Fantastic Beasts Thesis Presentation Today!

It is always a joy to encourage scholars in their journey! Today, at 2 pm EST, Kelly Orazi will be featured in the Signum University Thesis Theater, talking about her thesis  Fantastic Beasts and Why to Find Them: Animals and Thesis TheaterNature in Harry Potter.  It’s been my great delight to serve as Kelly’s thesis director, and I’m excited to help her share this fascinating project. If you are unfamiliar with Signum, it is a wonderful online university with opportunities for anyone interested in a deeper study of Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, and much more. Signum is also in the middle of its annual fund campaign. Check out signumuniversity.org/fund/ for more info about the campaign and other events.

I hope you’ll join us today to “meet” Kelly and hear about her project. You will also be able to watch the theater on the Signum Youtube page if you miss it live. I’ve had a great time working with her, and I know you’ll enjoy her amazing insights!

 

Carnival Row: Literary Value Worth the Unsavory Package?

Image result for carnival row

This week, I had one of those wonderful moments that reminds me why I teach. In my ENG 112 class, we were having a great literary conversation, starting to unpack W.B. Yeats’s fantastic poem “The Stolen Child,” which describes the fae and their efforts to lure a human child away from the human world. The students had already asked great questions about the geographical references and some of the vocabulary, but I could see they were trying to really grasp the poem. I explained about the amorality of the fae, their differences from cutesy fairies and their connections in literature and Irish mythology, and then, one of my students exclaimed, “They’re kidnappers!” I wish I could have captured the look on his face, an a-ha expression that combined both his delight at making his connection and his discomfort with the unsavory undertones of the poem. His combined reaction is very similar to my own in response to the new Amazon Original series Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevinge, and an impressible ensemble cast in a tale of good and evil, of fae and of men.

The steamnoir series is set in a world where the fae world is not a myth or fantasy, but a very real geographical location that has been torn asunder by warfare between competing armies of men. It is visually stunning as well as thought provoking, making some fascinating allusions to history, mythology, and literature, but it is definitely not family viewing, with language and scenes that would make Cormoron Strike blush. [Read more…]

Universal Studios Launches New Dark Arts Show

There is no need to use Veritaserum to discover the truth that the Wizarding World parks are big business at Image result for dark arts universal studios orlandoOrlando’s Universal Studios parks. The Diagon Alley area, located in the original Universal Studios Park, features Muggle versions of many of the shops in Harry’s world, along with the ever-popular Escape from Gringotts ride. The Hogwarts Express will take guests (as long as they have tickets that will get them into both parks) to the Hogsmeade section of the Universal Islands of Adventure theme park. Here guests can join Harry on the Forbidden Adventure ride, or on Flight of the Hippogriff, or even on the newly opened Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. Tonight, Universal will debut a new attraction at Hogwarts Castle (located in the Islands of Adventure if you are having trouble keeping up). Join us after the jump to talk about the new Dark Arts show and what it means, aside from the obvious—more money for Universal. [Read more…]

Let the Hunger Games Begin, Again!

Image result for new hunger games novelJust last month, we were wondering what Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games Trilogy (among other achievements) might be up to these days. ‘Whatever Happened to Suzanne Collins?’ It turns out, she’s not just been playing sudoku or puttering in the yard (or imitating her creations to tramp through the woods or bake).  We have been hoping that she was writing. Earlier this week, the formal announcement came that confirmed our hopes but which also confirmed some of the fascinating metatextual concerns that have always run under the trilogy: concerns about artistry, yes, but also concerns about control and gamesmanship. Collins is set to roll out a new addition to the story of Panem, a prequel, since, of course, the Games Trilogy is just that, a trilogy, three books, no more, no less, emphasizing the triptych focus so central to the story. Set 64 years before the Games that Katniss and Peeta “win,” this new offering will doubtless cover the Dark Days, renew and continue interest in Collins’s work, and make Hollywood Gamemakers giddy with delight. [Read more…]

Vampire Batman: Robert Pattinson Confirmed as New Caped Crusader

Holy Hufflepuff Switcheroo, Batman! Rumors have finally been confirmed that Robert Pattinson will be donningImage result for batman the famous Batman cowl in 2021’s The Batman. While there will undoubtedly be hue and cry from every corner, as there always is with the casting of such a culturally important character, Pattinson is both an interesting and a promising choice.

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