Top Ten Characters I’d Dress as for Halloween

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day) by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 literary characters I’d want to dress up as for Halloween. This took a lot of pondering as a lot of my favorite characters don’t have any distinguishing costumes…So, here I go:

Top Ten Characters I’d Be for Halloween:

1. Millie Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-Extra set of arms, magic, cats, count me in. I’d have to go around explaining who I was and a lot of people wouldn’t know her, but Millie’d be worth it.

christopher-chant

2. Christopher Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-This is mainly so I can swan around in his fantastic robes. I need some of those robes in my life.

3. Tiffany Aching from “Wee Free Men” etc., by Terry Pratchett
-I long to wear a green dress and wield a frying pan and measuring tape while eating excellent cheese and feeling witchy. This is also kindof a life goal.

4. The White Witch from “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
-This just feels like the perfect costume for both eating/distributing sweets and celebrating approaching winter. It also gives the coming season a “This time shall be mine!” spin, which I always like.

5. Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman
-I go around quoting him anyway, this character would be a piece of cake. Of sharp, on-point, delicious cake. And if they didn’t recognize this outfit with a girl in them, there’s the easiest fix in the world.

6. The Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carol
-I like hats, I like tea, and I like him. Another character I go around quoting, I feel this would be best for a sit-down costume party.

7. Dorothy from “Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum

-Feels perfect for the night of ghouls to run around going “lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!!” Plus, this is probably the easiest and most recognizable of my choices.

8. Calcifer from “Howl’s Moving Castle” etc., by Diana Wynne Jones
-He is the best and I’m sure whatever costume one could come up with would keep you warm.

9. Jane from “Ironskin”
Ironskin-cover
-She has so many striking looks and one could go around muttering outrageous ragey thoughts whenever taking off your mask…She has a built-in mask!

10. But my ultimate costume, if I could pull this off, would be to go as Baba Yaga in her house on chicken-feet from Russian folklore. Or just the house. Skull fence, chicken-feet, in-character tricks and turns, and getting to cackle all night while demanding payment/food…it would be glorious. Glorious, I say! (If anyone has seen this done or pulled it off themselves, I need pictures.)
babayaga

And that’s me! What costumes appeal to you from the literary world?

Snow Queen for Halloween?

Halloween’s fast approaching,
Those ghouls are encroaching,
And if you or yours have chosen
To emulate the queen of Frozen,
Dress-up fit for a Snow Queen,
At Sonshine Smiles Shop can be seen!

Located here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

This is my niece as model in this dress:
ad_dressM ad_dressback

And it comes with matching hairclip!
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She also has an official version of a Snow Queen dress, but this is by far my favorite. And, honestly, looking at this versus the official ones, which dress looks like it could better keep the cold from ever bothering its queen?

Orders must be placed soon for delivery by Halloween!
https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop, where custom dresses like this can be ordered for estimated $30-$50, depending on size.

Holiday Shopping Spot!

Today, I have a very proud announcement to make. My enterprising nieces and crafty nephew have opened a small business on Facebook called the Sonshine Smiles Shop! Find it here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

The holidays are coming and this is a wonderfully cheap way to get some lovely gifts-I’m their loving aunt and some of these things are even more gorgeous and special than I even expected! So, if you know of anyone who would love to trick-or-treat in a beautiful Snow Queen dress…

Niephews_snowqueen

Or a baby in need of a fancy pink princess/birthday/holiday dress….

Niephews_pinkdress

Or some young ones who could use some sweet-smelling play-doh with jewels to find and decorate with…

Niephews_playdoh

Or anyone in need of special Mama Necklaces, organic wool dryer balls, toddler-safe Jedi light sabers, or $4 aromatherapy bath salts, please stop by https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop today! And they take special orders, too! Tell your friends!

Niephews_facebook

The Flavor of “Reign”

So, this was the biggest surprise to me, but…I love this show! I know, I shouldn’t, I study history and it is wildly inaccurate, but here’s the thing: it’s so wildly inaccurate that it’s not even pretending to be a real history show. So long as it’s not really an imposter to history, I see no point in hating something for not being right and I believe “Reign” falls in this category for very important reasons:

Dolorous Crystal Bodychain on Adelaide Kane CW Reign

(SPOILER FREE)

1)They play modern music. Anything with modern music is either not pretending to be history at all or is absolutely rotten. This show is so far from pretensions to reality that I actually enjoy the soundtrack, as it goes rather well with what the show actually IS.
2)The costumes are ridiculously off. This is the second of the main two things that all audiences are most likely to pick up on and as they often are not even vaguely accurate, this is the second big thing that lets the show off the hook. Particularly as these wildly inaccurate confections are glorious.
3)Within the first 10 minutes we are informed that ghosts will be a major part of the plot. Which brings us to-
4)What “Reign” actually is, is A GOTHIC MYSTERY ROMANCE. With not only ghosts, but a Blood Woods, and angsty music (I told you there was a reason it works for me.) Only instead of being stuck wandering around a dark, deserted manor, we get treated to the bright, lavish, scheming court when not roaming secret hallways or communing with spirits. And instead of putting up with Bronte-type heroes, we get a variety of moral centers to choose from in the male part of the cast. The revelation that a Gothic mystery romance was actually what I was watching actually managed to explain the most egregious historical crime for me, as it was relevant to the whole lifestyle and plotlines of the story as opposed to the specifics of Queen Mary: There are nowhere near enough extras. And while it is still laughable that Mary is often wandering about alone with no other living souls about, servant, guard, or otherwise, now I know why-because that’s what has to happen in a Gothic mystery romance, It all makes sense! Although occasionally they actually draw attention to the absence of guards for a plotline and it is still hilarious, but hey-what they’re actually doing is something where this lack of people is necessary, where modern music works, and where court life actually meshes with Gothic ghosts. That is Amazing and I deeply appreciate it. I think you should, too.

I should admit that it helps that I have never met a version of the actual Mary, Queen of Scots that I found particularly compelling in this period. On the other hand, if you like the actual historical Mary then knowing what would eventually happen would just make a show depressing. “Reign” not only has a heroine who appears to actually make the most sensible decisions she can in her circumstances most of the time, but as she is clearly not historical there is no need for such sadness! This one could be hypnotized into marrying her second husband! Or be switched with a body double right before her execution by the ghost! Her future is wide open! Which is how a good Gothic mystery romance should be-free to make crazy revelations at any moment. I like that. Especially when Mary’s supporting cast include a girl who’s basically an earlier Jane Bennet without a Lizzie, a girl determined to hold the sexual revolution back then, and Susan from the Narnia movies.

White Queen 1×7 “Poison and Malmsey Wine”

FINALLY, this show has joined the ranks of a proper history soap opera! The costumes are looking up, they took a moment for simply a beautiful nature shot, they left room for some mystery…it has arrived. This is definitely my favorite episode so far.

SPOILERS:

-Margaret Beaufort, turns out you just needed things to Do other than mope around about your son and Lancaster in order to enliven the screen. The baby thing in itself and as your way in was dumb, but you went for it and by golly, anything that makes you stop bellyaching and start spying and speaking with dignity is excellent. However, it would have been that much better if you’d been seen subtly scaring off the other maid before she asked the queen to leave court, so it would be clear you’re still backstabbing and scheming away.

-David Oakes, your Juan pt. 2, the English One ends as outrageously as I had hoped. From the moment I saw you stroking your dog while watching brother-sex I was worried about the relationship. I was relieved to see it ended in a superstitious death. Also, I shall go ahead and give you credit for brainwashing Isabel for that year we didn’t see-getting her so afraid of Lizzie she could have died of voodoo-inspired fear was quite the accomplishment. Still a big fan of your hissyfits, but seeing one start with you in a bull mask was a special treat. Also, choosing a colorful way to go literally gains my approval.

-Edward…I love your lion outfit. Why do you keep whoring around and pretending to go to war so much when you’re obviously way too tired to make any kind of decent decisions ever and merely bend to wife, brothers, or the letter of the law without much foresight or zest? The year has not been kind to you, has it? Perhaps you’ve already got STDs and that accounts for it.

-Anne, why does everyone else get new clothes but you remain stuck in the one plain silhouette ALWAYS? I feel like this episode had you wanting to jump ship to Revenge, wanting to destroy someone for your fallen family member, clearly not knowing everything, needing Victoria’s advice about controlling powers that be instead of just having to choose a side…yeah, you’d fit RIGHT in. And they’d liven up your wardrobe, too.

-Elizabeth, I feel for you. One snarky comment about your womb being able to beat up everyone else’s womb and suddenly court is exploding in your face. What I’d like to know is how everyone somehow realized you were responsible for the storm that killed Izzy’s firstborn-don’t think that’s ever been comprehended before and it had no realization moment. However, storming after George in front of everyone served no useful purpose except to show off your sparkly gold dress. This is a schemey political show and you’ve got witchcraft-why bother to go after him yourself? It’s the least interesting choice. Your problem here seems, in fact, to be that you are too direct and honest. You let everyone know how you feel, you’re consistent, and you try to come at problems head-on. These are not the most useful problems from a TV perspective, but you’re doing them with flair.

-Richard, I am glad they let you speak up for George. On the other hand, your dealings with Anne are becoming too focused on dark looks. Your best moment really was when you got to blow up at your mom over her favoritism. Also, you at least have been paying attention to the foreshadowing. Please, let that not be played out as a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of actually your decision.

-Dear show, see how that works out for everyone when there’s not absolute clarity about a suspicious death? That’s what we’re looking for. That and more present complexities instead of filling in with repetitive foreshadowing. And more masquerades/intriguing scenery. Take note!

Enter: Nature’s Halloween

As I’ve been traipsing about this fine autumn, I’ve seen a lot of beauty and a lot of color, as expected of my favorite season. Yet, suddenly, this week even the most normal things have taken on a certain…quality:

It started off, predictably enough, with pumpkins:
hallpumpkins

Please Park Bikes Below and Brooms above:
hallbroom

Even nature needs some fake cobwebs:
hallweb

They’re putting on their scaring side!:
hallmenace
Don’t tell me you don’t see that frowning mouth and that glare!

And their spooky faces:
hallspook

Thanks for joining me on this tour of nature’s Halloween garb! Please exit carefully on your brooms and fly with vigilance so you don’t get caught up in any weblike limbs!

Into The W…hat?

 

Anna Kendrick and musical nerds geek out on set of Into The Woods|Lainey Gossip Entertainment Update

Anna Kendrick and musical nerds geek out on set of Into The Woods|Lainey Gossip Entertainment Update.

 

The link has a lot more pictures of the upcoming movie version of the best musical of all time: Into the Woods.  They fill me with trepidation.

 

For 1) I have just never been on board with a lot of the casting for this film and seeing them in costume does nothing to allay those fears.

2) WHY is there so much dullness??  This is a story about colorful characters with colorful journeys, half of which have a lot of money and a care for their clothes.  Dullness is just nonsense.

3) Putting extreme cutouts in this style of clothing feels…sarcastic, almost.  Edgy.  Into the Woods is all about heart, and these hints of sarcasm and not-taking-it-seriously seem all wrong.  Fun differences from a historical style is one thing-musicals are fun, yes, but…this level of get-up with that level of slashing just feels wrong, like they’re going for something too off-kilter or self-aware.  Into the Woods should not be self-aware, it should be all-encompassingly absorbing and filled with truth.  It bothers me.

4) In this scene, which is clearly where they are confronting the giant….Why on Earth are there so many symbols of law and order?  There’s no law and order in the facing of the giant!  In fact, that’s all about the Exact Opposite of that.  Just no.

5) Plus, there seem to be people who should not be present there.  And lacking people who should be.  It’s disturbing.

6) In all of these pictures, there’s a lot of big scenery which is clearly carefully picked…and NOWHERE do I see anything resembling even the start of any woods.  Where are the woods, people?  Even the castle-folk are surrounded by and susceptible to the woods for this to work, why is this palace not amongst some trees?

 

*Holds onto glasses*  I’m afraid, people.  Very afraid.  Aren’t you?  They better be careful with my musical….

 

Careful the tale you tell, that is the spell….

 

 

 

The White Queen 1×2 “The Price of Power”

This episode is all about drawing allegiance lines and telling the audience what side everyone’s on.  Also, about jumping right to the parts that have the simplest bad guy/good guy dynamics and, when that won’t quite fit in, have characters tell fairy tale versions of things where the “bad” people are devilspawn and werewolves.  It’s kindof relaxing, really.  They like to tell you things rather than expecting you to think, so you can just plunk yourself down and revel in all the foreshadowing.  Which is not to say things are bad, it just feels more like watching a romance drama than a political scheming intrigue one.  Usually, you feel compelled to side with schemers, etc.  With this one you’re really just letting them take care of their own fights and leaning into the ride.  Need to be in the right mood.

 

SAFE-TO-READ thoughts:

1. I am starting to really like Isabel Neville this episode.  The second the script let her grow more than one dimension she became engaging, particularly in her relationship with Anne.

2. Anne Neville herself has clearly been told to play her single dimension up as much as she can, and she complies.  It had better change soon.

3. I love Warwick’s furry-shoulders cape.

4. I appreciate how they make everything feel sudden.  Very helpful for keeping up interest, when you already know what’s going to happen.  It also feels more authentic.

5. It is really amusing to see what lengths they will go to to make sure everyone in the audience knows who everyone’s going to be as soon as humanly possible.

6. The magic sideline begins to swing in a dull direction rather than the fun one here, though.  Swing back-swing it back!

7. This portrayal of Richard remains sidelined, absurd, and somehow geek-vibed, though.  They had all better get on that.

 

SPOILERS:

1.The Duke of Buckingham and Catherine together-I luuuuuurve it.  Particularly when she’s swinging her feet.  Child-Marriage, FTW!

2. Okay, seriously, Edward rides off WITHOUT A SINGLE DAMN BODYGUARD when he retreats from Warwick’s army??  No.  Just no.  Take his fucking head when that happens.

3. So, they just let Edward send off letters giving Elizabeth advice?  And with a messenger that got there faster than Anthony?  >.>

4. I do appreciate how they’re keeping all the butchery things somehow one place removed-through dreams or flashbacks.  It lets the actual sadness of the moment and the drama of the living characters overshadow everything and connects the audience to them, rather than their own thoughts, feelings, or lack there of concerning the deaths.  I think that’s smart, especially considering how short a time we’ve known anyone in this show.

5. Is it just me or did the wording of all concerned when Warwick made his move just sound like Woodvilles=Always Right!, even Edward IV=wrong!?  Cause that’ll get annoying.

6. Margaret Beaufort, why don’t I care about this version of you?

7. I am saddened that Henry VI did not get to indulge his insanity on camera.  It’s his one opportunity to have fun, after all.

The Borgia Bulletin 3×10 (The Prince)

The finale is here and…I feel satisfied.  This show always excelled at season endings and this one is no exception.  It covered everything immediate and brought the characters to a place where I am alright leaving them, although I’d rather not.

 

SPOILERS:

Dear Machiavelli: The man is an oracle.  I dearly want a Machiavellian tarot deck now.  Think about what it would be-THINK OF IT.  All the Borgias would be present, of course.  The ordinarily peaceful cards would involve orgies.  The cups suit would be vials of poison.  Pretty much anything you do with it would bring the answer, “I shouldn’t have asked that, should I?”  It’d be a thing.

Dear Rodrigo: This-this-is why I love you.  Yes, Cesare needs to do the actual carving and fulfill his ambitions, but once you accept that he’s there, your planning and confidence blow even him out of the water.  This is the way I believe that it worked, with your twin ambitions and different abilities complementing, building, and scaring the hell out of everyone including each other.  This is it.

Dear Cesare: Ah, to be young and devious.  Francois Arnaud got to showcase the range of his talent here, from vulnerable and wishing his mother could fill in for his best friend to creepy tormenter to possessive lover.  There was everything in that.  You showed everyone just exactly how in charge and fearsome you could be, even though we don’t get to see you filling out that position, you let us already see and enjoy it.  Thank you for that.

Dear Michiletto: I understand.  Your affair not only ended in killing your lover, but in proving that you were not, in fact, the most trustworthy companion ever.  You let down your master, yourself, and your lover.  No matter what, your hometown will fall and your family have a good chance of dying.  You came back to ensure that your work was finished, because “loyalty was his only code.”  You are not dead, though-you are a ghost wiling away in the shadows.  You can go wherever you want, take whatever you want, and disappear whenever you want, and you deserve that.  In my head you wander until you meet up with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, tossing coins that turn up heads and arguing about everything.  You’ll take one as a lover, convince them it’s okay to be unsure of their names, and kill off the cast of Hamlet all by yourself.  It’ll be epic and haunting.

Dear Lucrezia: Your arc has differed the most from what I expected and wished for your character.  I expected to see you growing in triumph, killing for the good of the family, and using your tie to your brother as leverage.  In spite of that…you have completely won me over.  This version walks a fine line between different tropes, but weaves them together seamlessly.  And Holliday Grainger sells the hell out of it.  I cannot not buy her emotions, her disillusions, her determination.  There is a part of me that really wants to be upset at how defeated she winds up here, how dependent, and yet….it was just too good not to love.

Dear Alfonso: I was so afraid they wouldn’t get around to killing you!  Thank you for being such a wonderful foil for everyone else.

Dear Vitelli: Well done, you!  You’ve got craft, foresight, initiative, and commonsense.  I foresee you going far.  I’m sorry I won’t get to see you setting yourself farther up from the pack by slyly setting them up and taking their castles until Cesare finally poisons you.  It’d have been fun.

Dear Caterina Sforza: You really ought to know all the weaknesses of your chosen fortress, milady.  That being said, in all fairness, you had only Rufio instead of Michiletto and one cannot badass everything themselves.  Although, the fact that someone was touching your wardrobe seemed an odd thing to show your claws at.  The defeat was exquisite.

Dear show: The camouflage cloaks rocked!  The music throughout the whole thing was just the right amount of suspenseful-enough buildup I was literally on edge, but not so much that it wore out over time.  The camerawork, particularly in the confessional scene with Pope Alexander VI and Lucrezia was just beautiful.  The bloody smudges on her at the end were perfect.  I know you had more to give.  You will be sorely missed.

 

The Borgia Bulletin 3×9 (The Gunpowder SPOILERS)

Okay, it’s “The Gunpowder Plot,” which is hardly a spoiler-always plots with this show!  May it plot to return from cancellation!

 

I can’t even write letters to the characters with this-this is The Borgias at their most raw and brilliant.  This episode is full of ways to play your heartstrings, from Michiletto’s love-and-death scene, to Cesare and Lucrezia’s wild reunion, to Rodrigo’s venom and fear about himself/his son.  Everyone is picking up their grudges and opportunities, there’s no stone unturned. Rodrigo strikes back after Cesare had him cornered.  Lucrezia does indeed take matters into her own hands (And we find out who Herb Woman is-clearly, she’s Flora from Sleeping Beauty).  Even Michiletto and Alfonso take their personal grievances and decide it’s worth acting on them.  (The symmetry between Cesare’s duels with Alfonso and Juan, yet with completely different endings, is almost too clever.)  This episode is full of reasons why The Borgias has more to offer, why keeping them on would bring dozens of payoffs, why these characters are badass and touching and momentous, why the writing deserves time to conclude all of its plotting.  Even following the yellow dirt trail and seeing the princess once more kept hostage struck weighty notes in this episode.

 

Dear The Borgias: I have loved every minute.  May your costumes stay gorgeous and your actors be recognized.  If at all possible, get yourself an encore.  I almost hate to watch the last one because I hate knowing it’s the end.

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