Halsdoll’s New Year Rant: Harry Potter, Scarlet Nexus & DS2 Scholar of the First Sin

New Year and a new start are never the cases for me. I never wait around when I want to achieve a new goal. My New Year Resolution started in December after my fiancé gave me my birthday present. This year. I want to make more time for books. It doesn’t matter if it’s a children’s book as long it got some depth, which is how I got started with the adventure to Hogwarts. Me being the curious cat picked up the book and started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone despite being unimpressed with the movie’s adaptation many years ago. That experience was also my first introduction to the title. Now, I’m more than halfway on book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I intend to finish the entire series because I’m addicted to J.K. Rowling’s imagination and writing style. It made me smile a lot that I couldn’t put the book down, which explains my long absence from this blog. Perhaps, I might write each summary for each book as a writing exercise since that is what has been occupying my thoughts. I’m just so impressed with how well organized J.K. Rowling’s mind is to create such a genuine and humorous but serious world mixed with humility. Somehow the movies failed to capture it, which is why I was never a fan of the Harry Potter franchise until now. I see why all of my good friends were obsessed with it.

When it comes to games, I find that playing game back-to-back can be quite a chore. Forcing myself to conquer my backlog is not fun. Since beating Tales of Xillia, I haven’t been eager to jump into a new game and I thought I would play Tales of Vesperia, but I changed my mind. I played a little bit of Scarlet Nexus instead. The concept of the story and gameplay is promising but feels a little bit too hip and young for my taste. I’m not feeling the characters at the moment or maybe it’s the fact the English voice dub failed to capture the character’s personality. Just not a fan of hearing people read scripts in manga-style cutscenes. Well, I didn’t mind so much in Folklore but it just seems like a lazy tactic in storytelling. Despite all of that, it may have a good story. It’s BANDAI NAMCO StudiosTose after all. I can see some cool things with this game but so far it tries too hard to be cool and deep. Well, I will put it aside. I may play it. Maybe in 7 years when I decided to turn into a teenager again.

SCARLET NEXUS

For now, I find myself going back to Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. Yes, I finally beat all the bosses in the Sunken Crown King DLC. This time around, I just needed to step back from the game to have a fresh mindset. So here is what I learn: When playing a difficult game that required some sort of quick reflex, you have to talk mean to your opponent. “Get your ass down here! “Is the magic phrase I used in defeating the Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon, and with a little help from the NPCs. At this point, I just want to complete the DLC without caring how well I kill it. Thank goodness this game does not grade me on my performance.

Telling the dragon to get its ass down here
Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon

I suppose, you just have to be a little angry to play this sort of game at the same time be calm and collected. It’s all about balance and perhaps that is why I keep coming back to the soul games. I have two more DLCs to go: Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the Ivory King. I’m not kidding when I said I keep coming back to this game which I bought it back in 2015. This will be the second time I play this game. I already played it on the PS3 version which honestly, I prefer than the PS4 version which included all three DLCs. I even have the PC version (wow I didn’t know I like the game that much!). I may go into details at a later time if I feel up for it. So far, I have already clocked in over 200 hours. Talking about great gameplay value. Why would I even bother with other games at this rate? I like to see games surpass the Dark Souls franchise. It’s unlikely. As I mentioned before, once you give your soul to the game, there’s no coming back. All other games will appear lacking or petty in comparison. Souls’ game is just that rewarding and addictingly fun. Or perhaps, I just have fallen under its spell. It’s like playing inside an adventurous book and who can ask for more, especially for folks like me who love books and games? It’s the greatest combo.

I stop to read in video games…ooooh if only school was this fun, I would have paid more attention in class once upon a time…

Well, that is it for now. I will leave you folks with a tip. Being a barrel doesn’t hurt if you are trying to reach the next bonfire! Whatever it takes to stay alive. Until next time~

getting close to the bonfire

3 Books I Did Not Finish

As I was looking through my library of books, I realize I failed to finish some books despite my effort and so today I list three books I shamefully tried to enjoy. Luckily, this is a personal blog where I am not trying to sell anyone anything but my honest opinion. It drives me nuts when I fall into the marketing trap of purchasing books with Bestseller on the front cover! When it comes to a matter of taste, I believe that we should disagree to agree. It makes the world more colorful and interesting. But we all know that? Most of us here are grown adults, I assume. Then why do some of us grownups get upset when someone disagrees with our taste?

If you have a book sitting next to your toilet for over a year and you still haven’t finished it, you know it is on the crappy side. Well then again, when reading books whether you enjoy it or not it is due to preference or the current mindset you are in. Well, I have been debating about this statement for some time now and I realized my mindset is not going to change any time soon because I had these books for years. The following books are just unbearable:

#1 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I really tried to like it

Beautiful words become unbearable when it gets nowhere. Is it supposed to be suspenseful or it’s just for show? The author is more focused on making sentences look pretty rather than giving them a worthwhile plot for readers to follow. I read more than halfway and decided to stop. It’s getting nowhere and I could care less what happens to the superficial characters. They really are just for the show just like the purpose of any circus. It would have been more interesting if the Night Circus was on crack. But then it will no longer be a pretty book! Now, I really feel bad when people came up to me and asked if the book was any good during my lunch break. I told them I liked it. I like the pretty sentences but that’s just about it.

Inside the tent is dark, the ceiling covered with open black umbrellas, the curving handles hanging down like icicles.

From The Night Circus, p.376

#2 Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

Overrated Books
Entertaining but cliché

Heard the film was good? This book was given to me as a gift because I was open about my gaming “addiction” at work. The problem with being labeled as a gamer means you are automatically assumed to be the stereotypical gamer: male, single, peter-pan syndrome. You name it. Mind you, I am just a millennial. I simply like games for entertainment purposes. It’s easy to reach over the control than do other extracurricular activities that appear more productive and noble such as tutoring English to refugee kids from broken families so you’d look good on your resume; selling freshly handpicked blackberries found on the side road to some old poor lady who is desperate to make some blackberry jam, and joining the circus because sane people spend a fortune to watch crazy people do flashy things and then applaud them with gifts and recognition. You see, a video game can have a noble cause like in this book. The protagonist is on the hunt for the ultimate prize so that he could have the power to change reality for himself and everyone else. In this book, the world has become an ugly place. Ironically, you might think I’d enjoy this book but like The Night Circus, I read more than halfway and quit because I got tired of reading about an exceptionally skilled gamer who is going to save the world by racing to be #1 on the leaderboard. It’s just unbearably cliché.

#3 Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

educationally boring
Educationally boring

Okay, I confess, I typically finish books and I couldn’t find a third one to complete my 3-list post. This book was part of the history class reading materials that were supposed to help students get a glimpse of how America was and still is resistant to progressive social changes by focusing on an imaginary small town in Minnesota called Gopher Prairie. I did finish the book, but I would have appreciated it more if I did not try to find hidden meanings or messages in the book. Perhaps, I should reread it now that I can put things into context now that I’m wiser in age and living in the Midwest. It was just an unbearable read back then because it’s part of U.S History and history lessons can be dry sometimes. Nonetheless, quite educational.

If you happen to enjoy this post, you have my sincere thanks. I might have woken up on the wrong side of the bed to make this list. Today, I just want to be human and say I just don’t like these books and that’s all there is to it.

Three Films that Make Me Want to Read the Book

I love books, but I feel that it’s becoming more of a luxury pastime leisure. Hard to focus reading when your mind is constantly on the go–literally it’s hard reading when you feel restless which is why I never read a book while walking, although I have seen some do it and it always puts a smile on my face when I see such a rare sight. Even taking public transportation, I could never find myself relaxed enough to read. However, I have once read on the job, that work never seems to get done. So I completely ruled out that option. Lastly, you’re probably thinking how about before bedtime? By then I am too tired to read. So you see, I am in a bit of a dilemma. Maybe if I live in a huge library such as the picture below, I’d read more. Reading is a solitary experience and I need a quiet, safe place to immerse myself in a book. The same can be said for story-driven single-player games.

Did you enjoy how I bold my words in the second to the last sentence of the paragraph above? I just want to make sure you got the most important stuff from this intro. 

Reading is a solitary experience… need a quiet, safe place to immerse in a book,” says Halsdoll (had to quote myself because I feel enlightened from my own writing).

masterpiece video game
Current game I’m playing: NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139

I won’t ramble on about games in this post. This is about Three Films that Make Me Want to Read the Book. I know based on the title I got it all backward. It should be read the book first and then watch the film because most films I like are based on a novel. And I must confess, I discovered most books by watching the film first. So that doesn’t make me a book snob even though I think the mind is the greatest theatre.

If you are new to this blog. I like to come up with three lists of recommendations or three lists of anything for this blog because most of us love making lists, don’t we? I do. It declutters my brain space so I can think more clearly. Plus, a short, sweet post like this gives me a break from thinking too deeply and it’s more conversational (I hope I’m talking to a human and not a robot, but if you are robotic that’s okay).

So here is my list. Three lists of films I want to read the book eventually:

1) Hellraiser (1987)

Director: Clive Barker

Story: Clive Barker

Hellraiser the movie
The Hellbound Heart: A Novel

I was a teenager when I first got exposed to this classic horror film. I believe it was during Halloween, the show aired on T.V. The thought of demons was terrifying to me and I remember having nightmares about it. When you start getting nightmares, you know the film is scary. It never occurs to me back then that hell is like the puzzle pieces of the human psyche. But of course, that is just my speculation. The book got me curious and puzzles are always fun to solve. I love a good puzzle. That’s why I need to read the book for more details to come up with a stronger conclusion. Hopefully, I won’t dive too deep because hell is definitely not the place I want to be.

2) Audrey Rose (1977)

Director: Robert Wise

Story: Frank De Felitta

Audrey Rose film
Film
Book

This film is so intense that I did not finish it. It reminds me of the Exorcist and the famous Silent Hill (video game series), but of course, this came before the video game and before I was born so going back in time to find good films is like going on a trip to discover ancient relics (that’s a compliment, not an insult for those who are self-conscious about age. Young doesn’t always mean better. I like a good aged wine. It’s wisdom that I am after, not eternal youth). One of these days, I will watch the film, but definitely not by myself and if I am curious enough–read the book. Reincarnation can be a very scary thing and for horror fans, we know that horror films don’t always need scary ghosts and special effects.

3) Charlolette’s Web (1973)

Directors: Charles A. Nichols, Iwao Takamoto

Story: E.B. White (book)

Charlotte's Web (2006)
Film
Charlolette's Web book
Book

I know it’s contradicting after stating how I am after wisdom and not eternal youth to switch from horror to children’s film. But eventually, adults revert back to a child-like state of mind. I really enjoyed the narration in this film and found that it contains full of wisdom. I used to read the book as a child, but somehow, I think some of the concepts in the story are too deep for a child to grasp. Themes about animal rights, life, and death are concepts that are a bit hard for a child to internalize. I didn’t like it as much until now. Favorite quote from the film: “How special are we just a moment?” It’s a powerful phrase to remind us to be humble. Charlotte may be just a spider, but she is also a very good friend and a writer who stretches her natural abilities to make something more out of her existence. Truly inspiring.

Yep, that’s my three lists of books I eventually want to read. It’s not so bad going back in time as I am finding it hard each day to find something worthwhile to watch or read. Time has changed or it’s simply just that I am getting older and my taste in entertainment is becoming more refined. I need something with depth. I need something classically timeless.

P.S.

I found a good time to read. It’s in the morning with a cup of coffee. That way I won’t get Zzz…from reading. I couldn’t be happier and content.