Archives for April 2011

HogPro Mailbag: Correspondence with Augustana Students

I get a lot of mail from readers and from folks who have heard my talks. I delight in that and its the reason I beg readers at the end of every book’s introduction to write and pass out my business card at lectures I give. Correspondence means a continued conversation and, inevitably, I learn more from those who write me than they get from me.

Tomorrow I will post a selection of letters I have received in the last month or so to give you a taste of what pops up in my inbox. It’s a full range — from the occasional nutter who thinks I’m not fit to kiss Ms. Rowling’s feet to the graduate student who thinks I am insensitive to the mentally handicapped. Today, though, I want to share the questions from one class of students at Augustana College. I was privileged to speak at their retreat held in the castle of Stronghold Conference Center (foto above) in Oregon, Illinois, earlier this month. [Read more…]

Arizona State University’s Harry Potter Society Hosts Hogwarts Professor

On April 21, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University at the invitation of ASU’s Harry Potter Society and independent scholar Dr. Joel Hunter, who has the enviable opportunity of teaching a very popular Harry Potter course (which currently holds the record for fastest time for a course to fill during registration!).

In addition to getting to see the beautiful campus of the Barrett Honors College, I had the chance to visit with Dr. Hunter and his wonderful wife Melanie (who apparently make a smashing Snape and Tonks on Halloween), chat with an amazing group of students, and present on the ways in which Rowling’s magical menagerie indicates the influence of C.S. Lewis.

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Hunger Games Tribute Casting Continues

The names just keep coming out of that big glass ball to fill our full complement of 24 tributes for the upcoming film of The Hunger Games. So far, actors are in place for the leads of Katniss and Peeta, along with her friend Gale, her mother, and her sister Prim. John C. Reilly appears to be in talks for the role of Haymitch, and there are rumors of a possible Effie Trinket.

We also have supporting roles casting decisions for the characters of Rue and Thresh, as well as for the tributes from Districts 1 and 3. If you’d like to follow as the rest of the Tributes are selected, try this handy feature on the Hunger Games Movie Facebook page. It is convenient, but I keep expecting the training scores to pop up so I can place my bets along with the other Capitol viewers. Speaking of our Capitol metanarrative, join us after the jump for some more thoughts on the casting choices and their reflection of Gamemaker values. [Read more…]

One Serious Reader’s Reflections on Holy Friday

Traditional Christians of both East and West are observing Great and Holy Friday today in remembrance of the sacrificial death of Jesus of Nazareth whom they revere as ‘Christ’ or Messiah. As one of those believers, I offer some thoughts I have had before and after, and, alas, even during the services of this past week along these lines. I have been startled by how much of the imagery of the books we discuss here resonate with the historical events and eternal verities we commemorate this weekend. If you are not a Christian, I doubt these musings below the jump will have any value to you; I will return to my more profane posts for all readers on Monday.

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Hermione, um, Emma Watson Leaves Brown University

If the New York Daily News is to be believed — and really, as Potter Philes, are we supposed to believe what we read in the gossip pages of the Daily Prophet? — Emma Watson is leaving Brown University. The reasons offered by the Fourth Estate? Her classmates were given to greeting her class contributions with comments like “Three points for Gryffindor!” and she was stalked by boorish Harvard Harry fans at a Harvard-Brown football game. The actress says she is just taking a break to close out her responsibilities to the film franchise in the months leading up to the release of the finale. I think we have another case of life imitating fiction here. “Rita sighting!”

UPDATE 4/24: Rita was right, sort of! According to the Daily Mail: “Emma Watson has confirmed she will be transferring from Brown University to another school this autumn…. Watson’s representative Vanessa Davies said the actress – who has a fortune estimated at £10million – had decided to pursue a course not offered at Brown, and  had ‘absolutely loved’ her time at the institution. Davies also denied reports that Watson had been picked on at the Ivy League institution by fellow students.”