5 Fandom Friday: Five Magical Potions to Always Have in the Cupboard

We already covered Fictional Foods That We Want To Try in an earlier post, but fantasy offers us even more interesting options when we look at potions. Let’s face it, if we had access to effects like these, we would keep them stocked at home for when we need them!

With that in mind, I’d like to share Five Magical Potions to Always Have in the Cupboard.

#1 – Lucy’s Cordial from Father Christmas

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Lucy’s Cordial from the Chronicles of Narnia requires only a few drops to restore health to someone on a battlefield, so even though it probably falls into the category of a standard health potion, it certainly lands on the powerful end of the scale. For me, the most important potion to have on hand is a healing potion, and I have always wanted this one after having The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe read to me as a child.

#2 – Felix Felicis

Harry Potter

Sometimes, you just need a little luck! Felix Felicis (aka Liquid Luck) can be toxic if used in high doses as it can cause extreme recklessness, but if you use it sparingly and only when needed, you are likely to be successful in all of your endeavors while under its influence.

Screen capture by @NWPlayer123

#3 – Energizing Elixir

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Imagine being in the middle of an exhausting task and suddenly regaining stamina as though you had just begun. The Energizing Elixir from Breath of the Wild comes in handy when you’re climbing a cliff or swimming, and having easy access to this potion in the real world could give you just what you need to finish what you started when fatigue sets in.

#4 – Draught of PEace

Harry Potter

The draught of peace can soothe anxiety and calm agitation. You could use it yourself when you feel stressed about public speaking or a frightening situation, or you could share it with your loved ones when they just need a moment of peace from their worries and cares.

#5 – Morgause’s Tracking Potion

Merlin

Technically, the tracking potion was used by the bad guys (namely, Morgause and Morgana), but you could use it for good! I get uneasy when someone wants me to follow them instead of giving me directions to our intended destination, and this would make it as simple as following their trail. Assuming it worked on animals, you could give one to your pet to see just what they are getting their little paws into.

Honorable Mention: Egg Shen’s Potion

Big Trouble in Little China

“Drink this, you will see things no one else can see. Do things no one else can do!”

 

These are just six potions from a handful of properties, and we’re sure that there are plenty more excellent choices. In the comments below, please share what you would always keep in stock!

You can check out all of our past 5 Fandom Friday posts here, and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions for future topics!

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My 7 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

The end of 2016 and the entire year of 2017 have been times filled with changes for me. I’ve graduated from uni with a Master’s, travelled to New Zealand, started a Ph.D and am currently on the job hunt, trying to build a career during my Ph.D. In other words, I found myself with more time on my hands than in the previous years and I did what I’ve always wanted to to in the past: read more books. Looking back at the quantity and quality of the books I’ve read, I can happily say that 2017 has been a good year.

However, 2017 was a year filled with an abundance of physical purchases. I’m trying to live my life as much under the principle of minimalism as possible. For me, minimalism means to only surround myself with things that serve a purpose (eg.: kitchen supplies) or things that I absolutely love. I’ll delve more into the struggle of trying to live a minimalist life while also loving to collect things in a future post. For now, I can summarize that whereas I’ve spend most of my money in the past on travel, I’ve spend all of my money on physical possessions in 2017.

I don’t regret my purchases for the most part, but a part of me wants to go back on the road at least once in 2018. In order to do that, and since I don’t have a steady job at the moment, I need to save money. Now, my desire to travel is not the only reason I want to spend less on books. For the most part of my adult life, I’ve fallen into the trap of collecting books, but never being able to read all the books I’ve purchased. There were times were I owned more unread books than read books. In 2017, I’ve noticed how I’ve fallen back into that trap. Now, there is nothing wrong with having unread books, but I want to own more read than unread books.

As a way to keep my bookish purchases more in control (& an attempt to save money), I came up with 7 bookish resolutions for 2018. So let’s take a look at them, shall we?

My 7 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

1.Buy less physical books
Rather self-explanatory, isn’t it?

2.Buy a physical book only after having read 3 physical books you already own.
I’m not trying to kid myself by putting myself on a complete book-buying-ban. I know I couldn’t stick to such a ban. However, I want to reduce the number of unread books. So I decided to allow myself to buy a book only after having read 3 existing physical books I’ve purchased in the past but never got around to reading. I hope this rule will inspire me to read more from my book collection.

3.Loan more books from the library.
My university library isn’t the biggest nor the best out there, but it has a decent collection of books published in the English language (my preferred language to read in). So if I really want to read a book, I’ll try to get it from my library before purchasing it.

4.Buy only a Tolkien related book after having read 5 physical books (Tolkien or non-Tolkien)
I think the sole reason I don’t call myself a minimalist is my ever growing Tolkien collection. I love Tolkien and his works and I love collecting books and other things related to Tolkien and Middle-earth. However, I want to be more conscientious about my collecting habit. So instead of completely banning myself from adding stuff to my collection, I’ll try to have it more controlled. Knowing that Funko will release another batch of LOTR Funkos, it’ll be a bit of a struggle. I don’t want to punish myself in any way if I fail a rule. However, I do want to re-evaluate my purchases and minimize my purchases as much as possible whatever that means.

5.You can repurchase an e-book as a physical book only when you gave it at least 4 out of 5 stars.
For the most part, I want to limit my bookish purchases to e-books. However, I do want to own my absolute favourite books as physical copies at some point. So with rule number 2 in mind, I’ll slowly repurchase some of my favourite e-books as physical books.

6.You can only buy an e-book after having read 2 existing e-books.
E-readers are a great thing. With only a click, you can read a book after a few seconds of waiting. The bad thing about e-readers is that with only a click, you can read a book after a few seconds of waiting. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more tempted to randomly buy a book as an e-book because it is so easy, fast and doesn’t really feel like I’ve spend money. Quickly, small sums here and there can accumulate to a greater sum. So in an attempt to keep my e-book purchases in check, I’ve came up with this rule. The exception to this rule a free e-books.

7.Read more out of your comfort zone.
I really want to widen my horizon and knowledge so I need to force myself to read more books out of my comfort zone. For fiction, this means that I’ll try to read more authors I haven’t read before. For non-fiction this means reading more books on science and history. Also, whether fiction or non-fiction, I’ll also try to read more books that were written authors from, or published in, countries outside of Europe and North-America (my preferred reading horizon).

This will be an interesting experiment, for it really feels as if the outcome is uncertain, for me. I want to have regular check-ups throughout the upcoming year and discuss how my progress is going. However, I’m not sure how often I want these check-ups to be. Maybe I’ll do them every 3 months, who knows.

What about you, how have your reading habits changed in the last 12 months? Do you have any bookish resolutions for 2018? Leave a comment down below!

5 Fandom Friday: Five Fictional Songs That We’ll Never Hear

As part of their world-building, many fiction authors, especially writers of fantasy and science fiction, pen songs that are sung by their characters. These can proclaim the great feats of heroes or simply be pub songs filled with nonsense. Fortunately, the lyrics to these pieces are written down for many a fan to set to music and create their own renditions.

But what about songs that have no lyrics? Some songs are so beyond words that the author might describe them for the reader, but because the moment is so bizarre or sublime, they could never be truly recreated.

We’d like to dedicate this Five Fandom Friday to Five Fictional Songs That We’ll Never Hear.

#5 – The Song of the Quarkbeast

The Last Dragonslayer Series by Jasper Fforde

Lily: Jennifer Strange is the main character in The Last Dragonslayer books, and she has an unusual pet, even for this universe. Well, “pet” might not be the correct term, because she couldn’t get rid of her Quarkbeast even if she wanted to. A Quarkbeast is a quantum type of being often described as: “One-tenth Labrador, six-tenths Velociraptor, and three-tenths kitchen food blender.” When two opposite Quarkbeasts meet, they start to sing their mating song. Oh, and when they touch, there is an explosion of enormous force.

If you were to hear the song of the Quarkbeast, it would likely be the last thing you ever heard:

“Others who have heard it are now little more than dust. But if I was about to die, then I was glad to have heard the song. It was lonely — one of lament, of unknown knowledge. A song of resignation, of poetry given and received. The small movements that the Quarkbeasts made as they padded around each other altered the hum so subtly that it sounded like an alto bassoon, but with one single note, infinitely variable.

“But it wasn’t a song of peace, love, or happiness. It was a requiem — for all of us.” (Chapter 24: Risk of Confluence, The Song of the Quarkbeast)

#4 – The Songs from the Alien Planet Rakhat

The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell

Maria: In Russell’s novel, the SETI program at Arecibo Observatory discovers radio broadcasts of music from an alien planet in a distant galaxy in 2019. This mesmerizing music then triggers events that lead to a group of humans travel to the planet Rakhat and the first human-alien contact.

Earlier this year, I finished this novel and it may or may not have entered my top 10 novels of all time. I’m not sure if I reeeally want to hear the music of the alien race Jana’ata knowing the full story (hooo boy hoo boy), but the very idea of hearing music from an alien race is too tempting. Maybe, during my lifetime this might come true… who knows.

#3 – Song of the Dragons

Dragon Age

Lily: When the darkspawn find an Old God and corrupt it, transforming it into an Archdemon, it leads them in an attack on the surface world. The darkspawn mostly dwell underground when they are not raiding Thedas, always searching for other Old Gods. They are drawn to their location by the song of the dragons.

Unlike the rest of our list, you would think that a video game would provide an opportunity for a player to hear this song, but at best, we only catch distorted fragments. These can be heard in the form of nightmares that grow more frequent as a Warden is tainted by the darkspawn blood they consumed at The Joining, their initiation ritual.

The Grey Wardens are not be envied, because when the song reaches its crescendo, they must participate in a ritual known as The Calling in which they descend underground to kill as many darkspawn as possible before being slain in battle. If not, they are ultimately doomed to join the ranks of the foes they fought so long and so hard against.

There was a stir within his blood
And the dreams lay thick upon him.
A call did beat within his heart.
One road was left before him.

(Codex entry: Shred of Blue)

#2 – The Song of Earth from the Campaign to Save the Humans

So Long, and THanks for All The Fish by douglas Adams

Lily: In the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the dolphins of earth sing “So Long and Thanks for All The Fish” before they bid the humans farewell prior to Earth’s demolition. The book So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish, however, describes a gift-wrapped fishbowl that turns up at Arthur Dent’s house with those famous words engraved on its beautiful silver-gray glass. When he is finally clued in by Wonko the Sane to hold it up to his ear, he hears a beautiful song of the Earth’s destruction and its ultimate restoration. And it goes a little something like this:

“The deep roar of the ocean.

The break of waves on farther shores that thought can find.

The silent thunders of the deep.

And from among it, voices calling, and yet not voices, humming trillings, wordlings, and half-articulated songs of thought.

Greetings, waves of greetings, sliding back down into the inarticulate, words breaking together.

A crash of sorrow on the shores of Earth.

Waves of joy on–where? A world indescribably found, indescribably arrived at, indescribably wet, a song of water.

A fugue of voices now, clamoring explanations, of a disaster unavertable, a world to be destroyed, a surge of helplessness, a spasm of despair, a dying fall, again the break of words.

And then the fling of hope, the finding of a shadow Earth in the implications of enfolded time, submerged dimensions, the pull of parallels, the deep pull, the spin of will, the hurl and split of it, the fight. A new Earth pulled into replacement, the dolphins gone.

Then stunningly a single voice, quite clear.

‘This bowl was brought to you by the Campaign to Save the Humans. We bid you farewell.'” (Chapter 31, So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish)

 

#1 – The Music of the Ainur

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. TOlkien

Lily: The Ainur are the first beings created by Ilúvatar (aka Eru), and they originally sang for him in solos or small groups. Eventually, Ilúvatar brought them all together, gave them a theme, and compelled them to sing Great Music in harmony together to create the world.

“Then the voices of the Ainur, like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets, and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, began to fashion the theme of Ilúvatar to a great music; and a sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the heights, and the places of the dwelling of Ilúvatar were filled to overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void.” (The Music of the Ainur, Ainulindalë, The Silmarillion)

Of course, Melkor just had to go off-key, creating discord and dissonance, bringing turbulence and violence and war. So, it might not exactly be your kind of jam.

 

Can you think of any other songs from fiction that would be impossible for us to actually listen to? Please share them in the comments below!

You can check out all of our past 5 Fandom Friday posts here, and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions for future topics!

Reading Habits Tag

It is no secret that, over here on Travelling Geek Show, we love books and tag posts. So when I stumbled upon this ‘Reading Habits Tag’, we couldn’t resist. I stumbled upon this very old tag somewhere in the depths of Youtube and was surprised at how much I enjoyed watching people talk about their reading habits. If you’re curious about our reading habits, then keep reading!

Reading Habits Tag

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
Alice: I love to read in bed, but also at my desk. I have a very comfortable IKEA chair that’s perfect to stay there for a long time.

Maria: It’s either my bed or my reading nook. I tend to read in the evenings, shorty before going to bed so most times I end up reading in bed. However, throughout 2017, I’ve lowly, but surely create a reading nook for myself. Well, actually it is a Tolkien reading nook.

P1120218

Maria’s reading nook

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Alice: I prefer using bookmarks, but only if I’m reading for pleasure. I’m not sure why, but when I read books for University, I tend to sticky page flags rather than actual bookmarks.

Maria: I used to be a ‘random piece of paper’ – kinda gal, but over the years I’ve accumulated some beautiful bookmarks which I’m now using. Personally, I prefer bookmarks with elastics that keep the bookmark in place no matter how much the book gets thrown around

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
Alice: I usually tend to stop reading at the end of a chapter because it makes it easier to remember where I left for me.

Maria: Usually, I tend to stop reading after a chapter. Unless I’m very tired and that chapter is very long! In that case, I’ll just stop reading anywhere.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
Alice: Nope.

Maria: Most of the time, yes I eat or drink while reading. Reading is a relaxing hobby to me so a good cup of tea alongside some biscuits is a must!

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
Alice: Nope again. I hate listening to music or TV in the background. I don’t mind noises, but only if I can’t hear words, otherwise I would be completely distracted.

Maria: That depends. I can’t watch TV anymore while reading, but I can listen to a certain type of music while reading. In general, I can listen to any genre of music as long as there are no lyrics and singing involved. Having song in the background where a person sings is too distracting or me.

6. One book at a time or several at once?
Alice: I would always choose one book at a time, but sometimes I find myself reading more because I prefer carrying the Kindle in my bag during my commute rather than a bulkier physical book. However, I know for sure that I’m going to read one book at a time during the Holidays since I’ll be at home.

Maria: I wish I could say that I read only one book at a time, but I tend to read two or three at once. At the moment I’m reading China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station and are listening to Bram Stoker’s Dracula on audiobook on Youtube.

1c5e533d6b4b8ee21454e4e5999c92c9--bram-stokers-dracula-notebooks

7. Reading at home or everywhere?
Alice: While I prefer reading at home, I also do it during my commute and everywhere I have the chance.

Maria: Mostly at home since I get too distracted outside. However, whenever I read outside, then it is either in a park or in a café.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?
Alice: Silently, hands down.

Maria: Reading silently. Reading out loud takes too much time and is too exhausting for my voice.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
Alice: I don’t like skipping pages, to be honest, I don’t see why I should do it.I don’t like skipping pages, to be honest, I don’t see why I should do it.

Maria: No, I don’t read ahead, nor am I skipping pages. When I want to know what is happening later on or want to know how a cliff-hanger is resolved, I simply check Wikipedia.

Alice_Reads

Alice reads

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
Alice: I’m pretty proud of myself for taking so much care of my books. I love to keep them like new and I never enjoyed when my mom read my books because she always broke the spines, ugh. That’s probably the inner librarian in me.

Maria: I love breaking the spines and I’m not ashamed of it. If I’m about to disappear today, my books with broken spines will be a testament to what I loved. People can pick any random book of my shelf and tell which book I’ve read and how often. Which brings me to the next question…

11. Do you write in your books?
Alice: Only if they are books for school. One of the reasons why I love my Kindle is that I can highlight stuff without damaging my books.

Maria: Yes, I write in my paperbacks. Now, hardbacks, especially collector’s editions are somewhat tricky, but I love to highlight passages in books (with actual highlighters). I also love to annotate my books while reading them for the same reason I love breaking the spines of paperbacks: I want to engage with books to the extend that they become an extension of myself. So in decades to come, when I’m an old granny, my children or grandchildren can pick up my books and get an insight into the person I was.

12. Who do you tag?
Maria: I know I do this all the time, but I tag anyone who wants to do it. Whether you just want to answer one particular question or do the entire tag, go ahead. Either leave as a comment with your answers or leave a link to a post of yours with this tag!

5 Fandom Friday: Five Villains We Secretly Love

Whether they are physically alluring, compelling to watch, or simply misunderstood, we all secretly have villains that we actually root for.

We’re keeping up with the spirit of Five Fandom Friday with our own prompts, and this week, we are daring to admit to Five Villains We Secretly Love! Do you see any of your favorites on our list?

#1 – Lucius Malfoy

Harry Potter Series

Maria: Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t deny Lucius’ evil side, I’m also not sugarcoating his views. In our world, he’d be an arrogant racist, and I’m all against that. Having said that, I cannot deny that Movie Lucius is such a dandy that he is almost on parr with Gilderoy Lockhart. Everything about movie Lucius in the early films is just so extra, so over the top that I cannot help but love him and feel for his character in the last films as his life starts to unravel.

#2 – Eris

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Lily: I loved the movie Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas when it came out, but it wasn’t entirely because of the heroic deeds of the protagonists. Eris, the goddess discord, was so entrancing to watch that I was always excited to see her. This is largely due to the interesting effects used to create her smoky appearances and movements (Eris is a combination of a hand-drawn character with added 3D effects).

She just wants to add a little chaos into the world, and she happens to use mortals as her playthings. But if you use her own rules to beat her at her own game, she accepts it…rather gracefully.

#3 – Wilson Fisk

Daredevil

Lily: The first time we meet Wilson Fisk, he is about to put himself out on a limb to ask a woman out on a date. He’s nervous and vulnerable, and I instantly felt empathy for him. His backstory is revealed throughout the first season of Daredevil, and we learn that a catalyst for his violence was wanting to protect his mother, a noble motivation. In his mind, he is the hero — like Matthew Murdock, he sees himself as the caretaker of his city. He just turns into a scary, calculating rage monster to make his vision happen.

#4 – Bart Curlish

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Lily: She’s crazy. She’s erratic. She’s hilarious. She’s deadly. Bart Curlish is the opposite of Dirk Gently in that she’s a holistic assassin and is meant to kill whomever she kills. And she has killed a lot of people. But never the wrong person.

Just like Eris, I was always looking forward to when this character would show up, even if her motive (“Kill Dirk Gently”) runs counter to the rest of the show. Honestly, sometimes I really wished for her to fulfill her mission just because I wanted her to have that win.

#5 – Gollum/Sméagol

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings

Lily: When we first meet Gollum in The Hobbit, he’s a menace and an obstacle to be overcome (though the riddle game between Gollum and Bilbo is my favorite scene in the whole Hobbit movie trilogy). It’s in The Lord of the Rings that we become sympathetic towards him, or at the very least, can find him pitiable. He is single-minded from the moment he sees the ring, but it is his moments of compassion for Frodo that hearken back to the simple creature he was before the One Ring corrupted him. However, without that corruption, he would not have been able to empathize with Frodo.

He’s a complicated character, to be sure, but when people ask me about my favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings, Gollum is always in the top ten.

 

Did we leave any of your favorite villains off of our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments who we missed!

You can check out all of our past 5 Fandom Friday posts here, and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions for future topics!