Farewell to the Last Inkling: Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020)

Last week, the news broke that Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien, had passed away at the age of 95, and Image result for christopher tolkienwhile we might all have hoped he would make it to 111, 95 is quite a run for a human being, even one whose story is so deeply entwined with those long-lived denizens of Middle Earth. While I am not a Tolkien expert (my area of focus is usually an elder Inkling, C.S. Lewis), I hope you will indulge me in a few thoughts about the gentleman who is the last of the Inklings, why his legacy matters, and what this means for his father’s creations. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Stars in ‘Guns Akimbo’

Well, Daniel Radcliffe, the man whose face we all think of when we say or hear the name ‘Harry Potter.’

‘Guns Akimbo’ looks like a fun meta-take on video games. I wonder if it is direct to video or whether there will be a video game released akin to the story-line…

Does anyone else feel an irony boundary has been crossed akin to the Gamesmakers being tasked with making film adaptations of The Hunger Games books?

Hogwarts Mystery Barely Scores an Acceptable Owl.

Besides reading Harry Potter in Spanish over the holiday, I picked up Hogwarts Mystery for the first time in months and started playing again. I started the game shortly after it was released, and played regularly for a while, but it is the sort of activity I find it hard to sustain long-term.

The Pro’s:  You definitely feel immersed in the world of Hogwarts.  My character is Thelma Peterswarren, and she is currently a fourth year Ravenclaw.  She has mastered the Animagus-form of an eagle and recently learned her Patronus is a Winged Horse (the fact the the two creatures are supposed to be the same notwithstanding..)  Bill Weasley is one of her best friends, and she is not getting to know Charlie, so she wrangled an invitation to the Weasley’s for Christmas this year (via Flying Ford Anglia!). And, like me, she is just now getting to her first Quidditch game; unlike me, she immediately decided to try out for the team.

The “mystery” itself is mildly interesting…  the brother of my character, Jacob, was expelled from Hogwarts, and has since disappeared.  The disappearance is related to the mysterious “Cursed Vaults”, which the protagonist is as determined to find as Harry was the Chamber of Secrets. Between searching, she gets to hang out with friends like Rowen, Penny, Ben and Tonks, and tangle with her arch-enemy, Slytherin Merula and a nasty Professor Snape.

The downside of the game is the pacing.  The bulk of the tasks are the same, whether they are classes, side quests or special events.  Basically, you look at graphics and tap things outlined in blue. Each tap costs a point of energy, and each energy takes 4 minutes to regenerate…  so it takes over three hours to fill up; my storage gets me through maybe 1/2 to 1/3 of a task.  If you are away too long, your “stars” expire and you have to start over. So, if you are not checking in every 2-3 hours around the clock, your progress is painfully slow.  You earn coins, jewels, books, etc along the way, but it can take weeks to save up for the next thing you want to buy—  like nifty new Ravenclaw gear for your room–and any you spend there is less you have to spend on emergency energy if you come up short.  You can always pay Muggle cash to move faster, but I swore, like in Pokemon Go, I was not going to do that.

The dueling is fun if you like a good game of Rock Paper Scissors.  There are cute touches, like getting to choose the name “Fang” for Hagrid’s new puppy. There are other tidbits that may or may not be relevant:  why are Merula’s parents in Azkaban?  Why did a werewolf kill Penny’s sister?  But overall, the game is too frustrating for me to play it too often— only when I have nothing better to do.  I sometime wonder how long before I just go look up the mystery solution online.

In other news, thanks to the support of a number of Potter Pundits and friends of this blog, I am 80% to the way of my goal for the Ecuador Skillcorps 2020 team.  (ignore the strikeout, the link works!)  The Hufflepuffs are leading the way in donations, in support of Dr. Laura Crysel’s personality theory work. I have five more days of my campaign, so please help me fill the Gringott’s vault. It isn’t cursed.  You can also get my magical, house-colored shirts at my Bonfire Store, but the Make Magic variety is only available for a day or two longer.

 

Emma Watson on Transgenderism

This interview with Paris Lees, a transgender woman, for British Vogue was released last November, which is to say “before Da Tweet,” Rowling’s solve et coagula moment of redefinition. Hat tip to the friend who suggested I watch it in light of Watson’s silence after Rowling’s tweet; it’s easy to see how conflicted she must be between her thoughts on this issue and her debts and loyalty to Rowling as mentor. (The video is cued to where the relevant conversation begins and it continues for seven minutes before they segue to movie talk.)

Only Ezra Miller and Evanna Lynch of all the Wizarding World movie stars have spoken their minds about Da Tweet and neither of them gave a decisive thumbs up or thumbs down vis a vis what Rowling said and whether they agree or disagree. More on that anon. Any thoughts about Emma Watson’s situation or what she says to Paris Lees? Her fears for a six year old transgender child in the UK?

Is J. K. Rowling a Satanist? Really?

In the last month, three readers have left comments on two HogwartsProfessor threads in which notes they accuse Rowling of being a Satanist.

‘YouveBeenDUped’ wrote about Rowling’s Solve et Coagula tattoo that “The words on her wrist are the same words on the baphomet of the Church of Satan….YUP”.

Clayton MacDonald said much the same thing after I wrote about the meaning of Solve et Coagula. He said, “You realize she’s paying homage to the baphomet. It’s the same tattoo the baphomet has written on it’s arms. The baphomet is the devil that satanists worship. Fact check me and tell me I’m wrong.”

Michael Todd and Erin Barr echoed this after the same post albeit with an ad hominem zinger: “She’s a satanist, don’t believe me? Check out what’s tattooed on the baphtomet (sic), the satanist goat god. But you will still follow her, because you don’t believe.”

What are they going on about? What is a baphomet? What does it have to do with Rowling’s tattoo and with Satanism? [Read more…]