shadowfireflame: (Sherlock in Molly's lab)
Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Read more )
shadowfireflame: (Sherlock in Molly's lab)
Happy Halloween, everyone!

Yay, I’ve finally gotten to see Daniel Radcliffe’s newest movie, Horns, which I’ve been looking forward to! In it, he plays Iggy, a young man devastated by the murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (played by Juno Temple), not only because she died unexpectedly but because he is being accused of murdering her. Aaand then without warning, he starts growing demonic horns from his forehead, and people start unwittingly revealing their deepest darkest secrets to him, and it just gets weirder from there. Through all the chaos surrounding him, he begins to investigate what really happened to Merrin.

Damn, this movie is difficult to categorize! A twisty (and twisted!) gory supernatural romantic psychological murder mystery drama comedy horror thriller with religious imagery and so many surprises—there, that should do it! Whatever genre you want to place it in, I can say without reservation that it’s very good!

My thoughts with some minor spoilers )

Speaking of Mr. Radcliffe, though, he recently did a very sweet Reddit Ask Me Anything. His enthusiasm about everything is lovely. I’m glad he seems to have grown up to be a good person after all the craziness he must have faced being such a famous child actor.
shadowfireflame: (Harry/Draco corsets)
When a gorgeous and adored supermodel’s death is judged a suicide, her brother hires detective Cormoran Strike, a war-vet amputee with his own connection to fame as the son of a rock star and his groupie girlfriend. Strike’s life is in shambles: he’s physically a wreck, he’s homeless after a horrible breakup, and he’s on the edge of financial ruin. This case—his only one—feels like his last lifeline, and he’s determined to find the truth, even if that is that Lula Landry did actually choose to kill herself. But there are barriers to his investigation at every turn, and everyone he interviews seems to have his or her own secrets to hide.

Yes, J.K. Rowling is back, baby! After her first published novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy (which I reviewed here), I felt that perhaps her writing had been overtaken by her cynicism and disillusionment with modern-day government and the state of the poor. That novel felt so anxious to prove it was for adults and had complex characters that virtually none of them emerged likeable, and the novel was something of a mood-killer to get through. In The Cuckoo’s Calling, however, I couldn’t be happier to have been proven wrong: Rowling has hit the sweet spot with regard to character development, presenting them as complex and real while still being empathetic and charming in their own way, even the villains.
The Cuckoo’s Calling falls somewhere in between the grating realism of The Casual Vacancy and the magic of Harry Potter, which I think is a lovely combination. And most of the success we can lay on the broad shoulders of Mr. Cormoran Strike himself: Rowling seems to excel at the limits of having just a handful of third-person narrators instead of a whole cast of them. Here we are mainly shown Strike’s perspective and that of his temporary secretary, Robin Ellacott, both of whom are dogged and likeable. Robin isn’t really like any other Rowling character, but Strike is a wonderful mixture of Harry Potter’s Hagrid (in body type and perhaps accent), Mad-Eye Moody (with the war wounds and attitude of eternal suspicion), and Remus Lupin (the woeful, shaggy look, the intelligence, the life plagued with hardships).
But perhaps the most pleasant surprise is how Rowling leads us to feel empathy for most of the cast whom Strike interviews, those connected to Lula Landry: her driver, her adopted and biological family, her friends from rehab, her designer, her make-up artist, her security guard, her apartment cleaner, her rock-star boyfriend—people from both ends of the social and economic spectrum—in order to form a picture of the only person we never have a chance to meet, Lula herself. In doing so with light satire, Rowling takes a measured look at racial tensions, the price of fame, paparazzi, drugs, modeling, the police, the army, and even the politics of war and socialism.
The only slightly awkward parts of the novel are Rowling’s continued manner of writing out characters’ accents phonetically (which I suppose makes it easier for the audiobook actors but still seems vaguely demeaning) and that last fourth or so of the novel when Strike has figured out the solution to the case but we as readers haven’t quite cottoned on yet, making it necessary for Strike to censor his own thoughts. While it’s slightly awkward, yes, it’s nonetheless intriguing in just the right way.
This novel was lots of fun while still being moving, and it kept me rooting for Strike and Robin and guessing right up to the end. I’d love to read another about Strike’s continuing investigations.
shadowfireflame: (Vampire Knight)
I can’t believe I haven’t heard anybody talking about this movie! C’mon, fanfiction fans! Long story short: it’s not terrible, which is more than can be said about some other young adult franchises, but it’s not particularly good either.

Cut for mild spoilers )
shadowfireflame: (Sherlock in Molly's lab)
Younger me could never have foreseen this post and would have recommended institutionalization had someone tried to suggest to her that one day she'd be typing up her reasons for reading about fictional guys having ass babies...and yet, I regret nothing. :D

In response to the lovely [ profile] lobelia321's request to explain mpreg, I typed up some awesome stories I love that are mpreg (male pregnancy; guys having babies), as well as the reasons why I like it so much, so I thought I'd share them here while I have it all coded out! I know lots of people don't like the trope, but here are my reasons. :)

Cut so as to not squick people :) )

Hope this helps those mildly interested in the trope? Veterans should please let me know any fics in these fandoms with a heavy mpreg element that I've missed! :)

P.S. There's an LJ Friending Meme going on right now! My comment thread is here. :D

Back to the Harry Potter Recs Masterpost: (Portkey)

Back to the Sherlock Recs Masterpost: (Taxi!)
shadowfireflame: (Sherlock)
Finally finished J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and wanted to share my thoughts. I know that I really shouldn’t compare the two works and should just approach The Casual Vacancy on its own terms, but the fact is that I wouldn’t be reading that if not for Harry Potter, and I couldn’t help but make comparisons between the two while reading.

Beware pretty major spoilers for plot & characterization. )
shadowfireflame: (Sherlock)
Thank you soooo much to [ profile] appleling for my adorable new userhead icon! *points*

Look look, I'll show you:

[ profile] shadowfireflame

I've never had anything but the default, and it's so cute! I think of it as Draco with long hair playing around with Harry in the snow. :))) *fangirls*

Speaking of fangirling, I got to see the Doctor Who Christmas special last night, which was fun, as I'd never seen one before. And it was written by Steven Moffat, who basically *minor spoilers?* TROLLED the entire Sherlock fandom with all these Sherlock Holmes references in the episode, LOL! The Doctor wore the dreaded Hat and everything. Moffat's just taunting us with the fact that we won't get more episodes until next year *cries*

Anyway, Happy Boxing Day, everyone! Hope it's filled with family and love.
shadowfireflame: (Harry/Draco corsets)
Still waiting on my copy of The Casual Vacancy to show up…in the meantime, I saw Looper on Saturday, and now I want to squee about the similarities it has with some Harry Potter tropes…

I found Looper to be very enjoyable: dark and thinky with excellent acting while still being fun. Er, except for the torture scene, which managed the feat of hitting my tolerance threshold while taking place entirely offscreen (whoa). Not sure how I feel about Joseph Gordon-Levitt making himself up to look like a younger Bruce Willis; I don’t think that was entirely necessary and definitely detracted from his character for me since he looked kind of fake and plastic. But I still liked him and thought he did a good job.

One thematic element behind the plot of Looper is basically the “let’s kill Hitler through time travel” thought experiment: if you had the ability to go back in time and kill Hitler as a child, would you? Should you? When it came down to it, could you? (I feel rather like Dr. Seuss.) At what point does evil manifest in humans? How risky is theoretical time travel? Is it possible, for instance, that your very act of going back to kill this child who will later be an evil maniac could create those tendencies in him in the first place?

Interesting stuff to think about—and in Harry Potter, Voldemort decided that he would try to kill off his future rival when he was a baby, thereby actually creating him. Time travel and prophecies are risky business! In Looper, Bruce Willis’ character decides to do the same thing: to kill off the child who will become the murderously evil “Rainmaker,” except that there are three possible kids born that day instead of two, as there were in Harry Potter.

One of the little kids who is a possible young Rainmaker, Cid, reminded me so much of the young Tom Riddle whom Dumbledore goes to visit in the orphanage. The actors even look a bit alike: intense eyes, dark hair, pale skin, constant watchful looks, very impressive core magical abilities (and remarkable acting in my opinion). Not to mention family problems—mysteriously absent fathers, stressed mothers (well, Merope Gaunt dies, but I’m sure had she tried to raise little Tommy, she would have been very stressed). In Looper, we’re told that Cid is partially raised by his aunt, though—remind you of anybody from Harry Potter?

My favorite character in Looper was Kid Blue, who is played by Noah Segan, and this character is a dead ringer for Draco Malfoy. A dangerous but incompetent bully who is physically attractive (at least to me) but ultimately rather pathetic. He’s a minor antagonist who introduces unnecessary irritations for our hero, but underneath it all, he’s just a kid trying with increasing desperation to impress his father (or father figure).

I don’t know what it is about that type of character that interests me. I think it may be that I hate being told what I should feel. The filmmakers/writers seem to expect the audience to dislike the character right away, and the rest of the characters always single him out for physical humiliation—because he must deserve it for all the nasty but ineffectual bullying he’s done in the past. This happened so often to Draco (the ferret incident, the slug incident), and it happened several times to poor Kid Blue here. I dislike being told whom I should and should not empathize with in a story by its creators, so when it seems that the creators don’t like a character, I guess it draws me to them.

So, yeah! Go see Looper if you like sci-fi and can handle some violence. Be amazed at Emily Blunt’s great American accent! And let me know if there are other Harry Potter similarities I’m overlooking.
shadowfireflame: (Harry/Draco corsets)
Hmm, another sub-standard horror movie that I felt obligated to see because a beloved Harry Potter cast member was starring. Tom Felton, I am disappointed: The Apparition was not nearly as enjoyable as Rise of the Planet of the Apes or even The Disappeared. I’m fairly certain giggling during dramatic moments of a horror film is an inappropriate reaction.

Tom Felton’s character is a geeky British guy who for some reason decides to try to contact a spirit from hell and pull it into our world. I don’t know why. But it turns out he’s successful! (Yay?) Except now everybody involved is getting an impromptu home renovation from a lousy decorator, complete with nasty mold problems in the house, furniture being placed on the ceiling and at strange angles, electrical issues, etc. Oh, and some of them are dragged back through to the spirit world, which probably sucks. And that’s pretty much it.

I feel like the writers here know all the clichés as to what should be scary (à la a Paranormal Activity-type of setup), but they just can’t seem to replicate it. It’s scarier when an apparition is haunting not a place but a person—let’s throw that in there, but let’s not explain it. Shower scenes with creepy hands are scary, so let’s have that there—but not say why the spirit being should be interested in people who weren’t involved with pulling it through in the first place. Let’s have literally every single line Tom delivers be about some nonsense pseudo-science or technical stuff but not have it add anything to the overall movie. (Yay?)

I can’t really blame the acting. I think the actors did what they could with what they were given. The protagonist, Ashley Greene, in particular was very good. She looks like a prettier version of Kristen Stewart (and I understand she played Alice Cullen in Twilight, which doesn’t help), but in my opinion her acting was very convincing (and certainly better than Stewart’s). I wish Tom could have been in the movie more (or had some real lines so he could do some real acting), though.

But it’s short and inappropriately amusing, so that works! I watched the movie with a friend, and our running theory (never disproved) is that the spirit being just wants to do its goddamn laundry, but people keep interrupting it. It’s so difficult to wash clothes nowadays. (Seriously, though, most dramatic scenes happen in places associated with clothes or cleaning—the laundry room, the shower, the closet with all their clothes. And to contrast with this possible obsession with cleaning, the protagonist thinks she’ll be safe sleeping outside in a tent.)

P.S. Thank you so much, [ profile] appleling my dear, for the bronze pencil! It’s too cute! *hugs*
shadowfireflame: (harry/draco)
(Reposting here in one organized list because I'm sick of all the clutter on the sticky post. Also I fixed my tags, haha.)

I’m a big fan of Harry and Draco, so most (read: all) of my fic recs will feature one of them in a prominent role. Here are some of my favorite fics in the fandom, ones that I’ve read over and over again and can’t seem to stop reading, sorted by pairing. Some are quite dark, so do be careful. Please let me know if the links aren’t working or if you would like to rec something! When I can get it, I prefer dark, novel-length action/adventure with hurt/comfort and steamy bottom!Draco sex (or threesomes; I like threesomes), but I’ll read anything with good characterization of Harry and (especially) Draco. :)

  • Harry/Draco fic recs: (part 1) (part 2)

  • Harry/Draco/Severus fic recs: (here)

  • Severus/Draco fic recs: (here)

  • Severus/Harry (Snarry) fic recs: (here)

  • Harry/Ron fic recs: (here)

  • Harry/Other
    • Harry/Bill: (here)

    • Harry/Voldemort: (here)

  • Draco/Other
    • Draco/Charlie: (here)

    • Draco/Hermione: (here)

    • Draco/Millicent: (here)

    • Draco/Neville: (here)

    • Draco/Regulus: (here)

    • Draco/Remus: (here)

    • Draco/Remus/Sirius: (here)

    • Draco/Remus/Severus: (here)

    • Draco/Ron: (here)

    • Draco/Sirius: (here)

    • Draco/Tom Riddle or Voldemort: (here)

  • Multiple Pairings: (here)

  • General fic recs: (here)

  • Mpreg fic recs: (here)

  • RPGs (Role-Playing Games) recs: (here)

Enjoy! :)
shadowfireflame: (Sherlock in Molly's lab)
Today, on the recommendation of the lovely [ profile] daasgrrl, I saw the movie Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)—not to be confused with Young Sherlock: the Mystery of the Manor House (1982), which I reviewed here. In Young Sherlock Holmes, John Watson and Sherlock Holmes meet as schoolboys and solve an action-packed mystery. I think of this film as kind of a predecessor of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes (2009) film with its creepy cult sacrifices and the exciting (though implausible) stunts and fight scenes that the leads pull off.

The screenplay for the movie was written by none other than Chris Columbus (who directed the first two Harry Potter movies). I love it when my fandoms collide unexpectedly. And whoa, do they collide here. (There’s even an article listing all their similarities with the title “Did Harry Potter Plagiarize Young Sherlock Holmes?”)

The worlds do feel extremely similar, so much that I started thinking of this as an AU in which Sherlock Holmes and John Watson attend Hogwarts. Which I’m totally okay with! Both boarding schools are warm and welcoming—and have great halls with tons of candles—but hide some pretty dark secrets and mysteries. Other similarities include John Watson’s standard-issue national health glasses that are the exact same that Harry Potter wears (this was so squee-inducing that I smiled whenever Watson was onscreen), the pretty scarves, the castle with its spiraling staircases and attic room that serves as Dumbledore’s office (i.e. full of cool gizmos), the two guys/one curly-haired girl dynamic, the blonde Draco Malfoy character, the morally ambiguous teachers, etc. Even the special effects creatures (real in Harry Potter, hallucinated in Young Sherlock Holmes) resemble each other, particularly the dragons.

Thoughts on the characters )

Back to my Sherlock Holmes Adaptations Masterlist: (Taxi!)
shadowfireflame: (dragon)
My friend recently posted this article on the new “Wonderbook” Playstation is apparently going to release. He’s a big-time video-gamer and was not excited about this interactive book thing, so much so that he asked me, “Why does J.K. Rowling hate all her fans so much? It’s like Star Wars all over again.”

Then he told me how he felt cynical and depressed because it seems like all his favorite interests/fandoms are being overly-commercialized in the hopes of making more of a profit—which he feels is “damaging the brand,” to quote Steven Moffat, but moreover retroactively preventing my friend from enjoying the things he once loved so much. For example, he finds it very difficult, if not impossible, to re-read Harry Potter without feeling a bit weird about the theme park at Universal Studios.

Cut for rambling fandom meta )
shadowfireflame: (harry/draco)
Finally got to see Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black and wrote up some thoughts…

My verdict under the cut. )

Benedict Cumberbatch watch (since he’s never far from my mind these days)—both Roger Allam and Ciaran Hinds had roles in this, which made me fangirl because Benedict co-starred with them in Cabin Pressure and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, respectively.

Also saw Snow White and the Huntsman and thought that was pretty good, though. Kristen Stewart’s character looks good in armor but has…no character, really. Charlize Theron’s evil queen, however, was fantastic and made the film for me.
shadowfireflame: (harry/draco)
Sweeeet, J.K. Rowling's next book is going to be called The Casual Vacancy and is set for release on September 27!

A black comedy sounds good to me especially if there is at least one hot and conflicted blonde nononono, I have to stop thinking like that and approach the new book on its own terms. :)

shadowfireflame: (harry/draco)
Look at the pretty art I received yesterday! As I have very little artistic talent on my own, I'm so amazed by artistic people, and to have a Harry/Draco picture created for me makes me so happy! *dances* Made by the gorgeous [ profile] appleling, it was actually for my birthday on March 15th, but since today is her birthday, I like the irony of posting it today for everyone to share. :)


*squeeing, flailing* It is so adorable! Harry is carrying a snoozing Draco! And look at Draco's little hairbow! And their adorable little scarves! And their little mittens and shoes! And their pink cheeks! And Harry's expression, like "I'm a bit tired here, Draco love, but I'll keep carrying you as long as I can."

In other words, best birthday present ever!!! Thank you so much, [ profile] appleling! Happy Birthday! *glomps you*
shadowfireflame: (Harry/Draco corsets)
I want to learn how to draw just so I can do stuff like this forever.

Featured on i09 and themarysue:

The genderswapped version of Harry Potter from the artist maaria on deviantart:

Check out the art here!

My impressions:

--Fem!Snape looks so gothic and awesome
--Not going to lie, same with fem!Voldy
--Harriet is scruffy and scrappy and adorable
--Fem!Fred-and-George suddenly become more amazing when they have punk rock hairstyles
--guy!Hermione for the WIN
--girl!Draco looks kind of stereotypically awful and bitchy, but I like her confidence
--girl!Neville and guy!Luna would be so cool, too
--Harriet/guy!Ginny suddenly just got a lot hotter.

I've read a ton of fem!Sherlock, but I don't think I've ever read an always-a-girl!Harry story. Ever. /suddenly feel awful

EDIT: Okay, so I found a list of always-a-girl!Harry at this link, if you're interested. Unfortunately, it's from, which I dislike, but it's better than nothing, and I'm grateful for the compiler. Also, there are some fun recasting photos at the harry-potter-genderswap tag on tumblr. :)
shadowfireflame: (Sherlock)
*see user picture* For me, this year has been one of SHERLOCK! expanding fandoms. I really got into learning more about Kpop (so much so that I started a blog) and issues of feminism, and I became less shy of venturing outside my happy Harry/Draco zone in fanfic. I also watched many more TV shows in various genres than in previous years (thanks to my living with my bf instead of being in grad school) but unfortunately read almost no novels (except in fanfic), and certainly no ones published this year except for The Demon's Lexicon series by [ profile] sarahtales. So please take these awards with a grain of salt.

Best Novel: Thanks to the gloriousness that is BBC Sherlock, I was in a very Holmesian mood and loved The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King, which was published in 1994. It's about a young genius named Mary Russell who quite literally stumbles across Sherlock Holmes in his retirement and becomes his apprentice (and, it's later hinted, his equal). The book is the first in a series, and I'm currently on the second, A Monstrous Regiment of Women.

Best Live-Action Movie: This one's easily Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. While there were lots of movies I generally enjoyed (i.e. X-Men First Class, In Time, Captain America, Drive, Limitless, the fourth Pirates of the Carribbean--hey, what can I say, I liked it--and of course Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), there weren't really any that I fell head-over-heels in love with, unfortunately. Maybe I'm becoming too cynical in my old age. :) I'm not sure I've completely come to terms with the fact that there will be no more HP movies anytime soon, either...

Best Animated Movie: This is between Rango and Gnomeo and Juliet, and Rango wins even though, again, I'm not in love with the movie. But I appreciate that it didn't push being in 3D, as those movies give me headaches.

Best TV Show: This is the category where I put BBC Sherlock, right? Only...four episodes at the moment (soon to be two more!). Despite the sexism and racism in some episodes, this really is the best thing I've seen in a long time, something that really made me excited and gleeful. This show also made me excited to see John (Martin Freeman) as Bilbo in The Hobbit and completely catapulted Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) to being one of my favorite actors, which means I will go to great lengths to watch everything he's in (including War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and a streaming version of his theater performance of Frankenstein). That there have been so many incredible fanworks created off of (until a day ago) three one-and-a-half hour episodes just shows what a wonderful world Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have created. (I also watched *deep breath*: A Game of Thrones, White Collar, Merlin, House, The Office, South Park, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Glee, Community, the eleventh Dr. Who, the new episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and most of Being Human.)

Best Anime: For me it was Nabari No Ou (older, but I only saw it this year). An interesting plot, characters with unexpected depth, and, oh, sickly Yoite. I love him so.

Favorite OTP: Man, John/Sherlock (from BBC Sherlock) are really working on edging out the Harry/Draco this year. Not succeeding yet, though coming very close...

Favorite H/D Fic: I so enjoyed Then Comes A Mist and a Weeping Rain by [ profile] faithwood, a lovely story about Draco and his cloud (see my full rec here). I am not nearly finished reading all the wonderful treats in [ profile] hd_holidays, however, so I may get back to you with more fics in this category. :)

Favorite BBC Sherlock Fic: Impossible. There are too many lovely ones. But I have to say that the collected works of [ profile] etothepii are some of the best reading I've done all year. Every story, no matter how initially implausible, grabbed me and kept me slavering for more. This is an author who time and again makes me desperate to read more of scenarios I didn't realize I wanted--like a Sherlock crossover with His Dark Materials or The Addams Family. How awesome is that?

Thanks to my bf for the Kindle! I hope to be reading lots of fanfic on it in 2012! :)
shadowfireflame: (Harry/Draco corsets)
There has now been enough intereating-looking fic posted in the 2011 round of [ profile] hd_holidays as to keep me pleased for the entire year, and I absolutely cannot wait to read it all. But since the holidays have been insanely busy, in the meantime have an art rec!

I was talking about how Harry and Draco look in our heads with [ profile] appleling when I came to the conclusion that my head!Draco and head!Harry change depending on what fic I'm reading, but generally tend to look more...hand-drawn and anime-style than like real people. Yeah, I know I'm weird, but that's honestly how I usually see them in my head.

My ideal Harry/Draco looks like how [ profile] star_sailor13 generally draws them, i.e. here or here (or see her gallery here).

And today something was posted in hd_hols that made me literally go, "OMG, HEADCANON!"

Snakewater for [ profile] mizbean, who is so lucky.

The snakeskin! The water droplets! The Dark Mark! How gorgeously protective Harry is while they lie in the rain! When I imagine H/D, that's what I see. I can't wait for this mystery artist to de-anon so I can stalk his/her art. :D

EDIT: The artist is [ profile] misterwalnut, so go forth and spread the love!
shadowfireflame: (Default)
Like many things in fandom, I guess I'm ridiculously late on this--like, about half a decade late--but after quite unintentionally stumbling upon [ profile] charlottelennox's The Ms. Scribe Story: An Unauthorized Fandom Biography, I found myself spending two days doing literally nothing else but reading it.

It's a jaw-dropping exposé of one of the most fascinating people in the Harry Potter fandom who from about 2003-2006 created a bunch of sockpuppet journals, trolled like a pro, and it seems single-handedly propelled herself into BNF status. [ profile] charlottelennox has an amusing, wry writing style that had me hooked. And talk about in-depth--this is one of the most meticulously-researched things I've ever read.

Highly recommended, and if nothing else, it's a fascinating insight into the HP fandom before I joined. :)

(Beware: it may make you kind of paranoid...)

HDS Beltane

Dec. 8th, 2011 10:11 pm
shadowfireflame: (Default)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this fest, since it features my three favorites: Harry, Draco, and Snape. (I'm always hoping for some awesome OT3 to come out of the fest.) So it's my duty to promote it!

HDS Beltane Banner1
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