Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings


harry potter

Book Review: Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard

Rating: 4 stars

From Borrower to wizard, Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame saw him catapulted into the limelight aged just twelve when he landed the iconic role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.

Speaking with candour and his own trademark humour, Tom shares his experience of growing up on screen and as part of the wizarding world for the very first time. He tells all about his big break, what filming was really like and the lasting friendships he made during ten years as part of the franchise, as well as the highs and lows of fame and the reality of navigating adult life after filming finished.

Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.

I’m not one who typically reads autobiographies, but as someone who grew up loving the Harry Potter series, I was excited to read this one about the actor who plays the iconic character of Draco Malfoy. I found this autobiography to be an easy read for me as I learned more about Tom Felton and what it was like for him to grow up as a child actor.

What I loved about reading Beyond the Wand is the way in which Felton wrote. In his book, he felt so relatable, and I enjoyed that. I know those of us not in the entertainment industry tend to idolize celebrities, but they are just everyday people like us. And I felt that in this book when Tom talked about his family and what it was like growing up with three older brothers. As someone who doesn’t follow celebrities closely enough (even celebrities that are part of a series that I really love), I felt like I learned a lot about Tom that I didn’t know and felt like I got a really good understanding as to why he was the perfect person to play as Draco Malfoy.

What I also enjoyed from reading this autobiography was getting to get inside the mind of an actor and getting to visualize where the Harry Potter films were created. I felt like we got a huge glimpse into the Harry Potter universe through Felton and I enjoyed it. I also found this book to be a highly entertaining read whenever he would mention another actor from the series being up to no good or whenever he talked about things he did on set that got him into trouble. I also loved hearing about the other actors in the series from Tom’s perspective as we don’t really know what the relationship between actors on a set is like and you could tell that Tom overall enjoyed his experience filming the Harry Potter movies.

If I had to choose anything to criticize about Beyond the Wand it would have to be the overall length and how it ended. I felt that while this autobiography was a very enjoyable read, it felt almost too short. Like there was more content that could’ve been included that we didn’t get. I feel like this goes hand in hand with my view about this book’s ending, which I’ll get into now.

While I enjoyed the last two chapters as they portrayed a serious subject matter that I don’t feel gets talked about often enough, I feel like they didn’t fit in with the rest of the book. However, once I read them, I also wanted more chapters like them as I feel like a lot of Felton’s autobiography focuses on his time filming the Harry Potter series. Of course, I understand that the Harry Potter films played a huge role in his life so it would make sense that there would be a lot about them but after reading the last two chapters, I realized then that I wanted even more. I wanted to learn more about the subject Tom barely covered as I feel like it’s an important element to his book that we needed more of. And the way in which it was talked about wasn’t enough for me.

But overall, I enjoyed reading Beyond the Wand as I felt like I could hear his voice as I was reading it, and loved the nostalgia it provided me as someone who grew up with the Harry Potter series. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy autobiographies, especially by celebrities. I also recommend this book to those wanting to see the Harry Potter series through the eyes of someone portraying one of the characters in the films and if you’re curious to learn more about the actor who played as Draco Malfoy.   

First Impressions: Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery One

For the past couple months, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery to come to the Apps Store on my IOS. As a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I was really excited when I first heard this game was coming out. Now that it’s out here, I’ve been excitedly playing it in between completing other tasks at home.

For those unfamiliar with the release of this game, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery is a new Harry Potter mobile game where the player gets to go to Hogwarts. As a Hogwarts student, you get to attend different classes where you earn different attribute points and if you successfully complete the class, points for your Hogwarts House. Along with attending classes, the game allows you to explore the Hogwarts grounds in order to complete the main game storyline.

From what I’ve played of the game so far, your character has an older brother who’s been missing since being expelled from Hogwarts. He’s expelled from Hogwarts because of his obsession with the Cursed Vaults, which your character decides they want to learn more about in order to find out what happened to their brother. So with the help from friends you’ve made at Hogwarts (Rowan, Penny and Ben, the first set of characters you’re introduced to during your first year), you set out to find out more about the Cursed Vaults and to find your missing brother.

I find that this plot in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery is one of the many reasons I’ve been enjoying this game so far. It’s not too complex of a storyline, but enough to get me interested in playing this game to see where it goes. I’ve also enjoyed it too though because I finally get to play as a student who attends Hogwarts. Since I fell in love with the Harry Potter series, I’ve always wanted to be a student at Hogwarts, and this game allows me to do just that.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Me Sorting Hat
Me during the Sorting Hat ceremony, where I choose Ravenclaw to be my house.

I’m also enjoying this game because it’s not too complex of a game. The controls are pretty simple, it’s mostly just pointing and tapping to get from one area to the next. The same with classes too where you just click on what’s highlighted in blue until you’ve completed that particular task. It’s also very slow-paced because a lot of the objectives you complete (classes included) involve using your energy under a certain amount of hours until you collect a number of stars. Once you get the number of stars you need, you then can actually take the class and learn a new spell, potion, etc.

As your taking these classes and progressing through the game, your character also gains attribute points. There are a total of three attributes that you can level up: courage, empathy and knowledge. Courage represents your bravery, empathy represents your ability to understand others, and knowledge represents your academic aptitude. None of these attributes have any real bearing on the decisions you make in the game at this point in time other than being able to say certain things to people if a particular attribute is at a high enough level. But I love all of these features and how simplistic this game has turned out to be because it makes it a very relaxing experience to play. While you’ll have to do a lot of waiting to get your energy so you can continue with your lessons, I don’t particularly mind because I use that time to do something else while waiting for my energy to refill.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery My Character Attributes
My character in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery. Even though I’m a Ravenclaw at heart, in this game I seem to have an easy time leveling up my courage and empathy more so than knowledge.

While I love playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, there are some things this game does need that would improve it for me. For one, I think it would be nice if there were more clothing and hairstyle options for your character. From what I’ve seen of the clothes, there is a lot left to be desired. None of them are things I’d honestly really wear, and the things I do tend to see that I like require more gems or coins than I currently have. It would actually require me to spend money on this game to buy them. While I wouldn’t necessarily mind spending money on this game, it has to be something really worthwhile for me to consider it. And right now, there’s really nothing in the game currently that I find worth me to spend my money on. So for now, I’m sticking with wearing my Hogwarts house robs until I can afford clothes for my character I actually like. There also aren’t a lot of hairstyle options for your character when you first start playing the game. It isn’t until later on that you unlock more hair options. But like with the clothes, those hair options require more gems or coins than I can afford, and I’m perfectly fine with the hair my character has right now anyway.

The one thing everyone who’s played Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery believes needs to be improved in the game is the energy system. While I agree in the sense that the wait time for energy needs to be reduced a little, what I really believe would improve this game immensely is if the game was a little more interactive. I think it would be cool if there were more things you could do in the game while waiting for energy for classes, whether it be side objectives to complete that give you attribute points or fun games you can play that level up your character. I think for me what would make this game exactly what I want it to be is if we as players could control our characters and if the choices we made in the game had an actual impact on the plot in the game, whether it be differences in house points we gain or lose or the people we become friends with and the spells we learn during classes. I want all of these different features in this game because I want it to feel more like I’m attending Hogwarts myself rather than it feeling like I’m just playing a game on my phone. I also think it would be nice to have games you can play while waiting for your energy to refill because it would give players something fun they can do (if they so wish), but it would also give them more opportunity to work on their attributes and leveling up their character.

Another feature this game is missing that would make it a really great gaming experience for me is a Sorting Hat quiz. While I don’t necessarily mind being able to choose the Hogwarts House I want to be in (since in the books, the Sorting Hat does say it’ll take the house you want to be in into consideration), I like the idea of taking a quiz to see what house I’d be placed in. While I know for people who identify with a certain house that might cause problems, I love taking online quizzes to see what I get and I think having one here would’ve been another way for people to see if they truly belong in the house they want to be in. I also think for a lot of people it would just confirm for certain the house they identify themselves as being in and would make playing this game feel even more like we’re attending Hogwarts.

So while I’ve enjoyed playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, there are a few features I believe need to be implemented or improved for this game to be the Hogwarts experience I want for myself.  But I do believe this game is making a great start in creating a Hogwarts universe that all of us who love the Harry Potter series can be proud of.

What about you? Are you currently playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery? If so, what Hogwarts House did you choose and why? And if not, what Hogwarts House do you associate yourself with and why? What do you like about the game so far and what do you think about the game can improve? Please leave a comment below because I’d love to hear from you.


If We Were Having Coffee: Let’s Play Quidditch

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing well today and are having a wonderful weekend. 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how this week felt like it was dragging on. I don’t know why exactly, but it felt like it was a pretty slow week for me. Maybe part of it has to do with not really doing a whole lot after getting off from work. The only activity I had outside of work was whenever I went to the mall to grab dinner with a friend Wednesday night. We went to Chick-fil-A to eat, then walked around the mall. My friend and I had a good time and are planning to hang out again on Sunday and on Valentine’s Day go to a place opening in the mall called Dave & Buster’s, which I’m really looking forward to. It’s an arcade gaming place where you can have dinner, drink and play games. A place I’ve never gone to and can’t wait to see what it’ll be like. 

Other than that, the rest of the week has dragged on. Even at work, things haven’t been too exciting. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but we have a co-worker who’s been slacking on the job. I don’t want to get into too many of the details, but it’s been frustrating to deal with because with this co-worker, we have to give them specific instructions in order for them to do their job properly. There isn’t much else we can do about it but hope our co-worker realizes what there doing and will do the best they can to handle their responsibilities. Otherwise, I don’t know what we will do. 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my weekend plans make up for the rest of the week. On Saturday, My Mom and I went to a South Regional Championship Quidditch tournament that took place at a park a couple minutes away from my house. We went there with some friends of my Mom. For those unfamiliar with Quidditch, it is a sport played in the Harry Potter series. A game on brooms where your team’s goal is to score more points. This can be achieved through getting a ball called the Quaffle through one of three hoops on your opponent’s side of the field. But in order to do so, your team’s Chasers have to get to the hoops your Keeper is guarding. But as a Chaser you have to be careful because each team has two Beaters whose goal is to knock the Chaser away from the Quaffle so they can’t score any points. Each team also has a Seeker, whose main focus is to catch the Golden Snitch, which gives your team 150 points and ends the match. Oh, and this sport in the series is played on broomsticks with players flying on the field. 

So whenever I heard about this championship from Mom’s friends, I knew I had to go to it. To see people play a sport in a series I love, to watch it come to life. And I loved it, had quite a blast. Every game was fast paced and while Quidditch in real life is different from the series, I still enjoyed it because of how much the game is accurately portrayed. Yes, the players couldn’t fly in the air on broomsticks, but it was definitely very similar to the sport I loved in the series. I really loved it because it was exactly what I expected. I figured it would be really fast paced and hard to keep up, and I wasn’t disappointed. Each game had an intensity I can’t describe. You’d have to be there to witness it with your own eyes. But it was fun, even if I had a hard time keeping track of each team and which team won the matches I enjoyed.

I had no difficulty following the rules of the game though. Part of that is not only due to my knowledge of the series. Whenever I was in college, our school had one of the local college Quidditch teams come to my school during my first year. The team explained to us the rules of the game as well as had those who were interested play it. I volunteered and was able to experience Quidditch for a brief period of time playing as a Chaser in one game, then a Beater in the next. That experience made me realize how difficult Quidditch physically can be as well as made me love it even more. 

Anyway, enough about that. Here are some of my pictures from the Quidditch Championship I took on Saturday. 

One of the selfies I took at the championship. 

I really enjoyed these matches, even though now my face is so red I look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. I guess that’s what I get for not wearing any sunscreen. 

On Sunday, I’ll be hanging out with a friend, then this week will be over. I hope you all are doing well and having wonderful weekends too. Stay well friends and see you next week!  

Writing Prompt: “Happiness in the Darkest of Times” Quote


Albus Dumbledore Harry Potter Quote
Image can be found on Kites Quotes.

Yay, I get to talk about one of my favorite quotes from Harry Potter! How exciting!

Anyway, I think this quote strongly speaks to me on so many levels. It reminds me that even when things get really bad, there can be happiness in the moment, you just have to go and look for it.

When things seem rough and you don’t know what to do, you have to think about the things that really matter to you. These things are what will brighten your day, make everything that seems horrible disappear. For me, these things are writing, reading, coloring, video games, family, friends and music. Whenever I feel down as if nothing in my life will ever get better, I do one of these things to keep my mind off what’s bothering me and my mood immediately shifts.

I start to feel like myself again. As if every matter that’s bugging me isn’t important and that everything will be alright. Even when I try and tell myself over and over again that it isn’t okay, that I’ll never get better, I push through. I make the most of every moment and try my best to stay away from the negative thoughts clouding my head.

This quote makes me believe again. Believe that there is magic in the world, you just have to go and find it. That even in the darkest hallways, there is a light that just needs to be turned on to brighten the place. That happiness might seem impossible, out of reach, but once you are able to find a moment that makes you laugh, you will be alright again.

In the end, you need to see the good in everything, even if the bad tries really hard to take over. Just think of the things you love and you’ll be alright.

Rereading Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Book Cover
Out of all of the books in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of my favorites.

As an avid reader, there are times where I don’t always feel like reading a book I haven’t read before. When that happens, I typically end up rereading some of my favorite books.

Lately, the book series I’m currently rereading right now is Harry Potter. For those unfamiliar with this series, it centers on a young boy named Harry Potter who at the age of eleven finds out that he is a wizard. Being raised by his muggle aunt, uncle and cousin (muggle is a term used throughout the series to refer to people who are not magical) who are strictly cruel to him, he is sent away to Hogwarts a School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he learns how to use his magical powers and finds out how his parents really died.

The reason I’m currently rereading the Harry Potter series is because it’s one of my favorite series to read. It’s also one of the longest series I can enjoy reading with a total of seven books.

Harry Potter is one of my favorite series to read because it’s one of the other series that got me interested in wanting to become a writer.

When the first couple books in the series came out and the movies were being made, I was in elementary school. However, I wasn’t as big of a fan of them as I am now. Whenever I was in daycare, they had us watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets over and over again, almost every day. So for the longest time, I wasn’t a big Harry Potter fan because of how often I was stuck watching the films at daycare.

It wasn’t until I was in seventh grade that I really began to enjoy and appreciate the Harry Potter series. I started reading the books, finding myself entranced by the story I saw within the pages. The magical world that Harry lived in is one of the most wonderful worlds of magic I have ever read about and is a place I myself would love to go.

The story blew my mind and imagination in ways I didn’t expect and I quickly fell in love with the series as a whole.

I love the series so much that I try and read the books and watch the movies whenever I can, even if it drives the rest of my family crazy.

As I write this now, I’m currently rereading the third book in the series Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and continue to find myself still in love with the series the more I read it.

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