Exclusive Interview with Atli Orvarsson, Composer of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones!

I am VERY excited to share today’s interview with you. My good friend, nurse Pamela, side effects over at The Mortal Minute, conducted an interview with Atli Orvarsson, who you may know as the composer for the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie. Unfortunately, her website is going through some changes, and revisions right now, and so she has been unable to share the interview with all of us TMI fans.

Fortunately, Pamela came to me, and asked me to share it with all of you, which I was MORE than happy to do!

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Atli Orvarrson has composed for many familiar titles like Hansel and Gretel, Law and Order, The Fourth Kind, and has contributed to scores for movies like the recent Superman movie, Man of Steel. His most recent work has been with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and A Single Shot. Enjoy this interview between him and Pamela:

Pamela: What’s the trick? How does one go from Iceland to a Hollywood blockbuster film composer? 

Atli: Probably determination and stubbornness! Obviously a good education, great mentors and a bit of luck helps too…

Pamela: How did Mr. Harald Zwart first approach you with the “Mortal Instruments” project? 

Atli: I’ve known Harald for some time but then I ran into him at the premiere for another film I wrote the music for, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and he asked if I’d want to work with him on City of Bones

Pamela: Did you find it easier to work with Harald Zwart? 

Atli: Harald and I got along great and I think the collaboration was very enjoyable for us both.

Pamela: What drew you to this project? 

Atli: I love the fantasy genre and really wanted to work with Harald so it worked out perfectly!

Pamela: What was the first thing that crossed your mind when Harald Zwart approached you with the title ‘The  Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’?  

Atli: Well, I didn’t really know what to expect so I went on the internet and did some reserach. So by the time I saw the film, I was quite educated on what it was about.

Pamela: Are you familiar with Cassandra Clare’s first book, “City of Bones”; Have you read it? 

Atli: I am now! But I’ll be honest, I haven’t read the whole thing. I came on to the project so late that I didn’t really have time for anything else but writing music!

Pamela: You’ve worked on great movies like ‘Season of the Witch’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’. Did your previous works prepare you for this score in any way? 

Atli: Well, they’re all in the fantasy realm and they all have witches! Beyond that, they all present their unique challenges and requirements.

Pamela: What was your inspiration for this score? Was there a particular scene or character that gave you the inspiration? 

Atli: I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen the film but there’s an expected character in the film that provided me with a great deal of inspiration! Then, of course, there are the characters, the plot and the general tone of the film that provide the greatest inspiration.

Pamela: How long did it take you to compose the complete score? 

Atli: I basically had about 8 weeks to write and record the whole score which ended up being about two hours of music.

Pamela: Would you describe the process of writing a song? 

Atli: I didn’t write any of the songs in the movie but the way I go about writing music for the scenes is that I first start by writing themes for various characters and then you start applying them to the film.

Pamela: How much ‘darkness’ did you want your score to convey, knowing that The Mortal Instruments is not just a teenage tale? 

Atli: I wanted it to be quite dark, maybe even darker than some of the producers wanted it to be. Its a bit of a fine line to find the right tone as it covers so many aspects of life, not just the dark side.

Pamela: Could you tell us about the score elements? 

Atli: I used a large symphony orchestra, a choir and all kinds of weird solo instruments like bass duduk and viol, in addition to a lot of electronic elements.

Pamela: How did you want your score to help the audience take the film seriously, as more than “another sparkly vampire movie”? 

Atli: One of the first things I mentioned to Harald when we started working on the film was that I felt that the music had to have “weight and importance” to underscore the importance of the events in Clary’s life that the film conveys. I also think its important when you’re scoring fantasy movies to have that serious important feel to help the audience suspend belief and become immersed in the film.

Pamela: Without giving away too much, do you have a favorite song in your score, and why? 

Atli: I have a few favorites; Clary’s Theme, The New Rune, and the “snow scene” to name some.

Pamela: Who have been your favorite composers in the fantasy-horror genre? And did they inspire you for this score? 

Atli: I have learned a lot from the likes of Bernard Herrmann, Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer to name a few and I’m sure their influences are in there somewhere.

Pamela: To be honest, The Mortal Instruments fandom is really strong and supportive. What have your experiences with the fandom been like so far? 

Atli: Having been to the premiere in Hollywood, its clear that these stories have a very dedicated and fervent fan base, which is great. I love the enthusiasm and I think all of us who worked on the film feel a great deal of responsibility not to let the fans down!

Pamela: The movie is aimed at a young adult audience. Do you think the music you composed drew more attention to the movie? 

Atli: I hope so.

Pamela: Do you think fans will be happy with the score? 

Atli: Same answer, I really hope so! The feedback I have gotten so far is very encouraging!

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I hope you all enjoyed this interview and I hope that you guys loved the score of the movie just like I did! I hope that Atli will be returning to score City of Ashes, once it makes it back into production.

Thank you Pamela for doing this interview, and letting me be a part of it, and letting me share it with my followers!

City of Ashes Movie Production Delayed Indefinitely

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Sad news, order little Shadowhunters!

Just announced within this last hour, find Martin Moszkowicz, producer of the films, announced that the production of City of Ashes, which was set to start filming next week, has been officially postponed indefinitely. Here is a piece of the official press release below.

“Constantin Film” has a long tradition of adapting books to the big screen. Pushing back the start of production of ‘City of Ashes’ was a decision we did not take lightly. But after speaking with all of our partners on the creative and distribution side, it was clear that it will be beneficial to have more time to reposition the film in the current market place,” said executive producer Martin Moszkowicz of Constantin. “‘The Mortal Instruments’ series has an incredibly loyal and ardent fan base and is a bestselling book series. While taking Cassandra Clare’s vision to the screen, we want to make sure to draw on the full potential of the franchise.”

Now, while this news is extremely disheartening, it is not altogether surprising. City of Bones has been in theaters a total of three weeks, and it has not been able to match the 60 million dollar budget and 60 million dollar marketing campaign. That, paired with the less than satisfactory reviews, lead us all to believe that maybe we had to worry about the upcoming City of Ashes.

Now it has been announced that the production is postponed indefinitely, fans fear for the full canceling of the film. I’m optimistic for the moment. Movie sequels are often times postponed if the first film doesn’t quite perform up to standards. Rushing into a sequel, and spending a bunch of money to quickly film, produce, and promote a movie by next summer/fall is not exactly the smartest idea if the original hasn’t done very well. Hopefully, Constantin Films will take this time to rework the script or the film in some way to address the concerns of the fans, but more importantly (yes, I said it), the audience and critics, in order to make a better film, in order for us to get City of Glass. As much as this is made for the fans, it cannot be successful without the masses on board.

So I’m very sad, and disappointed in this news, but I have hopes that this will not be a permanent step and that we will hopefully see the news that production has been started up. I have a lot of faith in the team behind this movie. They have their hearts in the right place, and they wanted so badly to make a film for the fans, and for the most part, the fans have really loved the movie. Now its time to make this bigger, and bring in more people so we can keep the movie franchise going. This is a business, a movie business, and from a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense, and they have to do what they have to do to stay in business.

And remember! No matter what happens, whether production eventually starts or whether they decide to cancel the movie completely, we still will always have the books. We always have the books and no one can take those away from us. We still have so much to look forward to! Shadowhunter Codex! The remaining Bane Chronicles! City of Heavenly Fire! The Dark Artifices! TLH! TWP!

Have a little faith, Shadowhunters, we always have each other and these books and our dear Cassandra Clare!

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A Message to the Critics and the Haters

I’ve been stewing all day. I’ve been on the brink of exasperation and annoyance and yeah, rx a little bit of anger. And it took this little picture here to make me happier.

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But still. I’m frustrated. City of Bones hit theaters yesterday, officially, in most countries. Thousands and thousands of TMI fans have flocked to the theaters, and I know several fans who have seen it more than once, some three times already! I am so proud of this fandom, and I am so proud of Harald Zwart and his team, and our beloved actors for making a great movie.

Now, I didn’t expect that the critics would absolutely adore this movie. I didn’t think that people were going to be shouting “Oscars!” at the top of their lungs or handing out A+ ratings for it. I didn’t think people were going to be talking about what a masterpiece it was. I honestly didn’t. But myself, and so many of the fans I’ve talked to (and I’ve talked to quite a bit of you) absolutely loved it, and we are going to be the harshest critics. We are the ones who read the books and fell in love with the characters and hold them so dear to our heart. We are the ones going in with preconceived ideas of what this world and characters and story is about. We should be the ones that should be the hardest to please.

And yet this is not how it happened. I saw a picture on my friend Perla’s Facebook page today, and it really accurately displays what I think what down in the world of critics today.

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And its really what happened. Look, I like Twilight well enough. I recognize that its a terribly written book series and that the movies were made pretty terribly too. I recognize that completely. But its a guilty pleasure for me. But one thing I can say is…its given the whole young adult literature group a bad name. Honestly, I spend so much of my time, both on this computer with my blog and Tumblr and Facebook and such and in real life defending young adult literature and its movies and I am SO tired of it. I am so ridiculously tired of it.

Now this picture says “every male critic”. I happen to think its just every male (I do recognize there are exceptions). The male population tends to have a very negative view of young adult literature, and I think that’s partly due to Twilight. I think Twilight turned off a lot of people because of how badly it does as a book and a movie, critic wise, and it causes a blanket assumption on the rest of young adult lit books. Which is absolutely and completely ridiculous.

I love young adult literature and I’m 25 years old. I’ve met people from all different ages who adore young adult literature, including people into their sixties and seventies. Young adult literatures reaches people because it is a time in your life that you will NEVER forget, because you never feel as strongly and as powerful and invincible as you do when you are a teenager. Who wouldn’t want to experience those feelings again, and in such wonderful worlds like The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments, and Divergent and such.

But these preconceived notions that people have about young adult books and their movie adaptations, and it effects the way they go into the movie. I read a lot of these reviews of the City of Bones, because I just had to, and what I noticed was…majority of these reviews? They weren’t even based on actual review and critique. These reviewers, these so-called critics already had an idea of what this movie was going to be before they even sat down in their seats and they judged it before they could even get past the previews. They already had it in their mind that it was “just another Twilight” and that sort of attitude is so heavy in the reviews, that is blatantly obvious that so many of these critics didn’t even try to give the movie a chance.

And its so hard to take these critics seriously either! So many claim to be legit critics, “top” critics, so knowledgable about movies and so-called experts in the realms of movies, but you have no idea how many reviews I read that couldn’t even get their facts straight! They had movie plot points wrong, they spelled Cassie’s name wrong, they compared it to books, TV shows and movies that literally made no sense and they completely messed up actors’ names! How am I supposed to take your review of this movie seriously when you can’t even do the work to review it properly?

Even worse, its not just these critics that are like this. Its friends, its family, its people I know, who are judging this movie so harshly already. I want to scream, you’ve never read the book, you’ve never seen the movie, and you know how important this is to me, and yet…yet, you’re sitting here, high and mighty, judging something before you can even give it a chance. And I’m afraid that these attitudes, combined with the negative connotation given to young adult books and the overflow of negative reviews is causing people to avoid going to the movies to see it.

Even though, as a gigantic fan (check the fearless rune tattoo), I thought it was brilliantly made.

So today, I’m angry. I’m angry and upset and frustrated and tired. I’m tired of defending this group of books again and again and again. If you don’t want to believe it, fine. These beautiful books that are capable of transporting you into wonderful worlds, creating best friends and loves, changing your lives and teaching you so much can stay with those who appreciate them. You can stick to your capital L “Literature” all you want.

So I’m asking my followers, my fellow TMI fans, to go out there and watch this movie. Watch it again and again and again. Buy up the merchandise and tell Harald and Cassie and Jessica and Martin and Lily and Jamie and Kevin and all of them how great it is. Buy the books and support it all. Show them that we are not sitting down. Tell them they can throw their F. Scott Fitzgerald and their James Joyce and their capital L Literature our way but we are NOT standing down. Young adult literature is here to stay! And we will keep loving it and keep showing that it is NOT all Twilight and it is worth giving the chance. We’ll show all those snobs out there that they can stick their nose up at our books and our movies as much as they want. We are a force to be reckoned with and we have shown that!

I have this message to all the critics, and to all the haters:

Not all movies are meant to be Oscar winners. Not all movies go out there with the purpose of telling a super dramatic story or changing the entire world. Sometimes they are simply meant to entertain. Sometimes it may not make sense to you, but the movie does change people, but a select group of people. Sometimes you need to watch a movie and not constantly compare it to others simply because they are of the same AGE GROUP BOOKS (not genre because young adult literature is made of a TON of genres) and to give things a chance.

Not all books are Twilight. Not all books are the same. We have been writing about demons and vampires and werewolves and teenagers and love and coming-of-age and self-identity and sickness and all sorts of things FOR CENTURIES. Stop assuming that all young adult books just copy others. Pick one up for once, and give it a shot, and maybe you’ll find yourself surprised, and pleasantly so.

I’ve been angry today, but I love this movie. I think the City of Bones movie is brilliant. And if you critics don’t want to be on that same page with me, well, I guess that’s your choice now, isn’t it?

But I’m a Shadowhunter. And I’m a Shadowhunter for life. 

 

Update!

I’m starting a hashtag #TMIFansLoveTMIMovie to show the world that we don’t care what the critics say. We LOVE this movie and this fandom, and we are a force to be reckoned with :) Shadowhunters for life!

I made a hashtag on Twitter: #TMIFansLoveTMIMovie! Hashtag all weekend to show your support, tag your pictures on instagram and Twitter and Facebook and show your TMI Love!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Giveaway!

So, prostate most of you know that last week, I spent quite a bit of time in Los Angeles (which I always make seem like its far away, but its not at all), for the official world premiere of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and the TMI Mall Tour stop.

You can read all about those here:

TMI Premiere Recap
TMI Mall Tour Recap
Spoiler Free City of Bones Movie Review

Or you can check out the pictures on the WhatANerdGirlSays Facebook page here.

Here are a couple for your viewing pleasure!

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While I was there, I managed to get my hands on some Mortal Instruments swag, and in celebration of the release of the movie, I’ve decided to have a Mortal Instruments giveaway.

Here are the prizes!

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-Gray Mortal Instruments: City of Bones t-shirt, with glow-in-the-dark Angelic Rune

-Angelic Rune necklace

-a copy of City of Bones, the movie tie-in edition. Please note: yours will NOT be signed. I haven’t bought the new copy for this giveaway yet and so I took a picture of mine, but this signed one is MINE.

-a few SURPRISES!

Here are a few rules and such:

The contest will run from August 19th until August 30th

The winner will be contacted within 12 hours of contest end, and if the winner does NOT respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

The contest IS International :)

Make sure to come back every day to tweet about the giveaway and earn extra entries!

Share with your friends!

This contest is in no way endorsed by Cassandra Clare, Simon and Schuster, Sony Pictures, Screen Gems, Hot Topic, Constantin Films, etc. WhatANerdGirlSays is not responsible for any lost or damaged prizes.

Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Good luck everyone! I hope everyone enjoys the movie! Make sure to tell me how much you love it, and tweet/instagram your pictures!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review

Note: This review for the movie is completely spoiler free. The movie will not be released until August 21st, medicine and I wanted you all to be able to read it!

 

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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Based on the novel by Cassandra Clare 

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, order and some suggestive content

Directed By:

Harald Zwart

Cast:

Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West, Jared Harris, Lena Headey, Aidan Turner, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series.

My Review:

I was extremely nervous about this movie. It was not because I didn’t think it would be good or any of that. I had watched trailers, seen stills and drooled over the few clips we got to see. I thought it looked pretty good and this is what made me nervous: getting my hopes up. Getting your hopes just to be dashed, would NOT be fun, in the slightest.

Luckily enough, I didn’t have to deal with that. Being the first person in line for the Los Angeles world premiere of the movie, I was able to get my hands on some tickets for the actual movie pretty easily. After having an absolute blast on the red (oh, black) carpet, we headed inside, grabbed some free drinks and popcorn and settled into our seats to watch the movie.

I fell in love. Harald Zwart, you are my hero for making one of the BEST book to movie adaptations I have ever seen. The amazing people behind this movie took the characters and the story that I have grown to love so much over the past three years and made a movie that I know I will watch again and again, and I already wish I could watch it and can’t wait for the official release day to do so!

I’m not going to lie to you: its not perfect, but no book to movie adaptation ever is. There are always going to be little things that bothered me, and that was true of this movie as well. They, of course, made changes to the plot we know so well in the book, but the changes that were made were done in logical ways. They only changed things because it really was necessary. I didn’t mind any of the changes at all, really, and my only one beef was so small and understandable that I got over it pretty quickly.

What I think they have managed to do with this movie is capture the essence of the story and of the characters. Even though this is a story of a race of people called the Shadowhunters and their world, it is mostly a character story. It shows the journey and the development of the various characters; Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Jocelyn, Luke, all of them. They all go through various journeys as people and come out at the end of the story as different people. I think that this was captured in the movie. You could see the emotions of each character and the personality that they represented.

I also really admire each and every actor and actress in this movie. I can’t imagine anyone else in the world playing any of these characters. They were all so perfect. If I had doubts in my mind before this, which I’ll admit I did, they were gone by the end of this movie. They each obviously took the time to explore their character and understand them, and get to know the aspects of the characters that were so reachable to the fans and managed to convey that on screen. The characters that we all fell so hard for in Cassandra’s books were on the screen, easily, and I found myself falling in love again.

They also just told the story in such a beautiful way. They managed to hit all the important parts of the novel, and they reminded me (though how could I forget, really?) how amazing the story really is. Jessica Postigo, the screenwriter, obviously read the book and knew what Cassandra was saying and knew what the purpose of the first book was, to set up the conflicts that would build into the second and third books, and she did just that. I also really enjoyed the fact that there were a LOT of direct lines from the novel. Cassandra writes so beautifully and its not uncommon to fall in love with her dialogue and prose. It was wonderful to see that in the novel.

Another thing that really impressed me is that, for the most part, this fandom tends to be, well, more common with the female population. I think a lot of times the romance of the story tends to be highlighted more than anything. However, this is a VERY action packed book, and that definitely shows in the movie. I know a ton of fans were lamenting over the lack of Isabelle and Jemima West in stills and clips but she is in the movie a lot and she has some major girl power with that whip and flame thrower. The battle scenes in the movie, especially Hotel Dumort, are seriously action packed and are super fun to watch, especially with the amazing music in the background. This is a movie that you won’t have to beg your boyfriends to go to, because there is a lot of action and fun for the boys as well. I know that TMI Source had a non-fan, newcomer male review the movie and he gave it a B+, which is fantastic. Its a movie (and a book) that isn’t just for girls; the boys can enjoy it too. Plus they have eye candy in Lily Collins and Jemima West.

Lastly, very quickly, for the fans: the greenhouse scene? its perfect in every single way.

Rating:

4.75 out of 5

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City of Bones: Los Angeles Mall Tour Stop!

So, viagra early today, this I did a recap of the City of Bones World Premiere in Los Angeles. You can read all about that here.

I spent most of my Sunday, and all of my Monday at the Arclight Cinerama Dome, waiting for the premiere, having a seriously awesome time on the red carpet and enjoying the movie. I was absolutely exhausted after the movie, considering I had slept in a camping chair on Sunset Blvd for maybe two or three hours. My TMI Adventure buddies, Sylvia and Jane, and I went to my aunt’s house to shower (we needed it!) and grab a few hours of sleep, about two hours.

I was SO excited when this mall tour stop was announced. A few months ago, Sylvia and I, along with our fellow bloggers, Megan and Tatiana, started the hashtag #ShadowhuntersWantTMITour on Twitter, and got it trending pretty quickly. We were pretty bummed to find out there would be no California stop. When they announced it, I was extremely excited. The guests were Harald Zwart, Cassandra Clare, Kevin Zegers, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Lily Collins. I had already met all of them before but I would NEVER turn down a chance to meet them again. Then they announced they’d be adding Robbie Sheehan, and I was even more excited for the stop. I hadn’t met Robbie yet, and now I’ve met him twice!

We headed down to the Americana outdoor mall in Glendale at about four in the morning, and ended up being about the 35th person in line. We had to wait until 11 a.m. to actually get our wristbands, which was a nice long wait. We went around, talking with all our friends that were in line, and that we’d met the day before at the premiere.

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This picture above is of me and my Facebook friend, Diana. We talk a lot on the Facebook page, Better in Black, which is a private group for Shadowhunter fans (join us!), and she is SO amazing. She came all the way from London for the premiere, and happily enough, her flight was the day after the mall tour stop so she was able to attend that as well!

The line was so completely worth it. The first 50 or so people in line got free t-shirts (watch out for a giveaway VERY soon), and we were all lined up in the area for the Q and A. Because we had gotten there so early, we were only a couple people back from the barricade, which gave us a GREAT view of the stage, where the guests were.

I wish I had recorded the actual Q and A presentation for all of you but I didn’t :( My phone was dying after two days of amazing camping-ness. It was a really fun time. They had an unbelievable chemistry and showed serious passion for this movie and for the fandom that has come with it. They made us all laugh, and they made us scream every time they said the word “greenhouse”. I really loved hearing them talk about their characters, because they really knew them well and they obviously bonded and connected with them.

I really especially liked hearing Kevin Zegers talking about Alec Lightwood. Alec is my favorite character and he’s not always the bets guy in the book. He struggles between his light and dark sides, completely, and he’s definitely not a favorable character in the first book. But I really get him and understand him, and I love that he’s a gay character that is not a “typical gay” character. I love that Kevin saw all that, and I think he did a wonderful job of portraying him on screen.

Check out some pictures here!

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Meeting them was also super FUN! We thanked Kevin for the cookies he brought, and they all signed my Magnus Bane doll, and Lily just HAD to sign the butt, which made me laugh a lot. Robbie was able to sign my City of Bones book from WonderCon, which made me incredibly happy!

Oh, and during the Q and A, a fan asked a question to Kevin about Alec and Magnus in future movies and while he was answering, I held up my Magnus doll and Lily saw it and pointed it out to Jamie. So that’s what this picture is. I love this picture :)

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Check out the awesome signatures I got below!

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I was finally able to get Robbie to sign this book, which is the original City of Bones cover and has Jamie, Lily, Cassie, Harald and Jessica’s signatures on it.

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My signed Magnus Bane doll. I was so into the fact that Lily Collins wanted to sign the butt. They all super loved the doll, and were happy to sign it. Cassie was especially loved it and the creativity of it, and she was sad that Godfrey wasn’t at the mall tour until I told her I had gotten him the day before :)

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Honestly, those three days were some of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. This fandom, these books, mean the absolute world to me and I’ve been counting down the years, months, days until this movie would come out. I was so happy to have these experiences. I met so many amazing people, and I was able to see such a good chunk of the cast of the movie and they were all so amazing and nice and I enjoyed it immensely. I was also really excited to be able to see the movie a week and a half early, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Were you at the TMI Premiere or TMI Mall Tour LA Stop? If so, share in the comments below! I want to hear about your experiences too!