Archives for November 2008

Travis Prinzi on Potter Fairy Tales and Morality

HP Progs gives us the perfect lead in for the release of Tales of Beedle the Bard by interviewing Travis Prinzi, webmaster of The Hog’s Head.org, friend of this blog, and author of Harry Potter and Imagination (now available for pre-order here and the Table Of Contents for which brilliant book can be found here). The discussion in the comment boxes at HP Progs took an interesting turn when Travis urged a reader to consider the possibility that Ms. Rowling’s work does indeed have an intrinsic moral message. [Read more…]

Dan-Emma-Rupert-Trio Fan-Websites: Who Knew?

I confess: I don’t surf Harry Potter fan sites. Not Leaky, Not MuggleNet, not HPANA, no live journal weblogs, no fan fiction or slash or Wizard Rock. The Hogs Head.org I do visit regularly but that’s about it. This means, of course, that I am as clueless about what most Harry Potter readers are talking about at any given time unless the subject is sufficiently “big news” for Wizard News to pick it up. All Pros regularly send me things they think I will be interested in and they’re usually correct.

I have little need, consequently, to search the internet for Potter topics. Aeschylus, Dorothy Sayers, William Penn, Coleridge, Tolkien, Dante and friends are all in the books — and no one else, to my knowledge, has done the heavy lifting we do here that is necessary to unpack Rowling’s artistry therein.

Why, then, should I care about the websites devoted to the actors playing the leads in the Harry Potter movies? [Read more…]

Fan Entitlement Syndrome: Shipping Wars Redux

Melissa Anelli has a few bon mots from her Rowling interviews that she didn’t include in Harry: A History. She has been sharing these online in periodic installments at the book’s website on a page called “The Vault.” This week’s entry is, sadly, Ms. Rowling and Miss Anelli comparing notes about how demanding and rude readers can be. I say “sadly” because, in revisiting here the unfortunate “delusional” comments made by Emerson Spartz and Ms. Rowling about Harry-Hermione shippers in the 2005 Leaky-Mugglenet interview, I’m left with the impression that both women think that the outrage expressed by the “deluded” had nothing to do with Mr. Spartz’ comments and Ms. Rowling’s agreement with same. [Read more…]

The Daily Prophet: Life Stranger than Fiction?

So is Global Warming the Environmental Apocalypse we were told and these nay sayers (in great numbers) the undead mob of Rita Skeeters? Or were the Gore-inspired crowd of Global Doomsayers a bunch of Latter Day Chicken Littles?

Either way, if you’re not skeptical about anything you read in the media these days (“Governor Palin strangles Turkeys in Post-Election Melt-down!”), you missed out on one of the sharper satirical thrusts of the Potter novels.

Please share below your favorite instance of popular acceptance of undeniable truth presented by reporters overdosing on SOMA, “truth” that turned out to be claptrap. (Please don’t bring up the most recent election. We have yet to see how that will play out.)

C. S. Lewis: Requiescat in Pace

Saturday is the 45th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ death. I can count on my ten fingers the writers and individuals who have most shaped my thinking and beliefs. What is good and true and beautiful in my life, what I learned from these men and women, though, is largely attributable to what I learned first from reading Lewis or what he confirmed or helped me understand in a different light.

I am out the door, if you will, for my dates in McKeesport this weekend (see below) or I would write more. Please share here, if you have a moment, how Lewis helped you understand or appreciate Ms. Rowling’s books in the boxes below. I know one man, for instance, who told me that he didn’t get literary alchemy until he read Lewis’ Perelandra on my recommendation. Lewis’ artistry, which this friend understood more clearly than I had, opened up the alchemical scaffolding and subtext of Rowling’s Hogwarts adventures for him.

Maybe for you it was one of the ideas we throw about here as ‘givens’ for conversation about literature, Potter, and thinking in general, say, chronological snobbery, instructing while delighting, training in the stock responses, sneaking past watchful dragons, baptizing the imagination, or “the Seeing Eye,’ the universe being mental via our participation in the cosmic Logos. Just writing out that list, it’s hard to miss the centrality of Lewis and his genius in our discussions of Ms. Rowling’s books’ meaning.

As an extra, here is Peter Kreeft discussing the three men who died on 22 November 1963, CSL, JFK, and Aldous Huxley, and the important differences in how each understood the world. Enjoy.

And don’t forget the three CSL book special offers at Zossima Press! Black Friday savings without the post Turkey Day blues, crowds, or driving through the woods in a one horse open sleigh…