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22 July 2016

Potterhead July: Why characters ended up in their houses

Hi so I've been off the blog for a while - I missed the post for last month out as I was extremely busy with end of term at school and being unwell amongst other things so apologies but I'm back now!

As you may have guessed from the post title I signed up for the Potterhead July blog tour which is being run by the amazing Aentee (Read at Midnight). I spent ages trying to decide what to write my post about - Snape? Character appreciation? Something about the houses? And eventually I decided to do a combination. I decided to discuss why characters were placed in the houses they ended up in, so here goes:

‘You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
and unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.’

 - The Sorting Hat on Harry's first night at Hogwarts

We all know Harry is a Gryffindor (if you don't I'm very worried about what you've been doing with your life), but there's the age old question of why he was sorted into this particular house. The sorting hat said he'd do well in Slytherin, and if Harry hadn't asked not to be put in that house he probably would have ended up there. But that's just it. He asked. Starting at a new school can be scary to say the least, especially when your whole world has been turned upside-down only days before. Walking into the hall in front of the entire school when you don't know anybody would have been daunting for an 11 year old, most of us probably would have been terrified and yet Harry still managed to pluck up the courage to tell the Sorting Hat that he didn't want to be in Slytherin regardless of what the hat saw inside him. That took courage - that was brave. And bravery is the main trait of someone in Gryffindor.
Also, I think that at least in the beginning, because of what the Sorting Hat said to Harry on that first night at Hogwarts, he felt the need to prove himself worthy of his place in Gryffindor, almost as though he needed to prove to himself as well, that he was not meant to be in Slytherin. It explains why, even as a first year he managed to get into dangerous situations and yet still manage to prove himself even though he was so young - he was trying to show people he was worthy.

Like Harry, Hermione is also a Gryffindor. While re-reading the books last year I found myself questioning why she had been put in Gryffindor by the Sorting Hat - the obvious choice for someone so clever would have been Ravenclaw. One theory is that the Sorting Hat was considering Ravenclaw, but it saw that she valued friendship and courage just as much, if not more and therefore belonged in Gryffindor. In effect she also asked to be in Gryffindor - on the train on the first day she confided in Harry and Ron that she would like to be in Gryffindor.
I recently read something about Hermione being put in Gryffindor that, if not explained it, at least gave more reasons for the choice of house. Hermione was constantly dealing with people making fun of her for being a "know-all" and yet in the end she wasn't affect badly by it. That takes bravery - to live every day being made fun of just for being intelligent and yet still rise above it all, especially at such a young age. She then left everything she loved behind, including her family to stand by her best friends while they fought Voldemort. If that's not bravery I don't know what is.

Ron's housing choice may seem obvious - his whole family had been in Gryffindor before him - and yet if you look at his personal traits, he seems more suited to Hufflepuff than any other house. Yes he lays his life on the line on multiple occasions to save his friends and family, and yet he doesn't have the courage to tell Hermione how he really feels. Some might argue that Ron is still brave and I completely agree - you have to be if you're going to be friends with Harry Potter! But expressing your feelings is a different kind of bravery. However in the end he does manage to tell her so I think he earns his place in Gryffindor - he learns to be brave.
Also, Ron almost asks to be a Gryffindor. He felt a lot of pressure to follow in his family's footsteps and be sorted into the house and so was hoping and praying it would happen. I think the Sorting Hat picked up on this and decided that Ron deserved to be played in Gryffindor.

Thinking about these three though raises another topic - all three friends showed qualities of one of the other three houses throughout the series and yet all three were placed in Gryffindor. But one other thing that links them together is the fact that THEY ALL ASKED. All three of them asked to be in Gryffindor one way or another, and it made me wonder if that is not the ultimate form of bravery. They all denied some of their own traits in order to ask to be in a certain house. They all went against the obvious, and possibly the Sorting Hat in order to get what they wanted. Maybe that is why they were all deemed brave enough to be in Gryffindor.

All of these are just suggestions and thoughts I had. If you disagree, have another theory or want to put forward some theories about other characters please feel free to leave them all in the comments below and start some discussions. There are no right or wrong answers and I'd love to know what you think!

1 May 2016

Review: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

Book description: Paperback ARC, 432 pages
Expected publication date: July 12 2016 by Delacorte Press
Sequel to 'The Girl At Midnight'
Everything in Echo's life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that it said to bring peace.
The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.
Echo has already lost her home, her family and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she's already overcome.
She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.
Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature - or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what's left of her world to the ground?
Welcome to the shadow hour.
Reviewer's copy: Paperback ARC
Source: Krista Marino (Melissa's editor) sent a copy through Delacorte Press

The source in no way affects or dictates my opinions in this review.

The book:
'The Shadow Hour' was delivered to me quite unexpectedly. After trying, and failing, to find a copy of 'The Girl At Midnight' in the UK, I got in touch with her editor Krista to see if she knew where I could get a copy. She was extremely helpful and offered to ship me a copy. When the parcel arrived, I was expecting one paperback book, but instead Krista had sent me a hardback copy AND an ARC of 'The Shadow Hour'! So first I would like to say a huge thank you to Krista and the people at Delacorte Press for being kind enough to send me the books.

I am one of those readers who will read just about anything, but I've always loved fantasy novels, due to reading books such as 'The Chronicles of Narnia', 'The Harry Potter series', and most of Enid Blyton's books when I was little, so Melissa Grey's books really appealed to me.

Echo, the main character and through whom most of the story is told, is a complex but extremely strong character. She is dealing with the revelation that she is the firebird, while also dealing with her own personal dilemmas. I love the fact that Melissa manages to show that Echo is still just a teenager while also showing the reader that she is wise beyond her years. She is Latina, a fact I was not aware of up until recently. I am ashamed to say that I automatically assumed that Echo was of white heritage, an assumption that was soon corrected when Melissa tweeted that Echo was actually Latina, like herself. Melissa stated that she didn't make a big deal out of it, as Echo was not raised in that culture, but she didn't want Echo to be whitewashed. So I believe an apology is owed - both to Melissa and Echo herself - for me whitewashing Echo until I was put straight by Melissa's tweet. I have always believed we need more diversity in books, and yet I made the error of assuming Echo was white. I'm not going to go into diversity in YA fiction, and fiction in general (let's save that for another post) but just as a warning to all of you readers out there - don't make that mistake of whitewashing character just because their heritage is not specifically stated.

I could go on for hours, describing each character and how brilliantly Melissa has portrayed them, but I'm not sure how many people would actually read it or how many I'd send off to sleep! So we'll leave it at that.

The plot is wonderfully thought out, and is elaborate but not so confusing that the reader can't follow it. The general theme is fantasy however it is a great mix of action, adventure and romance. It is a book that will stay with you long after you finish - a truly amazing novel. Overall the book is extremely well written, and I loved every bit of it. I'd highly recommend it to anyone - both avid fantasy readers and those who don't read much fantasy alike!


About the author:
Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn't stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she embarked on an adventure of global proportions and discovered a secret talent for navigating subway systems in just about any language. She works as a freelance journalist in New York City. 'The Shadow Hour' is her second novel, and the sequel to her first, 'The Girl At Midnight'. To learn more about Melissa, visit, follow @meligrey on Twitter, and look for melissagrey on Instagram.

14 April 2016

Introduction & First Post!

Hi, I'm Olivia and this is my blog - Bookish Angel!

So I sat for hours debating what to write about in this first post, and when I look back on it in a few years time I'll probably be cringing away but it had to be done. So here it is!

To start with I thought I'd do 10 facts about me introduce myself to help you get to know me a bit better.

1) My name is Olivia
2) I live in the UK
3) I have two younger sisters
4) I don't have any pets, however I'd love a dog!
5) I like reading (obviously!!)
6) I'm a bit of a camera nerd
7) Actually I'm a bit of a nerd in general :)
8) I swim more than the average human
9) My favourite film is probably either "The Shawshank Redemption" or "The Lion King"
10) I have an eclectic music taste, so I listen to a broad range of styles and artists from different genres, including some people have heard of and some people haven't

So there it is! If you have any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments below and I'll try to answer as many of them as I can :)