Archives for March 2008

The Adeel Amini – Jo Rowling Interview

[Note February 2018: no longer exists. The longest excerpts available from the interview are inside this report at The Leaky Cauldron. In case it too goes away, I have copied and pasted longer sections by topic from the Leaky report in the comments boxes below this post.

Nota bene: I contacted the writer of the TIME magazine ‘Person of the Year’ article on Rowling in 2007 to ask if she knew to whom Rowling was referring in her “eyes open” comment. She very generously and promptly responded that it was Connie Neal, author of What’s a Christian to Do about Harry Potter? and other books. She also gave me a link to the talk Connie Neal gave in which she made the “lost evangelical opportunity” comment Rowling admired. Case closed!]

Read the full text here. We’ve discussed much of this interview’s comments before (the importance of Dumbledore’s single-sex attraction incident, her colloquial use of the word ‘fundamentalism,’ etc.) but the whole thing is, as always, much better than the excerpted parts.

There is one passage, though, I hope you will take home and show your friends:

Moving on to a more contentious issue, Rowling has categorically said that she does believe in a higher power, a statement reinforced by her childhood church-going (“Till I was 17,” she clarifies). It must be difficult to reconcile her religious beliefs with those that denounce Harry Potter as anti-Christian, I wonder aloud. Rowling’s expression does not change a fraction. “There was a Christian commentator who said that Harry Potter had been the Christian church’s biggest missed opportunity. And I thought, there’s someone who actually has their eyes open.”

I can think of ten writers who wrote that “missed opportunity” line, several of whom aren’t Christians, but, as one of those commentators, I’ll tell you it is grand to read Ms. Rowling thought this was the “eyes open” understanding of her books.

I should note, too, the fact that this sentence was not mentioned in any of the previous reports about the interview throws light on the blind-spot in Daily Prophet coverage of Harry Potter. All we have read about this interview was homophobia and stupid Christian fundamentalists. Not one mention of the author pointing to the spiritual content of the books and their explicit and implicit Christian meaning!

Ms. Rowling Contemplated Suicide

How different all our lives would be!

For those who are not disturbed by interpretations driven by the Personal Heresy, this revelation would support the psychological or Jungian interpretation of the alchemy in the series. Either way, I know Ms. Rowling’s recovery from depression and consequent success will come to my mind the next time I am speaking to someone convinced their life is going nowhere and is meaningless; depression can be overcome and the world made better, much better, by those who have overcome it.

Wrocking and Rowling Wrockumentary!

And its premiere is in Spokane, Washington! Arabella, please send us a full report!

Okay, this isn’t exactly a HogPro-type subject, Wizard Rock bands not fitting neatly into the “Serious Reader” pigeonhole, but you all are in recovery from your Easter indulgences and travel, so we’ll get to the Grand Inquisitor/High Inquisitor links, to book reviews, and to Artemis Fowl beginning tomorrow. I met the twin towers who made this “wrockumentary” in Las Vegas at Lumos 2006. I was autographing books in a small booth with the Rev. Francis Bridger and they asked me if I would answer some questions about the meaning of the music in Harry Potter for their documentary. Sure; why not? [Read more…]

Hallows Movie in Two Parts: Where to Divide?

The LA Times story linked above is funny because the people interviewed insist this was strictly an artistic decision and that they don’t know how the book can be divided. I’m pretty confident that this is all for show. Why?
[Read more…]

On Literary Influence: How Austen and Shakespeare Affect Rowling — and Vice Versa

Travis Prinzi, brother Potter blogger and fellow Zossima Press author, sent me an email two weeks ago about a Russian professor who believes that the best way to understand Voldemort is an echo of Dostoevsky’s character Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. He posted on the subject at Hog’s Head — a Pub for Potter and the conversation on the resulting thread was very good. The speculation that Severus was the real Raskolnikovian echo I thought was especially intriguing.

My thoughts about this went in a different direction, so, rather than hijack Travis’ post, I add my two thoughts here, namely, (1) that this kind of comparison confirms the theory that Ms. Rowling’s books will prove to be a gateway to English and World literature and (2) in a post-Deathly Hallows landscape where Harry Potter is the shared text, we will come to understand other books and the tradition as a whole through her books, like it or not. Literary influence is not a one way street, oddly enough, but sometimes works ‘present to past’ as well. [Read more…]