Riddikulus! Humor as a Weapon against Fear and Evil

I have a guilty confession: I really like watching old re-runs of Hogan’s Heroes. Yes, Hogan’s Heroes, with the hokey tunnels and wacky disguises. Probably one reason I enjoy it is because my kids think it’s hilarious; we don’t have Image result for comedy maskcable, and it comes on every night on one of the stations we get with the antenna. It also reminds me of my childhood and the silly stuff we loved then, like Gilligan’s Island and Batman. However, after doing a little research, I began to realize that there was something more at work here, something far more complex than tunnels in tree trunks and microphones hidden under portraits of Hitler. Just as we see in the rich and complex texts we discuss here, even campy Hogan has something intriguing to say about fear and the power of laughter. [Read more…]

After-Action Report on the Amazing Roanoke Harry Potter Festival!

In case you did not see all the stars shooting up over the Star City of Roanoke recently, May 12 and 13 marked a very special event. The town’s first ever-Harry Potter festival was fantastic and included a rare gathering of the four Image may contain: textHogwarts Professor Faculty Members in one place! John Granger, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Louise Freeman, and Emily Strand don’t usually get to be at the same event in real life, as most of our faculty meetings are virtual ones, so it was a great experience for us to chat, record a live podcast for the new Reading, Writing, Rowling podcast (stay tuned for more on that!), and take part in a festival that was both academically rich and fun for everyone. We’ll each be sharing our thoughts on this wonderful event, which we joined primarily through the tireless efforts of Dr. Lana Whited, friend of this blog, professor at Ferrum College, and Minister of Magical Education for the Festival. Dr. Whited put together a stellar program, and we were all delighted to be part of it, though we were in different areas, which means we have some different insights on this enchanting festival that we all hope will invite us back in 2018! [Read more…]

Roanoke Harry Potter Festival a Smash!

This weekend, the City of Roanoke, Virginia, known for the star that shines from the mountaintop overlooking the city, will sparkle with extra magic!  The Roanoke Harry Potter Festival will feature wonderful programs, events, and opportunities, including the rare chance to see John Granger, Louise Freeman, Emily Strand, and Elizabeth Baird Hardy all in the same place at the same time. The only more difficult feat is seeing Clark Kent and Superman at once!

UPDATE: Read about the 8,500 fan gathering in The Roanoke Times!

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Rowling Apologizes for Killing Snape

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts (which is incidentally, also the same day that Civil War General Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men at the Battle of Chancellorsville), J.K. Rowling, as has been her habit for the past few years, issued an apology for killing off a character. In the past, sharry-snapehe has apologized for the deaths of Fred Weasley and Remus Lupin, meeting great approval from those of us who still mourn those characters (Really. It’s almost time to start the read-aloud of Deathly Hallows with the younger child, and so I am already stocking up on tissues and hot cocoa). However, this year, she apologized not for killing a funny and beloved twin or a kindly and troubled teacher. She apologized for killing Severus Snape. A number of people seem to be very upset by this, as Rowling expected, by saying she was running for cover after making the comment. However, is it really so shocking? It all comes down to how we interpret “apologizing” in this context. Let’s look at a few interpretations at how they intersect with our responses as readers to the character of Snape. [Read more…]

Jude Law Tapped for Young Dumbledore, Adding to his List of Literary Incarnations

Last week, the news emerged that the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, scheduled to start filming this summer, would feature a young Albus DumbledImage result for jude lawore, and that he would be portrayed by Jude Law. As with any casting decision these days, there has been controversy (honestly, uproar from readers prompted the Hunger Games movie people to re-cast a cat), but Law is actually a good choice for a couple of reasons, including his impressive resume of bringing to life on the screen characters we have already met on the page.

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