27 November, 2005

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

I love Thanksgiving. A few years ago, Tim & I decided to make this holiday our family time. Both of our families live in other States, and any holiday spent with either is a logistical chore. No matter how fun it is, getting there and back is a marathon of organising, cleaning and packing. Being there is the good of family time interspersed with sleeping on foreign mattresses and sharing a bathroom with grown siblings. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is an oasis of restorative calm.
I enjoy cooking, so Thursday was spent as it always is. Cinnamon rolls from a tube for breakfast. (One of the most overlooked delicacies of the post-preservative age.) Vegetables were chopped and the bird was stuffed, with a hefty dose of Steeleye Span in the background. While the turkey roasted we read in front of a fire. Fires are good for the soul, even when it's sunny and 60 degrees out. A crackling log in the fireplace is a definitive statement of home. The smells of the burning logs and roasting bird are as close to heaven as I hope to get for a few decades.
With two of us, even a small turkey with trimmings lasts for three days. So we were able to feast contentedly for three days with the nerdliest of books and movies. Tim rode his bike. He was able to get 80 miles of road riding done, which means fewer miles on the rollers. I got several rows done on the latest knitted Christmas present. This weekend alone is something to be thankful for.

From here on out I plan to sound very nerdly. Those of you who tire of nerdly posts can continue to drink yourselves into a sodden stupor. Oh, and SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER.

We made it all the way through the Rings Trilogy Extended Versions With Coblian Edits. Basically this means that we bedooped most of the Frodo/Sam/Gollum scenes from Two Towers and Return Of The King. I'm sure there's a long line of geeks who will whip us for the sacrilege. I'll live. Having seen all three of these movies at least four times apiece (except for the Extended ROTK, which we've only seen twice), I feel it is safe to say that I grow weary of the extended point A-to-point B travails of Oscar Baits A, B, and C. "Oh, look. They're walking. Oh, look. They're walking some more. Oh, goody. Now the naked one is going to throw a tantrum. Whee." I didn't mind the other umpteen times I saw the movies, and they are still as close to perfect as films can get. This time I wanted to see the big battles, the charging horses and the pus-filled Orcs. So that's what we did.

We then watched Titanic. I've got to hand it to James Cameron. For a guy who can't stay married to the same woman for more than five minutes, he tells a ripping yarn of undying love. Seriously, I do admire his ability to tell this particular story. He manages, with two characters, to craft his narrative in such a way as to show the entire event, from initial impact with the berg to the last boat returning to pull the few living from the water. It's a great movie.

Harry Potter Spoiler
My other nerdly milestone from the weekend was finishing the second read-through of Half-Blood Prince. The first time I inhaled it. This time I savoured it, and came away with an entirely different opinion of the Snape debacle. I really think, after carefully reading the entire book, that he's still on Dumbledore's side. I think that's why Dumbledore insists that Harry fetch him when they get back from the cave. I believe that Dumbledore was aware of the Unbreakable Vow Snape made to Narcissa and that Dumbledore was also aware that he was dying from the poison in the Inferi Cave. This way Snape could aquit his vow, retain his cover and continue to assist Harry in the fight against Voldemort. I'm kind of disappointed, though, because I have always hated Snape. Back in July I was so pleased to have my suspicions about his evilness confirmed that I didn't care to think it through. Oh well. I trust JKR to give us good stories, so I've no doubt Book 7 will be a great ride. And I'm still assuming that Book 7 will be out on 7/7/07, because that just makes sense. If not that date, then 7/31/07 for Harry's birthday.

And that was how I spent my weekend.


At 7:35 AM, November 27, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Curiously enough, I agree with you about LOTR. Focusing on that crybaby Frodo whining for three hours about having to take a ring back to the returns/exchange counter at Mordor's drags the narrative down.

Pete Jackson could have cut down on at least half of the walkin' through New Zealand aspects and maybe had a scene explaining where the giant hawks came from. The Land of Outtanowhere, evidently. And don't say "Well, in the book...", because that ain't good film making.

As for Dumbledore taking a dirt nap, these ARE the stories where half the characters are ghosts or apparitions or werewolves, right? So, it is pretty likely that this isn't the last we've heard from this old guy. Five bucks says Rowling cribs from the Lucas playbook and has the disembodied voice of Dobi-Wan saying to young Potter, "Use the Wand, Harry."

At 9:02 AM, November 27, 2005, Blogger melusina said...

I'm not even convinced Dumbledore is gone. My husband and I just reread Chamber of Secrets and I started to wonder if Faukes and Dumbledore could somehow be, I dunno, one. Maybe even a horcrux of some sort, even though that is supposed to be an "evil" thing.

I'm not sure what is better, getting the novels and finding out what actually happens or speculating about it.

At 11:10 AM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I've only read the LOTR books once, believe it or not, and I have no earthly idea where the big eagles came from, nor why they couldn't take Big Eagle Express straight into Mordor and not be so fussed about the long (and dull) journey.
Potter Spoiler
I'm pretty convinced that Dumbledore will at least have a portrait in the Headmaster's office for Harry to talk to. If he is, indeed, gone. The Phoenix symbolism is too everywhere for me to believe that he's gone. Not only that, but he's clearly modeled on Gandalf. And there's his own speech to Malfoy about the Order being able to hide someone and fake their daeth. Or maybe I'm just trying to talk myself into something. I didn't mind losing Sirius.

I mind Dumbledore.

At 11:11 AM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

"death". Not "daeth".

At 12:23 PM, November 27, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After Dubledore has made such a big deal about Harry's parent's being unreachable (in the most recent movie), and how the dead are truly dead and you can't bring them back (Sirius), and how it's not good to dwell on those who have passed on (the mirror of Erised), I'd be disappointed in JKR if she brought up some sort of Trekkian excuse to make it not apply in Dumbledore's case. I think the old guy is gone, and this ups the ante considerably for the final book. The Teacher is dead and the finale is all up to Harry now- no more Dumbledore safety net. The overriding theme of the last six books (well, one of the themes), has been Harry's growing maturity and realization of his place with regard to Voldemort. I think when the final battle comes it'll be mano a mano and Harry won't have any backup. I wouldn't be surprised (well okay, a little) to see Ron or Hermione get killed off just to show how high the stakes really are. And I _know_ that one or several of the main characters will be jettisoned in the final book. What's an epic good-vs-evil battle without loss? It's the difference between the "they'll-all-be-back-next-season" Star Trek episodes and Joss Wheadon's "what-well-loved-main-character-is-going-to-die-now" approach. The latter is much better storytelling. And Rowling is a master storyteller.

I'm surprised that Catherine has hated Snape. He's always been an intriguing character to me (and who better to play him than Alan Rickman?). The obvious tenstion of Snape's background as Death Eater (his name is only one letter removed from "snake"), he's greasy and mean, he wants the Dark Arts position. It all points to a character that we're supposed to dislike; who isn't to be trusted on sight, while all of the characters who HAVE been initially trustworthy on sight (Mad-Eye Moody, the outwardly handsome Gilderoy Lockhart) have ended up being treacherous.

Snape looks evil and untrustworthy on the outside and yet through all of this the one character who implicitly trusts him is Dumbledore, who has never been proven wrong in any of his knowledge or experience. I'd be sorely disappointed if JKR set Dumbledore up as nigh-infallible throughout the books and then had his trust in Snape be so misplaced. I've always gotten the strong impression that Dumbledore and Snape have some sort of unspoken agreement, or that Dumbledore knows something about Snape that we don't yet know, and this will make it clear why Snape is on the side of good. What if, at some point, Snape has had to swear the Unbreakable Vow to Dumbledore? Say, in return for being rescued from Voldemort?

I've always thought that Snape's look of hatred and revulsion when he had to off Dumbledore was purposely written to confuse or to be read in several ways. I read it that Snape hated the position that he was in, hated that Dumbledore chose him to be the one to pull the trigger, and hated that he has to keep under cover. I think that there's going to be a very interesting showdown/face-off between Harry and Snape at some point in book VII.

What fun to speculate.


At 12:40 PM, November 27, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

The bit about the giant birds coming to save the day in Return of the King bugged me. Where had they been prior to all this? And if they are so damn helpful, why indeed did they not take the ring and drop it in the volcano from up high instead of three movies worth of slogging through Mid-Earth?

As I have only the movies as reference, I think Snape is the coolest one in the Potter-verse. He's played by Alan Fucking Rickman, of course he's cool.

At 1:05 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I actually kind of dislike Snape for the same reason that I got tired of the Baggins Death March. He's just so repetitive. Pick-on-Harry-yet-be-loyal-to-Dumbledore-yet-pick-on-Harry. Six books and it's been one unwavering note. I know that in these very straightforward books he ostensibly the most ambiguous character, and as he's written through Harry's POV we've got a skewed representation. Still, he annoys me. But I'm betting that many of the tools Harry needs to fight Voldemort in Seven will be given to him by Snape. I think there will be large parts of the book made up of him overcoming his hatred of Snape. Sort of like an extended repeat of POA where he overcomes his hatred of Sirius. As much as I think Jason's right as far as the overriding theme of the series being Harry's maturity, I definitely think that a case can be made for the series' theming of overcoming prejudice. The treatment of house elves, Umbridge with the Centaurs. Harry's been Mr. McSaintly through all six books and buddied up with every creature against whom the rest of the wizarding world is biased. He's best chums with Dobby. He's on speaking terms with Firenze. He's praised by Merchieftaness Murcass. He worships the ground Hagrid walks on and helps take care of Grawp. The only character about whom Harry has any prejudice at all is Snape. If love is the power he has to use to vanquish Lord Thingy, he'll only be able to do that by overcoming his prejudice against Snape with love. That'll be an interesting story.

And Jason, I tend to agree with you about DD not coming back ala Obi Wan, but I think JKR's made her point (i.e. beat us over the head with...) that the previous Headmasters of Hogwarts have very active and involved portraits. I'm betting we'll get a DD cameo from the portraiture.

BUT....she better not kill any of the Six. My list of upcoming Coblian Approved Deaths contains, but is not limited to, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnegan, Percy Weasley, Hagrid, Filch, McGonagall, Dobby, Kreacher, Winky, Firenze, Bane, Slughorn, Cho. That's a lot of people. Just please don't rob me of a quasi happy ending with The Six.

Sarcastro, why haven't you read the books? You'd enjoy them, honest. And yes, Rickman is cool, but I'm having a harder and harder time each movie believing that he's the same age as Lupin and Sirius.

At 1:10 PM, November 27, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

I haven't read the books because there is nothing creepier than a single, childless forty year-old man reading Harry Potter books.

At 1:14 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Hey. At least you don't have a monkey, a Ferris Wheel and a pigmentation disorder.

At 2:56 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Exador said...

Wrong, Sarcastro.

There's always the single, childless forty year-old man going to the Harry Potter movie alone.

In a raincoat.

Was it even raining when you saw The Sorcerer's Stone?
A little subtlety, man.

At 3:59 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger John H said...

My wife laughed at me, my kids made fun of me, and yes, I didn't take the first harry potter book to work or anywhere anyone could see that i was reading a 'children's book'. By the third HP, I didn't give a damn and I dismissed the jeers of my family. By the fifth book, my daughter was INTO HP and my wife admitted that although she wasn't removing me from the hall of the weird, HP wasn't keeping me in.

These books are so good, i quit giving a shit what anybody thinks.

PS. Dumbldore is as dead as Tupac..

At 4:12 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Good on you, John! When we were in Disney World last month, I swear I saw at least thirty grown men and women--no kids in sight--reading the books avidly. In the airport, at Typhoon Lagoon. Everywhere.

Ironically, I can't think of a person that I imagine to be less influenced by other people's opinion than Sarcastro.

At 5:04 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Exador said...

I kid Sarcastro because he knows of my forbidden love for Hermione.

(I'm kidding, sickos)

Anyway, I immediately thought of you when I saw this:


At 5:43 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Every time I think I'm a serious fan and should get help, I see one of these things.

Somehow I am slightly frightened by all that stuff...

Especially the Ent table

At 5:51 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Exador said...

Wouldn't making a coffe table out of wood be something that the Ents might have a problem with?

That's like selling PETA-brand hamburgers.

At 9:28 PM, November 27, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>Hey. At least you don't have a monkey, a Ferris Wheel and a pigmentation disorder>>

Funniest. Thing. Ever.

And Katherine, I know who three of the Six are, who are the other three?


At 9:34 PM, November 27, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Hey, what's life without a little bit of ironic abuse tossed to Michael Jackson.

Since they've all fought Death Eaters twice and been injured in the attempt, I now include Ginny, Neville and Luna in the Protected Class.

I figure they deserve it. Besides, Luna reminds me an AWFUL lot of myself.

At 7:32 AM, November 28, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Funny, "Azkhaban" was on HBO last night. That Hermione is starting to fill out nicely. She is going to be smoking hot by the next couple of movies.

I can't possibly influence you vis-a-vis Potter, Kat. That ship has sailed.

At 8:09 AM, November 28, 2005, Blogger Michael said...

You know, I'm glad this blog is here. It makes me feel better to know that other males find Hermoine in the films to be attractive..helps me feel less like a complete and total sicko and helps me realize--hey, there are enough of us out there to start a support group.

At 3:01 PM, November 28, 2005, Anonymous Muffy said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure Book 7 will be out in 2008. I wish it'd be out in 07 and hell i could be wrong but I saw that in an interview a looooong time ago before 6 was out.

At 3:09 PM, November 28, 2005, Anonymous Muffy said...

pardon me for commenting twice in a row... I just finished reading what everyone else has to say:

Sarcastro: seriously, you would love these books. I haven't met a person who doesn't like them. After being convinced to read them anyway.

Mel/Katherine: I'd love to believe that Dumbledore's not gone either and while he may make a cameo in a painting or portrait, it's more than likely not what's going to help Harry in 7.

Jason: Niiiiiice!

John H: good for you for sticking to it. my friends made fun of me too until they read the books themselves. So do my parents. And ever since I convinced Caruthers to read them, he can't put them down either.

Hermione's soooo pretty. And if it makes you men feel any better, I happen to have a crush on Daniel Radcliffe and the Weasley twins. And I KNOW they're younger than I am.

Man, I doubt any of you will even read this comment!!!

At 4:47 PM, November 28, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Alright, you nerds have worn me down. I'll join your creepy kid-lit cult.

At 5:24 PM, November 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

*twirls mustache...laughs maniacally."

At 5:44 PM, November 28, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

When did you grow a mustache?

At 5:50 PM, November 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

It's an imaginary mustache. But the evil laugh is real.

At 5:52 PM, November 28, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Muffy, I don't think the portrait will help Harry, but I do think that the portrait will be the only thing that Harry will listen to WRTo Snape. Basically Harry will only come to trust Snape if the Dumbledore portrait enlightens him about Snape's true rule in DD's death.


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