“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).

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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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Student Stuff: Deadlines and Overhauling my Approach to Studying

All summer during the lead-up to returning to uni I was telling myself, and my family, that this year was going to be different. I was going to take my studies, health and general life more seriously. I had meal plans, a limit on how much alcohol I could drink a week and I had a LOT more time I could dedicate to studying. Naturally, I didn’t know until I actually moved back to Glasgow to start my third year whether or not this plan for my ‘new life’ would actually come to fruition.

Thankfully, I took it seriously this time. There have been soo many times in the past where I’ve told myself I’d try harder next term and actually get proper sleep etc but when it came around to it I was the same disorganised, drunk, self-detrimental girl as I had been every time previous. Obviously I’ve not become a completely different person. I’ve improved my ways significantly but I still have days when the alarm goes off and I just CAN’T make it to that 9am lecture. For the most part, however, I am going into uni (unlike last year when making it to one hour a week was a success), I am cooking all my meals for myself instead of relying on Deliveroo and I’ve even managed to submit an assignment almost 24 hours early!

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How did I do it? To be honest I think the majority of reasons are environmental factors. I’ve moved into a new flat which allows me to live a far more functional life and, consequently, get more studying done! I’ve started my third year which counts for 40% of my final degree classification… which basically means work bitch or you’re gonna get a third class degree! It’s really important to mention that, despite these things that have helped a LOT, I have made an active effort to get myself more organised in terms of reading and a plan of attack for studying and I have also given myself a kick up the back side in terms of motivation. I have a question that I ask myself whenever I’m going to cop out of something: “What’s stopping you?” if the answer is “myself” I HAVE to do it anyway. It seems to be working so far! 🙂

This plan isn’t foolproof and I have still managed to fall behind with reading a little bit but FAR FAR less than I have done in previous years. There’s been years where I’ve left everything so disgustingly last minute that I’ve had to read two novels the day before an exam. I don’t recommend this technique to anyone who wants to a) achieve anything at uni or b) remain mentally stable. It has been these experiences, however, that have allowed me to revamp the way I approach studying and life in general.

On that note I wish you all luck with your upcoming deadlines and exams as we’re coming towards the halfway point of semester 1. Remember, if I’ve managed to pass thus far SO CAN YOU!

Until next time,

J x

‘Student Stuff’ is a new series I’ll be writing on my blog for online student community Campus Society relating to the many experiences I’ve had as a student over the past 3 years. Hopefully I can impart some wisdom or even just warn you what to absolutely avoid doing!

Life Update: Moving and University

Tomorrow I am moving. A few months ago in a previous life update I mentioned that I had a new flat. So far I’ve lived somewhere different for every year of uni (I’m going into third year now) and I’m hoping that this flat will be the one I stay in from now on!

Key differences between new flat and old flat include:

  • New flat is not infested with mice.
  • New flat has a living room.
  • New flat has a properly fitted kitchen with a window.
  • New flat is just for Ellie and I so we can do whatever we want.

I am SO glad that when I get off the train tomorrow and get in a taxi home it won’t be to my old flat. It was a second story tenement that had been lazily looked after and was rented out at a ridiculous price to students who knew no better (me). Living there was a total misery. I woke up in my room, studied in my room, ate my meals in my room and socialised in my room (or Ellie’s). There was no communal area to spend time in. We weren’t even allowed to keep a table in the hallway so our dining room was literally in Ellie’s room which was disgusting.

It’s a miracle that I passed the year and made it into honours to be honest. I didn’t study and I didn’t go to classes. In fact it got so extreme once that I read two novels in a day right before an exam once. Somehow I got my first A at university in my honours subject English Literature, but I also got a G in another subject so you know… that wasn’t so great haha.

Over the summer I’ve had plenty of time to think about how I want to go forward in my third year. I’ve overhauled my diet (which was genuinely shocking last year) and exercise routing and I’ve decided that I want my whole lifestyle to be different. It probably sounds like a cliche, I mean I say “i’m going to work harder this time” at the start of every term but deep down I do always know I don’t mean it. This time, I really do and I’m taking steps towards it already. I’ve got started reading books for my Victorian Literature course and I really believe that living in a new flat that is actually fit for human habitation will allow me to lead a more stable life with a routine.

The days of being so hungover I spend most of the day in front of the toilet at least twice a week and buying a bottle of wine (to sit and drink by myself) on my way home from the one class of the week I actually attended are over. They need to be. Spending like a third of my life hungover is maybe the biggest reason I never got any work done and also it just feels HORRIBLE. Anyone who’s ever been a big drinker will probably have come to a point in their life where they’ve either had some kind of intervention or done it for themselves.

Anyway, enough of that alcohol talk. Tomorrow I am getting on a train, probably not very gracefully because I will be struggling with a lot of luggage, and heading back down to Glasgow for round 3. Also my brother is coming with my to come to an open day, so I won’t be completely by myself when I arrive at the flat. That’ll be nice because coming from a house of 4 people and 2 cats to an empty flat can be daunting! I’m always the first one in the flat.

Well that’s about all I have to update right now. Oh and in a week I’m going to Valencia with a few friends!!!

Until next time,

J x

What Can You Expect From This Blog?

So I’ve kind of decided that I’m going to start posting on Monday’s and Thursday’s (instead of just randomly whenever I have an idea). I think my blog needs a bit more structure to it and I want anybody who’s reading my blog to have an idea of what to expect and when to check back etc. Let’s face it at the moment it’s just random flurries of inspiration and occasional dry periods.

On Monday’s I hope to upload an Opinion Post, this could be reviews of books, films, music, concerts or restaurants and my take on current affairs. Then on Thursdays I’ll be uploading a Lifestyle Post. This will be more along the lines of beauty posts, life updates or even just a golden nugget of worldly advice from me (in other words the ramblings of my mind).

Earlier this week I posted my opinion post of the week which was a review of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and tomorrow I’ll be uploading a kind of introspective post about self-worth (the joys), but anyway, you catch my drift.

Just want to add a bit of structure to things now that I’ve been running this blog for about 4 months.

Until next time,

J x

Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I’ve wanted to read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath for so many years now. Ever since I studied Plath’s poetry in Advanced Higher English when I was 17 this book has been on my list. I just never got around to it… I think anyone who reads can relate to the feeling of having a pile of books you want to read getting bigger and bigger before you’ve actually managed to read them all.

Anyway, because I’m on summer break from university at the moment I’ve had the opportunity to read books of my own choice for a change. I’ve been reading other people’s blog posts about The Bell Jar and because of some changes I’ve gone/am going through in my own life at the moment I thought now would just be the perfect time to read it.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t initially grabbed by it. It took my a good 70 or so pages before I was truly invested in Esther Greenwood and the story, but when I think about it that goes for most books with me.

One thing I decided almost immediately was that I wasn’t a fan of the character Doreen, she seemed self absorbed, vain and obnoxious and, honestly, whenever her character was involved in the story it irritated me.

The first half of the book was, I suppose, establishing the situation Esther was in and the stage in her life she was at. For reasons that obviously become apparent she seems completely dissatisfied with her life and her relationships. As a reader I found this slightly uncomfortable to read (not in a bad way, it’s good when books evoke a reaction from their readers!) because I have this uncontrollable need to make sure people are having a good time and when I read about Esther being at parties or with friends and clearly having an absolutely shit time I just wanted to pass the girl a drink, put her favourite song on and get her to have a boogie… well, try.

One of my FAVOURITE things about The Bell Jar was Plath’s writing style. Her poetry is, perhaps, what she’s most famous for (unfortunately, other than her infamous personal struggles) and I was curious to see how she dealt with writing in such a different format. To my surprise her style of writing was incredible readable and easy to understand, but you could still tell that it was the same woman who’d written such brilliant poetry who was writing. The descriptions were amazing, at points I just had to pause and think “wow that was so well written”. She conveyed Esther’s experiences perfectly and this extended later into the novel when things became a lot darker.

When “the bell jar descended” upon Esther and her mental health really took a turn for the worse, that’s when I really became fully engaged in the book. Suddenly, we weren’t in this glamorous world of journalism and high society, we were in a mental ward with Esther enduring badly conducted electrotherapy. The visceral descriptions of this treatment were difficult to read but, to me, incredibly interesting as were the parts of the novel that took place inside different hospitals. I really think anybody who’s suffered from mental health problems, particularly depression, would find this an interesting read.

The ending of the story is bitter sweet. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers for those who haven’t read the book, but one of the reasons it’s so famous is because of Plath’s death just one month after it’s publication. So, naturally, this is a very dark read, but one that I think is worthwhile to anybody interested in literature and/or learning about mental health.

Until next time,

J x

Do Something Creative Every Day

Today I’m going to write a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while but life things have been getting in the way. This past weekend I moved into my new flat and I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! I won’t actually be living there until I go back for university in September but I’m thrilled that my stuff is all moved in and the way the place is looking. That has taken up a lot of my time recently but now I’m back and ready to write something!

If you’re a creative person like me then you’ve probably, at some point, had a bit of a blip where basically no creative stuff has been happening. I’ve been there and it’s the worst feeling. To feel stagnated and like you’re not making any progress towards the things you’re passionate about sucks. Recently the phrase “do something creative every day” popped into my head and I don’t think I’ve broken it since!

I study English Literature at university and my passion is writing in all its many forms (blogging being one of them), so I have a list of things that I class as creative things and I try my best to do one of them every single day. It doesn’t necessarily have to take much time if I’m super busy but it makes me feel a lot happier and more fulfilled to know that I’m contributing a little something to the things I love every day.

For me these creative things include writing short stories, blogging, recording and video editing, reading (not directly creating but is a massive part of the process), editing things I’ve already written and also watching acclaimed films and TV shows (that doesn’t mean spending 8 hours in front of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix).

I started making a concerted effort to do more of these things about 2 months ago and since then I feel like I’ve achieved quite a lot, probably more than I’ve achieved in the past year actually! Most importantly for me though it just makes me feel a bit better about myself and my life! These are the things that I love to do but in a society that leaves you so exhausted at the end of the day that all you want to do is watch Love Island and go to sleep and in a society full of instant gratification and shorter, faster forms of media (Youtube videos, Vine, Snapchat stories) that has trained our minds to have shorter and shorter attention spans it becomes almost impossible to do these things! At least it became that way for me and now I feel like I’m taking a small step towards having more balance and more control over the things I spend my time on.

I just thought I’d share this little piece of my brain with you today in case anybody else relates or is currently in a bit of a creative rut! Make small steps towards the things you want to achieve and you’ll probably be surprised with the progress you make!

Until next time,

J x