Aww Nostalgia Books Pop Culture Interviews

In conversation with Meg Cabot on the The Princess Diaries’ 20th birthday

It’s hard to believe that NYT bestseller The Princess Diaries, one of Meg Cabot’s masterworks in the Young Adult fiction space, was initially rejected by every publisher in North America except one.

Shop The Princess Diaries from your local Indie bookstore!

Twenty years on from the release of The Princess Diaries 2001 film, today, Mia Thermopolis is one of YA fictions’ most adored literary characters, her relatability of being a teenager captured the hearts of anyone who understood the liminal, tumultuous, life-changing chaos of growing up (minus the princess part, of course).

In honor of The Princess Diaries release’s 20th anniversary, (and also because I’m a mega fan!), I spoke to the marvel that is Meg Cabot, about the saga of Mia and her friends, the essence of the story, and why TPD has remained timeless, even as we move forward.


Sahar: What is it about Mia’s story, about the Princess Diaries, that has made it such a timeless tale?

Meg: I think that a lot of people can relate to Mia – she’s sort of an everygirl. I think the dream that you might turn out to be a princess is sort of universal. But it also shows the reality of the other side of it, that it might not always be such a great dream, especially now when we see Megan Markle, we see another side to the story. 

To me, it’s a story about friendship. It’s a story of women, first and foremost. Your mother and your grandmother and your best friends. 

Cabot describes the relatability factors of the story fittingly. A massive point of conversation within audiences of both the books and film is Mia’s reaction to finding out she’s a princess. Her initial reaction is an intense indignation at the thought of her being royalty, the ‘SHUT UP’ scene in the film remains iconic today (Fun fact: Mia’s grandmother in the books was NOT as nice as in the movies). Perhaps much of why we find her endearing is because she’s someone who’s doesn’t want to be a princess, that she wants to stay exactly as she is.


[Image description: A gif of a girl saying Shut Up!] Via Giphy
[Image description: A gif of a girl saying Shut Up!] Via Giphy

Sahar: The style of writing the books is in the diary entry style. What made you want to document her story this way?

Meg: Well, I think that we all like to read other people’s diaries – a little bit. Especially now with the internet, it’s so interesting to read other people’s Instagrams and their Tik Toks, we wanna know what other people are doing, what are they thinking? Back when I first wrote these books 20 years ago, we didn’t have any of that, hardly even the internet, so the only thing I could think of was the diary entry style. I kept my own diary and I would’ve loved to read someone else’s diary (if they’d let me!)!

Turns out I was right, everyone wants to read someone else’s diary.

A purist of the books will know that a huge part of Mia character’s focuses on her continuous journey to achieve self-actualization: the complete realization of one’s potential, and the full development of one’s abilities and appreciation for life. 

Mia’s story is shared with us as she grows from the age of 14 to 18, a seemingly young age for such an ambitious goal. It’s reflective of how emotionally charged the rawness of your teenage years can bring. I asked Cabot about the theme of self-actualization in the books, what she thinks about it in the context of someone going from their early teens to young adulthood, and why that feels like such a pinnacle of peace for Mia – and for us.

To Cabot, it was very important to show how the characters grow across the books. The books were based a little bit on her own diaries, and a lot of what came into the books was really based on what she would write in her own diaries when she was Mia’s age. “I think that’s realistic, we grow hopefully, we grow and change, and hopefully for the better.”

Cabot hopes that she shows how Mia’s done this, how she grows to be a better person, that’s what she’s striving for. “I really hope that we all do that! Even Lana, the worst person, Mia’s arch-enemy, grows a little bit by the end of the books!” she adds. Her growth leads to her and Mia actually becoming friends (Yep, the same girl Mia plunged an ice-cream cone onto in the movie).

Sahar: Like you said in the beginning, the books are about friendship. I took a lot away from Mia and Lily’s friendship and Mia and Tina’s friendship. So, what was your process when you would write her friends and what did they symbolize in Mia’s world?

Meg: Many of the friendships were based on real friendships that I had when I was growing up. And Tina is based on a real friend that I have who even has the same last name as her. Lana is even based on a real person who was really mean when she was younger, but as she got older, she kind of developed into a nicer person. That was just something that I wanted to portray, that when you’re young and haven’t experienced as much, you kind of grow. 

Lilly is kind of a different story, it’s kind of a challenge for someone like her to grow because she thinks she’s always right. I mean – I’m still friends with the person who Lilly is based on and she’s read the books but she still hasn’t figured out that she’s Lilly! She’s still a really interesting person and fun, and it’s so funny to see her get mad at Lilly in the books acting a certain way.

Sahar: Was it always in the books for Mia and Lilly to reconnect as friends?

Meg: I think it’s very natural in friendships for it to happen. There are people you stay friends with for a long-time and there are people you drift away from. I think that’s a part of growing up. Who knows if in real life Mia and Lilly would stay friends if Mia wasn’t necessarily with Michael? Most of the time Lilly does apologize but something I wanted readers to come away with was that if you are in a toxic relationship, you can leave, you don’t *have* to be friends with somebody, and that’s okay too.

In a story about love and friendship, watching Mia and Lilly’s friendship unfold like a rollercoaster, was realistic. For many fans it showcased the reality of outgrowing people when you’re living out formative years of your life, and how conflict often has two sides and how sometimes you yourself need a period of growth and change before you allow someone back, and re-enter into someone’s life once again.

When it comes to writing making you laugh out loud, The Princess Diaries is a series with characters and relationships that is able to do so. I asked Cabot about writing funny, the space comedy can hold in the written word, and is it what comes natural?

Meg: When I was first starting out taking fiction classes, it was very rare that there’d be another student who was trying to write a funny story. I was usually the only one in class and everyone else would be trying to write very sad stories. Finally my teacher took me aside and said “You know, you write very funny stories, why are you trying to write sad stories when you have  a talent for writing funny stories?” I told her that’s what I thought you were supposed to do. And she told me, no, you’re good at writing funny stories and it’s a really hard skill and you should keep doing it. 

And she said to me something I never forgot, that, ‘It’s harder to make somebody laugh than it is to make somebody cry.’ They don’t give out Oscars to funny movies, funny books don’t win the Pulitzer Prize, but to anyone reading this they should know that if you do have the skill to make people laugh, that’s very valuable. Especially in the day and age we live in now.


Sahar: Do you think Mia wrote Star Wars fanfiction?

Meg: *laughing* I don’t know about Star Wars but I bet she did Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction, I’m sure she did. Kept it really secret, never even wrote about it in her diary cause she didn’t want anyone to find out. She probably had Michael as Han Solo and her as Princess Leia and it was so embarrassing she could never admit it.

Sahar: For all the all-nighters she was pulling, staying up till 3 am stressing about something, there had to be something she was doing!!

Meg: I think you might be right, that’s actually hilarious.

We talked about the movies next, how Cabot views them as a completely different universe, but how she’s all for them because of the readers the movies created. When I asked her if she’d ever consider turning the ten-book series into a more authentic to the source material TV series, she relayed that it’s not really up to her, but that her *dream*, of course, would be to have a Princess Diaries musical!

(The moment we both exclaimed: YAAAAAAAASSSSSS)

“It has to be a Broadway, maybe West-end musical, so there’s been a lot of people trying to get that off the ground. My dream is maybe Taylor Swift could write the songs, something like that!” she says.


Sahar: So my last question, who do you think is The Princess Diaries’ biggest villain? 

Meg: I think that depends on where you are in the series, I think the villain changes as you’re going along. I think Grandmere is very easy to point to, she’s very mean in the books. But ultimately, I think she’s Mia’s biggest fan, and is really trying to get Mia to the best she can be. I think there are a couple of men in Mia’s life who show up and try to crush her confidence.

Sahar: For me the biggest villain is JP. That guy, master manipulator! He was just a lot!

“That Guy!” we both exclaim in unison.

Meg: He was, and he kept coming back to cause more problems! I was waiting to see if you got it!

As the film turns twenty, this conversation with Cabot is a reminder that growing up is a part of life, and that striving to be a better person is the essence of Mia’s journey. Love and friendship has its ups and downs, but staying true to yourself throughout it all will always help you keep going. 

What’s next for Meg is maybe turning her Corona Princess Diaries on her blog into a real book and donate the money from copies sold to some sort of coronavirus relief charity. “I’d like to do it, because I’ve never done it, but I’d like to do a Christmas in Genovia story!” Her new book No Words will be out this September, about two writers who hate each other, stuck at a book festival together. 

Shop your local indie bookstore for Meg’s new novel!

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Aww Nostalgia Pop Culture

Let magic and love prevail this International Harry Potter Day

Every year, Potterheads celebrate Harry Potter Day on May 2 to commemorate the Battle of Hogwarts. Are you partying with an online meetup with your fellow friends and presenting them with magical gifts? Me, I will celebrate the 24th anniversary of Voldemort’s defeat by re-reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – and with a cake, as it is my birthday as well!

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

I read this chapter so many times I could recite it to you at this point. It feels like it was only yesterday that I opened the first pages of the first chapter in the Harry Potter series. Somehow time flew us by instead, and next year is going to be the 25th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Wicked, right?

From the completion of the book series, to the writing of the controversial sequel theater screenplay The Cursed Child and finally the Fantastic Beasts movie series, J.K.Rowling has kept expanding and adding to the universe in various shapes. Much to the dismay of many fans, I might add.

Whether you grew up as the books from the main series came out (as I did), or whether you were born after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released on the big screen, Harry Potter certainly has had a huge impact on our collective imaginary. Thinking of magic and wizards without at least drawing inspiration from the Harry Potter universe is nearly impossible. Just scrolling on TikTok you will encounter thousands of videos with the #hogwarts tag – which has videos tagged with it for around 18.5B total views!

It’s safe to say that by this point we all know our Hogwarts House and made it a part of our persona online. From Harry Potter themed parties to proper sorting ceremonies, all Potterheads have their own cherished memories tied to the books series. Mine are of happening upon an English copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in a random supermarket and convincing my father to buy it for me when I was 15.

Harry, Hermione and Ron all grew up in the span of the 7 books, and so did we. And although the universe still enjoys strong popularity, the same cannot be said for its author JK Rowling.

In the past few years, the writer has been heavily criticized for her seemingly off-hand comments on the book or characters. Somehow under the assumption that anything coming from her would always be welcomed with open arms by readers, J.K. Rowling kept on shamelessly adding to her characters long after the story was done.

“The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.”

If these comments stopped at her characters perhaps there would be a way to look past. However, the intolerance and hate that she kept hidden away surfaced in 2019, where the researcher Maya Forstater was fired after making several transphobic tweets. Among others, Rowling announced on her Twitter her support for the researcher. Under the false guise of “feminism” the author kept pushing for transgender exclusionary ideology again and again, going as far as writing a lenghty letter on her website to address the topic. She acts “concerned” about the new waves of what she calls “trans activism” – constantly diminishing the experience of transgender women.

Her public meltdown on Twitter was followed then by her book Troubled Blood published under a pseudonym, in which the main antagonist is “a serial killer who lures his victims into a false sense of security by dressing as a woman.” There is honestly no way of looking at her work, or her words, as anything else other than deeply transphobic.

“Pity the living, and above all pity those who live without love,” Dumbledore says to Harry in Deathly Hallows. And although there is little to pity Rowling for, we can definitely feel sorry for the way these waves of hate wrapped around our memories of childhood and magic. As Fantastic Beasts is still an ongoing movie series and there are even rumors over various potential TV spinoffs, Harry Potter will surely keep inspiring new generations of fans.

On the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, I believe it’s more important than ever to remember the saga as a triumph of love over hate. Lily’s sacrifice for Harry out of her love for him is one of the pivotal moments in the story, and the main reason that he was finally able to defeat Voldemort.

As Roland Barthes says, “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.” In other words, a text does not end with the writer putting down their pen. You, the reader, can give the story your own meaning.

On this May 2nd, let’s pick up our own wands and celebrate magic and love.

If you want to get your friends a special Harry Potter-inspired gift, make sure to support the amazing fan creators. You can find our picks here and here.

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Aww Nostalgia Movies Pop Culture

Here are the 13 best romantic films to watch this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is here – lovebirds and palentines – follow along with our Vday series right here!

If you are looking for ideas to spend a COVID-19 Valentine’s Day then there is no better way to spend Cupid’s holiday other than watching romantic films, even if you have to share your screen on Zoom to watch them with your date. Single, committed, separated, pro or anti-Valentine’s Day, there is a romantic film for everyone.

So, grab your remote, light up a sultry scented candle and fire up a romantic film on NetflixAmazon Prime or Hulu for a cozy night in that will rival any party.

To make things easier, I have compiled a list of some of my all-time favorite romantic films that will not make you feel like you are missing out on anything by staying in:

1. Valentine’s Day

[Image description: Taylor Swift in Valentine's Day smiling next to an elevator and a giant teddy bear] Via GIPHY.
[Image description: Taylor Swift in Valentine’s Day smiling and jumping next to an elevator and a giant teddy bear] Via GIPHY.
Well… duh.

This aptly-titled film takes place in Los Angeles on February 14. The ensemble cast reads like the guest list at a splashy Hollywood event: Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Swift, Jamie Foxxx, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher…, the list is endless. Their love experiences that will resonate well with you because there is literally something for everyone!

2. Titanic

romantic films
[Image Description: Titanic Kate Winslet GIF] via
If you have never seen Titanic, you must and if you have, consider watching it again this Valentine’s. This classic romantic-disaster film won eleven Oscars because of its superb cast, plot and music. Titanic is a tear-jerker with an epic romance that is fated to failure.

3. P.S. I Love You

romantic films
[Image Description: Gerard Butler Love GIF that reads, “I love you ’till the end] via
Grab the tissues for this one which is about a young widow who finds out that her late husband left a series of letters for her to move on after his death. This is a serious tearjerker that will make you want to hug your sweetheart just a little tighter.

4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

romantic films
[Image Description: Jason Segel Dancing GIF# via
So, maybe, you do not want to watch something overly romantic on Valentine’s Day or end up crying your heart out, for that matter.

Perhaps, you have gone through a recent breakup. Well, then Forgetting Sarah Marshall is just the film for you. Join Jason Segel in this hilarious and painfully honest comedy about a man who is just trying to get over his ex.

5. The Five-Year Engagement

romantic films
[Image Description: Vince Vaughn Clinger GIF that reads, “I’VE GOT A STAGE-FIVE CLINGER.”] via
Modern partnerships require equal sacrifice. This film shows how people’s careers are likely to change and partnerships need to weather location and vocation change, all while putting marriage and baby-making on hold to be able to navigate all of this.

6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

romantic films
[Image Description: Lana Condor Tatbilb GIF By NETFLIX] via
A feel-good YA adaptation with Asian representation? Count me in.

This Netflix original, starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo was all the rage in 2018. If you have not seen the cute and cringe-worthy story then follow it up with the sequel and a new addition to the trilogy this Valentine’s.

7. One Day

[Image Description: Anne Hathaway looking at a man and smiling] via
[Image Description: Anne Hathaway looking at a man and smiling] via
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in this sweet story about two former flames who reunite on the same day year after year. Watch this film if you are losing hope in your relationship because sometimes all you need is a little reminder. that love exists.

If you like pinning, then you’re in for a ride.

8. Bridget Jones’ Diary

romantic films
[Image Description: Renee Zellweger Comedy GIF By Bridget Jones] via
We know that Pride and Prejudice is the ultimate Austen novel, but perhaps you’re feeling more in the mood for a modern adaptation of this great classic.

Renée Zellweger is forced to choose between two handsome potential suitors, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, in this British romantic comedy. I certainly know what I am watching this V-day: a Bridget Jones marathon.

9. You’ve Got Mail

[Image Description: Tom Hanks Joe Fox GIF] via
If you thought I was going to make a romantic film list without the romance OG think again.

Watch the most dynamic duo in cinematic history, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks play rival bookstore owners who, unknowingly, become email pen pals in You’ve Got Mail. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire you to look out for love even during a pandemic. 

10. Friends With Benefits

romantic films
[Image Description: Black And White Love GIF] via
Friends with Benefits stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake who meet in New York and agree to be just friends with benefits, thinking that it won’t complicate their friendship. As their relationship progresses, the two begin to develop romantic feelings. This angst-ridden love story is full of chemistry and all you would be wishing for is for the two to get together.

11. The Wedding Singer

[Image Description: Drew Barrymore GIF that reads, “I wanna grow old with you.”] via
How can I not add one of Adam Sandler’s romantic films to this list? The film highlights the charm and romance of the ’80s/ From the fashion to the killer soundtrack. Also, this film will have you laughing at Sandler’s classic comedic antics.

12. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

[Image Description: How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days Title Card GIF] via
This classic rom-com shows the cringe-worthy hilarity that occurs when one magazine writer makes it her life’s moto to ensnare a date and then drive him away. The man in question has a bet going with his boss that he can make any woman fall in love with him. Watch the film to find out what happens when they meet.

13. Crazy Stupid Love

[Image Description: Girl Love GIF] via
Who doesn’t love the chemistry between these two? They have many movies together, but we have chosen to end our list on this one.

The scenes between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in this film are a depiction of sizzling on-screen romance, along with other intertwining love stories. Watch this film to make sense of love, even when it makes you do crazy and stupid things. The best part is that no matter what age group, you will relate to the film at some point.

With so much uncertainty around due to the ongoing pandemic, some of you might have cancelled extravagant date ideas with your significant other. But, hey, do not be disappointed, think of this as a way to stay indoors and close, play a film and just cuddle up. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Aww Nostalgia Music Pop Culture

Taylor Swift has recovered the first piece of her past with ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’

Once again, Taylor Swift has stepped up to save what was set to become a terrible year, and a terrible Valentine’s Day, while continuing her fight for artists’ rights.

Not contempt with having been the most productive human being of 2020, after releasing a documentary (Miss Americana), two albums (folklore and evermore), and a documentary/concert (the longpond studio session), Swift has shocked the world by announcing that the first of her highly anticipated re-recorded albums, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is  done, and releasing its first single into the world: ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past two years, or you think that ‘Love Story’ is just a TikTok hit, let me backtrack a little bit.

The original ‘Love Story’ was the lead single in Taylor Swift’s breakout album Fearless, released in 2009. It quickly became one of the most-sold songs of all time and turned her into a star. Fearless was at the time also awarded four Grammy nominations, a reward that turned Swift into the youngest artist to ever win an Album of the Year award (until Billie Ellish came into the picture). Taylor made country cool for young and international audiences, becoming a breath of fresh air for the genre.

App Icon Apple Music

However, despite the huge significance of ‘Love Story’ for Taylor Swift’s personal and professional life, she doesn’t own the song, or any other songs in her first six albums.

The master recordings of Fearless and Swift’s first six albums were owned by her record label, Big Machine Records, who later sold them to Scooter Braun, better known as the manager of stars such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Once the news of the purchase were made public, Swift spoke out about how she had requested to buy these masters herself but was denied a fair opportunity to do so. She used this experience to highlight one of the biggest injustices in the music industry: the contract clauses by which they don’t own their own art. We explored this controversy and its significance for the music industry in this article.

Back then, Taylor promised she would fight for her music and for the rights of all artists, and she has.

As a songwriter, Taylor still has the right to give permission for other artists to record covers of her songs. And that’s what she’s going to do, for herself.


The recently released ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ is the first of Taylor’s covers of her own songs, released just in time for Valentine’s Day. Although fans were speculating whether Taylor would choose to make the new versions different from the original, this has not been the case. The differences between the old and new ‘Love Story’ are only obvious in terms of the quality of the production and the sound of Taylor’s more mature vocals, which contrast with her 18-year-old higher-pitched voice and country accent.

The differences are significant enough for Swifties to be able to separate the two versions and be aware of which one is playing at a certain time. However, it still maintains itself so true to the original that people used to hearing this country classic will not feel the need to go back to the original version. And that’s exactly Taylor’s goal.

Swift has re-recorded her songs, not because she wants to make new versions of them, but because she wants the songs she wrote in her bedroom while she was a teenager to belong to her. To transform them from their original tone and style would be to betray and deny her past self and her origins. She isn’t trying to replace the original songs she recorded for Big Machine Records, she just wants to own her work.

“I’ve spoken a lot about why I’m remaking my first six albums, but the way I’ve chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I’m coming from,” Swift has said. “Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really *knows* that body of work.”

With this new recording, Taylor will be able to sing ‘Love Story’ and allow for it to be placed in commercials and movies, without people even noticing which version of the songs she’s playing. Moreover, the fact that she has chosen to name all the new records ‘Taylor’s Version’, will allow for everyone to be aware of which side companies and movie producers lean on and whether they stand by her and her fight for artists to own their art.

As she explained in her acceptance speech for Woman of the Decade at Billboard, Taylor does not need the money. The incredible success of both folklore and evermore shows that she doesn’t have to rely on her old singles to continue to be relevant or to sell albums. She’s doing this to make a point about the fairness of the contracts that new artists are pressured into signing and how that affects the rest of their careers.

However, her re-recordings will have new things in store for fans. Although Taylor still hasn’t announced whether there will be new music videos or when are the rest of her re-recording albums set to be released, she has said that Fearless (Taylor’s Version) will include six unreleased songs that she wrote between the ages of 16 and 18 and that were cut from the original recording.


That brings the tracklist of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) to 26 songsThey will undoubtedly be full of that young perspective about love and heartbreak, and Taylor’s incredible lyrics, which used to be much less cryptical than her more recent ones, but still feel like a dagger directed to your heart. I can’t wait to hear them.

Some known unreleased songs from the time that could be in this recording include ‘Permanent Marker’, ‘Tell Me Why,’ ‘I’d Lie,’ ‘Dark Blue Tennessee,’ and ‘The One Thing.’

In my opinion, this is a perfect way of maintaining the essence of Fearless, as including songs that she had just written would clash in both tone and style with the rest of the songs on the album. Moreover, Taylor has also brought back all the musicians that played in the original recording of ‘Love Story’, as a way of making it as close to the original as possible and showing that she has no issues against that original recording, just against the person that owns it.

Taylor has made her move. And while we wait for April 9th to come so that we can listen to these new songs, it’s time for the music industry to position itself and choose who they are going to support. But, no matter the outcome of this, it is clear that Taylor has given musicians a way out and the courage to fight for their rights.

The new version of ‘Love Story‘ is nothing new, but it will make history.

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TV Shows Aww Nostalgia Up and Coming Pop Culture

Relive your childhood with the Winx Club live-action that is angering the internet

Congratulations are in store for all the Winx Club fans out there, because the fairies cartoon is getting a live-action on Netflix after 16 years! Yes, it was about time. The oh-so-magical Italian-American cartoon first made it to our screens in 2004. Feel old yet?

The group of fairies at Alphea Academy features characters with their own distinctive magical powers. The title for the much anticipated live-action series Fate: The Winx Saga is a clever play on words, as “fate” is not just a synonym for “destiny” but also means “fairies” in Italian, the language the OG Winx series originated in. Clever, right?

The new Netflix show stars Abigail Cowen as Bloom, the redheaded main character with fire in her veins that was my favorite growing up.

Contrary to how I remember Bloom as this cheerful and bright fairy, the trailer does not paint a similar picture, making the stakes higher for the show to keep up with the same fan base. I still cannot wait for Bloom to come to life and show the world how an ordinary girl can be blessed with some magical powers through her kindness by helping a fairy in trouble. I clearly remember this scene from the cartoon and how it taught me that kindness goes a long way in life, and most certainly comes back to you in some way or the other.

From the looks of it, Fate: The Winx Saga seems to be more of a drama, targeting a young adult audience this time. So I guess the characters are given a more serious look rather the fairy-like persona that they had 16 years ago. I just hope it still keeps fans like me who have grown up watching the cartoon in consideration and does not mess up too much with the characters or plots, how re-makes usually do!

People on social media are having somewhat strong reactions to the trailer. Fans are even commenting on how they would have liked the fairies to be dressed up as:

I thought I was the only one but, no. This one has a whole list of what she wants out of the Winx saga.

I am secretly cheering for this fan who literally took it upon herself and dressed up like a fairy. I feel you, girl!

Twitter has no chill. This person made her 8-year-old self happy after watching the trailer. BRB. I am crying.

Everything aside, I am also really looking forward to Danny Griffin who will be playing the role of Sky. I am cheering for Bloom and Sky already. What is better than a fairy tale? A fairy tale with lots of romance. They were probably my first OTP.

I feel like I am giving out all the details to you guys. Can you guess who will play the other characters? Elisha Applebaum is introduced as Musa in the trailer. Applebaum does not have many known shows to her credit which is why this is her chance to shine on and mark her place. However, I do have a major problem with her character being whitewashed.

Another concern that OG fans have is that Flora has been replaced by another character named Terra played by Eliot Salt who will be seen as a chatty but grounded fairy. Both these characters are being played by white actresses when in the cartoon Musa was clearly Asian (inspired by Lucy Liu) and Flora was Latina (inspired by Jennifer Lopez). It is eerie how an Italian cartoon from nearly two decades ago could be more diverse than an international Netflix show in 2021.

Fans were quick to point out the not so apt casting on Twitter via various memes.

Other than these characters, the official trailer also introduced us to our favorite water fairy, Aisha, who will be played by Precious Mustapha. Child artist Hannah van der Westhuysen is also getting her big breakthrough the drama series in which she will be seen as Stella, who really has no care in the world.

But, wait! Did I miss out on anything? Why has Tecna been skipped from the show? Tecna fans utterly felt her not being there in the show just like me.

And what is this disrespect to the coolest and sexist supervillains ever Icy, Darcy, and Stormy? The Trix have been unified into one witch, Beatrix, played by Sadie Soverall. I don’t know how that’s going to go.

Fate: The Winx Club Saga Season 1. Sadie Soverall as Beatrix in Fate: The Winx Club Saga Season 1. Cr. Jonathan Hession/NETFLIX © 2020
Fate: The Winx Club Saga Season 1. Sadie Soverall as Beatrix in Fate: The Winx Club Saga Season 1. Cr. Jonathan Hession/NETFLIX © 2020

On the bright side, while I was watching the trailer, it was hard not to notice the pretty Irish outdoor locations that are used for the shooting. County Wicklow in Ireland definitely gave me a visual fairy kingdom experience.

The series was created by Ignio Straffi, who serves an executive producer for the Netflix Original. Directing the first season is Lisa James Larsson and Hannah Quinn. I am still not quite sure how I feel about it after watching the trailer due to so many changes to the characters and plot. I am just happy thinking about the show making a comeback at the moment.

I guess we will see soon. Fate: The Winx Saga premiers in January 2021 on Netflix.

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Disney has a slew of announcements and we are here for it

The pandemic has really hit all of us hard. There has been a halt to in-person conventions like the Comic-Con and D23. Despite all the odds, one thing that has proved to be a shining ray of hope in the dark has to be this year’s Disney’s Investor Day presentation that brought along much-awaited news and surprises for the Disney fans.

On December 10, the company revealed that it is pulling out all the stops for its streaming services with most of our favorite shows and films making a comeback in the form of live-actions, prequels or sequels.

According to CEO Bob Chapek, Disney+ has 86.8 million subscribers as of now. That is a huge shift from the 73 million subscribers that the company announced earlier this year at the end of the fourth fiscal quarter.

Now, of course, the presentation and the announcement talked about literally everything concerning the company, we will only focus on a few more important ones that gathered our attention and we cannot wait to stream on Disney+.

Live-actions to watch out for!

Head of Disney’s new media and entertainment distribution group, Kareem Daniel said that a total of 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series were making their way to us starting January 2021. Honestly, I cannot take the news of 15 of my childhood favorites, coming back, especially in this odd time when just a Disney film can make things better and nothing else.

Rumor has it that a Beauty and the Beast show was in the pipeline. Guess what it is no longer a rumor because the news just got a confirmation at the presentation! The show is going to be about Gaston and LeFou, played by none other than Luke Evans and Josh Gad, who mastered the roles in the 2017 film. I know what you’re thinking: Disney, featuring a gay protagonist? We’ll have to wait and see how LeFou’s sexuality is played out in the show.

All the Lion King fans, congratulations are in order for you because there will be a prequel for you soon. I cannot even begin to express what I am feeling.

[Image Description: The Lion King Simba GIF By Walt Disney Studios] via

There is The Little Mermaid remake awaiting your Disney+ screens soon! Want to meet the cast? Of course, who would not want to? Here it is:

There will be live-action versions of Pinocchio, Peter Pan and Wendy exclusively available on the streaming service.

The originals

Viewers would be delighted by a number of original series and films that will become home to Disney+ in the coming year.  Old Disney properties like The Mighty Ducks and Turner and Hooch will be presented with a fresh storyline and new characters.

Disenchanted, a sequel to the hit film Enchanted will also stream exclusively on Disney+ with Amy Adams returning as Giselle. That is one heck of news, no? We’ve been waiting so long!

The animated series

A series featuring the Baymax from Big Hero Six will be available on the streaming site, exclusively from Disney Animations. I am super excited about this. Loved the Big Hero Six and the message it came with.

Another animated series will be based on characters from Zootopia. There will also be a musical comedy series based on Princess and the Frog and Moana. If this is not what you call for ‘spoilt for choice’ then I do not know what is!

[Image Description: Disney How Far I’ll Go GIF By Moana] via

If you think this is all the information that we have from the Inventor’s Day presentation then you are in for another surprise because guess what? Disney+ is adding an opt-in to mature content feature to its streaming website. The option will allow older audiences to sign in and watch titles like Logan, Modern Family, and Atlanta. What else do you need? I am already too overwhelmed.

But, wait, there is more. Disney has also announced that it had struck a deal with Comcast to bring Disney+ and ESPN+ to the cable company’s set top boxes. The Investor’s Day presentation also brought along an all-time high to the entertainment giants’ stocks.

And this isn’t even considering all the Marvel and Star Wars announcements that were made yesterday!

Looks like it is a win-win for everyone! The next few years will be a hell of a ride for us all in the realm of entertainment.

TV Shows Aww Nostalgia Pop Culture

It’s time we all admit Monica and Chandler are the true OTP of “Friends”

I am willing to fight for this statement: in Friends, Monica and Chandler have a much healthier and romantic relationship than Ross and Rachel.

Why? Because it wasn’t based on whether they loved each other – they knew they did – but on the real challenges that couples face. This is why they are the real OTP of the show.

Yes, Ross and Rachel were dramatic and intense, and they kept you wondering throughout the whole show whether they would end up together. However, their relationship was very unhealthy and full of drama.

Monica and Chandler’s friendship is the basis of their relationship.

Ross and Rachel can never seem to be on the same page, and they always argue about the same issues. All of their fights show a clear lack of respect and trust in each other.

They never seem to sit down and have a conversation about how they feel or what they want despite seeing each other every day for 10 years.  They are always coming back to the fact that Ross smothers Rachel and whether he cheated on her or not (he did).

Ross and Rachel don’t work on day-to-day life. They depend on grand gestures to get together: their Vegas marriage, Ross saying her name at his wedding (with someone else), and even Rachel’s decision to not go to Paris.

Let’s be honest, if you met a couple in real life that had as much drama and Ross and Rachel you would never root for them. We need to stop believing that fighting with someone is a sign of your love for them.

Instead, Monica and Chandler’s relationship comes from a place of friendship and respect for each other. By the time that they sleep together, they know each other’s personalities and quirks. They fall in love with full knowledge of who the other person is and never try to change them.

They support each other’s dreams and careers.

The plot around them is not based on the will-they/won’t-they trope but on the development of a real relationship and the challenges that come with it.

For example, one of the main conflicts that they have is Chandler’s fear of commitment, with contrasts with Monica’s desire to get married and have a family as soon as possible. They never doubt whether they love each other but whether they are ready to commit for something as big as marriage.

Despite their different personalities, they learn from each other and put the other person’s needs before theirs. Monica tells Chandler that she is willing to wait for as long as it takes for him to feel comfortable in their relationship, and he eventually realizes that he loves Monica enough to want to build a family with her.

[Image Description: Monica puts her hand on Chandler's shoulder and says "Welcome to an adult relationship".] via Giphy.
[Image Description: Monica puts her hand on Chandler’s shoulder and says “Welcome to an adult relationship”.] via Giphy.
They face real-life relationship problems, such as infertility and long-distance relationships. They both respect each other’s careers and dreams enough to be long-distance so that neither of them has to lose on a professional opportunity (take note, Rachel). Eventually, Chandler decides that it is not worth it and moves back to New York, without any pressure from Monica. She is there for him when he’s looking for a new job and he supports her when they learn that they can’t conceive children.

One of the most moving plotlines is their infertility journey. They support each other through it and Chandler even suggests that they get a sperm donor so that Monica can get pregnant, as she always dreamed. However, Monica states that she doesn’t want to carry a child that is not Chandler’s and lets go of this dream. Together, they decide to adopt. The way they handle this problem, always being there for each other instead of blaming each other, is incredibly touching.

A real relationship is based on communication and respect.

Of course, they fight, and there is jealousy, but it never leads to a breakup and none of them cheat on the other. They talk through their fears and insecurities and come out as a stronger couple.

The main reason for their fights is Richard, Monica’s ex-boyfriend. After all, it is a TV show and they need to throw in some drama. Although Chandler’s reaction to the news that Monica has been seeing Richard is not a model of conduct – to the point of doubting whether he is being overly possessive, Monica stands for herself and stresses that she doesn’t love Richard anymore.

For me, the scene that is most telling of their relationship is when Monica is upset because she feels like she and Chandler don’t have the same passion that Phoebe and their new boyfriend. Chandler replies that he is more excited about where they are themselves. Monica agrees and they both joke about each other’s personality.

That is a real relationship; one that has lower and higher points but that is grounded on love and respect. One where you can laugh about each other’s obsessive behavior and confess your fears. All in all, one where there is COMMUNICATION and respect.

Monica and Chandler’s drama was never based on whether they loved each other – they knew they did – but whether they had the same goals in life. Friends shows them facing every-day and big issues. Real relationships are much more similar to that.

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Aww Nostalgia Movies Pop Culture

Are the Disney live-action remakes necessary?

There’s a lot I don’t understand about the recent slew of live-action remakes from Disney.

The fact that these remakes rarely live up to the original is just a fraction of my confusion. A child seeing live-action Beauty and the Beast may get the same joy as someone who saw the animated version decades ago. I’m not here to deprive future generations of quality entertainment. I just question why their entertainment is watered down remakes of what previous generations got. 

[Image Description: dancing scene from the live-action Beauty and the Beast, with Belle in a yellow dress dancing with the Beast] via Disney.
[Image Description: dancing scene from the live-action Beauty and the Beast, with Belle in a yellow dress dancing with the Beast] via Disney.
The whole point of fairytales is that they’re handed down through folklore and retold over and over again through the generations. Disney themselves adapted these stories from other, far grimmer (pardon the pun) sources. But live-action remakes just aren’t the same as sharing these timeless stories for the sake of entertainment and keeping these narratives alive.

The whole point of fairytales is retelling through the generations.

While I realize that these films may bring a new generation of viewers the same joy as watching the originals, it just feels like Disney wants a repeat box office performance way more than it wants to define the magic of childhood for a whole new generation. 

The fact that the original films are established, iconic classics pushes the bar that much higher. Live-action remakes were bound to be received more critically with constant comparisons being made to the original.

They seem to openly invite these comparisons because most of the live-actions are also shot-by-shot remakes of the original. This means that the pleasure a lot of us derive from watching these remakes are driven by nostalgia for the original movies. If the goal of remaking a cinematic classic is to update the content for an all-new audience, polish up some plot inconsistencies, and improve the viewing experience and the story as a whole, then why would you choose to make an identical movie?

[Image Description: photo of baby Simba from "The Lion KIng"] via Disney.
[Image Description: photo of baby Simba from “The Lion KIng”] via Disney.

Most live-actions are shot-by-shot remakes of the original

At their best, these movies are nostalgic and give us new renditions of Disney songs. At their worst, they make us miss the originals and do a disservice to the classics. For example – the genie in Aladdin will always be Robin Williams. While Will Smith is great, funny, and seems to embody the same energy that the genie’s known for, he just can’t live up to the genie that Robin Williams breathed life and soul into.

The live-action remake should have had a brand new concept that Will Smith could truly make his own…if their intention was for a new generation of audiences to experience the magic of the original Aladdin.

These movies also don’t usually add value to the story in any way. Jon Favreau’s Lion King (2019) wasn’t live-action but a more realistic animation. Because the flaw in the beloved 1994 classic was that the lions weren’t realistic enough…..?

While technically sophisticated, the realistic animals didn’t have the same emotional capacity as the original, big-eyed characterization. Sure, we can see each individual strand of fur, but it also feels like a lucid dream when the Animal Planet lion cub’s words don’t quite synchronize with his mouth movements.

And don’t even get me started on the mess Mulan was

[Image Description: photo of Mulan dressed in red and holding a sword] via Disney.
[Image Description: photo of Mulan dressed in red and holding a sword] via Disney.
On other hand, the Frozen series, Moana, Tangled, and The Princess and the Frog are all Disney films released in recent memory that aren’t remakes and were hugely successful.

Audiences want to experience new stories

The success Disney found with its recent original content proves that audiences want to experience new stories. The reception of the first Polynesian princess Moana is proof of that. Continuing on expanding their range and breadth of storytelling to include better representations of other cultures can only improve the success of Disney worldwide.

For those of you saying “of course Disney’s just doing it for the money! It’s a huge corporation, what do you expect?” I say, it just seems like a poor use of resources. All the money that went into the live-actions are a far riskier investment than developing original material. One need only look at the misguided attempt at a Cats movie as an example. What started off as a (probably) well-intentioned project to make the Broadway play more accessible to the masses. quickly turned into the stuff of nightmares. 

I’ve come to accept that Disney remakes are here to stay. All I ask is that maybe they try to build on the legacy of the original to make it stronger instead of profiting off nostalgia.

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TV Shows Aww Nostalgia Pop Culture

In Hindsight: Rory Gilmore from “Gilmore Girls” is a bit of a terrible person

In Hindsight is a series dedicated to revisiting old shows, movies, books, and music that impacted us when we were younger and exploring how we connect to it now. Beware spoilers! 

When Rory Gilmore’s character was first introduced through Gilmore Girls into the households of impressionable viewers twenty years ago (feel old yet?), she quickly found home within the folds of many introverted, pop culture-obsessed bookworms with a penchant for caffeine and junk food. 

And why not? Rory was constantly shown (and praised) to be intelligent, dedicated, witty, tenacious, and more. Heck, even I wanted to be her when I grew up and I was already grown up when I watched it the first time! 

It’s when I watched it the second time, though, that made me pause.

Maybe the global-wide quarantine has me feeling cynical but Rory kind of sucks folks, and not just in a “I am flawed like every human being” way but in a “every part of her life is tainted by her suckiness” way. Rory Gilmore had me pursing my lips the entire eight seasons; I was practically channeling the collective disapproval of every Desi woman in my ancestry. 

There’s a lot to be said on the levels of ways she sucks (I didn’t even touch friendships in this piece) but here are the four that majorly pissed me off.

1. Monogamy is the one word Rory Gilmore doesn’t know the definition of. 

Dean Forester, Jess Mariano, and Logan Huntzberger stand at the milestones of Rory’s romantic journey throughout the seasons. And while each relationship had its ups and downs, one characteristic of Rory’s remained consistent throughout – her cheating.

Her first kiss with Jess? While she was dating Dean.

Rory Gilmore, a brunette girl, leaps toward Jess Mariano, a dakr-haired boy, and kisses him.
[GIF description: Rory leaps toward Jess and kisses him.] Via GIPHY
The first time she had sex? With Dean, while he was married.

Rory and Dean in bed.
[GIF description: Rory and Dean in bed.] Via GIPHY
Another kiss with Jess? While she was with Logan.

Jess leans into Rory for a kiss.
[GIF description: Jess leans into Rory for a kiss.]
Jess is the only one Rory hasn’t cheated on though I chalk that up more to the fact that their relationship didn’t last long enough to introduce ample opportunity. 

Time and again, as Rory grew up, her “indiscretions” worsened but each time she walked away with zero guilt and repercussions. When we were reintroduced to Rory in Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life at the age of 32, we found her in Logan’s arms before learning he’s engaged (!!!) and that Rory herself has been in a two-year relationship (!) with a man named Paul who she just kept forgetting to break up with – classy.

"I've gotta get going," say Logan to Rory who's in his lap. "But you're my pillow!" she responds.
[GIF description: “I gotta get going,” says Logan to Rory who’s in his lap. “But you’re my pillow,” she responds, hugging him close.] Via GIPHY
Is it even worth mentioning that she had a one-night stand off-screen as well during her relationship with Paul?

2. Self-centered, on the other hand, is a word she’s all too familiar with. 

Ditching her mom’s graduation to chase after Jess. Ignoring Lane, her best friend, whenever in a relationship. Not even considering her mom’s feelings when she decided to pen a book laying out every nook and cranny of the Gilmore Girl clan… Rory made it abundantly clear that her feelings reigned over others’. For a girl who was constantly praised for her maturity, there’s a laundry list of examples trailing behind her that beg to differ.

Yes, her grandmother Emily can be stifling, manipulative, and overbearing but if Rory is keen to have a relationship with her, should she respond in kind or call Emily out on her bullshit like an adult?

If Rory suspects a guy to be spreading a rumor about her in college (which he wasn’t FYI), should she verbally attack and abuse him in a classroom debate or speak to him… like an adult?

When she so easily fell into bed with Dean, did she even pause to think about Lindsey, his wife? No, because Dean was hers first apparently. Yes, of course, it was his decision to cheat, but… we have seen, time and time again, that for Rory Gilmore, it only matters when she’s the one being wronged.

3. Excuse me, I wrote for The New Yorker. 

We all have ambitions we’re working towards in life and for Rory, that’s to be a journalist. It’s a certainty she’s been living with since her childhood so one would think she’d be prepared to jump on every opportunity presented to her and be moderately versed in how things operate in the fickle world of freelance writing. 

Get rewarded for everyday activity. $10 sign on bonus.

Yet, when we meet her a decade post-graduation, she seems to have regressed and it’s all sorts of depressing. A few bylines in some well-established publications and Rory finds herself entitled to similar opportunities. But when given the chance to pen a piece for Condé Nast’s GQ, our girl falls asleep during an interview and sleeps with a source (big no-nos). 

After finding herself fired from a book project, she lashes out at her client effectively burning that bridge, and when she finds herself hitting her version of rock bottom, she decides to “graciously accept” a position at the up-and-coming lifestyle publication, Sandee Says, that had been head-hunting her only to show up unprepared to the interview, expecting to be handed a job that she was openly showing disdain for.

If you’re looking for ways to make a mark in journalism, take her steps as a guide of what not to do. 

4. But I’m a Gilmore!

Privilege and entitlement run rampant in Rory Gilmore’s life. In fact, the premise of the show has very much been that she’s privileged but not as privileged as others. Her third beau, Logan pretty much nailed it when he told her: “Wake up, Rory, whether you like it or not, you’re one of us. You went to prep school. You go to Yale. Your grandparents are building a whole damn astronomy building in your name.” 

Rory may not have been born with a silver spoon but it was always waiting for her on the sidelines – fees for Chilton, for Yale, a car, a pool-house-turned-apartment, and so much more.

And when she wanted something, she felt entitled to have it – be it Jess despite being in a relationship with Dean (let’s not forget how she treated Shane, Jess’ beau) or Dean (“he’s my Dean”) when he was married to Lindsey. 

Let’s also not forget that when Logan’s family disrespected her and thought her beneath them, her response was that she’s a Gilmore! instead of expressing indignation at the blatant classism at play. 

The bottom line with Rory is that she never truly learned or cared for the consequences of her actions because she grew up sheltered, being told she was special, and that she could do no wrong. It’s how she justified stealing a yacht, it’s how she justified her cheating, her dropping out of university, and her poor relationships between friends, family, and romance.

There’s no denying that Rory Gilmore’s ambitions, work ethic, and quick-wittedness carved a sweet spot in the hearts of many. There’s also no denying the other, darker, facets of her character, the one’s which over time have made many a viewer realize that Rory Gilmore kind of sucks.

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The Twilight series may be hot again, but Stephenie Meyers’ werewolves definitely aren’t

Let’s face it, lockdown has been hard on all of us.

You’ve baked all of the bread, you’ve done everything to learn a new language and now there is nothing else to do! I feel like I’m a teenager again: I can’t go out, my hair is long and I have fallen down a Twilight Saga rabbit hole.

From reading fanfiction to looking at Twilight tags on Tumblr, I’m completely lost to the world of Forks and La Push.

There’s a big difference between teenage and 22-year-old me reading these novels; the rose-tinted glasses are well and truly removed. As a politics graduate, I see the books through a completely different lens than simply a reminisced supernatural love triangle.

Not one cent was given to the tribe Stephenie Meyers exploited for her own personal gain.

The Twilight franchise is based in the state of Washington. La Push is the home of the Quileute Tribe, both in Meyer’s fictional world and in ours. In the books, the tribe is described as mainly fishermen and whalers and really secretive about their legends.

One-third of the Twilight love triangle, Jacob, is the son of the chief Billy Black, a man who hates the Cullens and even refuses to allow the Quileutes to get treatment at the hospital that Carlisle works at. Because of the vampires’ presence, some of the young guys in the tribe become shapeshifters to protect the tribe from the cold ones.

The Native American Quileute Nation’s legends are used to explain the shape-shifting nature of the tribe, but Meyer twisted them to suit her own story.

The creation myth of the Quileute people does, in fact, include men turning into wolves.

The creator, or K’wa’iti, created humans from the wolves in the forest. Meyer uses this story to prove that the Tribe was the enemy (something so often attributed to Indigenous communities).

She uses the darker-skinned Native Americans to contrast against her superwhite vampires and uses their folklore to paint them in a civilizing light. It’s not lost on many readers that this is following the narrative so often used by settler communities in North America and by introducing it into popular culture, Meyer sets a dangerous precedent.

It paints tradition and culture as being in conflict with modern education, something the Cullens do not suffer from.

Indigenous communities have suffered at the hands of the white settlers since 1492.

From the genocide to the indoctrination of ‘Western civilization’ through enforced boarding schools; centuries of culture and tradition were forcibly erased. Instead of helping to combat and support Indigenous communities, she helps in their erasure.

Now, when people think of the Quileute tribe they think of ‘Cold Ones,’ not the true creation myth or the Thunderbird.

Similar to many Indigenous reservations, the La Push reservation is in dire poverty.

Through the Twilight franchise, they received many tourists, but they visited for the wrong reasons: not to learn and honor the Quileutes, but for super hot werewolves looking like Taylor Lautner, who incidentally isn’t even Native American (yes, fine, he has ‘distant ancestry’ through his mother’s side of the family).

My point is that Stephenie Meyer made millions from the Twilight franchise. Not one cent was given to the tribe she exploited for her own personal gain.

The reservation has barely changed, unlike her bank account and personality,

Both vampires and werewolves are used to romanticize whiteness and demonize Indigenous communities.

Carlisle, the head of the Cullen family, is a well-respected and super-rich doctor, regardless of his bloodlust and endeavors to help and support people.

The wolfpack, on the other hand, all dropped out of school and cannot contribute to society in the same way. These might be small plot-necessary details, but Meyer peddles stereotypes of Indigenous peoples for the plot.

The role of the shapeshifter is seen as the most important and most honorable position, above everything, even education. The high school graduation rate for Native Americans is only 65%, with college graduation level at 9%.

There is pride in their role as protectors but the consequence is that they cannot leave the reservation or excel in their professional lives.

It paints tradition and culture as being in conflict with modern education, something the Cullens do not suffer from.

On the other hand, the werewolves are violent and short-tempered.

Even the controlled pack alpha Sam Uley injured his girlfriend Emily Young and scarred her face for the rest of his life. Edward only turned Bella out of desperation and as a mercy. The humane nature of the white vampire is contrasted with the Native aggression of Sam.

Sam is reduced to a primitive character: a sign of what love is not.

It creates a narrative of who has the capacity of civilized/refined versus savage/animalistic.

The white character can hold his thirst and protect his love no matter how hard it is. The native character scarred his love after she made him angry.

Sam is reduced to a primitive character: a sign of what love is not. Edward is celebrated and loved for his ability to hold back from killing Bella.

The comparisons between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are blindingly clear. This resurgence of the Twilight Saga should bring with it the decolonized education about Indigenous communities and finally give the Quileute Nation the recognition they deserve.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender just broke records on Netflix

Avatar: The Last Airbender, perhaps one of the greatest shows of all time, is now on Netflix and fans are overjoyed to finally get to relive their childhood nostalgia.

For the first time, this iconic animated series is available on a streaming service in the United States. 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of its premiere on Nickelodeon. The show has a cult following, with fans absolutely loving every part of the series.

This show will have you crying, laughing, and feeling all the emotions.

Any show with that type of wholehearted support and positive memories gets the gold stamp of approval in my book. 

For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of watching Avatar: The Last Airbender before, first of all, pull your head out from under a rock and go binge it right now!

But, secondly, here is a little synopsis of the plot to give you some context. The Avatar world is divided into four tribes known as the Water Tribe, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads that are based on the elements in their namesake. Members of these tribes or “benders” have the ability to control the element of their nation and manipulate it for their own use. 

There is only one person, The Avatar, who is able to control all four elements and is therefore extremely powerful.

The story follows the main character: Aang, the long-lost Avatar, who, at only 12 years old, who has to save the world from the military takeover of The Fire Nation. Throughout the show, Aang learns how to master the elements and channel his powers to help protect the world. There is something so inventive and creative about the storyline.

When it comes to TV series, it can’t get much better than Airbender.

Airbender deserves the hype it gets for an abundance of reasons.

Firstly, the animation is masterful and beautiful in so many places. Second, the story is so charming and transports viewers to a totally alternate and immersive world. The show may be considered kid-oriented, but its story arc and level of complexity are actually quite complex and impressive. Throughout its three seasons, viewers learn the rich history and lore behind the Avatar world. Avatar: The Last Airbender incorporates elements of fantasy, martial arts, and culture from across the world. Some consider Avatar to be a sort of Western “anime.”

Besides the show’s amazing storyline, its characters deserve praise and love.

Aang as a main character is endearing, adorable, and extremely lovable. He is so full of energy and enthusiasm and loves to fly around on his flying pet Bison, Appa.

Even the show’s villains stand out in complexity and character development.

For example, Zuko, the eldest child of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa of The Fire Nation who is exiled in the first season, begins as a ruthless, cruel, and vindictive character who is hell-bent on destroying Aang. 

However, as the show progresses, Zuko has some of the biggest changes of hearts and becomes a more sympathetic, ethically gray character.

Even the show’s villains stand out in complexity and character development.

The kind way he treats his girlfriend, looks after his men, and the mercy he shows for Aang at various points in the series convey how emotional and caring he can be underneath his harsh exterior. We also see throughout Airbender that Zuko’s childhood and poor past treatment impact and influence his behavior. 

The impact of Avatar on animated television feels extremely clear as it was one of the first lore-heavy cartoons. It may have served as a precursor to some modern favorites in the lore-cartoon category like Adventure Time and Steven Universe

In fact, the show has been so popular on Netflix that it’s been in the top 10 for the past 57 days, according to Forbes. That’s not just impressive; that means it’s in a tie with Ozark as the show that’s spent the most consecutive days in the top 10 ever.

For reference, here’s the full list:

  1. Ozark: 57 days
  2. Avatar: The Last Airbender: 57 days
  3. Outer Banks: 51 days
  4. Tiger King: 50 days
  5. All American: 42 days
  6. Love is Blind: – 39 days
  7. Space Force: – 34 days
  8. Dead to Me: 32 days
  9. 13 Reasons Why: 28 days
  10. Money Heist: 24 days

I cannot say enough good things about this series. Avatar: The Last Airbender feels like a piece of my soul and truly captures some fond childhood memories. This show will have you crying, laughing, and feeling all the emotions.

When it comes to TV series, it can’t get much better than Airbender.

Aww Nostalgia Books BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

Twilight fans, get ready: Stephenie Meyer is finally releasing ‘Midnight Sun’

2008-Stephenie Meyer, we forgive you.

Because this? This is everything.

[Image description: Twitter announcement of 'Midnight Sun'.]
[Image description: TheNovel’s announcement of ‘Midnight Sun’ with the words ‘It’s official! Now it’s Edward’s turn August 4, 2020’.] Via Twitter

Need a refresher?

Originally, Midnight Sun was meant to be published in 2009. However, the previous summer the first 12 chapters of the book were leaked online, allegedly by someone close to Meyer.

Meyer originally planned on releasing Midnight Sun in 2008 but canceled the release due to the leak of her unfinished draft, calling the work “an exercise in character development that got wildly out of hand.” She eventually posted a partial rough draft of the novel on her website.

Following the announcement, Meyer shared a letter to fans on her website writing, “While I was procrastinating some real editing work (I’m always at my most creative when procrastinating), I started to wonder how the first chapter of Twilight would read if it were written from Edward’s perspective. There is so much more to his side of the story than there is to Bella [Swan]’s in that first chapter.”

For over a decade, those 12 chapters were everything fans thought that they would get from Edward’s perspective on the story.

Until this year.

Via her official website, Meyer has now announced that she has finished the novel and that its release date will be August 4th, 2020.

And we’ll be damned if we won’t be first in line for the book.

[Image description: Sirius Black, a man dressed in rags, screaming "I did my waiting! Twelve years of it!"] Via Giphy.
[Image description: Sirius Black, a man dressed in rags, screaming “I did my waiting! Twelve years of it!”] Via Giphy.

1. It’s the series that started it all.

[Image description: all the Twilight book covers side by side]
[Image description: all the Twilight book covers side by side] Via Wikipedia

Don’t you want to see how the first YA novel was like?

The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments, Divergent… all of them would not have happened without Twilight proving that teenagers could be invested in reading – and yeah, we get it, Harry Potter came first, but Twilight was the brilliant candle that took us forward. You can hate on Meyer’s writing all you want, but she was a first and that is undeniable.

2. Because yes, you were also once as emo as Bella.

[Image description: black and white image of Bella looking sad]
[Image description: a black and white image of Bella looking sad, with the text “I’m alright. Until I’m alone. And lately, that’s all the time.”] via Giphy.

Almost everyone that re-reads Twilight notices how annoying Bella is. However, our 13-year-old selves loved that drama, and there is no shame in admitting to that.

And maybe we can start recognizing now that Kristen Stewart is not a bad actor at all: Bella was an annoying character and that’s how she played her.

3. That preface you probably skipped.

[Image description: a man jumps and captures a deer]
[Image description: a man jumps and captures a running deer] via Giphy.

The fact that you have just remembered that Twilight has a preface (important, not a prologue) is a sign that you have not visited the books in a while.

The preface is a very symbolic and dramatic image of Bella being attacked by a hunter, that only makes sense once you’ve finished the novel. And if you think I spoiled you, you can just start in Chapter 1.

4. The most awkward meet-cute ever.

[Image description: Edward on a lab desk makes a face of disgust while the wind blows some papers.]
[Image description: Edward on a lab desk makes a face of disgust while the wind blows some papers.] via Giphy.

Who wants to bump into the hottest guy at school and have him help you pick up the books that you dropped when you can have Edward Cullen looking at you like you’re the most disgusting thing on the planet?

Twilight showed us that unrealistic and romantic meet-cutes are overrated. What matters is the end of the couple, not how they meet. Still, this scene keeps being one of the most hilarious scenes of YA.

5. To remember when they say the quote that you still know by heart.

[Image description: close-up of Edward and Bella against a black background.]
[Image description: close-up of Edward and Bella against a black background with the text “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb”. ] via Tumblr.

You know which one I’m talking about, and you can still hear Kristen Stewart’s voice in your head while you read it.

“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…”  “What a stupid lamb,” I sighed. “What a sick, masochistic lion.”

6. To appreciate Stephenie Meyer’s representation of a life without Edward.

[Image description: blank page with the word 'October' on it.]
[Image description: blank page with the word ‘October’ on it.] via New Moon by Stephenie Meyer.

Those white pages on New Moon with just the names of the months on them… truly poetic. They broke 13-year-old me’s heart.

7. To learn that it is not okay to try to waste your life because your boyfriend left you.

[Image description: black and white image of Bella screaming 'Kill me'.]
[Image description: black and white image of Bella screaming ‘Kill me. Kill me!’.] Via Giphy.

Yes, Edward was hot.

Yes, we were all devastated when he left.

No, under no circumstances is it okay to try to risk your life to have hallucinations with your vampire ex-boyfriend.

8. Glittery vampires.

[Image description: Edward and Bella lying on the grass looking at each other while Edward's skin shines.]
[Image description: Edward and Bella lying on the grass looking at each other while Edward’s skin shines.] via Tumblr.

Do I need to add anything else?

9. To understand that Jacob never stood a chance. 

[Image description: Jacob holding his knees and crying.]
[Image description: Jacob holding his knees and crying.] Via Giphy.

Look, we all know Jacob was the better guy (and the less creepy one). However, it was clear the whole time that Bella was never interested in him that way. Re-read Eclipse if you have any doubts.

10. The tragic episode of Bree Tanner. If you don’t remember, you need to.

[Image description: cover of the book 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.]
[Image description: Cover of the book ‘The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner’ by Stephenie Meyer.] Via Wikipedia.

The proof of whether you were a true Twilight fan is whether you can remember who Bree Tanner was. Bonus points if you’ve read her story.

If not… this might be the perfect moment to do so.

11. How the Cullens made being vegetarian cool…kind of?

[Image description: Robert Pattinson saying 'But he was vegetarian beer'.]
[Image description: Robert Pattinson saying ‘But he has vegetarian beer’.] Via Giphy.

Granted, humans are different from animals. But still, the Cullens stood up for their values and what they considered ethical and they should get respect for that.

12. The empowerment of female sexuality and consent (before all of that was cool)

[Image description: Bella tries to seduce Edward.]
[Image description: Bella tries to seduce Edward and he laughs.] via Giphy.

In Twilight, it is Bella who pushes Edward to have sex but agrees to respect his boundaries. Moreover, when Jacob kisses Bella without her consent she hits him (and hurts her hand), making sure to draw the limits of what is acceptable.

We stan a woman who knows what she wants (and what she doesn’t) and is not afraid to express it.

13. Rosalie being an underappreciated badass.

[Image description: Rosalie with red eyes and dressed with a wedding dress smiles.]
[Image description: Rosalie with red eyes and dressed with a wedding dress smiles.] Via Giphy.

None of us gave Rosalie the love that she originally deserved. Only when we learned about her backstory in Eclipse and everything that she went through we were able to understand her cold personality.

Rosalie had the life she always dreamt of until she was attacked and raped by a group of drunk men (one of which was her fiancée!) and left to die. Luckily Carlisle saved her and she decided to take matters on her own hands and avenge her death.

Re-reading the books is a great opportunity to look at Rosalie from a different angle: as a woman that has suffered beyond possibility and has come out stronger.

14. The material that inspired 50 Shades Of Grey

[Image description: Edward looking at Bella.]
[Image description: Edward looking at Bella with the words “Still a better love story than Fifty Shades of Grey”.] Via

At some point, E. L. James read the Twilight saga and was inspired by it to write a fanfiction that would end up becoming Fifty Shades of Grey.  Looking closer it is very easy to see the connections: Bella’s personality originated Anastasia’s, Bella’s mother is literally the same character as Christian Grey’s mother, and even Anastasia’s best friend resembles Jacob.

If that’s up your alley, you should also re-read Fifty Shades when you’re done with the Twilight series. So you can have it fresh in your mind and you can point out every single similarity.

15. Reneesme. Um, yeah. Her.

[Image description: Jacob with a shocked face looks at a baby.]
[Image description: Jacob with a shocked face looks at a baby.] Via Giphy.

Yes, her whole character. Starting from the classic scene when Bella screams at Jacob for nicknaming her Nessie (honestly, anything that is not Reneesme is an upgrade). But, even if we accept imprinting as a supernatural phenomenon, the idea that Jacob was in love with Bella because she would be the mother of his soul mate doesn’t sit well with me… shouldn’t he have also been in love with Edward too?

It is worth reviewing the whole saga just to understand how we came to that – and then re-reading Breaking Dawn.

16. That gender-swapped version you forgot existed (because it wasn’t Midnight Sun).

[Image description: cover of 'Life and Death'.]
[Image description: Cover of the book ‘Life and Death’ by Stephenie Meyer] Via Wikipedia.

Yes,  Stephenie Meyer published another retelling of Twilight that was not Midnight Sun, and definitely not what we would have expected.

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined is the genderswapped story of Beau Swan, an ordinary guy that falls in love with a beautiful vampire…Edythe Cullen.

17. The birth of ship wars.

[Image description: Edward and Jacob fight while Bella tries to separate them.]
[Image description: Edward and Jacob scream and fight while Bella tries to separate them.] Via Giphy.

Twilight gave us many things, but arguably the most important one is the birth of the teams. 

Team Edward vs Team Jacob was the debate of our teenage years. If you ask me, I’d say I am Team Edward for Bella and Team Jacob for myself, and I accept no other point of view.

18. Alice is the true hero of the whole story.

[Image description: Alice fighting and killing a vampire.]
[Image description: Alice fights against a vampire and sends him flying.] Via Giphy.

Let’s be honest. Edward was creepy, Bella was annoying and Jacob did his own thing. Alice was always the one keeping everyone alive and together.

In Breaking Dawn, the Cullens put together a small army of vampires but it is only Alice that is able to stop the Volturi, all by herself. We stan her all the way. Plus, her fashion style that Bella was too good for is worth a mention.


19. Jacob’s point of view.

[Image description: Jacob without a shirt says 'hi' tp Bella.]
[Image description: Jacob without a shirt saying “Hey” to Bella.] Via Giphy.

We are all eagerly waiting for August to be able to read Edward’s perspective on the story. However, let’s remember that the books already gave us Jacob. Re-read Breaking Dawn is the perfect excuse to get into the werewolf’s mind and decide on your favorite narrator!

Pre-order Midnight Sun now!