~ The mystery of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ~ 🖤🌹

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is definitely a tale about escapism- Christine spends her whole life being coached by a ‘mysterious voice’ that mentors her to do better and achieve beyond what she thought possible, when she finally steps through the mirror and meets the man behind the voice, her illusion shatters and she is repulsed by his deformed face. 💀

Instead, she goes for her childhood sweetheart Raoul, and, the phantom realises that despite all he’s given her, she still turns away in horror. She pities him and yet still agrees to lay a trap, by going along with his grand plans for her on the stage, but in the end, his jealousy still destroys them (and the opera house which is also his home.) 🎼🎭

We see him as the villain of the story, but we also feel sorry for him, hiding away with no love and kindness- and perhaps it’s this forced solitude & space to develop his talents that turns him into a musical genius. There are many things to learn from it, that you can’t force love, that you can’t expect too much from anyone, yet also the power of forgiveness and also dedication throughout a lifetime. 🖤🖤

Another thing I love about the Phantom are the aesthetics, the opulent backdrop & historical references- after all it’s a theatre, the masquerade balls, the grandness, and of course, the amazing soundtrack!! Andrew Lloyd Webber really transformed it and made it his own- hence why it still stands the test of time. 👰🏻👻🎞⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

~ 𝔔𝔲𝔬𝔱𝔢 𝔠𝔬𝔯𝔫𝔢𝔯~

“They played at hearts as other children might play at ball; only, as it was really their two hearts that they flung to and fro, they had to be very, very handy to catch them, each time, without hurting them.”

“And, despite the care which she took to look behind her at every moment, she failed to see a shadow which followed her like her own shadow, which stopped when she stopped, which started again when she did and which made no more noise than a well-conducted shadow should.”

20,000 leagues under the sea

Having started “20,000 leagues under the sea”, watched “Aquaman”, “Jaws” & “Blue Planet-the deep” all in the space of 2 days ~ it’s no surprise when I started dreaming of being violently flung about on a boat swept by ominous looking black waves. 🌊

My phone was sliding around on deck, and I had just managed to catch it in one hand with triumph- only to discover my 2 companions were sinking under the tide (we were on our way to attend a party.) Needless to say, I arrived at the party without them… though I did give all my best efforts searching around, it turned into an affair like “The Great Gatsby”, they had different personas and were trying their best to evade me…

I’ve always been intrigued with creatures deep under the ocean. Their bulbous eyes and sharp teeth, their luminescent, transparent bodies, their spongy blob like exteriors… stuff out of nightmares…(which, I love calling up on the projector to show my students just to see their reaction!)

They say an iceberg is largely 3/4 under the surface. There are things below those tranquil waters that are beyond our imagination, and will still continue to lie unobserved.

So when the ‘Nautilus’ arrives and causes havoc in the seas around the world, it’s not hard that it could be mistaken for a narwhal or a cross between a whale/sea unicorn with its impenetrable exterior. It raises panic enough that the best captains rally and send forth a ship ready to capture, and, sadly slaughter this troublesome creature…Only to realise, it’s not a beast at all coming forth from the depths, but indeed a vessel, captained by none other than the infamous Captain Nemo. At this point our 3 protagonists have nothing else to do but sit, wait, and be carried along in an adventure like no other (since they’ve seen too much to be allowed to return home to dry land.) 🙄

Captain Nemo lets our guests into many secrets about the creation of his vessel (as surely it defies science), but we know this is only the beginning. If it’s anything like “5 weeks in a balloon”, I know that there will be no shortage of crazy events, the possible harpooning of sea spiders and giant squids, oxygen shortage, walking on the ocean bed and many, new discoveries.

And…if it’s anything like Dr Ferguson, Kennedy & faithful Joe- hanging onto the last trimmings of their damaged hot air balloon, shot at by arrows above enemy waters and praying to be saved~ we can only hope this Parisian professor & his friends get back safely (along with the unsuspecting sea creatures that cross their path!)

Beautiful Books Review

LeatherBound Classics

The Leather Bound classics collection are like something out of a dream. They are something you would find in Belle’s library in the Beast’s castle, the smell of leather, as you sit curled up in an old armchair by the fire. The pages are thick and of good quality, not only is the binding immaculate with a great front cover design but there is a matching silk ribbon to hold your place.

I can’t stop staring at them.

Did I mention they change their shades under different lighting? You will have to see for yourself…

Dracula

Cover aside, the first thing that surprised me reading it, was how it was completely unlike the film, or what the modern day audience associate with Dracula.

IMG_20140622_204322The narrative is in the form of journal and diary entries and interestingly enough, the character of Dracula, whom the book is named after- only appears a few times in the novel. It’s about the lives of the others he touches, much like ‘Oliver Twist’, that are the main focal point. At the start, the narrative is unsettling, as if you are running in inescapable circles in the castle of Count Dracula trying to find your escape.

We are introduced to characters such as Van Helsing, the famous vampire hunter and trust me when I say this- nothing about the book is sexually explicit, that the films are so keen on portraying. Count Dracula is an all powerful being that can bend the elements to his will, turn into any creature, scale up walls like a giant crab, transform into sand and float through keyholes, appear as mist, and influence the minds of animals and humans alike. He feasts on his victim every night while they are asleep, returning to the same victims until, eventually, so drained of blood they die, turning them into second generation vampires. Though they have the fear of garlic and stakes through the heart, killing a vampire seems much harder if they are blessed with super strength, cunning and have thousands of years of knowledge on how to survive. Much like an immortal superhero villain.

Terrifying huh?

The Picture of Dorian Gray

If you have read Oscar Wilde’s short stories such as “The Selfish Giant” and “The Happy Prince”, you assume The Picture of Dorian Gray will be similar in writing style – it’s not.

20140619_122102 dorian gray

Though the sentimentality is there, the novel takes on the whimsical reflections of the author, often philosophical which might put many readers off at first glance. For me, it is the concept which draws me to the novel. You get sentences which really resonate such as; “he watched it with that strange interest in trivial things that we try to develop when things of high import make us afraid”- a feeling that I for a long time tried to express into words but failed. They apply to a universal reader and often I found myself thinking, ‘ah yes, I agree!’

I first saw the film adaptation of this, before I read the book. Possible error? Maybe not. First of all, Ben Barnes is great in the role of Dorian Gray. He captures the character’s youth and inexperience, but also the darkness of the character’s gradual change throughout the novel brilliantly. As the actor reflects; it is “a morality tale about eternal youth, ageless beauty, self indulgent pleasure seeking and the pitfalls you might fall into if you pursued them so relentlessly.” Dorian Gray depicts human nature and the danger of this ‘pleasure seeking’ which ultimately leads to self destruction.

Though I would suggest to read the book first, in this case; you couldn’t go wrong with reading & watching the film together. They go hand in hand to bring visuals to life which otherwise might be hard to imagine from the book alone. However, like most film adaptations, there are events that do not correspond with the novel and if you want ‘accuracy’ it is best to take it with a pinch of salt.