Deathly Hallows’ Tenth Anniversary (1)

Where was I ten years ago — July 2007 — when Deathly Hallows was published?

I was living in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania, just outside Allentown, in a farmhouse adjacent to the Glasbern Inn farm and property. Six of the seven Granger children were still with us, then aged six to seventeen, the oldest daughter having just left to start college at the Virginia Military Institute.

My plan was to be in London, England, on the day of publication. I’d been invited to speak at a big deal conference as a Featured Speaker with air fare and a room at the Savoy. I had been giving interviews to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. I did a gig on MSNBC, the A&E channel was playing The Secrets of Harry Potter that eventually became a part of the Phoenix DVD extras and I was featured, and two of my books, Unlocking Harry Potter and Looking for God in Harry Potter (now How Harry Cast His Spell), and one that I edited, Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, were in the Amazon Top 100. HogwartsProfessor.com had become the weblog you know today in late December, 2016, and was hitting unprecedented and ten-times-normal traffic levels as media sources linked to the several-times-daily posts I was putting up.

I was pretty excited and wearing full Gilderoy plumage. I spoke to my daughter Hannah one weekend, the first phone call home she was allowed as a ‘Rat’ in VMI’s spartan immersion in cadre discipline. I told her my plans for London and my secret wish to meet The Presence Herself. Isn’t it possible that JKR will stop by the biggest fan conference in the same city as the book release?

My oldest daughter, a champion athlete and as deft rhetorically, decided that sarcasm was the pin she needed to burst my balloon.

“That’s great, Dad. You can read the book to your younger children the next time the seventh book in the series comes out.”

What she was talking about was my break with a family tradition. I guess to her, as an Orthodox Christian being initiated into the military caste culture, my desertion of post for individual advantage contra convention and expectation was about as low as I could go. [Read more…]

Is Harry Potter ‘Children’s Literature’?

Is Harry Potter Children’s Literature? “Of course it is.”

But is Kid Lit all the Hogwarts Saga is? Just as obviously, “No, there’s more to it than that.”

And what our thinking of Harry’s adventures as Kid Lit obscures is just as significant, maybe more so, than what that pigeon-holing or ‘literary classification’ actually tells us.

Join John for a quick discussion of a fandom and critical community meme that may have out-lived its use-by date — and share your thoughts for or against in the comment boxes below!

FYI — this is the last of the PotterPundits.com weekly VLOGs that will be posted at HogwartsProfessor.com. To receive them in an email or gain access to them, head over to PotterPundits.com and sign up! [Folks on that list have already received this week’s VLOG, ‘Is Harry Potter One Story or Seven Novels?’] Subscribing to Potter Pundits (it’s free) means you’ll receive the latest VLOG posts as well as the first invitations to sign up for the free online classes this August, the ‘Potter Pundit Summer School.’

Don’t be Left Out!

Click Here for Transcript of ‘Is Harry Potter Children’s Literature?

Click here for pdf ‘Top Twelve Rowling Story Sources Every Potter Pundit Needs to Read (and Re-Read)’

Unlocking Fantastic Beasts: In Search of the Shooting Script ‘The Round Up Post’

Cursed Child was the run-away best-seller for J. K. Rowling in 2016, but outside of thespian Potter-philes with pockets deep enough for travel to London and tickets, enthusiasm for the so-called ‘Eighth Harry Potter‘ has been short-lived. The Presence approved the story but it didn’t show many of her signature story-telling magic.

I’ll go out on a limb to make a prediction I doubt anyone will remember and say that 2016 will be recalled by fandom much more for the first Fantastic Beasts film than for Cursed Child. There’s a lot more to talk about, really, in speculating about where the story is headed and the artistry and meaning of Rowling’s return to the Wizarding World than there is in thinking about Harry Potter as a father failure and a Time Turner tsunami.

The real challenge in talking about Fantastic Beasts 1: Newt Goes to New York is that we have to try to isolate Rowling’s work from the Heyman-Yates mish-mash of a movie. As Rowling said Steve Kloves told her, the agony of making a movie out of a Rowling novel or script is “fitting the woman to the dress,” i.e., forcing the natural figure into the mechanical formula of blockbuster movies.

Can we re-create Rowling’s actual ‘Original Screenplay,’ the approved shooting script out of which Heyman-Yates cut 15 scenes that we know about? When the published ‘Original Screenplay’ does not include the sliced scenes — and doesn’t even match up with the movie as released?

We can, but it’s still a work in progress. Here’s a reminder of where we stand in the effort, our first stabs at interpreting the recreated texts and the underlying, re-invented mythology (Theseus!), and what we have left to do. Enjoy! [Read more…]

Cormoran’s Army is Back!

Leda Welcoming Back the Swan-God

Check out this still-in-progress revival of the Cormoran’s Army [‘CA’] weblog of old.

The first post features a round-up of what we’ve written here at Hogwarts Professor since GoDaddy deep-sixed the original CA late last year. The post has quite a bit of Lethal White summary speculation, too.

[For those not up to speed on Rowling’s mythological underpinning in her Strike stories, Leda (pictured at right greeting the Swan) plays a big part in it, as do her twin sons with Zeus, Cormoran and Shanker, I mean, Castor and Pollux.]

A new day for the CA! Doom Bar Detectives, Unite!

Riddikulus! Humor as a Weapon against Fear and Evil

I have a guilty confession: I really like watching old re-runs of Hogan’s Heroes. Yes, Hogan’s Heroes, with the hokey tunnels and wacky disguises. Probably one reason I enjoy it is because my kids think it’s hilarious; we don’t have Image result for comedy maskcable, and it comes on every night on one of the stations we get with the antenna. It also reminds me of my childhood and the silly stuff we loved then, like Gilligan’s Island and Batman. However, after doing a little research, I began to realize that there was something more at work here, something far more complex than tunnels in tree trunks and microphones hidden under portraits of Hitler. Just as we see in the rich and complex texts we discuss here, even campy Hogan has something intriguing to say about fear and the power of laughter. [Read more…]