Guest Post: Tax Calculation by Computer Science in Diagon Alley (David Martin)

From Professor and profound Potter Pundit David Martin:

As a Harry Potter fan who teaches Computer Science, I envy my fellow academics in other disciplines – such as philosophy and psychology – who can easily find so many ways to incorporate the Harry Potter novels into their courses.  However, I have found one small area I can use in my Computer Science One course.  Here it is:

========= The Assignment =================================

In the Harry Potter novels, the money used in the magical world comes in three denominations: bronze Knuts, silver Sickles, and golden Galleons.  29 Knuts equal one Sickle, and 17 Sickles equal one Galleon.

(I suppose that Rowling is here acknowledging – or satirizing? – the older British system of currency that was used until the “decimalization” reform of the 1970s.  Under that older system there were 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound.  British school children had a whole additional topic to study in math class just learning how to handle calculations in that non-decimal system.)

Let us imagine that the Ministry of Magic finances itself, in part, with a 4.5% sales tax on all goods sold in Diagon Alley, the main shopping area in the magical world.

Here is the assignment: Write a program to calculate this tax and add it to the cost of the sale.

Your program should begin by asking for the amount of the sale (in Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts) and then print out the amount the sale, the amount of the sales tax, and the total to be paid.

Here are two sample executions:

[Read more…]

Requiescat in Pace: Toni Gras

linkedinI am just home from Nativity celebrations on the East Coast and opened my email after four days away from the Internet. There was some good news; a dear friend and his wife in western Illinois have recovered from serious illness with her cancer officially in remission. And there was some hard news. A woman in the UK I met while at St Andrews who has been caring for her father for years wrote me to ask for prayers for his peaceful repose. He died that night.

orlandoThat was a shock but the real blow, because I had never met my English friend’s father, was reading a note from David Gras that said his wife, Toni, was on her deathbed and asking for my prayers. Toni’s condition was well known in the Potter Pundit community because she and her family are so dear to all of us who have met them. Her death on Orthodox Nativity was still a great surprise to me. We had exchanged notes in November about Emily’s aside in her post about the Chestnut Hill Conference that Toni had been missed and sending all our best wishes and prayers for Toni’s complete recovery from cancer.

It was the latest in more than 300 email conversations I have had with Toni and David since we met more than ten years ago. I have been to their home, eaten meals with them and daughter Courtney at conferences from San Francisco to Toronto to Orlando, they even put me up one night at their hotel in Boston when I found myself at the first Leaky Con without a place to lay my head. These conferences will never be the same for me. [Read more…]

Fantastic Beasts’ Seventh Deleted Scene Grindelgraves’ Vision in MACUSA Office


IR Interview: The Cast & Producer Of "Fantastic… by theinsidereel

Kelly Loomis has discovered a seventh deleted scene in Fantastic Beasts, one we learn about in an interview Colin Farrel, the actor who plays Percival Graves in the movie, did with ‘Inside Reel.’ He says:

[Graves] is probably a lot more tired from the burden of responsibility that he lives with and under than the film was allowed the opportunity to explore.

There was one scene that didn’t make the film that we shot where he was actually having a vision and he was cramped down in the corner of his office with his shirt off, just a vest on, sweating, and seeing something. And there was a vision.

It didn’t make the cut and I get why it did (sic), because it wasn’t about that, it was too distracting I think. But he is somebody who has physically and emotionally taxed himself for the good of wizardkind. He is somebody who has such a personally defined ideology on what he thinks is right and wrong with society. And these people are either great liberators or — and sometimes as well as great liberators — incredibly dangerous

Add this to the Six Deleted Scenes we have discussed already in ‘Unlocking Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text,’ Part 3. They scene, according to Farrel, so we know it was in the “book” shooting script that was Rowling’s final after responding to at least three series of notes and revisions with Yates, Kloves, and Heyman.

Anyone want to guess where this scene appeared in the sequence of the story? Earlier than later, right? I am writing the “corrected found text” as Part 5B of Unlocking series. And what does what Farrel says about this scene tell us we didn’t know about Grindelgraves? Rowling confirmed by Tweet that Grindelwald was a seer “and a liar” and we’re left to wonder if she answered this question because of some disappointment that the film wasn’t released as written and shot. Stay tuned — or take your best guess in the comment boxes below!

Great find, Kelly Loomis! Thank you for searching and for sharing.

Finding the Fantastic Beasts Text, 5.3 — Jacob Kowalski: Is He Bigger than Newt?

fb435.3: Jacob Kowalski and the Missing Mildred Moment

Two of the six scenes that were cut out of the shooting script written by Rowling discussed in part three of this series (links to all the posts in the series are listed at the bottom of each post), turn on Jacob Kowalski, three if you include the Ilvermorny School Song segment in which his ad lib response is an important part. The No-Maj in the movie took a serious beat-down in the cutting room; we get a lot less Jacob in the film we saw in the theaters than Rowling had her in her final script.

mildredThe first and most important missing piece is his return to his tenement building after being turned down for a loan at the bank. His fiancee, Mildred, meets him there, hears his news, brushes off his story about meeting a wizard (I’ll guess that she thinks he’s drunk?), and returns his engagement ring. Yates and Heyman both say it’s a great scene, that it will be one of the DVD extras, but that it wasn’t necessary. They tell us it was cut because the audience doesn’t need any more reason to love Jacob.

The second scene that is cut was Jacob’s romp with Dougal the Demiguise in the Department store which Dan Fogler described as his re-make of the first Indiana Jones movie’s sequence where Indy is dragged around by a German troop carrier (it happens to be Fowler’s favorite film).

fb18I explained at some length the folly of cutting out the Mildred moment in part three. It neglects a core piece of Rowling’s artistry, what Lin Manuel Miranda calls her “mastery of the reprise” and we call parallelism or “ring scaffolding,” and all but erases the powerful echo reaching across the story from Mildred’s goodbye to Jacob at the start to Queenie’s hello at the finish. The story turn scene of Jacob alone in the MACUSA jail cell is the dead center moment of the film and highlights his transformation, beginning to end, like Dobby’s in Chamber of Secrets, as the point of the story.

Here I only want to add a neglected but more obvious pair of points. After the jump! [Read more…]

Finding the Fantastic Beasts Text, 5.4 — The Grindelwald-Credence Relationship

fb575.4: The Grindelgraves-Credence Relationship was Much Different in the Shooting Text

As detailed in Part Four of this series (links to every part of ‘Finding the Text’ are listed at the end of each post), the “original screenplay” published version of Rowling’s story and the movie as released by Warner Brothers was a shadow of the movie as conceived and first filmed with respect to the relationship of Grindelwald’s Percival Graves and Credence Barebones.

Instead of meeting in an alleyway, for example, they meet in a diner. The diner conversation includes open flattery of the confused young man by the suave elder and allusions to their past meetings for meals. Grindelgraves even gives the boy a magical flower, a Periculid, supposedly dangerous, he makes from a limp carnation. What seems icky manipulative homoerotic grooming in the alleyway is essentially a lovers date at the diner in the first shooting script version.

[This scene, we should note, is not cut as much as it was re-conceived and re-shot. The difference is that the screenwriter was almost certainly party to the changes made before shooting was wrapped and the editing begun.]

obscurus1The shooting script’s version of the film’s finale, too, reflects a more important relationship between Graves and the boy Barebone. In the movie we see, Grindelgraves come into the subway after Newt has been talking sympathetically to Credence-Obscurus. Both the LEGO Dimensions video game and book tie-in, A Character Guide, have Grindelgraves begging Credence’s forgiveness and telling him, not that he is a “miracle,” but that he is “beautiful.”

I apologize! You are beautiful, can’t you see, Credence? There is no need to hide. No need for shame. We’ve both had to hide what we want and who we are.

More after the jump! [Read more…]