembering Alan Rickman: 15 Quotes from the Man Himself

Raise your wands to the sky, my friends, as it is a sad, sad day indeed.

Beloved actor Alan Rickman passed away today after a battle with cancer. He was 69-years-young.

Rickman first came to the world’s attention after his villainous portrayal of Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988), but he became a household name thanks to his absolutely incredible pseudo-villainous portrayal of Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter films.

We know plenty about the characters Rickman magnificently brought to life, but the man behind the curtain was much more elusive.

So, in celebration of Alan Rickman’s life, we have compiled 15 quotes from the man (not the character) himself, all in an effort to shed some light on the true personality and character of one of the most beloved actors in the entire geek community:

Rickman on what keeps his acting fire blazing:

It’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.

On his bounce house dreams:

If you could build a house on a trampoline, that would suit me fine.

 

On life and art:

If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.

On failure:

I want to swim in both directions at once. Desire success, court failure.

On art imitating life:

If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work.

On motivation:

Mellow doesn’t describe me. I’m hungry every day.

On the world across the pond:

I do feel more myself in America. I can regress there, and they have roller-coaster parks.

On his reluctance to discuss his most famous film:

I never talk about ‘Harry Potter’ because I think that would rob children of something that’s private to them. I think too many things get explained, so I hate talking about it.

On his privacy:

I don’t think it’s right that everybody knows everything about me.

On his work ethic:

I’m a quite serious actor who doesn’t mind being ridiculously comic.

On a lack of conclusion:

I like it when stories are left open.

On realizing the depth of his role:

Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.

 

On the power of acting:

Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.

On his love of roller coasters:

My idea of a real treat is Magic Mountain without standing in line.

On what is perhaps his greatest lie ever:

I am the character you are not supposed to like.

Rest in peace, Alan. We will miss you… Always.

Image credit: yeah.right, tumblr.

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First Images of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ & American Word for ‘Muggle’

Warner Bros. is finally revealing some of its well kept magic secrets!

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s logo reveal, we now have some official photos from the set of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!

These eight new photos from the set of the highly anticipated Harry Potter pre-quel (of sorts) come courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, who exclusively shared them online today in a preview of their latest print edition.

Check out the photos (along with the original captions) in our gallery:

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It’s difficult to garner any real plot information about the film based on these photos, but take a close look at the seal that Eddie Redmayne’s character is standing on. The words inscribed upon it are ‘The Magical Congress of the United States of America’, which (thanks to EW), we now know is the American equivalent of the Ministry of Magic.

The MACUSA is located within the Woolworth Building in New York, which at this point in time would have been brand spankin new.

By the looks of it, the place is SUPER Art Deco, which isn’t too surprising as the film will take place in New York City in the 1920s.

We don’t know much about how the American wizarding world works, but we do know one thing: the American word for Muggle. According to Rowling, American’s refer to Muggles as No-Maj [no madge], which is short for no magic.

Aren’t we Americans so clever?

More insight into the story and world will be revealed when the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly hits newsstands on Friday!

Do you think that Fantastic Beasts will have the same magic as the Harry Potter franchise? Let us know in the comments! 

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