Archives for November 2014

Mockingjay Flies Higher than Earlier Installments

On November 21, in our now-annual trip to the wonderful Yancey Theater to see the latest installment of Hunger Games film adaptations, the Mayland gang was joined by a fantastic group of high school students from Avery High School. Thanks to their teacher, the incredible Hollie Greene, I was able to speak with the students about the book’s symbolism before they joined us in the theater. Seeing the film this time was not only a great experience because of our high school friends, but also because this movie, much more so than the previous two, often delivers the goods when it comes to grasping the deeper meaning. Though no film is perfect, and a film based on a book is always fraught with changes readers don’t like (the students sniggered at the shirt I wore, proclaiming simply: “The book was
better”), Mockingjay part 1 has some elements that make it, undeniably, the best adaptation of the trilogy so far. Join our conversation with your thoughts if you have seen the film! If you haven’t, I’m not holding back on the details, so be warned! [Read more…]

Countdown to Mockingjay Part 1

On Friday, I will be taking a group of students and colleagues on our now-annual excursion to a local theater to see the newest film adaptation from The Hunger Games Trilogy. Though we have already speculated here a good deal on what is promised by the trailers and ads, and I will have up a complete review after the showing, I thought I would share my “top 9” list (everything in this trilogy is in threes, so we’ll do nine, not ten) of moments, themes, images, symbols, and other elements that I will be watching for as I and a healthy group of college students, high schoolers, and our colleagues and friends gather to see how the movie gamemakers have envisioned the transformation of this remarkable story from page to screen. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, too, especially if you plan to see the film! [Read more…]

Call for Papers: New Young Adult Literature Journal

Good news, YA scholars!  Study and Scrutiny: Research in Young Adult Literature, a new peer-reviewed journal on young adult literature is being launched!  Please consider submissions of scholarly work!

Narrative Misdirection via Personal Appearance: J. K. Rowling, Mrs. N. M. Murray, and the Author’s Life as Metamorphmagus

I received a brief but pointed note yesterday from a friend in the UK, a correspondent I admire very much for his insights not only about Harry Potter and all things literary but also the postmodern world we live in. We had exchanged notes with attached pictures and links to videos previously about whether J. K. Rowling had had cosmetic surgery after her great success as author of the Hogwarts Saga. He wrote:

John — I think these two videos will persuade you.
In the first vid she has an ‘underbite’ malocclusion which gave her a slight speech impediment – she has since had her jaw made smaller, and set back.

And she has clearly had something done to enhance the cheekbones – so her face has a completely different shape now – wider cheekbones and a smaller narrower chin.

Also the skin is now shiny and smooth. The eyes look different.

In short, the modern JKR just looks like a different person – and *superficially* has not aged or has got younger over 15 years.

Myself, I prefer the 1998 JKR in every way, but especially as a person!

In our previous notes, I’d shared the famous Daily Mail take-down detailing her transformations (Rowling makes Uncle Vernon a Daily Mail reader in Goblet to make her feelings clear — if her several suits against the paper weren’t sufficient — about this newspaper). I’d included as a counter-weight, however, a link to a video of what must assume is her intentionally frumpy look in court in 2011 when she testified about the excesses of the Third Estate (picture, left) to note that she just dresses up nicely when that suits her purpose.

I responded to the Before and After videos I was sent with these three notes: [Read more…]