This is the point where I confess that Howl’s Moving Castle is my favorite Miyazaki movie by far. They’re all good! But I connect with Sophie on a deeper level. If you’ve yet to read the book, get ready to have the experience of the movie turned up to eleven. Sure, it’s not as soft or as serious, but believe me when I say you will not miss it. Obviously the movie is iconic, but the book characters are on a whole other level. Thanks for coming to my ted talk. Here are some memes.
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Who doesn’t want to be very very old? Sure, hypothetically the curse is a punishment, but Sophie clearly finds it as liberating as I would. Meek little Sophie Hatter starts breaking into magic houses and bullying demons. Talk about a glow up. In the book, Howl tries to lift Sophie’s curse, but her own magic keeps it in place. It really goes to show they’re a good match. She’s ridiculously stubborn and he’s just ridiculous. Still, we stan, and I think we can all relate.
It’s What he Does
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This might be the hottest take I’ve ever seen. Of course he bites her hair. It looks like stardust! And what does Howl do to stars? Eats them. You’d think he’d learn his lesson. Unless you’ve seen the movie, read the book, or heard about literally any of his choices. Learn his lesson? This is a man who literally will not stop ghosting immensely powerful witches and then running away. The mistakes are endless. She looks surprised here, but I don’t think anything can surprise Sophie anymore.
It’s a Different Vibe
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I’m not going to get all ‘the book was better’ on you because I absolutely adore both, but book Sophie is an honest to god force of nature. When she gets mad she kills an entire garden. It’s sort of the spiritual opposite of Howl’s slime meltdown, I guess, because it’s productive, but still absolutely ridiculous. Just talk about your feelings instead of throwing dramatic magic everywhere! You guys are too powerful to be this messy.
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Sure, education is important, but at what cost? What is it about just going to class that ages me fifty years? I can’t be alone. Maybe it’s the fluorescents, maybe it’s learning, maybe it’s the fact that I’m too lazy to wear my glasses at home, but there’s a sharp contrast. I don’t even need a witch to curse me. Just tell me I have sixty pages to read in two days and I wither like the witch of the waste trying to climb the stairs. Stay strong, and don’t use school mirrors.
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True story, every day for about a month I walked past a closed popup, but it’s banner was still outside and described it as ‘a slime experience’. Who would want that? Howl, apparently. I’ve had some hair dye gone wrong, and I’ve been dumped, but never have I flooded my entire living room and half of Porthaven. He just hired Sophie, she just got everything clean, and now he pulls this? Still, it’s one of the most memorable scenes, and characterizes Howl pretty powerfully without any explanation needed.
They’re big and terrible. They’re small and cute. They’re at once terrifying and majestic. Dragons have been an enduring fixation of literature pretty much ever since storytelling was invented. They can take many forms in narrative, from simple monsters to evil but intelligent villains to helpful allies to god-like divine beings. But one thing is clear: dragons are awesome and they’re extremely fun to read about. Here are the top 10 best books featuring these fire-breathing behemoths, showcasing dragons of every shape and size in all their glory for your viewing pleasure.
10. ‘Tea with the Black Dragon’ by R.A. MacAvoy
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Tea with the Black Dragonby R.A. MacAvoy is a Hugo nominated fantasy novel that has a classic premise: girl meets boy and boy turns about to be a dragon. Martha’s daughter, Elizabeth, is in trouble in San Francisco and Martha hurries into the strange city to help her missing child. But when she arrives, the only person who knows where Elizabeth might be is the mysterious stranger Mayland Long. Did we mention Mr. Long can transform into a dragon? Its up to these two to find Elizabeth, even as Martha begins to feel romantic feelings for her newfound dragon companion.
9. ‘Three hearts and three lions’ by Poul Anderson
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Three Hearts and Three Lionsby Poul Anderson tells of a man transported into a world of fantasy. Holger Carlsten is a Resistance fighter fighting against the Nazis during World War II but when he’s wounded in battle, the luckless engineer finds himself transported to another world. Against a medieval backdrop, he finds himself in a battle where the forces of Law fight against Chaos. Monsters abound this land, including werewolves, giants, trolls, faeries, and yes: dragons. Revered as a Champion, Holger must take up arms and join the brave knights, ready to slay some dragons (alongside other fearsome beasts) as the leader of the forces of Law.
8. ‘His Majesty’s Dragon’ by Naomi Novik
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His Majesty’s Dragonby Naomi Novik tells a historically accurate account of the Napoleonic Wars, with an added twist: dragons! Yes, this is an alternate history novel where dragons are used as the main force of combat, adding a thrilling new element to the tides of war sweeping Europe. When Captain Will Laurence finds an unhatched dragon egg, his life is turned upside down when the dragon hatches and imprints on him. Joining the Aerial Corps, Laurence and his dragon, Temeraine, must take to the skies to defend Britain from France’s own dragon armies.
7. ‘The Great Zoo of China’ by Matthew Reilly
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The Great Zoo of Chinaby Matthew Reilly is basically Jurassic Parkbut with dragons! For years, China has been keeping the existence of live dragons a secret but is preparing to unveil them to the world is the first ever dragon zoo. A small group of V.I.P.s are brought into the zoo to see the beasts first hand and inspect the safety of the place. Because, surely, nothing can go wrong? Right? Just kidding. Get ready for tons of action and lots of dragon destruction when things spiral out of control.
6. ‘Tooth and Claw’ by Jo Walton
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Tooth and Clawby Jo Walton is a unique twist on dragon literature. Told from the point of view of dragons themselves, this is a world of politics, family, and relationships but instead of humans, everyone is a dragon. In a society where the weak are literally eaten and the strong thrive as tyrants, this is a story like no other, as it showcases what the reality of a dragon’s world is truly like.
5. ‘The Hero and the crown’ by Robin McKinely
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The Hero and the Crownby Robin McKinely is a rich young adult novel full of feminist themes and a terrifying dragon as the main antagonist. Aerin is an outcast in her own kingdom, a woman looked down upon for being rumored to be the spawn of a witch. Determined to earn her birthright, she decides to slay a dragon but modern dragons are a far cry from the terrible beasts of old. They’re just vermin and although certainly formidable, they’re nothing but pests. Until the day a knight rides into the castle and reports the return of a great dragon from the old days. Maur, said to be as big as a mountain, has returned and is ransacking the kingdom. Seeing her chance, Aerin rides off with only her horse as a companion to face Maur and slay him.
4. ‘Dragonsbane’ by Barbara Hambly
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Dragonsbaneby Barbara Hambly focuses on a young prince who must join forces with a retired dragon slayer and a witch who can’t use her magic quite right. Joining forces to form a ragtag dragon slaying “crew”, the trio must journey forth to slay the terrible beast or die trying.
3. ‘Dragon Keeper’ by Robin Hobb
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Dragon Keeperby Robin Hobb tells of a resurgence of dragons into a world that hates and fears them, yet might need them to save it. Telling of a young boy who travels up river to find a dragon egg in order to breed more dragons to defend his land, they find a set of newly hatched but injured baby dragons. With the help of quirky companions, the boy must ferry these dragons their new home across the wilds, with no hope of return but everything riding on his journey back.
2. ‘Earthsea’ by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Earthseaby Ursula K. Le Guin needs no introduction. Some of the most acclaimed works in fantasy literature, the world of Earthsea features a unique setting (an island archipelago) and people of color as the protagonists. Dragons are a huge component of the setting, from fearsome Western style monsters to more refined, almost Eastern style of creatures. This is one series that is a classic for a reason and you should dig into for certain, especially as a dragon lover.
1. ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Hobbitby J.R.R. Tolkien began many a person’s love of dragons and fantasy. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit who enjoys a comfortable life when he finds himself yanked from his sleepy little town by the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves. Together, they set across Middle-earth to seal the great dragon Smaug’s treasure from his lair in the Lonely Mountain. Smaug himself is an inspired creation and the highlight of the book but the rest is a classic adventure tale and one that will surely please any fantasy lover even today!
Jane Eyre is a wonderful, compelling book. It’s also silly, competitive, and bonkers insulting. Let’s make it even sillier with the best the nonsense internet has to offer.
So you get this job in the middle of nowhere. Sure, they didn’t give you a lot of details, but at least nothing else is weird about it, and your new boss is super nice. Your name is not Jane Eyre.
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Life’s hard for an orphan, but Jane isn’t really one to complain, she kind of just takes it as it comes. It’s just as well, because even aside from her aunt hating her, people don’t seem to feel the need to be very nice to her, even our ‘hero’ and the rest of the people she meets at work.
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But boy do they. And she does too. Get some self confidence, girl! Sure, Rochester might not flirt like a normal person, but that’s no reflection on you. Being constantly downtrodden doesn’t mean you can’t live your best life! Why, when I was your age, I hadn’t received any proposals of marriage, and you have two! Sure, one is your cousin, and the other is already married, but ‘plain’ is either false or irrelevant. Mostly.
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We need a spin off. Did anyone else have about a million questions about Blanche? She’s pretty and popular, sure, and Rochester nearly marries her, but from Jane’s perspective, she’s sort of a force of nature. Personally, I want to know more.
It’s like things can never be easy for Jane. Even when she gets what she wants it goes sideways.
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So fun! Sure, it’s a bit of a rocky start, but marriage is complicated. I think those crazy kids can make it. Probably. If there’s something crazy that brings them back together. But what are the chances of that?
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We’re talking ARSON. We’re talking FALSE IMPRISONMENT. We’re talking BLINDNESS. How does Rochester feel so guilty but also act so cold? The man’s an enigma. Guilty as he may feel about Bertha, though, he moves on fast. You didn’t have to be so weird this whole time, man! You could’ve been happy!
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I’d love to know what’s going on in that guy’s head. I sort of picture it like beauty and the beast where he’s just angry in some room alone, slamming doors.
Lot’s of ups and downs, but all’s well that ends well (is this a happy ending?), I guess.
Jaime has come a long way from his early days on Game of Thrones. He began as a villain on the show, so devoted to an incestuous relationship with his sister, Cersei Lannister that he did terrible things, such as pushing Bran Stark out a window, thus crippling the boy for life. But as the series progressed, he began to move down a path of redemption, growing as a person through his interactions with Brienne of Tarth and being further humbled through the loss of his hand. Jaime proved himself as a person capable of change, of growth, while Cersei doubled down on her own inner flaws and became a fully fledged tyrant. Both siblings began to drift apart, clearly showing Jaime as a fundamentally better person than Cersei (though that is not hard.) All signs pointed towards Jaime becoming a hero and this seemed to be confirmed in his last scene with Cersei in Season 7. Cersei had just been shown absolute proof that the White Walkers were real and coming to kill everyone in Westeros. She seemed to ally with Jon Snow and Daenerys to fight the oncoming threat but later revealed to Jaime that she was lying, hoping to weaken her enemies and claim the Iron Throne unopposed.
Jaime was horrified by this plan, so much so that he rode away from King’s Landing and joined with the forces of Winterfell this season. His arc seemed to be reaching a happy conclusion, especially with him and Brienne consummating their mutual attraction to each other.
Until, well, all that character development suddenly did a swan dive off a cliff.
Jamie and Cersei’s relationship had clearly fractured, broken by the paths their mutual character development had taken them down. Jaime’s path had evolved naturally to make him a better person, which is why it was sudden and jarring when he appeared to do a 180. After bedding Brienne, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, Jaime left her in the middle of the night, told her how ‘hateful’ he was while claiming his devotion to Cersei, and rode off to be with her in King’s Landing. This could have been seen as perhaps a lie, a trick, or setting up for Jamie to even kill Cersei as had longed been hinted at but nope! In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, The Bells, Jamie dies in the arms of Cersei while claiming his love to her before they’re both buried in the collapse of the Red Keep.
This felt wrong. Jamie should not have returned to Cersei. Their relationship had naturally broken over the course of the series and for them to embrace each other as if nothing had ever happened between them, as if their mutual paths meant nothing, just feels like honestly a slap in the face. Jaime deserved so much better than what he got in the past few episodes, where he seemingly forgot all that he had learned, endured, and seen in favor of dying with the woman he had grown to hate. Perhaps this could have worked if more time had been devoted to showing why Jamie still loved Cersei, why he was willing to abandon his friends to go back to her, but thanks to the rather rushed pace of this season, it comes out of the blue and seems to ignore the character’s internal logic.
Jamie’s arc had naturally pointed to him rising above his twisted beginnings and becoming a good man. And he almost did! But at the last minute, he just reversed back to his origins in Season 1. A lot of the characterizations in Season 8 have been rather wonky but Jamie’s especially stings, as it feels like the writers just chose to ignore his redemption arc for no real reason. Jamie keeps claiming he loves Cersei, even though we’ve seen that clearly isn’t the case anymore. But instead, he dies a rather pathetic death, buried under a pile of rocks with the woman who mere episodes ago he was disgusted by. It was an insulting end to one of the show’s best characters, especially one who had evolved so far and shown so much more depth than what he appeared to be at first glance.
What were your thoughts on Jamie’s characterization this season? Tell us in the comments!