Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Y’all, I just went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them yesternight, and it delighted me so much that I have to tell you all about it.

This is far and away my favorite Potterverse movie.  I admit that’s chiefly due to the fact that the other 8 have the book-depiction-versus-movie-depiction conflict; the Tale of the Three Brothers might be the only part that I love without any qualms whatsoever because it’s done with such incredible artistry, and in such a fantastic storybook style.  So your mileage may vary.  Since I’d avoided the trailers and pre-film hype, it’s fair to say that I went in with no expectations whatsoever.

…okay, that is not quite true.  Anyone who has talked to me about Harry Potter at length knows that I find the similarities of Dementors and Lethifolds – thin black shroud creatures, one a soul-eater and one a body-swallower, both repelled by the Patronus charm – to be fascinating.  I also find the concept of the Nundu (breather of plague, destroyer of villages) to be utterly terrifying.  You could make feature-length movies about all three.

This movie had neither Lethifolds nor Nundu, which would be more disappointing if it hadn’t amused me so much.  I was probably That Obnoxious Person Who Laughs Too Loud to everyone else in the theater, which leaves me wondering if headcolds or Sudafed render the world more hilarious.  

It’s tricky to say why I laughed so much without spoiling it.  The hijinx of the animals themselves?  The differences between wizard and no-maj (ie, Muggle)?  The dance between the sexes?  All that, and more.

fantastic-beasts-niffler

The niffler deserves every bit of screentime he’s got.

First off, there are the characters.  Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander is criminally adorable: so winsome and earnest about caring for magical creatures, so cool-headed in the face of dangerous Erumpents or wizards or Things That Should Not Be, so talented at cleanup in the aftermath.  Cedric Diggory has nothing on this Hufflepuff.   

(…Can I say that?  I know, I know, nil nisi bonum mortuis, but really.)eddie redmayne newt.jpg

Katherine Waterston as (Porpen)Tina Goldstein is the Hermione of this story, sort of; she also does the Harryish “oh hullo, Person in Position of Authority; I came to tell you something which really was important but you seem to be doing something at least….three times bigger…” thing and getting into trouble.  She has her own share of earnest care, especially for [spoiler redacted].

FTB933_FBST_DTR4 1651.tif
Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein is a show-stealer, and at first I thought I’d hate her (a pretty, curly-haired Legilimens who flirts by putting clothes on?  Mary Sue alert, y’allll), but then she went and made cocoa, helped drive the metaphorical getaway car, and cunningly disguised said getaway car with “Oh, this?  It’s…ladies’ things, d’you want to see?” which made me guffaw.  My favorite sort of pretty girl is the one who keeps her composure and disguises her competence when necessary.

Dan Fogler, who plays no-maj Jacob Kowalski, is a brilliant foil to Newt Scamander’s understated “ah yes, recapturing magical creatures, how quotidian” bit.  He has all of the childlike wonder, the Muggle’s confusion, the fellow needing just a bit more exposition to grasp the unbelievable things he’s seeing, who then takes everything in stride with panache.

I’d say this movie is essentially lighthearted, though there’s the shadow of both wizard extremists (Grindelwald), Muggle fanatics (the New Salem Philanthropic Society and its witch-hunting goals), child abuse, and secrecy-obsessed Magical Congressmen all about it.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is kind of a misnomer.  Kind of, because the textbook is about where these creatures originate, rather than the hunt you have to go on if they escape from your magical suitcase.  But then, Fantastic Beasts and Where Not To Set Them Loose (Namely, New York, Because Of Course It Is) (btw, Magic Repression is the Literal Worst; Behold the Reasons Why) is just a tad unwieldy, so I can’t really blame them.

Further thoughts on magic repression, Undetectable Extension Charms, and magical America to come later, when they’re less likely to need a spoiler alert.  In the meantime: go see the movie!  It’s fantastic.

thunderbird.jpg

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Drinks in Remembrance: Alan Rickman

You’ve heard, I’m sure, of the sad fact that Alan Rickman died of cancer last week. 69 years on earth, and suddenly he is gone.

Colonel BrandonWhether you loved him best as Hans Gruber, Severus Snape, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Professor Lazarus, Metatron, Marvin the paranoid android, Judge Turpin, Colonel Brandon, or someone else entirely – solely himself, perhaps – I’m sure you, like me, will miss him.

So here’s a tribute.  Raise a glass (or several!) with me.

Severus Snape (modified from Backyard Bartender)Snape cocktail
1.5 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum (having only Myer’s, I used that)
.5 oz Fernet Branca
.5 oz falernum
dash Peychaud’s bitters (alas, I have no lavender bitters)
dash creme de violette
dash rose syrup

Nancy has a delightful explanation for her Snape concoction (which was the original reason I sought out Fernet Branca and falernum, to be honest).  Having no lavender bitters, I attempted to make up the difference with some other floral additions.  As she says: strong, dark, complex.

Half-Blood Prince cocktailHalf-Blood Prince
2 oz dill-infused gin
1.5 oz green ChartreusePotions Master cocktail
spritz of absinthe
.5 oz lime juice
dash chamomile bitters
Stir with ice and strain into an appropriate goblet.  This is my nod to the Potions Master and the head of Slytherin House: herbal, complicated, very green, full of venerable spirits.  It’s a lot like a Last Word (equal parts gin, Chartreuse, lime, and Maraschino), but sourer.

Severus Snape (alternate)
1.5 oz CynarCynar (Chee-NAR)
I wondered if perhaps there were a simpler approach to Snape.  This is one such attempt, applicable to Sorcerer’s Stone Snape: a straight shot of Cynar, which is a drinkable bitter made from artichokes (ie, instead of an intensity which requires but a few drops in a cocktail, it’s dilute enough to consume on its own).  It’s complex, vegetal, dark, and (of course) bitter.  An acquired taste, but when you love it, you really love it.  Harry Potter, of course, finds Cynar innately suspicious.  He would; he’s only 11, after all.

Random potion bonus:

7 bottles

Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.

Alexander Dane cocktail
Alexander Dane (as Dr. Lazarus)

1.5 oz cognac
.5 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
.5 oz blue curacao
.25 oz lemon juice

The thinking here was that Dane is Very Serious Business – “I played Richard III!” – not-quite-obscured by something brightly colored and mildly ridiculous.  Overall: shiny and enjoyable.

 


Colonel Brandon
Colonel Brandon cocktail
2 oz gin (I used Hendrick’s, but a London Dry would probably be better)
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz creme de cassis (blackberry liqueur)
.5 oz St-Germain
dash of plum bitters
I had the idea to make something rather British and proper, but also sweet enough to appeal to those moved chiefly by their sensibility.  It turned out to be a bit cloying, so throw in some sturdy Calvados or genever to bolster it: something befitting a man of action, one who needs an occupation lest he run mad.

Alan Rickman himself:
When my roommate and I made Tom Hiddleston cocktails, we found the most difficult one was Tom himself; not having met him, we could only work from a particular face he sometimes presented to the public.  The same difficulty attends Alan: by several Alan Rickmanaccounts I’ve read, he was everything kind, generous, funny, and generally delightful (but de mortuis, nil nisi bonum and all that).  So Thalia’s suggestion was to capture the unique quality of his striking voice by the use of something dark and deep.  The thing that came to mind was scotch.  If you’re a purist, sip it straight; if not, try a sort of modified toddy:

1 oz Laphroaig scotch
1/2 oz Drambuie
Fill teacup with hot water

It’s sweet enough not to be totally off-putting, but it is very very strong.  The smoky smell spread throughout my dining area and kitchen.

That seemed a bit overwhelming, so taking a cue from my friend Amanda, I tried to go the coffee route:

Alan Rickman (alternate)Alan Rickman tipple

1/2 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz Frangelico
1/2 barspoon (ie, 1/4 tsp or so) pimento dram (allspice liqueur)

Ideally this would have been mixed with coffee or espresso, to represent Alan’s liveliness and how engaging he was.  But it was quite late by that point, and prudence won out.  I hope to have a bit of a film festival before long, and see how a caffeinated version of this fits into it.

Alan, here’s to you.  We mourn your passing, but are glad you were there to depict Very Interesting People for a time.  You delighted us, and we will miss you.  Always.

Thoughtwash

Today, I’ve been pondering the Pensieve. One of J.K. Rowling’s inventions in the Potterverse, it is a bowl with various runes carved into it; magic allows one to draw silvery threads of thought out of one’s head and put them into this basin.

The purpose is twofold. The first is that when one’s head is too full of thoughts, some of them can be unloaded.  Imagine how useful: remove the thought when you need to stop replaying your worst memory in your head; when you need to focus on one task instead of a dozen others; when you can’t sleep for anxiety; when you have so many ideas to ponder that you cannot pick and follow a single train of thought to its terminus.

Typically, though, we only see it used (in the books, at least) to examine memories – an extremely plot-convenient film reel or record of events, made shareable through the magic of the Pensieve, and more exact than life.

Also: inadvertent (or not so much) spying on one's professors

Also: inadvertent (or not so much) spying on the past of one’s professors

Useful though it sounds, I don’t typically long for a Pensieve. The act of picking out which thoughts to remove, to line up, to examine – that is organization enough for my Muggle purposes.  I also imagine that removing the first two or three thoughts could render one unable to recall which other thoughts one had wanted to cull and examine.

On the other hand, there are thoughts I wish I could erase or delete or scrub away with brain bleach.  The objects we perceive are grist for the mill of our cogitation, memory, and imagination; and only that which has been milled by the internal senses can contribute to our intellect and understanding.  Thus the things I see, the stories or articles I read, the words or music I hear, all become a part of me.

I should take far greater care for what grist enters the mill of my mind.

And so it bears mentioning Pensieve cabinetthat while I hunted for a picture of this thoughtbowl – look how decorative! – other basins came to mind, specifically baptismal fonts. I don’t believe Rowling meant to allude to the sacrament of baptism with her cogitation-basin, but I reckon that the baptismal font is the best help available for management of our thoughts and our inner life.

Luther’s Large Catechism reads as follows:

These two parts, to be sunk under the water and drawn out again, signify the power and operation of Baptism, which is nothing else than putting to death the old Adam, and after that the resurrection of the new man, both of which must take place in us all our lives, so that a truly Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be practised without ceasing, that we ever keep purging away whatever is of the old Adam, and that that which belongs to the new man come forth.
But what is the old man? It is that which is born in us from Adam, angry, hateful, envious, unchaste, stingy, lazy, haughty, yea, unbelieving, infected with all vices, and having by nature nothing good in it.
Now, when we are come into the kingdom of Christ, these things must daily decrease, that the longer we live we become more gentle, more patient, more meek, and ever withdraw more and more from unbelief, avarice, hatred, envy, haughtiness.

What a litany.  Angry, hateful, envious, unchaste, stingy, lazy, haughty, unbelieving, infected with all vices.  True, true, true, true, and true.  I need much more than the removal of this or that unhealthy story, rude joke, vacuous song, or meaningless article.  I need nothing less than the washing of regeneration for all my thoughts, each and every day.

Baptism is not a one-time event.  It is the power of God to drown that Old Adam daily.  The thoughts put in to the baptismal font will either be redeemed, or they will be eradicated.

 

Why I Haven’t Read That Book Yet: Cliffhanger Avoidance

Why I Haven’t Read That Book Yet, Part 4: I Don’t Want Another Cliffhanger

I was among those who started reading the Harry Potter books at age 12 when only the first three books were out.  And so began the waiting: a few months until Goblet of Fire, three YEARS until Order of the Phoenix, another couple years for Half-Blood Prince, and two more until the finale in Deathly Hallows.  In retrospect, waiting was part of why I loved the books so much: no matter how many other books I read from 1999 to 2007, there was always this series I reread and revisited, learning it like the back of my hand, sewing it into my mental map of reality, into my language.

Albino Deer

All of which meant I used to get impatient with people who couldn’t remember, say, the difference between a Muggle and a Squib; that’s like confusing albinism with melanism, or worse.  But a year or so ago, I read all the Hunger Games books in 4 days and forgot most of the details in them after a few months.  Sure, I could paint a broad Melanistic Deerpicture of what bad stuff goes down, what affronts to human dignity take place, and perhaps which people die, but I couldn’t name all the tributes or victors or weird technological weaponry that gets used.  None of my Hunger Games discussions can turn on a detail like that.  I realized that my rereading in anticipation of the next installment of Harry Potter made me so much more literate in that universe, and rather insane invested in the storyline and characters.

All of which sounds like an argument for getting into a series, even if it isn’t finished, right?  After all, even if the larger story told in the series weren’t finished, each book has its own plot which can stand alone, more or less.  But the longer and more expansive the series gets, the more loaded each book, and the more pressure there is for the crisis to be reached and resolved, the loose ends to be tied and tucked neatly away.  Years of waiting for that can take their toll; just look at the Sherlock fandom.  Whatever good you get out of the wait, you also get…the wait.  Nor do you have any guarantee that your patience will be satisfied.  Christopher Tolkien and Brian Herbert attempted to finish book projects their fathers John and Frank had begun (reviews on the resulting books are mixed); Robert Jordan died before finishing Wheel of Time; and they are far from the only authors who died, leaving unfinished stories.  I’ve said that I won’t start reading A Song of Ice and Fire until George R. R. Martin finishes writing them, which at his current rate (extrapolated from the other publishing dates) might well be 2027.  Or it might not happen at all.  Some friends want to discuss the extant books and thus urge me to reconsider; I’ve been accumulating Martin’s books gradually in preparation, and I might crack the first two before buying more.

Unfinished series don’t always put me off; I’ve started the Dresden Files and found that there are enough of them to keep me busy for a while (I started reading them over a year ago and am only 9 books in).  And meanwhile, sometimes a series is complete, but I still hesitate to start it because I’m not sure which book comes first.  This is why I haven’t started the Earthsea Cycle yet (do you have to read “The Word of Unbinding” first?  Are there three books or six? Someone please share their wisdom).  It’s why I haven’t read Vale of the Vole, despite my friend’s insistence that I’d love it – it’s the tenth of a series I haven’t tracked down.  Then there are times when I gleefully read things out of order:  I read the Peter-and-Harriet books before I got to Peter’s bachelor days, and Prisoner of Azkaban before Chamber of Secrets.

What series(es) have torn you up with waiting?  Which are tearing at you right now?  Upon which cliffs do you hang?

Mein Kleine Liebster

Howdy, y’all!  David hath given the call, and here I am at last to give answer: the all-singing, all-dancing procrastinatrix of the blog.

It also turns out that Lady Blue Whimsy gave the call to the muses back in June, before David did.  Which, I suppose, means that we are ALL procrastinatrices.  Eek.  Right, so, ONWARD.

If you could choose one fictional creature to be your pet/animal companion, which would you choose and why?
Were I to follow in my sister muses’ stead and select a flying pet/animal companion, I’d probably opt for Strawberry Fledge, since he would revel in flight as much as I would.  Orrrr maybe Fawkes the Phoenix, because of his loyalty and the way he turns into a ball of flame to be reborn from the ashes.  Bonus: he can apparently carry 4 or 5 times as many people as Fledge with no problem!

Name a favorite moment of yours from any movie released in the 1980s and explain why.
Turns out I am bad at distinguishing 80s and early 90s movies without assistance.  Imagine that.  It also turns out that I’ve seen very few of the candidates: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Princess Bride, and Rain Man.

Although I agree with Melpomene that “As you wish” is always heartwarming, I think I get a more visceral thrill from the words “Drop.  your.  sword.”

If you had to be chased by some hostile fictional creature or character, through a fictional landscape, which ones would you choose and why?
First off, I would prefer not to have a chase scene through any location, natural or constructed, which could suffer irreparable (or insurance-raising) collateral damage, because I don’t want the threat of a calamacringe to hold me back when fleeing pursuers.  So that’s the palace of Asgard, Manhattan, Arch Rock, Miners Castle, any given library/monastery/cathedral/museum/etc. right out.

Also, because there has been a distinct lack of time lords taking my hand and telling me to run, I’m not quite at my speediest.  So I think I’d want the dinosaur from Meet the Robinsons to chase me through the Fire Swamp.  Imagine how charming that would be! I imagine he'd get stuck before long, but could perhaps chow down on an ROUS or two.

I imagine he’d get stuck before long, but could perhaps chow down on an ROUS or two.

 In-N-Out, Five Guys, or Chik-Fil-A?  Five Guys is the only one I’ve had and thus wins by default.  Or perhaps it would win by virtue of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which is bad for those of us who are indecisive, but brilliant for catering to the deeply-seated urge to press buttons.

Coke Freestyle

“How niche do you like your Coca-Cola?” “I like it with both zero sugar and vanilla flavor.” “It’s got all the things! It’s Coke with all the things!”

Name a song you really like from a musical genre you don’t generally like and explain why this one works for you.
I made the mistake of looking at Wikipedia’s list of popular music genres and panicked at the prospect of accidentally filing a song in the wrong category.

So.  It’s not really a genre, but: I generally dislike songs that repeat the same line over and over.*  It’s why I don’t care for some of the most popular pop or country songs out there.  But I recently heard, and have since enjoyed, this song by BNL:

It’s a cheery little bit of exhortation not to be a worrywart, and sometimes I need that.  The repetition contributes to the calming effect, and enables all the people that can’t keep up with rapid-fire lyrics to sing along on first listen.  It’s joined my rotation of Happy Songs for Sad Days.

*At some point, someone (possibly me) is going to call me out by citing a bunch of songs I love that do this, and I am going to be forced to hold up my hand and say “Bah!”

What is, in your opinion, the best portrayal(s) of the Elves/Fair Folk/Faeries in film? Multiple choices are permitted, but you must say why you think your choices are so good.
I plead the fifth on this.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Fair Folk portrayed in film in a way that captures the power, mischievousness, legalistic approach to oaths, or ethereal beauty that have marked them in story and song.

What was the last black-and-white film you saw, and what did you think of it?
After some amount of wracking my brains, I remembered that oh yeah!  Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing was black and white.  And I loved it.  Clark Gregg was a most delightful Leonato; I really enjoyed how the lines of the play remained unchanged while the scenery was brought up-to-date; and I cried over the second half of Act IV, Scene 1.

Much Ado Act 4

What did you think of the new trailer for The Desolation of Smaug?
All my impatience with the random elf-chick, the open barrels, and all the other incorrect things gets smothered by squealing over Martin, fangirling over Benedict’s voice, and mentally superimposing party shades on Thranduil because of the internet.

If you are unfamiliar with Party Dad Thranduil, you'd better hie yourself over to Gingerhaze.tumblr.com

If you are unfamiliar with Party Dad Thranduil, you’d better hie yourself over to Gingerhaze.tumblr.com

Further Nominations:
Like Urania, I think Melpomene did a good job tagging…but it would be a shame not to mention EmSpeaks, where my dear friend holds forth on stories, personality types, CS Lewis, history, and other things from life.  Go and behold her, for she is delightfully singular!

I Expect a Guardian!

Book Group Thing has started back up, and with
it, a stream of winding Harrius Potterdiscourse on more diverse topics than our ostensible subject, Lewis’s Cosmic Trilogy.  A tangent on book-thievery and book-reclaiming prompted me to bring up Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis, which is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Latin.

“How did the translator render the spells?” wondered my fellow bibliophiles.  “Some of them are already in Latin, yeah?  How do they get set apart as spells?”

“Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter too much to the characters, does it?” said I.  “Instead of thinking of the spell as Nox, they just say, Night!  Or [instead of Expecto Patronum,] I EXPECT A GUARDIAN!

Which prompted a bit more laughter than I expected, and more thought on the Patronus Charm than is typical.  Not everyone reading is a Potterite, so here’s a brief description: a Patronus is a sort of offensive shield, a silvery animal-shaped guardian which is the corporeal form of a happy memory or thought.  It launches itself at both Dementors and Lethifolds, holding them at bay if not driving them off.

There are several occasions where Harry or other characters conjure a Patronus; the spell’s use becomes ever more frequent in the later books, as war descends and Dementors appear more and more often.  I wanted to focus on three particular occasions of Patronus charm use:

– In the maze Harry goes through to reach the Goblet of Fire, he meets a Dementor-shaped Boggart.  Driving it away isn’t quite the same as driving away a real Dementor, but the mechanism is the same: he concentrates on getting out of the maze and celebrating with Ron and Hermione, something that hasn’t happened, but which he hopes for.

– During battle in Deathly Hallows, Harry attempts to conjure a Patronus but cannot summon up any happy thought whatsoever.  Luna prompts him with “We’re all still here; we’re still fighting.”  It costs him more effort to conjure than it ever has before, as the situation is so grim, but Harry’s Patronus still bursts forth to stand guard.

– Harry uses one to drive away a lot of Dementors near the end of Prisoner of Azkaban.  In his words, “I knew I could do it this time, because I’d already done it – does that make sense?”  In this event, he focuses not on a happy memory, nor a positive thought, but on his certainty that the Patronus will save him because it already has in his other-time’s experience.

Dementors as Rowling wrote them aren’t a foe we ever meet with; that said, it is Monday again, and we have our own battles to fight, be they e’er so humble.  Where a happy memory may not get us through, our hopes may; perseverance may; or faith may, the assurance about what we do not see.

There are occasions, even in the Muggle world, when our happiness is drained away, when we feel as though we will never be happy again.  What happy memory or hope is your guardian against Dementor-like feelings?

Thursday Dances: Books’ Theme Songs

So.  The order of the day is Books I’d Give a Theme Song To.  This presents me with some difficulty; typically, a book’s plot or themes are more complex than any given song, and as such the song can’t necessarily represent the entirety of the book thematically…at least, not many songs I know.  Have we mentioned I don’t deal well with instrumental music?  I really have difficulty with musical comprehension without lyrics to grab hold of.

One way to circumvent both obstacles is to find a wordladen song for a not-very-wordy book: Smitten by Rachel Hale.  One of my brothers, knowing my love for kittens, gave it to me.  It’s not very involved (kittens accompany a variety of proverbs and other aphorisms), but I know the perfect song for it.

Then again, perhaps I can think of a couple stories encapsulated in song.  It’s been a while since I’ve read The Great Gatsby, but given what I recall of “the Trimalchio of West Egg,” either Richard Cory or If I Had it All would be apt.  Or, while rereading Brideshead Revisited, it would be appropriate to listen to Running Against the Sunset, This is the Time, or the outro (the last 3 minutes) of Broken Line.

But generally it’s much easier to think of a character I’d give a theme song to – or even a soundtrack!

For example, since my adolescence involved a lot of Harry Potter and a good deal of Billy Joel, certain of his songs inevitably bring Sirius Black to mind.  The man who enchanted an ordinary motorbike to fly would most certainly sing You May Be Right to whatever witch caught his fancy.  On reaching the English/wizarding drinking age (whichever comes first), he would indubitably act like a Big Shot.  And when his friends demand to know why he did such stupid things, his defense would sound an awful lot like I Go to Extremes.

Then the bomb hits.  Then they are all betrayed; then James and Lily die at Voldemort’s hand, Harry is entrusted to his relatives, and Sirius is led off to Azkaban.  It’s a completely different situation from the Vietnam War, and yet the tone of Goodnight Saigon strikes me as fitting.  Going crazy.  People getting killed around you.  Holding on to the few you can trust, and leaving more of your childhood behind with every day.  And when Sirius escapes, attempts to clear his name, rejoins the Order, and goes down in battle against Bellatrix Lestrange, I think the playlist goes from An Innocent Man to Honesty to Only the Good Die Young.

But Sirius isn’t the only one with a playlist.  More often than not, Dave Matthews Band’s tunes make me think of Severus Snape.  Given his years of love and admiration for Lily Evans, I am certain he would Sleep to Dream Her.  When the Dark Lord killed her on account of Snape’s reports of The Prophecy, he mourned that Grace is Gone.  From that moment, he was once more Captain of his own will rather than Voldemort.  He goes on living, turning against one master to serve another by brewing potions, not mutiny.  This, in some wise, serves as his penance: the unending certainty that you Pay for What You Get, and his payment is to watch over the Chosen OneHalf-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows play out to the tune of Cry Freedom, I Did It, and What You Are.

The last of my somewhat lengthy list is not from Harry Potter and may be a bit of a cheat, I fear.  “Prelude/Angry Young Man” brings Mr. Stephen Mayfield to mind, though he is not always angry and certainly not boring.  But unfortunately for most of you, Mr. Stephen Mayfield hails from the pages of Radicals and Royalists, a book which my friend Emily is working to publish and which I have gotten to read by virtue of having edited it.  So read a bit of it here, if’n you like, and I shall let you know when you can learn more of this particular character!