Monday, September 01, 2003
Harry V reigns supreme Long before the English were crazy for Harry Potter, they were crazy for another Harry-Harry the King or, formally, Henry V. Although he died nearly 600 years ago, Harry and his "band of brothers" live on in William Shakespeare's play, "Henry V."
My advice? Get to know Shakespeare (and Harry!) before an English teacher bores you with lectures and expressionless recitations from a textbook. That's no way to meet the famous playwright and the once king of England.
Rather, "bestow yourself with speed" to the nearest Blockbuster and rent Kenneth Branagh's version of "Henry V." (You may already know Branagh from his turn as the charming fraud Gilderoy Lockhart in the movie "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.") Branagh's film will probably be filed beside the Laurence Olivier version, which may be the "Henry V" your granddad knew, but skip it. Unlike Branagh's epic, Olivier's battle scenes seem phony, all the best lines have been cut, and we never really get to know Harry the King. But Branagh's movie focuses on the king-his growth from a prince who drinks too much and runs with petty thieves to a fearless leader whose men are outnumbered 5-to-1 when they take the field at Agincourt, the scene of a brutal battle for the crown of France.
The movie begins slowly with Henry's priests advising him what claims he has to the French throne. But by the time the troops depart for the French shores, and Harry exposes three unlikely traitors, the movie picks up.
Shakespeare penned "Henry V" nearly 400 years ago, but his characters reach across the centuries to teach us about leadership and war. "Henry V" shows us the hardship, pain, and suffering of war, but it also shows us how courageous one must be to even fight: "We are but warriors for the working day. Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd with rainy marching in the painful field. But by the mass, our hearts are in the trim...."
Shakespeare's language isn't easy to understand right away, but trust me: It's not all "thees" and "thous." And the action in this movie rivals that of "The Lord of the Rings." Sword fights! Betrayal! Galloping steeds! Boastful Frenchmen! Brave soldiers! Some goofy humor! There's even a princess.
"This story shall the good man teach his son." John F. Sherman, 13, Chicago
Ender's Game will win you over My name is Paloma Elena Mitchell, I am 12 years old and I found Ender's Game to be a wonderful and captivating book. The cover of the book was a simple illustration that caught my eye. Since I was 6 years old, I have always wanted to be an astronaut, so stories about the future are exciting to me. Ender's Game is a science fiction book about a boy who has an important role in the world and how his abilities can change the future of the human race.
The story begins when Ender is 6 years old and he is taken away from his family by the International Fleet. The International Fleet is the world government that recruits children with special abilities for the government battle school training program. These specially trained children will one day fight against the Buggers and save the world. The Buggers are the aliens from the outer galaxy who are determined to wipe out the human race.
The International Fleet explains to Ender that when Ender leaves his family he may not take any possessions with him and that he will not be allowed contact with his family until he is 16 years old. There is nothing left for Ender to take with him; the battle school provides everything he will need. It supplies uniforms, school supplies, and there will be no toys.
Only one game is of importance at battle school. For a long while this disturbs Ender, but he begins to accept the life he has been given. The International Fleet plans to isolate Ender from his family and the other children at the battle school. This way the International Fleet can manipulate and train Ender into becoming the commander of an International Fleet army.
Read Ender's Game if you enjoy exciting and thrilling stories about the future. This book kept me going to the end. Orson Scott Card gives a great picture in your mind of what it would be like to grow up in Ender's environment. I have just received the parallel novel to Ender's Game, which is Ender's Shadow. These books would be fantastic as movies, too. Paloma Elena Mitchell, 12, Chicago
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