Basically, this entire week has been comprised of nothing but fangirling and doing fandom things. You have been duly warned.

On Thursday, Margaux came to London! It's spring break at UM and she was spending ten days visiting friends in Europe, and I was her first stop. I met her outside my flat when I got out of class, and she passed on some AWESOME birthday presents from the rest of the Marauders! I seriously love those girls. Among some jewelry and other randoms, they all chipped in to get me soap carved into a bust of Alan Rickman. It's absolutely terrifying, but equally as hilarious! I had some errands to do at the mall, so we headed over there and I took her to Olympic Park as well. It's so cool that that's my "usual"; just seeing Olympic Stadium from my bedroom window. We went to Spoons (a nearby pub) for dinner that night, and went to bed at a fairly reasonable time (after Margaux got her fill of fanfiction, of course).

We attempted to get an early-ish start on Friday, but after I got up, Margaux crawled into my bed and went right back to sleep. So I planned our itinerary until she woke up, and we headed out in the afternoon. Our plan was to do as much Harry Potter sightseeing as possible, so our first stop was King's Cross. She took the obligatory photo at Platform 9 3/4, and then we went to the British Library because it's literally right there. They won't let you into the reading rooms if you don't have a pass, which was really disappointing, but there's this really cool exhibit about restoring books and audio clips that we spent some time at.

From there we went to Leadenhall Market, which was the inspiration for Diagon Alley, and met up with Amanda. The two of them hit it off immediately, which I knew they would -- they're both Ravenpuffs! ;) By that time it was close to 4 and the market was basically finished, but we walked around a bit and spent some time looking at expensive clothes and browsing in Waterstone's. A trip to London would be nothing without having tea, so we killed two birds with one stone and went to the Tate Modern for tea and the Millennium Bridge. Margaux's friend Olivia, who also goes to UM and is studying abroad, met us there. The tea and scones were great, as was the company! We spent ages just sitting around and chatting (...and reading tea leaves).

After parting ways with Olivia (who said she'd go to Greece with me in May, by the way! Eeeeek!), we headed back to Queen Mary. We all wanted to go to bed early that night, but we ended up hanging out in my flat's kitchen until like 1 am. I love when my friends become friends! Actually, it turns out that they've probably met in the past. Amanda lived in Miami for awhile, and they have a bunch of friends in common. SUCH a small world!

Margaux and I didn't go to bed until 2, and then we were up at 5:15 to go rush for Sweeney Todd tickets. Imelda Staunton (Umbridge in Harry Potter) is in it, and that night was the first show in previews. There were three girls there before us, who'd gotten there at 5. We ended up making friends with the guys on line behind us. I exchanged numbers/Facebook/Twitter info with them. Yay for awesome British friends! :) We got tickets when the box office opened at 10, and then realized we were right on top of Trafalgar Square. We walked from there to Buckingham Palace (stopping in another Waterstone's on the way, because that's what nerds do) to sightsee a bit before heading back to campus to nap for a few hours.

That evening, we had tickets for the London Eye at 6. We had a quick dinner at a noodle place before our time slot. It was just getting dark as we were going up, and it was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! It may cost a decent amount of money, but man, it was worth it.

The show was at 7:30, so when we were back on the ground we figured out how to walk to the theatre and made it just in time. However, when we got to our row, my seat number didn't exist. Yes, I was sold a ticket to a seat that's not a thing. So they gave us two new seats, apparently the last two that were left, that were in the first row of the dress circle instead of first row down in front of the stage. Basically, we got some of the best, most expensive seats in the house for the same price as obstructed view. Excellent? Yes yes. :) The show was really amazing. Not quite my taste, but Imelda Staunton was fabulous! We stage doored afterwards, but she only signed for like five people (including Margaux). Of course. That's just what happens to me. I'm glad she got it, though; she wanted it much more than I did.

Fun fact: everything in central London is obnoxiously close to everything else. Did you know that? I sure didn't. But we walked around a little bit and all of a sudden found ourselves in all sorts of places. Back at Trafalgar Square. Leicester Square. Piccadilly Circus. Tottenham Court Road. Oxford Street. You name it, we found it, and all putting in no physical effort. We stopped for a waffle and gelato in Leicester Square and saw some drunken girls get kicked out, which was... interesting. It ended up being too late to take the tube back, so Margaux got to ride on a double decker bus for the first time.

We passed out almost immediately when we got back to my flat, which was good, because she actually had to get up to catch her train in the morning. I spent the rest of the day not doing work, and at night, Amanda, Liz, and Angela came over to make our shirts for The Hunger Games premiere. :) They came out seriously epic. This might be my favorite shirt that I've made.

I spent all of Monday and Tuesday in serious grind mode. I have two papers due at the end of the month and neither of them had been started, so I did all my research and wrote 900 words for one of them. Pretty solid start. But it was because I knew Wednesday and Thursday would be completely lost!

The premiere was on Wednesday, so of course a bunch of us wanted to go on Tuesday night. Jen, Angela, Erin and I left campus at around 9:45 to head over to the O2 Arena (which is seriously freaking cool, by the way). Security stopped us on the way in and gave us numbered wristbands: clue #1 that this would be better run than anything Warner Bros. has ever put on. Ever.

Amanda, Celeste, and Liz met us there after the play they were seeing ended, and us and the rest of the 25 or so campers present were sent off the premises for the night... or so we thought! The original plan of the wristbands was to get people to NOT camp out, but we formed our line by the bus station right next door. When they realized we weren't going home, they came back over to us and let us line up right outside the arena instead. Clue #2.

It was absolutely freezing that night. Luckily I'd brought a sheet and blanket, and Amanda and I cuddled underneath them while we tried (and failed) to sleep. None of my parts went numb, though, so that was nice. I was just shivering like crazy. But we had food, and the bus station had bathrooms, and everyone around us was nice. If it were 15 degrees warmer, it would've been perfect.

More people started arriving when the tube opened at 6 am, but at no point did anything get out of hand. The wristbands prevented any cutting, and at 9 am we were moved to the official line, where we were held for the rest of the morning. It was SO well organized! They counted us, and to go to the bathroom or leave the line for any reason, security had to move the barrier and then write your number down. It was orderly, and everyone knew what they were doing, and it made me hate WB even more. Go Lionsgate!

At around 1, we were moved to our VIP pen on the red carpet after being given our rubber wristbands that would get us into a screening of the movie (!!!!!!). We had a ton of space, though, so it was actually not bad at all being there for the rest of the afternoon. It warmed up for awhile and we could come and go as we pleased, and I had The Hunger Games to read. Funnily enough, to get to the bathroom from there we had to walk on the red carpet. Like, follow it. In the path the stars would be following it. And we totally became "the girls in the t-shirts." :)

I think arrivals started at around 6-ish. I couldn't really see much, since I was in the second row and behind some really tall girls. But our spots were excellent! Right at the front of the carpet, across from the paparazzi, where the cars were pulling up and letting the stars out. Everyone that was there came over and signed autographs. I gave my camera to Amanda's friend Gerra, who's 6 feet tall, and she took some awesome pictures for me.

Liam Hemsworth came first, and I very nearly missed getting his autograph. He skipped over my book and kept moving down the line, but the girl in front of me helped me stretch it out further and ask him for his autograph. It was so nice of her! We had a nice little respect thing going on; I was trying really hard not to be the jerk that shoved her book in her face, ya know? It worked for the both of us!

Josh Hutcherson got there next, and stopped signing autographs literally at the girl in front of me and directly to my left. He said he'd be back, though, and he wasn't lying! Jennifer Lawrence got there really soon after, and actually signed my book when I was trying to get Josh's signature (they were signing down the line together). That was a nice surprise! Haha. She was like "Sometimes I forget how to sign my own name!" She's such a troll, and I love her.

By this time, Josh was a few people past me. His was the autograph that I REALLY wanted, so I was freaking out. Celebrities never hear me at these kinds of things (I'm too short and quiet and hesitant to be 'that guy'), but I had to try. So I called his name, and he looked at me (!!!!!!!). I held up my book and said "Please?" and he walked back over to me, took my book out of my hand, and signed it for me.

Please allow me to pause while I fangirl.

It figures that he'd be the person to hear me when I tried that. We're getting married one day, after all. He's into smart girls with glasses, and we both have Christmas lights up all year round. He's also super adorable, and short. Most girls are like "ohhhh why is he so little?!" But when you're 5'3" in the morning on a good day, 5'6" is quite perfect. When he saw a sign a fan had that said she'd come from Tennessee, he said "There are easier ways to meet me than coming to this!" ...Now I just have to figure out what they are. And no, stalking homes and hotels is completely out of the question. But you're all invited to our future wedding. ;)

Basically, they're all flawless human beings and I love them all. Liam stayed out signing autographs for AGES, which was fantastic. They kept us in our pen for a while to let the celebrities clear off the carpet before taking us inside to the screening, and on the way I nabbed a poster! We had to check all our electronic devices before we went into our respective theatres -- I just thought it was so nobody recorded the movie, which I understood, but the fact that I didn't have my camera made me FURIOUS when it turned out that the screenings were introduced by the cast! AAHHHH! They were only in there for a second and only the producer said anything, but still! Josh gave the three-fingered salute and aaaahhhhh it was wonderful.

Speaking of wonderful... this movie. HOLY FEELINGS, BATMAN! I was freaking out excited beforehand, not nervous at all. I'd only heard good things about it so far, and it more than lived up to my expectations. It was different than the book in ways that said "yes, we know this is different, but this is a different medium." They made a movie, not a book-turned-movie. It would've been impossible to have the movie told from Katniss's perspective, like the book is, and have it be half as fulfilling as it was. Information was inserted in a way that made sense and felt organic.

I won't say it was perfect, as there were some little things that I would've changed ever so slightly. But overall? UNFFFF. I was blown away. It simultaneously humanized and dehumanized everyone, even characters I'd only previously seen as ruthless killing machines. But every death truly got to me (yes, even the deaths of the Careers), and physically seeing these kids killing each other was incredibly disturbing.

Can I talk about Rue's death for a second? I was expecting to cry, but not as much as I actually did. Good god. There were tears rolling down my cheeks. I wasn't sobbing, but I cried through the whole scene, and probably would've continued if Katniss hadn't found Peeta almost immediately afterward. The girl they cast as Rue is just so beautiful and so adorable, and this clever, sweet, gorgeous, innocent child died from a spear wound to the stomach. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Ugghhhh.

It took me a minute or two to buy into Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss: at first, I saw Jennifer on the screen. But as soon as we got to the reaping, I was fully on board. Josh Hutcherson, however, took no convincing. From the first second we see him, he IS Peeta. I love that character so much and I was so nervous about him being ruined in the movies, but Josh was absolutely flawless (and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased). The cave scenes were phenomenal, and I can see why he loved filming them so much. I was just a melted puddle of fangirly goo.

Basically, I'm really sad I have to wait for it to come out in theaters on the 23rd to see it again. IT WAS THAT GOOD!

...And I've been a zombie ever since. :P We left the theatre and came straight back to campus, where I promptly got into my pajamas, uploaded my pictures, and passed out. I got 8 hours of sleep before class this morning, and I'm still running on fumes. It was so beyond worth it though!

I love fandom!

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