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White Chocolate Peppermint Moving Day

For someone who hates moving, I sure have done a lot of it. Yesterday was one such move, from the city to the country. It was supposed to snow yesterday, but instead it was just cold, perfect moving weather.

We hired movers this time, a sure sign of advancing age and heavier stacks of what the Buddha might call the shackles that bind me to illusion. I own some dumb stuff, such as a garden hose and a lawnmover that are of limited utility to an apartment dweller. In any case, the movers took last of my worldly goods out of the house and over to the new apartment quickly and efficiently. The heavy lifting up and down stairs worked out fine. It's good to have, oh, couches and tables and a proper bed.

My favorite moving moment was when I offered to buy coffee for the movers. It being Seattle, I got requests for a double Americano, shade-grown drip coffee, and (without pause or hesitation from the mover) a White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha. Yes, quite possibly the most frou-frou drink I've ever ordered from a barista. That mover is a man secure in his masculinity.

To celebrate the day, we left the boxes behind and went to see Harry Potter IV. It's my favorite by far, because it was more immersive than the prior installments and doesn't waste my time explaining what a wand is or the like. The visiting schools riff allowed for some fun "Bring It On"-style strutting (and let's face it, teenage wizards really ought to strut).

I enjoyed Hagrid's romance with the ridiculously tall Frenchwoman, which seemed so in tune with a certain type of British fantasy. I'm not sure I can define it, but it's the fantasy of "funny-shaped people and talking animals." You know what this is: CS Lewis, Wind in the Willows, George MacDonald, Brian Froud. Call it Twee Fantasy. The fun of twee fantasy is that it's cheerful and playful and bright — look! ogres and hedgehogs and munchkins and fauns and red-hatted gnomes! The downside is that it doesn't take itself terribly seriously. Ever. Despite the whole Mithraic subtext of the Narnia books, they're fairly self-conscious about being fairy tales. That's fine for entertainment, but it robs them of depth.

That tone is quite at odds with the Tolkien tradition of Gravitas Fantasy that takes itself Very Seriously Indeed, with subcreation, lunar calendars, elaborate genealogies, and such. Both are quite unfairly lumped together as fantasy, though I imagine Prof. Lewis, Prof. Tolkien, and other Inklings exchanged words on which was the better approach.

Oh, I digress. Right, Potter and the schoolboy story. The villains have improved from obstacles who chew the scenery to actual (though still floppy and one-dimensional) characters. This makes the villains worth taking more seriously; the Death Eaters were somewhat scary. They're still mainly a plot point to anyone who hasn't read the books.

The whole film did build on the strengths of part III. The problems I had with it were the excess of Teen Angst, the gratuitous insertion of Harry's parents for about 10 seconds of screen time, and some acting issues with Michael Gambon's slipping accent, but really, a good bit of fannish fantasy fluff. Twee fantasy at its finest.

Now if only they'd make the Westeros movie.

I'm still not reading the Potter books, mind you. Too many other things to read, such as The Historian, A Feast for Crows (signed by George RR!), The Devil's Broker, City of Falling Angels, Confessions of a Pagan Nun, and Captain Alatriste.


( 9 sutras — Your wisdom )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 1st, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
Cool, the Historian moves closer to the top of the pile.

I think it's fascinating that Lewis and JRR really pegged the needle at opposite ends of the spectrum. Tolkien's fascination with detail often came at a price in writing time and overwhelming readers (witness the umpteen volumes of historical detail published after his death). Sometimes I just don't want a saga, I want something sketchy and breezy.

Twee fantasy fulfills a reading need. It's just not the typical fannish need, it's more mainstream.
Dec. 1st, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
Prithee, enlighten us, sirrah, on this CONFESSIONS OF A PAGAN NUN.

Never heard of it, but want to and may have to have it for a read over Yule.

By the by, send an e-missive with your new address, and a solstice card shall be yours, oh yes! ;)

Dec. 1st, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
And congrats again on the 2nd move within one year, eh? Hope you're happier with this new place.
Dec. 1st, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
Well, it was really two moves to the same place: once to prep the house to sell, and once to vacate.

The new place is very good so far. Renting is pretty damn relaxing, honestly.
Dec. 1st, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
And yet, here I am trying to save up to buy a place in Burlington in order not to waste more money on rent than I have the past 14 years.... Still I suppose it's relaxing compared to the project house, aye.....
Dec. 1st, 2005 08:07 am (UTC)
Hope you're nicely settled in by now. Where are you at? I confess to merely a fuzzy knowledge of Seattle's sprawl; obviously I have the most familiarity with your old stomping grounds and the U-District.

I'm definitely looking foward to reading Martin's latest over Christmas.

By the way, if anything there wasn't enough teen angst in the film. Rowling puts quite a bit of in her books, and rightly so, in my view. I strongly suggest you tackle them; the Potter books really are an enjoyable, rather quick read.
Dec. 1st, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
Over on the East Side now, in Bellevue. Closer to work.

Martin's book is great, but I get the sense it's getting away from him. Sooooo many characters. I'm ever more impressed with his writing ability, but the scope of this work seems outrageous.

I hates the teen angst. It's amusing in small doses, but knowing there's more in the books is not a recommendation for me.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 02:25 am (UTC)
Just to be clear: it [the angst] does not get in the way. It does add some much-needed realism. And as I have said, the books read quite quickly, such that it's not something you have to wade through.
Dec. 8th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC)
When I was at AT&T, there was a Starbucks in the building lobby and the 30-year Ma Bell vets would get the black coffee (Americano), and I would get the "White Chocolate Mocha" - no end of teasing of the new guy and his "girly coffee drinks"....
( 9 sutras — Your wisdom )

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