Hat tip to James!

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Carol Eshleman is an avid Potter scholar and Doctor Who enthusiast. She has spoken at conferences at UNC, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and at Potter conferences in Orlando. She teaches Law Studies, Speech, and is the theatre director at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana. She spoke at Leaky Con this summer in Orlando on alchemy and Dr Who. Enjoy!

The Doctor and the Rose: Doctor Who and Alchemy in the Russell T. Davies Era

Doctor Who fans are familiar with the concept of time travel.  We often see how actions from the past influence and color the future.  Images from the past reappear in new but clearly recognizable ways.  Let me share with you my observations of alchemical imagery that is present throughout the Russell T. Davies era of the Doctor’s journey.

Many of us are familiar with alchemy as the pseudo-science that gave rise to modern chemistry, and it is true that there were medieval alchemists who were literally trying to turn base metals into gold.  Eventually, alchemy evolved to carry more philosophical and spiritual meaning, and the physical process gave way to an allegorical pilgrimage of the soul towards eternal life.  This allegory made its way into medieval literature and continues to be used by diligent authors to enhance their narratives with spiritual depth.  Potter scholar John Granger has done tremendous work in uncovering alchemical imagery in J. K. Rowling’s series.  Allow me now to take a similar path along the time stream of our favorite Gallifreyan.

That the Doctor should be a figure associated with a body of imagery concerned with resurrection and eternal life is no revelation.  The Doctor’s ability to regenerate and begin again with a new face and personality makes any section of his personal narrative open to this sort of interpretation.  However, the Doctor as we see him at the beginning of the 2005 reboot is more than ever in need of a transformation.  Reeling after his actions in the Time War, he is now the last of the Time Lords and is struggling to find direction and meaning.  Who does he encounter first but a girl named Rose, and this is very significant (so significant that Russell Davies titles the first episode of the reboot “Rose,” a character that the audience has never encountered instead of something about the character that the audience has waited nearly a decade to see).  The rose is a symbol of the completed alchemical work, the Philosopher’s Stone, which has the power to transform base metals into gold and create the elixir of eternal life, but let’s not jump too far ahead just yet.  There are several stages that the material must go through before it is fully transformed.  As we study the alchemical journey that the Doctor takes through the Davies era, we’ll see that the Time Lord’s narrative aligns with the events and stages of the alchemical work to eventually coalesce into a portrait of resurrection and redemption. [click to continue…]

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Guest Post: The Bloomsbury Group and ‘The Silkworm’

by John 14 August 2014

Share ChrisC is a regular guest writer at HogwartsProfessor. He responded with what follows to my request that he write up thoughts he shared in private correspondence about J. K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike detective novels for your comment and correction. Enjoy! Rowling, the Bloomsbury Group, and the (Possible) Literary Allegory of Silkworm Throughout The Silkworm, author [...]

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Guest Post: Harry Potter and ‘The Goldfinch’

by John 13 August 2014

Share Today’s Guest post is from Claudia in Germany.  Claudia has a Master of Arts in Linguistics and German Literature, whose thesis was titled (auf Deutsch) ‘The Art of Reading: About the Cognitive Foundations of Reading in light of its Historical Development.’ She and I have corresponded on several topics and I begged her to write [...]

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Guest Post: Katniss Everdeen as Female Hero Archetype

by John 12 August 2014

Share Wayne Stauffer teaches writing and literature at Houston Community College in Houston, Texas. He has taught a Literature and Film class on the Harry Potter books and films and is preparing one on the Hunger Games. The release of Mockingjay Pt. 1, the third installment of The Hunger Games movies, will give us our [...]

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HogPro Mailbag: A Fortnight of News and Notes

by John 11 August 2014

Share Ah, summer! I hope yours has been a delight! Here are twelve links and notes from my inbox that serious readers and Potter-philes might find as interesting as I have: Joyce Odell, the Red Hen of lore, writes that her Harry Potter Tarot Deck is now available for $16 plus shipping and handling. Follow [...]

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Honest Trailers Parodies Divergent

by Louise Freeman 23 July 2014

Share You’ll find lots of references to Hogpro favorites!  Honest Divergent Trailer

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Shared Text: Teen heroine quotes Dumbledore at family’s funeral.

by Louise Freeman 12 July 2014

Share I am glad Ms. Rowling’s words could bring comfort to this brave young lady in her time of grief. She gets my vote for Fan of the Year. UPDATE:  JKR apparently heard about the story and sent the young lady a letter “written” by Dumbledore himself. The fandom world really does contain its own [...]

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Complete Deleted Scenes from the Warner Brothers Films

by John 12 July 2014

Share Hat tip to Ideal James!

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Louise’s Predictons for Future Cormoran Strike books

by Louise Freeman 1 July 2014

Share After finishing The Silkworm, and re-reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, one thing is clear:  there are a million different directions this series could go.  Between Cormoran’s extended and largely dysfunctional family, the assorted supporting characters we’ve met and the tantalizing hints dropped about both the protagonists’ histories, there remain enough questions to fill up the [...]

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