special interests

Magnus Chase and Wagner’s Ring

Alex has previously resisted reading out loud, so when they appeared in my bedroom last week jigging up and down with excitement and desperate to read one of their favourite books to me, of course I said yes. It’s a Rick Riordan book, the first in the Magnus Chase trilogy, which is based around the characters and stories found in Norse mythology. (I now know a lot more about the world tree than I previously did.) That was last week; Alex read aloud, endlessly, while I crocheted. The audiobook version is 15 hours long and that’s about what it took us I reckon. We finished the first book yesterday and of course all Alex wants to do today is start the second one. 🤦🏽‍♀️ However before we did that I decided to take a slight detour and look at the story of Wagner’s Ring Cycle – we’d already listened to Ride of the Valkyries last week but I’ve never actually looked at the cycle as a whole. To Alex’s delight it seems that there’s a fair bit of crossover between the Ring Cycle and Magnus Chase – the gods have slightly different names but we were able to match them up to their Norse equivalents, and we found certain features in the story of the ring that have been lifted directly into Magnus’ story in the second and third books. (Alex was literally bouncing up and down with excitement at this point.) THEN I discovered that Opera North have recorded

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The Da Vinci Curriculum

I mentioned briefly at the end of my last post that Alex and I had just started reading The Da Vinci Code together. I chose it originally because I thought Alex might tolerate a bit of maths, if I snuck it in at the appropriate points in the story, but it’s actually given us so much more than that. We’re nearly a third of the way through the book currently (Langdon and Sophie have just discovered they can’t get into the American Embassy) and here are some of the things we’ve covered so far: We did do the maths (hurrah!) – we learned about the Fibonacci sequence, and looked at some examples of where it’s found in the natural world. We learned about ratios, and about phi, and measured different parts of our bodies to see how close to perfect they are. In the book, the Fibonacci sequence first appears as an anagram, so we did a bit of that too, just for fun. We then wandered down a bit of a tangent into codes and cryptography (seeing as that’s Sophie’s job) and learned about various types of cyphers. I had quite a lot of fun writing coded messages for Alex to decipher in order to find their Easter eggs, and it kept them entertained for quite a lot of Easter Sunday too! The brilliant thing about all of this is that Alex doesn’t even realise they are doing maths – problem solving, pattern recognition, and we’ve even just started

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