Archives for October 2017

Chestnut Hill 2017: Emily’s Conference and Festival Report

Peri Fisher giving her talk on the power of YA lit to effect social reform.

Catching the heels of Louise’s excellent round-up of the sessions she attended at 2017’s Chestnut Hill College Harry Potter Conference, I submit my own report, dear Hogwarts Professor readers. In addition to the conference, my intrepid friend Katherine Sas and I also attended the Harry Potter Festival in the village of Chestnut Hill, just down the street from the College, the day after the conference, as we have done the past few years. The fest was particularly good this year, for both magical and non-magical reasons. I’ll spell them out here, with photographic evidence of the mischief that was so delightfully managed by Chestnut Hill, PA in 2017. [Read more…]

Hedwig’s Theme – The Voice Version

My Gift to Y’all on the Feast Day of St Longinus!

And a talk I gave in 2010 captured on a cellphone camera, ‘The Historical Hidden Key to Harry Potter.’

Chestnut Hill Wins House Cup for Ravenclaw, as Always.

Chestnut Hill College had its 6th annual Harry Potter Conference last weekend. This was the fourth time I have attended and and my third time as a session moderator. Doubtlessly, the conference has established itself as the major venue of serious Potter scholarship. Attendance is a must for any student seeking a N.E.W.T. in Hogwarts Studies.

I arrived late to the high school student section on Thursday night, thanks to horrendous traffic in the area, so I only heard a paper and a half, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I did hear. I wish I could have heard the full paper on Harry Potter and animals. since it seemed to fit well with my work on depictions of nature in the series. And the final paper, on how the depiction of Ginny Weasley changed from book to film, won second place honors.

More on the main section after the jump. [Read more…]

Is There Scientific Evidence that the Factions of Divergent are Meaningful?

There’s a little bit of Gilderoy Lockhart in all academics. Every once in a while, I am vain enough to do a Google search to see if anyone is talking about my research. Imagine my delight when, last January, I ran across two conference papers, from 2014 and 2015, by Brazilian psychologist Dr. Bruno Campello de Souza. Souza, and colleague Dr. Antonio Roazzi, apparently tried to match people’s Divergent Factions (as determined by the relatively simple 7-question Faction quiz published in the e-book) with the Five Factors and numerous other traits such as IQ, values, and professions. They also, to my delight and surprise, cited my Hogwarts Professor post as a reference, which, I believe, is a first.

While my understanding of the 2014 paper was limited–it’s in Portuguese–the 2015 paper had apparently partially confirmed my idea, linking Candor with Extroversion, and Erudite with Openness to Experience. Abnegation, interestingly, linked not only with Conscientiousness, but also with Agreeableness and Stability. The latter fits nicely with my characterization of the old Dauntless at the Stable end of the Neurotic domain, and the new Dauntless at the Instability end. Remember Tobias’s theory that bravery and unselfishness are the same thing and his remark that he could have just as easily been in Abnegation? Dauntless did not link with Neuroticism, but that did not surprise me, given that split nature of that faction, and its tendency to attract both the highly stable (Tobias) and unstable (Eric, Al, Peter). Amity did also not line up with Agreeableness, but you can’t have everything.  [Read more…]

Guest Post: PotterPundit at Cursed Child

Dolores Gordon-Smith, acclaimed author of the Jack Haldean mysteries and profound Potter Pundit, went to see the West End production of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ I begged her to write up her thoughts, she complied graciously and gave me her permission to post these notes here. To read J. K. Rowling’s long interview on the subject last week go here and to buy tickets for the 2018 opening of ‘Cursed Child’ in NYC with most of the original cast, try this.

Well, I’ve seen it! And what did I think?

The stage craft is just superb, with audible gasps from the audience on occasion. Honestly, the set designs are just stunning and the acting – for the most part – is terrific. Snape, young and old Harry, excellent Draco, Scorpius was amazing, Albus was good and Ron was outstanding – all excellent.

However, I didn’t like the way Hermione was written. She never looked at/mentioned a book and seemed to shout an awful lot. She improved in the second act but she still wasn’t Hermione. I haven’t got any problem with casting a black actress (although Hermione in the books isn’t black) but she lost her academic edge totally.

Ginny – she shouted an awful lot, too, and there was none of the devilry or charm that Ginny has in the books.

There’s a great story in there, but marred in the telling. If you’ve read the script, you know what the problems are.

Why has Harry made such a dog’s dinner of bringing up Albus when James and Lily are fine? It’s all to get Albus and Scorpius to the point where they try and change the Tri-Wizard tournament and prevent Cedric from dying, but it’s so clumsy.

You know; you’ve read it. But all the angst seems so unnecessary.

And why is Dumbledore so lachrymose? He and Harry sorted everything out and tied up the ends of their story at Kings Cross, so why is he now breaking his heart over the way he ‘brought up’ Harry?

The last scene is brilliant, with the murder of Lily and James but it took a lot of getting to.

And no; I can well believe that Beatrix Lestrange would want Voldemort’s child, but why does Voldermort want offspring? He’s immortal – he doesn’t want to share that with anyone.

Delphine could easily have wanted to be Voldemort’s daughter – you’d have the same effect without anyone who gets Voldermort thinking, “Yeah, right”.

So brilliant staging, some excellent acting but the script needed some drastic editing to make the story stand up.

It got a standing ovation though.