Against the Grain

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Archive for the ‘harry potter’ Category

HP:DH Audiobook for your iPod

Posted by Patrick on 31 Jul 2007

Let’s face it, sooner or later the gestapo of Apple will be offering Jim Dale’s recorded version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for purchase and download via iTunes (an anagram of nutsie, btw).  But, even if that’s all well and good for convenience sake, why would you buy it from them?  Why would I download a set of DRM-encrusted m4b iPod-specific files when I can get the actual discs from any major retailer either online or in-store for 1)cheaper, probably and 2)more flexible? 

It’s certainly not rocket science to take the MP3 or AAC discs and convert them to nutsie’s format, thanks to freeware and shareware programs out there on web sites like freeipodsoftware.  I personally use the MP3 to iPod Audiobook Converter, and haven’t had any problems with the newest iTunes and current iPod firmware.  The only note worth mention is that the files need to be kept under about 4-5 hours runtime each, or you may have trouble getting your iPod into sleep mode.

Technical capability aside, nutsie doesn’t offer US customers the option to purchase the Stephen Fry reading of the UK book editions.  Jim Dale does a good job, but the UK readings are actually my preference, and they’re widely available – if you can’t find it at Target or a retailer, Britain’s Amazon has it.  I doubt nutsie, who thrives so heavily on targeted marketing, will ever come to grips with that.  Hell, I can’t even buy Japanese music from Japan via nutsie, but I can certainly get it from other outlets.  I went as far as to set up a proxy in Tokyo to get to the actual Japanese nutsie store online and just check it out. off topic, sorry.

So, who out there is planning to or has already dumped HP:DH audiobooks onto their iPod, even before the nutsie store has it for sale?


Posted in apple, harry potter, international, Japan, music, random, reading, technology | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

What are YOU reading next?

Posted by Patrick on 24 Jul 2007

I’ve heard it called the AH (after Harry) era, the post-HP era, the “end of the tunnel”, the second age of children’s literature, and a few other things.  I’m talking about the going-forward nature of all the millions of Harry Potter fans that, after having consumed HP:DH to their heart’s content, now find themselves in sheer lack of anticipation for another book in the series.

So, the question is out there:

What are you reading next?

For me, the answer is that I’m reading ハリー・ポッターと謎のプリンス which would be the Japanese translation of HP:HBP.  I do it for language study – the Japanese language is so much more consise than English.  HP:DH in Japanese evidently doesn’t even have a release date yet, but it is usually around 1 year behind the main language translations.

After that, I don’t really have a plan.  Open for suggestions!

HP:HBP Japanese translation. Can you tell what scene this is?

Posted in culture, harry potter, japanese, reading | 6 Comments »

The HP:DH Answering our Unanswered Questions Post

Posted by Patrick on 21 Jul 2007

!!!Spoiler Alert!!!  The contents of this post are heavily laden with answers to questions existing after the end of HP:HBP.  If you have not yet read through HP:DH or if there is some other reason that you do not want to read plot spoiler info about HP:DH, then I advise you not to read the rest of this post. No refunds below this line; you’ve been warned.

Now that the HP:DH book is upon us to the resounding toll of 12 million copies in the US, I’ll start posting answers to the questions in this thread.  Previously this thread was dedicated to capturing questions that are unresolved at the end of HBP. I will continue to solicit for the questions that YOU want answered in the story.

If you have answers or additional information to use in answering any of these questions, please submit it in a comment below.

  • What is special about Lily’s eyes?
    • They are a reminder to Snape of his love for Lily.
  • What does Petunia know that she’s hiding from everyone?
    • That she wanted to go to Hogwarts and be like her sister.
  • Who is going to manage some magic late in life?
    • Didn’t see a clear winner, so I am going with Molly Weasley.  In OotP she got bested by a boggart, but here at the last she kills a very powerful witch in defense of her daughter.  Who agrees/disagrees?
  • (an obvious one) Will Wormtail repay his life-debt to Harry?
    • Yes, he does.
  • (another obvious) What is the true connection between Snape and Harry?
    • Multi-faceted.  Snape was in love with Lily.  Because Voldy killed her when she refused to stand aside, Snape went to Dumbledore and vouched to help protect Harry in Lily’s honor.
  • (related to suspenseful buildup) who doesn’t survive to the end of the story?
    • Oh there were a lot of deaths.  From memory – the Muggle Studies teacher, Hedwig, Mad-Eye Moody, Wormtail, Snape, Dobby, Fred, Collin McCreevy, Ted Tonks, Tonks herself and Lupin all died.  There were certainly more.
  • What happens at Bill and Fleur’s wedding?
    • Many things.  Harry hears 2 conflicting stories about Dumbledore’s past. 
    • Krum shows and gets into it with Luna’s father over wearing Grindelwald’s symbol. 
    • Death Eaters show up during the reception immediately after Kingsley warns them with his (lynx) patronus.
  • Do Tonks and Lupin ever get hitched?
    • Yes, and they have a baby boy named Teddy Remus.
  • Do Ron and Hermione stay together?
    • Yes, and in the epilogue they are married.
  • Do Harry and Ginny reunite?
    • Very briefly during the story. I thought Ginny was gonna do him for his birthday until Ron interrupted.  In the epilogue they are married.
  • Will we see Cho Chang again?
    • Yes!  And Ginny throws it down to ensure nothing cooks up between her and Harry.
  • What happens to the Malfoys? (they are out of Voldy’s favor in HBP)
    • They are very out of favor – Lucius loses his wand to Voldy.
    • Harry, Hermione and Ron combine to save Draco’s life twice.
    • Narcissa is the one who turns to Harry’s side first and she spares him at the last.
    • In the epilogue they meet at Kings Cross cordially.
  • What is the significance of Aberforth in the story? (we know he is in it)
    • He is the one with the other half of the 2-way mirror.
    • Holds the only unpatrolled path into and out of Hogwarts.
  • Which student becomes a Hogwarts professor?
    • Neville, in the epilogue, is the herbology professor.
  • Does Percy reconcile with the Weasleys?
    • Yes! (as I predicted) and he comes back for the big battle at the end.
  • What is Snape’s Patrounus?
    • (so delicately sad) a doe – the female of Harry’s stag, because of Lily.
  • What are the horcruxes?
    • Tom’s diary (CoS)
    • The locket of Slytherin (from OotP)
    • Marvolo’s ring (from HBP)
    • The diadem of Ravenclaw
    • Hufflepuff’s cup (was in Gringotts)
    • Nagini (total guess)
    • Harry himself
  • Is Harry a Horcrux?
    • Yes, he is/was.
  • Does the DA play a role in the story?
    • Absolutely.  They assemble upon Harry’s return to Hogwarts and all fight
  • What is Umbridge’s involvement? (JKR hinted she is in the story)
    • She had the locket.  Harry, Ron and Hermione infiltrate the MoM and steal it back from her.

From Leslie’s comments

  • What will Harry gain or be able to use the 2-way mirror for?
    • He called for help and got it (from Aberforth)
  • How did Harry’s parents defy Voldemort three times?
    • I don’t think we know this
  • Will Hogwarts reopen? If so, will Harry return to school?
    • Yes it does.  Harry returns to school but not as a student, only to look for and destroy the horcrux.

If you have questions that you want me to answer, place them in a comment and I’ll include them in this thread.  Cheers!

Posted in harry potter | 13 Comments »

A REAL HP:DH leak thanks to Scholastic’s idiocy

Posted by Patrick on 16 Jul 2007

First of all, I’d like to say that I absolutely abhor the killjoy atmosphere which has, for nearly 8 months now, surrounded the release of this book and the much sought-after need to provide some kind of proof/evidence that a person has acquired the manuscript for what will be the best selling children’s book for the next few years to come.

Now that we have dispensed with the niceties, there is a leak in the plumbing, ladies and gentlemen.  Out in the bittorrent community there are some confirmed images capturing the first 500 or so pages of the coming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows story, due in stores and on doorsteps everywhere this Saturday.  Yours truly has acquired access to said photos, though I have not yet partaken in them, and I currently have not decided if I am going to attempt to read them or not.

I am going to take the title page and include it as a link from this post.  It’s as far as I’d let myself wander down the list of images before I stopped to consider it.

Of significant note, I did not create these images, and I do not know nor do I care who did. I’ll be thumbing my own copy of HP:DH when it arrives here Saturday morning (UPS runs around 9AM here). I also want to say that I’m not going to, at any time, publish screens of the story, especially before the book is released.

I’d say that we can thank our dear idiot friends at Scholastic for getting these books in the hands of booksellers early ~ sure they want to be sure that retailers have time to stock them and they certainly don’t want any stores to not have their titles for a midnight sale on Friday night. But folks, today’s Monday. They could ship these tomorrow and still be in good shape, let’s face it. I agree with another WP poster who claims “so much for heightened security”.

edit: there is a subsequent verified leak out in the community which contains the entire book, photographed as images

HP:DH title page

Posted in harry potter, idiocy, omfg | 6 Comments »

What the hell was THAT all about? HP:OotP movie feedback

Posted by Patrick on 11 Jul 2007

If you check the harry potter category tag from my blog you’ll see that I’m relatively unhealthily in tune with this story line, and that I was greatly anticipating the release of this movie as the one which would redeem the not-so-good GoF movie which preceeded it. I’m going to write this review because it needs to be done. As a story purist and movie enthusiast, I am borderline appalled at what I just sat through. Let’s discuss the movie from 2 perspectives: first, the good parts and the relevant inclusions for future movies; then, secondly, about what my personal disappointments were from the movie/screenplay.


First, the good parts. If you peep tag surfer under Harry Potter, you’ll come across a few good posts (especially this one) that I’ve already read on how the movie lays foundation for the final 2 movies in this series. I’m going to address a few of them myself, not to hijack anyone’s thunder, I’m just not the first to post.

1) The HP love life subplot is marginally well-done in this movie. Though there is some weak buildup in the attraction between Harry and Cho — especially on Harry’s end, though they were merciful enough to leave in Hermione’s line about Cho not being able to take her eyes off of Harry — this culminates in a pretty clumsy teenager kiss that links them as a couple. However, the movie is quick to crush this relationship (as it should) and doesn’t begin to overtly play up the Harry+Ginny subtheme, and we assume that this is left for the HBP movie. We don’t even see Cho after the scene where Dumbledore flees Hogwarts.

2) The darkness of the movie was more than appropriate. I thought the isolation of Harry’s character was well done, even if we were browbeaten with it. The movie needed to show that Harry felt alone in his fight so that the DA could be his outlet of normalcy, and I think that was done very well.

3) The death eaters. I will have a good and a bad here, but on the good side I think visually they carried the appropriate amount of evil in their characters, and the effects for them and for the Order members were very well done.

4) Dolores Umbridge. I really did like how her character was portrayed. I mean, in the story I really do hate her character, as I should, but it was equally vicious watching her on the screen. Icing on the cake = her pink cat cameo lapel button and collectible cat plate set.

5) Evanna Lynch was amazing as Luna, though she was limited in her frame time. I don’t think it was significant that she took Harry’s hand at the end of the story other than to provide some reassurance and some sympathy for his loss.

6) It was subtle, but I really liked how the movie begins a subtle playing of Ron and Hermione getting together. The director is just using blocking here to separate them from Harry in the frame to both play up Harry’s isolated feeling but also to note that they are becoming closer. It’s only in a few scenes of the total that Harry is actually between them.

Now, what’s in the movie that’s relevant for later because it had no other purpose? And what wasn’t in the movie that probably wasn’t because it doesn’t matter later?

1) Kreacher. This was already known before the release of the movie from JKR’s interviews, but we see Kreacher now because we will see him again later. Otherwise, his bit scenes were pointless except to show that Sirius is his master.

2) The relationship between Tonks and Lupin was omitted. Most of Tonks’ lines were cut. So why was she there except to show off her ability.

3) Harry’s conversation with Nearly Headless Nick at the end of the story was omitted. Instead, we have a very poignant line from Luna that carries the weight of the entire movie. This whole conversation was changed to fit the plot at the time — in the book this is also where we find out that Luna saw her mother die and therefore can see the thestrals. AND, this is where Luna tells Harry about the voices behind the veil, which was very, VERY much downplayed in the movie almost to the point of omission had Sirius not needed to fall through it. In the movie, Luna indicates that she can also hear the voices when Harry is staring at it. But this is more than relevant here — none of the others could hear the voices or at least none of them said they could. If the logic holds true, Neville should have been able to hear them as well, since he says in the book he could see the thestrals. That would make the veil a sort-of repository for dead souls, so to speak, that could only be communicated with by people who’ve seen death.

4) They left out St. Mungo’s completely. This means there’s no revival scene for Gilderoy Lockhart and no seeing Neville’s parents. Instead, we hear from Neville (and not Dumbledore) about his parents and only to Harry, where in the story Ron and Hermione also know. So, the important part of that is Neville’s mindset and motivation to continue fighting.

5) Petunia’s knowledge of the wizarding world was omitted. I was absolutely floored by this, and I mean I was really upset that this wasn’t in the movie. It doesn’t lend itself to her having any “real” involvement in the last book.

Lastly, here’s a list of 20 things I wanted to see in the movie which I didn’t, and in no particular order. It probably isn’t everything, but it’s the first 20 I can think of without going back to the book for reference.
1) Dumbledore’s howler to Petunia and Petunia’s blurting out of what a dementor is, just so I could see Vernon’s reaction.
2) No quidditch — not even a mention of the word. I wanted to see this, but I think it was cut to downplay Harry and Cho’s relationship. “Weasley is our King” is a strong theme in the book that works towards Ron and Hermione’s relationship later (remember she has a thing for quidditch players a la Krum)
3) No classroom lessons except DADA. I wanted to see Harry getting bad grades in potions class, as this is absolutely relevant for HBP.
4) McGonagall’s trip to St. Mungo’s was omitted, not even mentioned. McGonagall was downplayed except for her famous spat with Umbridge.
5) Not once did I hear anyone awarding or subtracting house points. It breaks the students-at-a-school theme, if you ask me.
6) Mrs. Weasley and the boggart was omitted.
7) Tonks explaining what a metamorphmagus is and Harry’s inquisitive nature about it. Probably cut to keep showing him as feeling isolated from everyone else.
#8 Moody cleaning his magic eye. Just wanted to see that for the sickening factor.
9) Harry’s temper tantrum when he arrived at Sirius’ house was nearly absent. I wanted to see him go off full-bore.
10) Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott. We are only left to assume that it was Madam Bones asking questions at the hearing. We never heard “a corporeal patronus?” so we don’t know.
11) Marietta Edgecombe’s SNEAK pimples. She was in absentia.
12) Ron and Hermione being made prefects. Or any of the others for that matter (Ernie, Hannah, the Patil girl, Malfoy, etc.)
13) a huge omission: The sorting hat’s soliloquy
14) There was no mention of Hogsmeade.
14a) No Harry and Cho date to initiate the breakup.
14c) No Mundungus Fletcher dressed as a woman
14d) No Ginny’s impersonation of Umbridge
15) Professor Grubbly-Plank was mentioned in the opening feast but then omitted. This probably means Hagrid is there to stay.
16) Dobby was omitted
17) SPEW was not mentioned, nor did we ever see Hermione knitting anything.
18) The department of mysteries
18a) Hermione’s flagrate spell.
18b) the brain room
18c) the time room with the bird in the bell jar
19) Snape’s Worst Memory had about 0.0005 seconds of Susie Shinner as young Lily Evans and was cut ridiculously short.
19a) no Lily defending Snape
19b) no Snape calling Lily a mudblood
20) no Weasley-created swamp. I really wanted to see that and see Peeves salute F&G as they departed.

What are your thoughts? I’m interested to hear them.

Posted in harry potter | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Kinda Hard Harry Potter Trivia, 10Q version

Posted by Patrick on 10 Jul 2007

Announcing: a sorta-kinda-hard trivia bucket of HP questions. I’d equate these to wombat lvl 2 for the JKR standard, though I got an O in the grade 3 exam which was recently posted on JKR’s website (your window of opportunity has closed if you didn’t participate). See how you fare with this set of 10 + a bonus.

Answer forms are accepted via the contact form at the bottom of the post. I’ll announce a winner on July 11th. If there’s a tie, I’ll announce multiple winners, duh.

edit: I closed this pseudo-contest. As it turns out, there was no winner, as nobody who submitted got more than 3 questions right. I have previously said in an edit that I had no correct answers to #3, and I concluded this contest without getting one, so I have answered it inline along with what I felt were “the easy ones”. I have taken down the contact form and enabled comments, so please fire away.

1. What is the astrological relevance of the very first password for the Gryffindor common room? What is its counterpart?
Answer: the password was Caput Draconis. Now, someone please answer the rest of the question

2. List all of the known passwords to open the stairs to the Headmaster’s office.

3. What is special about Hogwarts: A History in HP:HBP?
Answer: HBP is the only story in which H:AH is not mentioned by name even once.

4. How many stories tall is Hogwarts?

5. What was Harry concealing in a pair of Vernon’s socks?
Answer: a sneakoscope

6. What does Lupin tell Harry is an object that never lies?
Answer: the Marauder’s Map

7. What is Lockhart’s favorite color, and in which of his books does he claim that information is written?

8. In HP:CoS, why did Tom Riddle freeze during his rant about Dumbledore?
Answer: Because Fawkes appeared in the chamber

9. Name as many Hogwarts headmasters as you can.

10. What is the incantation for the spell Snape uses on James in Snape’s Worst Memory?

bonus: How many knuts are there in 23 galleons?
Hint: The relevant info is in HP:SS

Posted in harry potter, random | 6 Comments »

Katie Leung as Cho Chang

Posted by Patrick on 3 Jul 2007

Katie Leung

Back in March, I began a review of the female cast for the upcoming movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” but evidently I never finished it. And wow, how could I have possibly forgotten the (arguably) most important girl in the Order of the Phoenix story?

The half Chinese/Scottish youngster Katie Liu Leung is one of the older cast members among the Hogwarts students — she will be turning 20 this year (in August). Katie has a lot of appeal visually ~ her first on-screen role is this recurring role as Cho Chang, but in an open audition that has her beating out more than 3000 other girls, and doing so with no prior film credits, is an absolute accomplishment. I give some ground that her actual acting in GoF is a little wooden at times, and I do expect it to improve in OotP since she has so much more of a major role.

What really gets me going is her voice. I watched an interview with Katie during the webcast of the OotP premiere, and being the part-Scotsman that I am just absolutely love hearing her talk. From the few lines she has in GoF it’s a bit hard to tell, so I do hope that it comes out a little more in the OotP movie.

I think it’s a little unfortunate, based on the reading, that she’ll be playing minor parts in the HBP and (I believe) DH movies. Of course, she’d be 23 or so before the DH movie kicks off, and that’s just quite ok by me.

Posted in harry potter, women | 5 Comments »

Who watched the HP:OotP premiere webcast?

Posted by Patrick on 3 Jul 2007

I caught a few minutes of it this morning – and man I think they were the right few minutes as well. Who saw Katie Leung at this event? Wow, I mean, I guess this whole time she hasn’t really had enough real movie dialogue for her natural voice to kinda take you away, but I’m a sucker for that light British accent. She was by far the best looking — I should say, the most put together — of the girls from the cast who were at the premiere, and I mean absolutely wonderful, but just hearing her talk for a few minutes without being in a character had me wishing I was about 15 years younger today. And insanely rich. And in London. And at that event.

I thought Emma Watson looked just like she always does, but man she looks pretty skinny, so I hope we really aren’t seeing her start to slide downhill. I’d give #2 honors to Bonnie Wright, and #3 to Jo Rowlling herself (stunning outfit) ~ they seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot more than that other girl. Emma seemed quite frazzled at the 50,000 autographs she decided to start signing.

On the guys side, they were all having a good time. The best interview in the webcast was uncle Vernon.

Posted in harry potter, opinion, women | Leave a Comment »

HP:OotP European Premiere Live Webcast on Tuesday AM

Posted by Patrick on 2 Jul 2007

visit the UK WB site at and click the linky for the live European webcast. In the US this is noon EDT, 10AM here in Denver. Folks this is tomorrow morning! Tune in ~ I might

Posted in harry potter | Leave a Comment »

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie tickets sold out

Posted by Patrick on 1 Jul 2007

Yes, that’s right. No, not nationwide silly. But here in Denver, at the theater I prefer to visit for movies of this .. well, magnitude.. tickets for the first day’s complete showings of the coming movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sold through online presales sites and from the box office itself are now completely gone.

What does this mean? Well, first of all it means (I hope) that there won’t be a block-wrapping line of freaks who both 1) love the story in a fanatical way and 2) don’t understand the concept of advance purchasing. Long gone, I hope, are the Star Wars: Episode III Times Square lines thanks to folks like Fandango, who will serve you up an online will call ticket with the quicks as long as you pay an extra dollar. And let’s face it, what’s $1 versus the $12 you already are paying, but so that you don’t have to stand in line hoping to get tickets. You’ll spend $4 on a drink and $6 for popcorn, on average, so don’t be miffed away by a $1 convenience charge.

And, yes, I have my tickets.

Posted in harry potter, News Items, omfg, opinion | Leave a Comment »