So we have started occasionally showing the Geek Baby some videos and such online – like Winnie the Poohper our poll – and then we remembered that HBO bought Sesame Street, and that means we have access to it there.
We’ve watched a bit of classic Sesame Street, and the Geek Baby can’t really sit through a whole episode, so she wanders off a bit into it but it’s fun. Holly and I both certainly get some nostalgia from it.
And then today we put on the most recent episode, last weekend’s Music Magic. And who cares what the Geek Baby thought… we were awestruck.
This fairy, in fact.
First, the long opening segment was about Elmo being left the new fairy character’s magic wand. He casts a spell, and suddenly everyone around him is singing whatever they say. And they can’t stop singing whatever they say. Holly and I could not stop thinking – and it seemed rightly so – of the Buffy episode “Once More with Feeling,” the musical episode.
Good times. And then the episode went on, you know, songs and letters and numbers. These things. Anyway, it continues on to a segment about listening carefully. With Cookie Monster.
“Furry Potter and the Goblet of Cookies,” to be precise, and there’s a muppet of Dumbledore there too with a funny name and it was amazing. There were cute house banners in the background, Cookie Monster doing magic, it was just…
When did Sesame Street become so geeky? I don’t know, but I like it. I think this watching kids’ shows thing might work out for us…
I’m already sick of this week, I definitely want a do over. First we got the news that David Bowie had returned home (I choose to believe this, it’s better than thinking otherwise) and now we’ve woken up to a world without Alan Rickman.
Most American audiences were first introduced to Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’ dastardly yet incredibly charming enemy in Die Hard. Fun fact: the iconic scene where they run into each other and Gruber pretends to be American wasn’t originally in the script; it was added after Rickman continually walked around set imitating an American accent. John McTiernan decided it was such a great accent he came up with a scene to use it in.
For a lot of people of my generation, though, our first experience with Alan Rickman was in the Harry Potter movies. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Severus Snape was perfect; I’ve never tried to picture anyone else in the role, because honestly no one else would have been able to play it. He was one of the few actors who knew the fate and details of his character before the books were finished, and after reading the seventh book I could see why. Watching every movie, you can see the way that he occasionally looks at Harry – angry that he looks like James, but protective of him because of his lasting love for Lily. The one movie change I was always okay with was the way they handled Snape’s memories in the last movie. Watching him hold Lily and sob still makes me cry, and I’ve seen that movie more times than I can count.
Being only 11 at the time the Harry Potter movies started coming out, I experienced a maturing as I grew up watching the series. My fancies shifted from the two main characters, Harry and Ron, to Snape (never Cedric Diggory). I was incredibly interested in film even then, and so I started to look up every movie that Alan Rickman had been in, and watched as many as I could find at Blockbuster (blast from the past there).
That is how I found Sense and Sensibility, which changed my life. It introduced me to Jane Austen. It introduced me to the idea that you may not know what you really want, and sometimes getting what you want is not what you need. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Colonel Brandon was inspired. It was nuanced, it was subtle, it was romantic, it was one of those performances that can make you fall 100% in love with a fictional character.
He brought Colonel Brandon to life in a way the book just didn’t for me. He made the audience realize that passion isn’t always loud or over the top; sometimes passion is quiet and understated, but that doesn’t make it any less real or deep. Reading the book, you feel like Marianne would have been happy with Willoughby; watching the movie you realize she’s far better off with the soft, slow-burning passion of Colonel Brandon. For me, that was an awakening. I was quite similar to Marianne when I was young, and watching Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon made me realize what I really wanted in my life and what kind of love I needed to find to be happy.
I was lucky enough when I studied abroad in Dublin to see Alan Rickman in Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman onstage at the Abbey Theatre. Seeing him live…that voice. It’s amazing in films, but in person it was indescribably beautiful. I never realized how much of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would be, but I’m incredibly happy that I have that memory to cherish for the rest of my life.
Alan Rickman with Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan in John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 2010
This has been a rough week. I have some choice words for cancer, they maybe rhyme with duck and too, but I won’t repeat them here. Instead, I’ll just watch Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, Dogma if I can find it on demand, and heck even Galaxy Quest today, and plan on binge watching Harry Potter all weekend. Maybe I’ll do a tweet along, especially if I do it with wine (or try making my own butterbeer?)
One of my favorite literary devices is prophecy. A good prophecy, sufficiently vague and mysterious, riddle-like and maybe rhyming, to keep you thinking back, keep you wondering. It can easily drive a plot. It usually points to a chosen one. Indeed, a recent favorite of mine hits all the important aspects:
“One day, a talented lass or fellow, a special one with face of yellow, will make the Piece of Resistance found from it’s hiding refuge underground, and with a noble army at the helm, this Master Builder will thwart the Kragle and save the realm, and be the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times. All this is true because it rhymes.”
-Vitruvius, The Lego Movie
See? It rhymes. Must be true.
Prophecy, and indeed prophecy pointing towards a chosen one, is grounded in religion. Okay, so for our science fiction and religion series, this post is halfway there. But what about science fiction? One of the fundamental aspects of science fiction I have seen since the series started is that science fiction tends to stay away from religion. Meaning similarly, it stays away from prophecy in large part.
So I’m calling this post part one because I want to talk about prophecy, and the better way to do that is to talk about Fantasy. Then in part two, I’ll go into a couple of good science fiction examples and see how they differ. So onward for Fantasy prophecies, and an open thread!
With playing the Lego Movie game (and with reviewing it yesterday), we have been thinking back to the Lego games in general. Hard to pick a favorite game! So instead, we present you with a choice of a favorite series.
Do you like running around Hogwarts and going to classes? Want more to do with a lightsaber? Wishing there was someone with more powers than Super Skrull? Vote in our poll!
One of the other exhibits we saw at the EMP Museum was the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic. I love Science Fiction and Fantasy. Both of these genres have the ability to transport you to an entire new world. I discussed the Horror exhibit yesterday and that was fantastic. The Fantasy exhibit was so much better partly because I got to totally geek out on my fandoms, but it was also a really interesting exhibit. One of the best parts of the exhibit is that you are literally transported to a new world hidden behind a door. The door looks so innocuous and at first we were not even sure if it was the way in and not just a display. Then you open the door and it is like stepping through the door to Narnia or running through the column to platform 9 3/4. You are suddenly in a place where magic can happen.
As you walk through the exhibit you get to go through the enchanted forest, the dungeons, the arcane library, and the mythical armory. The various pieces of the exhibit take you through the world of fantasy, from the characters, to the worlds, to the items use on the characters journeys. Continue reading →