Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Zero and Zabini

A to Z Challenge - Z

The last day of the challenge!  It's been a lot of work but also a lot of fun.  I've enjoyed discovering a lot of new blogs and meeting new people.  But I'm also going to enjoy not worrying that I don't have a post for every single day! :)  But the challenge isn't over yet - one day to go, so on that note...

Z is for "Prisoner Zero"
I'm going to claim this as being a quote, even though (like K) it is the name of a character rather than a proper line in the show.  Prisoner Zero is in Matt Smith's first episode The Eleventh Hour and was (as his name suggests) an escaped prisoner.  He was a shape-changing alien that could take on the appearance of anyone unconscious, and when in his real form was a giant worm/snake/thing that always lived just on the edge of perception.  In true Stephen Moffat fashion, Whovians were now scared of things on the edge of perception - those movements that happen in the corner of your eye, yeah those are a giant snake thing.  Happy dreams!  Anyway, the prison guards came looking for Prisoner Zero and decided it was easier to blow up the Earth rather than recapture their prisoner.  Matt Smith stepped up into the role of the Doctor (with a very different costume-choosing segment) and saved the day.   The Eleventh Hour also gave us a legendary quote, that I couldn't fit in to this alphabet (not without loosing a quote I like more).  Well, it's more of a thing than a quote: fish fingers and custard, which the 11th Doctor determines is his favourite food.  If you have a look on the net, there are a number of videos and blogs dedicated to people trying this rather disturbing combination (this from the girl who loves Vegemite and honey sandwiches).  Matt Smith swore for years that he actually had to eat fish fingers and custard.  You know what they say, the Doctor lies (another fantastic quote): turns out it was sponge cake with a cheese sauce - which is just as disgusting-sounding.

Z is for Blaise Zabini
There are actually two characters in Harry Potter whose names start with Z: Zacharias Smith (a Huffllepuff student who was in Dumbledore's Army) and Bliase Zabini.  I choose Blaise mainly because he was the first character I found, but also because it gives me the chance to talk about Slytherin.  Blaise appeared in Half-Blood Prince, as one of the potential Slug-Club initiates.  He was the stereotypical Slytherin - stuck-up, selfish, self-centred, power-hungry, nasty.  It's my mother's biggest complaint about the Potter books - that all the Slytherins were nasty, and how that's not very realistic (I think we need to have a talk about how magic's not real...).  However I don't think that's the case.  Yes, as Ron says "there not a witch or wizard who went bad that wasn't in Slytherin", however that's not the same as saying that every witch or wizard in Slytherin is bad.  The Sorting Hat (who knows all) describes them as "cunning folks" and "those of great ambition".  There are Slytherins such as Sirius' brother Regulus, who turned on Voldermort and tried to destroy a horcrux; or Narcissa whose great aim was to protect her son.   And let's not forget Snape.  There are many readers, fans, members of Pottermore who are very proud to be Slytherins, who wear their green and silver with pride.  I'm not one of them (I'm Ravenclaw), however I think if I had been sorted into Slytherin, I would have been happy too.

Come back tomorrow to see the completed Doctor Who cross stitch piece, and my review of my time in the A-Z Blog!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for Yana and Yaxley

A to Z Challenge - Y

The penultimate post - the second to last post in the A to Z challenge.

Y is for "You Are Not Alone"
Today's Doctor Who quote has two different (albeit related) meanings.  There are **spoilers** for season 3 of Doctor Who, but I'm assuming the Whovians have all already watched that.

Firstly: These were the last ever words of the Face of Boe, and come from the episode Gridlock.  According to legend (or at least the legend of New Earth). The Face of Boe would reveal his greatest secret to one like himself, a wanderer without a home, a lonely god, i.e. The Doctor.  His greatest secret was "You are not alone" which all made sense about 7 episodes later in the penultimate episode to the series finale (more on that in a bit).  The Face of Boe was a great big head in a jar, and believed to be billions of years old.  In The Last of the Time Lords (series 3) it's revealed that Jack Harkness was once known as the Face of Boe (he was a model on his home planet, or something like that) so he may be the original incarnation of the great big Face of Boe.  It's Doctor Who - these things can happen.  My favourite theory I've found  about the Jack/Boe relationship (written by fans on-line sharing ideas/stories/what-ifs)is that he was beheaded by the Headless Monks (from series 6) and that's why he's a head in a jar.  I enjoyed the Face of Boe - it was great having a character older than the Doctor in the series, and as for the link with Jack - I admit it, I squealed and screamed.  I'd love for Jack and/or the Face of Boe to reappear in a future episode so that this link can be more firmly established because it was never entirely confirmed.  Besides, more Jack is always good :)

Secondly (for the meaning of the quote) is the acronym for the quote: Yana, which is who the Face of Boe was warning the Doctor about.  Professor Yana was in the episode Utopia (series 3), trying to create a spaceship to transport the last of the humans to Utopia at the end of the world.  Only it turned out that Yana wasn't actually a mild mannered professor, he was the Master, another time lord and the Doctor's arch nemesis.  This was the Master's first appearance since the revival of the series and man was he creepy!  The Master regenerated, stole the TARDIS, travelled back in time to about 18 months before the Doctor first met Martha, set himself up as Harold Saxon (remember him from the S post?) and was elected as the British Prime Minister (all in the minute gap between the end of Utopia and the start of The Sound of Drums - time travel, remember?).  He then goes on to try and destroy the world, leading Martha to finally step up to the plate and save the day (hurray!).  It's complicated, it's time travel.  The Master is one of those characters we just can not get rid of, a bit like the Daleks.  He returned in David Tennant's last two episodes, and then again in series 8 with Peter Capaldi.  From the looks of the posters for series 9, the Master will be back again.  In New Who, the Master has (so far) been fantastically played by Derek Jacobi, John Simm and (**MAJOR SPOILER for Series 8**) Michelle Gomez.  Each one has been deliciously evil in their own way.  I only wish we could have had more of Derek Jacobi as the Master rather than just as Professor Yana.

Y is for Yaxley
The Death Eater Yaxley is today's Y - again, the only character I can find in the series who starts with a Y, and one I don't know much about.  So let's talk Death Eaters instead.  The Death Eaters are Voldermort's loyal followers, either because they enjoy the opportunity to torture and terrorise people, or because the genuinely hate "mudbloods" (muggle-born wizards) and muggles, and believe in the power of "pure blood", despite the fact that Voldermort himself had a muggle father (I don't think he shared that fact around a lot!).  It's hard to feel any empathy for the Death Eaters: like Bellatrix, most of them were two-dimensional characters who were just portrayed as the 'bad-guys'.  However, the Malfoys did wind up with some depth and redeeming qualities, in particular Draco (who I mentioned here) and his mother Narcissa who ended up betraying Voldermort in order to save her son. 

One day to go!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for seXy Xenophilius

A to Z Challenge - X

X is for "I think you call me sexy"
Yes, I had to cheat for this one.  If you know of a quote from Doctor Who that starts with the letter X, I'd love to know!  But I think this is a worthwhile cheat - it's such an awesome line.  It's another line from The Doctor's Wife - seriously, if I could put the entire script for that episode into cross stitch I would, it's so cleverly written by the great Neil Gaiman.  This line is said by Idris, the human incarnation of the TARDIS.  Idris was fantastically crazy, loopy, biting (literally), engaging and, yes, sexy.  Her chemistry with Matt Smith was spot on and it was great watching the Doctor and his TARDIS interact on a verbal level.  The Doctor does have a special relationship with his TARDIS, talking to her frequently, yelling at her, even stroking her, as described in the series 2 episode School Reunion:

Sarah Jane Smith: Does he still stroke bits of the TARDIS?
Rose: Yes, he does! I'm like "do you two want to be alone?" 

X is for Xenophilius Lovegood
I love JK Rowling - she has a character for every letter - no cheating required!  Xenophilius is Luna's father, and inventor/creator/producer/editor/writer/publisher of The Quibbler, the tabloid newspaper in the world of Harry Potter.  To be honest, I don't have a strong opinion of Xenophilius - he appeared so infrequently in both the books and the films that I always just thought of him as "Luna's Dad".  He is beautifully crazy and loopy and the perfect father for Luna. 

Only Y and Z to go :-)

Happy Stitching!

Monday, 27 April 2015

W is for Wobbley Weasleys

A to Z Challenge - W

This post also features my April Finish for the ALYOF challenge.

W is for "Wibbley wobbley timey wimey"
Another quote from the awesome episode that was Blink.  Time, acording to David Tennant's Doctor, is not a strict progression of cause to effect, but rather "from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbley wobbley timey wimey... stuff."  This quote/description is another one that has entered Whovian-fandom-legend and is written on t-shirts and mugs and now in cross-stitch.  So famous is the timey-wimey description that it even made it into the 50th anniversary episode, albiet said by Matt's Doctor not David's:

11th Doctor: "It's a... uh... timey wimey... thing.
War Doctor "Timey what? Timey wimey?
10th Doctor: " I have no idea where he picks that stuff up.

W is for The Weasleys
Today I'm doing something a little different - rather than an individual Harry Potter character, I'm focusing on a family; and rather than share their individual character piece, I've decided to share the family portrait I just (as in yesterday!) finished stitching.  This finished piece serves two purposes - it's my WIP piece for the A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge, as well as being my swap piece for the #Hogwartsswap2015 over on Instagram
The Weasleys.  Still needs to be washed and framed, but it's finished!
Pattern available from
I know - Ron and Ginny have already had their own posts, and I mentioned the Twins when talking about Lee Jordan, but I couldn't not include them in the family portrait.  I love the Weasley family.  They are a down-to-earth, grass-roots, loving, welcoming family who take Harry in and treat him as one of their own.  They're not rich ("red hair and hand-me-down robes, you must be a Wesley"), but they happily share everything they have.  They are a large, rumbling, messy family, free to express themselves however they wish (although I do think Mrs Weasley wishes the twins would express themselves a little quieter).  Molly and Arthur are the strongest (living and sane) parental figures throughout the book series and Molly's line "Not my daughter you bitch" has gone down in movie history. I was very glad when Bill finally made an appearance in The Deathly Hallows films (given that his wedding was the scene of a crucial plot twist, the movie would have been a bit odd without him), and I'm only sorry we never got to meet Charlie in the films, although he was mentioned in The Philosopher's Stone

For a long time, however, Percy was my favourite Weasley.  I related to him in many of the same ways I related to Hermione: he was smart, he was law-abiding (to the point of irritation), he was logical, he was irritating, he was 'good'.  And then the worm turned and all those characteristics that I had quite liked about him made him side with the Ministry instead of his family.  I think for Percy it got to the point where he knew he was wrong but his pride wouldn't let him admit it - I've been in that spot more than once!  I was very disappointed in Percy, and I don't think I cheered as hard for any other moment as when Percy turned up to fight beside his family in The Deathly Hallows and admitted he'd been wrong - go Percy!  Interesting fact - you have to watch pretty carefully, but Chris Rankin (Percy) does actually appear in the final battle scenes in The Deathly Hallows Part 2 wearing a green suit - hence my colour choice for the stitching below.  Charlie is all my own imagination.

(**spoiler alert**)
As for what happened to Fred.... I still sob when I read those pages and watch that scene in the film.
Percy, Arthur, Charlie, Molly and Bill Weasley.
Do you have a favourite Weasley?

3 days to go!!  Happy Stitching!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

V is for Vote Voldermort

A to Z Challenge - V

V is for "Vote Saxon"
Season 3 of New Who (the David and Martha season), we repeatedly heard about a mysterious Saxon.  Sort of like "Bad Wolf" from the first season.  It eventually transpired that Saxon was the enemy/alien/bad guy for the finale, and it was a very exciting surprise for the loyal fan base (but you have to wait until Y to hear all about that).  I loved the tapping pattern that went along with the Vote Saxon theme - a series of four taps that got stuck in your brain.  I really enjoyed the finale episodes for this series - it gave Martha a chance to shine and showed her value as a companion - travelling the world for her own on a year, evading capture and spreading the Doctor's story.  More than anything, it's about the only quote I could find that starts with a V. :)

V is for Voldermort
He-who-must-not-be-named, You-know-who, The Dark Lord, Tom Riddle.  Lord Voldermort went by a lot of different names.  JK Rowling gave us an arch-villain with depth and power, a smart man with a loyal following.  Ultimately, however, Voldermort was evil and had no redeeming qualities.  Unlike Umbridge, however, he was fun to read, fun to hate, and never put me off the books.  Voldermort was played by 5 different actors throughout the film series - Richard Bremmer in the Philosopher's Stone (Voldermort's face on the back of Quirrell's head), Christian Coulson in Chamber of Secrets (Tom in the diary), Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (young Tom) and Frank Dillane
(teenage Tom) in The Half-Blood Prince, and most famously Ralph Fiennes (Voldermort) in Goblet of Fire onwards.  Ralph Fiennes was fantastically evil and creepy, however my favourite incarnation was Christian Coulson.  It's my teenage self getting the vote again (I was 17 when the film came out).

As you can probably tell from their names, Ralph Fiennes and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin are related - Ralph is Hero's uncle.  Although it helped that there was a resemblance between the two actors, director David Yates has officially said that it was not their relationship that landed Ralph the role.  After watching Half-Blood Prince I believe it - Hero is dark and disturbing and extremely creepy and perfect for the role.

Happy Stitching

Friday, 24 April 2015

U is for Unimportant Umbridge

A to Z Challenge - U

U is for "I've never met anyone unimportant"
I may have taken a little bit of poetic license with this quote.  Or at least, remembered it wrong until after I'd finished and uploaded the pattern.  The real quote is either "I've never met anyone who was unimportant" or "I've never met anyone was wasn't important."  The internet tends to differ, however I think the second one is the real quote.  Which doesn't have a U in it at all.  Shhhhhhh it can be our little secret ;). 

The original quote comes from the episode A Christmas Carol, Matt Smith's first Christmas special as the Doctor. This episode is one of my favourite Christmas specials as it was such an unusual take on a classic story - an episode that someone who wasn't a Doctor Who fan could easily sit down and enjoy without getting too confused.  Plus it had Michael Gambon in it which was a nice bonus for a Harry Potter fan like myself. 

Actually, the full quote is "Blimey.  You know, in 900 years of time and space I've never met anyone who was unimportant" (or "wasn't important" if you want to be technical).  Which kind of contradicts something David's Doctor said when he first met Donna Noble in Runaway Bride: "You're not special, you're not powerful, you're not connected, you're not clever, you're not important".  Not David's nicest/proudest moment I agree, but still contradicts what Matt says.  Then again, Rose Tyler tells Donna that she is the most important person in the universe, so maybe David was just wrong.  (**shock, horror, faints**). 

U is for Dolores Umbridge
The most evil Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.  She was so creepy with her little girl dresses and her high pitched voice and her girly bows, and her insane rules and smarmyness.  Utterly disturbing.  I think I was more put off by her character than by any other character in the books or movie.  Gilderoy Lockhart was uncomfortable to read, and one reason why the second novel is my least favourite, but this woman was worse.  Her holier-than-thou, Ministry-knows-best, pure-blood-humans only attitude was just unnerving.  She was worse than any Death Eater because there was absolutely nothing redeamable about her.  Nothing at all.  She was also the one character I didn't agree with the casting of.  Don't get me wrong, Imelda Stauton had the smarmy unnerving attitude down to a tee, but she wasn't toad-like, which is how Umbridge is repeatedly described in the books.  Toad attitude, yes, toad appearance no.  I always pictured Umbridge looking more like Annette Badland who played Margaret the Slitheen in Doctor Who - to me there was a similar look and attitude between Margaret and Umbridge.

Happy Stitching - and remember, only 5 days of the challenge to go!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

T is for TARDIS and Tonks

A to Z Challenge - T

T is for "Time and Relative Dimension in Space"
The TARDIS.  The Doctor's trusty blue box.  His time-and-space machine.  The reason there is a show.  The TARDIS is a blue 1950's police box, from an era when police boxes could be found on street corners around the UK.  The idea is that the TARDIS can disguise itself to look inconspicuous whevever it landed, however the chamelian circuit (the thing that lets the TARDIS disguise itself) broke and now it is stuck as a policebox forever.  The blue policebox became so iconic so quickly that I don't think the producers dared to ever 'fix' the circuit.  There was one episode in the 6th Doctor's era where the Doctor fixed the circuit and the TARDIS became a piano and a cupboard.  I think the idea only lasted one episode - they weren't game to fix it!

I'm quite a fan of the blue policebox and have a number of TARDISes around my house including a piggy bank, a shoe cupboard, a cupboard door, salt and pepper shakers, and earrings.

Interestingly, the TARDIS was given its name by Susan, the Doctor's grand-daughter.  In the first ever episode, Susan says that she named the TARDIS.  I don't think this fact is ever mentioned again, and new viewers (myself included) just assume that all of the time machines on Gallefray (the Doctor's home planet) were called TARDISes.

T is for Don't-call-me-Nymphodora Tonks
Tonks is a metamorphmagus, which means she can change her appearance at will, which is only one of the many cool things about her.  She's such a clutz, yet still manages to be an Auror (sort of like the Ministry's police department, but cooler); she fights for what she believes in, and what she wants.  She marries a warewolf.  She's powerful and strong and very cool, and a great, loyal friend.  Plus she wears some awesome outfits.  I'm a fan of her book character, but thought her movie version dwindled quite a bit after her first film (Order of the Phoenix), mostly because her relationship with Lupin was never given the chance to fully develop.

If you're a fan of Tonks, why not check out my brand new pattern.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

S is for Sorry Snape

A to Z Challenge - S

S is for "I'm so so sorry"
David Tennant's Doctor's unofficial catch-phrase.  It usually goes "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry but..." and ends in disaster for whoever it's being said to.  I most remember this quote from the episode Blink (which I have mentioned on more than one occasion!) in the video message he leaves for Sally Sparrow, but it appears many many times.  Ten was a very sweet, very apologetic Doctor, but he never hesitated to make the tough choices. 

I can't think of anything else to add (I've already said so much about Blink and Tennant's Doctor) so now it's your turn - who is your Doctor?  Your companion?  Favourite episode?  Favourite quote?

S is for Severus Snape
I had such a love/hate relationship with Snape throughout the novels.  I wanted to hate him so much, wanted to despise and loathe him, but JK Rowling made it so hard.  I would inevitably find myself yelling at the book "why are you making me like Snape?! Why are you making it so hard to hate him?!".  I both love and hate the scenes in the 7th book/8th film where you discover Snape's true motives; the scenes where Harry accidently reads Snape's mind in the 5th book/film.  I can't say I ever fully loved Snape (because I was so determined to dislike him) but I did appreciate his character and the levels/layers/depths to him.  JK Rowling's plans for the novels, the depths to which she had developed the back stories, was absolutely incredible, and can be seen when you go back and re-read the novels.  As for Alan Rickman's portrayal of Snape... it's the same as Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, and Michael Gambon... it's all been said before.  The absolute quality of the adult actors in these films is incredible - name a top British actor and there is a good chance they were either in the films or were approached to be in the films.

Stay strong everyone - not long to go now! 

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

R is for Run Ron!

A to Z Challenge - R

R is for "Run!"
The Doctor's first line of the New Who, and his most repeated line in any regeneration.  I think that's why David's Doctor had a long flowing coat - it looked good when he was running.  In the episode The Doctor's Daughter, Donna Noble explains what the Doctor does: 

"He saves worlds, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures and runs a lot. Seriously, there's an outrageous amount of running involved."

Jenny, the Doctor's daughter in the episode of the same name, is played by Georgia Moffet who has quite a significant personal connection to the world of Doctor Who: she is the daughter of Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor) and is now married to David Tennant (the 10th Doctor, who played her father in the episode).  So the Doctor's daughter played the Doctor's daughter in the episode The Doctor's Daughter, then married the Doctor, and is now the mother of the Doctor's daughter and the Doctor's granddaughter.  And you thought River Song was confusing!
I had to stitch "S" before I could stitch R because I was
having counting issues!
R is for Ron Weasley
Harry's best friend.  Clutz and comedy relief.  Terror and tantrum-thrower. Friend and fierce fighter.  Ron was all things to Harry - best friend, confidant, and even enemy for a chapter or two.  Poor old Ron was often the bridesmaid, falling in Harry's shadow, but he always came through for Harry in the end.  I loved Rupert Grint in these films - he was the perfect Ron.  The comedic facial expressions from the second film were priceless. His snarly, teenage, tantrum throwing in films 4 and 7 were spot on.  His interactions with Lavender Brown were fantastic.  I've seen Rupert on stage too (yes, I've seen several of the actors on stage!) and to be honest, not that impressed.  Nothing against Rupert, but I'm not sure dramas are his thing - he needs to stick to comedy.

Have you seen any Potter actors in anything else?  Any favourites?

Happy Stitching!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Q is for Question and Quirrell

A to Z Challenge - Q

Q already!  I'm back home, back in Australia and back at work.  Just need to stay on track for the next 9 days to finish the blog challenge and find some more blogs to read!

Q is for "Silence will fall when the Question is asked"
This quote was the over-arching theme for Matt Smith's tender as the Doctor.  It was first mentioned in series 5 although it wasn't until series 6 that we finally found out who The Silence were, the end of series 6 before we found out what the question was and the end of series 7 before the question was (sort-of) answered.  That, in a nutshell, sums up Stephen Moffat: ask a question or pose a mystery 3 YEARS before you bother to answer or explain it.  River Song's life is another great example.  His mystery setting, story building style reminds me a lot of Joss Whedon (Buffy and Firefly) and Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars)

"On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked, a questions that must never, ever be answered.  The First Question, the oldest question in the universe, that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight."

Brilliantly, that question was (of course) Doctor Who?  I love Stephen Moffat. 

Q is for Quirinus Quirrell
The "bad guy" from The Philosopher's Stone (I'm Australian - we had the proper British titles, not the American publisher's 'our-readers-are-too-dumb-to-know-what-a-philosopher-is' title - I don't think you're dumb, I think your publishers think you are).  Quirrell was presented as the weak, weedy, no backbone, dull professor who it turned out was aiding Voldermort all along.  Who knew?  I love that when you re-read the book or re-watch the movie you can pick up the clues that it's really Quirrell, not Snape, out to ruin Harry's day.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 17 April 2015

P is for Pond and Potter

A to Z Challenge - P

I'm back in Australia!  Today we are driving back home (a 10 or 11 hour drive) so tomorrow I will be catching up on everyone's blogs and comments, and updating you all on my trip.

P is for "Come along, Pond"
Matt Smith's repeated line to Amy Pond throughout series 5-7.  To be honest, I'm not sure when the first instance of this line was (and short of rewatching Smith's era from the begining, I'm having difficulty finding out), however Stephen Moffat (executive producer and writer) has revealled that the line was originally invented by Matt Smith during his and Karen Gillian (Amy Pond)'s first official photo shoot.  The line changed to "come along Ponds" in series 6 and 7 after Rory and Amy were married.  I've already mentioned that Amy Pond was not my favourite companion - nothing personal, but by the time she arrived I was very over the whole "comanion-in-love-with-the-Doctor" thing.  However, I loved Rory.  I miss Rory.  Rory was a companion who admired the Doctor, respected him, but also wasn't over-impressed by everything the Doctor did - he had a level of scepticism that was greatly needed to balance out what I found to be Amy's almost-gushiness.  Having a male companion gave the show a much-needed new dinamic that hadn't existed in the New Who series until that moment (sorry Micky, you don't count and Captain Jack was in love with the Doctor anyway!).  Hopefully we'll see some more male companions in the future - personally I'd rather that than a female Doctor.

P is for Harry Potter
Who else?  The main guy had to make an appearance eventually.  One of the main things I loved about JK Rowling's writing is her character descriptions and character development, and no character is better described or goes through a more pronounced development than Harry.  From the small, shy, abused and neglected boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs, to the wizard who saves the world.  Harry is flawed and far from perfect: he throws temper-tantrums, makes bad decisions, almost ruins friendships - just like any teenage boy does really!  But at the end of every book he manages to save the day, make up with his friends, and learn from his mistakes.  For me, Daniel Radcliffe was the perfect Harry, and will always be Harry.  Not that he can't be other things too - he is a very talented actor: I saw him on stage playing an Irish boy with cerebral palsy (The Cripple of Ishamaan) and he was pretty darn good.   

Happy stitching!!

O is for Only Oliver

A to Z Challenge - O

I'm landing back in the country this evening, so will hopefully be catching up on everyone's blogs and comments tonight/tomorrow/Sunday

O is for "The only water in the forest is the river"
This line was said by Idris in The Doctor's Wife however doesn't become significant until three episodes later in A Good Man Goes To War.  The episode with Idris rates as one of my favourite episodes, probably second favourite after Blink.  Written by Neil Gaiman, The Doctor's Wife sees the TARDIS' personality/core transferred to the body of a woman, Idris, and we finally get to see what a conversation between the Doctor and the TARDIS would sound like.  I love how crazy and quirky Idris is, and how she and Matt Smith bounce off each other.  It's one of the episodes in which I really do like Matt Smith's Doctor.  The quote "The only water in the forest is the river" is the last thing Idris says, and is a clue for what is about to come and who River Song really is. 

Amy and Rory have a daughter who they name Melody Pond.  In the episode A Good Man Goes To War there is a solider from a forest planet, who sews a present for Amy and her daughter.  It has her daughter's name on it, written in the language of this girl's people.  But she is from a forest planet and the only water in the forest is the river... This had me yelling at the Tv "No! Really? Seriously? No way!!" in excitement as I finally realised who River Song was.  River Song... Melody Pond!! Time travel does mess with your mind.

O is for Oliver Wood
As a 16 year old seeing the first Harry Potter film at the cinema, of course I loved Oliver Wood.  He was gorgeous.  I was very disapointed that he wasn't in the films more.  He is very intense in the novels - focused on Quidditch and nothing else.  I do love how dramatic he becomes about not winning the Quidditch Finals in the first two novels - trying to drown himself in the shower definitely takes the cake.  But the main reason he is my choice for O is because I owe it to my 16 year old self.

Is there a character (Harry Potter or otherwise) you would owe it to your younger self to include in an alphabet?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

N is for New Neville

A to Z Challenge - N

(10 April) This is another post which I am writing on the iPad ahead of time to schedule it before I head overseas so I apologise for spelling/formatting, and for not replying to comments or commenting on people's blogs.  I get back on Friday (tomorrow as you read this) and drive back home on Saturday (11 hour trip!).  Lots of catching up on everyone's blogs and comments planned for Sunday.

N is for "New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York"
In David Tennant's second episode, the Doctor and Rose visit New New York on the planet New Earth.  The Doctor remarks that this is actually the 15th New York, and so it should technically be titled "New new new...." (you get the picture!).  This was the episode where I fell in love with Tennant.  I'd grown to like him in his first episode The Christmas Invasion (which I talked about for my J post), but here I fell head-over-heels.  Christopher who?  In fact, I can pin-point the moment to when Cassandra, the skin trampoline, takes over his body:

Cassandra (in the Doctor's body): "Goodness me, I'm a man.  Yum.  So many parts.  And hardly used.  Ah, ah!  Two hearts! Oh baby, I'm beating out a Samba.  Ooo, he's slim, and a little bit foxy.  You thought so too; I've been inside your head.  You've been looking.  You like it."

The way Tennant delivers the line, the physical movements that accompany it... I knew then that this was going to be the Doctor for me, the Doctor I was going to love.

I didn't put 15 New's in the cross stitch.  I didn't have the room!

N is for Neville Longbottom
(**Spoilers ahead, sort of.**)
The quiet, shy, dorky Gryffindor student who develops into one of the most important characters in the books.  In my opinion he rates on par with Hermione, Ron, and Snape in terms of story development.  He is the character who changes the most throughout the novels: he goes from the forgetfull student who falls off the broom in his first flying lesson, to the sword-wielding, battle-fighting, Hogwarts-defending man.  I was disapointed that one of Neville's most character-changing moments (in my opinion) from the book wasn't in the film: the scene in St Mungo's where Harry learns about Neville's parents and what happened to them.  Neville's parents - defending their honor, avenging them - are his motivation for everything he does: the battle at the Ministry, the final battle at Hogwarts.  And it wasn't delt with properly in the films.  There is a brief moment in a Dumbledore's Army scene when Neville mentions them, but we never learn that Neville could have been Harry - that Voldermort sent Bellatrix to attack and torture Neville's parents because he (Neville) might be the one the prophecy referred to.  I  know that there is a limit to what can be included in the film, I've said that before.  However this is one of those moments that the movie is poorer for for not including.  Matthew Lewis played Neville to perfection.  I saw him on stage in 2012 in Our Boys alongside Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) and Laurence Fox (from Lewis, and married to Billie Piper from Doctor Who) - a real geek fest.  I was blown away by his stage presence, by all of their stage presences actually.  If you get the chance to see Matt on stage, do so - not just because he's from Harry Potter, but because he really is a talented actor.

Hapy Stitching!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

M is for Mummy and McGonagall

A to Z Challenge - M

I'm still in Malaysia with limited internet.  I've managed to access the motel's wifi in the lobby so that I can check the posts are being uploaded and to share them, but it is slow and limited so I'm still not able to read everybody's blogs.  I'm looking forward to doing a major catch-up on Sunday!

M is for "Are you my Mummy?"
Last week in my E post I spoke about the episodes The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances and how much they had creeped me out.  This quote is tied in as the repeated saying by the 5 year-old wearing a gas mask.  Throughout the episode all he says is "Mummy? Are you my mummy?" which is pretty darn creepy after awhile.  

Doctor Who has seriously messed with my understanding and perspective of history, particualry British history.  I lived in England for two years in 2012-13, and spent a lot of time driving around the UK visiting historical locations, which brought home to me just how messed up my historical knowledge was: I couldn't look at an image of a gas mask without saying in my head "Are you my mummy?"; I visited Queen Victoria's house on the Isle of Wight and thought it strange they didn't mention that a) she'd banished the Doctor, b) she'd established Torchwood and c) that the Royal family were warewolfs.  At Agatha Christie's house when the tour guide was talking about the three days when she (Christie) vanished, I pointed out that the gap in her memory was because she'd fought a giant wasp (I actually did - said it out loud in front of a roomful of strangers.  Thankfully the guide knew what I was going on about).  The most bizare one though was when I visited Dover Castle and explored the secret war tunnels.  The tour guide was talking about Vice-Admiral Ramsey and Operation Dynamo - the plan to evacuate British soldiers from Dunkirk.  The story was so familiar which confused me - my knowledge about WWII, particularly the British perspective, is pretty limited.  I was especially confused when the British people on the tour were saying how they hadn't learnt about this story in school/history.  Why did I know this story, and why did something seem off about it?  Then it hit me: there is a Doctor Who audiobook (The Nemonite Invasion) in which the Doctor and Donna wind up in the Secret War Tunnels with Ramsey as he is planning Operation Dynamo.  What was missing from the tour guide's story was the alien invasion.  Told you I was messed up.

M is for Minerva McGonagall
Head of Gryffindor house, deputy headmistress of Hogwarts, and professor of Transfiguration.  McGonagall is such as strong female character.  She is intelligent, fierce, powerful, and a tad scary.  She reminded me of some of my teachers at school - ones who came across as scary initially but who were brilliant teachers and I would be so excited to find that they were going to be my teacher that year.  Maggie Smith is a brilliant actress.  I don't think I can say much more about her apart from that she is brilliant.  She brought such power and depth to the character, made her more than "just a teacher" which could have happened.  I love pretty much everything that Maggie Smith is in, and think she would make the perfect Granny Weatherwax if they ever do a Discworld Witches telemovie/mini-series.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

L is for Library and Luna

A to Z Challenge - L

(10 April) I apologise in advance for the poor formating and spelling mistakes in this post.  I'm typing it on the iPad using the Blogger app which I have a love/hate relationship with.  It's my own fault for not scheduling these posts before I left home and now doing them in a rush at my brother's house before I fly out of the country.

L is for "We're in a library.  Books! Best weapons in the world!"
Today's quote comes from David Tennant's Scottish Episode.  I usually refer to it as "the warewolf" episode, but it's actually Tooth and Claw.  This was the episode that let David Tennant use his regular Scottish accent, rather than his (very good) fake British accent.  The episode where David Tennant no longer had to win over the viewing audience - we were already putty in his hands.  I wasn't a fan of the monster for this episode, but I loved the relationship that was developing between the Doctor and Rose, and the lady who played Queen Victoria was brilliant.  Plus, this quote just sums up why I love the Doctor: you don't need guns or swords or other things to beat the monsters - you need brains and cunning and cleverness.  Books truly are the best weapons in the world.

L is for Luna Lovegood
The quirky, individual, who-cares-what-anyone-thinks, rather blonde girl from Ravenclaw.  I say "rather blonde" because she does come across as daft at times however she is also extremely intuative and switched on and intellegent - because she's in Ravenclaw!  I really enjoyed Luna throughout the books and loved seeing her character develop as she gently guided Harry throughout the final 3 books.  In the movies she is simply perfect.  The daft vaguness comes across so well as does the perfect thought at the oportune moment to save the day.  

I stitched Luna wearing her lion head-dress as it was one of my favourite moments.  However Luna wore so many amazing outfits throughout the films that she earned her own cross stitch pattern, available from my Etsy store.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, 13 April 2015

K is for K-9 and Kingsley

I'm in Malaysia at the moment (yay!) but as I didn't know what internet access I'd have, these posts have been scheduled.  If I don't reply to your comments or comment on your blog, it's not because I don't love you- I just don't have internet!  I'll get back to you when I return :)

A to Z Challenge - K

K is for "K-9!"
It's a quote.  Really.  David Tennant's Doctor says it when he sees K-9 for the first time in School Reunion.  K-9 first appeared as companion to the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and ended up with his own spin-off series.  I don't have a lot to say about the robot dog (I only saw him in this one episode) however this wiki page has a lot more information.  I really enjoyed the episode School Reunion, not so much because of the concepts in the episode or the aliens, but because of Anthony Stuart Head, or Tony Head, or Anthony Head (he's gone by all these names over the years - he's billed as Anthony Head in this episode).  Head played Rupert Giles in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I loved and introduced many people too.  In the Doctor Who-verse, he provided the voice-over for Doctor Who Confidential as well as voicing one or two audio-books.  If only he wasn't a bad alien who had to be killed off, so we could have seen more of him!  Then again, given how many times some aliens/adversaries have re-appeared in DW...
Once again I have hyphen issues - the internet can't agree on
whether it's K-9 or K9.  Thoughts?
 K is for Kingsley Shacklebolt
One of the members of the Order of the Phoenix and an Auror, Kingsley kicks butt.  I love his costume in the film, which apparently the actor, George Harris, had a lot of input into the creation of.  The hat and the sandals in particular, which I think came out quite well in the cross stitch (if I do say so myself!), which is the main reason why he is my choice for K. Kingsley was one of those background characters that I didn't form a strong opinion about, however he was well developed in true JK Rowling style.

Whose costume in the films did you love the most?  Is there an actor in Doctor Who you wish we had got to see more of?  Or a character?

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

J is for Jim-Jams and Jordan

I'm in Malaysia at the moment (yay!) but am not sure what internet access I'll have so my posts for the next 7 days have all been scheduled.  If I don't reply to your comments or comment on your blog, it's not because I don't love you- I just don't have internet!  I'll get back to you when I return :)

A to Z Challenge

J is for "Not bad for a man in his Jim-Jams"
This quote is from the first Christmas Special of New Who, The Christmas Invasion.  This episode was David Tenant's first foray as the Doctor, and he spent most of it asleep!  Christopher Eccleston was the first Doctor I knew and David Tenant the first regeneration.  I took a bit to warm up to David, but this moment certainly helped (this, and the scene in the following episode New New York when Cassandra takes over his body!).  The Doctor defeats the invading Sycorax army and saves the world, then remarks "Not bad for a man in his jim-jams.  How very Arthur Dent of me." For those who don't know, jim-jams is slang for pyjamas, and Arthur Dent from Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy saves the world... while wearing his pyjamas.  It's funny.  You're meant to laugh ;)

I used another (shortened) quote from this episode for my It Is Defended cross stitch pattern:
"and when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, tell them this:
It Is Defended:"
J is for Lee Jordan
(***contains spoilers if you haven't read/watched Deathly Hallows***)
The Weasley Twins' best friend and co-consipirator, poor old Lee was rather short changed in the films, appearing only in The Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets as the Quidditch commentator.  In the books he appears far more regularly, usually in any scene involving the Weasley Twins.  He helped the twins develop and trial a lot of the items for their future store, played practical jokes on people, and even had a pet spider.  In the seventh book, he started up a pirate radio station to enable the Order of the Phoenix members to communicate with each other and the outside world, to counteract that which was being reported in the Daily Prophet.  His grief at Fred's death was real.  I know if the film you can't have everyone as developed as in the books.  Lee was one such character that I really missed (along with Oliver Wood, but more on him later) as his presence made the Weasley Twins more than just comic relief - he gave them lives away from Harry and his friends, gave them a back-story and a more human quality.  Which is why he was one of the first characters (after the film's version of Dumbledore's Army) I put into cross stitch. 

Which character from the HP books did you miss in the films, whether because they were left out or their presence was reduced?

Happy stitching!

Friday, 10 April 2015

I is for Inside and Igor

I'm off to Malaysia tonight for a week (yay!) I'm not sure what internet access I'll have (probably not much) so if I don't reply to your comments, or comment on your blog it's not because I don't love you!  Hopefully I will be able to respond to everyone when I get back home (19th April).  The next 8 posts have all been scheduled so should continue to appear - I've been stitching ahead so that I am covered till the 19th (P)!

I is for "It's bigger on the Inside"
What every companion says on stepping inside the TARDIS.  David Tennant actually mouths the words along with Martha.  Oh, except for Clara who says "it's smaller on the outside" just to be different.  The TARDIS is the Doctor's time machine.  It looks like a 1950's police telephone box, and it is so much bigger on the inside.  Hugely so.  The inside gets revamped every now and then, sometimes with the change of Doctor, but not always.  Peter Capaldi's Doctor now has the round things from the original episodes.
Smith: "Hey look - the round things!" 
Tennant: "I love the round things.:
Smith: "What are the round things?"
Tennant: "No idea".
(50th anniversary special - Day of the Doctor)

I is for Igor Karkaroff
Igor Karkaroff is the slimey, no good, evil Headmaster from Durmstrang.  To be fair, he is actually the weak-willed, no-back-bone, run-away-scared-y-cat Headmaster from Durmstrang. The Headmaster who only cared about Victor Krum, his star (ie famous) pupil.  The Headmaster who used to be a Death Eater.  The Headmaster who abandoned his students to save his own skin.  Can you tell I didn't have a high opinion of him?  Good thing he has a cool hat (and is the only character in the ENTIRE series to start with an I)

Thursday, 9 April 2015

H is for Hello Hermione

(I'm so witty with the blog titles)
A to Z Challenge - H

H is for "Hello Sweetie"
The catch-phrase (I guess...) for River Song.  At least, this is what she says every time she meets the Doctor.  That and "Spoilers".  Which this is going to contain (**spoilers**).

River met David Tennant's Doctor in the Library.  She'd known the Doctor for years, he'd never met her before in his life; and then she died... sort of.  Then Matt Smith's Doctor met her - second time the Doctor had met her, she'd still known him for years, but wasn't dead yet.  Eventually we got to the point where River met the Doctor for the first time, and he'd known her for years - he'd even seen her born. River and the Doctor got married (except he was a robot being controlled by the Doctor), the Doctor travelled with her parents before they were pregnant with her, River tried to kill him, then came back from her sort-of grave to save him... And people think Once Upon A Time is confusing!

Alex Kingston who plays River is brilliant.  She has such quality and charisma and class and makes the character unforgeable.   I hope we get to meet her again in the future (it's a show about time travel - anything is possible!)

H is for Hermione Granger
This is becoming a blog about powerful women.

My all-time favourite character from the books.  This is the character I relate most strongly too, the character I back in every situation.  The character I understand on so many levels!  Hermione is a strong-willed, smart, self-sufficient, sensitive, caring, bossy, know-it-all, book-loving nerd.  Which just about sums me up too.  She comes across as bossy and arrogant and hard-to-get-along with in the first novel before she and Harry and Ron become friends, but it comes from a place of insecurity and shyness, and a longing to be accepted.  She stands up for what she believes in (remember S.P.E.W?), and doesn't back down from an argument (even when she should), even if it is going to cost her a friend or two (it's okay - she gets them back in the end).  Plus she has wild and woolly hair, and teeth that stick out a bit (she does if you read the books - the film version was too good looking - JK Rowling even said so).

Don't forget - the patterns for all these characters and plenty of others are available in my Etsy store! :)

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

G is for Geronimo and Ginny

A to Z Challenge - G

G is for "Geronimo"
"Geronimo" is the much repeated, much over-used catch-phrase of Matt Smith.

I wasn't a fan of Matt Smith's Doctor.  He was too goofy, too for-the-children.  To be fair, no one was going to measure up for me after David Tennant, but Smith really fell flat.  I know a lot of people who love him, a lot of people who think of him as THE Doctor, so I won't say anything too harsh, just that he wasn't for me.  Plus I didn't like Amy, so that didn't help.  I did enjoy a lot of Matt Smith's more serious moments - episodes like "A Good Man Goes To War" and "The Wedding of River Song" were times when Smith came alive for me and when I thought "yes, you are the Doctor".  My only regret when he left was that Clara stayed.  Oh well, can't win them all!

G is for Ginny Weasley
I think poor old Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny in the films, has had rather a hard time of it.  There have been so many negative, nasty, comments about the actress over the years.  Let's remember folks: she was 9 years old when she was given the role.  9!  No, she's not a Maggie Smith or a Judi Dench, or even an Emma Watson.  Then again, Emma Watson in the first film wasn't anything to rave about.  These were kids with little to no acting experience.  In a children's film.  Have you watched American/British/Australian kid shows?  The acting in them is dreadful and appalling - and that's just the adults in those shows.  So lay off Bonnie people!

Done.  That's a rant I've been wanting to have for awhile.  Thanks for listening, and sorry!

(*spoilers for the 7th novel ahead)*)
I didn't mind the character of Ginny.  After the second novel, she faded into the background until the 5th when she joined Dumbledore's Army and became one of the 6 to fight at the Ministry of Magic.  There are a wide range of opinions about whether or not she was 'right' for Harry.  It wasn't a relationship I was vested in, but it wasn't a relationship I was against.  I think she was a steadying influence on Harry, which is what he needed.  And I loved the colours she wore in the last film (which is why they are in stitches now!)

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

F is for Fantastic Flitwick

(see what I did there with the blog title?)
A to Z Challenge - F

F is for "Fantastic"
Christopher Eccleston's catchphrase.  I'm not a huge fan of catchphrases in Doctor Who.  "Geronimo" and "Alonz-y" always seemed very forced and unnatural when said in the various episodes, however "Fantastic" never seemed forced or out of place.  It summed up the utter joy of the Doctor exploring the different worlds across the Universe.  The grin that Christopher Eccleston would give after was full of that joy and so the word just seemed to fall of the tongue naturally.

F is for Filius Flitwick
Professor Flitwick, the tiny Charms teacher.  I preferred the look of Flitwick in the later films, although it did take me awhile to realise that a) this new looking teacher was meant to be Flitwick, and b) that it was the same actor!  Warrick Davis ended up playing several characters across the course of the films.  He was the Gringotts Bank manager, the voice of the original Griphook, the voice and body of the later Griphook, Flitwick (white haired version) and choir-teacher-who-became-Flitwick.  The descriptions of poor old Flitwick being thrown across his classroom by stray spells always made me giggle when reading.

Only 2 days left until I head off to Brisbane to fly to Malaysia.  My shoulder is feeling 10 times better - heat packs and massage made a massive difference - so back to the stitching tonight.

Happy stitching!!

Monday, 6 April 2015

E is for Everybody Lives even Elves

A to Z Challenge - E

E is for "Just this once, Everybody Lives
This quote comes from The Doctor Dances, which is the follow-up episode to The Empty Child, the first Doctor Who episode to freak me out.  The Empty Child was such a disturbing advisory - a 4 year-old boy calling out for his mummy shouldn't be a scary thing, but this one was.  More on him when we get to M though.  The quote "Everybody lives, Rose.  Just this once, everybody lives" is one of my favourite Christopher Eccleston moments.  He is just so excited when he realises that, for the first time since New Who series 1 began, nobody was going to die.  The Doctor Who show-runners had no qualms about killing off people, but just this one time, everybody was going to survive.

**spoiler alert for episodes written by Stephen Moffat**
Stephen Moffat gets a lot of flack for killing people off, but to be honest, I don't think it's deserved.  This was the first episode (well first 2 really, being a 2-parter) he had written for New Who, and as I said everybody lived.  Then in Blink characters had to "live to death" when they were sent back in time to live out the remainder of their days (so not really killing them); and in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead everyone was saved (literally, by a computer).  Okay, so in The Girl In The Fireplace he killed off a number of people, but again: not actually during the episode.When Moffat took over as Executive Producer, he invented Rory, a character he killed off and brought back time and time again; and then Clara who kept returning in new generations/versions of herself.  Yes a lot of people have died during Moffat's time as Executive Producer, just not enough (in my opinion) to warrant the idea that he likes to kill off everyone's favourite characters.
**Spoilers over**

E is for Dobby the Elf
**Spoiler if you haven't read/watched Deathly Hallows**
Everyone's favourite house-elf.  Unless you are the script writer for the Harry Potter films, in which case you hate Dobby and don't put him in the films.  True story: Dobby didn't appear in films 3-6 because Steve Kloves (who wrote all films bar The Order of the Phoenix) hated the character so much, he didn't put him back in the films until he absolutely had to.  I love Dobby in the books - his character creates so many moments of absolute joy and mirth.  His devotion to Harry (even if he goes about it the wrong way) is touching.  His death was heart-breaking.  My favourite Dobby quote is one of Ron's: "Percy wouldn't recognise a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cosy."

Did you love or loathe Dobby and the other house-elves?

Happy stitching!