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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.

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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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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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