The Magicians on Syfy

Exciting news!

I’m a big fan of Lev Grossman’s books The Magicians and The Magician King. They’re both really wonderful, dark books and take an adult look at some of children’s fantasy favorite topics (learning magic, traveling to other worlds). As The Magician King ended with somewhat of a cliffhanger (kind of?), I’ve been looking forward to the release of the third book in the trilogy for some time. And I found out recently that it’s coming! The Magician’s Land will be officially released on August 5 and is already available for pre-ordering on Amazon.

TheMagiciansLand

In additional really good news related to the Magicians trilogy, the first book, The Magicians, has been picked up by Syfy to make a series. Hooray! Apparently this has happened before with Fox and nothing really came of it but this time it seems pretty serious. So here’s hoping! This could be a great show if done well. Read the article on acquiring the pilot here.

And if you haven’t yet, you might try and get your hands on a copy of Grossman’s short story “The Girl in the Mirror”. I’m sure it won’t be necessary to enjoying the plot of the The Magician’s Land, but extra back story never hurts, right? I know it can be found in the Dangerous Women compilation of stories edited by George R. R. Martin, which is full of stories from other fantastic authors. Check your library for it!

And it never hurts to add: Lev Grossman is very active on twitter and always posts information there for his fans. He’s worth following.

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Trailer

It’s the first trailer for season 4! Which, if you’re keeping track, is actually the second half of book 3. And maybe a bit into book 4? It’s been a while since I last read the books and I’m getting fuzzy on what happened where. Anyways, looks pretty good! Just remember people who haven’t read the books- NO ONE IS SAFE! muahahahaha

Music in the trailer by Chelsea Wolfe, song “Feral Love”.

Series starts April 6 on HBO.

A Fairy Tale Wardrobe

I love the show Once Upon A Time. I love the stories they tell and the characters they’ve created and I particularly love the crazy way they have connected the core group of characters. Imagine being the genealogist for that family! My head hurts just thinking about it.

I also love the costumes they have on the show. Like Game of Thrones (albeit on a smaller scale), they manage to create beautiful costumes for the characters both in our world and theirs. I recently came across a photo album for some of the best costumes from the show and here are some of the highlights:

Prince Charming

Prince Charming

Captain Hook

Captain Hook

Regina

Regina

Mulan

Mulan

Tiny

Tiny

You can see the whole gallery here.

Some of my favorite costumes didn’t make the gallery (or at least not clearly).

I love Belle’s main blue dress.

Belle

Belle

And pretty much anything on Snow White. Especially this cloak:

Snow White

Snow White

And this dressing gown (finding a good picture seems impossible so enjoy this short clip!):

I will say they love their leather on this show and lots of prominent, um, bosoms. But the fairy tale costumes are lovely and even the modern day costumes make me wish I could ask for some advice from the costumers!

Game of Thrones Embroidery

Like most of the world, I’m a fan of Game of Thrones, both the books and the impressive adaptation on HBO. I’m also a huge fan of costumes and briefly flirted with the idea of studying costume design in college. I believe that I once read a quote from a costume designer that the best costumes go unnoticed because they fit the character so well you don’t notice what they are wearing. While designers and others involved in tv/movie productions might not want costumes to be the most notable part of a show, sometimes they deserve a closer look.

Take, for example, the costumes in HBO’s Game of Thrones. As the costume designer, Michele Clapton decided to hire Michele Carragher to embroider many of the costumes, including some for the prominent ladies like Sansa, Cersei, and Daenerys. It’s a shame that this beautiful embroidery is never seen in detail on the show but here are a few examples of her work to drool over.

A collar for Catelyn Stark. Notice the Tully fish.

A collar for Catelyn Stark. Notice the Tully fish.

A gown for Cersei.

A gown for Cersei.

Detail from the above gown.

Detail from the above gown.

Another closeup from one of Cersei's gowns.

Another closeup from one of Cersei’s gowns.

A shirt for Daenerys.

A shirt for Daenerys.

Detail from above shirt.

Detail from above shirt.

A dress for Sansa.

A dress for Sansa.

Sansa's wedding dress

Sansa’s wedding dress

Detail from Sansa'a wedding dress.

Detail from Sansa’a wedding dress.

Possibly the most amazing thing about this embroidery is the story it tells about the person wearing it, like the Tully fish on Catelyn’s collar and the wolf and fish on Sansa’s wedding dress.

Be sure to check out her full website here for lots more images from Game of Thrones as well as some of the story/ideas behind the embroidery.

Idea for this post from an article on Buzzfeed here.

The 10th Kingdom

Part of my job involves selecting new A/V materials for the library system I work for. I’m part of the committee that chooses new CDs, audiobooks, DVDs, etc. and I love that it gives me a heads up about new things coming out and specifically what’s coming to our library. As I was looking through one of our supplier’s catalogs, I happened to notice this one: The 10th Kingdom.

Oh my goodness. Guys. I love The 10th Kingdom. I’ve been thinking a lot about it for the past year or two, probably due to the influence of watching Once Upon A Time, but I’ve been unable to find it. Netflix was not carrying it, copies on Amazon were exorbitantly expensive, and our old VHS copies from home were not even an option (I don’t own a TV, much less a VCR!). But it has recently been re-released on DVD and Amazon copies are now an entirely affordable $6. Or check your local Target! They’re not selling it online but they do have some copies available in store for a dollar less and the benefit of immediate gratification! (Or if you’re super cheap and lazy, apparently the whole thing is available on youtube. Did I know this before? Maybe. But somehow the idea of sitting in front of a computer to watch a 7 hour miniseries seems horribly unappealing.)

Basically, here’s the story: Virginia and her father Tony share an apartment in the building he takes care of. Virginia’s mother left them some years before and they have not heard from her since. They discover a magic mirror that transports them to the fairy tale kingdoms we have all heard so much about. We meet all kinds of fairy tale characters like trolls, charming princes, the Big Bad Wolf, Little Bo-Peep, Snow White, and so on. It’s probably been 10 years since I last saw the show but I still remember how much fun it was and what a good story it had to tell. So tonight? I’m heading to the store. I’ve got a long (rainy) weekend coming up and this seems like a pretty good way to spend it.

Happy Independence Day, American friends!

Once Upon A Time

I’m so happy that fairy tales are popular again. And I love when they are done well. I wrote about the ABC series Once Upon A Time briefly last year. I managed to watch the first 4 episodes when the series started but not having a TV and losing internet access soon after meant that my connection with the series was short lived.

The major players

Season 1 came out on DVD recently and I got a copy. And then went through the entire series in about a week. Because OHMYGOODNESS THIS SHOW IS AMAZING. I absolutely loved it. They take some liberties with the stories but it works out well.

Emma Swan

In case you haven’t seen or heard of the series, all of the story book characters that we know and love have been cursed. They now live in the little town of Storybrooke, Maine where they remember nothing of their previous lives (with a few exceptions!). The Evil Queen Regina has placed a curse on them all to remove their happy endings to get revenge on Snow White for taking away hers. It’s now up to Emma Swan to try and save them all.

The Evil Queen Regina

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.

Like I said, they take some liberties with the stories they use. The Evil Queen is the evil queen for a number of stories, not just Snow White’s. Rumpelstiltskin does double duty as the Beast (as in Beauty and the Beast) as well as being the villain for a number of other stories. Little Red Riding Hood is actually a werewolf. And some characters, like Jefferson/the Mad Hatter aren’t in a fairy tale at all. But all of the major elements are there in the stories to make it clear which ones are being told.

Prince Charming

And like any good fairy tale, there are lots of love stories. Snow White and Prince Charming get a lot of screen time as do their Storybrooke altar egos Mary Margaret Blanchard and David Nolan. But my favorite (introduced in the episode “Skin Deep”) is between Rumpelstiltskin and Belle. It is lovely beyond words and when they reunite in the season finale, I was definitely tearing up a bit. Of course, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale and Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is my favorite character on the show so there’s not much competition there.

Season 2 just started a few weeks ago and I can’t wait to get started on it. I’ve seen a few hints about some new characters that are going to be introduced and I’m so curious to see what will happen now that the curse is broken. (Also, I really want to see more of Mr. Gold and Belle.)

Snow White

Season 1 is available on DVD and Netflix, among other places. Season 2 is available on huluplus (which means you have to pay) or on the official Once Upon A Time ABC website (free but not sure how long the episodes stay on the site- as of today all 5 full episodes are available. A more direct link to the episodes here).

Vampires and Werewolves and Ghosts, Oh My!

I hate Twilight. Actually, hate is too kind a word. I abhor, loathe, despise Twilight. And yes, I have read it and watched the movie. Both turned out to be even worse than I was expecting. But other people liked Twilight and publishers and authors and other sorts of culture creators noticed these other people that liked Twilight and began creating more of the same. Werewolves became cool by association and supernatural romances were for a while all that could be found on Young Adult bookshelves. Personally, this irritated me as I tend to like my supernatural creatures to be scary monsters rather than misunderstood superhumans.

So most of the supernatural wave I avoided. I had heard of Being Human but only because Aidan Turner, one of the stars of the show, was set to be Kili in The Hobbit. But a few weeks ago, season 1 of Being Human showed up at the library where I work. I was curious to see some of Aidan Turner’s work so I checked it out.

I loved it.

If you haven’t heard of the show, it’s a BBC production that will be entering its 5th season next year. I have only seen the first 2 seasons so far, which general consensus seems to claim are the best, and will be starting the 3rd season as soon as I can. The show follows Annie (Lenora Crichlow), a ghost; George (Russell Tovey), a werewolf; and Mitchell (Aidan Turner), a vampire. These three are housemates and friends and are desperately trying to, well, be human.

It can be a bit gruesome at times. We routinely see the bloodied victims of vampires with their throats ripped out and the werewolf transformation never got easier for me to watch.

But it was a surprisingly funny show. And very sweet. Despite their supernatural status, each of the three just want to live normal lives or as close to normal as they can. As the series progresses, enemies are introduced, some serious, some not. And new friends are made too, some that stick around and some that don’t.

Season 3 is the last with Aidan Turner as he left at the end of it for Hobbit work, but it has been an entertaining show so far and I’m glad I decided to watch it.
(There is an American version of this show (surprise surprise) but I have not seen it or even heard that much about it so I can’t say anything about it. Just the British one.)