Thursday, September 16, 2021

Harry Potter Stars Artwork Auction to Support Epilepsy

Harry Potter film stars Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) and David Bradley (Mr. Filch) have sketched original drawings for a charity eBay auction. 

In support of Epilepsy Action and the 600,000 people across the UK who are living with epilepsy, their work will be auctioned off for National Doodle Day - September 17th, 2021.

The live auction will begin on Friday afternoon and it runs until Sunday. View the entire gallery of artwork held by the British Epilepsy Association.

More information from the press release:
Famous names from the worlds of entertainment and art have joined forces to support national charity Epilepsy Action. They have sketched unique artworks for an eBay auction which starts on National Doodle Day on Friday 17 September. The event celebrates its 17th anniversary this year. The auction includes works from TV favourites Aisling Bea (This Way Up), Freema Agyeman (Dr Who, New Amsterdam), Alice Eve (Belgravia, Black Mirror), Celia Imrie, Jools Holland and Dame Maureen Lipman DBE alongside celebrated artists and illustrators such as R.W Alley (Paddington) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo). Fans have until Sunday 19 September to bid on the original drawings. The proceeds from every doodle sold will help to support the 600,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK.

Philippa Cartwright, director of fundraising at Epilepsy Action, said: “National Doodle Day is a fantastic event which whips fans and collectors into a bidding frenzy. This is their chance to buy original artwork from celebrities, artists and designers and every doodle sold raises vital funds for people affected by epilepsy.

“Every year we are overwhelmed with submissions from all kinds of doodlers. Since launching National Doodle Day 17 years ago, we’ve had over 1,500 celebrities and artists support us. After all the lockdowns, we can’t wait to unveil their new creations. Don’t forget to get bidding on Friday 17 September and all weekend!”

Since National Doodle Day began in 2004, doodlers far and wide have raised over £180,000 for Epilepsy Action, all to improve the lives of people with epilepsy. All the latest doodles are now available to view in the online gallery and on eBay from Friday.

Book Review: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Briseis is gifted with an elemental affinity with plants. She can survive their deadly poisons, revive them from the dead, and grow seedlings into beautiful creations. When her aunt mysteriously leaves a sprawling estate to Briseis in her will, this feels like a perfect opportunity for herself and her moms to start over. To truly understand the potential of her powers, Briseis must unlock underlying secrets to the townspeople seeking dubious remedies and the biological family she’s never known.

Please Note: I received a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own. I do not receive commission if you click on any of the links in this post. If you'd like to send me a book or product to feature, check out my work with me page. Thank you for supporting my site!

Author Kaylon Bayron’s work has been highly sought after since her debut Cinderella is Dead in 2020. I’ve heard so much about her previous book, I didn’t know what to expect about diving in to her second title – But I like to think it helped me go in with a fresh mind without the lingering hype.

I might’ve picked up This Poison Heart for the beautiful cover and the inclusion of plant-based magic, but I stayed because the book was a genuine joy to breeze through. I didn’t even realize what a page-turner it was until I was racing to reach the ending.

Briseis is a wonderful character to lead the story – she’s not just gifted with the powers she inherited from her biological family, but also found family as well. Her adoptive mothers are respectful and compassionate about what Bresis is facing – magical or otherwise. Being in a world where it seems like no one possesses the abilities she does, enforces doubts and skepticism with others who might freak out about what she can do, take advantage of her, or shame her into hiding. Sometimes in stories including adoption, there are elements of the adoptive child being made to feel like they’re betrayed for wanting to learn more about their history. But here, Briseis’s parents support her but also remain cautious about her boundaries and if they’re being pushed too far. Because of that Briseis is free to explore what she needs to learn and also test the obstacles she faces. But it’s ultimately a combination of her gifts and determination that pushes her to face her truth.

I’ve read some reviews where the first half of the book is described as moving too slow. And, I somewhat agree. Briseis' interactions with other characters are the main source of trying to figure out where the story is heading next. With supporting characters knowing more than Briseis biological family and their reputation, it;s difficult to wait and discover if they’re trustworthy or not. The author does a great job with dangling the right amount of info in front of you and leave you wanting more, but it also made me question if everything would come full circle.

At the same time that mystery rolls out slowly in the beginning but kicks into high gear in the third act, I’d say the most of the book is more of a journey of Briseis accepting her abilities – not shielding what she can do and trying to trust the world around her. And the sprawling estate (which is more like a gothic mansion) full of secret apothecaries, deadly plants, and lingering family history is a beautiful metaphor for the complicated feelings Briseis has about her gifts. 

Bayron leads with mystery, fantasy, and a touch of romance, but also weaves in a layered magic system and mythology that really shows how Briseis connect with her environment. Her descriptions and clearly defined research lets you fully understand Briseis’s perspective and the entire world she’s laying out between over every chapter – and a splendid cliffhanger that makes me want more. 

This Poison Heart is a blast to read and didn’t expect how everything would come together. It captures the diverse gothic urban fantasy that’s been lacking for a long time. Visit Kalynn Bayron's official website here

Trigger warnings to consider: blood, violence, murder, death, poisoning, accidental cutting

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Zavvi Albus Dumbledore Wand (Product Review)

If I possessed the Elder Wand, what would I use it for? 

I pondered this question recently as I received Albus Dumbledore's wand from Zavvi.

Albus's wand arrived in two boxes. The first box is black with a glossy finish and protects the purple wand holder with a matte-like finish.  There's an oval cut-out in the black box to show off the reflective seal with Dumbledore's name and Hogwarts inscription underneath. Most wand boxes are plain without much extra detailing, so this was a nice surprise. The latter box also contains a strip of soft padding as well as a cut-out mold to hold the wand.

As a recreation from the wands in the films, the resin design is identical. Zavvi's wand fits the quality of wands that I look for - playful to not feel like it's going to break but sturdy to carry with me to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or put on display. The wand is about 15 1/2 inches long, and the structure is strong enough to not bend and has a steady weight from the handle to the tip.

One small attention-to-detail that makes a huge difference is the metal clasp stand with keyring plaque. Dumbledore's rounded handle makes the length of the wand unbalanced when displayed horizontally. The metal clasp sits snuggly on the wand's tip to hold it up. I wish my other wands had this accessory because it creates such a smooth display on my bookshelf.

I've mostly bought wands at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks or had custom wands made. I didn't quite know what to expect receiving one from an official retailer. I'm happy to say it does not disappoint - not only does it feel like I bought it at Ollivanders, but Zavvi's wands comes with a few extra perks I wish were available elsewhere.

Overall, I'm so happy that Zavvi extended to send me Albus Dumbledore's wand. It's a welcome and exciting addition to my collection. Please check out more photos below of the case, wand, and stand.

Please Note: I received this wand from Zavvi in exchange for a review. Opinions are my own. I do not receive commission if you click on any of the links in this post. If you'd like to send me a product to review, check out my work with me page. Thank you for supporting my site!

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Catch the Golden Snitch with New Spin Master Harry Potter Game

Looking for a fun interactive Quidditch game to play with friends? 

Harry Potter Catch the Golden Snitch (Spin Master Games) tests your skills in a fast-paced game where you still have to catch the Golden Snitch while watching out for flying budgers.

This fast-paced game will delight both Muggles and Wizards alike! Place the Quidditch set in the center of the table to start the match. There are no turns in this game – pass the cards around the table and try to grab pairs as fast as you can to score points while blocking your opponents. Try to avoid the flying bludgers and keep an eye out for the Golden Snitch, which can fly out of the box at any moment — catch it and score extra points! 

How to Win: Score the most points by the time the Golden Snitch flies! 

There are no turns in this board game - everything occurs in real time, which means hours of fun for the whole family or a perfect icebreaker at parties. 

The game contains 1 Quidditch Chest, 1 Quaffle, 2 Bludgers, 1 Golden Snitch, 100 Cards, and 1 Instruction Sheet. 

MSRP $19.99, Players: 3-4, Ages 8+. 

Available 8/1/21 at TargetWalmartand Amazon.

Please Note: I was not sponsored to share this product and I do not receive commission if you click on any of the links in this post. If you'd like to send me a product to review, check out my work with me page. Thank you for supporting my site!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Mini The Knight Bus DIY Project Tutorial

The Knight Bus DIY Tutorial

“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. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor this evening."

I was recently looking at my Harry Potter shelf and realized I didn't have a fun little Knight (School) Bus in my collection. 

While shopping at Wal-Mart, I saw this cute wooden school bus and gave myself a challenge to turn it into a Knight Bus inspired craft. 

Here's my brief process to create your own DIY Knight Bus. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Sign Up To Participate In Harry Potter Mental Health Study

The Harry Potter series has given readers the opportunity to escape into a magical world of wizardry. Underneath the fantastical elements of wand-waving and casting spells, the books also underscored valuable life lessons and exploration of mental health. One of the reasons generations continue to find new love for the franchise is its ability to help us connect to our deepest feelings, experiences, and the world around us.

A study, conducted by two students earning their Masters in psychology is currently being held and looking Harry Potter fans to participate.

Josefine and Maja from Sweden are currently researching how Harry Potter can be incorporated into Harry Potter and how the books affect mental health. The pair originally met when they started university and began bonding over Maja's Always tattoo and Josefine's Deathly Hallows earring. They have been behind a school bench for 17 years with the past 4-5 years focusing on psychology.
After that we talked every morning before class, I had a safe place and it was her and Harry Potter. I do not know if we would have connected as strongly and quickly without our mutual love for Harry Potter. After this it was easy and we found out every day that we loved all the same things and after some time we started discussing the possibility of writing our master thesis together. We had a few ideas over the years but in the end Maja turned and said “Come on Josefine, let’s finish this the way we started...together”.
After 17 years of study, both Josephine and Maja knew they needed a project that excited them and felt close to home - nothing feels more close to home than returning to Hogwarts.

As for the study: four groups will be divided into two subgroups - the subgroups will read different kinds of material on Harry Potter. Within the subgroups, one will have social interaction with Josefine and Maja, while the other participants will simply read the material without social interaction.

The participants will fill out forms measuring depression, anxiety, stress, and psychological flexibility pre and post the intervention. 

They are currently looking for participants who are 18+, fluent in written and spoken English, have never done ACT or mindfulness before, and love Harry Potter.

If you would like to participate in the study, you can do so at the official recruitment link.

Please note that Potter Talk is independent from the study and any information that you submit into the study is not shared with this blog or blog owner.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Official Harry Potter Flagship Store Opens in New York City

From Universal Studios theme parks to the Warner Bros Studios Tour Harry Potter London, Harry Potter attractions and exhibitions have blossomed all over the world. With various installments in the works such as Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child, the franchise has finally established a flagship store in New York City - a premiere location that will house a vast range of merchandise.

Harry Potter New York joins the ranks of popular stores such as the Harry Potters at Kings Cross Station. But this new magical destination aims to "set a new standard for themed retail, combining breathtaking design, exquisite craftsmanship, hand-crafted props, exciting interactive elements and exclusive products."

With over three floors and 21,000 sq. ft, there's no way that the store won't meet expectations as the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products under one roof.