Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 (technically SPOILER ALERT, but if you have read the book you won’t find anything surprising about what I am saying)
First of all, I should say I am what you might call a big Harry Potter fan, while I don’t think the books are perfect by any means, they have also been a huge part of my reading for the past 10 years. I am a part of the Harry Potter generation and therefore my viewpoint on the movie is definitely biased. That said, I really loved this film! Going into it I hadn’t heard really great reviews of the movie, many complained about the first part that dragged on and the repetition of the familiar tropes of Harry feeling bad about the people around him dying. So I didn’t entirely know what to think going into it and I had no idea how they were going to come to a satisfying conclusion half-way through the book. After seeing the movie, I have come to realization that those very things I was worried about going into the film, turned out to be some of my favorite things about the movie.
First, yes the first part of the movie does drag on for a while, but that is kind of the point. This is a huge turning point for Harry, Ron and Hermione, no longer are they under the protection of Hogwarts, with the routine and direction it provided. They are for the first time, really truly on their own and with a gigantic task ahead of them. No wonder they mope about for a while, unsure of what to do next and so scaried, they are after all still teenagers (and young ones at that). For the first time I felt like the movie actually gave time to the small quiet moments that helped capture the true heroism of the trio in keeping on going even when no hope or adults stand ready to save them. This also ties into the idea of the continual theme of Harry being a bit deadly to those around him, I think it was Ron who has this great line in the movie that points out that these people haven’t died FOR Harry or even because of him, they have died for the bigger cause and the bigger fight that Harry is just one part of. So yes, bad things continue to happen to Harry in this movie, but now in the context of a Voldermort in the flesh and in control of the Ministry of Magic, the fight has become much bigger than just a teenage boy with a scar on his forehead.
Second, I ended up loving the way they choose to end the movie [okay some of this might qualify as SPOILER ALERT], but ending with the heroic effort by Dobby the house elf to rescue his friend Harry Potter from the clutches of Bellatrix Lestrange. Dobby fulfills his mission, only to be killed by Bellatrix in a final knife throw and he dies in the arms of Harry. One of the most poignant parts of the book both for its eloquence (Harry honors his friend by burying him by hand) and important in that it gives Harry and his friend a chance to grieve many of the deaths they have already experienced by haven’t had time to remember. Choosing to end the first part of the movies this way seemed very fitting and I left the theater both satisfied and very excited about July 2011. All in all, this picture captures my review of the movie.
Baking a Cake
During our 6 hour baking fest yesterday, Becca and I were reminiscing about how much we used to bake together. We have known each other since we were 10, so that is around 17 years of friendship and a lot of baking! This was probably our most ambition project yet (at least together, Becca has conquered wedding cakes before!), but I thought it would be fun to bake a cake for our church’s thank you celebration today instead of just buying a half a sheet cake from Sams. So I found two of my tried and true favorites from over on Smitten Kitchen. While exhausting, it ended up being so much fun and both Becca and I felt that we work so well together, neither of us could have done it alone. There are lots of pictures of the process over here, but this is what the finished product looked like in all its homemade charm. Bonus to anyone who tries to guess how many lbs of butter went into the combined cake and frosting
My supervising librarian told me to make sure I documented my lessons, so this past friday when I got to run the library and teach 4 classes, the sub took pictures of me. As you can see I kept the kids in rapt attention with my fascinating lesson on the new and shiny online catalog I have to say I kind of love 6th graders, still interested enough that they can get pretty excited by the general concept of learning new things, still craving adult approval and encouragement, and capable of slightly higher orders of thinking than 1st graders. Overall both of my student teaching experiences have been only helped encourage me in pursuing a career in education.