Being a Potter Pundit isn’t a lonely life, but there is a certain abstract quality to it. Most of my contacts with readers is right here in the comment boxes below or through email. The place I meet these writers and correspondents face-to-face, of course, is at talks and the Meet-Up Mecca for Hogwarts Saga fandom has been the annual HPEF convention. 2012 promises to be no exception and I’m counting down the days until next month’s Ascendio 2012 super finale gathering in Orlando.
I’ve already discussed the Authorpalooza spectacular they’re throwing this year as well as the Formal Programming talks I’m looking forward to. Today I want to share what I’ll be doing Thursday-Friday-and-Saturday as my official and personal invitation to you to make a reservation and book a flight to the last and best HPEF fan gathering. Less than a month to go!
My plan is to drive down to Orlando from Huntsville, Alabama, with daughter Anastasia as my co-pilot. We’ll be arriving Thursday, God allowing, in time for some autographing and other Quill Track and Authorpalooza events. My first ‘Magical Me!’ moment as such, though, will be at Night of a Thousand Wizards Two where I will be meeting with serious readers in The Three Broomsticks for an informal talk — and taking a ride or two with friends on a Charmed Bench or Hippogryff.
These five hours at the Park, 8 pm Thursday night to 1 am Friday morning, are the only times that costume-wearing will be allowed at Wizarding World. That alone promises to make the experience a life-memory. I confess, though, that the big draw for me is that it promises to be a bit cooler than the last time I visited Hogsmeade, Florida, an experience my companion on that exploratory trip, James Thomas, calls ‘Orlando Furioso.’ Inferno might be closer to the truth, so I’m looking forward to some cool midnight madness rather than sun stroke on this trip…
Friday is wildly busy (Check out the programming schedule!) and, for the first time, believe it or not, I intend to walk around and catch a few lectures and activities. That evening, just before or after The Merlin’s Circle Reception (where I hope to toast all those HPEF All Stars who have given talks at five or more gatherings since 2003), I’ll be hosting a Meet-Up and leading a discussion of Latin Spells and Potterdom Names:
Friday Meet Up
Meet-Up for Serious Readers: On Magical Language and Names
J. K. Rowling almost single-handedly revived the study of Latin because her Potterverse spell work is primarily in that ancient language. If you’ve ever wondered if there was something extra in these magic words that you missed because you took French or Spanish or if the names of characters — all those matching initials and reduplicated consonants in the centers — suggested another embedded meaning you just weren’t getting, come to this get-together to hear Classicist John Granger ‘spell’ it all out!
Saturday’s schedule, incredibly, is at least as crowded. My talk is not yet on the listing but I’m hoping that it will be just after Veronica Roth’s Reading and Signing session, which runs 5-6 pm. Wherever they slide me in, though, I doubt there will be much of a crowd because of the talks and shows and Quidditch matches many will be going to at the same time — so, if you want to stop by for a semi-private chat with me, that will be a great hour or so to do it! Here is the talk I’m planning to give:
The Written Magic of Harry Potter: Ring Composition, Literary Alchemy, and a Transformed Vision
What spell work is it that J. K. Rowling uses that makes us love the Hogwarts Saga the way we do? What magical writing brings us back to her books again and again? John Granger, the Hogwarts Professor, will explain in this fun talk, first, the traditional literary scaffolding and symbolism that is the artistic heart of our favorite books and, then, how this written magic changes us for the better each time we enter into it. Don’t miss it!
And, after signing some books and saying the thanks and good-byes, then Anastasia and I will begin the long drive back to Oklahoma via Alabama! I’m all but sure that Ascendio 2012, the last HPEF gathering, like all the others, will be that much better than all previous Potter Fan Cons — and that we will point the Magic Bus north with a car trunk and cab full of happy memories, great stories, and reasons to keep in touch with long-time and brand new friends.
Only a month away! See you there!