Archives for October 2012

Charlie Rose Interviews J. K. Rowling

Hat tip to Keith at MuggleNet!

MuggleNet Academia 11: Psychology and Harry Potter

Hogwarts and Mary Baldwin College Professor Louise Freeman joined the MuggleNet Academia crew to talk about the mental landscape of Harry Potter and the legion of characters populating his seven adventures. Here’s a synopsis of the program:

‘The Psychology of Harry Potter’

As soon as serious discussion of the Harry Potter novels began, there were interpretations of the books from a specifically psychological perspective. Jungians, Freudians, and other schools of western psychology have engaged the books as texts about psychological types and spiritual archetypes — and even used them in therapy with patients! MuggleNet Academia interviews Psychology professor Louise Freeman of Mary Baldwin College for answers to questions about the Dark Lord’s psychological condition — socio or psychopath? — Ms. Rowling’s admitted depression and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and penetrating second looks at Mad Eye Moody, Dudley Dursley, even Winky! Stand by for some fascinating insights into the artistry and meaning of the Hogwarts Saga from our position on the doctor’s couch…

Check it out by clicking here and listening in! Many thanks to Prof Freeman for the lively and challenging conversation.

HogPro Interview with T. M. Doran, Author of ‘Terrapin’

I confess that last week I needed a little ‘mental floss’ after reading and re-visiting J. K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, the promotion and the substance of which turned on the author’s self-importance and reflection more than most fictions, perhaps inevitably. How many authors do we know as well, for better or worse, than we know Jo Rowling?

By a happy providence, I received a reader’s copy of T. M. Doran‘s latest book, Terrapin, at just the moment I really needed a good read. I enjoyed and was challenged meaningfully by Vacancy, as I’ve written at some length. I wanted, nonetheless, to have a good bath after being immersed in Ms. Rowling’s Equus moment and many interviews for as long as I had been.

Terrapin was just what I needed.

Curiously, it has a seven part/day structure, not unlike Casual Vacancy, and, as with Ms. Rowling after her Harry Potter fantasy debut and success, so T. M. Doran’s latest book represents a chasm leaping departure from his first novel, Toward the Gleam (read the HogPro interview with Prof Doran about that book here). The book’s plot is described this way at and at T.M. Doran’s  Author Page at

[Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘A New Map of Panem’ by Mark Windsor

Recently, we had a wonderful message from Mark Windsor regarding his theoretical Panem map. We are now delighted to present his complete map, along with a very careful breakdown of why he positions which districts in which spots. We hope you will enjoy Mark’s super analysis and graphics and that you you will join in our conversation to support, add to, or contradict his conclusions! Thank you so much, Mark. If President Snow needs a secretary of Geography, the odds are really in your favor!

A New Map of Panem by Mark Windsor

Not long ago, I encountered a map of Panem that someone had created based on reading of the Hunger Games trilogy. My first time through the series, I hadn’t thought too much about what Panem actually looked like. You can compare what appears below with what inspired the attempt. If you scroll down on the link above, you’ll see a list of “what we know”. There are a few things on that list that seemed a bit off track. I thought, “Well, this might be fun.” And thus a new project was born – Why not create a map of Panem? [Read more…]

CV13 — Christianity Today: “Profoundly Biblical Worldview”

Christianity Today has published a challenging and thoughtful review of Casual Vacancy by Lavonne Neff at its website. An excerpt:

Everyone agreed that Pagford has nothing to do with Hogwarts: “The only obvious parallel with the Potter books is that, like them, it is animated by a strong dislike of mean, unsympathetic, small-minded folk,” says Tait. But everyone may have read too quickly. The Casual Vacancy and the Harry Potter series are alike in one important respect. Both are based on a profoundly biblical worldview.

Look at how Rowling uses religious themes.

Chapter 1 introduces us to “the pretty little town of Pagford,” dominated by “the dark skeleton of the ruined abbey.” The expensive houses are located in Church Row. The church itself is “mock-Gothic.” The townspeople, we will learn in later chapters, use the building for school plays and council meetings and parties. Another former church, Bellchapel, has been turned into an addiction treatment center. The Old Vicarage is now owned by a Sikh family. Rowling seems to want us to know that the world of The Casual Vacancy is decidedly post-Christian. It is what Quaker theologian D. Elton Trueblood once termed a “cut flower civilization”: pretty now, but rootless and doomed.

Do read the whole thing!