Classic Spotlight: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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“Hamlet is a play of contagious, almost universal selfestrangement.”

– Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory

Obviously, this week’s Classic Spotlight is all about Hamlet. It’s basically impossible not to have heard of this play, and I guess even people who haven’t read it know at least the most basic plot or premise. What made Hamlet this well-known? Well, there can never be a definite answer to this question, but one of the reasons is definitely the fact that Hamlet is open to numerous interpretations.

One perspective I’ve always found interesting is the fact that we are given the story from Hamlet’s point of view. We as readers trust him. We are not supposed to doubt the version of the story that we are given. And yet, imagination can lead us anywhere. What if Hamlet truly is mad?

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Hamlet has problems with his own identity after the death of his father. He projects all of the virtues he appreciates in people onto his father and it seems that he takes pleasure in being the only one who still appreciates him. The father becomes the ideal he aspires to, and his memory transforms into an idealised image. Therefore, the father becomes a part of Hamlet, the man Hamlet wants to be. Hamlet’s ideal self, represented by the ghost, may be awakened by the urge to keep everything in place, but it also awakens Halmet’s doubts about himself.

It is also interesting that, though he is not the only one who sees the ghost, Hamlet is the only one who hears him speak, and what the ghost says and wants Hamlet to do is what Hamlet wants to hear. In short – Claudius is the villain, but spare your mother (whom Hamlet loves dearly).

And while King Hamlet (who interestingly shares the name with his son) is the embodiment of eveything Hamlet wants to be, Claudius becomes all that he hates. He is weak, while King Hamlet is a warrior, he is treacherous, while King Hamlet is honourable. And, maybe, Claudius represents some traits that Hamlet sees in himself, but doesn’t like. Hamlet is not strong-minded. His inability to act is what drives the plot forward. It could also be argued that he is not that brave. That’s why this quote is particularly interesting:

“…my uncle,/ My father’s brother, but no more like my father/ Than I to Hercules“ (1.2.152-153).

Does this equation suggest that father is like Hercules, and Claudius is like Hamlet? Well, it’s certainly interesting to guess.

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Twittering Tales: The Magic Apple

Twittering Tales challenge is hosted by Kat Myrman. The goal is to write a twitter-length story, in 140 characters or less, based on the prompt image. You can see the challenge HERE.

I haven’t done this challenge in a while, but I hope I’ll do it regularly from now on. 🙂 Here’s my tale:

The Magic Apple

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“It’s a magic apple,” gradfather said.
“Magic isn’t real,” I gumbled.
“Just try it,” he smiled.
And magically, my sadness disappeared.

(131 characters)

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Fancasts

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


Discuss your preferred fancasts for some of your favorite characters. (Fancasts means actors you’d like to play your favorite characters or imagine your favorite characters as.) 

I mentioned it a few times before, I don’t really like the idea of books being turned into movies. But, I admit, it’s fun to think about who might be the perfect actor/ress to play some of your favourite characters. I’ll start with my ideas for the upcoming Vampire Chronicles series, and then go to some random ones.

1. The Vampire Chronicles:

a) Jared Leto as Lestat

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Maybe this would be a perfect match some ten years ago, but Jared Leto looks so much younger than he actually is, so I think it would work. His expressive blue eyes would be perfect for Lestat, and he looks great with every hair colour (he was blonde before anyway.) He’s a perfect combination of sweet-looking and crazy, and that exactly what we need for Lestat.

b) Luke Arnold as Louis

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He already has curly brown hair. And he proved he was a great actor in Black Sails. I definitely want to see more of him, and I think the role of Louis would fit him well. Though, I think he would be a great Nicholas, too.

c) Jessica Parker Kennedy as Akasha

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Another person from the Black Sails cast (what can I say, I’m a bit obsessed). While Aaliyah was perfect as Akasha in Queen of the Damned, and it will be hard to step into her shoes, it think Jessica Parker Kennedy can do it!

2. Natalie Dormer as Poison Ivy

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It’s high time Poison Ivy gets her time to shine (I’m not counting the Batman and Robin movie because it was horrible, and I hate what they’re doing to Ivy in Gotham.) Natalie Dormer would be perfect for this! I’m sure she would rock red hair, and she has those eyes that kill. I would watch her in any superhero or supervillain role, to be honest, but since Poison Ivy is my favourite I really want her for this role.

3. Hugh Laurie as J. Jonah Jameson

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Tom Holland was a great Spider-man! Now, Spidey will grow up eventually, and we’ll need J. Jonah Jameson to step into the story. 😛 This isn’t actually my idea, I saw it on the internet somewhere, but I loved it! Hugh Laurie would be great for this role.

4. Dan Stevens as Crake (Tales of the Ketty Jay)

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This series is so much fun, and it would make a great tv show, or movie series. I’m not sure I want it to be turned into that format, but it would work. And while I’m not sure who would be a perfect Darian Frey, I’m absolutely certain Dan Stevens would be the right choice for Crake. Crake is the only aristocrat on the crew, but he is also a “mad scientist” with a troubled past kind of character, which makes him (almost) a combination od Dan Stevens’ character in Downton Abbey and David from Legion. 😉

5. Shades of Magic

a) Eddie Redmayne as Kell Maresh

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Yes, Eddie Redmayne is older than Kell is supposed to be, but I’m old, too, so I don’t care. XD He’s a great actor and I can really see him as Kell.

b) Jade Hassouné as Rhy Maresh

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I’ve only heard of Jade Hassouné because I’ve seen several people mention him as a their choice for Aladdin, but he immediately came to mind while I was doing this list. He is how I imagine Rhy to look like.

So, what are some of your fancasts? Do share! 😉

Totally Should’ve Book Tag

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Hello, people! I was tagged to do this fun tag by the lovely Anna @MyBookishDream – thank you so much! Here are my answers:

1. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Sequel

I don’t think I have an answer for this one… I prefer stand-alone books, so I don’t think any of the books I like would’ve benefited from a sequel. Maaaybe it would be nice to have another book by Ellen Evert Hopman in her trilogy about the Celts. Each book has it’s own story, especially the last one, so it wouldn’t ruin anything, and I would like to read more about that period in history.

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2. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Spin-Off Series

I’ll have to agree with Anna on this one, some Harry Potter spin-offs would be great! The Founders Era sounds particularly interesting. But, not to repeat the same answer, I would love to read a spin-off about Natalie Oscott from The Memoris of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. I loved her, and I think her story would be very interesting since she’s a female inventor in a Victorian-like world.

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3. An Author Who Should Write More Books

Honesty, most of my favourite authors are dead. XD I’ll have to go with Elen Evert Hopman again. She did write quite a lot of non-fiction, but I’d really like to read more fiction from her. Her books are mostly historical fiction, but they feel so magical.

4. A Character Who Totally Should’ve Ended Up With Someone Else

These questions are obviously very hard for me. XD I’m not a big “shipper” so I don’t really know… I don’t really have a couple I hate.

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I don’t really like books being turned into movies… Oh, my, I sound like a real hater in in this post! XD But, yeah, I prefer books to stay books, and movies to come up with original plots. If I had to pick, I’d definitely say The Vampire Chronicles. Yes, it’s been done before, but I’m ready for a new one. Apparently, a tv show is in the making and I really hope it will be great.

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6. Totally Should’ve Kept The Original Covers

I literally have no answer for this one… Soooo, can I turn it around? The old cover I saw for The Daughter of the Forest was pretty, but the new one blew me away with its simplicitly. I think it’s prettier that the original one. Unfortunatelly, I think the other two books in the series haven’t been published with new covers yet…

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7. Totally Should’ve Stopped At Book One

I think The Vampire Chonicles should’ve stopped after book three. Maybe the books about Armand and Marius could stay, as spin-offs, but I think the first three were perfect and the rest was just too much. Tale of the Body Thief wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t like Memnoch the Devil at all. I’ve recently read Prince Lestat, and I enjoyed it at first, and was happy to meet the characters again, but in the end I though it was meh

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And, that’s it! I won’t be tagging anyone this time, but I hope some of you will do this tag! 😉

Classic Spotlight: Preface to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

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Hello, bloggers and other visitors! I recently noticed a hashtag on Instagram called Classics Thursday, and it gave me the idea to start a similar “meme” here on the blog. I’ve seen it on @katha_logisch and I’m not sure who the actual creator is, but I hope they don’t mind my idea of writing posts to accompany the Instagram photo. I’ve actually been thinking about making my blog and my Instagram more connected, so this is one way to do that, too. Anyway, the plan is to write a post about a classic on Thursdays (probably not every Thursday, but as often as I can manage).

My first Classic Spotlight post will be about one of my favourite classics, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. Well, actually, it won’t be about the book, but the author’s Preface, which is a very important piece of feminist writing. In the preface, Anne Brontë responds to those who found her book too scandalous (and, sadly, her sister Charlotte was one of them). Some found it especially concerning that the author of such a book is female.

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In the novel, Brontë writes about alcoholism, and the suffering of a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. The  main character, Helen Huntington, leaves her husband to protect her son from his father’s influence, aware of the gossip and scandal her decision might cause.

What’s interesting to me is that Helen never actually divorces her husband – she even comes back to take care of him as he is dying. She is also extremely pious. Nothing Helen does is truly scandalous. Today, no one would find the novel too graphic either. And yet, that was how it was perceived. This opens some questions about censorhip and the many books that get banned even today for similar reasons.

This is what Anne Brontë writes in defence of her novel:

“…when we have to do with vice and vicious characters, I maintain it is better to depict them as they really are than as they would wish to appear. To represent a bad thing in its least offensive light is, doubtless, the most agreeable course for a writer of fiction to pursue; but is it the most honest, or the safest? Is it better to reveal the snares and pitfalls of life to the young and thoughtless traveller, or to cover them with branches and flowers? Oh, reader! if there were less of this delicate concealment of facts – this whispering, ‘Peace, peace,’ when their is no peace, there would be less of sin and misery to the young of both sexes who are left to wring their bitter knowledge from experience.”

I have to agree with Anne Brontë completely. Life can be gruesome and horrible, and literature should be allowed to present it as it is. I know some people are sensitive to graphic imagery, and that is fine, they should be warned about it so that they can avoid the books which disturb them. However, this doesn’t mean that such books should be banned. Literature, and art in general, has the right to question and to provoke. Anne Brontë’s words are a voice against censorship. She also writes about equility, and says:

All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.

Quite opiniated and maybe not as meek as she was usually protrayed to be, eh? You can read the entire preface by Anne Brontë HERE, it is great, and short.


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Currently Reading: Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

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Company of Liars is, for now, exactly what I wanted it to be. Yes, I haven’t gotten far enough into it to give final judgement, but what I can say is that it portrays the Middle Ages very well. I just finished Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England so I’ve brushed up on my knowledge of the Medieval Period. I’ve always been fascinated by this era, and if you are, too, than I highly recommend Ian Mortimer’s book. It’s about how people actually lived during the fourteenth century, which is something that has always interested me.

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Now, back to Company of Liars. A lot of things mentioned in The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England come to life in this novel. It takes place in England, in 1348, at that start of one of the plague outbreaks. Similar to some famous medieval works, such as The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron, it follows a group of people who try to escape the disease. And while the book is quite realistic and historically accurate (at least it seems so to me, but I’m just an enthusiast, not an expert), it also has elements of fantasy and the supernatural. This works really well because belief in the supernatural was very strong during the Middle Ages. And it makes the novel feel eerie, which I really like.

Hope may be an illusion, but it’s what keeps you from jumping in a river or swallowing hemlock. Hope is a beautiful lie and it requires talent to create it for others. And back then on that day when they say it all began, I truly believed that the creation of hope was the greatest of all the arts, the noblest of all the lies. I was wrong.

This quote I chose to share with you is from the very beginning of the novel. The man who says it sells relics which he knows are fake, but still, he believes they provide hope and comfort for people who buy them. I think it’s a very interesting thought. Is false hope completely bad, or can it do some good? I’m quite a sceptic, so false hope rarely works for me, but it might help some people in a way that it gives them power to move on and maybe even find a solution to their problems.

What do you think? Feel free to chat with me. Also, have you read this book? What did you think of it?


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In First Person: My Favourite Films

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In First Person is a monthly meme here on Books and Hot Tea. Every first of the month I talk about a topic that is not related to books. Feel free to leave comments and chat with me!


Is this possible?! I actually posted In First Person post on time!

Well, happy September, people! Autumn is coming and that makes me really happy. 🙂 But, now, I’ll talk about something completely unrelated to that.

If you remember, in last month’s In First Person, I talked about films I like to watch when I just want to relax and have some fun. As much as I like the films on that list, those are not necessarily my favourites. But the films I really love are not always suitable for a cosy evening, as they can be quite disturbing. You’ll soon see why.

Before I start, I also want to stress that I’m not a big film lover. Everyone loves films, at least a little bit, but I’m not a big “movie junkie” and there are many classic films that I haven’t seen (yet). And the same is true for tv shows. I just don’t watch as many as other people seem to, and I get bored if there are too many seasons of a show. Reading one book takes a lot more time than watching one film, and since reading is my preferred free time activity, I just try to find time for it, which means something’s got to go. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate film as an art form. And I think these films truly are art:

Pan’s Labyrinth (original title: El laberinto del fauno)

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IMDB description: In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director & Writer: Guillermo del Toro

There are many layers to this film. Pan’s Labyrinth is a blend of dark fantasy, drama, and historical genre. It’s magical and creepy, but also very realistic and sincere. It’s very powerful and it disturbs me every time I watch it. And it looks beautiful!

Black Swan

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IMDB description: A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Another beautiful but disturbing film on the list. I’ve heard complaints about it not representing the lives of ballet dancers realistically, but I don’t think that was the point of the film. It is about ballet, of course, but more than that it is about a person who struggles with her own ambitions, jealousy, and expectations. It’s more psychological than anything else, and I think it was done great.

Mr Nobody

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IMDB description: A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible.

Director & Writer: Jaco Van Dormael

This film is about much more than you might guess form the description. It’s surreal at times, but everything makes sense in the end, which is not always the case with similar films. It’s a bit hard to explain without ruining it, so I won’t say much more.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignnorance)

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IMDB description: A washed-up actor, who once played a famous superhero, attempts to revive his career by writing and starring in a Broadway play.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (he’s also one of the writers)

Birdman is a thought-provoking film which deals with the schism between Broadway and Hollywood, without taking sides, or promoting just one view. Every character is well-developed and interesting, with many flaws, but also some virtues. It is about art, and what art really is, but at the same time it portrays the lives of actors and people around them in a realistic way. The acting is great, and the choice of Michael Keaton for the main role was perfect and even metatextual in a certain way. (What’s even more interesting is that he recently played another “birdman” – Vulture – in Spider-man: Homecoming :P)

I’ll end the list here, even though there are more great films out there, because there four really stan out to me. Apparently, I love films which are strange, but not completely, if you even understand what I’m trying to say. XD

What kind of films do you like? What are your favourites? And do you have any recommendations for me? 🙂