Started 8/21 Finished 8/28
This book was all about how J.K. played out the last bits of back story with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. It was also about two words – horcruxes and the deathly hallows.
A horcrux is an object used by a wizard to store part of his soul. Voldemort created six, but he never knew about #7 . . . not until he discovered it in this book. You will too!
The deathly hallows is a children’s story about three objects that can give you eternal life. Except – they really exist. You’ll discover who owned all three. It came as a HUGE surprise the first time I read this book.
My favorite part – the ending. J.K. gave us an epilogue and let us peek into Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s future. After all the angst, I was so glad all three had happy endings.
My least favorite part – the first two chapters. #1 started with Voldemort, where he was, and what he wanted. #2 has Harry reading Dumbledore’s obituary. He found a side to the headmaster that disappointed and angered him. I was disappointed too. I wanted a quest, an adventure to end Voldemort, but that’s not where J.K. wanted to start. I stayed with her, and I wasn’t disappointed, at all.
Quotes That Made Me Write Them Down:
1. Harry wonders how you put yourself back together after horcruxes. The answer – remorse. “You’ve got to really feel what you’ve done. There’s a footnote. Apparently the pain of it can destroy you. I can’t see Voldemort attempting it somehow, can you?” Me, I’ve never had a problem with remorse. When I do something wrong, I apologize, then try to make it right. That’s the way my parents brought me up. (Chapter 6 – Hermione)
2. Dumbledore’s talking to Snape, “You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon . . .” He was talking about how the Sorting Hat put them into houses the first night at Hogwarts.” That makes sense to me. You know yourself so much better as you age. Me – I didn’t start writing until I met the bat in Germany in 2007. I was 48, and it was perfect timing. (Chapter 33 – Dumbledore)
3. Dumbledore says, “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love. By returning, you may ensure that fewer souls are maimed, fewer families are torn apart. If that seems to you a worthy goal, then we say good-bye for the present.” I saw my father pass in 2015. My mother last December. I’m grateful for their lives and the love they gave me and my family. I believe they’re in a far better place. (Chapter 35 – Dumbledore)
4. Dumbledore’s answer to Harry at King’s Cross Station. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” I love this answer! Why not?! Perception is reality! (Chapter 35 – Dumbledore)
Give me Harry Potter,' said Voldemort's voice, 'and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded.'
As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid's motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin - Harry must stand and face his enemy.
Started 8/14 Finished 8/21
J.K. is a master at creating great characters. She weaves the Half-Blood Prince into the plot, but we won’t know his real identity until late in the story. The only clue – his old potions book – that winds up in Harry’s hands.
Harry also finds himself taking private lessons with Dumbledore. The first – to enter the Pensieve and see a distorted memory of Professor Slughorn with a young Voldemort. Harry’s homework – to uncover what Slughorn really told Voldemort about Horcruxes.
Finally you won’t be disappointed by the twists and turns with Malfoy and Snape. They finally show that they’re as evil as we always believed.
Quotes That Resonated With Me:
1. “Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress?” It feels like we’re going through a dark period today. It gives me hope that someone is out there, someone who can take down the tyrants. (Chapter 23 – Professor Dumbledore)
2. Harry remembers his first meeting with Voldemort. “It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated . . .” This describes how I feel about evil today. If we keep fighting and fighting, things will get better, but never perfect. (Chapter 30 – Harry)
There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building... wherever they had murdered...
When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort's darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny...
Started 8/5 Finished 8/14
Book 5 (original cover) is structured so much differently than #4. It followed the Triwizard Tournament from the drawing of names through the three challenges. It’s classic three act structure.
Order of the Phoenix is all about the back story being played out in the present. The Order is the group of wizards who fought off Voldemort ten years ago. Now they’re back to keep Harry and his friends alive.
The back story twists and turns when Harry sneaks a peek in the Pensieve. He sees his father, Sirius, and Lupin through Snape’s eyes. Harry can’t understand how they’re less than perfect, less than heroes.
J.K. introduces two new characters. Delores Umbridge is pure evil. Harry isn’t fooled by her fake sweet voice or pink attire, and she takes cruel discipline techniques to new depths. Imagine writing sentences using a quill that cuts a little deeper each time you write. Horrible!
The other character’s positively Loony (her nickname), but Luna Lovegood is looney in a fun way. She helps balance out the dark moments that are coming closer and closer together. She sees thestrals, like Harry does. Only those who’ve experienced the death of a loved one can see them. In a way the thestrals foreshadow the dark moment that’s coming . . . someone must die, someone from the order.
J.K. is brilliant at weaving the back story and her characters together!
'You are sharing the Dark Lord's thoughts and emotions. The Headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.'
Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors' attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord's return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort's savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time ...
Started 7/27 Finished 8/4
Book 4 (original cover) is all about theTriwizard Tournament between the three top wizarding schools. It’s JK’s longest book, by over 100 pages, but the tension rises to the very end. How?
JK started with the Goblet of Fire picking an extra champion, and she raised the tension with each new challenge they faced. The plot’s like a roller coaster with its ups and downs between challenges. And the end . . . it came as a complete surprise.
Quotes That Struck a Chord With Me:
1. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” There’s a huge difference between how Draco Malfoy and Harry treat Hagrid. I’d rather hang out with Harry. (Chapter 27 – Sirius Black)
2. “Decent people are so easy to manipulate, Potter. I was sure Cedric would want to repay you for telling him about the dragons, and so he did.” Do you ever feel like some people get away with everything, and others – nothing? (Chapter 35 – Fake Mad-Eye Moody)
3. “You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be!” Another way to say it . . . it’s not where you start, but where you finish. (Chapter 36 – Dumbledore)
Two Great Tools:
1. Chocolate - Whenever the dementors appear and take away every ounce of joy, chocolate is the best medicine. It works for me! I always feel better after a little chocolate.
2. Pensieve – It’s something that JK made up. Dumbledore pulls out disturbing thoughts with his, then he looks for patterns. We can’t, but when I feel pensive like Dumbledore, I write down my thoughts, then look for patterns. (Chapter 30)
The Triwizard Tournament is to be held at Hogwarts. Only wizards who are over seventeen are allowed to enter - but that doesn't stop Harry dreaming that he will win the competition. Then at Hallowe'en, when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, Harry is amazed to find his name is one of those that the magical cup picks out. He will face death-defying tasks, dragons and Dark wizards, but with the help of his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he might just make it through - alive!
Having become classics of our time, the Harry Potter eBooks never fail to bring comfort and escapism. With their message of hope, belonging and the enduring power of truth and love, the story of the Boy Who Lived continues to delight generations of new readers.
This post grew too long . . . so I broke it in half. The first half is about putting together a blog.
Now the new second half . . . it's about taking that blog and converting it into a vlog.
Converting a Blog Post into a Video: A vlog is just like a movie or a television show . . . it starts with a script. I don’t have to stick to it, but it guides me from the beginning, to the end. I usually pick the blog that’s up next, but not always. This time I picked an old post from August of 2017. I needed an easy button this week.
Step 1 –Putting Together a Slide Show: That’s what I started on today. This is the screenshot for the whole post – The Search for Zero Gravity. It’s short and sweet, but it still takes time. I usually go back and forth between writing the script and making the slides, but I can’t. Not when I’m writing this post at the same time. It’s too complicated . . . too many moving parts. I needed an easy button for this one.
I start each vlog with a question about the topic. I’ll add in another sentence or two. Then I introduce myself. I’ll tell you a little about me and why you should tune into this vlog.
Next, it’s time for the slide show, with the title and the 1st image from the blog. This is my 1st draft, for the 1st slide, but it didn’t make the cut. Why not?
The title’s too big. I checked . . . I went into zoom to see how we looked together. I screenshotted it (below), and it’s too big!
Here are three screenshots of what it looks like to edit slides. The 1st has the title, too big. The 2nd is about right, but I usually go in/out of zoom a few times until I’m happy with it. The 3rd – I’m ready to move onto the next slide.
I wanted this pair of images from the original blog post for the 3rd slide. I took a screenshot, cropped, and pasted them into the new slide. I changed the title and checked on zoom to make sure we looked good together. It’s a process! It just takes time and patience.
This pair of images came from the original blog post. I wanted it for slide #3. I screenshotted, cropped, and pasted them into the new slide. I changed the title, then checked to see how we looked on zoom. It’s a process! Give yourself time, and a little patience.
This is a screen shot of that 3rd slide. If you look at the left side, you’ll see the seven slides that make up the vlog. Almost done!
Step 2 – Putting Together a Script: It’s not pretty, like the slides are, but the script is key to a good vlog. This is a screenshot from the new one, on zero gravity. I caught the last sentence from the 1st paragraph, and all of the 2nd one. That’s where I introduce myself to the audience. It’s a first draft, the worst one. I’ll go back and make changes when the script’s done.
Take another look at the screenshot. Do you see the sentence in red? That’s my note for what to say or do. This one tells me to go into my slideshow. That teeny-tiny picture is the first slide you’ll see.
Look down below the large print, and you’ll see two paragraphs in small type. I copied and pasted them from the original blog. I’ll type them back in large print, and I’ll simplify as I go. I want to make my video feel like I’m really talking to you. (Note – It’s still the first draft, the worst one.)
Here’s that same page again, but the letters are all the same size. When I print out the script, bigger type is way easier for me to read.
I also use short paragraphs. Sometimes I go off script, and when I do, those short paragraphs help me find my place again.
Finally, look at the bottom of the page. Can you tell when I should click and move onto the second slide? (The answer – after I say, “remembered to get a picture.” The proof – there’s a mini slide below it.)
This is a screenshot of how I end my vlogs, with the same basic last five slides. This one’s from my last vlog, Christmas in July. The first invites you to listen to the vlog again. The second, to check out the original post. The next two slides take you on a scavenger hunt across the buttons on my website. The final slide says goodbye, and it invites you back next week.
PS – I do change the slide titles . . . as needed.
This is the last slide I create. I go into my digital playground on Facebook. That’s where I’m the one and only member. I paste in the original blog link and get back a copy of it as a post. It’s a great trick to test-drive your content.
Step 3 – Revision: This isn’t pretty either, but it’s key to making a good video. With 3 pages, or more, it takes time, but I still revise everything! I use narrator to listen to the script. I make at least three rounds through the words to make sure I’ve said what I wanted to say, that I said it clearly, and that it sounds good to my ear.
For the vlog I listen to the script paragraph by paragraph. I change the first one that’s off. Then I go back and keep listening until that paragraph is clean. Then I move onto the next one, revising until it’s bug-free. I keep going until the first page is done. Then, I listen to the first page as a whole. Would you believe I always find a few small things I want to change? Or that I won’t leave page 1 until it’s done?
Then I move onto page 2. I do it twice until it’s clean. I repeat this process on each page until I reach the end of the script. When I’ve reviewed each page twice, I do one last round with the whole script. This time I listen from the beginning, all the way to the end. If I make a change, I only repeat that paragraph. When I finish that 3rd round, I’m happy with what I’ve said, and how it sounds. At some point – you have to move on. The rule of 3 rounds of revisions makes me feel like I’ve done the job, to the best of my ability.
Step 4 – Video Taping: I video tape my script and power point on zoom. But first, I practice going through the whole thing at least one time, from beginning to end, without hitting record. I may have gone through the script 3 times already, but this is the first time with the script and the slide show together, so I practice again.
Sometimes I catch mistakes in the script or in a slide. The vlog is a lot longer than Saturday Reads, at least 3 pages long. So one more practice really helps me learn how/when to move the slides. It doesn’t make me perfect, but it makes me feel more confident about doing the video. Confidence makes everything easier. It’s easier to make a vlog now from the beginning to the end. That’s because of all the time and practice I put into them. The result – confidence!
Step 5 – Social Media: I do 3 rounds of it, just like I do for Saturday Reads, but I’m a day behind. Round 1 – on Friday afternoon I post my announcement for Sunday’s Vlog on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s like a free commercial – something I do to get your attention.
Round 2 – I’ve gotten in the habit of taping the video on Thursday or Friday. I tape Saturday Reads on the same day as the vlog. That way I only have to do the prep work once. BTW – the key to a good video is making sure you have good lighting when you tape. Once I’ve trimmed and saved it, I schedule it on Facebook Meta, unless I’m at the lake. When I’m there I try to time my Meta scheduling with when I’m in town . . . the internet’s better!
Round 3 – The video goes live on my Facebook business page Sunday at 4. As soon as it’s live, I copy and paste it on my personal Facebook account, on Instagram, and Twitter. Then I’m done! Finally! Until Sunday night when I start thinking about my next blog to convert, and my next book to read. It’s my writing circle of life!
Have you ever wondered how I put my Sunday Vlogs together? They all start with a blog post, and here’s how they start.
Part 1 - Putting together a Blog Post: Like all good things, they grow out of an idea. Then I search for images to illustrate them. I have two examples for you to see. Pick one or look at both.
#1. The idea and images for zero gravity.
#2. The ideas and images for lost/devastated and found/grateful. Link:
Part 2 - Writing the Blog Post: Once I have my idea and the images, I write the post. It’s like typing from one picture to the next, like connecting the dots on a road map.
Sometimes I add or delete images. Other times I need to do a little more research before I can write. That usually means googling things like, ‘What is zero gravity?’ or ‘How do I find something I’ve lost?’
#1. My Blog Post – The Search for Zero Gravity
#2. My Blog Post – From Lost/Devastated to Found/Grateful
Part 3 – Scripting Saturday Reads Videos: I wrote about it first, because it’s shorter. It’s only one page that I have to get ready by Saturday at 4PM. My Sunday Vlogs are much longer, usually 3-5 pages, but the process is a lot alike . . . I write a script, revise it, video tape, post the video on Facebook, and then put out the word on social media.
The two big differences – 1. I pick a book that matches my Sunday Vlog. 2. I don’t have to prepare a power point slide show. All I have to do is share the book . . . it has all the pictures I’ll need, and more. I’m not allowed to read the whole book . . . because of copyright.
The Blog Post – Putting Together Saturday Reads for You
I firmly believe that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. Self-care is more than eating nutritional foods. More than exercising. It’s believing in, and having confidence in yourself. It’s allowing yourself to make mistakes, and learn from them.
That’s what this post is all about . . . caring for your own self-concept, for your own belief in yourself. It’s still true . . . if you don’t do it, no one else will.
Quote #1 – As one goes through life,
one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.
Who said it?
Katharine was an actress. She paddled her own canoe from the moment she stepped onstage in 1928 until she took her last curtain call for a TV movie in 1994. She was 87 years young.
Katharine was known for the roles she played – strong-willed and sophisticated women, and they matched who she was in real life – with her headstrong independence, spirited personality, and outspokenness. She was one of my childhood heroines. When I grew up, I wanted to be as strong and independent as she was.
Katherine was part of Hollywood’s Golden Age, but she did it her way. She wore pants before other celebrities did, way before I was born in 1959. I remember wearing dresses to school, and that was in the 60’s. We weren’t even allowed to wear culotte’s (shorts with a skirt in front) until 4th grade. That’s the year we were finally allowed to wear pants. THAT was a HUGE deal.
Quote #2 - You will either step forward into growth,
or you will step backward into safety.
Who said it?
Abraham was an American psychologist. He stepped forward into something new when he focused on the positives of his patients. He believed they were more than a bag of symptoms. Abraham could have stepped backwards by focusing on the abnormal, the ill. He refused.
Abraham taught psychology at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research, and Columbia University. He is best known for creating a hierarchy of needs. When I went to college to become a teacher back in 1977, I learned about that hierarchy. It made a lot of sense then, and I think it still does.
This looks like a chart I would have studied in the 70’s. What stayed with me, all these years later – the needs at the bottom must be met first. If you don’t have food, water, warmth, and rest, it’s hard to move up to your need to be safe. It’s like the foundation of a house, if you don’t have a good one, it’s hard to build the upper floors of Belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization.
If you’re living in the suburbs and suddenly lose your job, esteem and self-actualization are a lot less important. You’ll be focused on getting food, water, utilities, and shelter, the things you really need to survive.
1. Abraham Maslow By -
Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34062949
2. Maslow's Hierarchy By -
Androidmarsexpress - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Quote #3 - Try not to become a person of success,
but rather try to become a person of value.
Who said it?
Albert was a theoretical physicist born in Germany. He immigrated to the US during WWII and became a citizen. He’s one of the few physicists who’s known around the world, but he’s also known for his values.
Albert is famous for his theory of relativity. Have you heard of E = mc2? That’s his equation! He’s also known for his work in quantum mechanics. Together they form the heart of modern physics.
Albert won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, partly because of his work in theoretical physics, but mostly because he discovered the photoelectric effect. He noticed when light strikes and hits something, electrons bounce off and become photoelectrons.
Albert wasn’t afraid to be different. He believed nature worked systematically, not randomly, like throwing a dice. He also came up with the unified field theory, which I can’t even begin to understand, or explain. What I do get – he was willing to work outside the mainstream of physics.
Albert could change his mind when the data changed. He joined several European scientists before the US joined WWII. They sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt warning him that the Germans were building nuclear weapons. They said the Americans should too. After the war, he said that letter was the great mistake of his life. He joined ten scientists, and they sent another letter. This time they warned the world about the danger of nuclear weapons.
Have you heard about Christmas in July? I had, but I thought it was a Hallmark thing to promote their movies, Christmas ornaments, and other products. It turns out Christmas in July goes FAR beyond Hallmark. Here are two sources I dug into, to learn more.
1 - What is Christmas in July? How to Celebrate Properly - Open for Christmas
2 - Christmas in July: What It Is, How It Started, and Why You Should Celebrate This Year | Real Simple
I was surprised that both sources said Christmas in July started at the same place . . . Keystone Summer Camp for Girls in Brevard, North Carolina. They also had the same dates for that first Christmas – July 24th and 25th of 1933. Would you believe it’s still going strong? I wonder if Keystone Camp inspired the writers at Hallmark. One of this year’s featured movies was Campfire Christmas. Who knows?!
Christmas in July has spread all over the globe. Today it’s celebrated in the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. If you lived in the southern hemisphere, you could celebrate a July Christmas with snow and cocoa. December ones probably look more like a Florida Christmas.
Christmas in July is all about Hallmark Christmas movies for me. My husband thinks it’s crazy, but I love escaping into stories with a little Christmas spirit. It always brings out the best in people. I need that when July makes us all hot and sticky!
My All-Time Favorite Hallmark Chrismas Movie: This is it! Why do I love it so much? First, the script is so well done. It’s a lovely blend of sarcasm and wit that it’s pure fun to watch.
Second, the writers used bits of A Christmas Carol in it. You know the Christmas story with Ebenezer Scrooge? He’s visited by the ghosts of Christmas present, past, and future.
Third, the cast! Candace Cameron Bure and Jean Smart are a dynamic duo. They work well together, and they play off of each other. I can’t believe they don’t list Jean Smart on this cover. She was Charlene on Designing Women, and she’s just as funny in this role as she was back then.
Fourth, I love the Christian connection in this one. Jean Smart’s character is an angel who’s sent to get Candace’s character back on track. Candace doesn’t understand until Jean tells a story of how God sent a sleigh to save a man who’s buried in the snow. He got three chances but didn’t take any of them. When he dies, he asks St. Peter why God didn’t save him. Peter answers that God sent the sleigh to him three times, but he never took it. It’s a small reference, but I appreciate Hallmark keeping Christ in Christmas.
Finally, and most of all, it’s the shoes! Candace gets to wear some great ones that are full of possibilities. Guys like my husband don’t get it, but I do. When you put on the right outfit, it can change your day, maybe even your life. One of my favorite scenes in the movie shows a Christmas tree made out of shoes.
PS - Would you believe I had a 2nd grade boy ask how many shoes I had? I said I didn’t know, but one can never have too many shoes! He nodded like he understood. I hope he did!
As Christmas approaches, Noelle (Candace Cameron Bure) is at a crossroads in her life when it seems that love, a connection with her father, and her dream career are out of reach. When she stays late at her job in a department store on a snowy Christmas Eve, she accidentally gets locked in after closing. She isn't too concerned about the prospect of spending the night in the store… until a quirky woman (Jean Smart) appears out of nowhere in the shoe department and tells Noelle that she's her guardian angel. Soon, Noelle finds herself revisiting Christmases past, present, and future as she must work with her new neighbor, a handsome, Christmas-loving firefighter, to plan the annual Christmas Charity Gala. Will visiting the holidays of yesterday and tomorrow help Noelle take new chances and discover the true spirit of Christmas? And in realizing that the only thing standing in her way of leading a fulfilling life is herself, will the love she has longed for all her life be the best surprise gift of all?
Started 7/22 Finished 7/27
Woohoo! I’m caught up! Book 3 is the best one so far. J.K. is a master of mixing the back story of Voldemort and Harry’s parents with what’s going on with Harry today. The tension keeps rising until the very last chapter. That’s when J.K. brings it quickly to a satisfying ending. WOW!
I also noticed some lines in the last chapter that I loved. That I had to share with you . . .
1. “It didn’t make any difference,” said Harry bitterly. “Pettigrew got away.”
It’s easy to blame ourselves about the choices we make, but, if you wait long enough, you can find your silver lining.
2. “Didn’t make any difference?” said Dumbledore quietly. “It made all the difference in the world, Harry. You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate.”
This silver lining wasn’t what Harry wanted. But sometimes we get what we need, not what we want.
3. "You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew’s life . . . Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them . . . and I’m much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.”
It’s true, whenever someone does a good deed for me, I remember it, and I work to pay it back, sooner or later.
4. “You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.”
My favorite line of all time, that love never dies. That our loved ones are alive in us. We just need to look for them.
5. “I know,” sighed Hermione, “but I can’t stand another year like this one. That Time-Turner, it was driving me mad. I’ve handed it in. Without Muggle Studies and Divination, I’ll be able to have a normal schedule again.”
I love this reference to time. You never have enough, ever! When Hermione gets a time-turner, it’s too much, even for her. She stretched herself too thin, and there’s always a consequence for that. My best advice, do what you can in a day. That’s the easy part. The hard part – to be happy with it.
Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.'
When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it's the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run - and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry's tea leaves... But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss...
Started 7/19 Finished 7/22
I read this one in three days, WOW! It was almost like the good old days when I could read a Harry Potter book in one day.
In Book 2, J.K begins to reveal some of the secrets from the back story, like what happened the last time the Chamber was opened. She strings the clues out like gingerbread crumbs. They lead to the treasure – the truth about the Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid, and the Heir to Slytherin. It’s a great story, and J.K. is a master of raising the tension, then delivering a satisfying ending.
This time a quote from the last chapter caught my attention. Harry was worried when the Sorting Hat saw him in Slytherin. Harry said no, but he’s still worried that’s where he belongs, not in Gryffindor. When he asks, here’s Dumbledore’s answer . . .
- “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Choices matter, even if we get them wrong. I believe if you do something for the right reasons, even if it turns out wrong, it’s OK. We can learn and grow from it. We’re WIP’s . . . Works in Progress . . . Working to become the best we can be.
PS- I prefer the old covers. Harry looked younger, nerdier, more like a real boy. This one just looks wrong with a flying car that’s only in two scenes.
Harry Potter's summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors - and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone... Dobby's sinister predictions seem to be coming true.
Having become classics of our time, the Harry Potter eBooks never fail to bring comfort and escapism. With their message of hope, belonging and the enduring power of truth and love, the story of the Boy Who Lived continues to delight generations of new readers.
Started 7/12 Finished 7/19
I used to read Harry Potter books in one day, but that was when I was still teaching, and it was the beginning of summer vacation. Now that I’m writing full-time, it took me a week, and that’s about right.
This time, I read The Sorcerer’s Stone as a writer. It’s the beginning of a series, but it leaves room for its sequels. The first couple chapters are so sharp, the way she set them up. Then I remembered . . . she couldn’t have done that the first time. She did multiple revisions, until she got it right. J.K. is brilliant!
I also noticed some lines in the last chapter that I wanted to remember. That I wanted to share with you . . .
1. “. . . To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
I’ve always viewed it that way. Maybe that’s why I’m not afraid of it, yet.
2. “Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
I believe in facing fears head-on. It’s much better than dancing around them.
3. “The truth . . . It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
It took me a LONG time to understand this. Sometimes things should be left unsaid, until the right moment.
4. “Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign . . . to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.”
It’s my favorite quote! Love is stronger than hate. It’s stronger than death, and I’m glad J.K. reminded me how important love is.
5. “There are all kinds of courage . . . It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
I'm glad J.K. recognized Neville’s brand of courage, and that his points put Gryffindor over the top for the house cup. Not Harry’s or Hermione’s or Ron’s. It was the perfect idea!
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!
Having become classics of our time, the Harry Potter eBooks never fail to bring comfort and escapism. With their message of hope, belonging and the enduring power of truth and love, the story of the Boy Who Lived continues to delight generations of new readers.
Started 7/11 Finished 7/11
I finished another book on the 11th, on the way home. Then I started and finished this one, TWICE, before we arrived. It’s full of VERY short stories! Each one is told by one of Henry’s queens from their point of view, during their last days as queen. Or, of life. Each is historical fiction, but they fit the history I know of the time period, and the stories told in Alison Weir’s series, ‘Six Tudor Queens.’
The first three stories are part historical fiction, but they also include the words of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour. They’re short passages that are footnoted in the back. Proof that Catherine, Anne, and Jane really said, or wrote them.
The last three don’t include the words of Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, or Catherine Parr, but they match the history and take it one step further . . . to let you peek into their minds, and their feelings.
I wish you could pick up this book, but it’s no longer available, not even on Amazon. It’s too bad – it’s short and well-written. Two things that are VERY hard to do.
There has been much written of Henry VIII of England, everyone knows of his struggle for a male heir, his divorces, the beheadings, his quest for marital happiness. The motives for his actions have been examined and re-examined, and his wives have been the subject of countless romantic novels, films and television.
In this pamphlet of VERY short fictional stories Judith Arnopp considers the position of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr to consider, through their own eyes, the emotional effects of life with Henry and the traumatic ending to each marriage. You can read more about Henry's queens in Judith's full length novels. The Winchester Goose, The Kiss of the Concubine, Intractable Heart and A Song of Sixpence.
PLEASE NOTE: this is a revised edition of VERY short stories. Judith Arnopp graduated from the University of Wales, Lampeter in 2007 having gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing and a Master of Art’s degree in Medieval Studies. She now combines those skills to write historical novels, reflecting the medieval period as experienced by women.
Started 7/11 Stopped 7/12
I started to read this one, but I stopped when I wrote about ‘Many Waters.’ I discovered I’d read and written about it in April of 2021. If you’d like to read what I thought, click on this link. It’s done in short stories from the Tower of London. Some you’ve heard. Others you haven’t. Intrigued? Click on this link: Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
Started 7/1 Finished 7/11
I thought this was book 4 from the Wrinkle in Time series when I ordered it, but the Amazon description listed it as book 2. Go figure! Now I understand why Meg’s brothers are much younger in Many Waters.
Whichever number, I loved this story! Imagine checking your dad’s computer. Then traveling back in time to meet Noah, his ark, the Seraphim, and Nephilim. BTW, they’re the good and bad angels in the Bible. I checked! Add in the time/space continuum and quantum physics, and you’ve got a story of epic proportions!
Here are my two favorite quotes from Many Waters.
- “When there is an unreconciled quarrel, everyone suffers.”
- “Do not seek to comprehend. All shall be well. Wait. Patience. Wait. You do not always have to do something.
Amazon’s Description: In A Wrinkle in Time Quintet book two, Meg Murry, now in college, time travels with her twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, to a desert oasis that is embroiled in war.
Sandy and Dennys have always been the normal, run-of-the-mill ones in the extraordinary Murry family. They garden, make an occasional A in school, and play baseball. Nothing especially interesting has happened to the twins until they accidentally interrupt their father's experiment.
Then the two boys are thrown across time and space. They find themselves alone in the desert, where, if they believe in unicorns, they can find unicorns, and whether they believe or not, mammoths and manticores will find them.
The twins are rescued by Japheth, a man from the nearby oasis, but before he can bring them to safety, Dennys gets lost. Each boy is quickly embroiled in the conflicts of this time and place, whose populations includes winged seraphim, a few stray mythic beasts, perilous and beautiful nephilim, and small, long-lived humans who consider Sandy and Dennys giants. The boys find they have more to do in the oasis than simply getting themselves home--they have to reunite an estranged father and son, but it won't be easy, especially when the son is named Noah and he's about to start building a boat in the desert.
I spent last weekend at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. I brought my book Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream to sell, AND my model wind tunnel to share. The plane lost weight like it was supposed to, and aerospace lovers got to figure out how. (Think wind and lift.)
Neil’s 1946 tunnel was way better than mine . . . he used a real propeller. It had lots of lift! It knocked his mom’s robe off and sent the model through the window. Cole Roberts did a great job illustrating it for my book.
Tale #1 – The Space Hipsters: I’ve heard of hipsters, but not the space kind. Kevin stopped by my wind tunnel and introduced himself, and the hipsters. I didn’t know they were all over the world, but it figures they love everything about space. You don’t have to be a scientist to be a hipster. They even take in retired 2nd grade teachers, like me.
Kevin gave me two things, free. I didn’t ask for them, but I love them both. First, this Ohio patch. The stars around the state represent cities who are space-famous. The two up north, Wapakoneta and Cleveland. Wapak’s known for Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. Cleveland’s famous for the NASA Glenn Visitor Center.
The two down south are Dayton and Cambridge. Dayton’s the home of the Wright Brothers, the ones who were first in flight. Cambridge is the home of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.
Tale #2 – A Piece of the Couch: Kevin also gave me this little piece of plastic. He said I’d flip over it. I did . . . after he told me what it was.
It’s a tiny piece of fabric sealed in plastic. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s part of a couch, the one Viola Armstrong sat on, on a long-ago day back in 1969.The day her son walked on the moon. Now, I have a tiny piece of history! WOW! Kevin was right . . . I just flipped!
Tale #3 – It’s Rocket Science: And I found it in the museum parking lot. That’s where I met a few people with the Wright Stuff. The real ‘Right Stuff’ comes from a 1983 movie about the Mercury 7, our first 7 NASA astronauts. One of them was Ohio’s own John Glenn.
The ones in the museum parking lot were the Wright Stuff Rocketeers. They’re from Dayton and named after that famous pair of brothers. The Rocketeers travel all over Ohio helping kids build and launch model rockets. The kids in Wapak were thrilled when the Rocketeers spent a rainy Saturday afternoon helping them build rockets, but I bet they were disappointed when the Rocketeers had to cancel Sunday’s launch . . . too rainy.
My biggest thrill – the Rocketeers checked out my wind tunnel when I unloaded it. My biggest disappointment – I didn’t get to see them in action, working with kids. Maybe next time!
PS – I could barely post last night (9/19). I wrote the rough draft, but I could only revise the first section. Then I hit a wall with the Space Hipsters. It was midnight, and I was exhausted. Sometimes you have to know when . . . When to push through . . . When to stop and take that break. I’m glad I did . . . Tonight’s revision was easy-peasy!
PPS – I thought I’d post Part 2 last night (9/21). COULDN’T! Not even a rough draft. I tried! For 2 or 3 hours. I finally gave up and posted my pictures. Then I could finally start writing phrases, and a rough draft. Editing tonight was easy peasy again. Sometimes – you have to wait for the words to come.
Tale #4 – Cutting Class: Welcome to Purdue! It’s the university Neil picked to study aeronautical engineering, at age 17. I don’t think Neil ever cut class, but the engineering students at Purdue did . . . whenever Neil returned for a visit . . . unannounced. He never told anyone he was coming, and that is so quintessentially Neil.
I heard this story from a Purdue aeronautical engineering grad. I’m not sure when he went to Purdue, but he told me how he’d walk into class . . . and find an empty room. He knew immediately that Neil was in the lounge. So was the rest of his class, and they were listening to Neil. But the saddest part of his story – he didn’t get to. His professor made him stay for class. If I’d been that professor, I’d have headed to the lounge to talk to Neil too.
PS – Happy Ending – My new friend got to skip class. He finally got the news in time, and he made it to the lounge so he could listen and talk to Neil. I wish I’d been there too.
Tale #5 – Instructables, Anyone? I shared my book and my wind tunnel with museum visitors, but I shared something else – Instructables. I found my wind tunnel there. I needed one because I couldn’t write about wind tunnels – unless I understood them. The best way – to build one.
The best part – I’m sharing my Instructable story right now. I added the link in the back matter section of my book, How to Build a Wind Tunnel. I also shared it with museum visitors. They didn’t have to buy a book. They just took a picture of the link inside. Here’s the new version: Cardboard Wind Tunnel : 6 Steps - Instructables
Goalieguy wrote his Instructable back in 7th grade. I found him in 2019, messaged, and asked to use his pictures in my back matter. He had already graduated from college and had a job building robots in California. WOW! That’s what Instructables did for him, and they can do it for you too.
And, they have all kinds of projects to try – with 3D printers . . . crafts . . . electronics . . . food. If you come up with a new and terrific project, you could enter it in one of their contests – maybe even win a prize! If you want to learn more, here’s the link to their homepage: Yours for the making - Instructables
PS – My Purdue friend has a daughter going to college for aerospace engineering, just like he did. Just like Neil did. Guess what site she met after taking a few precollege engineering classes! If you guessed Instructables, you’re right! She said she could go back to her dorm room and build my wind tunnel. If she does, I bet hers will be better than mine.
Tale #6 – A Single Disappointment: From the outside looking in, Neil lived a charmed life. He set goals, and achieved them . . . from the first airplane he built at age two, to setting foot on the moon.
Neil did so many fabulous things. It’s hard to believe that he had disappointments, but someone from the museum told me he did. His . . . Neil never designed and built commercial airplanes.
It just goes to show that even Neil didn’t get everything he dreamed of. Nobody does. The sad part for me – knowing how much he loved making planes, and making each one better – That he didn’t get to build real commercial airliners. I’m disappointed for him. My story about Neil started when he discovered planes at age two, and it’s where this one ends, with his disappointment about the thing he never achieved.
Meet Henry’s Queens. I’ve been reading about them over the last two months.
I realized a few ways they’re alike, but a lot of ways they’re different.
Part 1 – Comparing Henry’s Queens:
Here are six ways his queens were the same. Finding similarities wasn’t easy.
Part 2 – Contrasting Henry’s Queens:
Here are 12 ways they’re different. Finding them was easy!
- From England – Four of Henry’s queens came from the UK.
- From Abroad – The other two came from Spain (Catherine of Aragon) and Germany (Anne of Cleves).
2. Their age when they married Henry:
- Teen – Catherine Howard
- Twenties – Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Anne of Cleves
- Thirties – Catherine Parr.
Interesting . . . his last two queens were his youngest, and oldest.
3. Henry’s age and health when he married them:
- Young and fit – Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn
- Old and heavy, with leg wounds – The rest of his queens
- Most educated – Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Parr. All three learned Latin and Religion. Most girls didn’t. Those were boys’ subjects.
- Basic Education – Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves. They were taught basic household skills, plus reading, writing, and a little math.
- Least educated – Catherine Howard. She had tutors, but she’d rather sing and dance than read or write.
5. Why Henry picked them:
- Political alliances – Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves
- For knowledge and personality – Anne Boleyn
- For kindness – Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr
- Catholic – Catherine of Aragon
- Church of England - Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Howard. According to the novels which are historical fiction, Jane, Anne, Catherine, and their families, leaned toward the Catholic faith, privately. Anne of Cleves was chosen because her brother belonged to a Protestant league of German princes, but she was Catholic, like her mother.
- Protestant – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr. Catherine was almost arrested for heresy, for being too Protestant in her beliefs. I didn’t know the Church of England was more like the Catholic church than the Protestant one.
- Henry crowned his first two queens, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. He made the others wait until they produced that all-important son. They didn’t. Jane Seymour died giving birth to one. Unfortunately, she was never crowned.
- Anne of Cleves was betrothed to the Duke of Lorraine’s son, but the betrothal was broken. Later Henry used it to delay, then annul his marriage to Anne.
- Catherine Howard got involved in common law marriages before she married Henry. It was one of the things that brought her down.
9. Children: - His first three queens had children – Catherine of Aragon (Mary), Anne Boleyn (Elizabeth), and Jane Seymour (Edward, that all-important son)
- His last three queens – Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr
- All of Henry’s queens had miscarriages. Those babies didn’t make it to full term.
10. The end to their marriages :
- Divorced – Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves, the foreign princesses.
- Beheaded – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. The nieces of Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk. He helped them become queen. Then he helped convict them. Nice uncle!
- Died – Jane Seymour – She was Henry’s favorite wife . . . She gave him that son.
- Lived – Catherine Parr – She was the only queen to outlive Henry. He died first. Anne of Cleves lived longer than Catherine, but she wasn’t queen. Thank goodness Henry divorced her!
- BTW – In England they say there’s a pattern to the six queens. Divorced, beheaded, died. Repeat . . . Divorced, beheaded, lived. I read it in another series starring three of Henry’s queens.
- The exception, Catherine of Aragon, who was born in 1485.
12. Birthdays :
- Known dates with year/month/date – Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves
- Circa dates – Anne Boleyn (Between 1501-1507), Jane Seymour (Sometime in 1508), Catherine Howard (1521-1525), Catherine Parr (August 1512). It’s sad! No one took the time to record the year Anne Boleyn or Catherine Howard were born.
Started 6/19 Finished 6/30
Henry’s Sixth and Last Queen is another Katherine, Katherine Parr, but she’s so much more. She’s the Accepting Queen. She accepted whatever was asked of her.
At five Katherine accepted her father’s death. She left her London home to move into her uncle’s house, and her mother returned to court. She was one of Katherine of Aragon’s ladies-in-waiting.
At 16 Katherine accepted her first marriage, to a complete stranger. At least he wasn’t an old man. By 21 she was a widow, but not for long. A year later she married again, but as a widow, at least she could decide. She said yes . . . because it helped her family.
At 31 Katherine was a widow again, with two suitors, Sir Thomas Seymour and Henry VIII. She preferred Sir Thomas but accepted Henry . . . because it helped her family.
Katherine was also dutiful. She fulfilled her duty to her husbands, to her family, and to her religion. She was more educated than most women. She published three books, all about religion. But Henry’s queens had to be careful. Two of his advisors got a warrant for her arrest. Luckily someone got it to Katherine, in time. She begged Henry for her life. She said she’d argued religion to help him feel better. Thank goodness Henry believed her.
Henry died in 1547, and Katherine finally got her wish, to marry Thomas Seymour. But be careful what you wish for. Katherine later discovered Thomas was interested in her stepdaughter, Elizabeth, age 14. Her ending – so sad – she died in 1548, after giving birth to her only child.
Having sent his much-beloved but deceitful young wife Katheryn Howard to her beheading, King Henry fixes his lonely eyes on a more mature woman, thirty-year-old, twice-widowed Katharine Parr. She, however, is in love with Sir Thomas Seymour, brother to the late Queen Jane. Aware of his rival, Henry sends him abroad, leaving Katharine no choice but to become Henry’s sixth queen in 1543. The king is no longer in any condition to father a child, but Katharine is content to mother his three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and the longed-for male heir, Edward.
Four years into the marriage, Henry dies, leaving England’s throne to nine-year-old Edward—a puppet in the hands of ruthlessly ambitious royal courtiers—and Katharine's life takes a more complicated turn. Thrilled at this renewed opportunity to wed her first love, Katharine doesn't realize that Sir Thomas now sees her as a mere stepping stone to the throne, his eye actually set on bedding and wedding fourteen-year-old Elizabeth. The princess is innocently flattered by his attentions, allowing him into her bedroom, to the shock of her household. The result is a tangled tale of love and a struggle for power, bringing to a close the dramatic and violent reign of Henry VIII.
Started 6/11 Finished 6/19
Katheryn Howard’s story feels like it should have been titled The Neglected Queen. It starts when her mother died in 1528. Katheryn was only 7. Her father was a ne’er-do-well, so Katheryn was sent to her aunt’s house to grow up. That was the best part of her childhood, with an aunt and uncle who watched over her, who cared about her.
In her tweens/teens, Katheryn was sent to live with her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who only looked out for herself. Katheryn didn’t like school, so she didn’t apply herself. She was a social butterfly, into boys and alcohol. She made bad choices, and they shortened her life.
Her uncle, Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, got her a position at court in 1540 as a maid of honor for Anne of Cleves. When Henry VIII started thinking divorce, Thomas pushed Katheryn at him, hoping she’d become wife #5. AND that she’d be in a position to push his interests at Court.
It worked, until Katheryn’s past caught up with her. The result – she was the 2nd Howard girl to lose her head. Her uncle prosecuted both nieces. Her age – 21. Her cousin, Anne Boleyn, wife #2, was in her 30’s. Poor Katheryn! She lost her life, but many of those who served in her step-grandmother’s house, who had encouraged her bad choices, were sent to the Tower of London. There were so many, that Kathryn had to stay with the Constable of the Tower, instead of in the Royal Chambers.
The Dowager Duchess and the Duke of Norfolk served the most time. All signs of Katheryn disappeared after her death. The portrait of a lady, below, is thought to be Katheryn. BTW in my opinion, Anne of Cleves is as pretty as Katheryn Howard. I don’t understand why Henry divorced Anne, but at least she lived to tell. Scan down, and you can compare the real Katheryn to the real Anne.
In the spring of 1540, Henry VIII is desperate to be rid of his unappealing German queen, Anna of Kleve. A prematurely aged and ailing forty-nine, with an ever-growing waistline, he casts an amorous eye on a pretty nineteen-year-old brunette, Katheryn Howard. Like her cousin Anne Boleyn, Katheryn is a niece of the Duke of Norfolk, England’s premier Catholic peer, who is scheming to replace Anna of Kleve with a good Catholic queen. A flirtatious, eager participant in the life of the royal court, Katheryn readily succumbs to the king’s attentions when she is intentionally pushed into his path by her ambitious family.
Henry quickly becomes besotted and is soon laying siege to Katheryn’s virtue. But as instructed by her relations, she holds out for marriage and the wedding takes place a mere fortnight after the king’s union to Anna is annulled. Henry tells the world his new bride is a rose without a thorn, and extols her beauty and her virtue, while Katheryn delights in the pleasures of being queen and the rich gifts her adoring husband showers upon her: the gorgeous gowns, the exquisite jewels, and the darling lap-dogs. She comes to love the ailing, obese king, enduring his nightly embraces with fortitude and kindness. If she can bear him a son, her triumph will be complete. But Katheryn has a past of which Henry knows nothing, and which comes back increasingly to haunt her--even as she courts danger yet again. What happens next to this naïve and much-wronged girl is one of the saddest chapters in English history.
Started 6/7 Finished 6/11
Anna’s story begins in 1530 when Katherine of Aragon was still queen. The first time I read it, I ignored the storyline in the first 2 chapters because they had Anna pregnant. This time I read the author’s notes that included a quote from Henry VIII. He said Anna wasn’t a maid when he married her, and evidently, he said it more than once. There’s no proof Anna was ever pregnant, but it’s an interesting theory.
By chapter 3, the story is historically back on track. It’s 1539. Jane Seymour is dead, and Henry’s looking for a new wife. Anna isn’t interested. Europeans are shocked by Henry and his three wives. One royal said she’d marry him, if she had 2 heads.
The Princess in the Portrait is the perfect title. Henry was so obsessed with Anna’s appearance that he sent his court painter to Kleve. Henry proposes after seeing the portrait, but he’s disappointed when he meets the real Anna. Enough that he doesn’t consummate their marriage. Within weeks he’s working on an annulment, and, seeking a new queen.
I’m amazed by the ending to Anna’s story. She kept her head, literally, and became Henry’s good sister. Odd, but true. Henry died in 1547. His last queen, Catherine Parr, died in 1548. As for Anna, she died in 1557. She lived longer than Henry’s other queens, except for Katherine of Aragon.
Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to ensure the royal succession. Forty-six, overweight, and suffering from gout, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe's most eligible princesses. Anna of Kleve, from a small German duchy, is twenty-four, and has a secret she is desperate to keep hidden. Henry commissions her portrait from his court painter, who depicts her from the most flattering perspective. Entranced by the lovely image, Henry is bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England, and he sees her in the flesh. Some think her attractive, but Henry knows he can never love her.
What follows is the fascinating story of an awkward royal union that somehow had to be terminated. Even as Henry begins to warm to his new wife and share her bed, his attention is captivated by one of her maids-of-honor. Will he accuse Anna of adultery as he did Queen Anne Boleyn, and send her to the scaffold? Or will he divorce her and send her home in disgrace? Alison Weir takes a fresh and astonishing look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone and fearing for her life in a royal court that rejected her almost from the day she set foot on England’s shore.
Started 5/30 Finished 6/7
The Haunted Queen begins in the same place the other two did, with its main character as a teenager. It ends in the same place too, with her death. All three are historical fiction, but I got to know each queen and her character, enough to compare and contrast them.
Anne and Jane’s stories began during the reign of Katherine of Aragon, the true queen. Her value to Henry VIII – her dowry and connections to Spain. She was renown as a Christian, a devoted wife, mother and queen, but she couldn’t satisfy Henry . . . she couldn’t give him a son.
Both Anne and Jane started royal life as Katherine’s maids of honor. Jane arrived sometime during The King’s Great Matter, his obsession to divorce Katherine and marry Anne. Both were well educated, but Katherine remained Catholic. Anne turned to Protestant reformers, pushed to translate the Bible into English, and made the Church of England possible. She believed that women could rule. She might have kept her head and remained queen, if she’d only given Henry a son, and been a little nicer.
Jane stayed with Katherine until her family made her go to court, as Anne’s maid of honor. When Anne lost her fourth child, Jane’s family pushed her at Henry. It worked – they were engaged the day after Anne was beheaded. That’s when the haunting began, at least in this work of historical fiction. Jane would give him that all-important son, but die doing it.
Jane was a devout Catholic, but not educated like the others. She could read and write, but that was it. Her claim to fame – her obedience and kindness. She obeyed Henry and the Church of England. She brought his daughter, Mary back into the fold after Anne had her disinherited. Jane was remarkable.
Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking. For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a haunting incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.
But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures Anne as his new queen—forever altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son, or will she be cast aside like the women who came before her?
Bringing new insight to this compelling story, Alison Weir marries meticulous research with gripping historical fiction to re-create the dramas and intrigues of the most renowned court in English history. At its center is a loving and compassionate woman who captures the heart of a king, and whose life will hang in the balance for it.
A Tudor Family Portrait, circa 1545, from left to right: 'Mother Jak' (Edward’s nurse), Lady Mary, Prince Edward, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour(posthumous), Lady Elizabeth and Will Somers (court jester)
In 1965 a song came out about Henry VIII. I thought Henry was the king who’d had 6 wives. This Henry, but I was wrong.
I just looked up the song and reread the lyrics. It turns out the song’s Henry married a widow from next door, and she’d married seven other Henry’s. That made him the widow’s eighth Henry.
Here’s the cover from that 1965 song. It hit #1 on the US charts, and it was the fastest selling song in history, back then.
It’s still one of the shortest songs in chart history. That’s because it only used the chorus. There are actually three verses, but Herman’s Hermits didn’t use any of them. I guess they wanted their song short and snappy.
The Hermits skipped the verses, but they kept the Cockney accent from the original song. It was written back in 1910. Their Henry is pronounced Enery, with three syllables.
Would you like to hear The Hermits? Click this link.
Link: henry viii i am song - Search (bing.com)
Would you like to learn more about the song, Henry VIII? Click this link.
Link: I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am - Wikipedia
Photo Source: By MGM Records - Stereo Gum, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62053039
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!