Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 5 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 5, the Weasleys continue to be the absolute best and I am so glad that Harry is with them now. Let’s go!

I will continue to wax poetic in my love for the Weasley family. They are just the most wonderful thing, but I think my favorite thing about them is that, despite this being a fantasy story and the fact that they are indeed a magical family, they are just so . . . normal. Well-meaning parents who love their children, despite being angry or frustrated with them at times. Siblings who are very tight knit, but still get on each others nerves and play pranks. With one glaring exception (I’m looking at you, Percy), this is a group of people who will stick together no matter what and face whatever the world throws at them. I absolutely adore them.

But let’s get to the chapter at hand. Harry arrives at the Burrow and Fred asks about Dudley and the sweet, which Harry confirms that Dudley ate.

“Ton-Tongue Toffee,” said Fred brightly. “George and I invented them, and we’ve been looking for someone to test them on all summer . . .”

We also get to meet the eldest two Weasley brothers, Bill and Charlie. Charlie is the one who works with dragons in Romania who, if you remember, Ron had contacted to make arrangements for Hagrid’s baby dragon, Norbert, to be sent to. Bill, who is way cooler than Harry expected, works for Gringotts and, apparently, his main job is to search for treasure. He’s the one they went to visit in Egypt last summer.

Mr. Weasley finally arrives, after taking care of Dudley’s tongue, which had grown to four feet. He is not happy at all. The Dursleys were horrified and this type of thing makes Mr. Weasley’s job at the Ministry harder, undermining wizard-Muggle relations.

“We didn’t give it to him because he’s a Muggle!” said Fred indignantly.

“No, we gave it to him because he’s a great bullying git,” said George. “Isn’t he, Harry?”

This is actually an important distinction to make. As we learn in later books especially, there are plenty of wizards who flat out hate Muggles because they see them as inferior and would do things to bait them or mess with them (or worse). But that’s not why Fred and George did this to Dudley. Being Muggle had nothing to do with it.

I do think it’s funny that even though Mr. Weasley threatens to tell Mrs. Weasley about what they did, as soon as she walks into the room, he backs off. No one wants to face Molly Weasley’s temper. No one. And she is plenty angry. Enough that Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione (who has also arrived to go to the World Cup) feel the need to escape upstairs. They discuss that Fred and George have been doing more than just making explosions in their bedroom – they’ve been inventing things. Mrs. Weasley had found order forms for “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes” showing where they were hoping to sell their wares at school – “fake wands and trick sweets, loads of stuff.”

Mrs. Weasley wants them to go work for the Ministry, like a respectable wizard, but the twins want to open a joke shop instead. Honestly, I don’t understand why she doesn’t support them in this – they would obviously be brilliant at it and, depending on how well they rolled it out, they could make some serious money. Zonko’s always seems to do pretty well.

We also see Percy, who graduated from Hogwarts last year and is working for the Ministry. He is irritated because they are being noisy and he is working on something for his job. He is also feeling very high and mighty about it, since he obviously knows something that will be happening at Hogwarts, something very big. He also positively worships his new boss to the point of being completely annoying.

Also, the tiny owl that Sirius had given Ron has a name – Pigwidgeon. Pig, for short. A tiny owl named Pig.

They set up for dinner outside, since eleven people won’t fit in the house, and have a wonderful meal of Mrs. Weasley’s cooking. Another thing that I love about these books in general is how they portray women. Hermione is very ambitious, clearly, and wants to have a career somewhere in the wizarding world. In the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I know some people don’t want to take as canon, but it has JKR’s seal of approval, and that’s good enough for me), Hermione actually becomes the Minister of Magic. She is, in many ways, the polar opposite of Mrs. Weasley, who is content to stay at home and take care of her house and family. And you know what? Both of these are portrayed as respectable and honorable in this series. These books don’t try to pigeonhole girls and women into a certain set of roles. They can do anything. It’s really amazing.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

During dinner, they discuss many things about the upcoming Quidditch World Cup, in particular Percy’s distain for the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman. Ludo Bagman was cut from the movies, and I’m still a little sad about it, but we’ll talk more about him once we actually meet the man. Ludo is a bit disorganized all over the place, which offends Percy to no end. A witch who works in Bagman’s department has been missing for over a month and Bagman hasn’t done anything about it. The witch in question? Bertha Jorkins. You might remember her from the first chapter. We know that she is dead, but no one else does at this point. It’s still a mystery.

During all the commotion at dinner, Ron asks Harry if he had heard from Sirius, which Harry confirms that he has, twice, and Sirius seems to be doing fine so far.

They get ready to go to bed since they have to be up very early to leave in the morning. Mrs. Weasley plans on buying everyone’s school supplies since the last World Cup lasted for five days, and they may not have time to go shopping before school starts if that happens again. Harry thinks that would be amazing and hopes that it happens again.

“well, I certainly don’t,” said Percy sanctimoniously. “I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.”

“Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.

“That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!”

“It was,” Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. “We sent it.”

Oh, Fred. It’s times like this that I wonder if these sorts of pranks on Percy, who always seems to get dunked on, are what helped him turn his back on his family in later books when things got rough. At the Ministry, he found acceptance. In his family, he seems to be the odd person out constantly. Still doesn’t make it right, but it makes it make sense. Oh, well.

See you next time for chapter 6!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 4 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 4, the Weasleys come to pick up Harry and chaos ensues. Let’s go!

I adore the Weasleys so much. They are my all-time favorite fictional family. No one else even comes close. They are the absolute best.

Harry is all packed up and ready to go. He had told the Dursleys when the Weasleys were coming, and things are pretty tense right now. Uncle Vernon wants to know what type of car they drive (since he’s the type who judges people by how expensive their car is) and Harry doesn’t know. Their last car lives in the Forbidden Forest now, so who knows if they’ve gotten another one. Actually, Harry has no idea how they are coming, and the fact that he can’t tell Vernon that makes Vernon all the more uptight.

I love when the Dursleys are scared. Does that make me a bad person? I just think that they deserve to be as uncomfortable as possible.

Also, Dudley is beyond nervous and actually terrified. He remembers his last encounter with a wizard ended with a pig tail sticking out of his rear end, which then had to be surgically removed. Oh, Hagrid. So yeah, Dudley is spending this entire day with his hands on his behind to protect it.

The time for the Weasleys arrival finally comes . . . and goes. They are late, which really ticks Vernon off. He and Petunia keep looking out the window for a car to pull up when suddenly, there is a large sound coming from the fireplace. The boarded-up fireplace.

“Ouch! Fred, no — go back, go back, there’s been some kind of mistake — tell George not to — OUCH! George, no, there’s no room, go back quickly and tell Ron –”

“Maybe Harry can hear us, Dad — maybe he’ll be able to let us out –”

There was a loud hammering of fists on the boards behind the electric fire.

“Harry? Harry, can you hear us?”

The Weasleys have tried to travel by Floo powder into a fireplace that is boarded up and has an electric fire. And now they are stuck. Harry explains all this to them (Mr. Weasley is very excited to see an electric fire — it has a plug!) and Mr. Weasley has to basically blast them out of the wall. The Dursleys are not amused and, in fact, think that the Weasleys are absolutely crazy. Mr. Weasley, bless him, tries to speak kindly to Dudley, who just whimpers in fright. I think Mr. Weasley probably thinks the Dursleys are just as bizarre as they do of him.

The twins are here, though, and that means there is always time for a prank. As Fred is helping to carry Harry’s trunk, he “accidentally” spills his pocketful of candy. He scoops them all up, but “accidentally” misses one that Dudley, starved from his diet, immediately finds and scarfs down. It is never a good idea to eat something that Fred and George provide. NEVER EVER!

Dudley was no longer standing behind his parents. He was kneeling beside the coffee table, and he was gagging and sputtering on a foot-long, purple, slimy thing that was protruding from his mouth. One bewildered second later, Harry realized that the foot-long thing was Dudley’s tongue — and that a brightly colored toffee wrapper lay on the floor before him.

Vernon and Petunia panic, trying to pull the weird thing out of Dudley’s mouth, which since it’s his tongue, doesn’t work very well. Mr. Weasley tries to help, saying he can fix it, but Vernon doesn’t want any help at this point. He throws a china figure at Mr. Weasley’s head, and Mr. Weasley tells Harry to leave so he can fix everything. And so Harry leaves and heads to the Burrow, ready to spend the rest of his summer with the Weasleys.

See you next time for Chapter 5!

Books I've Read

Book Review: The Wrythe and the Reckoning by Yvonthia Leland

The Wrythe and the ReckoningTitle: The Wrythe and the Reckoning

Author: Yvonthia Leland

Genre: YA, I guess?

Series: none

Edition: ARC from NetGalley

Blurb: The Wrythe and the Reckoning is an avant-garde nostalgic story that will have you not only falling in love with the characters, but you’ll also gain an understanding of their individual perspectives on life. This fantasy tale is sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages, from teens to older adults.

In the mid-1800s, Lina and her family move from their small New Hampshire village to an industrial city in Massachusetts. During this time, it is said that a bizarre, malevolent human-like monster is lurking about in the forests of the New England territory. In addition, Lina is an independent thinker. She’s determined to make something of herself and to live her life the way that she wants to. Lina must face and overcome the difficult challenges surrounding her society in order to live her ideal life, all while avoiding being murdered by the so-called human-monster. ‘The Wrythe and the Reckoning’ is an epic urban fantasy tale of love, courage, bravery, freedom, and friendship.

If you’re looking for a story that’s simply about romance or a horrific event, this isn’t the story for you. The Wrythe and the Reckoning is an intricately woven tale of a teenage girl’s life experience as she grows into a woman and continuing afterwards. Not only is this story about her life, it’s also about the lives of those close to her and the society in which she lives.

Intriguingly complex and yet relatable, The Wrythe and the Reckoning is a thought-provoking and intellectual story of fantasy, mystery, adventure, and romance.

Review: Y’all, this is the first time in a while that a book has made me so confused. It’s also been a while since I was close to straight up not finishing a book. If I didn’t feel obligated by NetGalley to do it, I probably would have given up on this book.

The first thing you notice with this book is it’s voice. The tone is very old fashioned, reminding me of some of the late 19th/early 20th prose I studied for my English degree in college, except . . . way too simple. It is overly plodding, giving every detail. This book badly needed some edition. There were too many pages where nothing really happened. At all. It could have easily been a short story instead of a novel.

The pacing is also just strange. The first few chapters were reeeeaally long, and then they got really short. And there didn’t seem like a point to it. Also, I should point out, that the ARC is 20 chapters long (with chapter 2 broken into two parts for some reason) and it is incomplete. There is a note from the author basically saying to check out the rest of the book once it’s published.

So let’s talk a bit about the story. The main character is Lina, a young girl who is determined to be independent. Which basically means she doesn’t want to get married, which is unusual for her time period. This doesn’t stop several men from being smitten with her, despite everyone else describing her as not particularly attractive and very difficult because of her modern views. She attends abolitionist meetings and volunteers for the suffrage movement, but in a very bland way. All of the characters were very bland and they all had very average lives that were very dull at times to read about.

Now let’s talk about the “monster,” the thing that is really supposed to get this story hopping. There are a handful of hints about it in the book, none of which make it sound too serious. Maybe there is a murderer loose, but that’s it. Any hints of it being a “monster” are brushed off by EVERYONE as just superstition. But we the reading, through our point-of-view character Lina, don’t actually experience the monster until chapter 18. Of a 20 chapter ARC. That should have happened much, much sooner, but instead we got a lot of day-to-day details that don’t really go anywhere and, are frankly, quite boring.

Another weird thing: this book and this author have no information on GoodReads at all. The blurb above was taken from the NetGalley page.

I really hate to give bad reviews, only because I know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into writing a novel. But I also have to be honest, and honestly, I did not enjoy this much at all.

GoodReads Rating: 2 stars

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 3 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 3, Harry has a great day at the Dursleys’ house! Let’s go!

It’s not every day that Harry has good experiences with his relatives, but this chapter is just too funny. It starts off in the morning, with Aunt Petunia giving everyone a quarter of a grapefruit for breakfast. See, it turns out that Dudley is on a diet because his school no longer sells uniforms that fit him. And nobody is happy about it. Except maybe Harry, who immediately wrote to his friends once the diet was instituted and received lots of care packages, including four birthday cakes. Take that, Dudley!

They are interrupted by a knock at the door, which Vernon answers and comes back not happy. They received a letter from Molly Weasley. Hi, Molly Weasley! She is writing to invite Harry to come stay with them to go see the Quidditch World Cup. The thing is, she’s never sent a letter the Muggle way and it may have raised some eyebrows at the post office.

He held up the envelope in which Mrs. Weasley’s letter had come, and Harry had to fight down a laugh. Every bit of it was covered in stamps except for a square inch on the front, into which Mrs. Weasley had squeezed the Dursleys’ address in minute writing.

I love her so much. Just think of the Dursleys, with how they worry so much about what people think about them, having to talk to the mailman about why someone would deliver this to them! It’s so funny!

Harry has learned to be a bit manipulative with Vernon, and I have to say, I am a fan. Vernon doesn’t want to say yes to something that will make Harry happy, so Harry just let’s slip that he is finishing a letter to his godfather, who might think something is wrong if he doesn’t hear from his godson.

He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon’s thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius would think Harry was being mistreated. If he told Harry he couldn’t go to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry would write and tell Sirius, who would know Harry was being mistreated. There was only one thing for Uncle Vernon to do. Harry could see the conclusion forming in his uncle’s mind as though the great mustached face were transparent.

Remember, the Dursleys think that Harry’s godfather is an escaped murderer (as does the rest of the Wizarding World). The last thing they want is for someone like that to come snooping around their house. So Vernon gives in, just as long as the Weasleys come and pick Harry up.

Harry runs back up to his room, where he sees a tiny owl waiting for him with a note from Ron letting Harry know that his dad was able to get the tickets for the World Cup. They will come pick Harry up on Sunday, whether the Dursleys like it or not. Harry writes back that he is good to go, finishes up his letter to Sirius, and enjoys a nice piece of birthday cake.

It’s always nice when Harry gets to be happy. 🙂

See you next time for Chapter 4!

 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 4/3/19

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

This week, if you haven’t seen it yet, I started reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling for my Chapter-A-Long series. Looking forward to continuing this challenge to myself. Also still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, book #5 in the Throne of Glass series. I’ve slowed down with this one again, but hope to pick back up on it in the next few weeks.

What did you recently finish reading?

Not quite finished, but I’m listing it here anyway, because I will probably finish it in the next hour or so: The Wrythe and the Reckoning by Yvonthia Leland. To be honest, I am only finishing this out of loyalty to NetGalley, because this one is hard. Review will be up tomorrow and I will go into more detail, but I am very glad this one is over.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Tomorrow, I will be starting The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters, another NetGalley ARC. I’m hoping this one will be better than The Wrythe and the Reckoning has been. I’ve heard good things about it and the author seems really nice – she responded to me on Twitter, which was cool. I love when authors can interact with their fans! After finishing Empire of Storms, I plan on jumping back into Terre D’Ange and reading Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, the last book in the Phédre Trilogy.

That sums up my current reading week. Are you reading anything good? If so, please share your WWW in comments!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 2 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 2, Harry wonders what to do about his scar hurting and remembers that he has someone he can go to with his concerns. Let’s go!

Moving on directly from the previous chapter, Harry has woken up from a very vivid nightmare about Wormtail and Voldemort, his scar burning. He doesn’t know why his scar hurts so badly, but as he tries to remember his dream (an old man was murdered, Voldemort and Wormtail discussed how they were planning on killing Harry), he gets more and more worried.

No, the thing that was bothering Harry was that the last time his scar had hurt him, it had been because Voldemort had been close by . . . But Voldemort couldn’t be here, now . . . The idea of Voldemort lurking in Privet Drive was absurd, impossible . . .

First off, totally not impossible. Voldemort could and would totally do that. Secondly, this is not an absurd fear, especially since it happened before. He listens closely, but all he can hear is the sounds of the Dursleys sleeping in the rooms nearby. Nothing else.

He wonders what to do, knowing that the Dursleys would be next to useless with this sort of thing. He thinks of what his friends might say. Hermione would go straight to Professor Dumbledore, and then try and consult a book to see if she could find an answer, because of course she would. That’s what Hermione does. The thing is, Harry has no idea where Dumbledore spends his summers, even though he’s pretty sure that Hedwig would still be able to deliver a letter to him. And then there’s Ron. Ron would probably ask his dad, who works for the Ministry, but Harry feels funny about complaining about this to them.

Harry kneaded his forehead with his knuckles. What he really wanted (and it felt almost shameful to admit it to himself) was someone like — someone like a parent: an adult wizard whose advice he could ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him, who had had experience with Dark Magic . . .

And then the solution came to him. It was so simple, and so obvious, that he couldn’t believe it had taken so long — Sirius.

This quote makes me feel both very sad, that Harry feels ashamed of needing a parent, and very happy, that Harry finally has someone in his life to fill this role.

We don’t know for sure where Sirius is at this point, but it’s safer that way. He is still writing to Harry from time to time, the letters delivered by large tropical birds instead of owls. Sirius is partying in the Caribbean maybe! I love the little bit in here about how Hedwig was offended by the bright colored birds. I also love that Harry is still using his murder-suspect-escaped-convict godfather as a threat to keep the Dursleys in line.

So Harry writes a letter, trying to keep things nonchalant. He mentions that Dudley is on a diet, which he hates, and got so mad that he threw his PlayStation out the window. Then he says this:

A weird thing happened this morning, though. My scar hurt again. Last time that happened it was because Voldemort was at Hogwarts. But I don’t reckon he can be anywhere near me now, can he? Do you know if curse scars sometimes hurt years afterward?

Excellently done. Acknowledges that this might be slightly serious, but shows that he isn’t completely freaking out about it. Just the right level of concern. Good job, Harry! Now you can head down to breakfast and we can head to the next chapter.

See you next time for Chapter 3!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday – 4/2/19

tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Erawan crooned, “My hunters are already tracking them. And I am going to hurt them, Aelin Galathynius. I am going to hone them into my most loyal generals. Starting with your Fae Prince –”

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Felt like giving you a taste of one of the villains today! And he’s a mean one!

No Top Ten Tuesday today, as I am a bit short on time, but there will be another Chapter-A-Long later this evening. If you have any teasers for today, I’d love to hear them! Please leave them in comments!