The Hunt For Voldemort’s Grave in Greyfriars Cemetary

According to the tour guide for the Edinburgh Ghost Tunnel Tour, J.K. Rowling came up with Voldemort’s real name after visiting the Greyfriars Graveyard.

So, naturally, a friend and I raced to Greyfriars Kirk on a quest to find the gentleman who would become a legend over a hundred years after his death.

Unfortunately, finding The Dark Lord’s gravestone proved to be more difficult than we were hoping for.

We tagged along on a Harry Potter tour that we probably should have payed for but didn’t *shrugs* to see if the tour guide would give us a hint as to where the tombstone was. However, he seemed more interested in showing us awkward ring tricks than assisting us on our quest, so we decided to venture out on our own.

This must be said: European cemeteries are infinitely cooler than American ones.

It’s unfair to compare them, really.

For one thing, Europe is impossibly old compared to America. Therefore, you will find gravestones and monuments that date back to the 1500s or even the 1300s.

Here are a few that we stumbled across:

And then, finally, we found the man of the hour:

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Turns out his father’s name was Thomas Riddell also.

Even while taking pictures of this, I imagined what this man would think if he knew his name was used for one of the most powerful villains in literary history.

My head cannon is that when J.K. Rowling dies (hopefully at a very old age) she will arrive in Heaven to find a very cheesed-off Scotsman wearing a regiment coat with his arms folded and his foot angrily tapping.

“Who are you?” Rowling will ask.

“You-Know-Who,” he’ll hiss.

Yes, it’s bad enough this man died at such a young age (26), but it would seem that some drunk idiots found it appropriate to tag his plaque.

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Not only did this person think it was acceptable to graffiti a dead man’s plaque, they couldn’t even be bothered to spell Voldemort correctly.

Fortunately, some kind soul left a bouquet of flowers at the foot of the plaque. I did not have any flowers on me, nor did I know of a nearby florist to buy some from, so I picked a wild flower that was growing a few feet away and dropped it on top of the bundle.

So, Mr. Riddell, I’m sorry you’ll forever be known as The Dark Lord.

However, as a writer, I don’t think I would have been able to pass up on such a unique name either. Riddell (or Riddle, as it was in the novels) implies mystery and intrigue. Romance even.

At least you may take solace in the fact that some woman from the 20th century took a look at your name and thought “Huh. Cool.”

May you rest in peace.

Unless you were a dick.

In which case, this scenario would become infinitely more funny.

The Author Knows Best: Book-to-Movie Adaptations

I’m not a purist like some readers when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations. I believe it’s okay to change certain elements, or cut out scenes if the time constraints don’t allow for them.

However, Hollywood has a bad habit of fixing things that aren’t broken.

They make badass characters completely pointless (Annabeth in the Percy Jackson films), they remove all humor from a story that is supposed to be a comedy ( Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie), or they just straight up give the story an icepick lobotomy (Cat in the Hat).

The main reasons movies like these fail is because those behind the movie don’t care about what made the original source material great in the first place. They just want to cash in on the book’s success.

As a result, a lot of these movies make a bit of money, then vanish into the ether, never to be watched or spoken of again.

The best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve seen are usually the ones where the author has had at least some influence on the production.

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Without J.K. Rowling’s input as a consultant, Alan Rickman wouldn’t have known how to approach the character of Professor Snape and the twist that Lily was actually the love of his life would have come completely out of left-field.

Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay for Gone Girl and, as a result, it was able to successfully juggle the action, intrigue, and social commentary of the book. If this had been written by someone other than the writer, this would have likely been a train-wreck, or a dime-a-dozen thriller rather than a brilliant commentary about the media and modern relationships.

Especially since Hollywood doesn’t seem to know how to write social commentary anymore.

The Fault in Our Stars was also a brilliant adaptation that captured the humor and heartbreak of the book. John Green was a strongly involved in the making of the movie and, of course, it became a big hit unlike many  YA novels that are made into film (excluding Hunger Games and Harry Potter, obviously). I believe this mostly had to do with the cast and crew’s willingness to listen to Green’s input instead of interjecting an unnecessary love triangle or “hip lingo.”

If the filmmakers haven’t bothered to read the book they should, at the very least, have an understanding of why these stories resonate so strongly with readers, and respect authors as fellow artists rather than brushing them off.

Authors may not be able to write a screenplay of their work, but they do understand the material. They spent months, maybe even years, with these characters and settings.

They’ve had to kill their darlings before so they understand that some things have to be changed for a visual medium. However, their input could prevent something important from being chucked in the bin.

Some writers may not be well acquainted with the world of cinema, but that doesn’t mean their views should be discounted. After all, they were able to make thousands, or even millions, of dollars without A-list actors, exotic sets, or fancy cinematography.

Think about that for a second.

Also, stop making movies about nonfiction self-help books.

Just…..stop.

Finding Life Advice in the Restroom

I was using the bathroom before my 11:00 class, when I noticed the utility cupboard was open for some reason. It had multiple quotes written on the inside of it, all in magic marker or pencil.

I have no idea why people wrote on the cupboard or why it just happened to be ajar when I walked in. Regardless, curiosity got the better or me and I decided to inspect it.

I expected there to be your standard “Class of ’16!” or “Joe is hott,” but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and beauty of each quote. I chose a few of my favorites:

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(By the way, quoting Harry Potter is always a good idea.)

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In case you can’t read it: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body”-C.S. Lewis

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………I have absolutely no idea who Leroy is since The Doctor said this to Rose but, for some reason, not knowing makes it better.

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I found all of these quotes gorgeous and awe-inspiring. However, none of them quite encapsulated the spirit of the school season quite like this one:

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Have a good day, everyone!

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Kill Them Like You Mean It: A Critique On Character Resurrections

There is a joke in the Whovian community: “Steven Moffat walks into a bar and everyone you love dies.” This seems accurate as the man’s body count ranges in the double digits. The same can be said for George R. R. Martin with his Game of Thrones series in which many characters face agonizingly graphic deaths that leave you a sobbing mess on the living room rug.

What is the difference between the deaths in Doctor Who and the deaths in the Game of Thrones series?

When someone dies in Game of Thrones I actually care.

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 It’s not that I don’t feel a connection with the characters in Doctor Who. My problem is Steven Moffat, as well as many other writers, are guilty of overusing the Lazarus Trope.

The Lazarus Trope occurs when a character— usually one of rapport— dies, but is brought back to life through some manner of plot contrivance.

And it’s not just Doctor Who that is guilty of overusing this trope. If I took a shot for every character in anime or comic book movies/TV shows that have died only to be brought back to life, I would need a stomach pump.

Seriously, it’s a wonder that people in these universes even have funerals anymore. You’d think they would just wait with a beer by the front door for their loved ones to reappear.

The Lazarus Trope is reaching epidemic levels in all forms of media from TV shows, to movies, to books, to video games and it needs to die (pun intended).

It has gotten to the point where I’m no longer bothered if a character’s life ends because I just assume they’re going to return later on. Therefore, all the unrest this character’s demise is supposed to create becomes dead on arrival.

The reason the deaths in Game of Thrones resonate so powerfully with audiences is because we know that once those characters are gone, they’re gone for good. And most of them don’t deserve the fates they were given.

To all you creative types out there, I implore you, don’t bring your characters back to life. Or, if you must, let there be a catch to their survival. Give them some sort of psychological or physiological side effect that will follow them throughout the course of their story. People who go through near-death experiences in reality don’t come out of it unscathed, so neither should those that reside in fictional worlds.

I’m not against the slaying of characters if it’s done for a good reason. But if you’re just going to use it as a cheap sleight of hand, then consider other alternatives.

Death is not a head cold. Don’t treat it like one.

Your audience will probably see it coming anyway.