When a blogger’s dreams come true — an eighth Harry Potter book

There are people who hold out hope for a new Batman reboot. Or an audience that craves a reinvented Star Wars trilogy. Some just want Hobbit movies to never end. We all have our favorite fictional universes.

Me? I’ve long prayed for a new installment of a series that basically defined my childhood. One that involved witchcraft and wizardry. House elves and goblins. Flying on broomsticks in mid-air chasing balls.

There’s no real way to describe Quidditch without sounding homoerotic, is there?

Well, anyway, it appears my prayers were answered. Stop the presses, everybody, because there’s an eighth Harry Potter book coming out!

Actually, wait. Do not stop the presses. Do the exact opposite. Rub some extra elbow grease on those babies.

OK, so it’s not exactly the eighth book in the series, per say, but it is indeed the eighth book, chronologically, written by J.K. Rowling, involving the Harry Potter universe.

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And by golly, that is good enough for me. The book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will actually be a “script book” of the play of the same name that is set to open on July 30 in the UK. The book will be released by Scholastic one day later on July 31 — which, every nerd like me knows, is Harry Potter’s birthday.

When I heard this news yesterday, I seriously did some type of hybrid dance combining an Irish jig and break-dancing, and topped it off with the dab. Basically, I looked like a guest on Maury who just learned he is not the father.

It may not be a traditional book — indeed I’m wondering if the script will be converted at all to a conventional literary narrative — but it gives me more story. More magic. And more importantly, gives me an excuse to reread the entire Harry Potter book series.

Which, might I add, is like 4,000 pages combined. So that will pretty much occupy my entire summer. I think I might just put a sign on my bedroom door in May that reads “Do Not Disturb — Reading Harry Potter” and never leave.

For anyone who was too young to appreciate Harry Potter when it was in its craze back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, let me just tell you that nothing like it has ever followed. For adolescents and teenagers at the time, it made reading cool again. It broadened our imaginations. It provided a fun magical getaway before and after school. And introduced us to a whole host of characters who have since never left.

And for those who have yet to read them — then consider this your opportunity. I don’t care how old you are. It’s not too late. The story is so creative and enthralling that it transcends age.

Besides, you’re never too old for an adventure.

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The Weinblog solemnly endorses black Hermione

America has made significant progress in the last several decades when it comes to the acceptance of racial diversity.

Although, let’s face it, that’s mostly a byproduct of the fact that there was nowhere to go but up.

But progress is progress. And no one is doubting that there is still ways to go.

A major checklist item was achieved seven years ago when Barack Obama was sworn in as our nation’s first black president. It was long overdue, and as he nears the end of his presidency, the man is more beloved by Americans than never before.

Don’t fact check that.

Black Hermione.pngBut that was not the final hurdle. And I know you’re asking — what greater accomplishment can there be besides a black man holding our country’s highest and most powerful office?

There’s only one answer: getting a black person into the Harry Potter universe!

And ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that we did it! We did it! Drop the confetti!

…did the confetti not drop? Sorry, I forgot I don’t have the budget of most blogs to prepare universal confetti. Just do me a favor and throw the nearest item straight up in the air, and pray that it doesn’t come back down on your head. It’ll do.

Noma Dumezweni has been cast to play the adult Hermione in the upcoming “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” play, written by J.K. Rowling herself, the narrative of which will ensue where the book series finished.

While reaction to the play and the actors chosen to play the main characters has been mostly positive, there has been enough backlash to necessitate Rowling and other actors from the film adaptations to come forward and voice their support for Dumezweni.

Alright. Let’s get real for a second. As someone who basically lived his childhood vicariously through the Harry Potter universe, let me speak directly to the fellow Pottermaniacs like myself.

We are better than everyone. We’re not Star Wars fanboys. We’re not Trekkies or Lord of the Rings fanatics. And we sure as hell aren’t like the diehards of the Fast and the Furious franchise. Don’t even get me started on those degenerates.

We are civilized. We are free thinkers. And above all, we are tolerant.

And plus, if we accepted a universe that involves humans transforming into cats and transportation by way of tossing powder into a fireplace, then a black actress is the least far-fetched thing that we have to accept.

Heck, I say why stop there?

Harry Potter should be played by a Muslim. A transgender could act the part of Ron Weasley.

Rubeus Hagrid, the eight-and-a-half-foot tall half giant who lives on the Hogwarts grounds? Give the role to a midget Scientologist.

As for who should play Voldemort? This is a tough one.

If only there was a powerful person in real life with a large following who is promoting bigotry and dividing people of differing belief systems…

I can’t think of anyone.

 

The world reacts to Trump, Jon Stewart’s epic return and a major Grammy snub

The main reason I wanted to wait a day to talk about Donald Trump’s senseless proclamation he made towards Muslims on Monday was to give the world time to digest it.

I was hopeful that decency and sanity would prevail.

And thankfully, it did.

The world has not lost its mind. At least not yet. Not only did fellow Republicans condemn his proposal — including new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who previously had said he would not comment on the presidential race — but people across the world came out to voice their disapproval.

trump_voldemortThe mayor of St. Petersburg in Florida facetiously said he was “barring Donald Trump” from entering his city until all Trumps are proven to not be dangerous.

But the retort of the day went to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who said, “How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad.”

As someone who spent much of his childhood — and admittedly, some of his young adulthood — immersed in the Harry Potter universe, this was especially awesome for me.

But that’s that. It’s not even worth dignifying such bigotry with any more commentary.

Especially when yesterday brought us other news. The Daily Show welcomed back a familiar face, as Jon Stewart returned as a guest to publicly shame the Republican lawmakers who are holding up the renewal of the Zadroga Act, which provides treatment for those who were among the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001, a large chunk of whom are dying now from the toxic fumes they inhaled that day.

It was a really powerful piece and one definitely worth watching. And it Jon Stewart Trevor Noahwas a stark reminder of how much our world needs Jon Stewart. Especially now.

For years, he was the voice of reason who entertained and comforted us every night at 11 p.m. And boy, we could really use some common sense right now.

It was Stewart who championed the passage of the bill five years ago when he had four 9-11 responders on his show. On Monday night, only one of those four were able to return. The other two were too ill, and the third one is dead.

It’s not easy to be a half-humorist half-political commentator who actually makes a difference in the world. With this blog, I make a difference in the one person’s life who accidentally stumbles across this site via a Google search.

And you know what? I’ll take it.

Last, nominations were revealed on Monday for the 57th Grammy Awards, which will take place Feb. 8. There were no major surprises; Taylor Swift’s 1989 is up for Album of the Year, which will naturally anger some people.

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And for those wondering, Adele was not eligible, hence her absence from the nominees list. But she’ll probably kill it in 2017.

But I must express my extreme displeasure with one egregious snub: Sufjan Stevens. His album, Carrie and Lowell, is without a doubt among the best of the year. And he got nothing.

Not many people are capable of delivering lyrics in such a haunting, soul-tickling manner like he can.

It’s a shame he wasn’t recognized on a national level, and it also deprives the general public from learning about a very talented artist.

Oh well. Sufjan, I see you. And you may never win music’s biggest prize, but, if it’s any consolation, allow me to bestow you with a WeinGrammy®.

For reference, it’s somewhere between a Video Music Award and a Kid’s Choice Award, and about equivalent in self-validation to a Tinder match.