I Am Lord Voldemort

We all love a good internet personality test, don’t we? They tell you what character in The Simpsons you are most like, what Hogwarts house you belong in, and whether you’re psychic or not. They also kill five minutes when you should be doing something else and let you brag to your friends about your results when you compare notes, so all in all they’re pretty great.

Except when one compares you to that most villainous of villains, Lord Voldemort.

The quiz in question was a free online version of a Myers-Briggs test, a personality test that is used to determine how a person responds to and reacts with the world around them. It gives a result based on four preferences; Extraversion (E) vs Introversion (I), Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N), Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F), and finally Judging (J) vs Perception (P). Once you answer the questions you are given a four letter code to your personality type; mine was INTJ which means that I am an introvert who doesn’t suffer fools, loves logic and planning and can be fairly insensitive when interacting with other people. INTJs, the quiz told me, make up about 2% of the population and female INTJs are rarer than unicorn poop, so by this point I’m feeling pretty smug and special, which is exactly the kind of feeling I look for when I’ve completed an internet personality test.

At that point I had no reason to be offended. The test result seemed pretty accurate. I do have a problem with tact, I can’t abide idiots and I am pretty introverted. It was the most favourable internet test result I’d had since the one that placed me in Ravenclaw and so, following the recommendation of the Tumblr post that had held the quiz, I headed on over to TV Tropes to find a list of characters that share my personality type. What follows is a rough transcript of what transpired:

*click scroll scroll*

ME: Ooh Clarice Starling, that’s pretty cool.

*scroll scroll*

ME:  Ebeneezer Scrooge?

*scrolls down further*

ME: Hannibal Lecter?!

*scrolls to the last name on the list*


That’s the point where I take offense, but I suppose no one likes being told they’re basically the same as a vengeful genocidal maniac especially when they haven’t ever done anything even remotely vengeful or genocidal in their lives (still time, I guess). There must be some mistake here, I thought. How is Voldemort introverted? Unless his quietness during book 5 was more to do with his crippling anxieties and shyness, rather than a wish to remain unnoticed by the Ministry of Magic. Perhaps there is a deleted chapter somewhere where Bellatrix Lestrange tries to coax poor old Voldy out of the house with the promise that he’d really enjoy the mass slaughter if he’d only give it a try and that no, people aren’t laughing behind his back because of that time he was defeated by a baby, he’s just imagining it.

Then again, I do have a history of identifying with the bad guys. A Facebook quiz once said that the Lord of the Rings character I was most like was Sauron, so maybe I am missing my calling? I could be a Dark Lord, easy. There’s nothing to it, all you have to do is keep your minions motivated, avoid making a nemesis and try not to put all your power in flashy bits of gold jewellery that can be thrown into volcanoes. How hard can it be?  Plus you get a snazzy outfit (usually black) and it’s a job for life. Next time I am at the Jobcentre I shall tell them I will accept no vacancy less than Supreme Ruler of Earth. And when they ask why, I shall tell them that an internet personality test told me so.

Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians of the galaxy cast

Guardians of the Galaxy cast (from l-r): Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Groot (Vin Diesel), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista)

I think I have to start this review by admitting that I’m totally biased. I love Marvel films. I love how they can hop from genre to genre each film and still remain in very much the same universe, and I love how real their characters are despite existing in a universe where Norse legends fall from the sky and a skinny guy in the 1940s can be given super powers with a special serum. Anyhow, if Thor: The Dark World was a fantasy film, and Captain America: The Winter Solider was a gritty spy thriller, then Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera, in much the same vein as Star Wars, but with the emphasis on fun.

It starts with the young Peter Quill being picked up on Earth by a spaceship after running out of a hospital whilst visiting his dying mother. Then we flash forward 26 years to the now adult Peter (also known as Star Lord, but mostly just to himself) making his way across an abandoned planet to get his hands on the Orb.  He doesn’t know what it is, and at this point neither does the audience, but he is apprehended by Ronan the Accuser’s (Lee Pace) henchmen and thrown into the path of a various bunch of misfits who decide it is their job to save the galaxy from Ronan’s evil intentions.

I have to admit, from the trailer I was a bit worried that Quill would just be Pratt’s Parks and Recreation character in space, but I now feel that would be doing him an injustice. Yes, Quill and Andy Dwyer are both loveable idiots, but where Andy Dwyer is honest to a fault, Quill makes his living as a looter and a thief and has a bit of a devious streak (as well as a marginally higher IQ). It’s a strong performance, but nowhere near the stand out. That honour goes to the raccoon and the tree.

Yes, I said a raccoon and a tree. Rocket and Groot. In my experience fully cgi characters are either a Jar Jar Binks (really really bad and annoying) or a Gollum (so good you forget they’re not real) and Rocket and Groot are definitely Gollums. To be fair, Rocket is a major character with a lot of dialogue and if he had been Jar Jar levels of awful then the film would’ve been unbearable. But he’s not, he manages to be both hilariously funny and quite a tragic figure at the same time. Groot can only say three words (I AM GROOT) but conveys more emotion with his cgi eyes than I’ve seen actual real actors do.

Throw in Zoe Saldana as Gamora, an assassin trying to atone for her past; and Karen Gillan, completely unrecognisable as Nebula, Ronan’s second in command; as well as the first proper look at villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) (so far only briefly glimpsed in the Avengers Assemble mid credits sequence) and you have a film that is quite a new direction for Marvel (being way more science fiction based than their previous offerings), but still has links to the pre-existing universe we have seen (Thanos aside, I spotted references to Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers Assemble and Thor: The Dark World. There are probably more that can only be properly seen when the DVD comes out and it can be freeze framed).

To talk more about the characters would be to give away the plot. Let’s just say it involves spaceships, protecting a planet from total destruction and a kick ass soundtrack that is surprisingly relevant to the plot and one character’s motivation (plus they get bonus points for using the Pina Colada song).

In short, if you aren’t a fan of Marvel but you want a fun science fiction space romp, go see this film. If you are a fan of Marvel you probably already have.

So obviously the ‘writing a post everyday in July’ thing didn’t work out. We’ve had some building work done and it involved a lot of moving my stuff into boxes and up into the attic, and then moving them down from the attic and back where they belong again. So obviously I haven’t had much time for posting stuff on here.

Summer Reading: “The Girl With All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey

the girl with all the gifts cover image

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.

This jumped straight to the top of my summer reading list after my friend Jen recommended it to me. It has since been brought to my attention that the mighty Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly; writer/director of Avenger’s Assemble) raved about it on his Twitter back in January, but when it comes to books I tend to listen to the opinion of my friend Jen more than the creator of two of my favourite TV shows of all time because she has a track record of good taste when it comes to books and I trust her judgement. She told me about it on Saturday night and on Sunday afternoon I spotted it on the shelf at Tesco and by Monday teatime (i.e. about two hours ago) I had finished it completely.

It is worth pointing out that it’s 460 pages long and I devoured it in two sittings. It’s just that good.

I don’t want to give away the twist, even though it gets revealed about 100 pages in and if you’re smart and genre savvy you’ll guess it anyway, so I am not going to mention what exactly is happening to Melanie and her classmates, because that would give it all the way and quite possibly put some people off reading it. Because yes, it is technically science fiction. It’s set in Britain after the ‘Breakdown’ has wiped out most of the population and the survivors are reduced to living in army style barracks or taking their chances out in the wild.

Melanie, the ten year old title character, lives on such an army base, but one where all the children are kept in cells and sent to a classroom everyday strapped to wheelchairs. They mystery of why this is drives the plot for the first few chapters, though after that it all becomes shockingly clear and the book becomes more of a road movie cum race for survival.

If you are one of those people that hates science fiction, I would urge you to read it anyway. The core relationship between Melanie and Ms Justineau, one of her teachers, is touching, poignant and drives the plot forward and the narrative viewpoint changes every couple of chapters so you get the stories of all five of the main characters, not just Melanie. It is Melanie’s naviety and love for Ms Justineau (think Dead Poet’s Society but female and aged 10) that is at the heart of the story and make it so compelling, but it is the actions of Dr Caldwell that make it interesting and downright horrific at times. The third person present tense narrative style, whilst an unusual choice, makes even Dr Caldwell and Sergeant Parks sympathetic characters and plunges the reader into an ethical quandry whilst it’s at it.

If you like science fiction dystopias, add it to your reading list. If you don’t, add it anyway.


The Fantastic Four?

I can’t say I was too bothered by the news of the Fantastic Four reboot. I’ve not read the comics but I saw the film with Jessica Alba and Chris Evans in his pre-Captain America days and was rather ‘meh’ about it, so the reboot casting news sort of passed me by. I heard the racist mutterings about the casting of Michael B Jordan as Johnny Storm and wondered if anyone had said the same things when Samuel L Jackson got cast as Nick Fury, or when Idris Elba got cast as Heimdall (I have since looked it up and it would appear that yes, people did. People suck).

I also failed to care that they’d cast a white actress to play Sue Storm, Johnny’s sister. I mean, big whoop, multiracial families happen and it’s not like it’s outside the realms of possibility unlike, I don’t know, the ability to turn invisible or something. But then a friend of mine reblogged this post on Tumblr:

 jfc i am getting so sick of people in my [comic book] store getting angry about the possibility of Johnny and/or Sue Storm being adopted in the new FF movie.

Woah wait. There are people getting angry about the fact that there might be adopted siblings portrayed in a film? *HULK SMASH*

Yes, I’ve blogged about this before. How the general portrayal of adoption in films usually has someone finding out they’re adopted and going berserk or the adopted kid growing up to be evil. And whilst there might be a zillion other reasons for Johnny and Sue Storm not having the same skin colour (multiracial family, foster family, step-siblings etc) I am now hoping for adoption to be the reason.

Loki and Thor

Loki and Thor. Here’s a fun game, spot which one’s the adopted sibling!

How nice would it be to have a normal adoptive family portrayed on screen for a change? No angst! No drama! No adoptive sibling running off to murder folk! It would be fantastic for a realistic adoptive family to be on screen for a change, it would make a nice antidote to the Thor/Loki love/hate sibling relationship the films in the MCU have got going on. Plus it would be nice for me to identify with another character in the same way I do with Loki (in the ‘adopted’ sense, not with the ‘power crazy maniac’ sense, no matter what my friends may tell you).  

I wasn’t bothered about this film before I saw that Tumblr post, but now I am actively rooting for it. I can’t work out why people are getting angry about the possibility of at least one of them being adopted. I know I’m totally bias in this, being adopted myself, but what is it about it that makes them so angry? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please… 

Summer Plans

We had the last creative writing class of the term today, so it’s officially summer! I have that whole ‘last day at school’ feeling, including the bit where you have a class party and eat way too much cake. 

I’m not sure what I’m going to do without that weekly deadline and kick up the bum to keep me writing. Without the (not so) gentle push to update this blog every week I’m not sure if I’ll manage that, nevermind the ‘post a day all July’ thing. I will try though.

And when I’m not trying to do that I am going to read. I don’t have a list or anything, I’m just going to go to the library tomorrow and grab what looks interesting. Maybe this blog will become a book review blog, who knows!