Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Halloween Blog- 3 Favourite Witches and Wizards of Literature

Of all the monsters and heroes that people often dress up as at Halloween, the favourite for everyone are witches and wizards. They both appear in literature sometimes as protagonists and support characters, but most often they are the villains of the story, witches more often than wizards. The rabble of characters I have selected for my list are all the stars of their respective stories and all have a thing in common with each other, see if you can spot it in the list!


  1. Mildred Hubble – The Worst Witch Series – Jill Murphy

My personal favourite character on this list, Mildred is presented to us in Jill Murphy’s 80’s book of the same name as a bumbling, accident prone girl, a “worst witch” as you will. Everything seems to not go to her favour, from messing up in Potions class to not getting a black cat like the other girls but instead a grey coloured cat she calls ‘Tabby’. Mildred’s bumbling is actually her greatest strength in the books as she (unknowingly) saves the day in each one, with accidental consequences of course! What made Mildred my favourite over the years is that she was very gloriously average. Most characters I have read about up until then were Greek in their ways, flawless and ones to model ourselves after. Mildred in a way was us, and we were following her journey with her. I also thanks to Mildred, grew quite fond of tabby cats and used to always carry a beanie baby tabby cat with me and pretend I was Mildred, in fact I was her for Halloween three times in my life! Re-create the look by getting a black pinafore, thin scarf, blue shirt and witches hat. And don’t forget those famous plaits!

  1. Wizard Howl – Howl Series – Diana Wynne Jones

I admit I did not know who Diana Wynne Jones was as a child and I first came across her as
a teenage anime fan, seeing the movie adaptation of her book Howl’s Moving Castle. But we are not here to talk about the movie version as this is a library blog. Howl is somewhat of a mysterious character when you are first introduced to him. Although the book is called ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ you are seeing the events through the eyes off a milliner called Sophie Hatter. Sophie is turned into an old woman for much of the story, and her meeting Howl is a happy accident. Howl is presented to us as a vain if quirky wizard who is supposed to be this ‘heart eating demon’. Throughout the book, you see (through Sophie) Howls personality change from that to a selfless hero who is a powerful wizard. Complete the look for Halloween by finding the dandiest suit you can find and putting a blond wig on.

  1. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series- J.K Rowling

This series does not need any waffling from me to introduce it does it? Even though Harry is the main star of the series, it was his clever friend Hermione Granger that I always was in awe of. She was the straight woman of the 3 Man Band of Harry, Ron and herself. She would always use her cunning intelligence to get Harry and Ron out of trouble and lets face it, she was the real hero of the stories. Get the look by purchasing a Harry Potter Hogwarts uniform set from any fancy dress shop and letting you hair go wild.


Brent libraries are running Halloween events all half term so check brent.org/events for more details.


By Solmaz


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Filed under books, Brent Libraries, Children's Fiction, creativity, Libraries

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

This is the famous children’s author’s first adult book.  I haven’t read Harry Potter so came to it with few expectations.  I thought it was quite excellent.

The Casual Vacancy coverThe novel is set in a small town called Pagford, it begins with the sudden death of a local councillor and then follows the reactions and consequences to his death.  There is a huge cast of characters.  There are those who benefited from his community and political work, those who disapproved of it, his family, his friends…the the family and friends of his family and friends!  Even those not close to him find themselves effected by his death in some way.

It is a moving and moral story.  Rowling writes the teenage characters particularly well (perhaps from her practice in Harry Potter!).  She expresses both the lighter and darkest sides of teenage life very well, it really took me back to aspects of my own teenage years growing up in a small rural English town.

It’s hard to write a clear synopsis – I guess basically it’s about characters jostling for power once a vacancy has unexpectedly appeared on the council at a time when big changes to the town are being voted on – but that doesn’t cover even half of it!  I guess it’s more a portrait of small town life with us following several of the inhabitants in a dramatic few weeks of their lives.

There is humour in this tale but really it’s a very sad story.  I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so gritty and moving so be warned you may need a handkerchief to hand towards the end!


The novel was adapted into a TV series which I didn’t see.  Did any of you? Any good?

In terms of criticisms I have a few (I watch out for them while I’m reading now in readiness for my review writing).  Possibly there were too many characters, for the first half of the book I struggled to remember who was who and some characters weren’t that interesting (although I do wonder if it might all have been too intense if it had only focused on the interesting people!).  Secondly I wonder if some readers might find it a bit lectury?  There are strong moral messages about doing the right thing and not judging people when you know nothing about their background or what they have been through.  I think it was great but possibly it might be seen as a bit of a sermon if someone were just looking for a purely entertaining read.  It’s also got political under tones (unsurprisingly!) some of the vulnerable characters suffer because of council budget cuts and lack of social service resources, so it’s certainly not escapism for anyone worried about austerity politics!

Overall an excellent and moving tale with both likeable characters and a few you will love to hate!




Filed under Book Review, books, Modern Fiction