Pre-Finals Week: How to De-Tox Your Brain Before Going in For the Academic Kill

Ahhh, the week before Finals Week. What better way to destress than to procrastinate, stay up late all night before that final paper’s due, etc?

OK, while I’ll admit to occasionally procrastinating, so far I’ve made it through college WITHOUT pulling an all-nighter (cue slow claps); however, that does not make me any less stressed now than it would the weekend directly BEFORE finals week, only a little over a week away.

So, here’s what I suggest to you, so you, like me, don’t end up committing seppuku when you’re THIS CLOSE *holds fingers less than an inch apart* from finishing good, hard, and strong (Complete with the slam-academic-dunk.):

  1. DON’T cram last minute. Seriously, don’t, unless you are literally so busy with everything else, it. Isn’t. Worth. Knocking. Your. Grade. Down. A few notches, at that.
  2. PRIORITIZE!!! Stuff that is due earlier, tackle first. Hard stuff, big projects and presentations, get a jump on them right away, so you have more time to plan and stuff. You’ll be more prepared that way, and will be less liable to cram it all into one night.
  3. Work ahead of schedule, if you can. No, seriously. I know, it’s a pain in the rear, but if you try to get more of your stuff done a week ahead of schedule (when you usually have less actual homework, since classes are winding down), you’ll have like half your things done (at least!) by the time the dreaded Finals Week actually arrives. Sure, there are scheduled exams and tests you can’t NOT avoid taking that week, but with papers, projects, and presentations, well, trying to get them done ASAP will help you in the long run. Not to mention, the HUGE burden it’ll lift from your shoulders!
  4. Don’t forget about rooming, taking books back, classes for next semester (if you aren’t graduating), cleaning your dorm/apartment, etc. At the college I go to, all of these things are a MUST. In fact, for the last one, they will actually FINE you if it’s not cleaned up, and everything moved out/put back into place. Makes me wish we had a room check every other week, like my besties down in PCC…. hint, hint…
  5. Lastly, through it all, DON’T forget…to relax, and also to SLEEP. Surprised? Well, logically speaking, there’s no real point in trying to work on a paper or presentation if you’re nodding off, and can barely focus on keeping those peepers open, let alone be awake enough to study. Take care of your body, the body God’s entrusted to your care, and it will serve you well in return. Also, relaxing. Don’t forget to take little breaks here and there. Get up, stretch, go for a short walk to stretch those leg muscles after sitting for so long. Play with playdough or one of those de-stresser squeezy ball thingies. Leisure read a chapter of a book you’ve been dying to finish (ONLY one chapter, though!!). Take a brief nap if you’re wiped out. Just chill and take a little breather. Life’s not going to totally stop and come to a complete crash if you do that the week before finals.
  6. ABOVE ALL ELSE, REMEMBER: Your grades do NOT make you, you. I’ll reiterate: They do NOT make you, you. A lot of people (myself included) tend to slightly obsess about their GPAs… not that this is ALWAYS a bad thing. But when you practically pin your identity on it, it becomes a HUGE problem. Seriously, some things and some classes/subjects I struggle more in than others, and I took it all so seriously that it had a DEVASTATING toll on my self-esteem, and how I viewed myself as a person (and I already beat myself up enough, as it is…). But seriously, they. Don’t. Make. You. You. A wise young woman once told me, “Just because you got a “C” paper does not make you a “C” student, “C” smart, or a “C” person.” Well said.

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Image Credit:

15 Memes That Summarize Finals Week Better Than Words Ever Could

The Cameraman Can: A Junk Collector Prequel Story

The Cameraman Can: A Junk Collector Prequel Story

He was underwater.

He must have been, because all of the voices he heard above him were muffled. Low. Barely audible, and quite unintelligible. 

The boy felt numb. Numb to the world around him, numb to himself, numb to the talkers, numb to his own identity. Who was he? Where was he? Why couldn’t he see? He felt as though thousands of tiny needles had sewn and pinched his lids tightly shut, and the thought of attempting to wrench them open, even a crack, was mortifying. What if he tore off tissue, damaged nerves and veins, and then was unable to shut his eyes, ever again? What then?

These thoughts drove the boy deeper into seclusion, all the more a recluse from the dark and distant outside world.

“Hey, HEY!” A strong, masculine voice filled his ear suddenly; it had the effect of a megaphone.

Hey, yourself.

The boy flinched, ears practically twitching with sensitivity. Whoever yelled must have seen, because the boy sensed hesitation, then a quieter, “Sorry. It’s just… you okay? Can you try opening your eyes?” Strong arms were lifting him up into a sitting position– he was lying down?–and another equally worried-sounding, deeper male voice said, “Can– Can you open your eyes?”

What?

“You don’t appear to be blind,” said the first voice; the boy detected a hint of amusement in the tone. “So why don’t you open those peepers, and…”

“NO!” The boy thrashed blindly, flailing his limbs about. He couldn’t see, but he could hear, could feel, and perhaps that was enough…

“Hey, hey, hey! Calm, down, kid, I’m not trying to hurt you! We just found you lying in the middle of our woods unconscious, and thought–”

The flailing stopped. The boy’s curiosity overtook his fear, and all in a single abrupt motion yanked open his eyelids.

They were not stitched together, after all.

Light nearly blinded him; he fell back onto earthy, leaf-ridden ground, shielding his face from the novel, unwelcome intruder. The one voice’s owner stood over him, half blocking the sun’s vicious torrent of pinpricking needles. He looked not much older than the boy, mid to late teens, perhaps? He was broad shouldered, hair shaved off the sides of his head, topped with a mop of straight dark brown hair. He had a small, rather short goatee, which he now stroked, crouching low to the boy’s level, as if to better inspect him, bright blue eyes locking his in almost a challenge.

The voice that had come from the boy’s side, the one belonging to the man who had helped him sit, was a much older man with graying dark brown hair; the physical similarities made the boy instantly realize the twosome were related– most likely parent and child.

“How did you get here?” the man asked him. “Why were you out? What happened?”

“Easy, Dad. Give the kid some space. He looks like he’s been out for a while.” When the other boy spoke, his tone was brotherly, bantering.

The boy squinted. “I don’t recall asking either of you for help. And anyways…” he shrugged, “I don’t remember.”

They both jolted in alarm. “Your– Your parents?” asked the man. “They must be worried sick. Do you remember their faces? Names? Where you live, what your house looks like– anything at all?” The boy clenched his eyes tightly shut, starting to wish they’d never been opened. Anything better than interrogation. The only thing ingrained into his mind, into his memory and being, was the forest, the vague shapes of trees, the faint memory of being carried, the scent of… blackberries. Blackberries, rosewater, and pine. He clearly recalled being near something that smelled like that, that it couldn’t have been the forest’s scent, but everything was all blurred; a picture his mind refused to clear, a language it couldn’t– no, refused to– interpret. “Nothing but blurs and shapes of blurs. Then… dark. Lots and lots of black darkness.”

Eyes still closed, his arms encircled his legs, drawing them in tightly, close to his chest. He ducked his head, pinning it downward, towards his stomach. “I was lost in the black, felt like I WAS the darkness, but I– I was drowning in it. Terrified of it. I can’t explain it. I know I had to get out, to get away, but each time I tried…” He fought down a sob in his throat.

“Hey, hey… Chin up, it’ll be okay.” He felt a hand on his shoulder, and risked a brief peek. The other boy was eyeing him sympathetically. “Do you.. remember at least your name? Something we can call you?”

The boy lifted his head, slowly, defiantly, chin out firmly. He scanned his surroundings, taking in everything the way a dehydrated body soaks up every last drop of moisture. He closed his eyes, trying to recall, to remember. Something. Anything.

Brief images flooded his mind’s eye, but he had no idea what they were, what they meant. It was like trying to put together a puzzle with several pieces from several different puzzles. Nothing made sense. Woods. Running. Birds. Sky. Muscles flexing. Falling. A feather. A golden bracelet with pink fingernails. Dim light, accompanied by that same scent. Leaves. Then dark. Dark, dark, dark…

His eyes flashed open, images fresh in his mind, without any understanding or meaning. But still there– a mystery waiting to be unraveling. His mind not giving him any answers, but clues. Little snapshots.

Like a camera. 

Like a Kodiac camera.

The boy shook his head, small dreads swishing around his skull. “Kodi.”

“What?”

“I want you to call me Kodi. Like the Kodiac camera.”

The man glanced worriedly over at the other boy, then back at “Kodi”: “Are you sure you can’t remember your name, son?”

“I can’t,” snapped Kodi, suddenly bristling, “and I’m not your son, old man.”

“Easy, there,” chuckled the other boy, finally extending a hand to help Kodi to his feet. “My old man’s technically the one who FOUND you, after all. I’m Guy, by the way. Nice to meet you.”

Kodi at last recognized the other boy for who he was– not a threat, but a friend. Equal. Brother, even. “Same.” He taking Guy’s hand, Guy hauled him to his feet.

“C’mon, let’s get you outta here– the woods isn’t always safe at night.”

“You’re telling me. 

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Image Credit:

http://benzkphotoshop.blogspot.com/2016/04/preset-bo-97-mau-anh-phong-canh.html

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

As many a character has stated and even questioned, “Are villains really bad? Are they even born bad– or just MADE that way?”

I’ve already gone into antags a bit; now I’m going to elaborate a little on a few specific kinds.

While I won’t bore you to tears with my little rave on the Darkling ( see, In Defense of the Darkling, for those interested), I will say it is a very interesting question to pose in general. After all, what’s a bad guy without character? Would Voldemort be Voldemort if he had a loving wizarding family? Was Sauron always that bad, and why? What would have become of the faction system, and more specifically, the Erudite, if Jeanine Matthews hadn’t taken it over?

As mentioned many, many times before, there are exceptions to humanizing or making sympathetic villains or antagonists: motiveless maligniters and traditional villains being the two primary candidates. Sauron, for instance, is a traditional villain. He’s simply oozing evil out his pores, because, well, just because (I mean, does he REALLY need to have a reason? He IS Sauron, after all…). Similarly, motiveless maligniters are essentially the same thing: their motives are either well-concealed, non-existent, or extremely muddied– so muddied you can’t quite piece together why it is that they do things. It’s so confusing, so perplexing, that there’s little chance you’ll feel for them.

Another kind of antagonist I am particularly fond of is the “Seems like a Good Guy at the Time, But Turns out to Be a Cruel, Villainous Jerk” guy (or girl). (For all you “Frozen” fans, think of Hans…) You may not think it, but these are actually fun to write up; you never know what they may do, and it’s a joy ride for both you and the reader– in fact, if you end up surprising yourself in writing a dramatic bad guy reveal towards the climax or end, there’s probably a pretty high chance you’ve surprised your readers, as well. If you want to write this character, be CONVINCING. This is one villain you want to play the sympathy card with (at the very least, temporarily), so they’ll expect it even less. Make them human. Relatable. Friendly, even sweet, unsuspecting, Machiavellian. Then, when the reader’s and other characters’ guard is lowered… BAM!

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The only real danger with these villains is, however, that they may seem so completely sincere, so devoted to their cause, so human and kind at first, that even when the villainous reveal comes, you may have the readers defending their bad actions in favor of their pasts, and their personas, rather than simply be just shocked and horrified. If you were to write this kind of villain, I’d recommend doing so CAREFULLY (it depends what kind of reaction YOU want from your readers, too.).

Then there’s monsters. No, I’m not talking what you call a cruel but cunning and intelligent villain, though they may seem like it. I’m talking CREATURES. Maybe the antagonist isn’t even human, but a beast– a savage, heartless, mindless beast that thinks of nothing but destruction, its hunger unsatisfied, or even manipulation. Of course, if you wanted an interesting creature as a monster-antag, you could always take a leaf out of Mary Shelley’s book, in Frankenstein. The creature, as he is often called (Victor Frankenstein did not even bother giving him a name. Pathetic.), is very much human, and just wants companionship. The loneliness practically drives him to insanity, and certainly drives him to desperation, and soon he is killing with a vengeance, simply because Victor made him.

Lastly, the criminal masterminds. These are fairly easy to write up, namely because their primary objective is typically to either rule the world, or riches, or both (think Giovanni of Team Rocket.). Criminal masterminds are often wealthy, but not always. You don’t have to have the wealth or manners of a gentleman to be a genius, and you don’t need either to be a criminal. Genius is partly what separates the common thug from the brilliant, extraordinary masterminds. These are the people orchestrating oh so elegantly the conspiracies and grand heists of the century. And getting away with it… until YOUR protagonist steps out onto the scene to halt them dead in their tracks.

Of course, you could always pull an Artemis Fowl, too…

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Image Credit:

http://memeguy.com/photo/75830/misunderstood-disney-villain

https://memesuper.com/categories/view/74deb09ddf50c10eeed212fb0a3654da5e25269e/plot-twist-memes.html

Blog Updates: Summer Plans, Blog Post Ideas, General News

Blog Updates: Summer Plans, Blog Post Ideas, General News

This is just a post to let you guys know what’s going on this summer, and ask for any ideas/ recommendations you’d like me to blog about.

Sadly, these next couple of weeks the most writing I will be doing will be academic (cough… finals… cough…), but until then, ideas will continue to stir and simmer beneath my brain’s surface– a bubbling cauldron of opportunity and potential. Which is why I ask now: What would YOU like to see me blog about? More spiritual/Scriptural/mini sermon-type things? Fangirly blog posts, fan theories, etc.? Life stories that are inspirational? Letters from Eikon, as well as the rest of the gang? More reviews? More blogging stories similar to “The Junk Collector,” and “The Deceiver”? A Q &A, or even an advice column? Be sure to sound off what you think in the comments; I welcome all constructively critical comments, suggestions, new ideas, and advice. 🙂 I don’t have a particular preference on what to write, as long as I’m not forced to write something dull, ultra-romantic, or super-academic… (academic papers should be limited to the school year, period. That’s what I say, anyhow.)

On ANOTHER note… Yes, I will have more free time on my hands this summer than during this semester, but will still be fairly busy. This is due to me having an internship with an indie publishing company as an editor (YAY for experience and credits!!!), an independent study class with my adviser/brilliant Writing professor, Dr. Williams (it’s called, “Building a Novel,” class… AND I get credits for it. 😉 Couldn’t ask for a better deal!), and working for a summer camp within walking distance of my place, as kitchen help (I need money for an Israel trip I’ll be taking with a class over this Christmas break). On top of all that, I’ve already gotten a request from a former piano teacher of mine to help look over and edit one of HER books (I’M GETTING REQUESTS ALREADY, GUYS!!! SO EXCITED!!), chilling with friends, etc. But I am certain I’ll be able to make time to blog at least a couple times a week, so no worries. You haven’t seen the last of me… Bwahahaaaa…

That aside, not much else is happening, except the usual stressing about finals, when I’m going to take books back to the bookstore, and so forth. But hey, that’s the typical college student for you. (Only, I don’t go get coffee or alcohol to drown my woes in.) Other than that, I’ve been super-hyped for several of my personal favorite Etsy stores, as well as the bookish store, “Behind the Pages”. These people are seriously talented. They make beautiful bookmarks. They make candles, perfumes, body lotions, body soaps, sugar scrubs, and lip balms that SMELL like your favorite characters. (I almost literally kissed the Darkling. Several times. #Ihaveproblems) I kid you not. Bookified from Etsy specializes in writing you letters from all your favorite fictional characters IN THEIR OWN VOICES (and trust me, she is GOOD at it). PagesnPolish is an Etsy store that has been on break for a while, but will be opening up again in a week or so, and she does NAIL POLISHES BASED OFF BOOKS AND BOOK CHARACTERS!!! AND she’s coming out with new ones the instant she reopens!!

…You ought to have gotten the gist by now of why I’m a poor college kid.

Oh, and since I’ve been blabbing about it for a while now– and I apologize fervently for not giving you guys the link sooner– our book, “The Oddities of Room 34,” is now available on Amazon for buyers. It’s relatively cheap at the moment, only a little over $3, so hurry and get your copies now while supplies last… or before we jack up the price. 😉

Trust me, it’s a good deal, though. I’ve read and helped workshop all the stories, they’re all fabulous. Sure, there’s a creeper story in there, but for the most part you will be wonder-struck, amazed, and glued to your cozy reading chair, hankering for more.

https://www.amazon.com/Oddities-Room-34-ENG-344/dp/1545273448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492803886&sr=8-1&keywords=the+oddities+of+room+34

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Image Credit:

http://www.pokemonpets.com/Shiny-Vulpix-Pokemon-Pokedex-2037

In Defense of the Darkling

In Defense of the Darkling

 

*cue the crickets and me getting awkward stares*

wrongwithmegif

OK, OK, confession time… I do this really weird thing where I often put up my defenses about a certain fictionalized character with a bad or semi-bad rep, and act like I’m trashing them, when deep, deep down, I secretly have a bit of a crush on them. THEN the crush emerges eventually, full steam ahead, and part of me feels like I need to recant every single, stinking thing bad I’ve said about them. I mean, one part of me’s going,

facepalmgif

Whereas the selfish, boneheaded, kinda dark and kinda “I want whatever I want” persona (aka my Id/Subconscious that I CONSTANTLY need to keep under a deadbolt, lest all havoc break loose) has a reaction that’s more like,

babiesgif

(I’m guessing you probably did NOT see that coming, on MY blog, of all places…)

It ’tis the sad, sad, newly exposed truth that I do indeed have this inner war embroiled inside of me, when I should be giving all of me to God, the One Who made me and loves me dearly. But then my inner fangirl kicks in (especially with darker, more enigmatic, more sympathetic characters like the Darkling and N from Pokemon), and there’s usually very little you (or I) can do to stop the current from flowing.

So what do I do?

justkeepswimming

…. But again, I digress. (I tend to do that a lot, in case you haven’t already noticed.)

Anywho, so today Imma show some sympathetic love to one of my favorite villains of all time (and who Alina totally does NOT deserve to have), Mr. Darkling, himself (who no one at this point can totally tell that I’m slightly obsessed with 😛 ).

No, I am not going to make a list, as much as I adore them, because the Darkling is too cool to have a list. Instead, I’m going to give you just some general feedback to why I think people ought to be more sympathetic. In a human, moral, Christian way, of course.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not at ALL condoning his actions. I’m not denying he has done some pretty horrible things, like killing/torturing (certain) people, in a very Machiavellian way, BUT I am also not denying that he is a VERY human, and obviously very broken character. We humans ALL struggle with sin and our inner guilt (some are more obvious than others). The biggest concern I had for the Darkling was his pride; it’s the greatest of the Seven Deadly Sins, and there is some merit to the old saying, “pride goeth before the fall”. That, and the fact that basically he was corrupted by political power– that just confirmed my conservative Libertarian beliefs that political power corrupts pretty much any human being it touches, even those with the best intentions (and believe me, the Darkling started with good intentions. He just wanted his people to be safe, be cared for, not hunted like wild animals, and showing that they were just as useful to their country, if not better. Not a bad motive to necessarily start with.). But even the Darkling must have realized at some point that the whole power thing was going to drive him nuts with corruption eventually, and it seems that, deep down, he DIDN’T want that. Therefore, he decided, a balance was in order. Similar to our “checks and balances,” so one side of the system doesn’t go all hog-wild power-crazy.TeamDarkling

That hopeful balance’s name was Alina Starkov– the Sun Summoner. Like, literally, she isn’t just a political balance, but a natural balance, as well. The light to his dark. The yang to his yin. The jelly to his PB. You get the idea.

So, we have a broken and beautiful guy, who wants a balance so he’s not outta control, is incredibly lonely even for a Grisha (since he is nearly one-of-a-kind in his abilities) and just freaking WANTS A BUDDY (not just another almost brainless follower, a buddy, an equal) TO LOVE AND BE LOVED. I mean, he’s been feared and fought over for his power his WHOLE FLIPPING LIFE, with the only known love reciprocater being his Mommy Dearest, who goes around smacking people around with her stick whenever she feels like it, and who also egged him on in his pride. Sheesh. No wonder the poor guy’s got issues to begin with.

That also brings me to the first of two theories. See, during the general trilogy, the Darkling, like most Grisha, holds a kind of general distrust, wariness, and overall personal superiority over otkazat’sya, or normal people who AREN’T Grisha. But why? I mean, I get that Fjerdans burn them as witches, Shu Han carve them up because they believe their blood/organs to be magical or whatever, and the Kerch sell them as slaves, BUT… here’s my main point… NOT all otkazat’sya are like that. And I think at one time, he may have realized that. You see, in Bardugo’s “Demon in the Woods: A Darkling Prequel Story,” it is revealed that, when he was an awkward young teen (yes, it IS hard to believe, but bear with me on this, please), during his temporary shelter-hopping life with Baghra, they come across a Grisha camp around the Fjerdan borders. There, he kind of befriends a young Tidemaker, Annika, and her little otkazat’sya sister, Sylvi (think six or so years old). It is implied that Sylvi might be the GT’s version of Harry Potter’s squibs. But she neither hankers for the Darkling’s power, like her sister eventually does (which forces him to kill her in an act of last resort self-defense), nor is she terrified of it. Instead, she is fascinated, enjoying touching the inky darkness that pools from his hands, and almost looking up to him in a sense, pretending to be Grisha after he saves them from cruel bullies, specifically one like him, saying that she wishes to “learn how to do that.” The Darkling actually seems pleasantly surprised at this, like this is the first time it’s happened. Sylvi surprises him even further by inquiring about his likes and dislikes, such as his favorite colors and foods– evidently, no one’s ever bothered even asking him before, or getting to know him at all. But, sadly, it is unlikely the two ever saw each other again after the Annika and Lev incident, where the two tried fighting over him, to kill him for his amplifying power– and both getting cut down, literally, themselves. Still, it begs the question of why he prefers Grisha to otkazat’sya. 

However, if we look at his conversation with Alina about them, we may find answers. At one point, he questions her “taste” for otkazat’sya, asking if it was because she thought at one point SHE was one; she fires back with a question of her own, asking if he’s always held disdain for them. He answers that he doesn’t disdain them exactly, but understands them to the point that he knows they will die off much sooner than long-living Grisha, and their minds are easily turned against them. This, along with Bardugo’s clever slipping in of Alina wondering how many people he has mourned in his long, long life, if that number included any friends, if at all, or even a wife. So here’s my theory:

He had an otkazat’sya friend he was very, very close with, perhaps even a girlfriend or a wife/lover. Maybe he was like Alina with Mal, only for an otkazat’sya girl, and knows, deep down in his heart, that it didn’t work out. That she grew old and died, and he kept living, and that realization shook him to the core. But I think the same appeal of Sylvi would have stuck with him; they wouldn’t have been able to use his amplifying power, after all,  unless they were able to capture him and sell him off to the highest Grisha bidder to be killed. Who knows? Perhaps Sylvi stayed in touch with him somehow, and they were able to still maintain and grow in their friendship (he would’ve had to keep the truth of his sister’s death a secret, though… Although, now that I think of it, maybe that’s what happened. She learned the truth, grew to hate him for it no matter what he said in his defense, and left him all alone. #FANFICIDEA).

So, he’s in a predicament. He feels he can’t trust otkazat’sya at this point, obviously, but he’s always under fire with fellow Grisha, because if they so much as brush against his arm/hand, they’re sure to feel the surge of power within them, realizing he’s a living amplifier. Between that, and wanting to rule the world (or at least Ravka and the surrounding countries) for the sake of his hunted people who some of which may want to kill him (as well as various kings and otkazat’sya assassins) , he needs a plan. An associate. Someone he can be himself around, start to trust and gain confidence in, an equal in power, who can sit on the dais next to him.

Again, enter Alina.

The primary problem with her is, she’s already crushing on a guy– an otkazat’sya, Mal. Who in my own opinion is not worth the bat of a lash. (I mean, c’mon, if she so much as mentions the Darkling and tries to confide in him in the hopes of him supporting her, what does he do? He brawls with Grisha, sometimes drunk, sometimes not. He goes and kisses Zoya. Then he gets drunk on kvas when Alina needs him most, practically passes out because of his non-commitment and “I couldn’t care less” selfish attitude, and WHO shows up to support her, instead? I repeat, WHO? That’s RIGHT— THE DARKLING!!!!!…. Who, BTW, to make her feel better even comes in to be with her LOOKING like Mal, to help ease her distress, to a– albeit slightly creepy–degree. OK, OK, personal rant over.) So he’s willing to forgive/overlook more betrayal on her part, but is very willing to kill Mal to get what he wants, and feels he needs (not simply out of vengeful jealousy). Alina is one of the rare people who even remotely looks at him for who he is as a PERSON, but is usually torn between that, and all the crimes he commits because she runs off and leaves him, half the time thinking of him as a monster. This is a confusing, contradictory, double-sided, and incredibly hurtful way to to think of someone. It takes very little imagination to realize what he must have felt.

darkling3

In short, the Darkling is an incredibly powerful, immensely lonely, beautiful, broken person who is desperate. Desperate for a companion, desperate for love, desperate for his people, desperate for power, but also desperate to control himself– knowing he can’t do it by himself. If he were real (and this situation might or might not get awkward eventually), I would seriously be tempted to just HUG him, BECAUSE SO MANY FREAKING FEELS (That probably would not end well. At the very least, if he didn’t use the Cut, he’d probably get an Oprichnik to peel me off him.) . I’ve been there before, been so lonely and depressed it’s nearly killed me. If I was that devastated in just a few short years in early high school, I can barely imagine what it would do to a 120 year old Grisha, give or take a few years. It’s surprising he’s held up even that well, honestly, especially considering he doesn’t believe in God.(Which also kills me, but hey, Bardugo’s a secular author, so what can you do?)  But maybe that’s the reason he let Alina (spoiler alert) stab him at the end.

Another surprising fact or two about him: He has a big sweet tooth (yaaaaaasssss), and no, his favorite color is NOT black, but rich reds, deep blues, and a golden-ish yellow, like sunlight (another bonus of being Alina’s possible friend).

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Anyways, that brings me to sum up with a final thought and a theory: No matter what anyone thinks of him, the Darkling is still very much a HUMAN character. He does horrible, terrible things, yes, but really– what or who PUSHED him to sin? We are all born with a sinful nature, yes, but usually there’s a bit of a trigger, an instigator or two. As I’ve shown, the Darkling had at least a few possible instigators. And again, I’m certainly NOT condoning any of his horrific crimes (though we would do well in remembering he often chooses to make empty threats to get the job done, as well as a few legit threats that he does follow through with), merely pointing out that he’s a broken, but very human, sinner.

Now to the theory, the most infamous GT of all time…

The Darkling may have faked his death, and put a substitute corpse on his pyre, similar to Alina. 

While there is implication his death *may* have been genuine (Bardugo has stated that some certain deaths in her books were very much permanent, although we should note that she DID NOT SPECIFY, as well as stating that there were a LOT of uncertainties at the end of Ruin and Rising), we would also do well to recall that this is the Darkling we’re talking about, with AGES of experience in faking his death under his belt. Besides, we don’t know who it was who arranged “his” body on that pyre, to make it look so nice, etc. for him. Whoever it was must have cared about him, or at least feared/respected him, to a degree. Additionally, Bardugo mentioned in a separate interview that, to quote Nikolai in the instance of him possibly having survived, that it was only IMPROBABLE that he survived, and NOT impossible. But, between that and her earlier quote that certain deaths are permanent, it is honestly hard to know which to believe… So if I were to ever meet her in person, you’d BETTER believe I’m going to ask her that!

Also, we should recall the infamous, very hyped up quote about the Darkling, via Siege and Storm, “Darkness never dies”. 🙂

teamDarkling1

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Image Credit:

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-grisha-trilogy/images/37781820/title/team-darkling-fanart

https://www.tumblr.com/search/yes%20i%20would%20have%20his%20babies%20gif

http://www.reactiongifs.com/picard-facepalm/

https://giphy.com/search/wrong-with-me

Pinterest– the Darkling and the Grisha Trilogy

Pinterest– lbardguo–Fan Art and Swag!

 

Reasons Why Attending College is Like Attending Hogwarts

Reasons Why Attending College is Like Attending Hogwarts

I hope you guys don’t mind, but one thing I’m going to be doing a lot more on my blog is posting not only more reviews, and more story posts, but also more random, fangirl-y posts. These often will be quite sporadic, so keep your eyes peeled… Because you never know when my inner geekette may zap the internet next…

fangirlgif1

You know how I was talking a while back about how Hogwarts houses can actually directly correlate to certain PokeDex Holders from Pokemon Adventures? Well, a few months ago, my roomies and I were talking HP, since we all like it, know about it, and one of said roommates is a MAJOR Potterhead. (We’re talking totally geeked-out Hufflepuff. In a kinda good, very… interesting sense. LOL) Another one of my less fangirl-y roomies mentioned how, despite Hogwarts have middle school to high school aged kiddos in it, most real middle and high schoolers can’t really relate to Hogwarts. Much. Whereas in college, or university, you get the much fuller sense of being at a place similar to Hogwarts. And the more I thought about it, I thought: She’s right.

And then: That idea totally belongs in a blog post. 

Yet-Here-We-Are

Sooooo, without further ado, I present to you, all of the ways that we college/university kids are like Hogwarts kids!!

  1. Sorting/Departments. OK, you can’t EXACTLY call declaring a major “Sorting,” but in a sense, it comes pretty close. Even during the Sorting process, the hat often takes into account the wearer’s wishes and personal preferences, so even if they’re indecisive, it helps them to decide. Once their house is picked, so is their dorms, their table, and who they will, for the most part, have classes with. Don’t get me wrong; at college/university, majors of ALL shapes and sizes share dorms, lunch tables, SOME classes, etc. But English Literature Majors discuss the great works of Shakespeare with fellow English Lits, Writing, and English Education Majors; Chemistry Majors work on blowing things up with other Chemistry Majors; Marketing and Business Majors converse and conspire with one another to get you to buy things– you get the general idea. Even though you’re not forbidden (obviously) from making friends outside your major (for instance– I’m a Writing Major, with two Engineering Major, and one Student Ministry Major, roomie(s).), you tend to gravitate more towards the people you have the most in common with, the people you’re most likely to see in very similar classes a LOT. Granted, we all take Gen Eds, so you’re bound to run into people you wouldn’t normally see, but for the most part, it’ll be familiar faces. sortinggif
  2. The Head of Department/ your Adviser is essentially the same thing as a Head of House– in a way, at least. Think of having Professor McGonagall as your adviser, or Head of Department. Now THAT would be amazing. (Not that you aren’t already the bomb.com, Dr. Williams 😉 ) mcgonagallgif
  3. Speaking of which, in both colleges/universities, AND Hogwarts, you call teachers by “Professor,” rather than “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.”, or “teacher” (the last would be incredibly awkward to call a professor/teacher to their face, whereas you can call a professor just, “Professor,” and they will still likely respond– unoffended. ). 
  4. In colleges/universities, as well as Hogwarts, it is often students’ first real experience in living independently. Visiting the surrounding towns/cities on weekends? Check. Staying in with friends/roomies? Check. Learning how to be an independent adult? Check. Doing homework almost constantly? Check. Getting involved in future- beneficial clubs and a host of activities to keep you busy? Check. HPfriends
  5. Branching out and meeting new people from different areas, different walks of life, or even the world. Ron and Hermoine were from different parts of the country than Harry; it was unlikely that they would’ve met at all if Harry had not to Hogwarts. The Patil twins are from India, and Cho Chang is implied to be Chinese. At my own college, we have a somewhat racially diverse group– I’d say about 75% white American, 25% other. The “other” includes blacks, Malaysians, Koreans (or a few Korean Americans 😉 #Molly), a New Zealander, and even a Japanese student or two. I’ve heard Spanish been spoken a few times by those fluent in it on campus, as well some Asian languages. Simply fascinating.great-hallgif
  6. You can often (though not always) discuss controversial topics with professors, without getting shut down for it. Harry was able to discuss the Chamber of Secrets with his, and many professors (though there are a good bit, unfortunately, who tend to shy away from such topics due to political correctness– happened to me with a secular history professor at a local community college.) are able and willing to discuss religion and politics… two pluralistic no-nos in high school society.snapegif
  7. You’re treated more like an adult. Even at Hogwarts, sometimes younger kids are given big responsibilities. At college, you are given these responsibilities and are expected to act on them as an adult.

Are there any other ways you can think of Hogwarts being like college/university?

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Image Credits:

You can now enjoy a magical Valentine’s Day dinner in the Hogwarts Great Hall

https://giphy.com/search/harry-potter

http://www.viralshack.com/tumblr-love-praise-for-professor-mcgonagall/

https://www.tenor.co/view/sorting-hat-harrypotter-gryffindor-hogwarts-gif-4929271

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=204317430

http://wallpapercave.com/harry-potter-desktop-backgrounds

Sibs

Sibs

Isaac is the third

Musketeer;

Born initially with intent

Of some cheer;

Soon converted to

Devilish distraction,

Liking trucks and tractors

Along with much

Crazy, boyish action.

Knives, guns, and camo

Fill his days

While he runs off all over the place,

Acting ever the saucy knave.

 

Owen was

Numero dos,

Born a year apart

From Yours Truly,

We are usually somewhat

Close;

From trains and transformers,

To video games galore,

We always joke about

How he’ll be in debt,

‘Cause he’s “Owin’ Moore”.

 

But first and foremost:

My partner in crime,

That never even got to live

Their time

Outside our mother’s womb.

Conceived with me, yet

Set sooner free

Into God’s loving Arms

Are they.

Until I go home,

and I spy God on His throne,

I know that we shall meet

Someday.

 

Happy National Sibling’s Day to my brothers Owen and Isaac, and also to my dearly beloved twin. To the formers, I love ya both even though you guys drive me nuts in your own immature, boyish ways. Isaac, I know at least a part of you loves me and respects me, even though your dumb manly pride forbids you to express any such sentiment. Owen, even though I pressure you to do things and sometimes ask you to lend me moola when I’m broke, know I love you. Even when you say or do out of place things, even when you struggle to express what you’re feeling. I would not go to the lengths to try to do you all these little social and academic favors if I didn’t care about you.

To the latter, since I’ve no idea if you’re another brother, or perhaps an elusive sister, I am still honored to call you my twin and my family. I know you’re probably looking down from heaven at me right down, but if not, know I love you and am trying my best to live life to the fullest here on earth, since I was the only one out of the two who made it. Best wishes and blessings; give my love to Boopy, Dolly, all the hamsters and rabbits, Grandpap Joe, Grandpap Guy, and Rita Kreger. 

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Image Credit:

http://www.wilsonfamilychiropracticmn.com/