Oxford

The City of Dreaming Spires

As a house that is obsessed with Tolkien and Harry Potter, Oxford seemed like the perfect location for a house trip. 3 trains and 2 hours later we were in the famous university city, on what we assume may have been graduation day, that or they have very fancy uniforms that include mortar boards.


University Oxford Botanic Gardens.

Founded in 1621, the oldest botanic garden in Britain,  this small but beautiful place was out first stop. It isn’t anywhere near as big as Kew Gardens but is just as beautiful. It has over 8,000 different plant species in it’s gardens and green houses. Lots of people were sitting and relaxing, while people were being punted down the river beside it.

It cost £5 to get into, but offers student discount.

I personally liked the giant lily pads and seeing the pineapple grow.


Bodleian Library

Oh my goodness! This was just incredible and a must see. You can either get an audio guide or a guided tour – I would definitively recommend a guided tour. It is still a working library, so you’re not aloud to take photos inside and you have to be very quiet. Our tour guide was really knowledgeable, telling us about the library, how the books were made and about the filming of the Harry Potter films – both the library and the Divinity School were used for the Library, Hospital wing and for the Yule ball practice dance. It was really interesting to hear about the history of the library and how a lot of it was destroyed due to Edward VI and the reformation. I would love to gush to you about all I learnt but that would completely spoil it for you!

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Bodleian Library Treasury

Opposite the library, inside the Weston Library, is the treasury. This is definitely worth a visit – and it’s free! It displays some amazing collections of work including handwritten letters by Kenneth Grahame and JRR Tolien. We all found the Morse Code letter from the Titanic incredibly interesting. It’s also got a 1217 engrossment of the Magna Carta. Simply incredible. We all walked out stunned.

J.R.R. Tolkien, A letter from Father Christmas


Bridge of Sighs

As this was right outside the Library, we had to all have a quick selfie!

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Eagle and Child Pub

How could we not go to Oxford and drink in the same pub as the Inklings? We hunted this narrow, dark pub as our last stop. A frequent meeting place of many famous writers, including Tolkien and C.S.Lewis, we were all eager to go here. I must admit, it was a lovely pub, but I was expecting more mention of the the writers. There’s a few memorabilia above the fire place, and a plaque as you come in, but not much more else. It was still a lovely place to eat – and very yummy.


There are lots of other lovely places in Oxford that we missed, but as it was only a quick day trip we definitely did a lot! Alex was thrilled as he was able to buy 3 classics from the Oxford University Press shop!


Have you been to Oxford before?

What did you enjoy most?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling

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I did it! All 7 books in 7 days! I never like endings, especially when it’s the ending of my favourite series but at least it’s such a huge part of our society that we can return time and time again.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

My Favourite Bits

Dudley and Harry shaking hands.

The seven Potters. Especially Fred thinking he’s still better looking and Fleur thinking she’s hideous.

Ron, Hermione and Harry all choosing a different Deathly Hallow that they would want for themselves.

Harry becoming Teddy’s Godfather.

How proud Neville’s Gran is of him.

 

Bits I Forgot About

The Weasleys dressing the Ghoul in the attack up as Ron and pretending he has spattergroit, a really contagious disease, in case anyone comes looking.

Harry putting a final hat on Dobby and Ron giving him his socks before they bury him.

Going up to the Ravenclaw tower and answering the riddle.

How the Bloody Baron became a ghost.

Professor Trelawney dropping crystal balls on people’s heads.

 

My Favourite Quotes

“…I suppose that’s why they went for Gran.”

“They what?” said Harry, Ron and Hermione together.

“Yeah,” said Neville, panting a little now, because the passage was climbing so steeply, “well, you can see their thinking. it has worked really well, kidnapping kids to force their relatives to behave, I s’pose it was only a matter of time before they did it the other way round. Thing is,” he face them, and Harry was astonished ot see that he was frinning, “they bit off a bit more than they could chew with Gran. Little old witch living alone, they probably thought they didn’t need to sent anyone particularly powerful. Anyway,” Neville laughed, “Dawlish is still in St Mungo’s and Gran’s on the run.”

 

The house-elves of Hogwarts swarmed into the Entrance Hall, screaming and waving carving knives and cleavers, and at their head, the locket of Regulus Black bouncing on his chest, was Kreacher, his bullfrog’s voice audible even above this din: “Fight! Fight for my master, defender of house-elves! Fight the Dark Lord, in the name of brave Regulus! Fight!”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K.Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)

My Favourite Bits

Dumbledore turning up at the Dursley’s house.

“I don’t mean to be rude -” he began, in a tone that threatened rudeness in every syllable.

“-yet, sadly, accidental rudness occurs alarmingly often,” Dumbledore finished the sentence gravely. “Best to say nothing at all, my dear man. Ah, and this must be Petunia.”

The Dursley’s reaction when they found out that Harry had been left a house and all of Sirus’ possessions.

Ginny’s hatred towards Phlegm Fleur.

Fred and George’s joke shop!

Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-WHo?

You SHOULD Be Worrying About

U-No-POO

the Constapation Sensation That’s Gripping the Nation!

 

Bits I Forgot About

The Minister’s for Magic meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister when they got appointed. I especially enjoyed the Muggle Prime Minister objecting to Kingsley Shacklebolt being removed from his office, not realising that he was a wizard.

Appartating lessons – lots of people spinning around and not going very far. Except Ernie MacMillan who is pirouetting into the hoop.

Kreacher working in the kitchens with Dobby, and the two of them spying on Malfoy.

Professor Trelawney telling Harry that she missess having him in her lessons because he was a wonderful Object.

Rosmerta being put under the Imperius Curse.

 

My Favourite Quotes

“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.

“Yes, sir

“There’s no need to call me “sir”, Professor.”

 

“I’m a teacher!” he roared at Harry. “A teacher , Potter! How dare yeh threaten ter break down my door!”

“I’m sorry, sir,” said Harry, emphasising the last word as he stowed his wand inside his robes.

Hagrid looked stunned.

“Since when have yeh called me “sir”?”

“Since when have you called me “Potter”?”

 

“Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it’s true that you’ve got a Hippogriff tattooed across your chest.”

Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them.

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her it’s a Hungarian Horntail,” said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. “Much more macho.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J.K.Rowling

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This was one of the first books I every pre-ordered. When this first came out, my parents had to take it out of my room at night after they caught me under the covers reading it with my hidden torch. Because of that, it makes me really sad when people say they hate this book. Once again, I think it’s because they are thinking of the film rather than the book. It is the largest of the series, so there are some wishy-washy bits but it’s defintiely where the series starts getting more intense and interesting.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)

My Favourite Bits

Sassy Harry – he’s fully of hormones so can be moody, is incredibly short tempered, but comes out with some wonderfully sassy remarks.

Tonks changing her appearance.

Professor McGonagall’s sassyness, especially towards Umbridge.

‘Hem, hem.’

‘I wonder,’ said Professor McGonagall in cold fury, turing on Professor Umbridge, ‘how you expect to gain an idea of my usual teaching methods if you continue to interupt me? You see, I do not generally permit people to talk when I am talking.’

Ron trying to do the silencing charm on a frog and poking it in the eye and making it croak louder.

Luna’s Lion hat in support of Gryffindor.

Malfoy’s catchy tune for Ron on the Quidditch pitch. What’s that? You fancy another sing along? Alright then…

Weasley cannot save a thing,
He cannot block a single ring,
That’s why Slytherins all sing:
Weasley is our King.
Weasley was born in a bin
He always lets the Quaffle in
Weasley will make sure we win
Weasley is our King.
Weasley is our King,
Weasley is our King,
He always lets the Quaffle in
Weasley is our King.

That they all bumped into Lockhart in St Mungo’s and kept offering them autographs, he wouldn’t take no for an answer – he hadn’t just learnt joined up hand writing for nothing!

The jinx that Hermione put on the DA member’s list.

Fred and George setting off fireworks and the swamp, and Peeves saluting them as they left.

The Order all rounding on Vernon at the end and threatening him.

 

Bits I Forgot About

Kingsley Shacklebolt being the person in charge of finding Sirius, and feeding the Ministry fake information about his whereabouts.

The twins testing their joke products on themselves, and first years, and ending up with massive pus filled boils on their groins. I especially loved everyone using them in Umbridge’s lessons at the same time when she became Headmistress.

Professor Grubbly-Plank taking over Care of Magical Creatures because Hagrid is still not back from doing something for Dumbledore.  After watching Fantastic Beasts, I especially love that they introduce Nifflers and that Lee keeps putting them into Umbridge’s office.

Hermione making coins where the date changes to match Harry’s coin for the DA meetings, and that she got the idea from the Death Eaters’ marks.

Dobby finding them the Room of Requirement for the DA meetings, and also being the one to warn them about Umbridge finding them.

 

My Favourite Quotes

‘Yes- yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under out window boy?’

‘Listening to the news,’ said Harry in a resigned voice.

His aunt and uncle exchanged looks of outrage.

‘Listening to the new? Again?’

‘Well, it changes every day, you see.’ said Harry.

 

‘…Harry I’ve left a letter telling your aunt and uncle not to worry -‘

‘They won’t’ said Harry.

‘-that you’re safe’

‘That’ll just depress them’

‘-and that you’ll see them next summer.’

‘Do I have to?’

 

‘Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?’

‘Yes,’ said Harry’

‘That you called her a liar?’

‘Yes’

‘That you told her that He Who Must Not Be Names is back?’

‘Yes.’

Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, watching harry closely. Then she said, ‘Have a biscuit, Potter.’

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K.Rowling

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Most people that I speak to say that this is their least favourite, but I think that really they’re think of the film. This book is definitely ways better than the film. It left out so many important and brilliant things, like Winky and the maze (I hold so much fury over how badly they did the maze in the films).

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

My Favourite Bits

Fred and George creating new things for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. I especially loved the Ton-Tongue Toffee they give to Dudley.

Fred and George winding Percy up. Again. Basically, I just forgot how much I love Fred and George in the whole series. Boy is this going to be hard later on.

Malfoy being turned into a ferret.

That the first task takes place on my birthday.

Dobby knitting Harry a pair of socks for Christmas.

‘Dobby is making them himself, sir!’ the elf said happily. ‘He is buying wool out of his wages, sir!’

The left sock was bright red, and had a pattern of broomsticks upon it; the right sock was green, with a pattern of Snitches.

The Weasleys turning up as Harry’s family support for the final task, Molly is such a babe, and Fleur eyeing up Bill.

The maze – as I said earlier they completely slaughtered this in the film. I love that the Blast-ended newts end up in the maze, and I especially love the sphinx.

 

Bits I Forgot About

How much Hedwig seems to hate Pigwidgeon.

The Weasleys using Flu Powder to get Harry for the Summer. Except the Dursleys covered up the fireplace so the entire family are stuck behind the wall.

Mad-Eye Moody using the Imperius curse on all the students as part of a lesson.

The Veela at the World Cup.

That they meet Sirius in Hogsmede.

 

My Favourite Quotes

‘Percy wouldn’t notice a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing one of Dobby’s hats.’

 

‘Severus, please fetch me the strongest Truth Potion you possess, and then go down to the kitchens, and bring up the house elf called Winky. Minerva, kindly go down to Hagrid’s house, where you will find a large black dog sitting in the pumpkin patch. Take the dog to my office, tell him I will be with him shortly, then come back here.’

If either Snape or McGonagall found these instructions peculiar, they hid their confusion.

 

What are your favourite bits of the book?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling

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I’m not sure why, but this has always been my favourite book of the series. I just love Buckbeak, Lupin, Hogsmeade, the Marauder’s Map, Sirius… The whole thing, really.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

My Favourite Bits

The Foreshadowing – The Irish team putting in for seven Firebolts and being the favourites for the World Cup, the Pocket Sneakoscope constantly going off and everyone just thinking it’s broken, Dumbledore saying that Harry has now got a bond with Pettigrew and saying there might be a time where he is very glad he saved his life.

Fred and George winding Percy up about being Head Boy.

It’s because of you, Perce,’ Said George seriously. ‘And there;ll be little flags on the bonnets, with HB on the -‘

‘-for Humungous Bighead’ said Fred.

Everyone except Percy and Mrs Weasley snorted into their pudding.

Dumbledore aiming his speech at the Weasley’s and Harry.

The Boggart – the whole thing is just absolutely riddikulus.

How much McGonagall seems to despise Professor Trelawney

Sirius’ letter to Harry. It makes me smile every time.

 

Bits I Forgot About

How much Crookshanks helps Sirius out, and how much Ron and Hermione fall out because of the cat.

The Hermione gets very emotional and worn down with all her subjects and cries to Hagrid. That she gets so tired that she falls asleep on a pile of books.  Doubt the dementors helped much either.

 

My Favourite Quotes

‘I’m not going to be murdered,’ Harry said out loud.

‘That’s the spirit, dear,’ said his mirror sleepily.

 

‘Hermione, I don’t know what’s got into you lately! said Ron astounded.. ‘First you hit Malfoy, then you walk out on Professor Trelawney – ‘

 

‘…was she making a real prediction?’

Dumbledore looked mildly impressed.

‘Do you know, Harry, I think she might have been,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘ Who’d have thought it? That brings her total of real prediction up to two. I should offer her a pay rise…’

 

‘Godfather?’ spluttered Uncle Vernon. ‘You haven;t got a godfather!’

‘Yes, I have,’ said Harry brightly. ‘He was my mum and dad’s best friend. He’s a convicted murderer, but he’s broken out of wizard prison and he’s on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though…keep up with my news… check I’m happy…’

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling

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This is my least favourite out of the series but that is not to say that there aren’t parts that I love. Out of all the films, I’ve probably watched this one the least too. I mainly remember playing this on my Gameboy Colour (I’m pretty sure I still own that bad boy). Is anyone else excited that they’re opening up the Forbidden forest at the Studio Tour?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

 

My Favourite Bits

Harry asking Dudley to say the “magic word” and the Dursleys loosing their s**t.

Mrs Weasley telling Mr Weasley that the boys had flown the car and his response being “Did you really? Did it go alright?”

Ron twigging on about Lockhart’s uselessness before Hermione “He says he’s done.”

Lockhart loosing his memory. Bless him.

 

Bits I Forgot About

De-gnoming the garden – once I read it, I remembered doing this in the game. Having to spin them really fast so they get so dizzy they won’t return any time soon.

Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day party with all the mouldy food. yum. And Peeves winding Myrtle up and sending her off crying.

The dwarf’s kicking people out of the way to begrudgingly deliver valentines day cards and songs on Valentine’s day.

His eyes are as green as a fresh picked toad,

His hair is as dark as a blackboard.

I wish he was mine, he’s really divine,

The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.

 

My Favourite Quotes

Lockhart cuffed Harry merrily on the shoulder. ‘Just do what I did, Harry!’

‘What, drop my wand?’

 

‘Oh Potter, you rotter, oh what have you done?

You’re killing off student’s, you think it’s good fun-‘

 

‘Am I a Professor?’ said Lockhart in mild surprise. ‘Goodness, I expect I was hopeless, was I?’

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling

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I adore Harry Potter but *whispers* haven’t read it in a while. I feel I am long over due to re-read my favourite series!

Most people have read them, seen the films or have some basic understand of what happens in each book. So, instead of doing a normal review, I’m just going to put my favourite bits of the books, anything that happens that I may have forgotten about, and my favourite quotes! Enjoy.

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My Favourite Bits

How warm and fuzzy the whole book makes me feel when I read it.

Mr Dursley trying to shoo the stern cat who’s  reading looking at the drive sign.

The foreshadowing – Sirius Black was mentioned in the first chapter. It mentions Mrs Figg looking after him from time to time. Hagrid says you’d have to be mad to try and rob Gringgots. I feel so warm and fuzzy!

Vernon saying they have to take Dudley to the hospital to get the tail removed – just imagine the doctor’s faces.

Every time Hagrid says something he shouldn’t have said…

Hogwarts – the stairs moving, the walls tricking the students into thinking there is a door where there isn’t one, having to tickle doors to open them, the portraits going for walks, the Great Hall, especially at Christmas with the twelve towering Christmas trees, sparkling icicles and hundreds of candles.

Harry’s delight at getting presents at Christmas and the Fred and George shoving Percy’s jumper over his head.

 

Things I Forgot About

Everyone singing the Hogwarts song in favourite tune.
Need reminding? Fancy a singsong? Well choose your favourite tune and after 3…. 1,2,3.

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff,
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we’ve forgot,
Just do your best, we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.

Beautiful!

Everyone finished the song at different times. At last, only the Weasley twins were left singing along to a very slow funeral march. Dumbledore conducted their last few lines with his wand, and when they had finished, he was one of those who clapped the loudest.

Harry pretending to be the Bloody Barron to scare away Peeves. They definitely missed at trick not including Peeves into the films.

 

My Favourite Quotes

‘A Nimbus Two Thousand, sir,’ said Harry, fighting not to laugh at the look of horror on Malfoy’s face. ‘And it’s really thanks to Malfoy here that I’ve got it,’ he added.

‘You haven’t got a letter on yours’ George observed. ‘I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid – we know we’re called Gred and Forge.’

I believe your friends Misters Fred and George were responsible for trying to send you a lavatory seat.No doubt they thought it would amuse you.

‘The truth.’ Dumbledore sighed. ‘It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.’

 

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Take me back to Hogwarts!

House of MinaLima

I saw on Facebook a link about a pop up shop in Soho. I had no idea if it was real or not but decided while I was in London for the day I would go and see if it was real.

Imagine my delight when I saw this beautiful shop was very very real.

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Miraphora and Eduardo were designers for Harry Potter, and now Fantastic Beasts, creating lots of the graphic props, including; wanted posters, the Marauder’s map, proclamations, new papers and tapestries.

It is 4 floors of absolute delight. You climb the narrow, crooked stairs, which are decorated with Hogwarts letters and enter a room full of fantastic artwork. Each room displays the prints that you can purchase and shows some of the originals in display cabinets.
Image result for minalima stairsImage result for minalima stairs

You can buy some of the prints. They are between £39 – £350 which most around £99. You can also purchase badges and stationary.

I couldn’t help myself and I bought this gorgeous print of the Whomping Willow from the Marauder’s map. It’s a limited edition, and mine is number 522 / 1000, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

While we were there, one of the designers (Eduardo) was there signing books!

You can find MinaLima on 26 Greek Street, Soho. On the street opposite the theatre Aladdin plays in. It’s just behind The Curse Child theatre. Check out their website: http://store.minalima.com/

 

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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This review will contain spoilers – a note will be stated before they will appear.

I originally was going to hold off reading this until I saw the play but I just couldn’t wait 30 days. I managed 2. I lack self control.

 I read the play in one sitting and then had to sleep on it to give me time to contemplate what I thought. This was a really tricky one. There were parts I loved and there were parts where I wanted to throw the book and shout “NO! THAT’S NOT RIGHT!” I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t deal well with final goodbyes, if you look at my ratings for the last book, in any series, they’re usually lower than the rest, not necessarily because they are bad but I think it’s because I don’t want it to end. And this book really is the end .

Before reading this book I feel it is important to know that this is advertised as the eighth story in the Harry Potter series but that is in many ways misleading. Although Harry, Ron, Hermione and Malfoy appear and have roles in the play, this book is based around their children Albus, Scorpius and Rose. Although stated on the front of the book, it is important to remember that it is a play. This is so important to remember as you read as scripts are designed to be seen preformed rather than read – it won’t contain as much character development or emotion as will be portrayed on stage.

 Spoilers from this point onward.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child centers on Harry’s second son, Albus. Albus struggles with the weight of the family legacy and has a struggling relationship with Harry. Both with their own family problems and being outcasts at school, Albus makes unlikely friends with Scorpius Malfoy. Firm friends, they decide to try and do something good. They decide to use a Time Turner to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory to help make his dad, Amos Diggory, happy.

I really liked that it started with the epilogue at the end of Deathly Hallows, to me it really felt like coming home. As Albus was nervous about going through the barrier to get to platform 9 3/4, I loved that Harry echoed the advice that Molly first gave him.

After we get the train and the sorting ceremony, the first four years went by really quickly, which saddened me. Albus’ coldness towards Harry really made me dislike him. Although I imagine him to have problems, I find it hard to believe that Harry would have been that bad of a father with all the great father figures he had in his life. We could see that Albus was drifting away from his family but I feel that if more focus was put onto the first few years, and his negative experiences at Hogwarts, maybe this would help me to understand why – possibly this will be shown in the play?

I adored Albus and Scorpius’ friendship and can imagine a lot of people are totally shipping that. Scorpius was a breath of fresh air and was completely different to what I expected him to be. I loved seeing his relationship with both Albus and Draco.

We saw lots of our favourites characters from Hogwarts throughout the play, including McGonagall, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Draco, Lily and James as well as finding out more about the children. McGonagall was just as sharp and witty as she is in the books. I know lots of people disliked Hermione and Ron but I personally loved them. I love that they showed how in love they were. Also, Hermione is just wonder woman is not only Minister of Magic but a super wife. I was a little bit more torn with Ron, he didn’t seem such a big par, and was a bumbling fool a lot of the time, but I love that he was still humorous – he reminded me of Arthur. As for Harry, I was really shocked, he was not how I expected him to be. I would never have expected him to speak to Albus or McGonagall in that way, even when cross. However, as much as I loved seeing them, I would have liked to see Molly and Arthur and to have heard about Teddy – not even a mention!

I went into the book having absolutely no idea what was going to happen, all I knew was the blurb. Although I enjoyed that it was about the children and their adventures I was a deflated by the plot. Firstly, although I like the idea that Albus wants to go back and save someone from the past, I found them finding not one but two saved time turners unlikely and a massive cop out. Secondly. Bellatrix? What? When? Unlikely. Didn’t like it.

I’m going to see the play at the end of the month and despite my torn feelings about reading the script, I still have high hopes for the play. Based on the stage directions from the play, I cannot wait to see the settings and magic. I also feel that the characters will be a lot more fleshed out when acted out and am hoping that we will see more character development and emotions.

With a sad heart, I have decided to give this

three-stars

And now, I guess all that’s left to say is…