Archives for December 2011

Happy New Year! Welcome to HogPro, MuggleNet Friends!

2011 was a wild ride, wasn’t it? Harry Potter fandom experienced the  ‘end of the beginning’ when the last movie adapted from the Hogwarts Saga was released [for a longish explanation why this is an ‘end of the beginning’ rather than a ‘beginning of the end,’ read Harry Is Here to Stay]. The Hunger Games entered into an ever larger audience of readers, setting records for sales on Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader and receiving daily news updates from film sites in North Carolina. Twilight lovers, too, had a banner year with the wedding album and Renesmee birthing in Breaking Dawn, Part 1.

And we discussed it all here on HogwartsProfessor.com! Our faculty took shape this year with the official appointments of Elizabeth Baird Hardy, John Patrick Pazdziora, Louise Freeman, and M.Brett Kendall as full professors, James of TwilightNewsSite.com as an adjunct prof, and a gaggle of Guest posters with special insights about Harry, Katniss, Bella, and great reading in general.

The year ended with a MuggleNet.com feature interview with me about Ring Composition (you can listen to or read the transcript here). This sort of linkage always brings with it a relative flood of new visitors to HogwartsProfessor.com — ‘HogPro’ among friends — so, as welcome and means of introduction to what we do here, I’ve collected links after the jump for something like a ‘HogPro Greatest Hits of 2011’ page with links to outside sites and our vaults as well.

Welcome, newcomers, to the conversations about the 21st Century’s most popular and arguably its best reading and writing! Thank you, All-Pros, for a delightful year gone by — and Happy New Year!

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HogPro on YouTube: Eyes, Rings, and Trios from the Vault

MuggleNet ran an interview with me yesterday and, while writing a ‘welcome’ post for Muggletonians that drop by via the article’s link to this site, I found a bunch of YouTube promotional videos of me from other web sites as well as me talking at various conferences and schools. Here below, as an example, is an excerpt from my Rings talk at LeakyCon 2 in Orlando last summer. After the jump, check out the Eyes of Deathly Hallows talk I gave to ‘The Group That Shall Not Be Named’.


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Hunger Games Soundtrack News: First single ideal or ironic?

Since I am a Gregorian, at least with respect to calendars, this time of year usually pulls me away from my duties here, so these are very overdue thoughts on the new Hunger Games soundtrack news. The first release from the soundtrack is Taylor Swift, along with the group The Civil Wars, performing “Safe and Sound.” Not only is this quite a bit early for soundtrack music to appear for a March film, but the song, and its musicians, also provide fuel for our on-going conversation about The Hunger Games as self-referential popular culture artifact. Join me after the jump for my thoughts along those lines. [Read more…]

The Host: Filming to Start Soon, Sequels on the Way

Twilight expert and HogPro adjunct faculty member (only ‘adjunct’ until we can find the extra keys to the Admin Loo here) James, web master at TwilightNewsSite.com, has written today about Stephenie Meyer’s latest film and book projects, both being adaptations or extensions of her sci-fi book, The Host. Yes, They are Making “The Host” into a Movie, and It is Part of a 3-Book/Film series.

I learned a lot there and encourage you to read the whole bit but here was the meat for this carnivore:

I assume that Stephenie is producing, and that the film will wind up at Summit, but I don’t know that.  And with the Summit studio itself in play and up for sale, things may change.

But what should prove interesting is that Niccol is known for these very overt metaphorical films. Incredibly so.  And we know Stephenie is loathe to defend, or even discuss, her works’ along those lines, even when the symbology is quite straightforward.
I’m with James in thinking the metaphors in play in Mrs. Meyer’s books, especially those involving spiritual takeovers, cults, and the place of women in both resisting and propogating this sort of thing, is a huge part of what her Twilight books, especially Bree Tanner, and her first Host novel are all about. For that, be sure to read Why Repress Discussion of Mormon Content in Twilight? Mrs. Meyer’s Anti-Cult Feminism or just The Host paragraphs excerpted from that longer post here:

Touchstone: Anagogical Reading of ‘To Build a Fire’

Touchstone is a great magazine, period, and if you don’t subscribe, you really should. I read every issue cover to cover and always find something to make me think and re-think what I’ve thought. For example, where else but Touchstone can you read a critique of Jack London’s short story ‘To Build a Fire’ from the traditional lens revealing the four layers of meaning? David Haddon’s purpose in ‘Never Absolute Zero’ isn’t to advocate that lens — he works pretty hard to make the point that London transcends his atheism in his art — but he opens his critique with a short review of its value:

Dr. Louise Cowan, longtime professor of literature at the University of Dallas​, taught that an analysis of a work of literature is not complete until the critic has evaluated it not only at the literal, allegorical, and moral levels, but also at the anagogic level—the critic must evaluate the work’s relation to ultimate spiritual reality. Thus, at the two highest levels, we must compare the morality and metaphysics discernable in an artist’s narrative with the moral order discernible in what C. S. Lewis called the Tao (or Natural Law) and with the order of creation revealed in Scripture.

Those of you who have Spotlight or Harry Potter’s Bookshelf or even just the posts here at HogwartsProfessor know that this sort of reading, what we call iconological criticism after Northrup Frye, is a large part of what I’m after in writing for ‘serious readers’ of popular fiction. As such Mr. Haddon’s article was a delight to read and I encourage you to read it in full. He makes his point about London’s story being evidence of a perspective greater than the materialism of his professed politics and offers a different perspective on the anagogical than I have.

Just to show I read it closely, though, I’d make two points.