Why I Love Kingdom Hearts

A little different from my usual content, but I promise I have a literary post planned for next week. I decided to make this post, since the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming out tomorrow (Well where I live, it is). I have mentioned my love for Kingdom Hearts before in a previous post called Things that make me happy. But I didn’t go into the reasons why I adore this series. I have been playing these games for years and I still consider it my favourite game series. Here I’ll list the reasons why I love Kingdom Hearts and if any of this compels you to give Kingdom Hearts a go, I highly recommend it.

 

The Characters 

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I am not going to count any of the Disney characters in this, as Disney have amazing, well-rounded characters. For now, Im sticking to the new characters Square Enix created for the series. In the first game, the list of Kingdom Hearts characters was slim picking as Square wanted to put more emphasis on their Disney and Final Fantasy characters. However, as the series has grown, more characters have been added into the mix. So many of these characters have strong storylines from start to finish, from Riku’s path to darkness to his redemption and the tragedy of Roxas. However, my favourite character in the series has to be Sora, the protagonist.

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Sora is the most optimistic character I have ever come across. Even through the face of danger and hopelessness, he always keeps his smile. Even one of the characters said that “He is far too nice for his own good.” He fights for the safety of his friends and connects with everyone he meets. He can be naïve at times, but thats part of his charm. He is so optimistic to a fault. But alas, he cant stay like that forever and I am not ready for that. Each character brings something to each instalment and my hopes are that Kingdom Hearts 3 will tie up loose ends with every character. They all deserve happy endings.

 

The Story 

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The Kingdom Hearts plot is one of the most convoluted plots in a video game series. Any Kingdom Hearts fan knows the struggle of attempting to tell a friend about the series. But besides all that, I love the plot of Kingdom Hearts. Each instalment brings its own addition to the bigger picture. It can get confusing when you try to think of the different timelines and how everything connects, but I love the built up lore that Nomura has created for these games. My favourite plot in the series is Kingdom Hearts 2. There is so much tragedy, humour and mystery within that instalment. It’s the best game in the series (in my opinion).

 

The Music

If you dont like the game series, thats fine. But if you dont cry to this piece of music, you are heartless (*wink* see what I did there, KH fans *wink*. I’m so sorry). The music in the series is arranged beautifully, and every rendition compliments to whatever happens into the series. I feel the games wouldn’t be as good as they are, without the OSTs they have. For example, my favourite piece of music from Kingdom Hearts is “The Other Promise.”

The reason I love this piece is because it evolves the character theme of Roxas. Throughout the series, Roxas had the most tragic story arc and this piece shows it. This plays the moment Roxas has a stand off with his other self, Sora. Kingdom Hearts 2 plot builds up to this moment of conflict between the two, and as the player, you can feel the sadness within that moment of contact through this score. There are other amazing pieces of music from the games, such as character themes, Simple and Clean, Sanctuary, Dive to the Heart, Missing You etc.

 

The Disney connection

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For nostalgia reasons, I love the inclusion of Disney characters. Its fun when you play as Sora and befriend your childhood heroes. Its interesting, fun and it gives all the feels. Also, each character has their own battle style and in Kingdom Hearts 2, each Disney partner has a joined battle stance with Sora, such as Sora has a battle stance with Jack Skellington called “Dance Call.”

Each party member has a particular battle stance. It makes the gameplay enjoyable and gives variety to the different Disney characters in the games.

 

Overall,  Kingdom Hearts is an enjoyable ride for anyone. If you love an interesting story (even though its a little convoluted), Disney characters, fun battles and exciting characters, try Kingdom Hearts. You wont regret. Youll be grinning from ear to ear, while playing it. I’m recently playing Kingdom Hearts 2 and years on, I still adore it. I felt the same way I did, when I first played it back in 2005. I cried, I laughed and I’m ready for Kingdom Hearts 3. Along with the rest of the Kingdom Hearts community, I cant wait to have Kingdom Hearts 3 in my hands. Its been years in the making and the time has finally come. Hope you enjoyed this post. I know its much shorter, but I wanted this out before tomorrow as Ill be getting Kingdom Hearts 3 then. To talk about the series as a whole, its really difficult. I wanted to talk about Kingdom Hearts 2, as its my favourite game in the series. But I felt I should talk about the whole series. But I might make a dedicated post for Kingdom Hearts 2 at a later date. It’ll be more extensive than this post. But for now, hope you enjoyed and Ill talk to you in the next post x

 

 

 

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My Top 10 Favourite Films

Along with my love for books and writing, I love film. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a film director. That dream is gone, but I still have a love for films. For this post, I shall talk about my top ten favourite movies. This is in no particular order and some of these choices are part of a series (I couldn’t chose what was my favourite from those series, so I just put down the series as a whole). So here are my top 10 favourite movies:

Inception

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For those of you who dont know what Inception is, the basic plot of the movie, is: A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. 

I saw this film when it first came out in cinema in 2010, and it blew my mind. The concept of dream-sharing technology was fascinating and to see it come to life on screen, was spectacular. The visual effects and the binding of realities in the dreams were beautiful to look at. Christopher Nolan shot this movie remarkably well, and it is my favourite of all his movies. The acting was amazing. DiCaprio was brilliant, but my favourite part of the movie were the interactions between Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy in the film. Tom Hardy wasn’t known before Inception, but his presence lit up the screen. A brilliant scene-stealer. Exceptional film. Would highly recommend it.

Clouds of Sils Maria

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I may have mentioned this film in a previous post. Clouds of Sils Maria is about, a film star comes face-to-face with an uncomfortable reflection of herself while starring in a revival of the play that launched her career. 

This film is more slower-paced than Inception, but remains remarkable. The only reason I watched this film in the first place, was for Kristen Stewart. The films slow-paced narrative, made me hate it at first. But the acting and the inner conflict of the story kept me there. The interactions between Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, kept me engaged and I fell in love with their conflict. The conflict between different imaginative minds brings me back to the many conversations I had with fellow writers. Delving into the meaning of texts, and arguing different interpretations, it was refreshing to see. Kristen Stewart was phenomenal in her role as Juliette Binoche’s personal assistant, and she won the French version of an Oscar, the César award for Best Supporting Actress. If you’re into slower-paced and artsy films, check out Clouds of Sils Maria.

Harry Potter series
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As it probably was for many of you, the Harry Potter films were my childhood. I saw every film in the cinema when it came out. I bought all of the books, films and even owned a Harry Potter wand. I’m still in love with this series as a whole. The creation of the magical world onto the screen, was brilliant to see every year. Moreover, to grow up with the trio from when they were 11 to 18, was very nostalgic, and heart-warming. I love all of the films equally and I couldn’t just chose one film as my all time favourite. But my top favourite Harry Potter films would be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part 1.

 

A Silent Voice (Koe no katachi)

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This film is one of the darker films on my list, but it is a very important film. A Silent Voice is about, a young man who is ostracized by his classmates after he bullies a deaf girl to the point where she moves away. Years later, he sets off on a path for redemption.

The main plot of A Silent Voice, relates to a guy bullying a deaf girl. I have watched many movies about bullying such as A Girl Like Her, and Cyberbully: 

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But none of these films portrayed bullying well on screen. They either have the stereotypical pretty blond girl being the bully or a dump, innocent victim. In A Silent Voice, it portrays the dark elements of bullying, such as the effects it can have on victims and abusers. I never have sympathy for bullies, but A Silent Voice puts you in the shoes of a person, who tormented an innocent person and attempts to make things right. This film portrays bullying honestly, in a way that shows the many sides of these tragic events. Everyone plays a part in some shape of form to these horrific events, but no one speaks up. I’m going to make a blog post about this film, as there is so much to discuss around this film. But I highly recommend you watch it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s worth the tears.

 

How to Be Single

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It may not be for everybody, but I loved this film. How to Be Single is about, a group of young adults navigating love and relationships in New York City. 

I thought the characters and storylines were really funny. Rebel Wilson was comedic gold in this film. I related to quite a few situations in the movie, and that kept me engaged throughout. Also, I really want an apartment similar to Dakota Johnson’s one in this film. It was so quant and solitary. It’s just a fun movie and if you love fun, comedic films, check out How to Be Single. 

 

The Social Network

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Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

It was a fascinating take on the history of Facebook and its creation. David Fincher made a really smart film, and brought together an exceptional cast that brought the characters to life. I never knew about Mark Zuckerburg until I saw the film. I was so fascinated by Facebook’s history, that I wrote a history paper on it. I analysed statements from the real Mark Zuckerburg and his opinions of the films. The film is brilliant, if you take it as entertainment. There is some factual information provided in the film, but not enough to call it a reliable source. Also, Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Zuckerburg was brilliant. The intro to the film never fails to amaze me.

 

 

Your Name

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Your Name is about, a teenage boy and girl who embark on a quest to meet each other for the first time after they magically swap bodies.

It may seem like a stereotypical swapping bodies story. But it has so much more attached to it. Its hard to explain without spoiling it, but this film portrays a beautiful love story, about honest connection and longing. The look of the film is breath-taking. The director, Makoto Shinkai, creates amazing sceneries that brings you to the urban look of Tokyo to the scenic backgrounds of Japan’s countrysides. Moreover, the music is phenomenal. Your Name wouldn’t be Your Name without Radwimps (the band who composed the soundtrack). Listening to their songs on their own is fine, but they work seamlessly with the film. Its a masterpiece. It became the highest grossing anime film in the world, surpassing Spirited Away. I advise you check it out. You wont regret it.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

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I love all of the films, but Dead Man’s Chest has a special place in my heart. After The Curse of the Black Pearl, I was dying for more pirates. And I got it in the form of Dead Man’s Chest. It was bigger, the action scenes were better, and the trio were back. It was a treat of a movie, and a great way to continue on the story. I loved Elizabeth Swann in this film, as she threw away the corset and picked up a gun. Instead of standing back, she became part of the action, which I preferred. I began to adore her as a character in this film, before she became the Pirate King in the final film in the trilogy. The locations were fabulous and the humour still amazing. This movie in the franchise will remain my favourite of all the Pirates films.

 

Personal Shopper

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Another Kristen Stewart film, of course. Personal Shopper is about, a personal shopper in Paris refusing to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message. 

This film is very haunting and beautifully shot. This is the best performance Kristen Stewart has ever given. The film questions the concept of the afterlife and communication with ghosts. When Kristen Stewart’s character starts getting texts from an unknown number, you wonder whether its her dead twin brother, another ghost or something more sinister. Its another slower-paced movie, but worth the watch. My favourite part about the film is the use of texting to tell story through the medium of film. I dont know why, but I love it when movies base their storytelling actions on our modern-day technologies, such as using messenger, texting, Facebook or Skype. Another film that does this is Face 2 Face, where the film is strictly through Skype calls or facetime.

 

The Lord of the rings

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If you havent heard of The Lord of the Rings, you have must lived under a rock. Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the films follow the hobbit Frodo Baggins, as he and the Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring, to ensure the destruction of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron.

This trilogy was directed by the master, Peter Jackson and it became one of the highest grossing film series of all time. Its final film, The Return of the King won 11 of its Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. This film series had a massive impact upon its release and they are still praised to this day. It was The Lord of the Rings that got me into movies. I love the scenery of these films, which was shot in New Zealand (on my bucket list to go there). The acting, the story, the lore, just everything about it I love. Even years after first watching them, I still adore the films. If you havent seen them yet, I highly recommend them. Its a high-suspenseful fantasy with action, romance, friendship and loyalty. A great film to sit back and watch on a quiet Friday night.

 

And there you have it. Those were my top ten favourite movies. If you havent heard of any these, check them out. You wont regret it. My soul remains with literature and writing, but film will always have a special place in my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Tales: Oisín and Tír na nÓg

Inspired by my previous posts, I wanted to try my hand at retelling the classic Irish fairytales I grew up with. We knew these stories so well, and it has been great to look back on them. By looking into these fairytales, I started to realize how vast Irish mythology is and how these stories only scrape the surface of our legends. I may make a post about Irish mythology down the line. But today, I shall be telling the story of Oisín and Tír na nÓg. Just as a preface for this story, the Fianna were a band of semi-independent warriors in Irish mythology. Tír na nÓg is known as The Land of the Young, and another way to name the Celtic Underworld. My retelling of this tale is taken from a children’s book I read years ago. So this will be told in a different way to other versions. So enjoy this retelling of “Oisín and Tír na nÓg.”

 

One morning, the Fianna were out hunting deer on the shores of Loch Lein in County Kerry. They saw a beautiful white horse coming towards them. Riding on the horse was the most beautiful woman they have ever seen. She wore a long blue dress, blue as the summer sky, studded with silver stars, and her long golden hair went down to her waist. 

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“What is your name and what land do you come from?” asked Fionn, leader of the Fianna. 

“I am Niamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden hair). My father is the king of Tír na nÓg” she replied. “I have heard of a warrior called Oisín. I have heard of his courage and of his poetry. I have come to find him, and take him back with me, to Tír na nÓg.” 

Oisín was the son of Fionn. He was a great leader and a poet. “Tell me,” Oisín said. “What sort of land is Tír na nÓg?”

“Tír na nÓg is the land of youth,” replied Niamh. “It is a happy place, with no pain and no sorrow. Any wish you make comes true, and no one grows old there. If you come with me, youll find out all of this is true.”

Oisín mounted the white horse, and said goodbye to his father and friends. He promised he would return soon. The horse galloped over the water, moving as swiftly as a shadow. The Fianna were sad to see Oisín go, but Fionn reminded them of his promise to return soon. 

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The King and Queen of Tír na nÓg welcomed Oisín, and held a great feast in his honour. It was indeed a wonderful land, just as Niamh had said. In Tír na nÓg, the trees were in constant bloom and the leaves never fall or die. All the people who lived in Tír na nÓg, were young and beautiful. They hunted and feasted, and at night, he told stories of Fionn and the Fianna, and their lives in Ireland. But he never felt as happy as he did, when he was with Niamh. And before long, they were married, and had two children, Oscar and their daughter, Plor na mBan (Flower of Women). Time passed quickly, and although he was very happy, Oisín began to think of returning home for a visit. Niamh didn’t want him to go. But at last, she said, “Take my white horse. It will carry you safely to Ireland and back. Whatever happens, you must not get off the horse, and touch the soil of Ireland. If you do, you will never return to me, and to Tír na nÓg.” She didn’t tell him that, although he had only been away for a few years, he had really been there for 300 hundred years.

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Ireland seemed like a strange place when Oisín arrived back. There seemed to be no trace of his father or the rest of the Fianna. As he passed through Gleann na Smól, he saw some men trying to move a large stone. “I will help you,” said Oisín. The men were terrified of this giant on a white horse. Stooping from his saddle, Oisín lifted the stone with one hand and hurled it. With that, the saddle strap broke, and Oisín was flung to the ground. Immediately, the white horse disappeared, and the men saw before them, an old, old man. They took him to a holy man, who lived nearby. Some say that the holy man was Saint Patrick. 

“Where is my father and the Fianna?” Oisín asked. When he was told they were long dead, he was heartbroken. He spoke of the many deeds of Fionn and the Fianna, and their many adventures together. He spoke of his time in Tír na nÓg, and his beautiful wife that he would never see again. 

Although he died soon after, the wonderful stories of Oisín have lived on. To this day, children in Ireland still retell the story of Oisín, and his magical adventures in Tír na nÓg. Some people claimed to have seen the beautiful white horse through the early mists of the dawn, only to disappear before their eyes, when the mist clears. 

 

Hope you enjoyed it. I have so many more tales I plan to share on my blog. Thats all I have for this post and I shall see you in the next one x

 

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Irish Writers – We are depressing 💚

In my Masters course, I got the chance to take a class analysing Irish literature. Throughout my college career, I never really looked into Irish literature. For my final year project, I did analyse Irish Gothic texts. But I haven’t looked into contemporary Irish novels.

So the class I took, Gender and Sexuality in Irish literature, analysed a couple of contemporary Irish texts and new woman fiction etc. It was fascinating, to look more into the literature from my country.

But one thing I picked up on, was a conversation I had with an American student. He attends the creative writing masters in my college. One day, he comes into class and talks about the style of Irish writers.

“You Irish people write some depressing s**t. Why does everything have to be sad in your stories”

I had to laugh at this comment, because it reminds me of the tagline for my blog. “I am a happy person but a depressing writer.” From the little interaction I had with Irish literature, it’s true that we have a flair for the tragedies. We place our characters into dark situations with no way out. I just read a novel about a woman who killed her abusive, alcoholic husband and the novel follows the unsettling relationship between her and her son, as they live together in Dublin city. The continuous silence between mother and son speaks volumes to what it means to be Irish. We don’t talk about our feelings. We mostly bottle them up and if we do talk about them, we make a laugh out of it. For the mother and son, they never acknowledge the past horrors at home and maintain this hidden truth, that can never be spoken out loud.

One of my classmates responded to the guys comment, “that’s because we were colonised.”

Ireland has a dark history related to our colonialization by the British Empire. However, that doesn’t really plague our country as much anymore. The darkness within our country at the moment, would be the control of the Catholic Church, the uproar over sexual harassment and assault towards women.

We have our dark moments that seemed unbearable to relive, such as the Magdalene laundries, the sexual abuse of children from members of the church, and many more. Therefore, these dark memories of our country in some shape or form within our writing. They seep into every Irish work, as it would within any work. However, I have come to appreciate this style of writing, as through all these trials and tragedies, the Irish maintain their dry sense of humour.

Through the dark times, the Irish remain humorous. And it’s evident within Irish writers work. So yes, we are depressing. But we use self deprecating humour to push that aside or bring attention to it. This shows who we are as a culture, and I’m proud to call myself Irish.

Some Irish books I recommend you check out would be The Long Falling by Keith Ridgway, Normal People by Sally Rooney. I am currently reading a book called The Pleasures of Eliza Lynch by Anne Enright. It tells the story of a real Cork woman who was a well known prostitute who became mistress to a prince. Eliza Lynch became merely a footnote in history, so Anne Enright  decided to write about her.

This post seems a bit all over the place but I just wanted to talk about that comment from the American student. I’m proud of our self deprecating attitude towards life and our history. There is a great charm to Irish works because of that. I want to read more Irish novels and if I find any good ones, I’m sure I’ll make a post about it. And if you have any works from your country that I might like, let me know. I hope you had a lovely end to 2018 and happy New year 💜 I shall talk to you in the next post.