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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Lily Reads Comics – The Power of the Dark Crystal Volume 1

In an effort to help me catch up on some fantasy films I had managed to miss out on, my friend Yusuf (@Morgul_blade) introduced me to The Dark Crystal. I really enjoyed it, and like so many of the others on my assigned viewing list (e.g. The Black Cauldron), I was a bit sad that I never saw them as a kid, because I knew I would have cherished them.

In my recap, I remember telling Yusuf that I could really see the film as a comic or graphic novel and that I’d be really excited to see what BOOM! Studios was doing with it in their series of comics. Well, being the great pal that he is, he sent me The Power of the Dark Crystal Volume 1!

The Power of the Dark Crystal is based on screenplays by Craig Pearce, Annette Duffy, and David Odell. The 12-part comic series is written by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Kelly and Nichole Matthews, and lettered by Jim Campbell.

The Power of the Dark Crystal Vol. 1
Cover by Jae Lee and June Chung

Having had literally no idea what the book would be about, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t simply a rehash of the story from the film (though honestly, that would have been fine with me). This tale starts many years after the events from the movie; it has been a century since Jen and Kira healed the cracked Crystal and banished the terrifying Skeksis. The first pages show a shining Crystal Castle and a seemingly thriving land of Thra, but I was immediately put on edge when I saw piles of offerings around the Crystal.

Many of our favorite characters and creatures are back — Jen and Kira, Aughra, Fizzgig, Gelflings, Podlings, Landstriders, and more — but we are quickly introduced to someone so completely new that even the Gelflings don’t know of her kind’s existence. Thurma is a Fireling whose people live in a fiery realm near the core of Thra. She has traveled to the castle to ask for help from the Gelflings, but her entrance doesn’t exactly go smoothly. While she sneaks around evading guards in search of the Crystal, she sees the greedy and unsympathetic side of the Gelflings.

Kensho is an exception. When a Podling family is turned away from the healing light of the Crystal, Kensho offers them his birth stone as an offering. Seeing this, Thurma supposes, “Perhaps the Gelfling aren’t so bad after all…” Eventually, these two strike up a friendship, but it is immediately tested when Thurma asks permission from the newly awakened Jen and Kira to break the Crystal to save her people.

We learn throughout the book how it was that Kensho came to serve as an acolyte at the Crystal Palace. Unbeknownst to the kindly Jen and Kira, a blight has been despoiling the countryside for years. When Kensho’s village came to seek the healing powers of the Crystal with no offering, he selflessly offered his service, allowing his loved ones to be revived. When Thurma hears this story, she reminds him of his willingness to do anything for his people and how she took her mission for the same reason. This thread connects them but can also divide them.

I try to keep my posts as spoiler-free as possible, so even though The Power of the Dark Crystal Vol. 1 covers six comic issues and half of the story, I’m going to conclude my summary of the plot by saying that the world of Thra is rattled, and we can only surmise how the prophecy will be fulfilled:

“When feeble shines what once was bright
And secret spheres succumb to night —
If inward passes the slivered light
One world dies
Another made right”

(Talking with Yusuf made me realize that even though I think that I know what the prophecy alludes to, prophecies are always tricky things!)

The writing in this book was really enjoyable, and I felt that the dialogue struck a good balance between an homage to the film (in the form of Jen and Kira, especially) and fresh language that introduces a new era and characters.

The artwork was beautiful, and I can’t say enough good things about the thoughtful ways that Thurma’s fire was portrayed. It can be a reflection of her mood but also provide comedy as this misfit Fireling copes with being in a different physical surrounding. There were also some gorgeous panels that took advantage of motifs from the movie without being confusing or difficult to read.

The Power of the Dark Crystal #2
Variant cover by Sana Takeda

This novelized version included the single issue covers as well as variant covers and other art that hearkened back to the design aesthetics used in the films. I loved it all, but I’m sure that long-time fans would appreciate those pieces even more.

The single issues are still being published (Issue #9 was released last Wednesday), and Volume 2 comes out in hardcover on April 28, 2018. I hope you’ll check it out for yourself because I think it is a worthy sequel and legitimately wonderful on its own.

 

I’m excited to keep reading and keep sharing comics with you in my ongoing series Lily Reads Comics. I’d love your feedback on any particular books that I’ve reviewed and how I could provide more value with my reviews (a rating system? book by book synopses?). And of course, I’d love to know your thoughts on The Power of the Dark Crystal Volume 1!

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!

November Favorites

After watching many YouTube videos, we decided it would be nice to celebrate the past month sharing our favorite things as well. So here we are with our favorite things from November!

Alice’s Favorites

Tea. My friend (and fellow Travelling Geek) Maria sent me my favorite kind of tea, the English Breakfast, as a birthday present and I enjoyed it so much during my long afternoons spent researching for my thesis.

Narrowing down the number of apps I use. I love apps and I love planning, so I ended up collecting a considerable number of productivity apps on my phone lately. I love to geek out about them in a couple of Facebook groups and I always read geeky posts on how people stay organized, but I had to declutter my phone. I decided to keep just the ones I actually used on a regular basis and it feels so good!

Nonfiction November. Maria and I both joined the reading challenge called #NonfictionNovember and hosted by two booktubers: Olive of ABookOlive and Gemma of Non Fic Books. This year the theme where Home, Love, Substance, and Scholarship, and even if I didn’t manage to read a book for each category, I’ve been very happy with my readings. I will definitely do it again next year since I love reading non-fiction books!

Birthday presents. I wrote a whole blog post about it here. This year I’ve been spoiled with so many beautiful books!

Stranger Things. I’m not a fan of Horror and scary movies at all, but everybody online recommended me to watch Stranger Things so I decided to give it a try and OMG! I loved the show! I didn’t watch it last year, so I had 2 whole seasons to binge-watch and now I can’t wait to see the third one. I was so impressed by myself because I don’t usually get so excited about TV shows these days, but this one was so incredibly good that I couldn’t stop watching.

Lily’s Favorites

My first set of dice. I have played Dungeons and Dragons a few times, but since I was usually just tagging along with a roommate, boyfriend, or husband, I always borrowed someone else’s dice to play with. I’ve joined a new group at my local comic book shop, so it was about time I got some for my very own! The two D20s are a zinc alloy with yellow finish from Ultra Pro’s Heavy Metal series and the 7-die set is the Lustrous Shadow with gold design from Chessex. I love them!

Piglet mug. Piglet is one of my favorite Disney characters, but he doesn’t seem to be as popular as some of the other Winnie the Pooh cast. If he does appear on merchandise, it’s likely with Pooh or the rest of the ensemble. That’s why I snatched this up mug as soon as I saw it!

Norse Mythology audiobook read and written by Neil Gaiman. I realized that I had several books on my Amazon wishlist that were also available in audiobook form, and you know how much I like audiobooks. Like other Neil Gaiman books, he narrates this himself, so I knew I had to check it out. Plus, it’s great to feel like I’m joining in the oral tradition of the Norse tales.

 

 

 

 

How was your November? What are your favorite things of the month?