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Haven’t all Potter fans always craved to know just a bit more about Harry’s world? I am sure we must have all wondered if there are more kinds of dragons other than the four mentioned in Goblet of Fire. Or are pixies really all that nasty as described in Chamber of Secrets? Or what exactly are grindylows and kappas?

Taken from en.wikipedia.org

If these and more such questions pester your Potter obsessed brains every time you read the Potter books,then you will find, ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them‘ an excellent guide to answer those very questions.

Written by J.K. Rowling for the charity organization, Comic Relief, ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ is a wonderful companion to the 7 Potter books. The book is a treasure trove for all Potter fans.

It gives wonderful, wholesome descriptions of all the numerous magical beasts which we either encounter in the books, or are mentioned in passing and all the other ones that are not but are an integral part of the Potter world. This book is an actual textbook for the subject ‘Care Of Magical Creatures’ in Hogwarts which is mentioned quite often in the book series. So it is actually written by Rowling but the author of that book in Potter’s world is Newt Scamander which is what we, the Muggles, are led to believe. Moreover, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them‘ is actually a reproduction of Harry’s own copy complete with torn covers and also the doodles and scribbles that it was subjected to by him and Ron and Hermione when it was in his possession. Both increase the authenticity that it belonged to Harry and make all Potter fans feel as if they are intimately part of Harry’s world once again. The latter are immensely funny when the reader is privy to their context and increases the fun of perusing this Potter companion.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them‘ throws light,in a dictionary style,on a myriad number of magical beasts, illustrating their characteristics, peculiarities, uses, habitat, dangers and much more. The book also illustrates Rowling’s witty imagination(not that we didn’t know of it already!). It is written in a (obviously) factual manner. This is balanced by the funny scribbles that it is peppered with which saves it from being completely drab and boring. It is an interesting volume with loads of information. Its like a study lesson in Harry’ world (the effect is expected as it is actually supposed to be a textbook). So all the information may not help you pass your Muggle exam but it sure will increase your knowledge of the wizarding world.

An excellent book, a must read for all Potter fans who are sure to find something to laugh about along with many nuggets of information. Go, buy it and help in a good cause at the same time.

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Are you tired of watching the same,old,boring, cheesy, Bollywood or Hollywood romantic comedies or chick flicks? Do you absolutely scorn those ridiculous lovey-dovey songs that do nothing to take the plot forward? Or scoff at the, lets face it, stupidity of such films?

Then, Shakespeare comes to your rescue! Now the last thing most people would want is to read the Bard’s plays rather than watch those crappy chick flicks. You agree, don’t you? However, most of the plots of these contemporary rom coms have been inspired by his plays or have elements from many of them. The difference lies in the fact that the plays are far more intricately written than the soppy,mawkish rubbish that film industries churn out regularly.

Hence one simple Shakespeare play that is sure to lighten the scorn and fatigue created by scores of the more or less similar roms coms is the famous, hilarious, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.‘ You may have read a summary or watched the film but nothing can beat watching/perusing the actual play with its funny twists and turns, ample confusion and blunders, modicum of magic and loads of love to entertain you thoroughly.

Taken from ebookee.org

Now comes the plot which is rather complicated but I’ll try my best to explain. There are essentially three worlds described in the play-the world of Athenian lovers, the world of the fairies and the world of the Athenian workers. The play starts off in Athens where the Duke Theseus is waiting for his wedding day anxiously. He is to wed Hippolyta who is an Amazonian queen. To his court comes Egeus followed by her daughter, Hermia and two young men, Demetrius and Lysander. Egeus complains to Theseus about Hermia’s wish to marry Lysander which is contradictory to his own desire that Hermia must marry Demetrius instead. Theseus supports Egeus and believes that Hermia must do as her father wishes as that is the law of Athens,disobedience to which will result in death. Seeing that Hermia and Lysander don’t stand a chance against the duke’s or the former’s father, the young couple decide to run away in the forest. Hermia tells of this plan to Helena, her friend who likes Demetrius blindly but the feeling is not mutual. Helena tells Demetrius about Hermia’s plans and so he too goes in the forest in search of them and Helena follows Demetrius. The forest is the realm of the fairies and the King and Queen of the fairy worlds are Oberon and Titania respectively. This royal couple has been quarreling over an Indian boy who Titania has adopted. Oberon wants the boy for himself but Titania refuses to part with him. Meanwhile, when Helena follows Demetrius in the forest, Oberon sees them and hears their conversation. Demetrius is scorning Helena but she is adamant in her love.(One point to note is that the Athenians cannot see the fairies). Oberon summons Puck, an evil cum good spirit who is Oberon’s servant as well, and tells him to get the flower whose love juice when sprinkled on the eyes of a person on waking up falls in love with the first person who he/she sees. The Fairy King wants Puck to do that with Titania and tells him to sprinkle on an Athenian man(he does not specify whom as he has not seen Lysander yet) as well. Puck successfully does his first task. However the latter is messed up-instead of putting it on Demetrius,Puck puts it on Lysander and the first person he sees is Helena (One can imagine all must have broken loose in the forest because of this confusion). Oberon wants Titania to fall in love with some beast or an ugly being. Puck sees a bunch of workers rehearsing for a play which they want to perform at Theseus’ wedding. He transforms a worker’s, Nick Bottom’s, head into an ass and Titania sees this fellow first on waking up. This along with Puck’s mistake lead to comical consequences that have slight dark undertones and it is through these misunderstandings that the Athenian lovers find their love and Oberon is able to get back Titania’s affections and her Indian boy. The play happily ends with the marriage of the Duke to Hippolyta.

You seriously did not expect it to end any other way, did you?

Despite its predictable ending, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘ provides a wonderful take on the notions and idea of love, provides a glimpse into Shakespeare’s mastery of weaving the different strands of the three plots into one fitting conclusion, proffers a peek into certain Elizabethan conventions of life, theater, patriarchy etc.

Now this is only a very short synopsis of a marvellous romantic comedy play that is extremely fun and merry to read. It does not and cannot encompass the play’s beauty,comedy and complexity wholly. There are so many layers to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘ that one is perplexed whether Shakespeare wrote it only for mere entertainment or for other instructional purposes as well. It may not be one of his best plays but still remains a popular one that is sure to make anyone laugh. And if the Shakespearean language daunts you, don’t fret, it isn’t that difficult. Just try reading it aloud, going with the flow of the verse, comprehension will come to you eventually (Plus the notes and the annotations help a lot). And if you can, go watch its performance which will further deepen your understanding of the play and perhaps kindle a love for Shakespeare forever freeing you from the tedious rom coms of today!

Yup you guessed it! The title says it all, doesn’t it? What else could I be pottering around for except for Harry Potter??? Well not exactly among the 7 Rowling books but among the Potter fan fiction. And it is quite fun to read all these stories to pass you time. Most of what I read were short stories but I came across this novel on Goodreads website by Norman Lippert titled, ‘James Potter and The Hall of Elders’ Crossing.’ At first I thought its about Harry’s dad, James but no, its about his son, James’ first year in Hogwarts.

Firstly, anyone can read the book in PDF format on the following website: http://www.speedbumpstudios.com/chapters/JPHEC.pdf

The author obviously makes no money out of this but he himself has written a book called, ‘The Flyover Country’ and has also written books of James’ 2nd and 3rd years at Hogwarts, although I haven’t read them as yet.

Taken from elderscrossing.com

The plot concerns James going into the first year of Hogwarts. Initially he is nervous, in general because it is his first year and in particular that he is great Harry Potter’s son and has to live up to that legend. Eventually he does make friends and relaxes a little. The novel touches upon other students as well and the mischief they do. But of course, being Harry’s son, adventure can’t be far behind right? This year at Hogwarts representatives from Alma Aleron and United States Department of Magical Administration are to arrive at Hogwarts. Also, a movement called the ‘Progressive Element’ is spreading among the students that questions the recent history of the whole Battle with Voldemort and the fact that the existence of the magical community has to be kept a secret from the Muggle world. James and his two friends, Ralph and Zane, an American whose father works in England, discover a sinister plot to bring back the most dangerous wizard, Merlin, to this time. And these three are determined and confident to foil this plan. Well, the book is more exciting than it sounds here. It really is.

Being a Harry Potter fan, it was good to read this particular book. ‘James Potter and The Hall of EldersCrossing‘¬† is definitely not fantastic yet it gives a plausible imaginative story about Harry’s first kid. Reading the novel will stimulate any Potter fan as it takes the reader back to the school, gives tidbits of Harry and gang’s future and everything. Its quite fun to plunge back into that world again and is definitely enjoyable. So ok, Lippert is not a Rowling but his writing is decent, simple and comprehensible and retains the magic of the Potter world. The dash of the American element is well blended in in the book. Certain other imaginative bits like Snape’s portrait and Diggory’s ghost add a touch of nostalgia. The friendship between different houses, James need to become like his father and the slight sketches of the old characters like Harry in the role of the Head of Auror Department, Neville as the Herbology professor and several such more elements show Lippert’s desire to be different while still capturing the charm of the Harry Potter books. In fact, all sort of fan fiction does require neccesarily to hold on to the original books to make a connection with the reader. I remember feeling very happy seeing all the old characters in a new avatar.

However,there were some odd discrepancies which haven’t been explained such as James having subjects like Muggle Studies in his first year itself(which in Rowling’s case is supposed to be studied in the third year) or that different year students are attending the same lecture or that Harry gifting James’ best friend the Potions book that belonged to Snape(Harry couldn’t have got the book back because he left it in the room of requirement and also the things in that room burnt down because of the Fiendfyre set by Crabbe in the 7th book) etc. The whole idea of magic as a science wasn’t too appealing either but those classes of Technomancy were good nonetheless. It just showed(along with the American flavour) that Lippert has the capability to imagine quirky bits while mingling the original ideas from JK Rowling.

In all, its worth a read for sure. Its good to be back in Potter world and ‘James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing‘ just helps you take the plunge into it! Go for it!

‘The Tales Of Beedle The Bard’ by J.K Rowling is a short novel of 105 pages. It has 5 tales of fantasy that make for an interesting read and a great companion to Harry Potter series.

Taken from bargainbooks4kids.com

The tales in the book are similar in terms of structure to the Aesop’s fables and Jataka tales i.e. as well as being entertaining and childish, they also give a message. In other words, they are didactic. After each tale, a note by Albus Dumbledore, the former headmaster of Hogwarts school, is written which furthers our understanding of the tale. It provides a unique glimpse into¬† Harry Potter’s world and its history. The tales are excellent anecdotes that prove once again J.K. Rowling’s imagination is superior and simply marvellous. Her ability to weave a tale and connect it with the main Harry Potter series is incomparable.

‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’ is a fast read, a book that can be read in an hour or so. Its a bit expensive for a book so thin but considering that the royalties will go to charity, Children’s High Level Group(CHLG), it seems justified to buy the book.

When one reads ‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’, one feels like one is reading in Hogwarts library and has come upon a quaint treasure of tales of olden times. Its a definite must rad for all Harry Potter fans who are curious to know more about Harry’s magic world, that goes beyond the seven books. It is a great collection to owe, a real prize.

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