Frozen

The cover of the movie Frozen shows two animated females, two animated males, a reindeer, and a snowman centered in the frozen woods.
Frozen

I rewatched Frozen a while ago . This music-filled Disney movie follows two sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa has magic powers that consist of her being able to produce snow and ice from the tips of her fingers. She tries her best to conceal these powers after striking Anna in the head, leading to their estranged sisterhood.

After the death of their parents, Elsa accidentally reveals her powers to her kingdom and runs away. While chasing her, Anna meets Kristoff, who she ends up falling in love with; his reindeer, Sven; and a snowman named Olaf, who Anna and Elsa created when they were children. Along their journey, Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the heart and after she dies, hugs her to bring her back to life. This movie ends with Elsa being crowned queen and the sisters becoming close again.

The big twist that many people saw coming is that Anna’s fiancé, Hans, betrayed her and told her he never loved her as she was dying. He seemed pretty shady from the start, at least to me. There aren’t any songs from the movie that I don’t absolutely love. Kristen Bell voices Anna, and she has that youthful, yet mature voice that fits perfectly. Josh Gad voices Olaf and there is no one more perfect to voice this adorable and hilarious snowman. Kristoff is voiced by Jonathan Groff, who was alright but didn’t stand out. This movie also had a lot of detail in the animation which was awesome.

The Princess and The Pea – Part Four

A red velvet and gold crown sits on a glass shelf
Crown

They sat there, staring at each other. Willow was perched on the edge of her bed and Eadon was in a chair across from her. They appeared opposites: he was fidgeting, nervous; she was sitting tense, still as a statue. Finally Willow spoke.

“So, what brings you into the forest? What are your intentions while in here?”

“Is this an interrogation?” Eadon asked.

“No. I just want to know, I’m curious. Plus, as the loyal protector of the forest I have a right to know why you’re in here,” Willow answered.

“Very well. I’m in the forest to get through to the princess on the other side; I’m supposed to marry her when I don’t even know her.”

Something in Willow shifted when Eadon mentioned the princess on the other side of the forest, and Eadon could see it; the slight shift in her posture, she sat back slightly, her face fell ever so slightly.

She regained stiffness almost immediately. “I see,” she said, her voice tight, “And who are you supposed to be? Other than Prince Eadon, of course.”

Eadon looked confused. “W-who am I? What do you…”

“What I mean is, what does everyone want you to be, but who are you really? Everyone is someone else on the inside.”

“O-oh. Well, they -my parents- want me to be the best prince there’s been, a great leader. I’ve got like thirty different tutors, I’m not allowed to go to the public school. They all help me with different things; history, grammar, mathematics, a bajillion sciences, fitness, personal health, speaking, languages, table manners, the list goes on and on. And of course there are even more that teach me the ‘ways of royalty’ and all that.”

“So, let me get this straight, you have people teach you at your castle since you’re not allowed to go to public school? And they basically tell you what to do your whole life?”

“Yeah, they teach me. And control me, I guess. Oh, and I can read those runes you’ve carved into your visor there. That one’s uruz, rune of strength, courage, and protection. And that one’s-“

“-Eadon! You’re getting off subject. Your parents want you to be a great leader. Why?”

“Because… I don’t know, I’m royalty, it’s what I’m supposed to turn out to be. My older brother’s already made a few proclamations and laws of his own, and they want me to be like him, like them. I’m next in line after my brother, and once he’s got a queen, then I’d still be a prince. So, I guess they’re sending me off to this other princess so I can rule over there. They want me to make an impression on the king and queen in the other kingdom so they know I’m worthy of their princess.”

“But…?” at his look, she said, “There’s always a but, Eadon. What is it that you want?”

“I want… I guess I want to find love for myself. I want to live my life how I want. Ever since I was born, I was told what I was supposed to do, who I’m supposed to love, who I’m supposed to be like, what I’m supposed to live up to.” -he looked at Willow- “I want love. I want… I want my life.”

The Maze Runner Summary

Cover of the Maze Runner features very tall green hedges alongside a building with two protruding spikes
The Maze Runner

In the dark of an elevator, a teenaged boy awakes with no memories other than that his name is Thomas. When the elevator comes to a halt, the doors open and Thomas finds himself surrounded by around fifty teenaged boys. Their leader, a boy in his late-teens named Alby, welcomes him to the Glade. Surrounded by extremely high stone walls covered in thick ivy, the Glade is a large square piece of land with a few wood and concrete buildings. In each of the surrounding four walls, there is a narrow opening.

Over the course of the next few days, Thomas learns that behind the walls is the Maze – a labyrinthine structure full of Grievers. Grievers are violent mechanical creatures that only come out at night. Since the openings to the Maze, what the Gladers call Doors, close at night, the Grievers cannot get into the Glade. During the day, a few of the boys, the Runners, navigate the Maze in order to find an exit. On the same day every month, the elevator brings a new male arrival. But on the day after Thomas arrives, the elevator returns with a teenaged girl in a coma.

The next day Alby and Minho, a Runner, go into the Maze to investigate a report about a dead Griever. A few minutes before the Doors close, Thomas sees Minho dragging an unconscious Alby towards the Door. With no one else around to help, Thomas enters the Maze right as the Doors close behind him. Inside, Minho tells him that a Griever stung Alby. Thomas and Minho lure a group of Grievers away from Alby and towards the Cliff– a place in the Maze where the path ends and overlooks an empty expanse. As the Grievers charge at them, the boys dive out of the way, causing the Grievers to disappear off the Cliff.

It’s morning and the Doors are open by the time they are able to return to Alby’s location. Newt, Alby’s second-in-command, cures Alby by giving him the Grief Serum, which causes him to go through the Changing, Newt tells Thomas that the Changing is a painful side effect of the Serum that makes people recall some of their memories.

In the following days, the girl, whose name is Teresa, wakes up and tells Thomas that the Maze is code. The sun also suddenly disappears, which causes the Doors to remain open at night. On the first night the doors stay open, the Grievers come into the Glade and carry off a boy named Gally into the Maze. The Gladers hope that the Grievers will only take one boy per night.

The following day, Thomas uses the maps that the Runners made of the Maze to figure out that the Maze’s shifting walls have been spelling out the phrase, “Float. Catch. Bleed. Death. Stiff. Push.” To understand the code’s meaning, Thomas purposefully gets stung by the Grievers so that he can go through the Changing and recover some of his memories. After the Changing, Thomas remembers that to escape the Maze, they must put the code into a computer that is inside an invisible portal. To get to the portal, they must jump off the Cliff.

After convincing them to follow his plan, Thomas helps lead an armed band of Gladers into the Maze. At the Cliff, a group of Grievers are waiting for them. Thinking that they will only kill one person a night, Alby sacrifices himself to the Grievers. But his sacrifice fails and the Gladers must attack the Grievers as Thomas and Teresa make their way into the portal. Inside, Teresa plugs in the code, which shuts down all the Grievers.

The surviving Gladers meet Thomas and Teresa in the portal. They find a slide that brings them to a giant facility where they meet the creators of the Maze. A woman with the word WICKED stitched into her lab coat and a man in a hood approach the Gladers. The woman congratulates them but says there is still one more test. The man takes off his hood, revealing himself as Gally. Seeming to be mind-controlled, Gally throws a knife at Thomas, but a fellow Glader, Chuck, jumps in front of the knife. As Thomas cradles Chuck’s lifeless body, a group of men and women come into the facility and shoot the woman. The Gladers follow them onto a bus and they all drive into the night.

On the bus, the unnamed leader of this group tells the Gladers that in the world outside the Maze, there has been a devastating ecological disaster that has caused a widespread outbreak of disease. WICKED hoped to raise children in the harsh environment of the Maze so that they would be better prepared to face the challenges of the real world. The leader says WICKED’s actions are inhumane and that her group fights to save children from their experiments. They bring the Gladers to a safe-house and give them a place to eat and sleep in peace.

The novel ends with an email by the Chancellor of the Maze Trials, Ava Paige. She writes that the “rescue” was a good finale and that after the group gets a good night’s sleep, phase two of the experiment will begin.

It is a really good book and I would recommend checking it out. The Maze Runner Trilogy is also made into movies so you should check those out too. Stay tuned for my reviews of the next 2 books and maybe even the 2 prequels.

Thrills

letter tiles spell out the word adventure above a compass
Adventure, picture from Pixabay

Why would you do a dangerous stunt like that?

When will you grow up?

Can you do anything right, you snotty brat?

Haven’t you done enough?

These are questions we get asked after doing stunts most wouldn’t endure,

Why we do these stupid things,

Is simple, for the adventure,

We need something to make us feel like we have wings.

The thrill of flying,

The thrill of falling,

The thrill of trying,

The thrill of calling.

These make the punishment worth it,

You only need your imagination and wits.

Ragnarok – A Review

An old-fashioned metal hammer
Hammer; image from Pixabay

No, this isn’t about the Marvel movie.

Ragnarok is a 6 episode Netflix special which released at the end of January 2020. It’s about Magne Seier, a boy who returns to his hometown of Edda, Norway alongside his mother, Turid, and brother, Laurits. The town, which has been experiencing bizarre weather patterns, seems to be heading towards the end at the hands of the rich and powerful Jutul family. Magne begins to develop superhuman powers as he discovers more and more about the dark secrets of the town.

The show brings Norse mythology into the modern age, and with each episode I was pausing to do more and more research to figure out who was who. Very few characters have their roles outright stated or even adhere strictly to one, so it was fun to try and put the puzzle pieces together. Plus, I learned about Norse mythology in the process, which is always a plus.

The show takes place in Norway, has a Norwegian cast and crew, and is therefore in that language. It can sometimes be hard to understand the little nuances in body language and line delivery from the viewpoint of another culture, but from an American’s point of view, I thought the acting was really great! There wasn’t anyone that seemed fake or forced whatsoever, which is always a good sign. All of the emotional scenes hit their mark, with a few exceptions. In some instances, characters speak old Norse. The subtitles indicated this, but not what they were actually saying. This would be okay for a line or two, but not for entire conversations. Especially considering that there are different versions of Netflix for different regions and countries, it seemed a bit strange that subtitles wouldn’t be given for those moments. You could still follow along, but it just felt weird.

The show accomplished a lot for only having 6 episodes, especially since the Netflix standard for the first season is 8 episodes. Some of the earlier moments did feel a bit rushed, like they were trying to get the exposition out of the way to get to the good parts, but it wasn’t that big of a bother.

The writing in this show was really good! The characters all felt very real and consistent. I could understand their struggles and how it led to each of their choices. It was great to see how each event in the show affected the whole town, and how most characters had a different view of everything that had happened. It’s hard to develop a big cast in a short time, so I think the writers did good with what they had.

I’d have to say my favorite part of this show was the mystery aspect. From trying to figure out who was who (or what!), to trying to make sense of what was going on and how things were connected, I had a lot of fun! Plus, with the cliffhanger ending and mysteries still left unsolved, season 2 could be just as fun, if it gets confirmed.

Overall, I had a good time watching this show! I’d give it a 7/10 for the first season. It’s on Netflix only to stream, so it may not be available for everyone to watch, though. Still, if you do have Netflix, I suggest that you give it a try!

Ode to Music

An artistic rendering of sheet music has the treble clef and the musical staff fading into the distance
Music; image from Pixabay

Emotions, feelings, pouring out of me

in the form of song

A waterfall of words

turns into chords

The sound of an orchestra

surrounds me

stills my thumping heart

The darkness

turns into light

with this serenade,

a part of my soul

Vibrance rolls off of my eyes,

wide open to see

The touch, icy, of quarter notes

blooms beneath my palm

This psalm is part of me,

yet growing everywhere

It thrives in unlikely places:

in the others

in the city

in the sky

in you

The thrumming of the baseline sparks me

The melody, the harmony

a tender tune

It brings to life sorrows

sadness

But also freedom

new hope

May the song ever stay in my heart

the warmth

chromatic cold

The song falls

so joyfully onto my face

like sweet rain

The music rockets in my ears

and I’m alone

in its embrace


Music has been a huge part of my life, and this poem is dedicated to that. The meaning of this poem is that it hasn’t just been a singular instrument that I enjoy the most. It’s what an entire band can make together. When I feel sad I listen to music, when I feel happy I play the clarinet, and I sing all the time.

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

The cover of Gathering Blue features a young girl looking at a bouquet of white and blue flowers
Gathering Blue

Have any of you ever read The Giver? Well boy have I got some news for you! Lois Lowry actually made a series for the Giver! Yup, I found out from my teacher so now, I am attempting to finish this series.

            So, it starts off with a completely new character, never met her before, her name is Kira. Gathering Blue starts with her sitting in a field to watch her mother’s spirit leave her body. Her mother has just died of sickness, now leaving Kira an orphan (her father was attacked by beasts before Kira was born or so you think, read The Messenger to find out what happens there). She also has a leg that is crippled so she can’t work or really do anything to help the village. After having a fight, she is given a job. It doesn’t take much movement and it is very important. She has to mend the Singer’s robe. Every year, the Singer sings about the history of the village. They are the most important person. He wears a robe and also has a staff. Kira has to mend the Robe as it wears down every year.

            First, she has to learn about dying the yarn for the different string. She meets an old woman who teaches her about dying (and dies before she finishes). Anyways, Kira learns, and she fixes the Robe. Along the way, she meets Thomas who fixes the Staff. She also meets Jo, but you can learn more about her in the book.

            Her friend Matty, a scruffy boy who lives in a dirtier part of town, adventures with her sometimes. He becomes essential in the third book (The Messenger) but for now, he is just her friend. The title of this book becomes apparent at almost the end of the book when Matty, who has been gone for a while, comes back. He found a flower who will give Kira blue dye, something she hasn’t been able to create. While exploring, Matty found a village of people. This village is full of people who need help or are injured. They help each other carry out tasks for people who can’t. Matty wants Kira to come with him to this village where they could help her do more things even with her leg. Read the entire book to find out what happens!

            I really liked this book and have to give credit to my teacher for telling me that Lois Lowry continued Jonas’s adventure. Now, you may be wondering, where is Jonas? He doesn’t really appear in this book but is more prominent in The Messenger. This book is well written and is unique compared to what I usually read. I would definitely recommend reading this book and the rest of the series too!

                        I would give this book an 8.5/10