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July 21, 2005

Don't read Day of the Triffids and Harry Potter in succesion

It really screws you up.

Day of the Triffids is by John Wyndham and is about a vaguely apocolyptic scenario. Added to the mix are these nasty walking plants (Triffids) that go around killing people. Nice.

Harry Potter is by… oh, some woman, I forget her name – it's not like it's plastered everywhere. I don't think any explanation about the books is needed somehow.

My Dream

The setting as with the Day of the Triffids is an apocolyptic scenario. In my dream it was brought about by a nasty disease (Bird flu?) spreading throughout the world. I'm lucky enough not to catch the disease, well it would've been a short dream if I had, wouldn't it?

I'm running around trying to get away from some nasty-pasty people who are intent of destroying the remnants of the human population. Why? Who knows? Perhaps they need an ASBO. Whatever their motivation they chase me into an empty swimming pool.

This is where the Harry Potter bit comes in, don't worry it's not specific to the HBP so is spoiler-free. It's simply about doing magic – you did realise Harry's a wizard, right? – I use magic (woohoo!) to get out the situation.

Next I'm running through a school looking for some crystal. There's a whole bunch of these and I need to unite them in order to… save the world? I don't know, if it was I wonder what that says about my personality that I think I have to save the planet. The idea is that on their own these crystals (Chaos Emeralds? I was looking at Sonic the Hedgehog games the other day) are fairly useless, but put together they're really powerful. Not that anyone wants to give up the individual crystals anyway. sigh.

I eventually get hold of the crystal I was looking for. And now, lo and behold, her are some Triffids. T'riffic! Or more precisely, here are some plants that look alot like the ones in our back garden, but with the minor difference that they're murderous.

Unfortunately I woke up. Although seeing how you only remember dreams if you wake up during them I guess it was fortunate, or the rest would have been a blank.

Still, it beats dreaming about bus journeys/going to Tesco.

June 08, 2005

Who dies?

There's little over a month left until the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Already there's lots of discussion about who the Prince might be, but also a major character is supposed to bite the dust. Without being too morbid, who might that be?


Not likely to go this book, that would kind of defeat the point of a seventh. But he's got to die at some point, surely. I don't know about anyone else but if he's still alive at the end I don't think I'd sleep easy.
Probability of death before the end: 10/10
Probability of death in HBP: 0/10
Probability of renouncing his dark ways and opening a Garden Centre in Cornwall: 1/10, Would you buy a plant from him?


Could happen. I'm picturing an Obi Wan style "Strike me down and I'll become more powerful than you could possibly imagine", scenario. Don't reckon he'd mind dieing much if it helped the fight against Voldemort, besides he's getting on a bit anyway.
Probability of death before the end: 8/10
Probability of death in HBP: 5/10
Probability of Lenny Henry cutting off his beard for comic relief: 0/10, all good wizards need beards.

Editorial Note (Remove for publication): I hope no one notices that my picture of Dumbledore looks like a gnome.

He's a good bet to die before the end, though again I'd say not yet. His school friends all come under the categories of people who are dead, or he'd like to see dead. I figure he'll go the same way.
Probability of death before the end: 7/10
Probability of death in HBP: 3/10
Probability of Wolf-Lupin eating Cho Chang: 1/10, it'd be funny though.

A Weasley
Surely by the law of averages one of them's for it. Arthur and Ginny have had pretty close calls already, and Charlie works with dragons for Chrissakes. That's just asking for trouble. Reckon one of them dieing in this book wouldn't hurt the next. The big question then is which?
Probability of death before the end: 9/10
Probability of death in HBP: 8/10
Probability of Mrs. Weasley being flustered at some point: 10/10

Luna Lovegood
She's pretty morose so there's probably a good chance of her popping her clogs, though she'll probably be around for the seventh. Hell, maybe she wants to die. Maybe her and Harry will get it together in the next one and she dies to save him or something.
Probability of death before the end: 6/10
Probability of death in HBP: 4/10
Probability of her saying something weird: 10/10

Beatrix Lestrange
Think she might have pissed a few people off by killing Sirius. Me, for instance. But I don't think I'm likely to kill her. Lupin maybe? Harry's already put himself in the not-killing-for-revenge camp.
Probability of death before the end: 8/10
Probability of death in HBP: 7/10
Probability of making me struggle to pronounce her name in my head whilst reading HBP: 10/10

I think a number of characters are pretty certain not to die. These are:

Ron and Hermione
They'd better not die. JK Rowling would probably have to relocate to a small unheard of island in the Pacific Ocean to avoid being pitchforked if they do.
Probability of some Gryffindor lovin' 9/10, it's gonna happen.

Fred and George
The first rule of any good story is don't kill your comedy characters. Well, maybe it's not the first rule but it's got to be in the top ten.
Probability of royally pissing everyone off with some prank: 8/10

Again with the comedy. He's too nice to die anyway, can't see it happening.
Probability of letting some vital piece of information slip: 10/10


I reckon he's gonna become headmaster at Hogwarts in the end. I can definitely see it happening, assuming he lives of course. Probably he might have to do more undercover work as a Death Eater, so he's in a high risk position.
Probability of death before the end: 4/10
Probability of death in HBP: 2/10
Probability of giving Harry an A in potions: 0/10

I've come across suggestions that Harry and Voldemort's lives are so entwined that Voldemort might only be able to die if Harry does. Maybe, but I reckon that's where someone like Dumbledore might be able to come in and die in Harry's place somehow. And besides, can you really imagine the last line in the last book being "And Harry was dead"? Cue, millions of people jumping off a cliff.
Probability of death before the end: 3/10
Probability of death in HBP: 0/10 (Surely! Make it hard to get a seventh book out, though JK Rowling did seem to lose interest halfway through Order of the Pheonix)
Probability of whinging about friends/scar/girls/homework/anything he can think of: 10/10

March 31, 2005

Harry Potter Name Meanings/References

I've been doing a little research into the meanings of some of the names in the Harry Potter books. This started after I stumbled across Romulus and Remus in the old encyclopedia, anyway I flicked through it a bit more, looked in the dictionary and browsed some websites. It's not exactly earth-shattering brand new information, but here's what I've found:

Remus Lupin: As menitoned above Remus is commonly associated with Romulus. Romulus, Remus' brother, was the mythical founder of Rome. According to the myth they were raised by... yup you got it... wolves. Also lupine means "of or like a wolf".

Sirius Black: Sirius is the name of the brightest star in the sky, also known as The Dog Star. You'd have thought Hermione would've known that and saved a whole load of bother, she's obviously not as clever as we're lead to believe!

Sibyl Trelawney: In Greek mythology the Sibyls were ten prophet women who worshipped the god Apollo. Which seems pretty reasonable, however I prefer my own interpretation: Divination class takes place in a tower, Trelawney is a bit fawlty cos she's not very good, Sybil was Basil's wife in Fawlty Towers, hmmm… I think I'm onto something.

Fluffy: three-headed guard dog of the Philosopher's Stone Not so much a meaning as a character reference. Cerburus was three-headed dog in Greek mythology (stop me if you know this already), he guarded hell, but let some bloke through after he played some music (follow the links below for details). All very familiar.

Albus Dumbledore: According to one of the websites Albus comes from the latin word for white, which fits nicely. I found out that Dumbledore is some kind of bee and JK Rowlng herself actually says this is where she got it from. Which to be honest is kinda dull. More interestingly one of Dumbledore's middle names is Percival, which supposedly means "pierce the veil" the website suggests this may have something to do with the veils at the Ministry of Magic.

Lily Potter: A quicky, the Lily flower is a symbol of purity.

Draco Malfoy: Draco is derived from the Greek word drakon, meaning dragon or serpent.

Godric Gryffindor: Godric means "power of god"

That's just the few I had time to write up. There's plenty of websites out there which go into sooo much more detail anyway. Here's some of the ones I used which may be of interest:



link (a rather good name-meaning site)

March 28, 2005


Being a geek isn’t the stigma it once was. A number of bloggers are openly geek. Indeed such is the craze for all things geek, it is possible to get away with using the word as an adjective. There are a number of possible reasons for this:

  • The rest of the world has come round to the fact that geek is simply a misunderstood form of cool.
  • Most people at Warwick are geeks, so we are only exposed to geeks, leading to the view that it is “in”.
  • Someone has created a device emitting electromagnetic pulses hypnotising the world into thinking geeks are cool.

The craze on blogs is for personality type tests. Many however come up with the unsurprising “You are a geek”; more useful would be to find out what type of geek you are. So here we have four categories of geek (pick your own, quizzes are dull):

You can be:

Comic Book Fan (a.k.a. The Seth Cohen)
Previous form: Comic Book Store Guy off the Simpsons.
Now: In fashion after the success of the Spiderman films and TV series Smallville.
True Geek Powers: Love of comic books
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: High; you talk about yourself way too much. That doesn’t make you a geek, that just makes you annoying and self-absorbed.
Chances of getting the guy/girl: High, low, high, low, high, low… For some reason you are intermittently successful, but god only knows why.
At Warwick would study: Something modern and alternate sounding, Media Studies etc. You’re a geek but not a classic maths/physics type.
Likely to say: "I know, I get that. But if it is 'cause of me, maybe I can talk her out of it. Except for the fact that I can't ask her if it because of me without sounding totally self-absorbed. And I'm not self-absorbed, right Ryan? Me. Me. Me."

Swot (a.k.a. The Hermione Granger)
Previous form: Lisa Simpson, clever but very annoying.
Now: Taking bookworming to a new height, but in fashion because of a deep loyalty to your friends and a sense of right.
True Geek Powers: Superswot and hitting Malfoy
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: None, you pride yourself on being smart, why change?
Chances of getting the guy/girl: High, if they ever realise they like you.
At Warwick would study: History, all that reading’s right up your street.
Likely to say: "Not spew, it's S-P-E-W, Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare."

Heroic Geek (a.k.a. The Peter Parker)
Previous Form: Clark Kent – not cool.
Now: Intense and introspective, the kind of geek who needs reassuring.
True Geek Powers: How about altering your DNA for size?
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: Medium, geeks aren’t usually strong, but you remain goofy with or without glasses.
Chances of getting the guy/girl: Okay, once you make your mind up.
At Warwick would study: Law, lots of potential for sulking and being serious.
Likely to say: "Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spiderman." Yawn…

Shy Geek (a.k.a The Willow Rosenberg)
Previous Form: Matilda. Nice story when you’re seven, but you can’t go back.
Now: A little insecure, potential for losing the plot and trying to kill everyone.
True Geek Powers: Smart, also brave, sort of.
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: Low, what kind of geek wouldn’t try to destroy the world given the chance?
Chances of getting the guy/girl: High, but you make the strangest choices: Best friends, werewolves, people who get their brains sucked out and then killed, potentials and even nearly added ex-rats to the list.
At Warwick would study: Chemistry, it’s like making magic potions.
Likely to say: "We can come by between classes. Usually I use that time to copy over my class notes with a system of different colored pens. But it's been pointed out to me that that's, you know… insane.

February 03, 2005

My all time top five…

3 out of 5 stars

Okay, my all time top five favourite books that made me laugh, in the order I read them, are:

  1. Judy Blume – Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
  2. Perry McCarthy – Flat Out, Flat Broke: Formula 1 the Hard Way
  3. JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (c'mon, the stuff about the Yule Ball's absolutely hilarious)
  4. Tim Moore – French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France
  5. Nick Hornby – High Fidelity

For anyone who hasn't even seen the film, High Fidelity is about Rob: recently split from his girlfriend – Laura . The story centres on how he copes with Laura leaving him and tries to figure out why his love life always leads him to rejection.

Its a brilliantly funny book that literally makes you laugh out loud. The rejections Hornby creates for Rob are universal, inspite of his flaws I challenge anyone to not find sympathy with him somewhere.

The true strength of the book, as with just about everything Hornby writes, is that it draws you in and you feel like you're friends with the main character. Its a bit like reading a letter, which makes it very pleasureable and easy to read.

Where the book lacks a little is towards the end when the pace slows down. If like me you've seen the film then the start is hard work, largely because you're waiting for the introduction of Barry (Jack Black's character in the film), but after that the book goes at a relentless pace, it's completely breathless. Unfortunately the momentum wanes slightly towards the end, and the book sort of disappears into nothing.

Nevertheless it's well worth reading. It won't challenge you in your thoughts about life and love, but it's great as a book to relax with after a long day's lectures. What's more is that it's nice to read about someone who's in their mid-thirties and miserable, it makes the pains of being twenty-one seem like a walk in the park!

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