Archives for March 2013

MuggleNet Academia 19: The History Hidden in Harry Potter

Nancy Reagin, History Professor at Pace University and editor of the brilliant Harry Potter and History, joins me, Keith Hawk, and student guests Elspeth Gordon-Smith and Gerardo Alverez for a rolliking conversation about all the history rolled into the Hogwarts Saga. Join us for discussion of the legendary and the true backdrops of the Statute of Secrecy, a look at the reasons why the Ministry is the Wizarding World’s chief employer, Medieval Manuscripts, IRA bombings and Death Eaters, and, yes, Voldemort and Hitler. If you love history or if you just want to learn the extra dimension the Muggle-world backdrops give our favorite books, this is a show you won’t want to miss! [Read more…]

A Sourcebook for the Astrological Narniad: Revelations?

My apologies for the lag time in posting; my excuse is talks I’m prepping or giving, applications I’m filling out, and Muggle work to pay the rent. As I’m beginning a seven week adventure in Monday night talks about each of the Chronicles of Narnia the first day of April — and I keynote the Potter watch 2013 and MISTI-Con fan conventions in that time frame, I’m afraid it isn’t going to get much better soon.

Having said, here is a note sent me today by a ‘Chris C’ that merits our attention, especially those of us neck deep in the Narniad:

Dear Mr. Granger,

I’m writing in concern about something interesting related to Michael Ward’s brilliant Planet Narnia.

In that book, Ward mentions a theologian named Austin Farrer, a friend of C.S. Lewis’s, and Farrer’s book, A Rebirth of Images: The Making of St. John’s Apocalypse.

I bring it up, because curiosity killed the cat and I decided to look into what a friend of the Inklings had to say.  What I discovered was basically that both Lewis and Dante weren’t the first authors to write about the “Seven Heavens”.  It appears St. John, or rather Someone, beat both Lewis and Dante to the punch, and in a way even more “Inspired”, let’s say.

Perhaps the greatest lower case “revelation” (pardon the pun) of Farrer’s book is that it lays bare the “architechtural” foundations of St. John’s scripture and theology, especially in it’s relation to Jewish ideas of “The Temple”.

To give a very brief and inadequate summary: Farrer’s argument is that Revelation is structured around the Jewish calender of feasts and ceremonies, starting (I think) from the Jewish New Year, followed by Passover, then Tabernacles, Dedication, and once more back to New Year, structured as a kind of Ultimate Holy Week, in which the feasts and sacred days are revealed as a kind of pattern of Divine Providence written into the very fabric of the cosmos itself.

Also, like Dante and Lewis, St. John weaves the Seven Planets into the structure of his book, I think in a kind of guidepost or clock-like way, I’m not certain. [Read more…]

InfoGraphic Listing: Hogwarts Professor in Top 100?

I get more than my share of reader letters, I’m guessing, if there is a pile of letters that are supposed to be distributed evenly amongst all authors. Perhaps I merit the correspondence I receive because my putting my email address in each book with a request for feedback generates these letters. You tell me.

I also receive quite a bit of Internet solicitation email, y’know, letters from business people (?) who offer to raise my weBlog’s place on internet search engines or requesting advertisement space in HogPro’s side-bar, or, most bizarre to me, offering to write blog posts for the site if I will include links to the author’s website.

Last week, though, I received notification that HogwartsProfessor was going to be included in an ‘InfoGraphic’ display of the ‘100 Best Blogs for Readers.’ Was I interested in posting this on my blog? I answered with a question: “What is an ‘InfoGraphic’?” This morning I received my answer, which you can see beneath the jump. I’m afraid it is a cross not only of the three solicitations mentioned above but something like the “Who’s Who Among High School Students” listing scams mixed in as well. Which is to say, if you respond to the invitation, you make the list.

I did peruse the Top 100 list and stumbled on something of interest at I’ll write about later. If any of you can figure out, though, why HogPro was invited to join this list of Independent Writers and Paranormal Fiction blogs, please enlighten me!
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‘Catching Fire’ Film Posters: Roses, Chairs, and Costumes that Show at least One of the Gamesmakers Does Still Read

Even though the release of the film adaptation of the next Hunger Games installment is over six months away (9 November, 22, to be precise), the Hollywood stylists are already pulling out all the stops on the teaser posters and other publicity tools in their arsenal to ensure that the 75th Hunger Games will be, shall we say? smoking hot. What is particularly fascinating about these images is how they tie into the text, history, the trilogy’s metanarrative and, yes, the sick, sad, real Hunger Games we call Hollywood. So let’s take a peek at the shiny film posters and those fascinating (and still coming) “official” Capitol portraits, at least one of which was foreshadowed on the Oscar red carpet.
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’10 Questions’ with Veronica Roth, Author of the Divergent Trilogy: Part 3 — “Did You Plan These Books? No? Really?”

Hogwarts Interview with Veronica Roth: Part 1 (with Prof Louise Freeman) and Part 2 (with Prof Elizabeth Baird-Hady)

In my conversation with Ms Roth in Orlando last summer, she told me point blank she didn’t plan her books. Hence my query below, the last of our ’10 Questions’ exercise, which is more of a reading comprehension selection followed by an essay question, alas, than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ short answer piece. Ms Roth very graciously and generously replied. Enjoy!

You told me in Orlando that you “don’t plan” your work, period, full stop. My question is “Really?” How can a dystopian world of such coherent complexity be written ‘off the cuff’? Let me explain why I think a more credible answer to the planning or jump-right-in question deserves a qualified “both yes and no” response. It’s hard to believe that the five groups came to you in mid-flight of the story; there must have been some world-building plan on the ground, if you will, as the story took shape or reverse engineering to have it work as it does.

For this I’m leaning on the psychological interpretation and exegesis of Prof Freeman. If you haven’t read them already, please read her two HogwartsProfessor posts on the five tribes of Divergent and their alignment with psychological categories (OCEAN).

Given your comments about your interest in Personality factors in interviews, it’s a real stretch to think this kind of artistry wasn’t planned.

Prof Freeman, in answer to a question I posed her about allegorical qualities of Divergent, wrote this:

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