Twice Upon A Time – Critical Review on Doctor Who‘s Christmas Special

twice upon a time

Christmas Day brings family and friends, large feasts, long-awaited presents, and Doctor Who. Entitled “Twice Upon A Time,” this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special provided fans with their last viewing of Actor Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. And, more importantly, the first viewing of the next Doctor.

What “Twice Upon A Time” Revealed About Peter Capaldi as the Doctor



twice upon a time
Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, so fierce and intense, and yet so gentle and humble in this picture by BBC America.

Talking to fellow Doctor Who fans made it clear how much many Americans disliked Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Learning this made me think these fans simple, somewhat soft in the head. For Capaldi represented the learned intelligence, the serious fastidiousness, and the passionate loyalty behind the universally renowned Doctor.

Peter Capaldi acted the above traits to their fullest extent in the Christmas Special “Twice Upon A Time.” His learned intelligence showed when the soldier first walked onto the screen, recognizing the man’s uniform from World War I. When the soldier expressed his confusion at the term, the Doctor merely blushed and said, “Spoilers.”



twice upon a time
Why must the Doctor always come across a Dalek so close to his regenerations?

The serious, almost morbid, fastidiousness disclosed itself as the Doctor quickly decided to save the soldier from inescapable death. For the Doctor, as seen beside Capaldi in his first televised form (i.e. an older gentlemen, named David Bradley, who looked quite close to the original), had made a decision. The decision, made hundreds of years ago, to save and protect earth’s humanity.

Finally, and most importantly, Peter Capaldi exemplified the Doctor’s passionate loyalty when he saw Bill Potts. For although he had refused to accept her as the genuine Bill Potts, come back to life, his initial reaction said something different. His initial reaction said he loved and missed his dear friend. And that is why we love the Doctor, his selfless love.

Spoilers Found in Doctor Who‘s “Twice Upon A Time”



twice upon a time
David Bradley, who played the first Doctor, appeared downright jovial compared to his character, old and grumpy.

Hold on a minute. The Doctor regenerated into a woman? How can this be! I shall never watch Doctor Who ever again! This reaction ran rampant throughout worldwide homes and residences, on Christmas Day or earlier. How many people have resented and been angered at this fact? I don’t know. But I do know Actor Jodie Whittaker made a fabulous show entrance.

Looking into the TARDIS’s mirror, the Doctor stared at her reflection. She grabbed at her hair, stuttered a bit, and implied without words her wonder at her new gender. Based on what the TARDIS did at that point, the ship was more than shocked at what she saw. The TARDIS acted downright outraged, opening its doors and rocketing the Doctor from the ship. Leaving the fans wondering how they would next see the Doctor.

Where Doctor Who‘s Producers Implemented Christmas into “Twice Upon A Time”



twice upon a time
Matt Lucas as Nardole and Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts appeared alongside Peter Capaldi for “Twice Upon A Time”

Amongst the multiple Doctor forms and impeding deaths and uncharacteristically kind enemies, there appeared very little Christmas. However! Other than the snow from the South Pole, Producer and Director Steven Moffat referred to a famous and marvelous Christmas Day. An event which had occurred one hundred years ago. One which I had learned only earlier that day.

During WWI on one particular Christmas Day, the British and the Germans paused in their fighting. And they began to sing Silent Night. Since they had started the song at midnight, they celebrated Christmas Day, the whole 24 hours, in peace and calm. No shots were fired. Though the fighting resumed the very next day, and many men died, God’s sovereignty had reigned for one day.

Idolatry and the Uncharacteristically Kind Enemies in “Twice Upon A Time”




Unfortunately, the screenwriters had written for the “kind enemies” to refer to the Doctor as the “bloke who walked around and fixed things” on the Earth. Wrong! No polite British refusal to accept a wrong answer here. The Doctor, as great as the character is, will never play God! Christmas celebrates the birth of a Savior, called Christ Jesus. And to Him is all glory given. Sorry, Peter Capaldi.

So, other than the clear idolatry incorporated into the beloved Doctor Who, the Christmas Special was exceptionally good. Capaldi played his last episode as the Doctor with triumph. We rejoiced to see Bill Potts, if only just one more time. And “Twice Upon A Time” showed us a little of what’s to come. So, bring it on Jodie Whittaker! Let’s see what you can bring to world-renowned Doctor Who.



Why Queen Elizabeth II Says “Happy Christmas”

happy christmas

Hearing “Happy Christmas” for the first time causes many American children to laugh and jeer at the speaker. They reply, “It’s not ‘Happy Christmas.’ It’s ‘Merry Christmas.'” Oh, the innocence and ignorance of know-it-all youths. Allow me to provide the reason behind “Happy Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas” Means Something Completely Different than “Happy Christmas”




Educated Britons understand the history behind the term “Merry.” We Americans, who grew up saying “Merry Christmas,” only learned the phrase “Happy Christmas” when we heard Queen Elizabeth II say it. Something she does every year during her Christmas broadcast.

Americans can view these broadcasts on BBC America, squeezed between Doctor Who marathon episodes on Christmas Day. Hearing the British Queen use the phrase piqued my interest.  So, I asked someone with a great vocabulary why she said “Happy” instead of “Merry.” And upon receiving an answer, I proceeded to do some research on it.

The short explanation is that “Merry” used to mean intoxication and social misbehavior. Whereas “Happy” expresses joyous feeling without any religious or social deviances. And as we know from Queen Elizabeth II and her council, they believe people ought to obey God and follow the Christian faith. At least, that’s what The Crown portrayed. And I agree with the message.

Why Some State It’s Better to Say “Merry Christmas” Instead of “Happy Christmas”




According to blogger Gene Veith, and to the man whom he referenced, “Merry Christmas” beats “Happy Christmas” on any given year. The term “Merry” appeared in the Bible to describe a joyful and drunken man. Someone so happy as to have little concern in how he appeared to others. These two bloggers believe we ought to experience merriness upon seeing Christ Jesus.

To me, this seems absurd. Though God doesn’t ban drinking alcohol, He does tell his believers to refrain from becoming intoxicated. For we must always be prepared to spread the gospel, to be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents. In other words, I can see the solid Christian foundation in why Queen Elizabeth II chooses to say “Happy Christmas.”

The online Oxford English Dictionary informally defined “Merry” as slightly and joyously drunk. So, if “Merry” is associated with drunkenness, then the answer seems simple. Since the Bible says to refrain from drunkenness, then say “Happy Christmas.” Keeping those with weak faith on the godly path by disassociating with anything regarding alcohol.

And a “Happy Christmas” to You!




If I come off as prudish, I’m sorry. But the little I have learned about Queen Elizabeth II has taught me to respect her, what she does, and what she says. And since God is the highest and most important authority, then saying “Happy Christmas” seems even better.

Please remember Christ Jesus as Christmas comes closer. And people can be just as happy sober as they are drunk! With the difference lying in  people’s ability to act more kindly and agreeably in the sobriety state. Happy Christmas, everyone, and I’ll be back again tonight!

The Muppet Christmas Carol – Brian Henson’s Beloved Rendition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

the muppet christmas carol




Love, cherish, and joy only begin to describe how I feel toward Brian Henson’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. This movie, created in 1992, is a staple for many millennials. Having watched this beloved rendition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol as children, we now pass it onto our children.

What makes Brian Henson’s version so great? How does it surpass every other movie rendition of A Christmas Carol? The answer is simple, and in no small part due to Charles Dickens’s writing.

Brilliant Actors Found in The Muppet Christmas Carol



The Muppet Christmas Carol
Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Michael Caine is a genius within his work field. His study on portraying the right emotions at the right times shows his competence in acting. Therefore, in acting as Ebenezer Scrooge, Caine was the best choice to portray Scrooge. Both as the cruel, uncaring businessman, and as the reformed, kind and loving man which Scrooge became.

Kermit the frog acted the part for the most amiable character in the story, Bob Cratchit. Steve Whitmire voiced for Kermit, still relatively new at the job with the Muppets team during the film’s making. Nonetheless, he managed to capture all the adult hearts who watched this fun rendition. Even I, who first watched the movie at age five or six, learned to love Kermit the frog as Bob Cratchit.

And, of course, we must make mention of the Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens. Dave Goelz voiced for the Great Gonzo. His character provided the main humor source, albeit a somewhat mean sense of humor. His role included traveling throughout the movie, watching the other muppets, and narrating the key points in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Messages Behind The Muppet Christmas Carol



The Muppet Christmas Carol
Scrooge’s dead business partners, Marley & Marley.

To support himself, Charles Dickens wrote novels during the English Victorian era. The more he wrote, the more he became involved in social movements. Mainly he wrote social critics to serve the changing social climate. However, several of his novels have passed down through time. Thus, still popular, and forever changing how England and other countries look at social status.

The Muppet Christmas Carol understood Charles Dickens’s original message. Fierce and rigid, Scrooge cared for nothing but his own pocketbook. Social events, where people gathered to laugh and play games, annoyed him. Allowing his employees to spend time with their families on the holidays struck him as unfair. His business was his life.



Thanks to the three visiting spirits, Scrooge woke up to see what truly mattered. His money could serve the benefit of mankind, encouraging the working the class and saving the destitute. People wanted to love him, he merely needed to let them and love them in return.

The messages in this movie, originating from the popular story, are like those found in Scripture. Though, unlike a mere century before, they related more to the commonly accepted beliefs and taught principles in that era. For, during this time period, many people like Charles Dickens didn’t specifically follow any religion.

What to Take Away from The Muppet Christmas Carol



The muppet christmas carol
Bob Cratchit and his son on a walk home from church service.

Personally, I will refrain from ignoring my God for social agendas based on Christian principles. For that seems a little silly to me. However, how Bob Cratchit behaved should stand as a guiding example for all people, believers and unbelievers alike.

Because Bob Cratchit practiced patience with the unreformed Scrooge. He loved his wife and daughters, despite their uncouth and disparaging tongues. And his wherewithal to carry on in the face of his son’s probable death testified to great strength and character. Everyone ought to aspire to such nobility of character.

Moreover, as Michael Caine showed with his great acting skills, to love each other requires very little effort. A smile and an encouraging word could significantly improve someone’s mood. Giving someone a simple gift, like a scarf, will make someone able to appreciate human kindness. And merely spending time with others will warm their hearts, especially if you have smiles and laughs to go around!

Everyone Should Watch The Muppet Christmas Carol



the muppet christmas carol
MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, Miss Piggy, Michael Caine, Fozzie Bear, Kermit, Gonzo, 1992

I haven’t even begun to describe the amazing soundtrack or the jolly, ole’ Spirit of Christmas Present! Such joy and cheer they bring to every family home. To teach young ones the importance of love and kindness, I recommend showing them the family-friendly The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The young children might be confused at why the Great Gonzo always calls Rizzo the Rat stupid. And, hopefully, they don’t follow suite and call all their friends stupid. But the overall message fits perfectly with what the Christmas season is all about. For believers and unbelievers alike can agree to share and spread the love during this special season.



Catholicism Remembered in “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song

"The 12 Days of Christmas" song

My careless attitude about “The 12 Days of Christmas” song now shames me. For I have researched the history and the meaning behind this old, traditional carol, and the generally believed truth is frightening. Even if the Catholic popes and priests took a modern Christmas carol and attributed their own meaning to the song’s gifts, the debateable meaning holds significance for all Christians.

What Catholics Claim the Gifts in “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song Represent




God, the Holy Father, represented the “true love” who sent the gifts to us, the beloved. And each gift equated to the 12 teachings in Catholicism. What each gift represented is listed below:

  1. A partridge in a pear tree = Jesus, the Son of God, who died on the cross
  2. Two turtle doves = Both the Old and New Testaments
  3. Three French hens = The Three Theological Virtues (a.k.a. Faith, Hope, and Charity)
  4. Four calling birds = The Four Gospels found in the New Testament
  5. Five golden rings =  The Pentateuch (a.k.a. the first five books in the Old Testament)
  6. Six geese a-laying = How God created the world in six days
  7. Seven swans a-swimming = The Seven Sacraments (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts)
  8. Eight maids a-milking = The Eight Beatitudes (a.k.a. how the blessed will be rewarded)
  9. Nine ladies dancing = The Nine Spiritual Fruits (i.e. love, joy, peace, and so on)
  10. Ten lords a-leaping = The Ten Commandments
  11. Eleven pipers piping = The 12 Disciples, minus Judas the Betrayer
  12. Twelve drummers drumming = The Apostle’s Creed’s 12 doctrinal points (i.e. belief in God, belief in the Son, and so on)

While all Christian denominations can recognize at least some teachings from above, all 12 are included within Catholicism. Making this song a great catechism for all Catholics.

The Reason Behind “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song




Many people scoff at the list above. They provide arguments about the greater complexity within Catholicism and say Christians within all denominations share these teachings. As a Christian, I would argue differently.

Yes, I know about the Old and New Testaments, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Spiritual Fruits, and so forth. However, to have learned the exact numbers for all these biblical books and spiritual gifts and fruits, I would have needed to obtain a pastoral license. Simply thinking about the spiritual fruits and practices makes me think more exist than what the song lists above.

Back on point: People have argued about the song dating back to the 16th Century when Queen Elizabeth I reigned. For, according to some accounts, Catholics needed to learn “The 12 Days of Christmas” catechism in secret for fear of being found out, brutally tortured, imprisoned and killed.

What to Remember About “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song




Please don’t argue about the meaning behind this Christmas carol. For that is exactly what it is, a Christmas song! Catholics, and all Christians in general, can learn about their faith in other ways. Memorizing Scripture is possible, especially with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Therefore, be joyful! Remember to sing those Christmas carols loudly. Smile when others badmouth the season. And meditate on the true significance to Christmas, Jesus Christ’s birth!

Thanksgiving Festivities – Celebrating with British Thanksgiving Crackers

British Thanksgiving Crackeres

Cost Plus World Market has brought joy to many adults and children with their British Thanksgiving crackers. “Crackers?” my American reader asks. “What joy could small bits of crunchy, unleavened bread bring?”



British Thanksgiving Crackers
Small party favors found in the British Thanksgiving crackers

We speak not of the food! Holiday crackers, especially those made for Christmas, are small party favors handed out to guests. Many contain small toys for children to play with during the festivities. Others, favoring the adults, contain small, useful items, such as nail clippers.

Where to Find British Thanksgiving Crackers




Every American knows the happenings on Thanksgiving Day: Slave over the stovetop early in the morning, eat the Turkey, dressing, and potatoes and gravy in the afternoon, sleep until nightfall, and finish the day with some pumpkin pie. The same ole’ tradition year in and year out.

My husband and I decided to change things up a bit this year. For long before the holidays, maybe as early as September, Alex spoke about purchasing some crackers for Christmas. I, like many, knew nothing about this British tradition, but itched at the idea of celebrating the holidays in the British style.



British Thanksgiving Crackers
My fierce Pirate King husband!

During one particular shopping trip to Cost Plus World Market, we found them. “Oh, look at these, Mary! Thanksgiving crackers!” said Alex. I looked over, tired but interested. They appeared festive and fun, but my husband, as excited as he was, decided to overlook them and spare the expense. I refused to let that happen.

“God knows that if a product runs out, the store likely won’t purchase any more for the holiday. We should get them now in case we can’t get any for Christmas, ” I said. This convinced him, so we picked the only design available and bought them then and there.

How to Bring Festivity to the Family with British Thanksgiving Crackers




Sadly, my four-year-old niece was absent from our family’s Thanksgiving dinner and celebration. She might have enjoyed the British Thanksgiving crackers, especially the snaps upon ripping open the crackers. She certainly might have enjoyed some of the toys found within the crackers.

Nevertheless, after eating the pumpkin and pecan pies, I grabbed the crackers from their place on the entertainment center and let everyone pick their cracker from the box. Other than having some difficulty in pulling open the crackers, everyone enjoyed the crowns, toys, and jokes inside (the jokes being particularly clean-cut and funny).



British Thanksgiving Crackers
And me, showing off my card deck.

My mother was laughing and excited to put on her crown. Alex donned on all his toys and looked like a fierce pirate king. I freely expressed my own joy upon receiving a tiny card deck, with British royalty representing the joker. And even my father placed the paper crown upon his head.

Since my family isn’t the type to stay up and drink the night away, everyone soon retired for the night. Afterwards, Alex and I decided together to buy some of the Christmas crackers found at Cost Plus World Market (which only came out a couple weeks ago). Because, no such thing as too much fun has ever existed in our book!



Josh Gates Searched for and Found the Irish Banshee on Destination Truth

Irish Banshee




Lethal, fairy tale phantoms and creatures have haunted Ireland for centuries, according to the Irish townsfolk. In particular, they hold a special reverence for the Irish Banshee. Based on the mysterious happenings at a certain dilapidated medieval castle near the cliff-side, the screaming Banshee seems to have settled itself there.

Destination Truth producers sent worldwide adventurer, Josh Gates, to Ireland to search for the notorious phantom. Here he questioned the townsfolk. And after hearing about the medieval ruins, he set out to find this terrible phantom. Strange events happened there. Afterwards, leaving Ireland, Josh Gates insisted the Irish Banshee is more than a mere fairy tale. Or, are the Destination Truth producers selling tall tales?

Why Josh Gates Searched for the Irish Banshee in the First Place




People around the world watch, know, and love Josh Gates. He is a fun-loving, down-to-earth American who respects and honors other people and cultures. Fellow Americans – and I must assume other people from different nationalities – also hold an interest in Irish folklore. Having combined these two elements, specifically with the infamous Banshee, Destination Truth producers had the perfect episode.

I only question why Josh Gates acted so convinced about the Irish Banshee’s presence? Yes, mysterious noises permeated the otherwise silent night. Some odd shadows appeared inside the castle’s ruins. However, in every abandoned place, there exists wild animals. Some rustle in the bushes, others hide in dark crevices. Demons probably exist, as seen in Josh Gate’s Romanian episode, but they are known to harass living people. Why did Josh so readily believe in the Irish Banshee’s existence?

What Occurred as Josh Gates and His Crew Searched for the Irish Banshee




Little occurred in this episode regarding the Irish episode other than what normally occurs when people go ghost hunting. Inexplicable shadows ran to and fro, up and down castle ruins and yawning lawns. Sounds like a screaming woman – which can be very similar to a howling fox – resound throughout the empty and silent grounds. Bats and birds fly up unexpectedly. All of this spooked Josh Gates and his crew. And soon they “heard” the phantom chasing after them.

What really got the ball rolling was when Barry, who used to host Ghost Hunters International, trained everyone’s eyes on an object on the ground. We television viewers saw nothing, though the camera pointed down to the ground. However, Barry convinced everyone that the Irish Banshee had thrown the unseen object. And if anyone picked it up, they would soon meet their death. Hocus pocus, in my general opinion. They should have picked it up to verify the rumors of the howling Banshee.

Then came the part where Hallie entered the high tower alone, where the Irish Banshee had supposedly been seen, to do a ghostly interview. The metal stairs, which she had just climbed, began making noise, as if the lethal phantom was coming to meet her. She freaked out and began talking on her walkie-talkie. And Josh told her to come down the stairs and investigate what could have made the noise. Nothing else happened.

What I Learned about Josh Gates and the Irish Banshee




To be perfectly honest, I learned more about Josh Gates during this episode than I did about the Irish Banshee. Based on the performance given, Josh Gates serves as the overworked employee to the Destination Truth producers. Either that, or he wants to believe in Irish folklore. Whichever one be the truth, I’m surprised either way.

To the screaming Irish Banshee, where are your victims? What leads the Irish people to wholeheartedly believe they will die if they pick up a thrown item? The wind there howls at night. Animals rustle and hide in crooks and crannies. Shadows appear in odd places throughout the world. All of these could explain the Irish Banshee’s existence. Why believe in a lethal phantom?

This Irish Banshee interests me greatly in folklore. But, in the real world, I’m a sceptic and a naysayer about television’s adventure programs. So, only one question remains: What do you believe?



 

How Stevenson’s Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders

Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper's Murders

School grade teachers and college professors must practice more awareness in what they choose for their students to read. For literature can inspire bad behavior. Just as television can. Or, just as theater productions can. But does doubt about this fact cause them indecision on what to read? They need only consider how Robert Louis Stevenson’s literature possibly inspired Jack the Ripper’s murders.

How a Californian Girl Realized Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders




Teachers failed to educate me on the importance in filling one’s mind with positivity and good behavior. Thankfully, my parents picked up on where they lacked. As for the countless other children who received little or no instruction on proper behavior and morals, they live lifestyles brimming with violence, misbehavior, and destruction. Some literature merely encouraged such lifestyles.

As the reader has likely already deducted, criminal investigators and curious citizens around the world wondered about Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack the Ripper. Specifically about how The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde may have inspired the notorious, unidentified London killer. Oddly enough, teachers neglected to teach me this in school. I found out through my own deduction and consequential research.


Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper's Murders
Film production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Stevenson’s famous novella was first published in 1886. The resulting fame produced theater productions throughout America and England. However, mere days after The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde first played in the London theater in late August 1888, Jack the Ripper mauled and killed his first victim. Had he read the book? Had the play inspired his mania?

Curious Connections on How Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders




In Stevenson’s novella, the character Dr. Henry Jekyll studied and practiced medicine. Living as a bachelor with extensive financial funds, he used his spare time to concoct scientific experiments. This, as everyone knows, led to the birth of Mr. Edward Hyde, a social and criminal deviant.

Based on how Jack the Ripper murdered the Whitechapel women, the inspectors suspected this unidentified man had a background in medical surgery. How he treated the entrails and preserved certain organs especially made this suspicion seem true. But the British police suspected something more.

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde renditions, whether they be onstage or on film, the writers presented Dr. Jekyll as even more gentlemanly and righteous than Stevenson had written him. To make the doctor seem more traditional and upright, a young woman for Dr. Jekyll to pursue was added. Stevenson had written Dr. Jekyll in a different light, originally. Making the character resemble a genius and someone who brooded over complex subjects.

Jack the Ripper also seemed to contain a certain genius – a genius to avoid the police, if nothing else. The inspectors referred to his likely propensity to brood. Only, instead of brooding over complex subjects, the murderer would brood over which woman to kill and how to kill her.

Personal Opinion on How Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders




Studies throughout the past few decades in the United States have proven the link between bad behavior on television to bad behavior in younger generations. Why television? Because younger generations watch more television than they read or attend theater. The general conclusion is all entertainment forms can have a negative or positive influence on people.

Therefore, I suspect that Stevenson’s literature did partially influence Jack the Ripper. Some sort of chemical imbalance in the brain seems likely, hence why the murderer brooded. But stories have the power to change people, to lead them toward positive forces or negative roads. And too many similar dark ideas and actions came from Stevenson’s literature and Jack the Ripper’s deeds to be unconnected.

What do you think? Do the similarities make you suspect a connection, as well? Or is Robert Louis Stevenson a literary genius and Jack the Ripper some disconnected maniac killer?



Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne in Black Death – Critical Review

Black Death

Perusing the movie selections on the shelves at Walmart, I was startled to see Boromir from Lord of the Rings staring out at me. Only, on this movie cover, located on a high shelf near the back, a zombie-like creature stood behind him. The movie was titled Black Death, starring English stars Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne.

Black Death‘s Plot and Purpose




Germany financed and English Director Christopher Smith directed this film about witch hunters during the three year Black Death pandemic in England. Originally, English production companies intended to help finance the film. They later refused, for reasons I assume lie within the movie’s plot. Allow me to explain what occurred in the film:

Black Death
Averill and Osmund making plans to flee.

In the year 1348, the Black Death pandemic had entered the England monastery, where our main character was located as a novice. After a few short scenes with those suffering from the black plague, we saw the young novice stealing food from his monastery brothers and, after some deception about feeding the afflicted, giving the food to his secret girlfriend. He told her to flee, for the black plague was spreading. She did, but only after telling him to follow, or else she’d leave him forever.



Novice Osmund prayed for the right decision, and thought he received it when witch hunter Ulric walked in and asked for a guide. Journeying with the witch hunter and his men revealed their twisted sense of kindness and mercy. Where Osmund saw unjust persecution, Ulric saw sin and damnation. Osmund merely persevered to reach his girlfriend, Averill.

What happened when Osmund reached his destination was twisted: He came across Averill’s clothing, torn and blood-splattered. He despaired and grieved. Ulric convinced him to go farther with him and his crew to avoid imminent death. Osmund went and they all reached the witch’s village. The witch played with them, drugging them and causing them to see visions. Then came the climax.



Freezing water trapped Ulric, Osmund, and the other witch hunters. The witch, reveling in her power, gave them the option to forsake God and live, or to remain in the faith and die. Well, as Ulric warned his men, she killed both the questionably faithful and the absolute deserter in the group all alike. However, when Osmund and the witch hunters first arrived at the village, the witch showed Osmund his “dead” girlfriend. And how she had raised her from the dead.

Black Death
Osmund goes to see his “resurrected” Averill.

Believing this story about his girlfriend which the witch had crafted, Osmund questioned whether to forsake God, living in the witch’s village, or to keep his faith and die. He chose the latter. He also chose the latter for his seemingly possessed girlfriend, whom he drove a knife into and killed. Realizing what he had done, the witch acted horrified and exclaimed this as typical for how Christians act.



After quartering Ulric – who, it turned out, had black plague symptoms – everyone fled the scene. This left Osmund and one somewhat kindly witch hunter. Osmund followed the fleeing witch, intending to kill her, but learned the horrible truth instead: His girlfriend had never been dead, merely drugged and used to fool Osmund. Needless to say, the witch got away, leaving Osmund stunned, horrified, grieving, and hopeless.

The narrator, who turned out to be the somewhat kindly witch hunter, ended the film. He talked about the rumors he heard about Osmund turning into a witch hunter and killing many innocent women from his grief-driven madness. Overall, the film showed God as powerless, and evil as superior.

What British News Sources Taught Me About Black Death




Silly and historically inaccurate, said the writer for The Guardian. This particular article used references to describe how some witch hunting did occur in England, but predominantly in different centuries. Also, villages did learn to target mostly women, but this occurred only after a couple centuries after the mid-1300’s. And the degree of violence against innocent women in general never reached the extreme that this movie portrayed, at least in England.

Based on this information, I concluded English film producers refused to finance this film because the film writer had over-exaggerated this dark historical period. Moreover, this film was produced in the year 2010, while her majesty Queen Elizabeth II had (and still has) power. Because this film portrayed England and God in a negative light, the loyal citizens would have none of it. Thank God for Britain’s good sense.

Surprising Actors Found in Black Death



Black Death
Sean Bean as Ulric

Of course, I already mentioned my surprise to see Sean Bean dressed very similarly to his character “Boromir, son of Denethor II” in The Lord of the Rings on this film’s cover. In The Lord of the Rings, Bean’s character encouraged both dislike and understanding in the viewers. He was a gray character. Therefore, to see him as witch hunter Ulric, another brutal and daring role, brought about mixed feelings.

Alex and I failed to recognize Eddie Redmayne’s name. However, early on in the film, Alex piped up and said, “Hey, it’s Newt!” The nagging feeling I had about this character was solved. For Eddie Redmayne had played the beloved Newt in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He played Osmund, the main character, in Black Death. Recognizing him as Newt made his ending in Black Death much harder to accept.

One Christian’s Opinion on Whether or Not to Watch Black Death




If my readers are strong believers in the Christian faith, like my husband and I, then they will severely dislike this film. At the beginning, the possibility of a strong Christian message appeared so likely as to give my husband and I hope for a happy ending. These hopes disappeared as the film progressed. In the end, we felt nothing but shame at how the film writer portrayed the Christian believers, if they could even be called believers.

How Osmund turned out also doesn’t sit well with me. He started off devout and loving. He questioned the monastery life, like the Protestant Christians did, and wished for a wife. His faith seemed genuine. However, when the witch tricked him, and he ended up killing his love, his faith didn’t save him. He become corrupted, in mind and spirit. True faith would heal all wounds, even those from a powerful witch and necromancer. Osmund’s faith should have kept him in the light.

Overall, I think the film did well in regards to acting and scene setting, but the plotline was terrible. History as it played out in the real world is frightening enough. Mixing history for a fictional horror film seems unnecessary. I recommend watching this film when my readers feel the need for something eerie. But, please, try to ignore the social agenda in the film, for only those enslaved to sin do such horrific deeds. And, as to witches, we all have different beliefs regarding witches and necromancers.



 

Modern Writers and Mary Shelley – What We Can Learn from Her Literature, Thinking, and Life

Mary Shelley




Anyone and everyone who has attempted to read great classic literature at some point in his or her life assuredly has borrowed or bought a dozen or more novels from famous past British and Irish authors. I own 50 such novels or more. To begin the Halloween season’s celebrations, I pulled out Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. To review the horror elements within the story was my aim.

The Wordsworth Classics edition I own started the book with a blatant appeal for the readers to skip the introductory novel analysis and to start the classic story. I did as told, and first read Mary Shelley’s explanation on how she dreamed about a mad scientist’s living creation. From this simple explanation did my heart reach out to her and fill with empathy and awe. Allow me to explain how modern writers can learn from Mary Shelley.

What Mary Shelley’s Story Explanation Said About Her Thoughts and Her Life




I will refrain from pouring over the explanation about how Mary Shelley dreamed up Frankenstein’s monster. Instead, I will attempt to describe what the young married woman revealed about herself in her explanation.

A proper description would include an extensive knowledge about religion, politics, and society during the late 18th – early 19th century. But I have very little knowledge right now about such history. What I can do is describe how young people, especially young writers, have very much in common with Mary Shelley.



America attempts to downplay how much religion affected past British writers in their literature and dissertations. However, religion and society norms genuinely seemed to lead Mary Shelley in her life and in her writing. For example, when in the presence of her husband and Lord Byron, she settled down to listen without speaking. Doing so provided her with much information. More information than what she and other women were accustomed to receiving.

As a young married woman, Mary Shelley struggled to keep up conversation with her husband in academical and world interests. She admitted to keeping up on her personal studies, to better converse with him, as opposed to writing and publishing as both her parents did. She was a young woman split between her desires to please her husband and fulfill personal achievement.

How Modern Writers Can Relate to Mary Shelley




Choosing to engage in personal studies to converse with her husband on a daily basis proved her respect for Christian principals. For the Holy Bible says to cling to one another in marriage, to love and respect each other. Mary Shelley knew her husband needed intellectual stimulation. So she studied to provide him with such stimulation, improve her own mind, and maintain a happy, healthy relationship with him.

Unfortunately for the young writer, her husband also wanted to see her write. How could she keep up intellectually and write to became famous like her author parents at the same time? Like everyone today, she struggled to fulfill everyone’s wishes and her own desires with the limited time provided for her.



An even better relation on how modern writers can relate to Mary Shelley comes in the form about conforming to society norms. In the ten or fifteen years between Frankenstein prints, Mary Shelley revised a few spots so as to keep from upsetting the public readers. Today, predominantly most bestsellers conform to politically left-wing views and beliefs. Writers who write about opposing views must find different publishers.

Overall, Mary Shelley’s whole demeanor in her personal note seemed to portray a quiet, imaginative, and somewhat anxious young married woman who aimed to please everyone around her. Frankenstein resulted from conversation between her husband and Lord Byron on current developments during the period. Then her imagination took over, and the short novel resulted. Her aim had never been to change society or religion with her writing.

What Mary Shelley’s Character Betrays About Frankenstein




Both my husband and I read Frankenstein in high school as required reading. I remember enjoying the book, thinking it bespoke much about how the young woman thought about people. Remembering this makes me excited to read it again. Since my age has nearly doubled, what will I learn in this second reading of this young woman’s fine thoughts? I look forward to finding out.

Have you read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? What do you like most about the novel? What do you think Mary Shelley revealed about herself in her changes and her way of writing and living?