Spoiler-Free Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

So unless you’ve been avoiding me intentionally, you probably know that I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in London last weekend and haven’t really shut up about it since.

There’s so much to say, and I feel like I’ve been holding it all up waiting to spill it all out once I’d analysed everything properly in my head, but seeing as that would take even the most seasoned analyst (aka me) weeks and weeks, I decided to do it now. I won’t shut up about it still, but it’s a start. You can live in hope.

I’ve tried to keep this spoiler free, so if you’ve not seen it or read the script you are safe to read on. Okay there’s a tiny spoiler but if you’ve seen the press release photos you’ll know it anyway. I’ve marked it so if you do want to skip it you can.

Now I know most people have a lot of criticism of the script. Looking back on the show, I can see why. The plot isn’t great and if I tried to sum it up on paper it would sound ridiculous – does sound ridiculous, in fact. What you must remember when reading a script is this: the script =/= the play. It’s just the script. It’s not the whole play. The writing is one dimension to a multi-layered performance piece. There’s far more to consider in theatre than the words on the page. In a novel, you have full characterisation, subplot and description in the words. In a play a lot of this comes down to the actors, the music, the set. The feel of the play is often found more in these other aspects than the writing – so it’s bound to come off feeling unpolished and shallow. The script has the words the characters say, but can’t completely portray the way they say them – the actors do that. The music adds tension or relief. The set adds description and context. I understand not liking the script, I do, but it’s important to remember that the script isn’t the full picture. It’s also important to remember that there isn’t the time to fit the whole entire story of the universe in one play – it’s 5 hours long as it is! It took 7 books to fit 18 years of Harry’s life in – a play can’t fit the next 20 odd years in their entirety in.

Right, well that’s that out of the way, let’s talk about the show. I think going along the lines of the above rant, we’ll break it up.

Harry Albus Ginny

Actors and Characterisation

Firstly, BLACK HERMIONE IS EVERYTHING. I was a little disappointed that Noma Dumezweni was off on the day I saw it but the cover, Nicola Alexis, was incredible. I can’t sing her praises enough. This Hermione can come off a little cold, but she always did. She is overly logical and tends to use her head over her heart, just as she did as a child – this has always given the wrong impression. She is warm when it matters and fiercely loyal (also just plain fierce) but unafraid to make difficult decisions. Cursed Child Hermione is no different, just more grown up.

I was a little disappointed by Ron’s part in the play. It feels similar to his part in the films – he is just the funny best friend. While he’s charming and again the actor was fantastic, his part was relatively small. I’d have liked to have seen just him and Harry have a moment or two; but as I said above, time constraints are understandable.

Harry…. Harry’s always been a difficult sod, hasn’t he? There were moments where I thought “that’s not my Harry” or “my Harry wouldn’t think like that”, but on thinking about it – Harry in the play is 20 years older than when we last left him (well, excluding the end scene but we didn’t really get much from that did we). A lot has changed and a lot still haunts him. He has three children, a stressful job, PTSD from the whole “nearly died when my parents were brutally murdered then again every year for 7 years, after 11 years of living with abusive muggle pricks”* thing – he’s not exactly going to be the cheeky chappy sassy teenager who told Snape not to call him sir still. He’s moody, neurotic, angry, self-centred… which he kind of was anyway. A lot. He’s scared, he’s protective of his children and like so many parents he hasn’t got a clue what his kid’s problem is. So while I had moments where I was disappointed in his character, I also found it realistic that as an adult he’s obviously changed somewhat. People change and it isn’t always for the better.

*My words not his, but still true.

Ginny played a far bigger role than in the films, which I was so glad of, but again I’d have liked to have seen more of her. She was still a sort of supporting role for Harry a lot of the time, with a few badass outbursts – she is a badass so why don’t we see that?

Draco was charmingly funny with the usual “I’m more emo than you” competitions with Harry thrown in for good measure.

McGonagall. BAMF as per.

The kids. Oh, the kids. My beloved next generation of freedom fighters. So many mixed feelings.

You can tell Albus is Harry’s, that’s pretty much all I need to say. He does the “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME IT’S NOT A PHASE” thing just as well as his father.

James is a lovable prick, like his granddad.

Scorpius, man. SCOR-PI-US. I’ve loved him since we were introduced, but now we’ve got some real characterisation? Love, love, love him. Anthony Boyle totally smashed it, he had us in stitches, tears and everything in between. Brilliant.

Rose…was not what I was expecting. I think I’d pinned an awful lot of hope on Rose, and unfortunately for me her characterisation was the least realistic – I found myself feeling that this wasn’t the child my Ron & Hermione would have raised. Cherrelle Skeete is a wonderful actress and she did a beautiful job, but I wasn’t keen on the character and that did upset me.

Draco Scorpius

I won’t discuss any of the other characters so as not to spoil it, so…

Visuals

Wow. Just wow. The visuals were absolutely breathtaking. It was clear that a lot of thought went in to making transitions, prop changes etc as smooth as possible, while also having that typical magic touch.

The magic itself was shown beautifully and we kept saying that we couldn’t see wires, couldn’t tell how most of it was done – of course it’s not all completely seamless, but for theatre they did a damn good job.

The costuming was brilliant and some of the special effect costumes were actually better than their film CGI counterparts. Absolutely everything was thought out and incredible detail went into creating the visual effects in the play. My only complaint is MINOR SPOILER BUT NOT IF YOU’VE SEEN THE PRESS PHOTOS that they changed the Ravenclaw colours yet again! We’re blue and bronze, not blue and silver and not blue and light blue. They also changed Hufflepuff’s colours to yellow and brown. They look good, sure, but I quite like being blue and bronze. SPOILER OVER

Music

The music was lovely, and certainly felt like a run on from the film scores, but didn’t pack quite the same punch. Of course, in a play you don’t really expect grand overtures (except from a musical), so I believe it fit its purpose, but it wasn’t as memorable to me as I’d have liked.

Plot

I’ve sort of mentioned this already, but the plot didn’t bowl me over. It was fine, but not massively strong or impactful. A lot of people go on about the discrepancies in the plot and JKR’s existing logic about certain things, but if I’m honest I haven’t memorised every detail of canon and I think it made sense even if it wasn’t the strongest storyline in the history of the world. I didn’t go into this taking it as the eighth story, more an added bonus. I’m perfectly happy with the pure main canon of 7 books and 7 films; anything after these are either added bonuses I happen to like or things I don’t like but don’t feel too upset about because they’re not actually part of the main story in my eyes. I never particularly wanted more books or more canonical stuff, so to me I could take it or leave it (or, I could before).

So to sum up, the plot wasn’t the best and I can see how it might not translate on the page. Coupled with incredible actors and a wonderful, atmospheric set it almost doesn’t matter. It got me excited, proud of my precious characters and I may have shed a tear or two. Or several. We were very lucky to get most of the main cast working on the day we went, and all who performed did a fantastic job. I’m the first to admit that there are a lot of issues, both with the play and with using theatre to tell this story, but there’s just something about the atmosphere and the actors that made The Cursed Child so enjoyable to me. Maybe it’s just the effect of the theatre.

Have you seen it? Read it? Thoughts?

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | The Stages of NaNoWriMo

It’s officially National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo is the writing challenge to top all writing challenges: 50,000 words in 30 days. The challenge was created to inspire and encourage writers to stop putting it off and get that first draft written. I’ve started the challenge several times, and won twice – and although I’m not doing it this year I am excited to see what my friends come up with and cheer them on.

This is not an easy feat, and can definitely be a struggle! Here are some of the stages I’ve noticed over the years;

  1. Remembering NaNo is coming halfway through October…and having no ideas whatsoever. nano1
  2. Getting a great idea, planning it out and actually feeling prepared to start.

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3. The 1st of November hits, and you’re ready to go…

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4. …and you’ve suddenly never been so popular. Everyone wants to cut into valuable writing time spend time with you.

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5. You actually get ahead of your target and it feels so gooooood…

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6. …and then you discover a huge plot hole and have to redo a huge chunk.

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7. But you keep going. You skip showers, binge eat junk food and set up a caffeine IV drip. You don’t see anyone for days and your room/office starts to smell, but you’re determined to keep at it. Even when you’re not writing, you’re thinking about your novel.

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8. You get really close to quitting a LOT.

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9. But finally reaching the finish line feels amazing. You’ve done yourself (and your characters) proud – now go brush your teeth.

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Winning NaNoWriMo is so rewarding and all of the blood, sweat, tears and cancelled social events are worth it in the end! It’s so easy to give up, especially if you get busy or come across problems with your work, but being able to say you did it feels so good. Keep going, and remember that this is only the first draft – it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is also worth saying that you should be realistic; look after yourself, and if the default 50,000 words is too much you can set a smaller target on the website. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do this!

Are you doing NaNo this year? What’s your novel about? If not, have you done it before and what advice do you have?

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | Costumes on a Budget!

I am a big advocate of the budget costume. For the past few Halloweens I’ve been a poor student, and this year I’m a poor graduate – I have budget costumes down to a T, and by now I think I have enough tips to write at least a post about it!

1) Don’t buy a costume!

Okay, hear me out – of course you’ll have to buy a few things, that’s obvious, but don’t buy a full costume. They may be quick and easy, but they’re also generally speaking cheaply made, overpriced and nothing you can’t do yourself! Unless you’re really pressed for time or intend to wear it several times, they aren’t worth the expense.

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I had to buy the apron & headband for this Magenta costume because I ran out of time & don’t have the sewing talent! I only got one wear out of them – not worth it. 

2) Come up with an idea based on what you already own.

I must admit that most of my wardrobe is black. This makes Halloween pretty easy – just add a few accessories and some face paint to an LBD and I’m good to go! A lot of costumes can be based around normal clothing, and don’t forget any unwanted clothes that still even vaguely fit – they could be zombified! My costume in first year was a zombie look based on a dress with a hole by the waistband; add some more rips and holes and some brown/black eye shadow & it looked great.

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If in doubt, coat yourself in fake blood.

3) Things that are worth buying: face paint, coloured paper, glue, fake blood.

Last year I was a scary clown. As a crafty person I already had things like card and glue, so it was a no brainer to make my own accessories – a ruff, hat and buttons. I already had the dress, so all I spent money on was a face paint set (on sale at a toy shop before I went back to uni), tights and some neon orange paper. If you have a good stash of craft things you’re probably set – if not, there are plenty of places that sell the basics pretty cheap. Unless it’s something you really, really can’t make, I’d say try DIY!

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I was so proud of this costume tbh. Getting blackout drunk was an appropriate way to show it off. 

4) Not crafty? Not a problem.

There are plenty of easy peasy costumes that require little to no crafting ability while still looking good. As previously mentioned, zombie costumes are so easy – just scruff up some clothes you don’t care about using scissors and some dark eyeshadow – you can’t go wrong because they’re supposed to look messy and ripped (although if you don’t want to flash I would suggest tactical ripping!). Another easy one is a mad scientist – you’d have to get hold of a lab coat, but what you wear underneath is up to you; as crazy or normal as you’d like. Mess your hair up, put some blobs of odd coloured eyeshadow on the coat/your face et voila! I did this one for a SciFi social, basing my look on Steam Powered Giraffe’s Walter Workers, and won best costume! If you’re really last minute and stuck, don’t doubt the power of some pound shop/dollar store fake blood – turn dark clothing into a vampire look with a few dots on your neck and some drops on your chin. There’s no excuse not to make even that little bit of effort!

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5) Have fun & get creative!

Halloween is a great excuse to explore your crazy, wacky, fun side and express yourself in any way you want – so go for it! Don’t be scared of having a ‘Mean Girls Moment’ – I have before and while it was a little bit embarrassing at first, I had the most fun putting my costume together and I think I probably felt the best.

Just have fun & so long as you feel good in your costume, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! These last two are two of my favourite costumes from uni (the other favourite being my clown costume) – in the first I was a gothic loli girl & wore a lacy black dress, ripped tights and boots, all of which I already owned. The second is my Megara cosplay – I did spend money on this, buying a stretchy lilac dress, a violet scarf for her waist and a long, grecian style skirt; but I’ve worn it several times and definitely got my money’s worth, as well as wearing the individual parts for other costumes.

I unfortunately only have pictures of my full body in the costumes with other people and most are pretty messy (read: drunken) so unfortunately shoulders up shots will have to do! I think they illustrate my point well enough though! What are you going as for Halloween? Have you got your costume together yet?

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | Non-Scary Films for Wimpy Halloween Lovers (AKA Me)

I am the first to admit that I’m a huge wimp when it comes to scary films. It’s the idea more than anything; I watched Blair Witch Project with friends and didn’t find it scary. What I do love though is Halloween – the quirky, fun-loving celebration, the history, the costumes (I am a sucker for dressing up). While a lot of people choose to watch scary films and spend the night creeping themselves out, I’d much rather tap into what has become the spirit of the holiday and enjoy some kooky, spooky fun! Here’s my list of favourite Halloween films – although it should be noted that while they may not be scary, they aren’t all suitable for children!

The Halloweentown Trilogy

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There will be a lot of Disney on this list. The Halloweentown films are essential for 90s kid throwback Halloween film nights! Three ordinary children discover that they descend from the famous Cromwell witches, and embark on a journey to their grandmother’s home in Halloweentown – a place full of weird and wonderful new friends. Unsurprisingly, trouble is brewing and it’s up to the new Cromwell witches (and their brother – the males in the line have little to no magical power) to save the day.

Nightmare Before Christmas

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This one is pretty self explanatory. A classic Autumn-Winter film, this is a must watch around Halloween. If you need a costume idea, you will almost certainly find inspiration here!

The Addams Family

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Is it Halloween without the all together ooky-ness of The Addams Family? Whether you prefer the original tv show or the later movies, nothing helps get those festive spirits up like the Addams’. Also, Gomez + Morticia = Goals. Seriously.

R.L Stine’s The Haunting Hour (Don’t Think About It)

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This is a great first “scary” film – it’s not really scary, but it has the tropes and suspense of horror films. A classic DCOM-style Halloween film.

The Corpse Bride

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Burton at his best, the Corpse Bride combines the darkness and kooky, colourful madness that make Halloween what it is.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Do I really need to say anything about this one? Just watch it.

Coraline

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Okay, so this doesn’t fill the “non-scary” quota as well as the others. Coraline is certainly much darker in tone than the others, and definitely creepier, but it didn’t scare me so you’re probably good. It’s a beautiful film and a really strong concept that I’d definitely recommend.

Beetlejuice

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If you’ve followed my blog for a while you are probably aware of my huge crush on Winona Ryder, so this will come as no surprise to you. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s sick – but it’s not scary. Perfect.

I know this post is really short and it’s definitely not at the level of quality I wanted for it but I ran out of time and I just don’t have the time this weekend to do it as a late post instead. Hopefully it’s been useful anyway and you like some of my recommendations!

Are you a massive wimp too? Did I miss any of your favourites out?

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | Welcome Home: Fandom That Sticks

Lately I’ve revisited a few of my favourite TV shows, and it got me thinking about why we re-read/listen/watch certain things. There are a staggering number of fantastic novels, TV series, films, albums etc. in the world, many quite similar, and yet we go back to the same worlds. They’re comfortable, nostalgic even. We know the stories, the characters, the lines; we have control. We know what they’re capable of and while they’re more than likely to leaving us as sobbing messes on the floor (thanks, Rowling) we know it’s coming – and we love them anyway. Of course, even without sentimentality the things that stay with us do so because, well, we like them.

Here are some examples of the things I always go back to, and some of my reasons:

Harry Potter

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I think this one goes without saying, really. Harry has been an integral part of my life since I was 6 years old.  So much of who I am comes from Harry Potter; I wouldn’t be a writer, therefore wouldn’t have done the degree I did, met the people I did etc, etc. Not to mention that so much of my understanding of the world came from the Wizarding World – growing up with such strong messages about almost everything has led to some pretty strong opinions. If you don’t like my hippy-dippy leftist views, blame Potter. As JK Rowling herself said, ‘Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home’- and it has become a home for me. No matter how bad things feel, HP has always been there; and I know he always will.

RENT

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RENT is a wonderful musical. I haven’t been lucky enough to see it on stage, but I watch the film version over and over again. I first watched it when I was 12, and 9 years on I still find new things to love every time I watch it. The messages are powerful, the characters are incredibly written and perfectly flawed, and the music is everything.

Hustle

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Hustle is a TV series by the BBC. The show finished a few years ago, after 8 seasons.  It’s a show that I watched when it very first came out – my dad and I watched every season together, and now watching reruns is a regular occurrence. I suppose I like it because of the nostalgia, and also simply because it’s a great TV show. I probably know every episode inside out, and yet it still stuns me. The programme is so clever and original – I still don’t think I’ve seen anything like it, not really.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling

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Do I even need to explain this?! This Buffy episode has all the best bits of the show in general, and it’s a musical!

The Blessed Unrest

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Now, I have a lot of songs that I listen to again and again, sure, but this is perhaps the only album I go back to in its entirety. I love this album for the messages; I can relate to every single song, depending on my mood and circumstances. As Sara herself says, (although Gravity isn’t actually on this album) ‘something always brings me back to you. It never takes too long’.

What are the things you always go back to? What are your reasons?

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | How Should We Read?

I feel like this post is an inevitable one for all book bloggers. The physical book vs eReader vs audiobook debate is one that’s been long raging and surprisingly devisive amongst many readers. I know people who refuse to use eReaders, I know people who have abandoned physical books. All mediums have their benefits, and all mediums have their issues. Is there really a ‘best’ way to read?

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Physical Books

I don’t think there’s a single reader out there who doesn’t want to bottle the scent of real physical books. Old books, new books, they all have this incredible smell that can’t be beaten. Paper books feel good to read – it feels like you own the book in a way that you can’t get with a Kindle, and I find it much easier to tell my progress; percentages mean nothing to me when I can easily see how much of the book I’ve read and how far I’ve got to go with a physical copy. This was never much of an issue when I solely read for pleasure, but it was definitely important during my degree and now that I have Review Wednesdays to think about!

I love physical books and there is definitely something about flicking through the softened pages of a well loved favourite that other formats simply can’t simulate.  Despite this, they take up a lot of space and often cost considerably more than electronic books and audiobooks.

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eReaders/Reading on Electronic Devices

If you’ve seen my Instagram lately you’ll have seen that while I’ve posted a lot of photos of physical books, I’ve also posted a photo of my Kindle Paperwhite. I have been using my Kindle a lot lately, having bought 4 books and received two via NetGalley on there. Electronic reading means that publishers can use websites such as NetGalley to easily send ARCs to reviewers such as myself. For the reader, it means that you can carry a huge amount of books around on a device much smaller and lighter than even one novel. It also means that you don’t even have to get up to start reading something else once finishing a book, and can instantly download the next one in a series.  While it’s an art that I think most readers have mastered, stuffing a 600 page novel into an already full bag is definitely not an easy feat! Reading on a phone makes books even more portable, eliminating the need to pack anything extra – however I find that this strains my eyes, so I don’t tend to do it. eReaders also provide more accessibility for many people; those with visual impairments can make the text as large as they need, making many books that wouldn’t be physically printed in large text much more accessible.

Another point worth mentioning for electronic reading is that there’s much more access to independent authors via eBooks – a lot of people self publish eBooks, and publishers often start publishing independent authors on eBook before physical copies. If you want to read more independent titles I would say that the Kindle Store has a much larger, more varied selection of independent writers than most physical book shops.

Audiobooks

Audio books have never really been something I’ve gotten into. My family like them, including my brother and dad, who don’t enjoy reading. Personally I’d rather read, as I find that I can’t fully put all my attention into audio books. I also find that the person reading them definitely affects my ability to engage with the story. I listened to the original dramatised radio show of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and while I loved that and still listen to Welcome To Night Vale, a serialised story told through podcasts, overall I prefer to read stories rather than listen to them. Despite not being my read or just want something other than music to listen to while travelling or nodding off to sleep, I’d definitely say that audio books could be for you. Audio books also make books much more accessible to those with visual impairments.

So there’s my view on it. I don’t really see the need to be so purist about one medium over another – they all have good and bad points, and I feel like judging someone’s personal preferences breeds an attitude that just puts people off reading. We should aim to encourage literacy and reading, not judge people if they’d rather read on their phone than get a physical book! I don’t believe that physical books are threatened by the electronic publishing industry, and I don’t believe that eReaders can ever fully replace the feel of a physical book. For me the most important thing in reading is that the story is good; whatever format it’s in.

What’s your favourite method of reading? Have I forgotten anything?

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | Scissors and other things left-handed people are a little bit obsessed with

Before I get into it: so I know this isn’t technically “fandom” but I’ll be honest, I was running out of time to write this post when I came across a video of 90 degree scissors. I found myself completely freaking out about the possibilities these would have for left-handed people and yes, obsessing over scissors (again), which gave me the idea for the post.

If you know a left-handed person, the chances are you’ve seen them struggle with things that are incredibly simple to you – opening tins, using scissors, even simply writing. In a world designed by and for right-handed people, lefties like me are left (get it?) to struggle and adapt to what in our eyes is a world completely in reverse.

Many left-handed people are incredibly proud of this fact, myself included. Regardless of how happy we are to be different, however, we all have to adapt and face the same struggles. Of course not everyone is the same, but I think it’s safe to say that most left-handed people I know also find themselves obsessing over the things in this list, at least a little bit.

Pens and Handwriting

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Writing is the most defining difference between left and right-handed people. It is also one of the first difficulties left handed children will face – or, at least those learning to write in languages read from left to right, at least. It is much easier for right-handed people to write this way. They write away from their bodies, pulling the pen towards them. Left-handed people, however, have to push the pen away, dragging it and putting a strain on the hand that right-handed people don’t experience. This gets even more difficult when sat in a classroom with right handed people on your left – elbowing that guy you’ve fancied all year is not a good seduction tactic, trust me!

Writing can be incredibly hard to master, and can become a huge stress and long lasting obsession for left-handed people. Physically it is uncomfortable at best and painful at worse, and mentally it can be quite confusing – when I was learning to write I found it easier and more natural to write backwards; you’d need a mirror to read my first schoolbook!

There are several “left-handed” pens and pens designed to help with handwriting out there, and after a while finding the right (lol) pens becomes a bit of an obsession for many left-handers. I think most have tried specifically left handed pens (the infamous “banana pen” comes to mind) however these can be pricey and not always practical. In recent years I have resigned myself to normal biros, but my personal favourite “left-handed” pen is the Yoropen. It is designed so that the hand doesn’t cover the writing. Even if we’re not looking at “special” pens, you can bet that a left-handed person will try and deduct how long they’ll be able to write with a pen and how much they’ll smudge it before they use it.

If you see a left-handed person stooped over their paper, arm hooked over the top and little finger slowly getting drenched in ink, we’re probably not hiding it from you and probably aren’t that engrossed – we just don’t want to have to copy it up another 6 times before it’s legible.

Scissors

Scissors are another big classroom struggle for leftie children, and one that stays with us throughout our lives. Right handed scissors are incredibly difficult – we have to turn them upside down, posing a problem if the handles are moulded, and the leaving the blades in the wrong position. Not only does the paper tend to bunch and rip, we can’t see what we’re cutting. Of course we learn to manage, but this can again be painful. If you’re left-handed and still in school, don’t be afraid to ask for left-handed scissors, especially if it’s a long task; the cramps aren’t worth it!

Ring Binders

Again, this links to writing. When trying to write in one, the rings of the binder get directly in the way of the left arm. In order to write in the ringbinder, lefties would have to leave several inches, wasting the paper. Of course we could just take the paper out, but it sort of defeats the object of the ringbinder.

If you ever go stationery shopping with a left-handed person, be prepared to spend hours looking for left-handed scissors, good pens and hearing them moan about their love-hate relationship with ring binders.

Can Openers

Bane. Of. My. Life. There is something very embarrassing about a grown woman having to ask her baby brother to open tins for her.  I don’t really know the specifics as to why can openers are so difficult for lefties, although I imagine it’s the same as scissors in that we turn them upside down, rendering the blade less effective. Using a can opener in reverse often results in a blood covered, disgruntled leftie throwing cans at the wall. Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but I have suffered at the hands of a can of Heinz baked beans many a time!

Anything Left Handed

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This applies to both the statement and the online shop. It’s rare that we find things that are actually built with our hands and abilities in mind, so it’s kind of a big deal to us when we do. Left-handed vegetable peeler? Kitchenware goals. Anything Left Handed is an entire store dedicated to these things, what could be better?!

Okay, so obsessed may be an exaggeration, but all of these things are a lot more important to left-handed people than right-handed people. We have to adapt and learn to work with things that don’t want to work with us – it’s understandable that these struggles will become a main focus in our lives! I’m proud to be left-handed (if you couldn’t tell), and although we can’t always do the most basic things, I’d say we’re pretty great.

Are you left-handed? Did I miss anything out? Let me know your thoughts!

See you soon,

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Featured Image Credit: Left Handers Day

None of the companies/brands I’ve mentioned here are paying me, these are purely my personal opinions and experiences.

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Fandom Friday | The Problematic Fave

Problematic favourites – we all have them, whether they’re TV shows, musicians, characters or books. I think everyone has something or someone they love but feel reluctant to discuss or recommend. Personally I worry that if I mention liking something problematic I run the risk of appearing to agree with that thing entirely, when this simply isn’t the case.

The term “problematic fave” has become somewhat of a joke, but I feel like the topic is actually something that is worth discussing seriously. Is it possible to like something problematic without being problematic yourself? How?

Of course it’s possible to like something problematic while still trying to not be problematic yourself – if it wasn’t we would be very limited as to what we could actually like. I believe that the most important thing about liking something problematic is realising and understanding that that thing is problematic – if you’re asking this question you’re probably already there. You can enjoy something while still recognising the bad aspects. Watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s as much as you like, so long as you understand the problem with Mickey Rooney’s Mr Yunioshi.

An example of one of my problematic favourites is It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. This differs from examples such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s in that the characters are intended to be terrible people – they are offensive and non- PC, and often get their comeuppance. The show often gets incredibly close to the bone, and although I enjoy it there are often moments that are incredibly problematic. Yes, this is the point, but it makes it very difficult to explain the show to people who haven’t seen it without sounding like a horrible person. I think what the show does well when you do watch it, however, is having a character step back and acknowledge how problematic the gang’s antics are.

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Found here.

It’s important to remember as well that characters are just characters, and that they don’t reflect writers or audience’s opinions. On the same lines, it’s important to remember that you can separate art and the creator – you don’t have to like an artist/writer as a person to appreciate their work. Justin Bieber’s behaviour is often deplorable, but I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t sing along to Sorry if it comes on in a bar.

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Photo by Beth at GeekShot Photography, found on her blog.

Another example of one of my “problematic faves” is Isabella (Bunny) Bennett. Bunny is a member of Steam Powered Giraffe, a band who perform as steampunk robots. A while back she caused quite a stir online after making several jokes about eating disorders and self harm. It became important for the band to emphasise that their work isn’t directly connected to the people – fans don’t have to like them as people in order to like the music and surrounding art (Bunny and fellow band member Sam often sell prints and band merchandise that they have drawn themselves). Further still, you don’t have to agree with everything Bunny says/does to like her in general. I like Bunny and connect with her in many ways, but these jokes were shocking and not something I support at all. I find it important if “Saladgate” comes up to reiterate that I don’t agree with the joke at all, but that I still like the band and the people.

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I mean look at that costuming. Found on the Steam Powered Giraffe website.

While you don’t have to like a creator or even the whole piece of work, it’s incredibly important to recognise and address problems with them. We cannot ignore problematic aspects of film, music, literature etc, or this adds to the problem. We have to say “I like this, but I don’t condone [offensive aspect]”, in order to send a message to creators about what is and isn’t acceptable.

What are some of your “problematic faves”? How do you describe them to people?

See you soon,

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