Archives for February 2013

Casual Vacancy 19: Seven Deadly Sins Guest Post

Sarah McDonald shared this idea with me at a recent talk I gave at Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City. I begged her to write it up as a guest post which she has. Yes, I disagree with her conclusion about writers being the only ones who understand the intentions of their work — but I love the unveiling of the novel’s transparencies in light of the seven deadly sins. It almost certainly isn’t what Ms Rowling intended, as such, and it just as certainly opens up the virtues and vices (well, the vices…) of the novel’s players. Without further ado, then —  ‘The Seven Deadly Sins in Joanne Rowling’s Casual Vacancy,’ by Sarah McDonald.

It seems like important things come in sevens. There are seven notes in music, seven colors in a rainbow, seven books in the Harry Potter series, and of course, seven deadly sins. They are the big ones, the origin of other sins.

I’m not particularly proud of this, but until a few days ago the only one I knew was gluttony, mostly because it’s something we Americans seem to indulge in on a regular basis. As I sat curled up with The Casual Vacancy and read J.K. Rowling’s description of Howard Mollison and his massive stomach, I couldn’t help thinking that he exemplified the concept of gluttony perfectly. Then, I got an idea. Clearly, sin was rampant in Pagford. What if I could nail down all seven?

Reading the book became a game, a hunt for the sins, if you will. I managed to track down a character for each of the cardinal sins as follows:

1. Gluttony = Howard Mollison

As I mentioned previously, it wouldn’t take much to nail down Mr. Mollison with gluttony. Gluttony is any type of over-indulgence, though it is applied most often to over-eating, which is what makes Howard a prime candidate.

He is described in the book as having a stomach so grotesquely large that it leads people to thinking some rather uncomfortable thoughts. The fat has gotten to the point that he has developed a rash under his excess skin. Towards the end of the book, he suffers a second heart attack due to his obesity, and the prognosis is grim. When he talks about other people’s addictions as being easily cured at the Parish council meeting, Parminder Jawanda brilliantly rebuttals: [Read more…]

Breakdown in the Muggle Liason Office

It probably is not funny, really, but this article really just invites us to talk about it.
Chechnya’s Kadyrov calls for sorcery crackdown, touts Islam as defense against the dark arts
For those of us who think of djinn as literary props from the Arabian Nights, it is odd to think of them as anything of real threat, but the shared text reference is wonderful, no? We all know what “Dark Arts” are, so much so that the Washington Post doesn’t need to explain the reference, though explanation might be required in the matter of djinn removal, for which Gilderoy Lockhart will no doubt take credit.

Blog Hop Interview: ‘What are You Writing, John Granger?’

Dear friend Linda McCabe wrote me weeks ago to invite me to a Writers Promotion project called a ‘Blog-Hop Interview.’ Linda has publicly and privately defended me against unfair criticism within Potter fandom for a decade, confronted me with more errors than I want to recall (usually before publication!), errors large and small, all of which would have been very embarrassing, and she has been a more than genial reading companion. Whatever Linda wants me to do, in brief, I make time to do, with gratitude, even enthusiasm. She writes a good novel, too; check out her re-telling of Orlando Furioso.

But I was clueless about what a Blog Hop Interview involved. Pretty simple it turns out. Authors answer ten questions on their weBlogs about their current project, either the new book, manuscript, or work in progress. They provide a link to the next writer-in-the-chain’s weBlog where that author answers the same ten questions and provides a link to the next fellow. The hope is that readers will ‘Blog Hop’ and learn about a variety of writers’ work that would otherwise be unknown to them.

The writer who linked to me last week is Rob Loughran, aka ‘The Foul Mouthed Bard.’ You can read his answers to the ten questions about what he is writing here. The writer who follows me in the chain will be K. B. Hoyle, author of the six volume Gateway Chronicles; the weBlog link for K. B.’s responses — not until next Wednesday! — is On Alitheia and you can learn more about the Gateway Chronicles and its author on the series FaceBook page. I asked K. B. to follow me for the perfect opportunity it offered me to urge Hogwarts Professor readers to download a sample chapter of Six, the first of the Gateway books. You’ll see why.

My answers to the questions about the writing project I’m neck deep in (and posting so rarely, alas) are after the jump. [Read more…]