Tor.com content by

Emily Asher-Perrin

Raised By Apes and Wolves: Fiction’s Top 11 Feral Children

Everyone knows that you’ve got a great fictional destiny if you were raised by animals or in the wild. It’s a one-two mythic punch, like the right foundation for a cathedral or the New York water in good pizza dough (it’s scientifically proven, folks). But who are our favorite feral children? Let’s look at ten of the best, from the classics right up through some unforgettable pop culture offerings.

[Read more]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 21 and 22

The Harry Potter Reread would quit caffeine, but it’s no quitter. So it won’t quit caffeine. Which means that everyone should probably look out.

This week we’re going to have a super un-fun vision, and then we’re going to visit some people in the hospital. Yeah, tons of laughs. It’s chapters 21 and 22 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Eye of the Snake and St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under theirappropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: “The Black Tower”

The penultimate chapter of the BBC’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is perhaps their most thrilling offer yet. That can hardly be surprising when it features a tincture of madness, a tower of darkness, and mentions of Lord Byron. That’s right, Jonathan Strange is in Venice—and this is the city where everything seems to come clear at last.

(Spoilers through to the end of the book, beyond what occurs in this episode.)

[Read more]

Inside Out Gives Viewers A New Vocabulary for Handling Emotions

Inside Out is already being hailed as Pixar’s best film in years, and it’s easy to understand why; the idea of delving into someone’s head and parsing out their emotions is a beautiful concept for a film meant to enchant and engage both children and adults. But while viewers were likely ready for something sophisticated—as Pixar’s pedigree comes with a great deal of expectation these days—they might not have been expecting a film that essentially functions as therapy for everyone lucky enough to see it.

(Spoilers for the film below.)

[Read more]

The Lion King Was the Most Unlikely Success Story You Will Ever Hear

You can often separate your generations out by Disney movies, though it seems a strange thing to do. And one of the movies that was absolutely key for mine happened to be The Lion King.

But here’s the kicker—The Lion King wasn’t intended as a golden egg-laying goose. In fact, it was the unloved cousin that Disney wanted swept under the rug from the outset. It was expected to fail. Here are a few tales, a few behind-the-scenes gems that make it clear why this oddball project that was based on no fairy tale whatsoever became something of a classic.

[Read more]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 19 and 20

The Harry Potter Reread would just like to say that dinosaurs are great, but dragons are greatest, even if they do share certain similarities. The reread is glad we can all agree on this. (Even if we don’t.)

We’re going to witness the great hat for a Quidditch match ever and finally reunite with a dear friend. It’s chapters 19 and 20 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Lion and the Serpent, and Hagrid’s Tale.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 17 and 18

The Harry Potter Reread has always wondered why cruise ships are so appealing to people when you can get the stuff on them pretty much anywhere else with the added benefit of being able to go other places beside the ship. Also why do cruise ships have pools on them. Many pools. It just seems so redundant.

Today we’re going to have trouble with the stairs to the girl’s dormitory and start taking so snazzy defense lessons. It’s chapters 17 and 18 of The Order of the Phoenix—Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four and Dumbledore’s Army.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: “All the Mirrors of the World”

Being the middle point of the entire series, the fourth episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell concerns itself with bigger emotions the the previous entries. It contains affections and discoveries and a parting of ways that stings terribly.

(Spoilers for the book version of JS&MN, for events that occur outside this episode.)

[I’m writing a review of it.]

Why Doesn’t Anyone Like The Lost World: Jurassic Park?

I maintain that if The Lost World was not automatically pitted against Jurassic Park by virtue of being its sequel, people probably would have gotten a kick out of it.

That doesn’t change the fact that the movie couldn’t beat its predecessor without blindfolding it, hogtying it, and sending it into the raptor cage first, but come on—there’s nothing wrong with letting Dr. Ian Malcolm carry a film with a baby T-Rex in it. So why all the hostility?

[Probably has to do with that “dino eats the family dog” thing, right?]

What Makes Jurassic Park Such a Damn Good Movie?

Jurassic Park is special. And that’s a weird thing to get into because we don’t normally give high marks to popcorn films on principle. It’s seems unfair when they’re designed to engage us in a primal place, our most base emotions, to make us gasp and shriek and laugh in a darkened theater of strangers.

So the most obvious question becomes: what makes Jurassic Park special? Why this monster movie above so many others? (The answer is not simply “dinosaurs!” for everyone itching to say so. There have been many bad dinosaur movies. So many.)

[You will have, uh, dinosaurs? On your dinosaur tour, right? Hello?]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 15 and 16

The Harry Potter Reread will now recite it’s very own haiku:

Magic is the best!
Harry thinks so too, you know
So were the 90s

(One of those lines is a lie.)

We’re back to watch the government take over a school and form a resistance. It’s chapters 15 and 16 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Hogwarts High Inquisitor and In The Hog’s Head.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: “The Education of a Magician”

This week’s episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is concerned with the appropriate use of magic, the affects of war, and importance of silence and speaking amongst many other things.

(There are spoilers for the novel in this review, for the record, even past the point where the episode ends. So if you haven’t read the book, this might not be for you?) [Read more]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 13 and 14

The Harry Potter Reread was told that this coffee was lightly sweeten with brown-sugar syrup, and is perplexed to find that this coffee is not sweet at all. Mutiny. On the upside, this coffee is still pretty delicious.

Today we’re going to watch our fifteen-year-old hero suffer through torture and have an unfortunately tense conversation with a fugitive animagus. It’s chapters 13 and 14 of The Order of the Phoenix—Detention With Dolores and Percy and Padfoot.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 11 and 12

The Harry Potter Reread really thinks we should make synchronized swimming a thing again. It’s just so pretty. And it expands the amount of fun you can have a pool, which is always a win, right?

We’re back at Hogwarts and we’re about to get a closer look at the new DADA teacher! (oh no.) It’s chapters 11 and 12 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Sorting Hat’s New Song and Professor Umbridge.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

30 Years Later, Real Genius is Still the Geek Solidarity Film That Nerd Culture Deserves

It’s interesting to me that Revenge of the Nerds, while still full up of the nostalgia that the 80s lends us, is lately being repositioned in the zeitgeist. What was viewed for many years as a bit of harmless fun that waved the banner for nerds everywhere is finally being called out for exactly what it is; an Us vs Them revenge fest that never lets go of racism or misogyny, and damages the image of geek culture more than it applauds for it. That shouldn’t be surprising—RotN was always just a frat house comedy with a thin nerdy gloss applied to it. And that’s fine with me, because that was never my go-to movie for feeling the geeky solidarity.

No, my friends. That movie was Real Genius.

[“Your mother puts license plates in your underwear? How do you sit?”]

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: “The Friends of English Magic”

The BBC has adapted Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell into a seven-part series, bringing magic back to England and giving a renowned book a live adaptation. Pilot episodes are often rough things, but when you only have seven tries to get your world across it’s important to make a great impression.

Unfortunately, this premiere offering is too crammed with information to be coherent, and perhaps too timid as well.

[I am a practical magician.]

The Dursleys Were Mean to Harry Because They’re Terrible, Not Because He Was a Horcrux

So there’s this fun little theory that seems to have started on Reddit and moved into the popular theory sphere. It concerns Harry Potter’s status as a Horcrux, and how it might have affected his extended family the Dursleys, leading to their mistreatment of him throughout childhood.

And it doesn’t hold water.

[Yer a Horcrux, Harry.]