“There’s no-one like Krum”: Celebrity Culture in Harry Potter

I was lying in bed the other night, trying to lull myself to sleep by re-watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when I noticed something about Ron in that book/film. It’s only a sort of sub-plot of the story, and one I’ve always kind of glossed over in my mind, but it stood out to me more in my sleepy, hazy head-space for some reason. Ron is obsessed with Viktor Krum!

At the Quidditch World Cup Ron is ecstatic to see Krum play as seeker for the Bulgarian team and when Krum arrived at Hogwarts for the Tri-Wizard tournament Ron was dumbstruck. There are, naturally, celebrities in J.K Rowling’s immersive and fully formed wizarding world and Krum is probably the one we learn the most about.

Personally, I find Viktor Krum a particularly interesting character because he is an incredibly successful and famous athlete whilst still being a student at the Durmstrang Institute. If Harry holds the record for youngest Gryffindor seeker in a century, surely Krum must have a few of these unofficial titles to his name as well! Despite his celebrity status, Krum travelled to Hogwarts along with his peers in order to take part in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. This resulted in him spending a lot of time in the presence of normal wizards, including one of his biggest fans Ron Weasley.

Krum’s role in The Goblet of Fire is, largely, to be a plot device. He fuels Ron and Hermione’s ongoing romantic tension and ends up hexed in the maze in order to clear the path to the Tri-Wizard cup for Harry and Cedric. Putting his role in the actual tournament aside, Krum’s impact on both Ron and Hermione is an interesting one.

Perhaps unrealistically, Krum sets his sights on the quiet, pensive Hermione Granger (who has her head in a book 80% of the time) instead of on one the hoards of girls following him around everywhere. His quiet and understated demeanour means that Harry and Ron do not find out about his relationship with Hermione until the Yule Ball. Instantly Ron, who had previously adored Krum (and famously stated: “There’s no one like Krum! He’s like a bird the way he rides the wind! He’s more than an athlete! He’s an artist.”), now immediately despises him for bringing Hermione as his date to the ball and, in doing so, shattering both his assertion that Hermione is completely undesirable and desperate for a date and his own ego (because we all know he would’ve been more than happy to go with Hermione).

ron

This characterisation of Krum is clever in that it humanises a celebrity and reveals his desire to live a quieter and less glamorous life through his choice to pursue Hermione. He frequently displays his sincerity through acts such as rescuing Hermione from the Black Lake in the second challenge and asking her to write to him one he has left Hogwarts. Despite Ron’s newfound hatred of him, Krum endears himself to the reader/watcher.

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Ron’s reaction to Krum, however, adds depth to Rowling’s depiction of celebrity culture. It demonstrates that fans put their idols on pedestals. They expect them to be perfect at all times. Ron expects that because Krum is a brilliant seeker that he will be equally as brilliant in every aspect of his life. Quickly, however, when Krum does something that damages Ron’s pride he reverses his opinion and decides that Krum is now “the enemy” rather than an “artist”. In doing this Rowling suggests that when you hold somebody to such an unattainable standard you will always be let down when meeting them in reality. Ron’s experience, despite being entirely self inflicted, left him jaded and disappointed.

On a positive note this experience worked out pretty well for Hermione. She bagged a date with a celebrity and also pissed off Ron doing it, which I imagine is one of her favourite past times 🙂

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Hope you enjoyed this silly post!

Until next time,

J x

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inverness sunset, scotland sunset

Life Update – New Flat, Diet and Summer Work

As you can tell from the title there’s fun times to be had all round here.

Uni is officially finished and as relieved as I am about that (here’s hoping I passed everything) you know the old saying, when one door closes another door opens. Except in this case it’s less “get’s rejected for a job but then finds dream job” and more “last exam is over okay now time for a few months of unrewarding work because you need the money”… “oh and it’s also time to go on a diet”.

So today was my first day at my new temporary job and, to be fair, it was actually a lot better than expected. I worked a few jobs last summer that I absolutely hated: one involved standing beside the reception desk from 9-5 every day and not being allowed to sit down or even do anything like answer the phones and another involved straightening clothes on a rack for 9 hours a day in a cold tent. So getting to sit at a desk in a large atrium and answer a variety of queries (as mundane as it may sound) is actually a vast improvement!

I have also undertaken what is possibly my biggest shift in lifestyle EVER this past few weeks. I’ve gone from eating the worst I’ve ever eaten to probably almost the best. Instead of pizzas multiple times a week I’m not having salad for lunch every day and a low calorie dinner with a LOT more exercise in between. Here’s a small sample of my new menu, not exactly instagram worthy, but maybe wordpress worthy.

healthy snack, apricots

That, my friends, is a snack I had one evening. It’s brown toast with DIABETIC JAM (i’m not diabetic, just trying to cut out sugar) and 3 apricots. Sorry for picture quality this picture was taken in the evening with only my dull lamp as lighting.

I’m really curious about what everyone else is up to this summer? Perhaps it’s a bigger change for me than most because I’m living on the academic year rather than the calendar year at the moment, so summer is really my transition time. I’m not going to keep this diet up forever, but I do want to take elements of it with me when I move back to Glasgow in September.

Speaking of which my cousin and I have secured a new flat for next year! It’s SO much nicer than the one we’re in now (aka not infested with mice) and has a large kitchen which will allow us to cook more! Here are some pictures in a snazzy little slide show:

 

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Despite not having as many friends, bars and cafes around (and not to mention less free time) being back in Inverness does have some good points. It’s bloody lovely here and I think sometimes I forget that. There’s a lot to be said for being able to walk just about anywhere and have stunning scenery all around!

inverness sunset, scotland sunset

I know this post wasn’t about anything much but I just thought I’d write a little something to signify the start of the summer 🙂

What are your plans this summer?

Until next time,

J x

this road is red alison irvine review

Books about Glasgow: Past and Present

The title of this post is probably a slight misrepresentation of what I’m going to talk about today. I’ve recently read 2 different, unrelated books about/set in Glasgow. One was written in 1992, Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (Click here!), and one in 2011, This Road is Red by Alison Irvine (Click here!). So when I say “past and present” I really mean “not really written that far apart in the grand scheme of things” but let’s just brush over that.

Poor Things – Alasdair Gray

poor things alasdair gray review

I recently read Poor Things for one of my English courses and then wrote on it in my exam (let’s not ponder that too much). Despite it having been published in 1992 the bulk of the book is set around the late 19th – early 20th century. It is the memoirs of Archibald McCandless and his experience with an old friend and his wife Bella Baxter. Without spoiling too much he describes how his friend and physician (Godwin, cleverly named I imagine) found a pregnant woman after a suicide attempt and salvaged her body and the brain of the fetus and created, essentially, a new human being from the two. Archibald then met and fell in love with this woman, Bella, despite her having the mind of a child. After McCandless finishes telling his story and we find, has died, Bella is left with the manuscript and adds her version of events on to the end.

The book won both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1992 and has been acclaimed for its intertextuality (frequently compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and full of Gothicism). Personally, I found it an engaging read and whether you’re from Glasgow or not I would recommend it. If you are from Glasgow though, you’ll recognise many of the landmarks referenced throughout the book, such as Park Circus and Charing Cross.

This Road is Red – Alison Irvine

this road is red alison irvine review

This book, in my mind, is decidedly more modern than Poor Things. It is set from the 1960’s to the late 2000’s, the majority of the lifespan of Glasgow’s Red Road flats. The flats garnered a lot of attention over the years, being the highest residential blocks in Europe when they went up and becoming an infamous slum in their later years. It’s no surprise that now, after they’ve been demolished, they remain culturally and historically significant.

I enjoyed this book so much. It contains so many different, interwoven, stories (almost in the style of Love Actually). Each of the stories is full, well rounded and interesting which makes each chapter of the book refreshing and exciting to read. Again I’d recommend this book wherever you are from. Simply as a work of fiction I rate it quite highly, but knowing that it is grounded in reality makes it all the more captivating. The book was also shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year award at the Saltire Society Awards in 2011.

I hope you enjoyed this little book post 🙂 if you’ve read either of these books or have any other suggestions please comment below!

Until next time,

J x

Amsterdam

Last night I returned to Glasgow from my short break to Amsterdam. I’m now sat on a train going home for Easter so I thought since I have almost 4 hours to kill I may as well write a blog post documenting the trip!

On the night we arrived we went to a restaurant for dinner and then decided to go walkabout. The first, most obvious, thing about Amsterdam is that it’s GORGEOUS. The architecture is so unique and pretty.

Amsterdam BuildingsAmsterdam Buildings
Walking around the city at night was quite an experience. The city is buzzing yet serene at the same time, depending on which street you turn down and Amsterdam’s intricate canal system means that there are beautiful rivers and bridges at almost every turn.

Naturally, we were all quite excited to try out one of the (many) coffee shops. So we looked around for a while and eventually ended up in a shop called “The Greenhouse”. If you’re going to Amsterdam and want to try a coffee shop I’d highly recommend that one. The walls were coated with pictures of celebrities in the shop: Rihanna, Drake, Miley Cyrus and Eminem among the many others. It was loads of fun and the atmosphere was great! I wasn’t supposed to take pictures in there but before I was told that I managed to sneak a picture so here you go, the “menu”.

Amsterdam Coffee Shop Menu
We tried super lemon haze, it was pretty nice. Fun fact, there’s a set amount of lisences in Amsterdam for coffee shops. No new ones are produced and the only way to get one is if you know someone who doesn’t want theirs anymore. The lisences essentially get passed around. They can, however, be taken off people on the grounds of misuse so for that reason the number of coffee shops in Amsterdam is ever decreasing. There used to be around 600, now only 200. So if you want to smoke weed go NOW!

On the second day we went on a walking tour around the city that lasted around 2 and a half hours. It was amazing and maybe my favourite part of the holiday! Our tour guide was amazing. If you’re going to Amsterdam (or somewhere else in Europe) and want to go on a scenic, interesting walking tour I highly recommend SANDEMANS (Link here). It was SO informative and I’ve come away knowing so many interesting facts about Amsterdam and also with some lovely pictures.

Red Light District ChurchAmsterdam Walking TourAmsterdam CanalAmsterdam City GatesAmsterdam University
The first picture is of a church in the Red Light District. I know what you’re thinking, seems like an odd place for a church? Well apparently back in the day sailors used to go to the church for a confessional after visiting the Red Light District. Or, if they were sailing out early the following morning, they sometimes even professed their sins before they’d even committed them! “Forgive me father, for I am about to sin” were our tour guide’s words.

Speaking of our tour guide in that second picture is our awesome guide Robb showing us the plaques on the buildings that used to be used instead of either house numbers or family names (can’t quite remember) to identify who lived where.

The fourth is a picture of the old city gates and the fifth is of the local university.

After the walking tour we went for lunch at a traditional Dutch restaurant with a friend we had met on the tour and ate Stamppot. It was delicious.

Dutch Food

Afterwards, we walked to the Van Gogh museum (on his birthday no less). Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photographs in there so I have none to share, but there was an amazing and vast collection of paintings and I’d recommend the museum to anyone.

Later that evening we went to another coffee shop and out to a bar for some drinks. It was a great night and we got home at about 4am.

Amsterdam Coffee Shop
Obligatory weed picture.

Edibles Weed
Sorry about the snapchat filter on this picture but my friends and I tried space cakes and it was great fun so I thought I’d share a picture. The shop also had the most incredible fruit juices available and I tried lychee juices, amazing.

On our second day we did went to two museums. I really wanted to go to the Anne Frank House but unfortunately we forgot to book in advance and the queues were about 3 hours long. I will DEFINITELY be returning to go and visit that though, it’s on my bucket list. The museums we did go to were the sex museum and the Amsterdam cheese museum. Cultural.

Personally I thought the sex museum would be a bit more artistic and informative (about the history of sex/sexuality) than it was. It was a bit more of a novelty museum than expected. Here are some pictures.

Amsterdam Sex MuseumAmsterdam Sex MuseumAmsterdam Sex MuseumAmsterdam Sex Museum
As you can see, a lot of dicks.

After the sex museum we headed to the cheese museum which was pretty cool to be honest! There were a lot amazing cheeses to try and I ended up buying a bit of goats cheese. There was also a bit downstairs for you to dress up as farmers and get a picture, so… here you have it.

Amsterdam Cheese Museum
You’re welcome.

Our friend Calum came out to visit us that evening. He’s doing a semester abroad in Arnhem. We decided we would try truffles which are also legal in the Netherlands. Honestly, they were potentially the weirdest experience of my LIFE. We went to a park which we later found out was called Flora Park. It was stunning and we sat on a bench there for hours and hours just talking absolute rubbish. There’s no way I can put into words what it was like unless you’ve tried truffles before but it was the most high I have EVER been by miles.

Flora Park AmsterdamFlora Park AmsterdamFlora Park Amsterdam

Flora Park Amsterdam
The park really was beautiful, there’s another picture on my Instagram if you want to see more Click here. After hours of being too high to do anything other than sit and admire a park, cry with laughter and then morbidly consider our own existence in the world (you know there’s a chance life is just a simulation?) we finally managed to act normal enough to go for a pizza.

The following day we travelled back to Scotland, exhausted and sore from all the walking.


It was an incredible holiday, one I’ll never forget. I hope you enjoyed reading about it 🙂

Until next time,

J x

The Travel Tag

Hello!

I was recently tagged by Mew (her blog is really cool go have a look, https://love-mew.com/) to do the travel tag. It seems like a fun tag and because I love travelling and am going on holiday in a few days I thought now would be the perfect time to write it! Hope you enjoy!

1. What is your favourite place that you have visited?

Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

I went to Prague in August 2014 with some of my friends. This was my first proper holiday (not just down to Glasgow for the weekend) with my friends and it was absolutely amazing. Prague had the perfect mix of restaurants, nightlife, beer gardens and beautiful architecture. It was the perfect place for us to go on holiday at that particular time as well, we’d all just turned 18 so we could drink legally! It was also really cheap out there, you got so much for your money!There were so many cool attractions in Prague like paddle boating on the river…

Prague

Exploring the local attractions…

Prague

and, of course, checking out the famous ice bar!

Prague Ice Bar

2. If you could visit anywhere tomorrow where would you go?

Perhaps it’s a popular choice but it’s been on my bucket list forever, New York City! A few of my friends have been to New York over the years and I am just SO jealous. I want to eat in all the cool cafes in Manhattan, try real New York pizza, go to the top of the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Centre building. I want to visit Liberty Island, Broadway, Central Park, Times Square and the Met. The list could go on, I’d like to spend weeks there to properly explore everything and get the full NY experience!

3. Would you rather go on a city holiday or a beach holiday?

Don’t get me wrong there are awesome things about both beach holidays and city holidays, but for me at the stage of my life I’m in at the moment there’s no doubt in my mind that my answer is city holidays. There are just way too fascinating, culturally rich cities so close by to go see. So far I’ve been to quite a few interesting cities: Prague, Krakow, Paris, Bruges. There are so many more on my list though such as Budapest, Berlin and Rome to name a few.

Krakow Poland

Krakow, Poland

Eiffel Tower Paris

(as I’m sure you all know)
Paris, France

Brugge Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

4. My top 3 holiday essentials are…

SUN CREAM

The worst mistake you can make is going on holiday without sun cream because if you get burned you will remain burnt and flaky for the rest of your trip (should also probably mention the danger you’d be posing to your health)! No one wants to look back on pictures of them on holiday and only be able to think about how red they look, do they? I’ve been there and I cannot stress enough how important sun protection is when you’re away even for a few days.

CAMERA (or any photo taking device)

I know some people aren’t the biggest fans of getting the camera out whenever they’re doing something interesting or cool, but I absolutely love looking back on photographs and remembering what I was doing and how I was feeling that day. I think you can be immersed in the moment and still take a few snaps to look back on later 🙂

A MAP

Of course you can access this pretty much anywhere now on Google Maps, but it’s really important to be able to get your bearings wherever you are. You don’t want to be wandering aimlessly the whole time you’re there, especially if you’re not there long and want to cram in all the local sights! Another thing a map is good for is finding your way back from all the exciting places you’ll be exploring, there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve been pretty stumped as to which cobbled street the hostel I’m staying in is down!

5. Are you an over packer or an under packer?

Unfortunately I have to admit I’m an over packer. I’m always pushing the weight limit on my hold luggage and usually have to take a pair or two of shoes out. I’d be so nervous if I only packed the essentials because I’d be worried there would come a desperate need for that fifth pair of shorts or that moisturiser I never even use. Better safe than sorry!

6. What is your favourite thing about going on holidays?

This one has to be split into two for me. Number one, is exploring new places. I absolutely loved visiting Krakow as it was so rich with history, museums and of course the Jewish Quarter which was incredible to visit. The other would be spending time with whoever I’m with, whether it’s friends or family. Going away on holiday and taking a hiatus from day to day life is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with those close to you.

Port De Polenca Majorca

Majorca, Spain

7. Would you rather go on holiday with friends or family?

This is a difficult question to answer because I love doing both, however I am at a time in my life at the moment where I am going on holiday with my friends more than with my family so I’d have to say friends for now. I have so many wonderful memories of holidays with my family from growing up through and would love to go on many more holidays with them in the future!

8. What is the most adventurous dish you have ever tried from another country?

I visited Shenzen, China in 2008 and tried quite a few interesting foods while I was out there, but I can’t specifically remember what any of the dishes were! The first thing that pops into my head other than that is when i tried Lobster when I was in Florida (wasn’t such a fan) and when I tried dumplings in Krakow last summer (definitely was a massive fan).

Polish Dumplings

They may not look massively appetising but I can assure you there were DELICIOUS! Me and my good friend Rebecca polished off the whole lot and a bread basket just to ourselves!

9. Who do you want to do this tag?

Anyone who wants to do it. Hearing about and getting travel suggestions from people is great! I don’t know that many bloggers as of yet so I’ll leave it at that for now but everyone is invited to do this tag by me 🙂

Please comment below if you’ve been to any of these places or would like to, and with any suggestions of places you’ve been and loved! I will also be going to Amsterdam on the 29th and will most likely put up a post about it shortly after I arrive back so stick around to give that a read!

Until next time,

J x