Geekerella – Ashley Poston

 

Geekerella-Ashley-Poston
Source: Goodreads

 

 

Danielle Wittimer and her parents had a special bond – their undying love for the too-soon gone TV show Starfield. Now that they’re gone, the show and the convention her father started in honor of it are the only things Elle has left of them. They keep her going while her stepmother and twin stepsisters make her life a living hell.

Darien Freeman grew up torn between worlds. Discovering Starfield and Excelsicon in middle school literally saved his life. Now, the chance to play the lead role of Prince Carmindor in the new film adaption of the cult TV show is more than he can pass up, but will the fans accept a new Carmindor?

Terrified to meet his new fans and foes, Darien reaches out to the Excelsicon founders to try to pull out of his meet-and-greet, only to find a friend instead. As Elle and Darien get to know each other through texts, they begin to understand just how not alone they really are. Will it be enough to save Carmindor and the reboot from disaster? Will it be enough to rescue Elle from her own personal hell?

 

 

I heard about this book last year just before it came out, and I had the chance to hear Ashley Poston speak about it at the Boston Teen Author Festival in September. Geekerella‘s charm comes from its roots in the Cinderella fairytale, tied up in its infusion of sci-fi culture – Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and so many more. The melding together of fairytale and space opera with verge-of-adulthood problems and responsibilities makes for a totally new story that will enchant readers for years to come.

Poston’s love for everything space shines through in her writing and in her speech. Her next space-opera-meets-fairytale will hit shelves in the next year or two, and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it.

 

HHC Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Film Review – Wonder Woman (2017)

 

 

Wonder-Woman-IMDB
Source: IMDB

 

 

 

Patty Jenkins directs Gal Gadot as the title character in this origin story of DC’s greatest hero. Diana grew up on the island of Themyscira, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the last child of the god Zeus. As a young woman, Diana saves a man from drowning and exposes the world of the Amazons to the tumults of World War II. Determined to do her duty as an Amazon and rescue the world from a never-ending war, she sets off with her new friend for the frontlines.

 

I had originally planned to see this opening night, but I was trying to coordinate schedules with someone and it just wasn’t working out. During the month I was waiting to see it, I saw a lot of hype online about how strongly feminist the film was, and how it does such a good job of how it portrays Diana as her own person rather than a sexualized object, and it all just made me insanely excited to see it.

When I finally saw it for the first time last night, I had to admit it was not as overtly feminist as I thought it would be, but Diana’s sense of equality is pretty fantastic, and it does clearly influence those around her. Having grown up knowing about men but never meeting one, she doesn’t have any of the ‘men are more important’ mentality that most women have ingrained by the age of five, but neither does she have an awe of them that would impede her in any way. Her mentality is very body positive and inquisitive as well as focused. When faced with something new and scary like guns, bombs, and crazy people in general, it is this mentality that keeps Diana on track to achieve her goals.

In the past week I’ve started hearing of a few people who didn’t love the film, but so far I’ve been able to chalk that up to them either being let down by the huge hype, or the fact that they are not typically superhero movie people and only saw Wonder Woman because its protagonist is female. I didn’t love the “romance” aspect, but I can completely see and understand how important it was to the overall story and helped mold Diana into the Wonder Woman we all know and love. Honestly, that’s my only gripe about the entire film. Everything else was phenomenal, I’m going to see it again as soon as my schedule allows, and I’m going to buy it the second it comes on out on DVD. I already purchased the soundtrack.

I came out of the Wonder Woman ready to take on the world, run a million miles, learn all the fighting styles and languages there are, and with this crazy need to make an impact in the world. Wonder Woman is a princess, a goddess, a warrior, a superhero, a scholar, a catalyst for peace, and she works in a museum. What more could you ask for in a role model? Ever since watching Lynda Carter in reruns of the Wonder Woman TV series from the 70’s as a child in the 90’s, Wonder Woman has been one of my heroes, and I consider myself beyond lucky to have her handed back to me in the form of Gal Gadot.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Let’s Talk Patronuses

Pottermore, that wonderful place built in the name of J.K. Rowling for all of the Harry Potter fans out there, launched it’s Patronus quiz today! As it firmly states that the quiz may only be taken once, I naturally took it six times, as I did with the Sorting Hat Quizzes.

Pottermore seems to be only sharing what a general Patronus is, rather than background on the what the specific conjurings mean (if they mean anything), so here are my results along with what I’ve found out about each of them, and the symbolism regarding each of the animals I was assigned to better understand how they might possibly represent me as my Patronus.

First of all, each Patronus was different. I had no doubles. Part of that is because the quiz doesn’t always ask the same questions, and part of that is because the whole thing is timed, so if you do get a question you’ve already seen it takes less time to answer it than it did when you had to read the question through. Unless you’re a robot and you got exactly the same questions, I don’t believe there is a way to get the same Patronus twice.

Second of all, any sites I used for researching this post will be linked at the bottom. Photo links are located below each picture for easy sourcing.

Now, on to the Patronuses! 🙂

ievminn001p1
Source: Britannica

1. The Stoat
Also known as an Ermine, in the winter its coat turns completely white. Related to the weasel, marten, fisher, and otter.

The stoat has a vast range, seen everywhere from North America to across Eurasia. You could call them global citizens. They symbolize royalty, purity, and strong morals mostly. There’s a myth about a queen in Brittany who was hunting a stoat and when they reached a mud pit, rather than cross it and ruin its fur, the stoat turned to fight in the face of certain death. The queen was so inspired by the animal that she kept it as a pet and made it the symbol of the royal family, their motto being ‘death over defilement’, meaning something along the lines of they would die before they would lower their standards, besmirch their good name, etc.

The stoat also symbolizes the spiritual journey to enlightenment; something or someone who has gone through all 4 spiritual seasons, including a dark night of the soul and being born again into a new dawn.

7149-004-472851c5-ragdoll7146-004-7fe4520e-ocicat

Ragdoll Source: Kids Britannica                 Ocicat Source: Kids Britannica

2. The Cat(s)
General Cat Symbolism
There is no specific symbolism for either the Ragdoll or the Ocicat, probably because they’re both specific breeds and symbolism tends to a generalized study. Cats are known to symbolize a bridge to the spirit world, communication, unpredictability, independence, and creativity.

a) Ragdoll Cat
The Ragdoll cat is a long haired domestic cat with blue eyes and mostly white fur except for bits of brown, especially on its face and paws. It loves people and tends to follow them about doglike. It loves to be picked up and gets its name from the way it goes limp when you do pick it up.

b) Ocicat
The Ocicat is a fairly new breed of domestic cat that looks like a tiny cheetah. They are known for being extremely sociable, affectionate, and intelligent.

152565-004-bb150f1c-black-swan
Source: Britannica

4. The Black Swan
Much of the symbolism for black swans is the same as your average white swan, but there is a myth about how it got its dark color.

The story goes that in the aboriginal tribes of Australia, there were only a couple of women who knew the secret to making boomerangs. A group of men decided to steal the boomerangs, and to distract the women two of the men decide to turn themselves into swans and land on the nearby lake. The women were distracted by the birds’ beauty for a time, but they caught the men in the end. The women shoo the swans off the lake and they settle on another lake where some eagles live. The eagles attack and rip all of the swans’ feathers out, leaving them for dead. To spite their enemies the eagles, a murder of crows offer the swans some of their own feathers to create new coats.

Because of the trial that the black swans went through, they symbolize the spiritual journey, especially suffering and faith. Swans, in general, symbolize the journey to purity and perfection, as well as the balanced life. In Astronomy, the constellation of the Northern Cross is also known as Cygnus the swan.

100696-004-addf2ccd-osprey
Source: Britannica

5. The Osprey
Also known as a fish-hawk and a sea-eagle, the osprey is the only known bird in the eagle family that lives not just in the air, but in the water. Other eagles may grab fish near the surface or those that jump with their claws, but ospreys are known for diving under the water in search of food. Much of the fish that other birds eat are in fact stolen from ospreys.

The osprey symbolizes the guardian in much of Native American folklore. It also symbolizes acuity of sight, abundance, salvation, redemption, resurrection, the sun, nobility, deep creativity, good timing, respect, communication, vigilance, the soul, and a beacon. In myth, the osprey was the animal symbol for Hermes, the messenger. It is also known as a guide of souls, as it is the only animal that moves seamlessly between air, symbolizing the mind and the conscious as well as the land of the living, and water, symbolizing emotions and the unconscious as well as the land of the dead.

The osprey is known for going after what it wants rather than staying back and waiting for an opportunity. It is known for building strong boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.

62580-004-ff7653e2-red-fox
Source: Britannica

6. The Fox
The fox is known for persistence and patience, as well as creative, out-of-the-box solutions that often make it seem eccentric, if quick minded. The fox symbolizes loyalty, wit and quick thinking, longevity, protection from evil, fortune, luck, opportunity, the jack-of-all-trades, and the arrival of solutions. Foxes are known to adapt and ‘blend in’ to their environments. They can be tricksters as well as teachers, and they possess an uncanny ability to find their way around. They are often respected as guides and honored for their wisdom.

So there you have it, the six Patronuses I was assigned: Stoat, Ragdoll Cat, Ocicat, Black Swan, Osprey, and Fox. When I first got each one, I thought they were all completely different and didn’t really understand how they related to me or could possibly be my Patronus. After doing the research and better understanding the symbolism of each animal, however, I can see how they relate to me. As a proud Gryffinclaw Hornedwudgie with some Hufflepuff and Wampus tendencies, I can see how the strong morals of the Stoat, the communication skills of the Ragdoll Cat and the sociability of the Ocicat, as well as the faith of Black Swan, the vigilance of the Osprey, and the persistence of the Fox, could all represent me in some way. Even if I could cast a real Patronus charm and none of these animals came out of my wand, I am pretty grateful I had the chance to learn about them. They are daring and smart, loyal and cunning, just like the heraldry animals of Hogwarts, and I am proud to be associated with all of them.

30th September 2016 –  EDIT: I’ve been getting a lot of questions asking me what I say when people ask what my Patronus is since I took the quiz multiple times. For all intents and purposes, I’ve been saying the Stoat, since that’s what I got the first time when I took the quiz the way a normal user would, not knowing what type of questions to expect.

What animal or fantastic beast is your Patronus? Head on over to Pottermore.com/Patronus to find out. You just need a Pottermore account to take the quiz. Let me know over on Twitter, and I’ll see y’all next time!

~Amanda

Further Reading/Where I Did My Research:
Stoats in Folklore
Ragdoll
Ocicat
Cats as Spirit Animals
Swan Symbolism
Swans as Spirit Animals
Osprey as a Power Animal
Ospreys as Spirit Animals
Ospreys – Guide of Lovers and the Heartsick
Osprey as a Totem Animal
Foxes as Spirit Animals
Animal Symbolism – Meaning of the Fox
Spirit Animals and Animal Totems – Fox Symbolism
Universe of Symbolism – Symbolic Meaning of Fox

Pottermore Sorting: Hogwarts and Ilvermorny

Hogwarts Ilvermorny

Sources: Harry Potter Wiki – Hogwarts
Harry Potter Wiki – Ilvermorny

*Please note that I am not breaking down/explaining what each house represents in this post. You can find all of that information on Pottermore.com if you feel so inclined, rather than be forced to read it in its 100th reiteration here.

When J.K. Rowling, the author the wildly popular Harry Potter book (and film!) series opened up a website for Potterheads (fans of the series) in April of 2012, everyone immediately headed over to be sorted into their Hogwarts houses. The website was interactive and users worked their way through the stories, earning points for their house towards the House Cup that was awarded each year. I remember taking the quiz for the first time and finding out that I was a hat-stall. I answered the last question and was presented with a screen that asked me to choose between Gryffindor and Slytherin. I was pretty sure that was just the result it gave everyone because after all we were supposedly playing through the book series, and that’s the decision Harry ultimately makes. (I chose Gryffindor. Go Lions!) It wasn’t until I was scouring social media later that I realized people were actually being sorted into other houses. I had always wanted to be in Ravenclaw, and I remember taking the quiz about ten times before it finally put me in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. I never got the hat-stall screen again.

When the site went down for renovations last year, I was sad, to say the least. But low-and-behold, January 28th, 2016 brought renewed hope. Pottermore was back up and running, but it looked very different. Gone were the interactive game, the dueling, and the House Cup. What we did get, however, was a ton of backstory and fleshy bits (aka my favorite parts) about the world of magic. Most importantly, we still had a Hogwarts sorting quiz. The unfortunate part of that being that it was a new quiz and a lot of people were upset by it, having already identified themselves by the houses they had originally been sorted into. I, luckily enough, was still sorted into Gryffindor (hooray!), though I was not a hat-stall this time around.

June 28th, 2016, heralded a new surprise for Potterheads: a second sorting ceremony. This one for the American school of witchcraft and wizardry, Ilvermorny, who’s backstory was revealed the same day. I took the Ilvermorny sorting quiz and became a Pukwudgie. Then I immediately scoured social media to discover what this meant. Since taking the quiz, I have discovered a few things. First was a post that I discovered via Twitter, discussing the potential correlations between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses. I reblogged it on Tumblr, and you can also find the original post here. Thanks much to Layne Morgan for putting that together. The second, which I found more recently, was an article that showed where users from each Hogwarts house ended up in Ilvermorny. It’s quite interesting! You can find that over at Hypable.

Mostly what I discovered is that Pukwudgie and Thunderbird are the most popular across the Hogwarts houses,  and almost no one is in Wampus. Because of all the data floating around, I felt the need to do some research of my own.

I took each quiz 6 times, and these are my results:

Hogwarts:

Gryffindor: 3 times
Ravenclaw: 2 times
Hufflepuff: 1 time
Slytherin: 0 times

Ilvermorny:

Horned Serpent: 3 times
Pukwudgie: 2 times
Wampus: 1 time
Thunderbird: 0 times

With Hypable’s article showing 36.3% of Gryffindors ending up in Pukwudgie and the same percentage in Thunderbird, I’m somewhat surprised by my findings. As far as the Hogwarts sortings go, I already mentioned that I was a Gryffindor who used to dream of being a Ravenclaw, so is it really a surprise that I got Ravenclaw a few times? In terms of what some Potterheads term ‘hybrid houses’, I’ve always been a Gryffinclaw. I found the singular Hufflepuff sorting interesting because my sisters were sorted into Hufflepuff in the original sorting quiz, so I guess loyalty just runs in the family.

*Please note that to take the quizzes you must be logged in to Pottermore.com. You can create an account for free using your email address.

Have you taken the sorting quizzes yet? What house(s) did you get? Let me know in the comments here or over on Twitter @Amanda_HHC.

Until next time,

Amanda