Archives for August 2014

Guest Post: On the PotterMore Epilogue and Good Endings

From ChrisC — Enjoy!

Getting it Right: Some thought’s on the Pottermore Epilogue, Canon Narrative, and the Importance of Endings.

I’m curious.  How did everyone else feel about the Quidditch epilogue that J.K. Rowling wrote on her Pottermore website, the one that was told from the point of view of Rita Skeeter?  Did you think it was good, did it strike you as bad?  Or were you somewhere in between?

My own two cents?

For the record, I thought it was unnecessary, really.  For one thing, nothing is really added to the characters we already know, or at least nothing that broadens them. They are never given a whole new dimension that can be ascertained whenever going back to the original books.  They remain static, or at least the same as they were in the closing of Book 7.  All manner of things are still well, it seems, nothing more.  We don’t even get an ending with the word “Scar”.  In other words, I’m just not seeing any of the characters progress.  In further words, the reason for that is because it seems the characters have either finished, or just run out of things to say, do, tell, or show.

Reading the addition does however bring up (at least for me) certain matters that have been on my mind lately.  You see, with all of the extras being tossed our way; first by Pottermore; then talk of a Newt Scamander film; even (if you can believe it) the possibility of a play centering on Harry’s early years with the Durslesy before the events of Book 1; all this makes me wonder just what kind of  the audience might attach to it all? [Read more…]

The Hunger Games: Another Critical Perspective

Hat tip to James!

Guest Post: The Literary Alchemy of Doctor Who

Carol Eshleman is an avid Potter scholar and Doctor Who enthusiast. She has spoken at conferences at UNC, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and at Potter conferences in Orlando. She teaches Law Studies, Speech, and is the theatre director at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana. She spoke at Leaky Con this summer in Orlando on alchemy and Dr Who. Enjoy!

The Doctor and the Rose: Doctor Who and Alchemy in the Russell T. Davies Era

Doctor Who fans are familiar with the concept of time travel.  We often see how actions from the past influence and color the future.  Images from the past reappear in new but clearly recognizable ways.  Let me share with you my observations of alchemical imagery that is present throughout the Russell T. Davies era of the Doctor’s journey.

Many of us are familiar with alchemy as the pseudo-science that gave rise to modern chemistry, and it is true that there were medieval alchemists who were literally trying to turn base metals into gold.  Eventually, alchemy evolved to carry more philosophical and spiritual meaning, and the physical process gave way to an allegorical pilgrimage of the soul towards eternal life.  This allegory made its way into medieval literature and continues to be used by diligent authors to enhance their narratives with spiritual depth.  Potter scholar John Granger has done tremendous work in uncovering alchemical imagery in J. K. Rowling’s series.  Allow me now to take a similar path along the time stream of our favorite Gallifreyan.

That the Doctor should be a figure associated with a body of imagery concerned with resurrection and eternal life is no revelation.  The Doctor’s ability to regenerate and begin again with a new face and personality makes any section of his personal narrative open to this sort of interpretation.  However, the Doctor as we see him at the beginning of the 2005 reboot is more than ever in need of a transformation.  Reeling after his actions in the Time War, he is now the last of the Time Lords and is struggling to find direction and meaning.  Who does he encounter first but a girl named Rose, and this is very significant (so significant that Russell Davies titles the first episode of the reboot “Rose,” a character that the audience has never encountered instead of something about the character that the audience has waited nearly a decade to see).  The rose is a symbol of the completed alchemical work, the Philosopher’s Stone, which has the power to transform base metals into gold and create the elixir of eternal life, but let’s not jump too far ahead just yet.  There are several stages that the material must go through before it is fully transformed.  As we study the alchemical journey that the Doctor takes through the Davies era, we’ll see that the Time Lord’s narrative aligns with the events and stages of the alchemical work to eventually coalesce into a portrait of resurrection and redemption. [Read more…]

Guest Post: The Bloomsbury Group and ‘The Silkworm’

ChrisC is a regular guest writer at HogwartsProfessor. He responded with what follows to my request that he write up thoughts he shared in private correspondence about J. K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike detective novels for your comment and correction. Enjoy!

Rowling, the Bloomsbury Group, and the (Possible) Literary Allegory of Silkworm

Throughout The Silkworm, author J.K Rowling offers what is more or less a running commentary on the current state of the publishing industry, and the authors who make up the literary world.

It’s not a pretty picture.

Throughout his investigation, Cormoran Strike runs afoul of publishers consumed by greed (with an implied over-fixation on any and everything digital that that hurts sales more than it benefits), writer’s quarreling among themselves for various slights both real, imagined, major, and minor.  Throughout all this it soon becomes (or at least should be) evident that the great majority of Silk is taken up with a scathing critique or Allegorical Satire of the Literary Establishment.

It’s the nature of that Satire that I’m interested in.  It’s been suggested here already that the Strike books are Ms. Rowling’s smuggled literary Key to the Potter Books.  Whether or not that prediction will hold true is a matter of time and whatever is written in the final books.  In the meantime, there were two clues that may hint at the possibly bigger literary fish has in mind with her Satire. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Harry Potter and ‘The Goldfinch’

Today’s Guest post is from Claudia in Germany.  Claudia has a Master of Arts in Linguistics and German Literature, whose thesis was titled (auf Deutsch) ‘The Art of Reading: About the Cognitive Foundations of Reading in light of its Historical Development.’ She and I have corresponded on several topics and I begged her to write up her notes about the relationship of the Hogwarts Saga and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Goldfinch. Enjoy!

Dear Professors and Readers of the “Hogwarts Professor”,

This spring I received “The Goldfinch”, the Pulitzer Price winning novel by Donna Tartt, as a birthday present. Hesitatingly I began to read because the book has got 1000 pages (in German; English nearly 800; German title “Der Distelfink” = translation of the bird’s name).  And although I wanted to read the book because Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” was an unforgettable reading experience, I was not exactly looking forward to the story: I don’t like stories about adolescent teenagers, honestly, if they’re not about our favourite one.

And: I nearly didn’t make it to the end. I was constantly comparing the book to Harry’s story and all the time I wanted to step in and shake the guy (the protagonist) to make him come to his senses and react normally, positively, to come out of his depression. But he didn’t. I tried to jump to the end to find out if he made it, but it didn’t work, I couldn’t find out like that. So I did a fast read through to the end.

Well, my attitude towards the protagonist didn’t change and I’m still kind of cross with Ms Tartt for writing her protagonist the way she did.  But I made up my mind about the book. In my eyes “The Goldfinch” is possibly having a literary dialogue with the Potterverse. And I would be very interested in the HogPros opinions on this.

[Read more…]