Shared Text: The Cauldron of Spoilers — and Repent, America!

Colbert may joke about Headmasters coming out of the Narniad closet but some folks don’t think this is funny. They’re still out there!

News: Rowling Speaks on ‘Career of Evil’ Planning and Scaffolding at NPR

COEThis just in from ChrisC:

Just found two interesting links related to Career of Evil —

One is a series of interviews Ms. Rowling has given to NPR.  She seems to have given three consecutive chats, and each one I’ve listened to seem interesting.  Some of what she says may lend support to some of the ideas regarding Rowling’s themes for the Strike series:

Also, of final interest is this article for the Chicago Tribune that places Ms. Rowling in a long line of Women Mystery Writers:

All in all, there’s a lot to chew on, here.

[Note her comments about the “larger story arc” and the planning — “I worked exceptionally hard on the scaffolding,” comments which begin about 7:50 in the interview. Much more to say on this! John]

Doxacon 2015: John Talks in DC about the Ring Structure of Harry Potter on Saturday 14 November – See You There?

webpage_banner_2015What a month! I’ve been to Youngstown, Chestnut Hill, and Phoenix in October and November features trips to Jonesboro, Arkansas, and to the District of Columbia. I’ve been looking forward to the DC date for almost a year because it is the Doxacon Conference, a gathering of traditional Christians to talk about the ins and outs, the fronts and backs of popular literature. Read all about it here and in the flyer below. This is the last week of registration for the conference which is Friday and Saturday, 13-14 November. I hope to see you there!

Two quick comments:

20150909_184507_resized (1)(1) Yes, the photo on the flyer is indeed an old picture! It was taken by Tyndale, believe it or not, in 2004 for the release of Looking for God in Harry Potter. Lest you be shocked when you see what I really look like, here is a snapshot taken by a friend a few days ago.

f36935142(2) The flyer doesn’t say what I’m talking about (see the website!). The title of the talk is Harry Potter’s Magic Ring: The Traditional and Biblical Story Scaffolding of the Hogwarts Saga and of Every Book in the Series. In an hour, I’ll try to introduce the idea of chiasmus or ring-writing as we have it in Scripture and Western literary tradition, explain parallelism in Harry Potterand then try to answer the big question, namely, ‘So What?’

I’ll also be moderating a panel ‘On Discernment.’ I think I was asked to do this on the principle that the moderator should be the person least knowledgeable with respect to the subject and most in need of an education about same. The panel is a wow group and I am delighted to have (and not a little embarrassed about) my front row seat to their discussions.

Again — I’m looking forward to seeing you there! It promises to be a blast.

Doxacon Flyer

Rowling says ‘Career of Evil’ is Her “Best Planned Book” — Is It a Ring?

f39171174Have you finished Career of Evil yet? When you have or when you’re curious about what she may have meant in 2014 when she said her planning for the book was “insane,” head on over to, where I’ve posted my first take on the book’s structure.

f42033126In brief, my working thesis for your collaboration or debunking efforts is that the chapters featuring the killer as narrator mark the beginning and end of each one of the book’s seven parts, that Career‘s beginning, middle, and end Parts, 1, 4, and 7, conform to ring composition formula, and that the novel is a turtle-back ring as well, it’s other four Parts, 2 and 6, 3 and 5, echoing or reflecting one another across the story axis.

Which would be consistent with the scaffolding of Casual Vacancy and the first two Strikes.

See you over at!

‘Harry Potter For Nerds 2′ Available Today! Check out the Booklaunch Page and the MuggleNet Academia Podcast with Travis Prinzi and Kathryn McDaniel

2cover red front“Exciting Times for Serious Readers of Harry Potter!” I don’t know how many times I’ve said that in the last six months, but today is the proof of the assertion. Not only do we have a new Cormoran Strike novel to enter into and experience, but the latest of this remarkable season of Potter Punditry, Harry Potter For Nerds 2, has been released. Talk about a conjunction of the stars!

For Nerds 2, edited by Kathryn McDaniel of Marietta College and Travis Prinzi, author of Harry Potter and Imagination, features 16 essays by the best readers and writers in fandom and academia. Here are two great ways to get to know this book and its offerings — and a fun incentive to buy the book during its launch (from today to Halloween).

First, check out the For Nerds 2 Booklaunch page. There, in addition to the expected raves, Amazon and Barnes and Noble links, and book description, you can sit back and enjoy Prof McDaniel talk with Prof McDaniel (her brother!) about the new collection — both are contributors — and about right and wrong in Harry Potter.

Then, head on over to MuggleNet Academia to listen to Keith Hawk and me speaking with Travis and Kathryn about what makes this anthology an important item for serious readers to get their hands on. Or, for your convenience, just scroll down and have a listen right here. Fun show with a lot of meat —

For NerdsAnd, if you still need incentive after that, Unlocking Press has made this offer for everyone who buys a hard copy or eBook before Halloween. Send your proof of purchase to me at John at HogwartsProfessor dot com and they’ll send you a link to the Harry Potter For Nerds members only website. There you’ll have access to free videos and live or recorded discussions with the world’s finest Potter Pundits (next week features a talk by Dr Amy H. Sturgis with Kathryn, just for starters).

So… check out the Booklaunch page and the MuggleNet Academia podcast below — and then buy the book or e-text for its own merits and the free extras you can download and enjoy for the six weeks following! Write and tell me about your purchase so I can tell you the secret word to open the members only treasure house —