Black Hermione? White Hermione? Smart Hermione!

In July J.K. Rowlings highly anticipated play and sequel to her “Harry Potter” – saga “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” premiers in London and is already one of the most discussed theatre plays of all time. And why? Because Hermione Granger, so far portrayed by Emma Watson, will be portrayed this time by South African actress Noma Dunezweni.

A black Hermione? Can that be? According to J.K. Rowling it’s no problem, since Hermione is described in the book having brown eyes and bushy hair. No mentioning of white skin or black skin. However, since Emma Watson, who is fairly white, has been cast to play Hermione in the movies and J.K. Rowling, who was very involved in the casting (Harry Potter had to be British), didn’t object, one can assume that she imagined Hermione as white.

But now we have a black Hermione. Some fans are not happy with that choice and were called by J.K. Rowling racists. I am not sure, if that is fair. Maybe the same people would have been upset if a blond, blue-eyed Hermione would have been cast.

I understand that people create an imagine of a book character in their head and if a certain feature gets mentioned a lot in the book, like he had very green eyes, one can get disappointed if the real life version doesn’t look like that and maybe has brown eyes.

The characters in “Harry Potter” get described in details and the readers get a perfect idea of what they look like. I remember watching the first movie and being amazed that Snape, Dumbledore and McGonagall looked exactly how I imagined them. On the other hand Emma Watson was missing a distinctive feature of Hermione that plays an important part in the books and in her character. Her distinctive front teeth. I don’t remember anyone making a big deal out of that. Well, that was also in 2001 and before everybody had to comment everything on the Internet.

But what are the really important character traits? We all know that looks don’t define a character. At least not totally. If someone is described as sporty and has a fit body, you would take something away from that character, if you cast an overweight person.

So what defines Hermione Granger? She has bushy hair, brown eyes, distinctive front teeth, but above all she is smart. She is a bookworm. She is driven. She is a straight-A student. She is bad at Quidditch. She is a know-it-all. She is brave. She is kind. She is witty. That defines her and that is why she becomes a Gryffindor. The Sorting Hat doesn’t put people into the different houses according to their looks or skin colour. He sorts them according to their character.

So, yes, a black Hermione is not what we imagined, but I don’t care, if they cast a white, black or purple Hermione as long as she is still that intelligent, determined woman, who fights for the rights of House Elves.


My name is Bond. Jane Bond.

Since Daniel Craig seems to be done with playing the famous James Bond there has been rumours about who should be the next British agent. Maybe “Downton Abbey” – heartthrob Dan Stevens. Maybe “Homeland” – goodie – turned – baddie – turned – goodie Damien Lewis. Or maybe “Luther” – star Idris Elba. He seems to have the best chances according to the movie press. It’s time for the first black James Bond. That seemed to be the common perception.

But then another idea hit the medias. Maybe it’s time for a female Bond. “FBI-agent” Gillian Anderson and “Mother of Dragons” Emilia Clarke both showed interest in that part. If they were serious about it, is not sure though. Some people are however serious about that idea and think the world should be and is ready for a female Bond. Maybe the world is, but do we need a female Bond?

I grew up with watching a lot of James Bond. Sean Connery and Roger Moore were my favourites. Timothy Dalton was assumed as not that good-looking and failed. By now I think he did a decent job. I was a huge fan. James Bond was the hero, who could shoot all of the bad guys from any distant, while not getting hit once, who could drive and fly any vehicle he encountered and who dove through the ocean, took of his diving suit and looked dashing underneath in a smoking.

Back then I didn’t really notice it, but nowadays I am, of course, aware of the blatant sexism of the movies. No woman could refuse James Bonds charm and they all sooner or later ended up in his bed. Even Grace Jones, who was one of the few stronger female characters. Most of the women on the movies had no personal agendas and were just damsels in distress, who James Bond had to take at the hand while rescuing them. That is by the way something that annoys me very much, if that still happens in movies. Don’t you think women could run faster, if someone wouldn’t hold their hand? I sure could. On the other hand women most of the time have to wear high heels, so maybe they do need the extra support.

Anyways, since the 90ies the portrayal of women in Bond – movies got slightly better. They were allowed to be smart and even kick some ass. But still they couldn’t refuse James Bond. Well, I have to admit, I still like the movies. I enjoy the unrealistic action scenes, the insane plot lines and, yes, also James Bond charm.

And I have to say I wouldn’t enjoy a female Bond. I think it’s totally unnecessary to take this iconic character and turn him into an ass-kicking Amazon. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies about ass-kicking Amazons and there should be more of them. But turning James Bond into a woman doesn’t feel like it would be stand for feminism, it just sounds stupid.

We have already movies like “Kill Bill”, “Hanna” and “The Hunger Games” with strong female lead characters, which can also throw a punch. Scarlett Johansson plays in a lot of the “Marvel”-movies “Black Widow”, who keeps up even against all the male superheroes and has lately been joined by Elizabeth Olsen, who even has superpowers herself. And even “Wonder Woman” made a comeback now, even though her costume could have needed some updating for the Millennium.

I say it again. That is not enough yet for me. There should be more movies and characters like that. But I think, they should be original and get a name for themselves. We don’t need to give James Bond a sex change to make womankind feel better. We should create our own strong female characters and make them iconic.


Is a sad ending the better movie ending?

When I was 15 years old “Titanic” hit the theatres and I fell in love. First of all, of course with Leonardo DiCaprio (a crush I still have and always will have), but also with the whole movie. It was gigantic. The ship, the music, the sinking. Epic.

The first time I watched it, I started crying when the ship hits the iceberg and didn’t stop until the end. Now that was unusual for two reasons. First, at that point I hardly ever cried about movies. Mufasas dying scene in the “Lion King” made me shed a few tears and after watching “Schindlers List” I was a mess, but, hey, who wasn’t? Otherwise I was stone cold. Nothing moved me easily. That has changed by now, by the way.

Second, I knew what was coming. I mean the story of the sinking of the Titanic was no big surprise to me. I was aware that there would be no happy ending. Of course, I didn’t know Leo would die and as we all know, he didn’t have to. The door was big enough for both of them. But even with that mistake, I still believe the ending with Leo dying was better than if he would have survived.

We are used to seeing the happy end in Hollywood. The hero kills the bad guy. The heroine overcomes her problems. The couple lives happily ever after. Many movies have a happy end and that is all right. Nobody wants to see the hero killed, the heroine stuck with her problems and the couple divorcing, right?

But is that actually true? Some of the most memorable movie endings have a sad ending. Or at least not the perfect ending. But they are still or probably because of that unforgettable. We all remember Ilsa flying off in the plane leaving Rick behind in Casablanca. Or when Paul Newman and Robert Redford accept their fate in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. And who doesn’t rejoice when Rhett Butler snarls his “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” at Scarlett and disappears into the fog.

Of course, I’m not saying that every movie should have a sad ending. That would be frustrating and also wrong for certain movies. If you watch a romantic comedy you want to see Jennifer Aniston getting the guy. If you watch an action movie you want to see Bruce Willis saving the day. Those are the expected endings and they make you sleep comfortable at night.

But the sad endings stay with us. They keep us on our toes. They surprise us. They give us an uneasy feeling. They keep us up at night wondering if the characters would have done this or that differently, maybe we would have our happy end.

Surprisingly to me, that is not what the audience always wants. I don’t know how many of you have seen “The Butterfly Effect” with Ashton Kutcher. If you haven’t, you should. It’s a movie with a very interesting idea, great visual style and three endings. The sad ending that the director wanted failed with test audiences and got therefore replaced by a happy ending. On DVD you get to see the sad, the happy and the kind of happy ending and I prefer the sad one. It gives the movie so much more edge and it gives the character a way better story arch, because what he needs to do in the end is not easy and very tough on himself and the people he loves, but the whole movie has been leading up to that point and there is no other way.

Another example is “I am Legend” with Will Smith. Again, if you haven’t seen that movie, rent the DVD and watch all three possible endings and tell me which you prefer. I bet it’s the sad one, because again, it makes more sense and it gives the story more depth.

Life is not easy, the choices we make are not easy and sometimes we take the wrong choices without realizing it until it’s too late. And sad movie endings remind you of that, they teach you something and that is why I prefer them and think they are way better than the happy endings.

With that being said, I also know a lot of movies with happy endings, which I love exactly like that and I admit every time I watch Titanic again, I hope, they will figure out this time how to get together on that door.

When life comes in the way of your plans

I had a plan for today. I wanted to sort out my book collection, I wanted to hang up pictures with my husband, but before all that I wanted to go for a run. While I was putting on my lovely running socks, it suddenly happened. My back snapped. In German we have an expression for that. A witch shot. And that is just what it felt like, like an evil witch sneaked up behind me and shot me in the back.

All my plans for the day vanished. I won’t be able to sort and move around my books, I won’t be able to hang up pictures and I certainly won’t be able to got for a run. The only thing I am capable of doing is sitting in an upright position on the couch with a warming rice-bag behind me.

I hate when that happens. I have a plan for the day and then something unexpected happens and I am not able to do anything of what I planned. But I guess that is life. And we all have to deal with the unexpected. An accident, a misunderstanding or, in my case, an evil witch shooting at my back.

Luckily none of the things I planned for today are urgent. My books will survive lying disorganized around, the pictures can stay leaning against the wall instead of hanging from them and I can always go for a run tomorrow.

So, now I just have to figure out what to do with the day instead. I mean, instead of lying in an almost comfortable position and contemplating my life. I can still sit and use my computer. So, I am writing this post. I can still read one of my unorganized books. I can still use this day and accomplish something and be happy with this day. It doesn’t help to be miserable and let the whole day be ruined by one incident. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I am home

Warm sunshine

Gentle breeze

My body is calming down

Green trees

Blooming fields of yellow raps

My mind is relaxing

Singing birds

A cuckoo is calling

At night the frogs are giving a concert

I am home

What I’m also proud of

One of the writing tasks for the LYL Blog challenge was to write about what I’m proud of. I struggled with that piece for a while. I never did anything that I’m proud of. I never accomplished anything grand like getting a doctor title or running a marathon. I finally decided to write about the fact that I joined the blog challenge and started to write on a regular basis.

Since then I have given that some thought. Is there really nothing else I’m proud of? And finally I discovered something. The small things. There are small things I am proud of.

I’m doing sports for a few years now. I go to a fitness centre and I run on a regular basis. I’m not insanely fit and I won’t be able to join a marathon anytime soon, but compared to only five years ago I’m a lot fitter. I have less back problems and I don’t feel uncomfortable in a bikini yet. So, there is something to be proud of.

I also started a few weeks ago to eat one healthy meal per day. For lunch I always eat now fruits, vegetables or a salad. Now that is a big deal for me. I’m not a big fan of that. I prefer burgers and French fries and love to eat those for dinner. And for lunch I usually ate cornflakes or even just a bag of biscuits. Weeks could pass by without me even looking at an apple. So, me eating something healthy every day is something I’m proud of.

This year has also the fourth year in a row that I joined lent. I don’t eat any meat from the time after Carnival until Easter. I tried that out spontaneously in 2013 after we had a meat scandal in Germany involving horse meat, that was used instead of beef. That totally grossed me out. I also have other good reasons to reduce my meat consumption and I am proud that I manage to go without meat for a few weeks each year.

And then I’m still proud that I joined the LYL Blog challenge. And even prouder that I finished it.

How 90ies music influences my daily life

There are the days when it’s hard for me to get out of bed. Taking a shower feels like a huge challenge and I can forget about getting any work done. I’m just sitting at home brooding, trying to avoid my own thoughts by watching crappy TV. I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to meet anyone. Sometimes I stay in this mood for days and then suddenly I wake up one morning and I feel like going to sports, cleaning the house, writing people and arranging meetings.

I don’t know if I have a serious problem and should maybe go to a doctor, but since I always snapped out of those phases eventually I haven’t done that yet. Instead I tried to come up with things I can do to avoid those phases all together. Sport helps, having something to do every day helps, but you know what helps me the best? 90ies music!

I am a 90ies child. Give me some boy bands, Spice Girls or “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex and you see me on the dance floor. So, I created a Playlist called “Dancing”. How can you sit on the couch and be miserable when Michael Jackson sings “The Way You Make Me Feel”? Well, I can’t. How can you not want to do amazing things with your life and start them planning right now, when the beat of Bon Jovis “It’s My Life” is thumping through your veins. I know, it’s not a 90ies song, but I was also young during the early 2000s.

It doesn’t matter which music makes you want to shake your muscles, but the next time you feel miserable and like you can’t accomplish anything, just take 10 minutes to listen to your favourites songs and start moving.

My grandma, the fugitive

My grandma was born in 1927 and was 18 years old when Second World War finally came to an end. By then she experienced already a lot. Two years before she couldn’t finish her education to become a saleswoman, because her instructor was called in for duty. After that she was sent to Poland to dig ditches to stop the coming Russian tanks. Well, that didn’t stop them and in early 1945 my grandma and her mother were allowed to leave their hometown Stettin (now Szczecin). On their run by food, boat and train they got shot at several times by Russian airplanes. After three days they finally made it to a little town in the north of Germany, where they witnessed the end of the war.

My grandma never talked much about those times. In fact, she only told me one time the whole story. But what she talked about more than once was her time as a fugitive. My grandma and her mother weren’t the only fugitives at that time. In fact around 12 million Germans had to leave their homes and could never turn back. All those people had to live somewhere, so people in the west, north and south of Germany were told to take them into their homes. Since food and other supplies were scarce at that point, people did that reluctantly. My grandma and her mother were taken in by a woman, who made life for them very hard. They had to ask for permission for everything. If they wanted to use a pot, if they wanted to make some tea.

One year they had to live like that, then my grandma found a job and she and her mother were allowed to move in a refugee barrack, where they shared a room and a bed together. My 19-year-old grandma was happy about that. Just as a comparison, when I was 19 years, I had, of course, my own room and bed, I was about to finish school, I had my own car and I partied every weekend. But her time as a fugitive was so frustrating for my grandma that even over 60 years after that, she still complained about it. They were just the annoying, unwelcomed fugitives.

Last year Germany has taken in around 1 million fugitives from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and many different countries in Africa. They fled from war, hunger, injustice and terror. They took boats over the Middle Sea, risking their lives. They came all the way from Turkey and Greece to Germany, partly by foot. And when they finally arrived in Germany, they are not welcomed. At least not by some.

Some people in Germany think that they only come because they want the “good” life for free. Accommodation, food, new clothes, a TV. At the same time they worry the fugitives will take away their jobs. That alone is a contradiction, but then add that the industry in Germany has actually around 500 thousand job openings. People also worry, that those fugitives are secretly terrorists about to blow themselves up anytime. This is a contradiction again, since those people are leaving their countries, because of terror.

Of course, I understand and share some of the worries that people have. How do we integrate so many people? How do we avoid more fugitives from coming? But I’m also reminded of my grandma. Back then she was forced to flee, as are those people now. They didn’t make this decision light-heartedly. If they could, they would stay in their own countries, where they understand the language and customs. I don’t believe they enjoy living on Germanys welfare, having to ask for every doctor appointment or travel permission. They don’t like to be the annoying, unwelcomed fugitives.

It doesn’t have to be perfect

I always had a problem with starting to work on new projects. I pushed them away. Next week. Tomorrow. Until I suddenly had only a few days left. Then I finally felt the pressure and started to work night and day just finishing shortly before the deadline and not really happy with the result.

One problem is definitely laziness. It’s so much nicer and easier to sit on the couch watching TV than figuring out a plan to get a complicated work task done. Especially if it’s something new.

The other problem for me is that I always thought when I finally start to work I have to have the perfect plan and then I work a few hours and finish the project with a perfect result, which I will always be happy with. Even years later I will look back on that project thinking “Perfect”. Well, that is not possible, right?

First of all I will always look back on past projects thinking this or that I should have done differently. And that is normal. I learned more over the time. For example years back I edited some holiday movies for my sister. When I look at them now I cringe. It’s not edited to the music, the pacing is too slow or too short. I could do this so much better now. And that is a good thing. It means I learned something. But guess what, I only learned something because I did edit so much over the years. If back then I would have said, I wait with editing this movie until it’s perfect, it would still not be done and I would never have improved.

And then if I start on the last second to work on a new project, I don’t give myself enough time to make it better. I realised that once again now with a picture book I made for my dads birthday. It’s not just a picture book, it is also a chronic about our farm and how it developed into a holiday paradise. When I started I was overwhelmed. I had to write a text, I had to find pictures, I had to choose which pictures to use. Where to begin. Well, I just began and luckily I gave myself a few weeks this time, because I changed so much over the time. Changing pictures, adding new parts. Two days ago I finally had to stop and order, otherwise it wouldn’t be ready for my dads birthday. And you know what happened a while after I ordered? I thought about some more changes.

It’s a lesson I take now into this new project. My blog. I just started and I still have no idea where this will go. The topics are still changing. I don’t use any pictures yet. My homepage looks boring. I’m not really happy with it yet. Right now I’m just trying to write twice a week. Over the time it will hopefully develop. But one thing I’m pretty sure about, it will never be perfect. And I guess that is ok.

Is my world changing

I remember September 11th. I sat in chock in front of the TV, trying to grasp what my eyes just saw.
Terror had until then nothing to do with my world. Even though I read more than once about attacks on buses in Israel. But that was far away from my world. It was nothing I had to fear.
New York was of course far away from me too. I lived in the north of Germany back than. But still it felt closer. The attacks were not just attacks on the US, but on the whole western world.
In the aftermath I thought the world would change. That this was just the beginning. That there will be more attacks. But there weren’t and the world didn’t change, at least not much and not for me.
It got more complicated to travel to the USA. Later we weren’t allowed to bring water on planes and we had to take our shoes off at security. But that didn’t stop me from flying. Not even to New York the following April.
Two wars erupted from those attacks. Changing the world for many people, for better or for worse. But my world stayed the same. I finished school and I started travelling.
But then Madrid happened and then London. I lived in Berlin at that point and suddenly I worried when I took the S- and U-Bahn. What if someone would blow up this train, while I’m sitting there. Those thoughts came to me, but not often, not every time. And it didn’t stop me from travelling with S- and U-Bahn. I still had to get around.
I also took the metro and trains in Copenhagen, when I moved there. Even though Denmark, home of the Mohammed-caricatures was more than once under threat of terrorism. Whenever I was standing in a filled metro during rush hour, I couldn’t help but thinking, that now it would be a good opportunity for terrorist to blow up this train. But I pushed those thoughts aside. And I stayed in the train.
And then last year happened. Two attacks in Paris in one year. The last one I witnessed life on TV, while watching the friendship game between France and Germany. The German sports reporter, overwhelmed by the change of the evening, were trying to keep us informed. One of the topics that got mentioned was the upcoming Europe Cup in France and the security issue. My reaction on that very same evening, while people died, was to check how to get tickets for this sports event. Fuck the terror, right?
But lately I don’t feel like ignoring the changes in „my“ world anymore. I always wanted to travel to Egypt and see the pyramids. But after the Russian plane exploded, I thought, maybe one day, but not now. I always wanted to travel to Istanbul and see the Hagia Sophia, but after 11 German tourists died there in an explosion, I thought, maybe one day, but not now.
I don’t have to travel with the metro anymore to get around, at least not often. But right now I would try not to travel during rush hour. And the Europe Cup? I think I will watch it at home in front of the TV. It’s just small things so far, but I can’t help feeling, that my world is changing.